THE NARRATOR’S VERSES
THE CHARCOAL SELLER’S SON WEARS WHITE
I noticed something quite startling this dawn whilst my dear, beautiful, succulent, old wife was sleeping beside me… all the hairs on her something akolojant had become white!
Not grey, no, not grey but pure white!
There’s no black again, only white hairs!
But it was nice, really nice, you see. There’s something regal about white, I tell you, always a symbol of beauty and I like it, yes, I do!
Maybe, that is why I’m wearing a white shirt and reclining in my chair this evening with my Bible and a little pot of palmey! Hohohaaaa! You know palmey, right? For those of you who don’t know, palmey is an exquisite name for palm wine, yes.
Nothing like fresh palm wine on a Sunday evening whilst you’re reclining in your white shirt and reading the Bible. They say a little alcohol is good for the stomach, yes.
Anyway, anyway, anyway, there I go with my rambling again!
It is Sunday, and my sweet, buxom, wonderful wife is somewhere inside the house singing in her sweet voice and gyrating her old waist, hahahaaa! Some of her friends had visited her, you know, Women’s Fellowship members, filled with yatty-yatty bonshege news and gossip that I really didn’t care for!
Anyway, anyway, anyway, it has been quite a spell since you had some tales from me, right? Aha, but it has been through no fault of mine, no. It is the fault of all of you who prefer to ‘break atopa’ and ‘hump a fuck-screw’ instead of coming around to listen to good wisdom from my verses!
But I don’t blame you, no!
A good ‘atopa’ is always good… as long as you’re married, like my friends Comfort Antwiwaa Boateng, Louida Baaba Bondzie, and Maame Efua Baah. I know they like the atopa more than Sunday emo tuo, always breaking their insides like a knicker-knicker!
But those of you who are not married and you’re doing the ‘yes, yes, yes, it’s sweet, don’t stop, ahhhhh, aaaaash, hmmm, oooo, oooo,’ ayoo! Don’t change wai! You see how the world is turning upside down? You’ll be on top, or below, or even under the bed with your waist on the floor and your buttocks on the edge of the bed, and then Jesus will appear in the air, and that is where you will see your pinga!
Anyway, anyway, anyway!
My name is Adams Abdallah, the Narrator, and these are my verses!
Now, talking about white shirts reminds me of the charcoal seller’s son and that special white shirt he wore on a special day, oh yes!
Aha, quite interesting tale that one, yes.
Lemme me gist you on that.
I would have to rush it through, though, because my wife’s friends would go away soon, and then we would have a bit of dinner and retire to bed early. Tonight, I want to brush the something akolojant small, abi. How a oluman for do, huh? That white thatch was all sexy and sweet this morning! Ahh, well, I have done well, you know. All these many, many, years of marriage and I have only been eating my wife’s special food, no adulterous shit for me, no, no! Hahahaaaa! Married men, stay at home and eat your wife’s food! It brings blessings and would send you to heaven, all other things being equal!
Anyway, anyway, anyway!
Forgive my ramblings, okay?
Here, let me take a sip of the palmey!
Ahhhhh, so sweet, so sweet!
Aha, where was I?
Oh, yes, the charcoal seller’s son’s white shirt, yes!
That boy’s name was Kweku Anane, aha, a very handsome lad.
Not too tall or muscular, no, but medium built and really pleasant to look at.
The thing with Kweku Anane was, he was very quiet and soft-spoken, even when he was a child. His joys were mostly spending time with gadgets, you know, tinkling around, creating electronic things!
His father left his mother when Kweku Anane was just five years old.
Lemme give you a quick gist. See, his father came from the rich Atobrah family, right? His grandfather was the great Papa Atobrah, one of the wealthiest men in my town.
Well, his grandparents wanted their son, Kuuku Atobrah, to marry from a ‘respectable family’ as they termed it, but Kuuku met Aso Anane and fell in love with her. But, she was from a very poor background. This did not please Papa Atobrah, and so he refused to approve the marriage, and even disowned his son.
By and by, the pressure mounted on Kuuku Atobrah because he had always lived a rich, care-free life, and being cut off from his father’s money was too much to bear.
And then, Kweku was born. At first they named him Kweku Atobrah, but his grandparents were livid with disgust, and warned their son not to name the boy after the rich family name!
Sad, isn’t it?
Horrible, horrible, horrible!
So, they named him after his mother’s father, and he became Paa Kweku Anane!
And when he was five years old, his father could not bear the pressure anymore, and finally left. Kuuku went back to his father, and was accepted on the condition that he would have nothing to do with Aso Anane and her ‘evil’ child!
