Adobea’s door opened but she remained lying on her side.
Presently, her mother walked to the side of the bed and looked down at her daughter.
“Reuben is here, Adobea,” she said as she sat down on the bed and put an arm on her daughter’s shoulder.
“I don’t want to see him,” Adobea said miserably, and tears trickled down her eyes. “Tell him to go away.”
“He’s been waiting for almost an hour now,” Maama Fousuaa said. “Grace told him you haven’t come in yet, and he said he would wait. It is late now, and there’s no sign of him leaving. We can’t ask him to leave too.”
Adobea reached for her phone and with an unsteady hand deactivated flight mode. Reuben had been calling incessantly and sending her messages the whole day, and she had eventually put it on flight mode.
She sighed tremulously and sat up in bed. Her mother put her arm around her shoulders as Adobea called Reuben.
“Oh, my love, my darling, why are you treating me this way?” Reuben cried in a broken voice, and Adobea scowled with sudden confusion.
“Eei, Reuben, this is Adobea!” she said softly.
“I know, I know, Adobea, my love, my darling!” he continued in a broken voice. “Oh, I’ve made such a terrible mistake, my love! Why did I even think our love was over? I’ve not been able to sleep! Please, where are you? Tell me and I’ll come there…I’ll come over right now!”
Adobea was silent for a while, and then she picked up her handkerchief and slowly wiped her nose.
“Are you drunk, Reuben?” she asked, still puzzled. “This is Adobea.”
“What’s the matter with you?” he screamed shrilly. “Of course I know it is Adobea! I’ve broken off with Samantha because I realised it is you I love, you I’ll always love, Adobea! Don’t do this to me! Where are you?”
“Ei, boi!” Adobea said softly and took a deep breath. “If you’ve broken off with Samantha because of me, then please, go back to her. I don’t want you back, Reuben!”
“Foolish girl, Adobea!” Reuben screamed. “Don’t be a fool! There are mistakes in relationships, my darling! I made a very bad mistake and for that I’m so, so, sorry! Please, forgive me, I beg of you. What we had was special, Adobea, please listen to me!”
Again, Adobea sighed, and then she spoke calmly.
“Reuben, this call would have made my day just a week ago, I won’t lie to you,” she said. “But now it is too late.”
“It is because of that gbili-gbili boy, right?” he cried spitefully. “Where are you? I’ve been waiting for you for ages! Are you out with that toktok boy, Adobea?”
“I have real love for him, Reuben,” she said softly.
“Are you out of your mind?” he screamed. “Adobea, don’t kill my soul, do you hear? That guy is a fool…Adobea, saa akoa nu ye berlerberler! Akoa no ye gyimifo, Adobea! He needs special care! What do you see in him?”
“He’s the man you will never be, Reuben,” she said gently. “And I love him in a way I never loved you, and I don’t care what he is. Please, I beg of you, just leave.”
There was a chagrined silence on the line, and when he spoke his voice was filled with pain and jealousy.
“Are you with him?” he asked fiercely. “Are you spending the night with him somewhere?”
“No, Reuben,” she said with pain. “He got lost, so I’m out looking for him.”
“Aaaaahhhh, oyiwa, I told you!” he said with sudden vindictive joy. “The way he appeared in your life like a ghost, that is the same way he will leave your life! Maybe a car has even knocked him down and killed him somewhere!”
“Reuben!” she shouted in alarm.
“Ahhhh, but it is true!” he shouted. “Akoa nu ye berlerberler, gyimifo, kwaaa-donto! He can even think the street is a bedroom and sleep on it, and a car will run over him! Is that the kind of man you want?”
“Go home, Reuben,” she said resignedly. “I’m not coming home tonight. And yes, he’s the only man for me now.”
She cut the call, and immediately he called back.
Adobea cut the call and pressed the power button until the phone went off, and then she suddenly turned on the bed and fell into her mother’s arms as her tears fell in torrents now.
“Oh, mama!” she cried with pain. “What have I done? How could I allow my jealousies to rule my common sense? Where is he? Oh, Shalom, my love, where are you?”
Her mother rubbed her back gently and did not speak for a while.
“You know, young people these days think we’re old-fashioned, you know,” she said softly. “But, in our days, we had experiences like these, you know, of living ghosts.”
Adobea stiffened and slowly sat back to stare at her mother with shock.
“Huh?” she whispered. “Ghosts, mama?”
“Well, not exactly ghosts, my dear, but spirits, you know, of dead ancestors who roam around,” she said carefully. “You know spirits roam around, right? Good and bad spirits. I believe Shalom is a spirit, yes, my dear. They enter homes and help a family in need, and then they move on to the next family in need of help.”
“Mama!” Adobea said, horrified.
“He’s too special to be true, my dear!” Maame Fosuaa said and took her hands. “Our family was on the brink of collapse, and then he appeared with you mysteriously! Ever since that day he has taken us out of crippling financial situations and set us firmly on the road to success, and then he disappeared! No, no, he can’t be real! We must be grateful the Good Lord saw us fit to bless. You must try and move on now!”
“No, mama, you’re wrong,” Adobea said gently. “Shalom is a genius whose mind was reset by unscrupulous people for no reason we know of, and that is why he has so many shortcomings! But he is human, and I love him, and I will find him again!”
“I don’t want you to get hurt again, my dear!” Maame Fosuaa said quickly. “You had just a horrid period when you broke off with Reuben, and now this! Suppose he is even a human – which I still doubt – do you think such a man was alone and available? There might be a wife somewhere, or a fiancée! You’ll only get hurt!”
