The mountain air smelled fresh and crisp with hints of burning coal rising from the coal pots of neighbours. The mountainous view was a sight to behold early in the mornings. It expelled a sense of calmness every time she stood by her window to look at it; a peace that had been non-existent in her chaotic life of nine years. Dufie loved waking up to these peaceful mornings since she got back into town. She loved the way the morning fog settled as a blanket upon the residents, the cool air that seemed to wrap itself around her when she stood by the open window in her bedroom and the crow of the cock waking up the residents every morning. Just staring into the mountainous horizon every waking day of her life made her feel whole again. It helped her forget the life she’d left behind in Toronto, Canada. Nine years of marriage to a man whom she’d thought loved her was now in the drains. How does one go from loving a person with all they have “mind, body and soul” to getting served with divorce papers on the morning of their anniversary? “Who does that?” “An insensitive bastard”, Magdalen had said as she sat with her friend and talked over a bottle of pinot noir. The bastard had not the courage to face her with the papers himself. He’d had it delivered by a courier.
She never saw it coming although deep down, she knew the evidence had been before her all along but she chose to overlook it. Weeks passed with Dufie mopping and crying in the house. Magdalene had been there to support her through the naming calling, cursing, drinking, and the melt down. On the day of the divorce proceedings, she showed up all prim and proper, ready to fight fire with fire. The divorce had been nasty—she trying her hardest to not break down before the bastard and him trying to take control of what he had not helped to build. By the time her lawyers had finalized the divorce papers, Eric had lost most of the assets to her. The day the proceeding of the divorce was over, she called her grandmother. “Maa, I’m coming home”. Are you ok Siwaa? “I’m taking the next available flight out. I will call you when I land”. Dufie found a flight leaving from Pearson airport to Ghana with a layover in Amsterdam. The flight was long but it gave her the chance to reflect on what she thought she had had for nine years.
She’d met him at a party through a mutual friend. The attraction had been strong and undeniable and within a couple of weeks; they started spending more time together. They enjoyed each other’s company. They felt free and safe talking to each other about their goals, dreams, and work aspirations. He wanted to become an anesthesiologist and she a manager in her consulting firm which if she played her cards right would be possible in two years since Al the guy who currently held the position planned on retiring in two years’ time. Their conversations had always been long and run late into the night. It was during one of these conversations that Dufie learnt of Eric’s predicament—He needed a stay in the country in order to make his dreams a reality. Dufie thought long and hard about what he’d said and decided to help him. She confided in Magdalene her best friend who opposed the idea. Hon, haven’t you heard of people being duped after they marry the person? “Besides you hardly know him”.
“He’s a good guy Mag. I don’t think that is his intention”. And so in a few weeks they were married and dotted on each other. Eric applied and got accepted into medical school some months later. To help support the expenses, Dufie took up a second job to help offset the growing bills. She worked long hours to pay the bills in the house and help cover his school bills so he could finish medical school. She sent money to his folks and siblings in Ghana so they wouldn’t feel neglected as he was the first born son and It was his duty to look after his family.
She’d taken up the burden so he could focus on school and come out as one of the best. Then he began to change. His peculiar behaviour had bothered her in the beginning but his excuse had always been “its school”. “It’s though” he would say “plus my teachers are not making it any easier for me” “You’d think the last year of medical school would be easy but it’s not”. And so she’d listened, and said very little. Even when she’d felt she had heard it all before, she still listened and tried to be helpful for that was the duty of a loving wife—to stand by her man.
The excuses had continued even after he finished school and got himself a good job in one of the big hospitals in Toronto. She’d spent a countless number of days alone in the big house waiting for him to come home. He had called the eve of their anniversary to say they need to talk—a very short and precise conversation. “Hi”, he’d said when she answered the phone. “We need to talk. I will be home in the morning around 8”. “Okay, see you in the morning”. She’d woken up early the morn of their anniversary and prepared the fixings he liked for breakfast and waited for him. It was 12 noon when the doorbell rang. She rushed to open the door saying “why are you ringing… Are you Mrs. Deloris Dufie Quansah? “Yes I am”. How may I help you? Please sign here, and here, the messenger said pointing to two marked x spots. “Thank you” he said pulling out the yellow manilla envelope and handed it to her. Dufie quickly opened the envelope and was surprised to read its contents. Staring at her in bold prints were the words, “DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS”.