So, Aso struggled in life to cope with her broken heart and raise her son.
She was a charcoal seller!
Paa Kweku helped his mother to sell whenever he could, and so he was always kinda smeared with charcoal and looking ‘black.’
There was a rich family that had a house near them, the Amankwa family!
There was a father, Kofi Amankwa, his wife Adwoa, his mother-in-law, Samira. They had two children, a girl named Ofeibea and a boy named Joojo.
As it turned out, Joojo and Paa Kweku became friends.
They were just boys in the neighbourhood, and had no understanding of the social divide. Joojo was always impressed with the fascinating things Paa Kweku was capable of.
Gradually, through Joojo, Paa Kweku became friends with Ofeibea.
See, Joojo and Ofeibea attended the International school, okay?
But, Aso could not afford that; she did not make enough money, and so her son attended the more affordable local District school, but that did not hinder their friendship.
Paa Kweku’s uniform was always faded, and his shorts patched, but hey, he was always glad to be in school even though the other children used to laugh at him.
But that’s life, yes, that’s life!
Now, let me jump forward and tell you about the incident that made me focus on this white shirt stuff!
It happened when Paa Kweku was ten years old.
Well, it happened on a Sunday.
Paa Kweku was helping his mother sell bagged charcoal after returning from church.
Joojo, whose favourite toy, a mechanical car, had been broken and stopped working, quickly came to Paa Kweku’s house to ask him if he could fix the car. Well, he was still wearing his white shirt, the one he had attended church with.
Paa Kweku was helping a bag of charcoal, but when he saw his friend, he went to meet him, and they embraced innocently, and then yes… Paa Kweku’s blackened hands smeared in that pristine white shirt!
Mrs. Adwoa Amankwa was by then searching for her son to eat lunch, and she came to the house of the poor Aso, and found Kweku’s black stain marks in Joojo’s white shirt!
That rich woman freaked out!
She gave Paa Kweku vicious slaps across the face and pushed him so hard that he fell on the ground and cracked the back of his head!
Now, Aso came out to find out why her son was crying, and saw him sitting on the floor with a cut in his head!
Adwoa rained insults of fire on this hapless woman, and warned her to keep her filthy, dirty, disease-filled son away from Joojo!
And so, what was the crime?
The poor boy had simply dirtied the white shirt of the rich boy with his charcoal-smeared hands!
The rich woman then dragged her son away, warning him never to step foot in that house again!
Aso knelt beside her weeping son, and as she brushed his tears away, she whispered some simple words to him:
“Don’t cry, my son. One day, you will also wear a white shirt!”
Simple words, yes, but really powerful words that sank into the boy’s heart, and became like a verse of empowerment to him through the rest of his life!
He stopped crying!
And he resolved that one day, yes, one day, the charcoal seller’s son will also wear a white shirt!
Are you feeling me?
That’s life, aha, that’s life for you!
So, all this while, Kuuku never helped his abandoned family in any way!
He was happy to be back in his father’s fold and enjoying life with his new family!
Aso continued to sell charcoal, living in uncompleted buildings, to support her son’s education!
Well, did I mention that Paa Kweku became friends with Ofeibea, Joojo’s sister?
Aha, yes, I think I did!
Ofeibea was very beautiful, her dark skin glittering like she had diamonds under her skin! Her best friend was called Ama. Well, Ama was fair, and so people began calling them ‘fanta and coke,’ heheheheeee!
So, Ofeibea was two years younger than Paa Kweku and the same age as Ama!
When they were kids, Ofeibea continued to play with Kweku, making sure to hide from her parents. Eventually, Ama also became Paa Kweku’s friend, you see.
Joojo became less and less friendly towards Paa Kweku as he grew up, you see, because he began to understand the social divide, yes, and made friends from the rich crowds.
His best friend soon became Sunsum Atobrah.
Sunsum was Paa Kweku’s cousin; his mother was Kuuku’s sister!
But, Sunsum had been taught that Paa Kweku was an illegal son, and was not accepted into the family.
Paa Kweku and Ofeibea became more and more aware of each other as they grew, and then, luckily, they ended up in the same secondary school!
Paa Kweku attended the local school, but his grades were better than all of them, yes, and was accepted into the same secondary school to pursue his education in science!
It was inevitable that Paa Kweku and Ofeibea fell in love, young love, yes, in secondary school! The poor boy simply adored Ofeibea! She was so beautiful and classy, Awurade Nyankopon!
His happiest moments were those spent with Ofeibea in school!