Agya Asare knocked once on his daughter’s door, heard her muffled response, pushed the door open and entered.
Adobea was lying in bed with a huge bedsheet covering her. She was lying on her side but turned her face to see who had entered the room. Her beautiful face was sallow, her hair listless and her lips dry and cracked. There were little bags under her eyes bearing evidence to the fact that she had not been sleeping well.
Agya Asare sighed and sat down at the foot of the bed.
“Just been told that you didn’t go to the office today, Bea,” he said gently.
Adobea’s lips drooped a bit at the sides as it usually did when she was feeling sad.
“I took a few days off, Paapa,” she said weakly. “I just needed a little break. It was beginning to tell on my work.”
“Ah, ah, ah, Bea!” her father said with wonder. “When did you begin feeling this way for that boy? All this while you’re here mooching around, refusing food, feeling sick, Shalom was out there probably laughing across some big buttocks of another woman!”
And immediately Adobea threw a hand across her eyes in a gesture of pain and began to weep painfully.
“It…it is all m-my fau-fault!” she whispered. “I drove him aw-away!”
“Oh, stop that, Bea, stop that!” Agya cried indignantly. “You saw your man with another woman, and as a normal human being you were entitled to your pain in that instant and turning away from him. That is normal behaviour and nobody in his right senses should fault you for that! But I just don’t understand how you fell this hard for Shalom, Bea! It worries me!”
“I love him, Paapa!” she whispered as she tried unsuccessfully to wipe her eyes. “I just love him in a way I’ll never love again!”
“Bea, woye aboabiba!” Agya said with mounting fury.
“Paapa!” she cried, emotionally hurt. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because I love Shalom, Bea, and it would give me the greatest pleasure to see you with him, yes. But it hurts me to see you like this, all torn up about him!” Agya said desperately. “We don’t know who he is, or where he came from. Evidently, something happened to him to make him believe he is a child. But what happens if he regains his memories and comes back to the man he used to be, the life he used to have? Have you thought about that?”
Adobea looked at her father helplessly.
“Yes, Paapa,” she whispered miserably. “I think about that all the time!”
“Then you should realize that he is a very special man!” Agya said. “He’s handsome, charming, brilliant! Surely, a guy like that can’t be a bachelor, or without a serious girlfriend! His people are out there, probably looking for him. His life is out there, and surely his wife is out there!”
“He’s not wearing a ring, Paapa!” Adobea cried desperately. “There’s no telltale mark on his ring finger! And if he had a wife I doubt he would have ended up in a brothel, taken there by his own brother! But, if indeed he has someone he already loves, I’ll let him go, Paapa!”
“Apuuutweeeaaaa tweeeeaaapuuuuu!” Agya cried with disgust. “Let who go? He’s just gone missing for one week and look at you, behaving as if somebody stole your vagina and anus and you can’t shit or weewee!”
“Paapa!” Adobea cried with shock. “What’s the matter with you? You’re supposed to feel compassion for me!”
“Compa what? Silly girl!” Agya cried, looking angry. “I’m concerned about you wasting away like this, my daughter. I love you and I hate it when you’re hurt! Meanwhile, Reuben has realized he made a mistake! Yesterday he spent almost the whole day with me begging to take you back and marry you!”
“I don’t want him!” Adobea screamed. “I don’t love him, Paapa!”
Agya stared at her for a long time, and then he sighed.
“Hmmm, ayoooooo, Bea, ayooooo!” he said calmly. “If it is that boy you want and love, ayooooo! I will only support you, and hope that indeed, he is available to make you happy and cherish you as you deserve to be cherished.”
“Oh, thank you, Paapa!” Adobea said with a strained smile. “That means a lot to me! I really need your support in this, please.”
“Well, I received a call from the office just now,” he said softly. “Doctor Odabor Tumpan has been captured!”
“Praise the Lord!” Adobea cried and shuddered with horror. “That crazy serial killer? Oh, thank God! That is good news!”
“It is, indeed,” Agya said. “And guess what, he was captured by Shalom.”
Adobea’s smile vanished and she looked at her father crossly.
“It’s not funny, Paapa!” she said fiercely. “If that is your idea of a joke then it sucks! You should know better, Paapa!”
“Look at your silly face!” Agya Asare said indignantly. “I’m telling you the truth and you’re there talking nonsense! Apparently, Shalom was staying in that area. He discovered some long-abandoned factory and helped some poor villagers settle into it. He repaired the generator and the water pump, and it seems the villagers think he is a god of some sorts. And then, yesterday at dawn, he left them in a Bedford truck he repaired and gave Doctor Odabor a lift.”
Adobea stared at her father with her mouth wide open and her eyes huge and round.
“Where is he?” she whispered in a dry voice.
“Well, it seems Doctor Odabor was going to kill Shalom,” Agya continued. “But Shalom saw a police post and drove to it. It is now all over the news, big news! He’s a national hero now, with all major outlets –”
“Paapa, stop that thing!” Adobea screamed shrilly. “Where’s Shalom now? Where’s he?”
“Oh, fi ho!” Agya said with anger. “I’m telling you trending news and all you’re interested in is your selfish interest! Well, they brought him to the station this afternoon so a trooper is bringing him home. You remember I filled out a missing person profile for him, so…”
Agya’s voice trailed off when Adobea screamed shrilly and bounced out of bed! She was wearing only a pair of panties and she ran screeching into the bathroom and shut it up!
Agya stared at the closed door with shock, and then the main door flew open and Maame Fosuaa came inside with concern written all over her face.
“Opanyin Asare, what have you done to my daughter?” she asked anxiously. “Where is she? Why did she scream like that? What did you do to her?”
Agya Asare got to his feet and looked at his wife sadly as he shook his head.
“Your daughter is crazy now,” he said softly. “She’s cuckoo in the head!”