The P.A blaring loudly in the plane brought her out of her gloominess just in time to hear they would be landing in five mins. She listened carefully, and then went back to her thoughts. It was night time in Ghana when the plane landed. After clearing through customs, she found Mag and Maa’s driver waiting outside. “Hello sweetie”, Mag said giving her a hug. “Welcome back. Let’s get you home. Sofoa can’t wait to see you”. The ride home was heavy as each kept to themselves. Mag sympathized with her friend. She’d saw it coming but now was not the time to butcher her friend with “I told you so”. Looking at her friend slumped out in the back seat, she left her to her thoughts.
She had called him several times after receiving the paper but got no answer. It was nine pm when he finally picked up his phone. Yes!
Yes! “That’s all you say, yes! How about being a man and showing your miserable face here and giving me these divorce papers yourself?” she screamed into the phone. “How heartless can you be?”. Deloris… he started saying amidst the screams and crying of children. “Zifa, come take the children away, let me talk to this thing on the phone”, she heard him say. After nine years of marriage and sacrifice for you, I am now this thing? “Look, my family and I will be moving in by the end of the weekend, he said with no apology in his voice. I need you out of the house before the weekend”. The line went dead.
Dufie sat on the cold floor of the kitchen and cried herself to sleep. It was six p.m when she felt the abrupt shake of her shoulder, rousing her from her sleep. She’d been drifting in and out of sleep she did not realize how late it was. “Del, what in Christs’ name are you doing on the floor?” Mag asked. “You gave me a scare. I’ve been trying to reach you all day. Do you know what time it is?” her friend asked getting off the floor and picking up a bag to set on the counter top. “And how come you were not at work?” The questions flowed. Mag kept throwing one question after another. Not getting an answer from her friend, she turned round to look at her.
“Babes, what’s wrong?” “This is unlike you”. “Eric served me with divorce papers yesterday”. Yesterday! “Yes, yesterday”. “On your anniversary?” Dufie laughed. “Well apparently it wasn’t our anniversary. I alone seemed to think that. For him, it was a day to send a freaking courier to deliver me divorce papers”. “Wow, I need a drink”. Who does that? Dufie asked, ignoring her friends’ need for alcohol. “An insensitive bastard” mag said drowning a glass of pinot noir. Her friend had expensive and great taste in wine but not men. Dufie laughed. “Yes we can both agree on that”. For weeks, Dufie sulked and whined about how she’d made Eric the person he was and how ungrateful men could be. By the end of the last night, she decided to fight fire with fire with Eric and his so called family. He wasn’t going to get out of this easily.
She called up one of the best lawyers she knew in town and the proceedings for the divorce started. In the end, Eric lost the house and the cars to her and was to pay her a huge sum of money every year. Not that she needed it but she was going to make him pay.
It was past midnight when they made it to Safoa’s house. She went straight to bed. By morning, Mag had gathered their friends to cheer her up. To get her mind off things, Kukua brought up the Waakye invitation. “You know what will be good for you, the waakye invitation”. “It’s being organized by Daniel Adu Nyarko for the opening of his new restaurant”. “The whole village is invited plus the invites are set to go out soon”. Yea and it will be a great article for your blog especially since it’s centered on food, Ada said. “Yea, I guess it should be; anything to get my mind off the great depression divorce”. Good! “For that news, I’ll drink to that”, Mag said.
And so, after a whole long week had passed, Dufie decided to check her email. She’d woken up very early on this particular morning. She was in a hurry; in a hurry like the bouncing white rabbit. There was no time to spare, no time to stop and smell the crisp air, to greet and talk to the old ladies who came to the house to buy bread like she did every morning.
Today she needed to get to the communications center, and fast. She couldn’t afford to wait in the long que that was always assembled in front of the center. She needed to be the first in line when its doors opened. She needed to find out if it had arrived. Today was the day the invites were to come in and she couldn’t wait to find out if she had been invited to the feast. The buzz had been going round the village for months now and everyone was anticipating its arrival.
Grabbing her clothes, she threw them on and flew out of her room almost knocking her dear old grandma to the floor. “Child, who is chasing you,” her grandmother asked as she called out “sorry grandma, I can’t talk now, see you later”. “Where are you off to this early morning? But she was already out the door and half way down the slope of the drive way.
Copyright © 2017
Revised February 2018
Revised March 2018
Find out in the next chapter of “The Waakye Reservation” what happens next.
Hope you enjoyed reading this.