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. We’ll be wrapping up this series in 6 Episodes. Enjoy.
Aba had given everyone a head’s up about going to church today and yet almost everyone was late. She looked up at the clock hanging on top of the fridge; it read twenty minutes to eight and the service was to start at half past eight.
“Maama! Abena! I hope you have finished bathing!” She heard them respond in unison, “Yes, Mommy!”
Kojo came into the living room and turned on the TV, laid on the sofa and put his feet up on one of the footstools.
“You’re not going to church with us?” Aba asked pointedly. “How else are you getting there?” He retorted. “You’re not dressed for church,” she accused. “I’m taking you to church, I never mentioned going with you inside.” Kojo laughed and changed the channel just as Kuku came into the kitchen.
“Are we allowed to eat before we go?” Kuku asked as he prepared a cup of milo for himself. Aba ignored his question, knowing it was his way of protesting the church service. The girls run into the living room and propped themselves next to Kojo, asking why he wasn’t dressed up.
“Okay, Everybody out; we’re getting late!”
Kojo watched as his family got out of his taxi and into the church compound. He shook his head slightly, wondering what had gotten into his wife. This sudden desire to go to church was a little too random for him, and he couldn’t tell where it had come from. According to her, she learnt about this church from the WhatsApp status of one of her meat suppliers.
He was about to drive off when someone came out of the church building and ran in his direction. “Hi, good morning, Sir. Please I’m going to Spintex, are you working?” Kojo sized the lady up, she was wearing a lose midi length dress with tights. “Yeah, I’m working.” The lady got into the passenger’s seat and said, “I’m going to our Spintex branch. It is near White House at Baatsona.” Kojo nodded and started the car in that direction.
A few minutes into the ride, Kojo heard the lady muttering to herself, “Please did you say something?” He asked politely.
“No, Sorry, I’m praying,” She responded. ‘Ebei, what is this,’ – he thought to himself. Then he decided to indulge her, “Okay. What are you praying about?”
“You.” She said simply.
It was a very small church – unconventional too, especially with the way the seats were arranged, and how the people interacted. Aba was excited, she didn’t know how to act. She had missed the feeling of joint / public worship.
It was a joint service with the adults and children so she could see Abena and Maama throughout the service. She enjoyed watching her girls mingle with other little girls during the praises time. The sermon was great and interactive enough for the children to engage and participate. Aba could tell this church was particular about the children – they kept making prayer points for the children’s ministry and encouraging the children to be active in the service.
After the sermon, when songs of worship were raised for an altar call, the pastors were asked to go into the congregation and pray for members. Aba watched as they laid hands on men, women and children, Aba’s heart skipped a beat when she saw one of her daughters scream for joy and begin to shake all over when one of the pastors placed their hands on her. Seeing Abena like that was a new experience and Aba didn’t know how to react, until she noticed the intense joy on her daughter’s face.
Kojo was sitting in his drivers’ seat in tears. The lady had introduced herself as Dorcas and had recounted his life story and showed him so much love that he was besides himself. She had offered he joined her for service but he couldn’t stop crying. So instead, he was stuck in his car in the parking lot of what seemed like an office complex. He could hear a faint noise of clapping hands and singing into a microphone. He was very temped to follow her upstairs. Instead, he sparked the car and headed home.
Kuku was eager to get out of church – he didn’t wait for the refreshments. The moment they started to give the benediction, he signalled goodbye to his mother and headed out of the church building. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a pleasant looking lady trying to catch his attention but he quickly got out of the way. He was eager to meet Ma Dee’s husband over lunch.
Kuku had never seen Ma Dee in this environment. She looked a lot more comfortable in her home than she did when he saw her outdoors. He didn’t think she could look any more carefree than she usually did – but today was the exception.
Her husband was not around for lunch, so they had a lovely hearty meal at their extremely large dining room. The table was long enough to seat sixteen people; seven on the left length, seven on the right length, and two table heads. Ma Dee’s home was large and lavish. It suited her perfectly and he couldn’t have imagined her in a different kind of house. The ceilings were really high with long chandeliers and exquisite lighting all over. The walls were all white and were covered with antique paintings and culturally rich artefacts. It did not seem too “homey” but it seemed just right for Ma Dee.
“Where’s the man of the house?” Kuku finally asked after they were well past desert. Ma Dee laughed, “He’s somewhere else – he goes and comes as he pleases.”
Kuku caught a glimpse of sadness wash over her face, but it was gone as soon as it came. “Would you fancy a tour?” she asked him, in a bid to change the subject.
She showed Kuku around the house and introduced him to the various helps that lived in the external housing units on the large compound. There was a driver, a gardener, a cleaner, and a chef. When they were alone again, Kuku asked, “No launderer?” and Ma Dee laughed. “You noticed! No, we don’t have a launderer. I enjoy doing laundry myself.” He had meant it as a joke but she went on to explain, “It gives me a chance to think through a lot of things. The laundry room can be a very private place for me. The sound of the machines help me drown the noise in my head.” Kuku didn’t know how to respond so he just nodded.
They were chatting in the living room area when they heard the sounds of the gate opening and a car driving into the compound. Ma Dee sighed and seemed to brace herself. In less than a minute, a tall and intimidating man walked into the house. His eyes went straight to Kuku, who was smiling with his hands behind him.
The man sized Kuku from head to toe about three times, looked at Ma Dee, shook his head slightly and closed the front door behind him. “How do you do?” He asked in a soothing bass voice, and walked out of the room before Kuku got a chance to respond. He watched as a more timid-looking version of Ma Dee followed her husband out of the room.
He tried to listen to hear what they were saying, but he could only catch glimpses of the conversation and that wasn’t enough for him to make out what they were saying. He heard words like, ‘gentleman’ ‘best option’ ‘situation’ ‘trying to help’. Kuku concluded that their conversation had nothing to do with him.
Ma Dee came back in shortly afterwards, smiling shyly, “Well, that’s the man of the house. Mr. Derick Dontoh himself!” She threw her hands up as if to present him to Kuku, though he wasn’t there. “You have great taste… and you have a beautiful home.”
Ma Dee smiled, “Thank you, you could come visit more often if you’d like.” Kuku laughed, and got ready to leave, “I don’t think Mr. Dontoh would like that very much.”
Ma Dee didn’t dispute what he said but offered, “Let’s meet up on Wednesday at our spot?”
“Sure.” He responded, and said goodbye.
***To Be Continued***