Here’s The Kind Of Love That Turns Your Dream Into A Nightmare
James and I were in the same school together. I didn’t see much of him when we were in school. He wasn’t a friend. He’s that kind of person you know is around. He wasn’t an enemy and he wasn’t a friend too. I just knew he was there on campus because we met sometimes. Maybe he said hello and I responded. Maybe we never exchanged any words. I don’t really remember. But friendship comes easy when you meet someone you’ve met somewhere before. It’s the story of your previous place that brings you together. That binds you. That makes a friend of someone you knew but never said hello to.
After school, I was posted to a village somewhere in the Eastern region. The first time I stepped foot into the village, I told myself, “Noooo, I can’t do the national service here. I would go back to Accra and have my station changed.” From the beginning of the town to where the bus stopped, I didn’t see any cement building. Mudhouse with thatch roof or mud house with corrugated sheets. The roofing sheets could be different but the building itself would be a mud house. Tarred roads were far and few. When I got down and asked about the district assembly, they pointed to a building that looked like someone’s house. The building was right at the shoulder of the main road. The road was very dusty. When I entered the building and was given a chair to sit on, they had to bring huge clothe to clean the dust off the chair. I sat in the chair for about thirty minutes, when I got up, I could see my posture drawn in the chair with dust.
I said in my head, “Is that where I’m coming to work for a full year. Oh no. I can’t. Just when I was leaving the assembly, I saw James coming in. He looked at me. He asked, “Are you from this town?” I answered, “No I’m not. I was posted here for my national service. He burst out laughing. When he regained his composure he said, “I thought I’m the only one the National service secretariat hates. Now I have a companion.” I said, “No you don’t. I’m going back to have it changed.” He asked, “You know someone who can do it? Then take me to him or her. I will pay if it involves money.”
So we exchanged contacts and we departed. That was August 2010. Days later he called to ask if I’ve spoken to my contact and if he’s ready to change it for us. Actually, I didn’t have any contact. I came back home only to fish for someone who could help me change it. I tried all I could. I even went to the secretariat with a letter, spelling out reasons why I could not work in the village. I gave medical reasons. They didn’t think it was enough. By the middle of September James gave up and went to the village to begin his service. I was still holding on. Looking for an opportunity to change. By October end, I gave up too. I called James and told him I was coming. He told me there’s a room where he lives. He could speak to the landlord on my behalf. I said, “Please do.”
So I ended up living in the same house with James. Our rooms were directly opposite in a compound house that housed a lot of households. We met every night complaining about our plight. Every Friday after work, we hopped into a car and traveled back to Accra—A journey of almost three hours. At some point we stopped. We didn’t have the money to travel to Accra every weekend. On weekends, we’ll be in our rooms all day and evening until Monday.
One day after work, I was talking with James when he said, “Today, I see a lady around the market area paaa, the way she fine? Ever since I’ve been here, she’s the only beautiful woman I’d seen around.” I said, “Then she’s one of us. A national service personnel.” He said, “Nooo, she’s a local, judging from the way she’s dressed and her language.” From that day going, he spoke about this lady every day. In the evening when we talked, it was about this lady. In the afternoon when we talked it was about her. He stalked her until he got her name. Boahemaa. He stalked her until he got her number. He spoke with her every day until he got the girl to say yes to his proposal.
He told me, “She said yes. She’s now my girlfriend. Wait until you meet her. Then you’ll understand what I’m talking about.” A day brought the lady home and I was invited to feast my eyes on the beauty that has never been seen. He said, “This is Boahemaa, the girl I’ve been talking about.” She didn’t even look at me. With her eyes off me and chewing gum ta-ta-ta she shook my hand and I said, “Nice meeting you.” She responded with the sound of the chewing gum, “Ta-ta-ta.” I went into my room and looked at her very well from my room. I was like, “Ah, is that all the beauty, or she left some of it in the house while coming?”
Maybe if he didn’t sing the song of her beauty, I would have found her beautiful too. With all the description of her eyes looking like an eagle and her lips looking like something carved from a special clay in heaven, I expected to see something larger than life but all I saw was her. A woman. An ordinary woman I may not look at twice if I pass by her on the street. “Ah well, beauty is in the eyes of the one who is determined to see beauty where it is not.�� Love is blind too. When your heart is filled with love for someone, they appear larger than they are. They are no longer ordinary in your eyes. That’s why love does no wrong and it’s perfect in our eyes. Who was I to judge?
