Episode 11 – Sometimes, things change…

Bitter Honey is a Ghanaian-based series, centered around the Quartey family. Kojo Quartey; a taxi driver, his wife Aba; who runs a bank’s canteen, and their three children; Kuku, Abena and Maama live through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. The Bitter Honey series tells the story of different bittersweet experiences that build their characters and teach them life lessons. Enjoy.

As usual, Aunty Aba came home with the bank’s chief driver.

Being a chief driver, he was given a company car that allowed him to get to and from work. It was also a company carpool vehicle, since a lot of the staff in the kitchen and sanitation departments lived near each other.

Most days, as the car pulls into the compound house, Aunty Aba reflects on how much things have changed for her family. She felt gratitude well up in her chest each time she got home but the moment she walks into the apartment her chest is flooded with pity and disappointment at the sight of her husband. Then she would spend most of the night comforting and encouraging him to take heart and muster courage to look for a job. Even though Kojo would never believe it would happen, she constantly assured him that the moment he steps out to find a job, he will get one.

Today was different. She noticed there was a sleek looking taxi parked in the compound, but she paid it no mind. She dragged her tired feet toward her apartment, silently praying that no one would attempt to start a conversation with her.

Her next-door neighbor refused to indulge that unheard prayer. She called Aunty Aba over and insisted that she tastes the light soup she had just finished preparing. Aunty Aba was overflowing with good compliments about the soup and fanning her neighbor’s ego.

“Do you want some? Come and let’s eat, eh?” She persisted.

“Oh, Vero! That’s very nice of you, but the children will waste your food. Just enjoy it with your family, ok? I have to go and prepare Kojo’s dinner. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” Aunty Aba patted Vero’s hand in feigned affection and spoke with enough resolution and speed to keep Vero dazed until she was safely behind her apartment door.

There was a thick sumptuous flavor in the apartment. She was confused, ‘Ei, is Kojo cooking?’ she thought to herself. She followed the delightful aroma into the kitchen but there was no one there. Aba was astonished to see a whole meal laid out on the kitchen counter: boiled yam & plantain with palava sauce; her favorite.

She was elated. “Kojo!” she run out of the kitchen towards their bedroom and bumped into him. “Where did I sleep today?” she gasped.

Kojo hugged her and didn’t say anything. Aba was stunned by Kojo’s unusual behavior. She held onto him lightly expecting that he would break away from the hug soon, but he didn’t.

“Kojo, you’re acting weird.” She said, her speech muffled by his chest.

Finally, when he loosened his grip on her, there were tears in his eyes. “Are you hungry?” He asked.

“Yes. Why’re you crying?” Aba answered,

“Let me get you something to eat.” Kojo ignored her question.

He served her and sat her down and they had a long and lovely conversation about Aba’s interesting day at the bank and Kojo’s hilarious experience with the neighbors. While they laughed and talked, the children burst through the apartment door in a bunch, sweaty and dirty. Aba scowled at them as Kojo pulled them toward the bathroom.

Aba sighed, it had been a long time since she felt like her life was normal. She hadn’t had a conversation with Kojo like that in a very long time. She thought he had changed for good.

“What happened today? There’s something different about you.” Aba asked, when he sat down next to her.

“Aba, I got a job,” Kojo said. Aba just stared at him, her heart racing and her mind swimming in disbelief.

Kojo told her the full story of how his day went and how the events turned out. Tears rolled down Aba’s cheeks.

“But Aba, why’re you shocked?” Kojo asked. He took her hand, “You were the one who never got discouraged or disappointed.”

Aba still had nothing to say. That feeling of gratitude was chocking her.

“Thank You.” Kojo said, “Thank you for not leaving me when I was pulling you down with my failure and thank you for pushing me in my lowest moments and showing me love, no matter how nasty I acted to you. Please forgive me for the hurtful things I said whenever I got drunk or depressed. I’m very sorry for any stress I put you through.

Aba shifted the empty plate from her lap unto the sofa and hugged Kojo. She spoke softly over his shoulder. “You are my husband. There is nothing you can do that I cannot forgive.”

***To be Continued***

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