Read Chapter XIV here.
On one bright Saturday morning, the family had a rather long breakfast time; catching up on everyone’s life and chatting about almost everything amidst hearty laughs.
“So daddy, how did you know mummy was the one for you?” Kukuaa asked. Fiifi cleared his throat.
“Tough question. I must say when I met your mum, I was in no means looking for a wife. I was totally enjoying my single life. I had just began my company and I had the opportunity to be in great company almost all the time.”
“And when he says great company, he means girls,” Bisi chipped in. The kids giggled and Fiifi gave her a thumbs up.
“So my first project was a huge success and everyone wanted a piece of me. It was during that time that some beautiful lady who was an upcoming media person approached me to request an interview. I normally wouldn’t agree to sit down with just anyone; I wanted to talk to the ones who already had the popularity so my name would really go out there. But there was something about the lady that just caught my attention. I said yes before my mind could even process the request. We had this instant rapport and she intrigued me. She was sweet and professional at the same time. I actually remembered what she was wearing that day. She was in this purple dress and the memory of the perfume has stayed with me. So we had the interview and it was great. The chemistry was amazing and the interaction went better than I expected. The interview caught on with the public so well that it helped me land my next project which did very well. The interview also helped her win the hearts of many so she soon became one of Ghana’s favorite TV personalities so it was a win-win.”
“So because your first encounter caused you both to advance in your careers, you figured that you two would make a good couple?”
“Oh no; we didn’t see each other for a while after the interview. The next time I saw her was at a restaurant. She was having lunch with some guy. I can’t actually believe you were considering dating that dude! He wasn’t even good-looking!”
Bisi laughed. “Oh come on, he wasn’t that bad and he hasn’t done badly for himself the last time I checked.”
“Oh you’ve been checking on him?”
“Well, news of him came up so I found out. And you forgot to add that you came into the restaurant with a lady.”
“I did, huh?”
“Yep and looking back, she wasn’t that fine either.”
“Oh she was; she just wasn’t my Miss Right. Mine was sitting to my right, chatting with some dude.”
“So what happened?” Ewuresi asked.
“The truth is that your mother distracted me. I couldn’t focus on the lady I had brought with me; I kept stealing glances at her and I was wondering what the guy was saying to make her laugh that hard. I guess my date realized it and got offended but I didn’t care. So when she and the not-so-fine dude got up to leave, I quickly followed them outside without excusing myself. That was rude on my part, I know but I couldn’t help it. I called her and after exchanging pleasantries, I asked for her number. As I was keying in her digits, my date just walked past us and left.”
“You didn’t even notice. I had to bring it to your attention,” Bisi said.
“Yep and I didn’t care until I had saved the number. When I tried calling after her, she got into a cab and left. It was unfortunate but it didn’t bother me much. All I could think of was that charming lady who had awoken some strange feelings in me. We began chatting and became friends. I wasn’t ready to give up my bachelorhood privileges but every moment I spent with her made me think of how it’d feel like spending the rest of my life with her. She was a TV sweetheart so she was getting a lot of male attention. I knew I had a decision to make. It was either I chose to stick with my bachelorhood status which had started to lose its appeal because of her by the way or I grabbed her before someone else did.” They all laughed because of the passionate way he said the last phrase.
“Afraid you could lose out on the competition?” Kukuaa asked.
“In a way, yes; I was now beginning my business journey and some of the guys were from affluent homes who could give her the life she dreamt of but she chose me and I’m sure she hasn’t regretted that so far. Have you?”
“No, I haven’t, Fii; it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
“Why did you choose daddy, mum?” Ewuresi asked.
“Well, as he said a good number of my suitors were already established and it was tempting, trust me.”
“So you were hot cake back then, huh?” Kukuaa said.
“Oh yeah, I was a catch. I still am,” she said with a wink.
“Anyway, it wasn’t an easy decision for me. I was torn between two of them after filtering the list and they were both great. So I prayed…a lot. And upon the counsel of my mum, I wrote down how I pictured my life would be with either of them. That was a bit difficult because I couldn’t quite picture how my life would turn out with your dad. He showed great potential though but the other guy had life already sorted out for him. So my mum told me that it would be any girl’s dream to have an ‘already-made’ man but the advantage of being with someone now coming up is that you get to be part of the person’s success story. You help each other to get to the peak of their careers. You build each other up. Such a foundation is much more solid than just going to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor without contributing much to it. He’d not see you as a partner; he’d see you as his beneficiary. My mum left the final decision to me but I must say her words greatly influenced my choice. So when I made my decision, I prayed about it again to be sure I wasn’t making a mistake. I asked God for a sign to confirm if He approved my choice,” Bisi narrated.
“And what was the sign?”
“I asked that each guy should tell me how he sees me and what he expects me to bring to the table. The other one said he was going to do work hard to give me the life I wanted and make me and our children very comfortable.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad. What did dad say?” Kukuaa asked.
“He said he was a working progress and that for him to become the man he was meant to be, he needed a woman like me by his side to urge him on. He wanted us to build our lives together, brick by brick. That was my sign.”
“Why would a working progress sound more appealing than a comfortable life?”
“Because I didn’t want to be someone’s trophy wife; you know just to show off to the world like an arm candy. I wanted to be someone’s partner and your dad offered me that.”
“So that was your sign?” Fiifi asked.
“Yep,” Bisi sipped her tea which she discovered had gone cold.
“Wow and I was freaking out thinking you weren’t impressed and that you were going to leave me. I was afraid I placed a huge demand on you and didn’t think you’d consider it.”
