Chronicles of the Stranger
Well it is!
And the woman behaved differently? She behaved differently to how I’m behaving?
Well, yes. Compared to your case, all of them behaved differently!
There is a silence, and then the elderly stranger suddenly stands up, gives a slight bow to Afia and Naa, gives a little salute to Takyi, picks up his mop and turns to leave.
Afia looks at her soon-be-ex-husband and then she raises a hand.
Please, sir! Please, please don’t leave. I do want to hear this story… of this other couple.
The stranger stops and looks enquiringly at them.
Yes, yes, please. I also want to hear it.
The elderly man purses his lips, and then he nods, puts down the mop and sits down again.
Well, I’ll be quick. Like I told you, this story is a real one. Happened about fifteen years ago, in Takoradi, to Yaw Kuntu and his wife Kwansema Kuntu. They had been married for fifteen years without a child. Unlike you who has adoring in-laws, Afia, Kwansema’s mother-in-law was a terror, always blaming poor Kwansema for not having a child. Listen, come closer and listen to my tale…
FLASHBACK: THE STRANGER’S NARRATION
Location: THE KUNTU RESIDENCE
Kwansema survived fifteen years of that fractious marriage because she was a Christian…a very good Christian.
The first couple of years were a bit bearable because Yaw Kuntu was working in Takoradi, and Kwansema was an accounts officer in a firm in Accra.
So, you see, Yaw had to travel to Accra on weekends, or Kwansema went to Takoradi. So, basically, everyone thought that their inability to stay together contributed to their childlessness.
By and by, however, Yaw’s bosses saw his dilemma and transferred him to head one of their branches in Accra, and so the lovers finally came together, after an initial two years of staying apart.
Yaw Kuntu’s father was dead, and his mother, Madam Nyinaa, wanted her grandchildren.
Well, it was not as if she didn’t have grandchildren. You see, Yaw Kuntu had a sister called Maa Abena, and she was married, and she had two children, a boy and a girl.
But, you know mothers and their sons! Madam Nyinaa’s favourite was Yaw Kuntu, and it was his children she wanted to hold, so to speak.
Anyway, like I said from the beginning, that woman was a terror! I can’t tell you all that she did to poor Kwansema, but she never let that poor girl rest.
She came to Accra under one pretext or the other to visit them frequently. When Yaw Kuntu was around, that woman was an angel personified, but when she had Kwansema to herself, oyiwa, come and see show!
Kwansema’s only strength was the God she depended on, and her church members who held her up in prayers, and her pastors who spent countless hours counselling her.
Anyway, it seems I’m straying too much, wasting time on chaff, so you must think, because you’re also in a hurry to go to your divorce hearing, Takyi and Afia. So let me cut to the chase.
Now, in the fourteenth year of Yaw Kuntu and Kwansema’s marriage, Madam Nyinaa suffered a mild heart attack. Hahaha, when I heard the story, at this point I asked myself why she didn’t just die so that poor Kwansema would be free.
Hahaha, wicked thoughts, I know, I know. I’m sorry, terribly sorry. Christians should never think ill of others, no matter how badly they treat them. I apologize.
Anyway…where was I mpo?
Aha, I remember. Fourteenth year, Madam Nyinaa recovers from a mild stroke. Her daughter Maa Abena was in Nigeria for a short symposium, and so Yaw Kuntu decided to bring his mother to stay with him for a while, until Maa Abena’s return.
Well, this woman came to the house, and she refused to go back, even when Maa Abena returned. Yaw Kuntu loved his mother, and so he couldn’t forcibly ask her to leave.
Kwansema had to bear with her mother-in-law’s sharp tongue for a year.
Now we enter the fifteenth year, where all the drama occurred.
Yaw Kuntu, as the Sector Manager of the Company he worked for, was attending the Annual General Meeting of the company at their headquarters in Takoradi.
It was supposed to last for three days.
The evening before his departure, his loving wife packed his travelling bag.
They took their shower together, and probably made love, you know, since it was going to be sometime before they saw each other again.
Forgive me, there I go again, harping on the unnecessary. Anyway, they were in bed, when the bedroom door opened and in walked Madam Nyinaa, startling them.
