Bitter Honey is a Ghana-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.
When Kojo got to the car, he got the air-condition running before the ladies got into the car. He watched as they walked to the car.
One of them was crying bitterly – the curly haired one with very fair skin. She was being comforted by the quiet lady. She had bruises on her arms – they were red and swollen. Kojo’s heart was breaking with each sob – ‘they are just kids!’, he was thinking to himself.
The talkative girl was more mellow than she was on their arrival trip. The leader was rattling something to them. She seemed to be in high spirits. She said, “… Ashly, don’t be too hard on yourself. its your first time, you see. I’m sure you’ll feel better about it next t –“
“I AM NEVER COMING HERE AGAIN! STUPID GIRL!” Ashly shouted and attempted to hit her. The other girls tried to separate them.
“Ei, na me, what have I done?”
The “talkative one” got into the car first. “Serwaa, drop it. Let’s talk about it later,”
But Serwaa wanted to finish the conversation, “Ah, Faith – wait oo. I’m confused. What have I done wrong? We each signed those agreement forms – so why is it my fault if she didn’t like what happened? Then she shouldn’t have signed it, or?” Serwaa got into the front seat.
Faith was trying to calm everyone down. “Its ok, we’ll talk about it when we get to campus,” Ashly was sitting behind Kojo, her comforter was sitting next to her, and Faith was sitting behind Serwaa.
Kojo set off and they were quiet for about five minutes then hell broke loose again.
“So is this what you have been doing every weekend to make money? Sleeping with Ministers and MPs? How do you live with yourself?” Ashly was shouting at the top of her voice.
“I do what I have to do to get what I want to get, Ashly. Don’t judge me. If you don’t want the money too, I like –” “TAKE IT!” Ashly didn’t wait for the sentence to end. Kojo could hear some fumbling and then there were Ghc50 notes flying all over.
The car was quiet. Serwaa gathered the money dramatically.
“But Ashly what were you expecting when you came all the way here?” It was Faith. Her voice was very small.
“I certainly didn’t think I was going to be someone’s sex toy for a whole day. Even twenty thousand Ghana cedis will not be enough to convince me – so do you think I will do that for just five thousand?”
“So if you didn’t do it, what happened?” Kojo saw the quiet lady look at Ashly intently.
Kojo noticed Serwaa was also interested in knowing what happened.
Ashly just looked out of the window and whispered, “I refused to give him my virginity so he took everything else,”
Kojo had to fight to hold back the tears that stung his eyes.
It was the next Sunday morning. Aunty Aba was in the kitchen with Maama. They were washing dishes. She had spent the morning preparing and having breakfast with her children and enjoyed it thoroughly. Kojo had stayed in bed that morning and was yet to eat. It made her wonder and worry a little – what’s worrying him?
In the distance, Aunty Aba could hear bursts of shouts, singing, drumming and loud singing through microphones. There were a number of churches nearby, and it was a gentle reminder that there is somewhere else she could spend her mornings. She conveniently tucked away the guilt that made her chest feel uncomfortable.
That particular morning, her heart was full of praise. Maama didn’t enjoy the extra classes they organised for her at school – she complained that it made her miss all the new games during break time. Aunty Aba was okay with that. Abena had endless stories about her best friends and the boys they like – she, didn’t like anyone, though – she was a good girl. Aunty Aba planned to take a closer look at that. Kuku was looking forward to becoming a man on his 18thbirthday in a few weeks – he plans to be going out more often, as he did the night before. That made everyone have a good laugh – he’s always been an inside man, so Aunty Aba was comforted that she didn’t have to worry about him following through with it.
Maama was singing to herself: “Jesus aves me, dees ano…”Aunty Aba was shocked, “who taught you that song?”. Her daughter replied, “They taught us at school”
Aunty Aba remembered when she learnt similar rhyme-songs at Sunday School. She had many fond childhood memories of church, and listening to Maama attempt singing made her reminisce on the days when she would sit with her parents in a Methodist church and sign hymns. She loved listening to hymns when she was growing up – it was when her father disowned her, that she rejected all the ideals her parents had taught her. She frowned, remembering the endless battles she had to fight for her peace of mind and marriage.
She raised her head and watched as Abena served Kojo with food in front of the television. She decided that she was going to teach Maama how to sing that ‘Jesus loves me’ song properly.
A week later…
It had been a week after the beach party and Kuku was in very high spirits. He sat with his family in front of the television screen, laughing their hearts out. They were watching a classic ‘Kumawood’ movie and Agya Koo wouldn’t give them the chance to breathe!
Just when everyone burst out laughing the umpteenth time, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He felt a flattering in his stomach – ‘Caroline! She’s finally replied my text!’ He thought to himself. The vibrations continued – it wasn’t a text; it was a call. He checked the caller ID: it was Ma Dee.
“Hello?” Kuku got up and stepped out of the hall and into his bedroom.
“I didn’t see you at the party last week,” Kuku heard a lot of noise in the background – almost as if she was at another beach party.
“I was there – I didn’t stay long, but I was there.” He fidgeted with the bedroom door absent mindedly and waited to hear what she had to say.
Ma Dee was quiet for a little while “well, then why didn’t I see you? Did you make any new friends?”
“No… no new friends, that really isn’t my scene. I came because of you… where were you?” Speaking to her now, Kuku remembered how upset he had been that she had made him feel out of place and alone… until Caroline popped up and disappeared too.
A fresh wave of anger washed over him. “It will be hard to convince myself to accept any invitation from you after you ditched me that way,” He was boiling, but he still wanted to sound cool.
“I’m so sorry – I had to attend to something important at the last minute – but I invited you to have a good time. Unless you can’t have a good time without me,” Kuku could hear the smile in her voice.
Kuku smiled to himself too and said, “I guess we’ll never know. When am I seeing you again?”
“Whenever you want to – you could even see me now,”
Kuku checked the time. It was 8:30pm. His mind was racing fast; what will he tell his parents? That shouldn’t be a problem, he warned them he will be going out a lot more. How will he get there? Get where? He didn’t know where she lived.
“Where are you?”
“Wherever you want me to be,
Kuku laughed out loud. He was enjoying the mind game they were playing. “Meet me at ‘our spot’” he said smoothly and hung up the phone. He didn’t want to think too much.
He got ready to leave.
***To be Continued***
Stay tuned for the next episode of ‘Bitter Honey’!