And just then his phone rang and he looked at it. It was one of the policemen from his former department. As Agya picked the call and walked out of Adobea’s room he could hear the police sirens wailing outside and he knew they had brought Shalom home!
His wife followed him as he spoke on the phone and her eyes opened wide with surprise, wonder and delight as she pieced the news together that Shalom, indeed, was back!
She rushed to the main door and flung it open, and then she gasped when she saw the yard filled with sleek cars! There were a lot of police cars and motorcycles. Also, there were many cars from pressmen and television stations!
Many people had come out of their homes to witness what was happening! Cameras flashed and microphones were brandished as reporters tried to get to the porch to speak to them.
“Awurade me Nyankopon!” Agya Asare whispered as he stood on the porch with shock. “This Shalom boy…this Shalom boy!”
He saw Commander Derbie Gyeshie standing in the yard with the Member of Parliament, Josh Aboagye, beside her. There were also high-ranking police and bureau officials in the yard too.
Suddenly, one of the doors of the sleek police cruisers opened and Shalom came out with the biggest and goofiest smile on his face! Cameras flashed as he pushed away from the great crowd and rushed towards the porch.
“Shalom!” Maame Fosuaa screamed with tears in her eyes. “Awooooo, Shalom, Shalom, my son, my dear! Thank God you’re safe oooo, awoooo, awooo!”
She raced down the stairs towards him with her arms outstretched.
“Be careful with that fool, Fosuaa!” Agya Asare screamed. “Be very careful of that fool!”
Shalom and Maame Fosuaa embraced fiercely.
“Ohhhhh!” Shalom said with tears in his eyes. “I am so glad to see you! Oh, where is Adobea’s workplace, Maame? I want to go there now! I want to see Adobea now!”
“Shalom!” Maame cried with tears raining down her eyes as cameras flashed and television reels rolled. “I missed you so, my son! Oh, you have grown a beard and a moustache! Adobea is in her room! She took some days off!”
And Shalom just pushed the poor woman away from him when he heard that, and raced towards the porch screaming Adobea’s name shrilly.
Maame Fosuaa landed rather ungainly on her butt in the yard.
“Aha!” Agya Asare shouted, pointing to her. “I warned you o, Fosuaa! I warned you about that fool! You see how he threw you away like empty milk tin?”
“Hey, old man!” Shalom shouted as he ran past Agya Asare toward the main door.
“Oh, gowayu!” Agya cried, cringing away from the wild rush of the boy.
“Gowayu too!” Shalom screamed happily like a child and kicked Agya Asare quite sharply and painfully in the right shin.
“Ajeeeeeiiiiii!” Agya Asare yelped and grabbed his shin. “Foolish boy, Shalom! You fool!”
But Shalom was already through the door and running furiously down the corridor, then through the living room and straight towards Adobea’s bedroom.
He burst into the room and stopped with confusion because she was not there, and then he heard the sound of running water from the bathroom and with a whoop of joy he raced to the door and threw it open.
Adobea, who was in the bath taking a shower, whirled round with alarm when she heard the door slamming open. Covered with a lot of lather, she turned on the tap and was in the process of washing lather off her face when she felt the arms of a man going around her.
Startled, she began to scream shrilly.
“Adobea, Adobea!” Shalom said with sudden fright. “Are you not happy to see me? Why are you screaming like that?”
And Adobea stiffened instantly in his arms.
“Shalom?” she whispered softly. “Is that you, Shalom, my love?”
She opened her eyes, disregarding the sharp sting of the soap and stared up at him as he stood full-dressed in the shower with water from the shower spilling all over him.
“Ah, Adobea, it is me!” he said with a wide smile. “You scared me papa! Calima said you would forget about me and when you started screaming it scared me papa! Oh, you beautiful girl! I missed you too much, Adobea! Oh, Adobea, I love you, Adobea!”
“Who’s Calima?” Adobea asked as she washed her face with water, unmindful that she was standing naked in his arms.
“Oh!” Shalom whispered with sudden fear and he shook his head hard. “It was Ntowhe who said that, yes, yes, Ntowhe!”
Adobea scowled darkly at him.
“Who’s Calima, Shalom?” she asked as she felt the pain rocking hard in her chest.
“It wasn’t Calima who said you would forget me!” Shalom said quickly, his handsome, bearded face filled with sudden misery. “I think it was Atwiaa or Chief Ogum, yes.”
Adobea took a deep breath and raised a hand and put it on his chest.
“When I saw you with Bajoe, I lost my head, because I love you so much, Shalom,” she whispered tenderly. “I almost died when I lost you. You’re the cutest guy on earth, my love, and I know how vulnerable you make women feel. Until you get back to how you used to be, I know these incidents could continue. So, I won’t hold it against you, okay? I’ll just try to protect you as much as I can, do you understand? Because it will hurt me really badly if you start lying to me.”
His face was troubled instantly.
“I don’t ever want to lie to you, Adobea!” Shalom said pitifully. “When I went away I thought about you all the time! My heart was always beating your name Adobea Adobea Adobea Adobea! When I think of you at night my stomach would do me glumligi! When I remember how you kiss me my body will make me leeeeemmmmmmn like ice melting butter! I was missing you so much that my eyes cry klukla klukla kukla!
When I remember your beautiful body my peeweewee goes gbladumkala like Moses’ rod! Oh, Adobea, I don’t ever want you to be angry with me again or sad because I can’t bear it! I just…I just…oh, I just want to be with you forever, Adobea, because I am only happy when I look at you and the way you make me feel I can’t feel that way anywhere else or with anybody! If that is love then I love you like the whole love, Adobea!”
And Adobea Asare just looked up at his face with her hand resting on his chest and the shower water cascading down his face…and she could not stop crying!
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