They kept going in and out of the house at will. I didn’t have James to talk to in the afternoon and didn’t get him to talk to in the evening. His whole life was enveloped by the lady. She was always with him and when she wasn’t, he would be with her. He would go to the lady’s house and come home with a full dinner prepared by the lady’s mother. They treated him like a king. They’ll cook and bring some to him even when he didn’t go there. At a point, I had to accept that I’ve lost James to Boahemaa. I was a little bit jealous. James was all I had in that village, and that too had been taken away from me.
Getting to the end of our service I asked him about his plans. August was our leave. I asked if he would stay or go home and not return. He said, “I’ve started talking to the big men in the Assembly. I want to be retained here after service. In August I will stay and work to justify my inclusion.” “Really?” I asked. He said, “Yeah, I’m staying here. There’s an opportunity here. If I go back home, what would I do apart from joining the long queue of unemployed graduates?”
Wow. Something wasn’t right. It didn’t feel like I was talking to James. Engineering student looking for a job opportunity in a village that only has a District Assembly Office? How come?
August came and I left. He stayed as he promised. I called every once in a while to ask how life was treating him. He said the same thing every day. “The village is good. Work is good. I and Boahemaa are getting stronger. I told you that girl was a good girl. You can’t imagine the surprises she gives me. Where in the city would you find a girl like this?” The conversation wouldn’t be about Boahemaa. I intentionally tried all I could not to mention her in our conversations but James had a way of going roundabout just to rope her in. He’ll talk little of what I asked and speak at length about his relationship with the girl. It was always about her so I stopped calling for a while. It was Christmas 2011 when I called James. I asked, “Are you coming home for Christmas? We could meet and dine and talk.” He said, “If you want to see me paaa diaaa you should come to the village oo. I’m not coming to Accra anytime soon.”
A year or so ago, he came to mind. I checked his Facebook profile and realized that he hadn’t been active. I called his line and the first question he asked was, “Who is this?” I said, “You don’t have my number again? You don’t recall this voice? This is Boamah.” He kept repeating my name, trying to figure out where and how he knew me; “Boamah. Boamah. Boamah. Boamaaaah….Yes, Boamah national service?” I said “Yeah, Boamah. He screamed my name. We had a very lengthy chat—we talked about our times together in the village and our time in school and what life is doing to our days on earth. He asked, So where are you now? Where do you work? I told him about my work. I told him about my wife and kids. I told him where I live now.
I asked the same question and before he would answer, I prayed, ”God, don’t let him tell me he’s still in that village. Pleeeeeease he shouldn’t be in…” Before my prayer would come to an end, he said, “Where would I be? I’m still in the village ooo. You know I decided right after service that I wasn’t going back.” My heartbeat dulled for a second. I lowered my head as if I’d been struck by something heavy. I asked calmly, “You’re still with the assembly?” He said, “That move didn’t work ooo. I worked there for months but they didn’t retain me. I got a job with an NGO. I worked with them for about three years until they also went extinct. I’ve tried other things too. Currently, I’m into farming and full-time ministries. The Lord called me and I responded.” He ended with a smile in his voice. There was one question I wanted to ask but feared the answer.
I wanted to know about Boahemaa and what happened to her. I could sense the answer so I decided not to ask. The conversation went around and around until he said, “Eiii, you didn’t ask about Boahemaa. He’s full-time Sofo Maame ooo. You should see her and how she looks now. Four kids and years later, she still has it. She’s growing beautiful each day. I’ll tell her you called. She’ll be happy to know that you contacted after all these years.”
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I’m telling this story because of a story I read here recently about that national service guy and his friend Dufie.I’m not saying that’s what happened to my friend. It could be. It could not be. I have no evidence to back any side of the claim. But the two stories have something similar—A girl. In his case, the girls are two. The way he spoke about the other girl with beautiful teeth reminds me of how my friend James described Boahemaa the very day he met her. It was about her lips. It was about her eyes. Just body features were enough to turn an engineer into a full-time village farmer. Body features were enough to turn his head against everything he held dear. Dreams changed. Life’s aim changed. Future plans changed because she met a girl with beautiful lips and eyes carved from special in heaven.
I’m sharing what I’ve witnessed with my own eyes. How the destiny of a friend changed just because he fell in love and ate from the pot of the girl he fell in love with. Anything at all can happen. We should learn. He should learn. There are places you fall in love and move one to do greater things. There are places you fall in love and end at where you started. It happened to James. Strange love.
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