Dial Episode 54 is running…
Abena Adobea was still on her knees.
I was standing up, gazing into the trees where the man from Wowo had chosen as an exit route.
My mind raced, and my whole body trembled in that anxious state of the surreal, not knowing where reality ended and madness began. I had been exposed to death of the worst kind, and for a moment I had almost had a severe heart attack as grim death approached.
And then I had witnessed a man being swallowed up whole by the ground, forced into death by powers that boggled the mind. A man had used a sheet of cloth as an aeroplane to traverse the space between me and some uncharted hellhole called Wowo.
And now, I was being confronted by the grim news that I could die an old man if I remained with the one woman in the whole world who had truly captured my heart…but I could have sweet, cherished life if I married another woman who, for a spell of time, had been sweet to me.
Where was reality, and where was madness? Was this a dream I would wake up from, or was it just an unending madness that just wouldn’t let me rest for even a fraction of time, and breathe the sweet air of freedom?
As I continued to stare upward in utter consternation, riddled by grim thoughts and the horror of confronting death head-on, Abena Adobea wrapped her arms around my thighs suddenly and pressed the side of her face into my groin, her tears a never-ending stream of sorrow.
I could feel her trembling, and I could feel her pain, because it was reflected in my heart.
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“Yao, please, I beg you, don’t do what you’ve decided to do to me!” she said in broken voice as her tears fell. “Don’t kill my heart, Yao, my love! I beg of you!”
Quite startled, I held her arms and pulled her up gently. For a moment she resisted, still holding me tight, but I pulled her up gently but firmly. Finally, she stood up, and I took her into my arms.
“What are you talking about, Maa Abena?” I asked calmly, looking at her with my heart on my face. “Why are you so agitated, my love?”
Her anguished face was wet with tears as she looked frantically at me.
“I felt it, Yao,” she said, almost in a whisper. “You were drifting away from me, Yao! You were leaving me!”
“No, Maa Abena, no!” I said with all the love and anguish in my soul as I clasped her face in both of my hands. “I love you. You just don’t know how much I love you. It is a word I found difficulty using. I never for one second ever think I can be with one girl and feel so complete, Maa Abena. I can never live without you!”
She put her arms around me and held me fiercely. She trembled with emotion as she spoke.
“From the moment I saw you, Yao, you were different, and there was something special about you,” she whispered tremulously. “All my fights with you were because I was scared at the way you affected me! I’ve always been able to handle boys and men, but with you I wanted to surrender totally. But I still held back, Yao, until I saw you in that grave, about to be buried alive! And then I knew I can’t live without you! I knew I have fallen in love with you so hard that my heart wouldn’t beat again, or know any sunshine, if I lose you! Oh, Yao!”
She wept bitterly, and I held her tight, inside that horrible forest, so far away from home, my home in the city, and I knew she was the one, the only one.
I kissed her then, gently and passionately. I felt the tangy salty taste of her tears on my tongue, and tasted the love on her lips. That kiss was the best communication we had ever had up till that moment.
She panted, and kissed me fiercely, and then she looked up at me with a face glowing with all the love I had hoped, and wished to see in her eyes.
“Oh, Yao,” she whispered quaveringly. “I’m so confused. I don’t want you to die, my love, my heart, my air! I know I should allow you to go to her, to marry her, and live…my mind knows that! But the thought of not being with you, of you being with someone else, really kills my heart! I’ll die without you, my love!”
I smiled gently down at her, and slowly kissed her throat and ear.
“No need to fret yourself, my darling,” I whispered. “Without you, there’s no me. My heart beat for only you, Maa Abena. From now, till eternity, you’ll be th air I breathe, the only one I need. I don’t know how long I have, but I’m going to love you with all my heart. I’m going to marry you, and we’re going to have our family. You have my heart, my love.”
“And you have mine, Yao Biko,” she whispered as tears coursed down her cheeks, but the happiest of all expressions reflected on her features. “We’ll let our love shine through this and all other clouds.”
And when we kissed again it was an expression of commitment, of joy, of life, and of essence of two hearts that had been joined as one.
The growls of the dogs brought us violently out of the passionate arms of love, and we swivelled and looked at them. The four killer dogs were whimpering, wagging their tails slowly as they moved toward me with docile worship, sniffing my legs and wagging their tails.
“Nana said they would be yours when they wake up,” Abena Adobea said with a giggle. “Pat their heads, Yao.”
“Nope, I ain’t touching no mad dogs!” I said, and she giggled with happiness.
She dropped to one knee, and soon she was playing with the four dogs.
“What are you going to call them, Yao?” she asked, looking up at me with happiness.
