For Bernard, who came up with a wonderful title for something “I could write one day”. I’m sorry its not a social commentary on youth trends and social yo yo, frankly the spirits led me somewhere entirely different, and particularly less relevant. I hope this makes you smile though.
It was a regular Friday evening when I met her. Music, alcohol and dance, I had chanced upon an angel, feathered in blouse and skirt.
As most evenings did, it started with a small number, lovers spread out, littered in the mix of wooden chairs and tables, god knows what conversations, beer bottles and glass. The khebab man steamed his meat, hot smoke a cloud above his head. A stick bounced off the corners of his mouth. He would chew and spit, poking frivolously at meat as if blocking some ill intent of an afterlife. I sat behind the drums and stared out into space. Silent, expectant maybe? Hopeful.
Paakow tuned his guitar, Mike connected the cords to his piano, I sat behind in silence, eyes veering to Emmanuel. I had caught him wink at her when we first came in, now there they sat, so close their foreheads almost touched, whispering secrets.He thrived on making them laugh.
“Ohh nice name”
She had a gap between her teeth, large cheeks, her face disappeared when she smiled.
“They call us Ponks and the Skirts, we’re an Afro band, high-life music, contemporary RnB, heavy Ghanaian accents, rap music when I’m in a good mood” He would reiterate this a thousand time, that he was leader of the band. My attention waned.
Traffic passed swiftly behind the cluster of empty chairs and tables,. Emmanuel walked to the stage and bent in a whisper.
“We will do Dadie Anomaa first”:
I nodded, eyes still cast away, I stared at moving cars and nothing, the protagonist at the beginning of every adventure, boring, plain, the reader reading still, expectant. I think the others did too, he walked back to the girl with a comic gaunt in his step, her face got lost again. We had just fed her to him.
She clutz’d her way up to a front seat in the most glorious way imaginable, her thigh brushed against every table, tilted every chair, till she fell in a heap of herself, straightening her glasses, folding her arms, staring at us, at me only because I stared back. She smiled and looked away, her neck eased gently unto her shoulders, slender, she was of posters and magazines. I looked away, manners, I was trained properly, but my eyes would lose me. Staring up at the clouds, intentional, anything but her, but then I would think I saw someone wave at me, that I saw someone behind her mouth my name, and my eyes would be back, paying dividends to the contours of her lips, the cleavage of her blouse. She caught me, she tugged it up and looked away, at everything and everyone but me.Though I swear, out of the corners of my eye, I saw a blur of her face turn towards mine, and not just once.
So we played Daddy Anomaa, and Emmanuel, tall Emmanuel, muscular, in his sleeveless vest and horned necklace. Heaving chest, sweat down his brows, noticed her and got off the stage, Ayisha all but forgotten in the thrill of a fresh hunt. He waltzed towards her in some weird dance while Paakow sunk into a solo with the guitar. I had seen this before at Elmina. He would pull her up, she would laugh shyly and refuse, he would be persistent, she would finally get up and join in the waltz, then sit, still laughing, excited, focused on him through to the end of the show. Then while we packed the speakers he would disappear.
I stopped playing suddenly. desperate. Everyone turned to me surprised. Panic. I keeled over in mock pain, bringing as many drums as I could to the ground with me. The boys, God bless them rushed to my side. From the floor I could see Emmanuel’s feet, still right in front of hers, stunned no doubt. I screamed, more so that he would leave there than in legitimizing my Oscar bid. His feet run towards me, I closed my eyes a tight shut, clinching my teeth to keep from laughing.
“I’m alright, I’m alright”
I stood up in pretend pain and threw the okay sign to the audience. Cheers. The drums were fixed properly, we played on. Emmanuel stayed with us on top of the stage till we were done. She came to me.
“Something I ate” I packed my drumsticks and picked up my bag,.
“So, basically you wanted to take a shit?”
I paused halfway down the stage stairs and gawked at her. She laughed.
“Want to get something to eat?” She stared at her watch, then back at me. “It’s 2 in the morning”, “I know a place, let’s go”
My bed was small and painfully awkward with extra weight, but she slept like a baby, I couldn’t. I stood at the balcony and smoked in my boxers, relaxed, satisfied. Somewhere in between she joined me, naked from the waist down, her blouse flustered in the wind.
“I like you” She took the cigarette I offered and puffed, leaning back against the railings.
“Me too” I smiled. She laughed, drawing the cigarette back to her lips.