Goodness, Mother! You can’t just barge into our room like this! We could’ve been naked!
Madam Nyinaa pulled out Kwansema’s dressing chair and sat down facing them.
You’re my children, and there’s no shame in me seeing your nakedness. Anyway, I want to have a talk with you, both of you!
(fighting his anger)
At this time of the night, Mother?
Yes. Now! I don’t see why you’re so fired up, Yaw! Why, do you want to make love to your wife? What’s the use of that except for the pleasure of the flesh? You’ve been making love to her for fifteen years now and that belly of hers which the witches from her hometown are obviously using as a football pitch or chopping block just won’t swell up!
Please stop that this instant, Mother! Children are a gift from God! At the right time-
The right time is long gone, my son! That woman is your wedded wife, I understand! You probably don’t want to divorce her, and you prefer to live with her forever! But remember, you’re the only son, bearing your father’s name!
Your name is Kuntukununku, a warrior’s name! It has lasted many centuries, and a name that makes knees buckle with fear! You’re the last of an unending chain of Kuntukununkus! You can’t allow your line to fade! So, I’m coming with you to Takoradi tomorrow!
You can go to church and stay married to that useless log of a woman whose womb is lined with Togo cement for all I care! But I will not allow you to end your father’s name line, do you hear me? I’m going to find you a woman in Takoradi who will bear you children!
That’s preposterous, Mother!
Prepos your head, Yaw Kuntu. Prepos your nose, Yaw Kuntu! I raised you a man, but you have fallen under her witchcraft like a foolish sheep which has seen dried cassava covering! But no more! You can live in your filthy marriage, but I’m going to find you a real woman to give you children!
Now, you may be wondering what Kwansema was doing all this while.
Well, she had learnt how wicked her mother-in-law’s tongue could be, and so she kept silent, as usual. She was sitting on the bed and weeping silently, but her heart was obviously meditating on the word of God, as usual, for some comfort.
That will never happen, Mother! NEVER!
Oh, yes, it will happen, Yaw gyimii, Yaw atopa, Yaw kwasea!
Well, that one finally got to Kwansema!
She could take insults levelled at her, and stomach it, but she was a woman who loved her husband, and she definitely wasn’t going to stand silently and watch him being insulted in such vulgar language, not even by her own mother-in-law!
Stop it! Stop it this instant, Asew! How could you insult your only son with such language?
And that was when Madam Nyinaa came off the chair like a derailed train and gave Kwansema three pregnant slaps across the face!
Kwansema fell from the bed, blinded, her ears ringing with her mother-in-law’s blows, blood streaking from her cheek which had been torn by a big ring on Madam Nyinaa’s finger!
Yaw Kuntu came off the bed and took his wife in his arms.
Remember, Madam Nyinaa was recovering from a mild stroke, right? So, obviously, Yaw could not even push her, and Kwansema could not touch her for fear of doing the woman further harm.
Yaw Kuntu consoled his heart-broken wife and ordered his mother out of their room.
Madam Nyinaa left the room finally, without much remorse, as you can well imagine.
Well, the following day, at dawn, Yaw Kuntu drove to Takoradi… and true to her word, his mother went with him.
Kwansema, face bruised and covered with welts, closed the gates of the house and went inside.
She trusted her husband, of course, but she also understood the temerity of her mother-in-law, and acknowledged the influence that horrible woman could have on Yaw Kuntu.
Kwansema spent that week fasting and praying.
However, as it turned out, Madam Nyinaa didn’t even have to find another woman for his son.
A woman, in the form of ADWOA TIMTIM, found Yaw Kuntu that very first time he checked into his hotel in Takoradi.
You see, Yaw Kuntu had promised Kwansema that he wouldn’t stay in the family house, because he didn’t trust his mother.
He chose to stay at a hotel… where very big trouble was waiting for him!
Location: THE DIVORCE COURT
The stranger stops speaking and looks at the expectant faces of Takyi, Afia and Naa Shormei.
He just sits there smiling lightly.
(raising his eyebrows)
You got us interested. Please continue.
My throat is dry. I need cold water to drink.
Cold water is not good for you.
So they say. Been drinking it all my life, though. I’ll go outside and see if I can get one to buy.