“I don’t know,” I said sheepishly as I tentatively patted one of them, and he licked my hand with pleasure. “Never had a dog. Maybe I’ll call them One, Two, Three and Four.”
“Oh, Yao!” she exclaimed, and collapsed with peals of laughter.
So we brought the dogs down with us to Yao-Biko Krom.
I named them One, Two, Three and Four, indeed. They stayed with me at the main house, and I grew very fond of them.
For about four weeks I was the happiest guy in the world. Maame Ntiriwaa and the whole people were happy for us when we broke the news to them. It was fun working out the intricacies of our wedding. I wanted a huge affair in the city, at the venue I had established for weddings.
Abena Adobea and her mother wanted us to get married in the town.
But that wasn’t really an issue.
It wasn’t important.
The most important thing was the incredibly beautiful love between Abena Adobea and myself. We just couldn’t have enough of each other. We spent virtually all our times together as we planned for the future.
I had never been so happy in my life.
We didn’t see or hear from Nana Bosomba again, and that suited me fine. I took a great joy in providing good things for the people in my village. They really loved a Community Center I made Brian erect in the centre of the community where they could watch movies in the local Akan language, and play games and have a good time.
Life was going on perfectly, and I was planning for a return to the city with Abena Adobea and her mother…and then it happened.
Exactly one month to the day of my last encounter with Nana Bosomba, I woke up from bed and realised that I felt a little tired and weak. I took it to be due to the excitement of the past days. With a groan I got up from bed and yawned greatly.
I had a little headache as I walked toward the living-room door. Someone was knocking, and I wondered happily whether it was Abena Adobea, my sweet love.
The first sign I got that something was amiss came from the dogs. Normally they slept outside, but in the mornings I opened the door for them to come inside for a while before feeding them.
They usually met me with growls of happiness, jumping up all over me and trying to lick my face and hands.
They behaved differently that morning when I opened the door.
Kuuku was standing there. He was the one who had been doing the knocking.
The dogs, who were struggling to enter the room, suddenly became rigid, all four of them! They then took slow steps backward, looking at me with a sort of confusion on their faces, all of them whimpering suddenly.
Three, the biggest of the dogs, suddenly put his head into the air and gave a long, wailing, confused braying.
“Wooooooooooooooooooooo!” he went. “Woooooo, wooooo, woooooooooooooo!”
Two, my favourite of the dogs because he was jet black, squatted and barked at me with confusion.
“Woof, woof!” he went.
“Hey, what’s with you, boys?” I said, and although my voice sounded funny in my ears, they recognized it, and suddenly they rushed at me with wagging tails.
I smiled and looked at Kuuku’s face for the very first time.
He was staring at me with absolute horror on his face!
He had been holding some files, but he had dropped all of them onto the floor. I guessed they had simply dropped out of his hands.
“Kuuku,” I said with a smile. “What’s up? What’s eating you? Are you okay?”
“Ooooooooh! Ooooooooh!” Kuuku said, his terror seeming to escalate when he heard my voice. “Ooooooooooh! Ooooooooh!”
“Hey, what’s with you?” I asked in an unsteady voice as I began to freak out, a sad smile on my face. “What’s wrong, Kuuku?”
“Oooooooooh! Ooooooooooooh!” he said, aghast as his eyes bored into me. “Oooooooooh! Ooooooooh.”
“Would you cut that out, please?” I asked, a trifle sharply because he was beginning to scare me. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Oooooooooh! Ooooooooooooooh! Oooooooooooooooooh!” he said in a louder voice, scared voice.
My fear was now palpable as I turned away from him and entered the living-room.
Moving quickly, I moved to my bedroom and straight to my bathroom.
I stood in front of the mirror and looked at my reflection.
And I understood!
I couldn’t recognize my own reflection!
My face was now the face of a very old man!
The skin was pigmented and severely wrinkled! There were sagging folds of flesh around my eyes, and my cheeks were drooping. My nose was limp and twisted, and my lips were black and slack. There were deep furrows on my forehead, and my neck was withered and scrawny!
I lifted my hands slowly and gazed at them for the very first time…and they were wrinkled and bony!
Perhaps, what really got to me was when I removed my robe with trembling fingers and looked down, and saw my manhood shrivelled, pinched and shrunken. And my balls…
Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear…
My balls were hollowed out and very long.
The ‘hwea’ balls of an old man!
I raised stunned eyes to the mirror again; stunned and very scared eyes, and my heart thudded with terror!
“Dear Lord…” I whispered, and as I spoke I saw four of my upper teeth suddenly falling down my gums…leaving a huge space in my teeth!
My teeth were coming out!
Oh, dear, oh dear!
This was the price of love…
I was dying as an old man, just within a month.
One question: was I going to pay this price of love?
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