“Well I did and here I am!”
“Awww…that’s sweet but if I’m left to make a choice like that, I’d go for the already-made guy considering our economic crisis. A woman needs security,” Kukuaa said. Bisi shook her head.
“I thought you’d learn something from our story.”
“Oh I did; but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad to marry a rich guy, right?”
“Of course not. But you do need to pray about it and seek advice.”
“Sure and I have the both of you for that. And since meeting Mr. Right is somewhere in the future, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting a little as I grow, right?
Both parents gave her a stunned look.
“What do you mean by experimenting?” Fiifi asked Kukuaa.
“You know, hanging out with boys…understanding how they think,” she answered smartly.
“At your age, they are not thinking of anything wise, trust me. Been there done that.”
“You’re too young to be thinking about boys now, Kuks.”
“I’m thirteen, mum.”
“Exactly! You have a long way to go, my dear.”
“At what age did you start dating, mum?”
“Oh me? I entered the game quite late and I must say it paid off! It spared me unnecessary heartbreaks and meltdowns.” Kukuaa turned to her daddy.
“And you, dad? When did you start?”
“As for me, I was curious so I started early,” Fiifi admitted.
“That’s where I get my genes from!”
“How early, dad?” Ewuresi asked.
“Um…fifteen, sixteen, I think.”
“Okay so I can date when I turn fifteen?” Kukuaa asked excitedly.
“Nope; when you are twenty one.” Kukuaa gasped.
“Twenty one? I’d be too old!” Ewuresi and Nhyira laughed.
“What’s about dating that has gotten you so excited, Kuks? Do you like some guy at school?” Bisi inquired.
“Not really? Sounds like a probable yes to me,” Bisi said.
“Is it Charles?” Ewuresi asked.
“Who is Charles?” Bisi asked, alarm risen in her voice.
“No, it’s not Charles. He’s just a boy in my class. We’re cool but nah, I don’t think we’ll ever be like that.”
“He’s one of the fine guys in her class,” Ewuresi said, earning a scowl from her sister. Ewuresi smiled mischievously.
“Wow, I think you’ve had too much time on your hands if you’re thinking of dating right now. So I put you in charge of the dishes till I say otherwise.”
“It’s called keeping busy, girl. Now, start clearing the table. Esi, help your sister.”
“Dad?” Kukuaa looked at him with pleading eyes.
“There’s nothing wrong with doing the dishes, Kuks.”
“Mum is punishing me for asking about dating.”
“No, I’m not, young lady. Don’t try to twist it. You were going to wash the dishes anyway.”
“I don’t like doing dishes,” Kukuaa pouted.
“Welcome to my world.” Fiifi and Bisi shared a gaze which made Fiifi smile. He felt blessed to have Bisi by his side. He knew he had made smart decisions in his lifetime but marrying Bisi was the wisest so far.
Bisi left the house for a meeting at the office. Fiifi spent most parts of the early afternoon in the study. The kids were watching wildlife documentaries when Ewuresi went for the family photo albums and began glancing through. Kukuaa and Nhyira joined in and they laughed at one another and admired the family portraits.
Ewuresi flipped the page to the section where their mother was expecting.
“Aww….mummy was so young!”
“And she looked so happy!”
“So does daddy.”
“Mummy’s tummy is very big!” Nhyira pointed at the photo.
“I know, right? I was a big baby,” Kukuaa said with a smile. They turned the page and there were photos of when she was born.
“I was so cute!”
“I was cuter than you!” Ewuresi said.
“That’s not true!” Ewuresi flipped the pages to where Bisi was pregnant with her.
“Mummy’s tummy is big again!” Nhyira said.
“Yep, when someone is carrying a baby, the tummy becomes big.”
“I want to see when I was in mummy’s tummy!” Nhyira said excitedly.
“Wait; we’ll get there.” They analyzed the photos and compared how their mother looked when she was pregnant with both of them and how cute they looked as toddlers.
“You were such a crybaby!” Kukuaa said.
“I’m sure you were too!”
“How do you know? You weren’t there!”
Nhyira flipped the page where Bisi had scribbled “when Nhyira joined us…”
“You were such a cute baby, Nhyira. Daddy was so crazy over you. He would look at you for hours!”
“Yeah and you’re still cute. You do look like a younger version of him.”
Nhyira flipped the page and looked. There were yet many pictures of him as a baby. He frowned. Maybe they missed it. He flipped back. There were the pictures of his mother pregnant with Kuks and then photos of her born and growing up. Then photos of her pregnant with Ewuresi followed by her as a baby and a toddler. But there were only photos of him as a baby. His sisters were chatting about something so did not notice him. He looked up at them.
“I can’t find my photos.”
“These are yours, Nhyira,” Ewuresi pointed to the page where he was a baby.
“No, I mean the ones when I was in mummy’s tummy.” The sisters gave each other a nervous glance and he noticed.
“Oh are you sure?” Kukuaa said, flipping over the page. “Maybe they got mixed up. I’m sure they are here somewhere.”
“I can’t find them,” Nhyira said.
“Um…I don’t know why they are not here. I’ll ask mummy when she gets back. Maybe she forgot to add them to the album. They must be with her. Don’t worry, we’ll get them for you, okay?”
Nhyira nodded but wasn’t convinced. He got up, holding the album.
“I’m going to daddy.”
“I’m going to ask daddy.”
“He’s working. Wait till he comes out, okay?”
“Okay.” He sat down and folded his arms. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it.
Josephine Amoako (c) 2016
Read Chapter XVI here.