I bought one on my way here. It had iced particles in it, so I decided to wait a while to make it warmer.
She rummages in a little polyethene bag lying on a seat beside her and brings out the bottle of water.
The stranger takes it with glee, shakes it, and when he hears the tinkling of ice in it his face splits up into the most profound expressions of joy that makes the other three smile.
He opens it, puts it to his lips, and slugs happily.
He caps the bottle, smiles, and chews the little pieces of ice in his mouth.
That is going to kill you!
Probably, but well, crossing the street can equally kill you!
And you say the story you’re telling us actually happened, sir?
As God is my witness, ma’am, it is the absolute undiluted truth. Alright, enough of iced blocks. Let me continue my tale…
Location: EDEN HOTELS, TAKORADI
Yaw Kuntu took the elevators to his suite on the fifteenth floor of the plush hotel.
He is the only one that stepped out unto the wide corridor, and as he turned toward his room he saw a beautiful woman in a hot pink dress walking towards him.
She was voluptuous, mmmwaaaah!
Do you remember I said from the beginning that Yaw Kuntu and Adwoa Timtim had been in an intense relationship when they were young, but forced to part ways because her parents didn’t like Yaw?
Well, Yaw was obviously looking at this woman walking toward him in the corridor, because from what I heard, and from the pictures I later saw of her, Adwoa Timtim was a most beautiful woman who always received that second look from men.
Well, they were approaching each other along the hotel corridor.
Yaw passed her, and turned to look at her, obviously, when she stopped suddenly, her whole body going rigid!
Oh, my God! Oh, goodness! Yaw! Yaw Kuntu! My love!!
She spun around, and right there the coin dropped with a loud tinkling inside Yaw Kuntu’s head as he recognized her.
A.T! Oh, sweet Jesus! Is that you, A.T?
Well, from what I heard later, they kissed each other fervently on that corridor. It was captured by the security cameras too, mind you.
Yaw Kuntu carried her to his room, no questions asked.
He unlocked his door, and they went inside, not even bothering to close and lock the door.
And right there on the floor of the suite and on the expensive sofas, Yaw Kuntu and Adwoa Timtim rekindled their mad sexual harmony they used to enjoy as teenagers!
They made starved love without asking each other any question.
That’s what the old adage says, isn’t it? Old firewood, indeed, catches fire the quickest!
So, without even recourse to his poor Christian wife fasting and praying for him and their marriage, Yaw Kuntu tore off his lai momo’s dress, shirked his, and joined her on the sofas, trying out all the mad sexual positions they used to enjoy, moaning and screaming in ecstasy!
He was a cheater without conscience, without remorse!
My good gracious! Just like that?
The stranger pauses and lifts his chilled water to his lips and drinks.
He savours the final blocks in his mouth, and then he nods his head.
(shaking her head)
Surely, this story cannot be real, can it? Sounds more like fiction!
The stranger fixes Naa Shormei with sad eyes.
My dear, the best life stories read better than fiction! What I’m telling you is the truth, and eventually you will find out that this is so. You see, many witnesses later narrated the incidence that indeed they made love the moment they saw each other.
Now, in Takyi’s case, he went to Adwoa’s house, met her mother, received an apology and all that hocus-pocus! You see a similar situation, but Yaw Kuntu reacted differently! He carried the lady inside and did his thing without even bothering to ask if she were in another relationship or not, whether she was married or not, and he did it whilst wearing his wedding ring!
There is a very long silence.
Takyi and Afia look at each other, and after a while Afia looks away numbly.
Her eyes meet the twinkling ones of the stranger.
Please, sir, continue!
Yes, of course, my dear. I am continuing, of course…
As it turned out, Adwoa Timtim had been married twice already… without children, mind you. Now, a little deviation in this similarity of cases, my dears.
In Takyi Barima’s case, his ex-girlfriend, Adwoa, had a mother, her father having died some years ago. In Timtim’s case, however, her mother was dead, but her old father was alive.
Adwoa took Yaw Kuntu home to meet her aged father, who was filled with remorse, and asked Yaw Kuntu to forgive him. Yaw Kuntu took Adwoa Timtim to his family house to meet his mother.
