My life was different and I could sense it. It wasn’t the change most people had told me or rather warned me about, it just felt different and I felt as though I couldn’t allow anything to disrupt my new life, I felt responsible for my family more so for my beautiful daughter. It even felt different to say the words daughter! Almost like precious cargo and that is exactly what she was, precious.
Her big brown innocent eyes always bore deeply into mine perhaps in search of security or at least reassurance. As she got bigger and bigger I knew one thing for sure when I held her, I knew that I would do my best to teach her and love her and always tell the truth.
I loved everything about her and as little as she was I could already see her personality slowly developing. I loved to watch her feed and how her eyes almost half closed revealed her vulnerability. I could see the bond she was forming with Ekuba during this time and instantly understood mine and my mother’s relationship.
Kaimile’s hair was a soft light brown ball of curly clusters which Ekuba was already planning to hold up in tiny colourful bands. A look I was familiar with and had seen too often in the park on my runs. Ekuba had teased several times that she had natural, organic curls assuming she meant once upon a time mine hadn’t been? I didn’t care for an elaboration. All in all Kaimile had won my heart over and to think we’d almost lost her too.
The last weeks of Ekuba’s pregnancy was agonising to watch and to understand. We’d gotten over the miscarriage, the scare of a possible zika virus and then at thirty-eight weeks Kaimile being starved of oxygen- was the concern leading to Ekuba being hospitalised and eventually cleared of any danger, but had resulted in her being on bed rest. She was here now, our miracle to complete us as a family.
I woke up early to get ready for my usual run. I looked over and Ekuba looked so peaceful; content, not in the way that people described of a woman who supposedly had her baby and needed nothing else, but more so a relieved one. I realised that She’d been amazing and frankly had surprised me with her authenticity. She’d been through a lot and whilst it was unfair, it had made her stronger. I’d refused to acknowledge it, accept it even at first, but couldn’t deny it any longer. Ekuba was an extraordinary woman and even more so a mother. I felt as though my family was finally here, together and nothing was going to disrupt that.
Only thing was I had panicked.
I didn’t normally panic. If my father had rubbed off on me it would be not to panic under any circumstance. I’d escaped death, well a hoax terrorist attack and the adrenaline thereafter had driven me to certain heights, technically I was a survivor… of sorts and I was prepared to find a way to survive again!
Kweku coming back into our lives, my life after all these years was not by chance, nor was it pleasant for me. It had panicked me and his feigned ignorance only made him reek even more of trouble and I had to get him out before he ruined my life, our lives. Just thinking about it made me sick to the stomach and I was damned if I was going to let anyone bring anymore pain to my family.
Kweku was in town barely a week and he smelt of trouble. He hadn’t said anything yet, but I’d seen the look on his face already, always questioning never satisfied just like how I remembered him, just like his mother.
Over the years I’d kept a cordial relationship with him. Whenever I was in Accra I would include him in my agenda against my better judgement and in spite of Mama’s warnings. I’d honour his invitations and attend ‘business’ dinners with him. I’d even vouch for him with the unsuspecting girls he always seemed to circle around and yet he was never happy.
The trouble is, Kweku felt entitled to what I had, right from the day he found out who I was and more importantly who he was, he felt as though he was owed something, but the poor boy had no idea how my mother fought for what we had. He used every trick in the book and found every reason to take my place in the world, but my mother always told me that it was important to give and even when she realised the kind of person Kweku was she said he would never be able to take what was truly mine. And sadly he had spent most of his life chasing after what was mine.
One summer whilst in Accra and a couple of years before I’d met Ekuba, Kweku had invited me to his friend’s chalet which happened to be situated in the Akuapem mountains “just outside of Accra,” he’d said. “We can go together. He’s getting married and the boys want to remind him why it’s a bad idea.” He had laughed of course, a typical Kweku chuckle, as if he’d made a joke that only he truly understood. And having no clue what was in store both for the friend and the party I accepted. I had never been to the mountains, but I’d heard of clandestine rendezvous that took place in such secret locations. I’d decided that if it was getting a little out of hand I was hitching a ride back. Overall, I was curious to see if Kweku Mintah was capable of truly letting his hair down without any ulterior motives.
We were barely an hour there when I started to feel aloof. I’d found myself a cosey spot and where I could see the lights and life of the Akuapem town and although we were a few miles away from the actual town, it was an awesome view to capture.
Kweku had found his place between a couple of frivolous looking girls who were equally as happy with the situation.
As I’d looked on, occasionally checking my time to plan my escape I’d heard a voice from behind me “it’s early still, you’re not planning on leaving yet are you?” Her voice was sultry and mysterious at the same time. I turned around and she stood a metre away, but close enough to smell her perfume and draw in her beauty. I only had enough time to wonder what a girl like her was doing in a place like this. “Funny, he didn’t tell me you looked just like him?!” She’d said.