I was restless unable to come to terms with nursing a secret heartbreak. Mercy had avoided me during the school gig before vacation. She was in a porcelain green dress that day and she looked captivating. I knew I had pressed the self-destruct button by rejecting her public display of love for me the days prior to vacation. This was after an edgy romance we had in one instance. I was then sitting on a bench near the school park when she came. She stared longingly at my face and then sat by me. She draped her deftly hands around me and I felt her swell chest on me. ‘Touch me’ she whispered. Mercy was incredibly infectious and difficult to resist. I curled my arms around her small waist. She was calm. She rubbed her moisturised legs on mine and I floated on the breeze of time into invincible realms. ‘You sweet little love maniac, you are so romantic at heart’. I said to her. She said she was flattered. She wanted a repeat of the steamy scenes and that was when I turned her down. She was furious and bolted with my bosom friend Amon. I was desperately jealous. It was the last time I saw Mercy’s haunting curvy figure.
Mum noticed my restiveness and asked if I would like to go with her to the Makola market in Accra for shopping. I warmed up to the idea. It was a chance for me to get some whimsical stories to tell Mercy when school resumes. I needed to win the heart of my rain flower back. Amon usually came with exciting stories to hoodwink her. She only dashed to me when the hormones reminded her of her affections for me. Mercy was usually brazenly flirty. She would often ask me ‘would you be my primrose forever’. In my array of bewilderment, I was generally quiet. She cuddled up to me one day and looked into my face. Flood of tears flowed from her eyes. ‘What else can I do for my raspberry lolly for him to love me’? She asked. ‘My heart pounds and I offered it to you. Don’t you want me’? She continued. Mercy’s overpowering infatuation for me was infectious but lethal. You may call it a puppy love but I was too scared to have a dip in her love pool.
When we got to the market mum took me to an old friend of hers who had a stall behind the Fire Service Station. She had a zesty looks with a fiery flowing hair. She was excited to see me. ‘My jolly bonnie your mum never brought you to the market’ she said and smiled angelically at me. Her fixative look turned into a singsong. ‘My butterfly on the crimson bloom I have many lollies at home. Would you go home with me?’ She chanted tunefully across her wares. She was definitely another Mercy on my trail. The truth is I was an adorable kid with airbrushed photo shot features. The Makola lady was not the only one of mum’s friends who was passionate about me. There was auntie Afiya the lady whose hourglass figure set tongues wagging on our estate. This was before Mercy burst into my life with her flirty attitude. Untie Afiya had moved to the estate with her husband who worked on Legon campus. The husband was as an absentee husband who had a second wife somewhere in town.
Auntie Afiya was not only childless but an unhappy wife too. She pleaded with mum and took me home often. I became the child she never had and was a solace to her distressed soul. The pains of auntie Afiya’s childlessness were expressed in the bizarre passionate lullabies she chanted anytime she cradled me in her arms. ‘Weep, none would on my death bed. A child feeding on the mother’s milk ends the sorrows of womanhood. My pains were ceaseless. Others ended their grief ages ago’. Her melancholic tunes lulled me to sleep anyway. Somewhere along the line auntie Afiya became seriously sick and died. True to her predictions, her burial was tuneless. Mum kept the news from me until the day of the burial. She knew I would be distraught. It was true. I was inconsolable. I became completely inseparable from auntie Afiya because she was so devoted to me. I sang a floral tribute in my heart for her when the funeral cortege passed in front of our house. ‘Journey well, auntie float well, on your passage through voidance. Despair no further, I am the child nature never gave you. Depart well auntie on the bough of my unvoiced poesy into calmness. You are so valued’. Strangely, auntie Afiya’s husband and his second wife were not among the mourners. Mercy succeeded in erasing the memories of auntie Afiya from my mind by infecting me with her love frolics.
Mum picked some few stuff from her friend’s stall and placed them in the shopping basket. We left my admirer’s stall and wove our way through the thick throng. We came to a provision stall in the centre of the market. There was one of these revolutionary guards standing menacingly over the owner of the stall. There was a coup d’état and the coup plotters were everywhere like bumble bees. He yelled at the seller. She was then attending to tearful calls from her little son. The poor child was rudely woken from sleep by the soldier’s roar. The next thing I saw was the soldier started pouncing on the poor lady without any provocation. A ferocious blow from him caught the seller on the jaw with a military precision and sent her sprawling to the floor. A couple of her teeth rained down on the floor. The little boy screamed louder. A fiend with revolting behaviour was on the prowl.
The beast held the lady’s dress at the neck and pulled it with a brute force. It split into several pieces along the seams. The shreds slipped off her shapely body flashing her sensational curves. A colourful necklace laid nicely in her youthful-looking cleavage in her lacy bra. Spurts of blooding oozed from her cracked lips and ran down her well-carved ridge vanishing into her waistline. The blood soaked into a thick colourful beads lying neatly on her waist. Her bemused boy walked to her mum; got in between her legs and buried his head aptly to cover her mum’s modesty. His curly hair was soaked in blood. The lady’s crime was she asked the fiend to pay for the provisions he picked from her stall. Apparently, the soldier grabbed a handful of the scarce items and was about to walk away but the lady would have none of that. ‘Kuma lets go’ mum said and led me away from the murderous scene. For the first time in many years, I felt some sweet sensation in me for Mercy. I wished she were with me at the market. Her fluffy curvy frame would be flaunted all around me.
Strings of blunders marred the poignant affections Mercy had for me. By this time, her infectious love had spread like a terminal ailment in the diseased soul. I yearned to express my fondness to her for once through my fascinating tale from the market. The story of the violent shoplifter with sickening distorted values would undeniably melt the heart of the loved one. It was horrific tale though but it would soften her heart. I rehearsed the lines repeatedly to get a perfect storyline. I looked forward for an emotional reunion with her after the vacation. In the end that was never to be. She never came to the school. When I asked I was told she was gone to a place far away from town.
Francis Kwaku Egu, UK