Well, as you can well imagine, Madam Nyinaa was ecstatic, so over the moon! This was the greatest news she had ever heard! It was worth celebrating!
They were all happy. Especially Yaw Kuntu, because he had evidently never gotten over his Adwoa Timtim, his lai momo. Hahahahaaa, funny.
Now, for the rest of the week Yaw Kuntu was in paradise. He shared the suite with Adwoa Timtim. After the AGM, he took Adwoa home and spent another week with her at his family house.
Now you could just imagine what poor Kwansema was going through. I mean, her husband was supposed to spend less than a week in Takoradi, but he had been gone for two weeks, under very trying conditions because his mother had threatened to find him a new woman.
Although Yaw Kuntu assured her each time she called that he was just tired and needed a little rest, Kwansema was still a very troubled woman.
She was a Christian, and she could sense when something was wrong.
She called her husband, and she was crying silently.
Yaw, darling, I beg of you! I really beg of you! Come back to me! I know you’re tired! Please come back and let me pamper you back to full strength, please!
And, for the very first time in their marriage, Yaw Kuntu raised his voice to his wife.
He was furious!
Ebei, Kwansema! Can’t a man spend a little time with his folks? Should it always be about you you, you, YOU?? Stop being so selfish! I’m with my people! I said I’ll come back soon! Bye!!
Yaw Kuntu cut the call, and gave his poor wife a most terrible night indeed.
He eventually returned to Accra, and back to his matrimonial home… but Kwansema noticed a lot of changes in him.
For starters, he was secretive, stayed out late into the nights, stood at very odd points of the house to make calls, gave her the silent treatments, and a whole lot of things!
He was edgy, unhappy, snapping at her at the least provocation and, worse of all, barely touched his wife!
Kwansema was terrified!
She had expected him to jump on her the moment he came back because, frankly, Yaw Kuntu loved his bedmatics! He loved doing it ankasa, whaaat!
But here he was, back home after almost three weeks away and…nothing!
He didn’t even take his bath with his wife anymore!
Something was definitely wrong!
She took his phone one evening and realized, with sheer horror, that he had changed his text and chat apps passwords!
They had never kept each other out of their phones!
She was going through the contacts list, noting that a very particular number saved as A.T. had been in contact with him almost every minute of the day, when Yaw Kuntu emerged from the bathroom.
He was towelling his hair and wearing a pair of white boxers.
He stopped when he saw her, and he went livid with rage.
(in a soft voice)
Why are you looking like that, darling? Is it because I’m holding your phone?
You call that holding? You’re snooping! What the hell do you want to see?
Snooping? Good Lord, Yaw! Has it come to this? You returned from your trip all changed! I don’t know what your horror of a mother-
Well, the poor woman didn’t finish her sentence.
For the very first time in the seventeen or so years she had met him, counting the two years they had spent courting and the fifteen years they had been married, Yaw Kuntu raised his hand and slapped his wife!
Respect my mother! She gave birth to me!!
Kwansema was flung off the bed by the sheer force of that slap, and she laid on the floor, shocked and weeping!
Yaw Kuntu left the house, and didn’t come back till two or three days later!
Poor Kwansema went to Church, and sought solace in the arms of the Lord.
She prayed and fasted, she did all that she could as a wife to win her husband back, but alas, it was proving to be a most futile battle.
Yaw Kuntu soon began to go to Takoradi often, further filling his wife with dread and stress.
It was on one of such trips, when he was having dinner in his family home with his mother and Adwoa, that the first seeds of danger were sewn for Kwansema.
My dear Yaw, my beloved son, Adwoa and I have been talking and sharing ideas. You love her, and she loves you unreservedly. I asked her to give birth for you, but she is telling me she will never be able to give birth with a married man.
Yaw Kuntu swallowed some banku, drank a little wine, and stared first at his mother, and then at Adwoa Timtim.
Is that so, A.T?
Yes, Yaw. It was something my mother abhorred whilst she was alive, and I won’t do anything like that to dishonour her memory, love. I’m sorry, love, but if you want to raise a family with me, you must first divorce your wife and marry me.
To Be Continued…
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She will be even a triple barren or who knows maybe the problem is coming from ur son