“That is a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it, mama,” Adobea said miserably. “But until then, please, let me wait on him and look for him. I love him, mama, and I can’t imagine my life without him! Please, I beg of you, help me!”
Maame Fosuaa looked at her daughter for a while, and then she gently put her arms around Adobea again.
“Come back, Shalom,” Adobea whispered. “I’m so sorry for being mad at you! Wherever you are, please come back to me!”
Calima reached out slowly to touch Shalom, but her hand touched nothing. She tried again, and when she still could not touch him, she opened her eyes slowly and found out that he was not on the bed.
She sat up on the bed and looked around the room, and then she saw that he was not even in the room. The door was slightly ajar, and so she got up from the bed and quickly slipped into her clothes then tied a cloth around her middle to hide the see-through dress she had worn.
Quickly she slipped her feet into sandals and then she went out of the room and stood on the veranda.
The sky was tinged with the beginning of daylight, and she guessed it was around five o’clock in the morning. Her family were still in bed, no doubt, but she saw movement at the far end of the compound toward the toilets, and she hurried over. Maybe Shalom had wanted to visit the loo and had not wanted to disturb her.
However, when she got nearer, she saw that her parents and some elders were all lined up against the clay construction that covered the pit latrine. They were holding corn husks and rubbing their stomachs. Shalom was wearing his boxers and standing to one side looking at them and giggling.
“What’s going on here?” she asked with some concern.
“Your greedy parents and these people,” Shalom said with a wide goofy smile. “They all want to puupuu. I warned them not to eat too much of the yam at once! They’re all flatulating gbuuuing gbuuuing like you were doing last night.”
And right on cue the queen-mother let out rip piiiiiiiiiiiiiw!
And an elder followed with gboooooong!
Shalom doubled over with laughter and pointed at the chief.
“Your turn, your turn!” he shouted his. “Your father’s own is the worst! It sounds like a bazooka, just like yours last night. It goes like gbollu-taataaaa! Do it, chief, do it!”
Chief Ogum’s face was screwed up fiercely as he tried to hold on to the gas threatening to rip out, and great veins stood out on his neck.
Calima held Shalom’s arm and shook her head with desperation.
“Shalom, that is not a sign of respect, please!” she said urgently. “You don’t laugh when your elders flatulate! It is not respectful!”
Shalom pushed past her still cackling with laughter and grabbed the Chief’s shoulders and shook him hard.
“Herh, Chief, do it, do it now, stop holding it! Do it, Chief, ta, Chief, ta!”
And the old short man could no longer hold it and let it rip gbollu-tataaaa!
And when Shalom roared with laughter, the door to the male toilet opened and a man came out, and the Chief hurriedly entered.
“This boy is a saviour from the gods,” the queen-mother said as the door of the female toilent opened and a woman came out. “But he is also not right in the head. There’s something wrong with him!”
When the door opened and Atwiaa came out of the male toilet, an elder tried to go in but Shalom held his arm and dragged him back.
“Herh, it is my turn!” he said.
The elder looked at him with desperation and spoke rapidly.
“I don’t understand you!” Shalom said.
“Leta hima goa!” Atwiaa said with sudden anger. “Hea saya hisa shita isa cominga! Ifa youa don’ta leta hima goa, hea willa shita shita ona himselfa!”
“Me too my own is coming!” Shalom said with a giggle and rushed into the toilet!
He took a look at the deep pit with narrow tree branches on it and he gave a loud scream and came running out again with fear! The elder he had stopped hurried inside.
“It is a hole!” he said with great fear. “A hole with sticks across!”
Atwiaa burst into laughter this time and pointed a finger at Shalom.
“Foola!” he said, unable to stop himself from laughing. “Youa feara thea toileta! Youa foola!”
“Atwiaa, foin!” Calima said crossly. “Mente ne bo wo, ha?”
She hurried over to the shaking Shalom.
“That’s the toilet, Shalom,” Calima said quickly. “You squat on the trunks and aim between!”
“No, no, I can’t use that!” Shalom said, shaking his head with fear. “That pit is too deep, too wide, and four other men are squatting side by side! Aaaaah! What’s the matter with you people?”
“That’s our toilet, Shalom,” Calima said with concern.
“Youa willa shita shita ona yourselfa nowa!” Atwiaa said and bleated with fresh laughter.
“Youa heada isa biga likea chambera pota!” Shalom shouted angrily, and this made Atwiaa stop laughing and then he rushed at Shalom. Scared that the little man would hit him again, Shalom bent quickly and picked up a huge boulder on the ground and raised it above his head.
“Abemomi!” Atwiaa screamed with sudden fear, turned, and fled from the compound.
Shalom giggled and threw the boulder on the ground again.
“Youa runninga!” he screamed after Atwiaa. “Comea backa anda leta mea crusha crusha youra biga heada!”
“Shalom!” Calima said, exaggerated. “You don’t have to mind Atwiaa. Look, come with me to the bush. You can do it over there!”
Shalom looked at her with horror on his face.
“You want me to do it on the ground?”
“Yes, since you don’t want to use the toilet!” Calima said.
“Apuuu!” he screamed. “I won’t puupuu on the ground! Am I a dog?”
“So, what do you want me to do now?” Calima shouted with desperation. “You’re scared of the toilet, and you won’t do it in the bush! What do you want me to do?”
“I’m going over to the building in the bush, the one Osagyefo built,” he said stubbornly. “I’m sure there would be a better toilet in there, a water closet!”
“That building over there, beyond the yams?” Calima asked and her face was suddenly filled with horror in the brighter light. “Oh, no, no, no! Don’t! There are…evil spirits there! Ghosts and gnomes and dwarves! No, no, no! Don’t even try!”
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