I should have listened to mama when she was so painstakingly advising me. Her advice that only schooling and hardwork could sweep a pauper from the land of poverty to the land of riches might have been true, especially unlucky paupers like me. I thought Nna Adwoa Mansah’s daughter; Akua Kyerebea’s fate could also be mine. She landed a man with a big Pajaro just when she turned eighteen. So I had started early in hope of landing a better husband than hers.
My first man was an ugly albino who had a nice Benz. I could care less about his looks, all I needed was the luxury he could afford me. Just thirteen, I had lied that I was nineteen years old, aided and abetted by my over ripe body. He took me to Sokoo Nkasie’s hotel. There, he, like the very first foundation digger of a house, dug out my virginity. I thought I had trapped him. He gave me two cedis and I showed him my house. His first and only visit was an ugly one. Mother, known to be the machete mouth of her time, pounced on him like a wounded tigress.
“Shame on you! You stupid albino! Go and learn to watch the sun and stop defiling young girls. You are interested in a thirteen year old girl who has not even managed to complete primary 6? Hoooooo! Come to my house again and I will show you why an albino is never welcomed in Kwahu Abetifi!” Agya Anobeng, my father, advised my mother not to insult people with their deformities which generated into another bout of their daily squabbles. My father hated me. He hated me for not liking school and loved that Kofi Anobeng, my younger brother, did so well in school.
Nna Adwoa Mansah, whose enmity with my mother, Eno Anobea, was a well known sport in the Asuntreso Village, laughed her heart out. The toothless chief of the village’s promise of making me a queen gave me nightmares. His constant calling for just half rounds of sex in exchange for one cedi and his clashes with my parents made matters worse.
“Adwoa Attaa Anobeng! Adwoa Attaa Anobeng! Why? Are you a devil sent down from my scrotum to destroy me? I believe the best daughter among your pair died, leaving a Satan like you for me!” Papa will always say. It was the only sentence mama did not disagree with him on. Teacher Baah, the class five teacher was the most annoying person I had ever met. He would lure me to the teacher’s urinal when everyone was in class, ask me to take my pant off and bend down for his okro stick to scratch itself. When we got to class, he would pretend he did not know me. He would look away when Miss Brefo, the class six teacher chastised me for even a little thing like looking outside when she taught her English that sounded like Greek. Her worn out heels and oversized suits and loud red lipstick made her look like a painted vulture. Miss Brefo was my pain in the school no matter how good the other teachers tried to be to me. Her only son was a known thief but she always had time to be on my case. I was so suffocated that I stopped schooling altogether. Her taunts and curses of me never amounting to anything in life, buried deep within my heart.
The village complaints about what I did wrong even when I am unaware and their castigating eyes, pointing fingers, haunting chuckles when I passed by made the place too small for me to fit into. Church was a cross too heavy to carry. The pastor’s Sunday rebukes which reflected in his teachings, made me puke into my stomach over and over again. My mother still forced me there although two out of the five elders were sleeping with me for fifty pesewas each. Those bunch of hypocrites! The house also became a prison for me. “Adwoa, go and fetch water because Kofi is going to school”, “ Adwoa, sweep and prepare food for your brother to take to school”, “ Adwoa at least be a good farmer if you have decided to fall from the tree of a school as an unschooled fruit” Mother and father took turns in making these statements. Statements that threatened to dig my heart out of its enclave if I did not flee the village. And so I did. I was fourteen years old.
I followed a lady who was brought to Sokoo Nkasie’s Hotel to Kumasi. I thought I had landed an angel who would take me to a land where rich men abound like flowers, so I could pluck the one I fancied. That was not the case. Sadly. Upon reaching my destination, I realized my village and house was way better. People were living in gutters, eating food that our dog, ehia wo a enwu, will not eat. The kiosk that welcomed me was situated close to a stinking gutter. Many skimpy clothes filled the kiosk and two small student’s mattresses laid on its crying floor. Even stepping on it brought fear of falling to my petrified mind. “This is not what I signed for! This is not what I slept with every idiot in the village who had a coin to spare for!” I cried silently within. To make matters worse, we were to pay for places of convenience.
Mimi Ranks, the lady who took me to that hovel, told me to be grateful. She told me I had gotten a place to lay my head so I should sleep while I freely could. Mimi added that I would have to pay for the hovel from the next day. She asked me not to worry, she would introduce me to her business. We ate the food she had bought, for I hid the little money left on me in my tight pantie. So I slept amidst terrifying dreams of being swallowed by all the bad things I have done, especially, not listening to my parents. But tomorrow is another day, I told myself.
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