Fat 3: Strained Relationships and a Death

fat

For as long as they had known Jacob he had preferred women of a heavier dispensation. It wasn’t so much the popular phrase “babiara soso”, translated as “everything big big” as it was just his taste in women. He didn’t care if they had heavy chests without an ounce of fat below their waists or the other way around. It didn’t matter where the women had none of the above even, just blobs of fat seeping through their armpit and tummy regions. He loved them. So, it was no surprise then that his specialty was cougars, married women and widows, abandoned by wealthy husbands for curvier, much slimmer girls. One man’s food as the proverb goes, he loved them; his sugar mummies came and went as his clothes did, and so it was until he came back from the gym one day, a smile on his face and fell into Ewuras’ bed, wet as the insides of his cougars’ thighs.

“I think I’m in love guys”

Ama had immediately sat up on her bed, shoving her Criminal Psychology assignment to the side. “You what!?” She broke into laughter, her shoulders heaving at the impossibility of it all. Ewura who had since been trying to pull him off her bed let go, plopping him back on the mattress and joined in.

“yeah, yeah, very funny guys”, Ama was the first to recover, “so how old is this one?” He ignored her, raising himself from off the bed. He stood there for a second, staring at them, as if contemplating whether or not to say something, then shook his head and walked out.

“Ah, wait, Jake!” He was already outside. From the window, he jogged off into the distance. Ewura sat back on her bed still laughing. Ama was more concerned, “Do you think he’s mad?”, “I don’t know,” she reached for her phone, still smiling “I know he’s never acted like this before though”

And so it had started, slowly growing till soon they hardly ever heard from Jacob, Jacob who they had been friends with since Junior High, who crashed at their place and ate their food more times than even they did themselves became “that friend we used to be cool with”, only the occasional hey-hi’s when they accidentally came across each other. It went on for months, then just as suddenly as they had drifted apart, one day he was back barging into their room without knocking again and digging through their fridge. “I don’t know, I feel like I need some space”, that’s all he said. His darling didn’t seem like such a darling anymore, the way he acted, he would be with them playing a board game and she’d call, over and over again till he got tired of ignoring her and put his phone off altogether. He wouldn’t tell them what exactly was wrong though, always the same excuse, “I just need a little space.” It got more and more disturbing, the lengths he seemingly went to avoid her, sometimes going for weeks without going near his hall, he slept and lived off his friends in the other halls, always wandering, always hard to find, they were only with him when he wanted to be with them.

Then one evening Ewura and Ama had returned from a late rescheduled lecture and found him on the stairs of their apartment. It was late and he smelt of alcohol and cigarette smoke, it was only when he lifted his head that they realized he had been crying. “She….I don’t want it anymore, I don’t!” His words slurred off his tongue, falling to fits of cough and tears that brought out the large vein on his forehead. The girls had helped him throw up in their toilet and put him to bed, quiet and afraid, they exchanged looks and spoke nothing to each other. That night Ewura joined Ama in her bed, both too shocked to say anything, they passed out more than they fell asleep. The next day he was up grinning from ear to ear as if nothing had happened. He dismissed it,“just one of those nights with the boys” he said. They wouldn’t see him nor hear from him again, for nearly 3 months not a word, till very much unlike his barging into the room self, he sent a text to Ama that he would be coming over and he needed to tell them something.

 

“I’m telling you, it’s that fat woman. Connect the dots” Ama turned to Ewura, exasperated at how relaxed her friend seemed. Ewura sighed and said nothing, her attention fixed squarely on her windshield. Traffic moved slowly, perspiration coursed down their respective brows, into and between their chests, the tension between them had wound up just about as far as it could go. “At least put on the AC….if you’re not going to mind me” she muttered the last bit under her breath, Ewura continued driving, not giving her the time of day.

Since 6am, all day they had been driving; from Fiifi, Jacobs friends place to Ansongs, and then back to campus to check with his estranged girlfriend, and then to the police station. The police station had drained them the more, both in their pockets and physically. After waiting in line for close to an hour, an officer had blatantly told them missing cases were normal, that Jacob was too old to be considered “missing”, maybe he had just left for America without telling anyone. Then he had shifted into a lengthy story on how his wifes brother frustrated with Accra hustle had borrowed money from so many people so he could run away to New York, but had ended up on a boat bound for Libya instead. He was in the middle of explaining how persons in the boat he suspects were usually asked to sacrifice one of their own to the sea gods or risk dying when Ewura who had just about had enough slammed the front desk and told him to shut up and help them find their friend. The lanky officer, moustache as unkempt as they came had not taken too lightly to this.

“Herh, who do you think you’re talking to. Are you the one to show me how to do my job? All you fianga fianga school girls you don’t respect anything. Foolish girl! Yesss…Next person, next person, remove this one from my face” A pregnant lady who had been waiting in line all this while, made to shove between Ama and Ewura.

“Madam, for the good of your baby, move back” Ewuras’ voice had this habit of reducing to a whisper when she was mad, the woman took one look at her and stepped back quietly.

In the end they had to “buy coke to cool my temperature” which Ewura had apparently brought to boiling points. They had spent the entire day spending money and getting drained. Ewura was mad at Ama for not pitting in on her argument with the police officer, Ama was mad at Ewura for not minding her suspicions. Traffic moved slowly, Ewura slid her half open window all the way down.

 

When Louane got home her boyfriend, Kenneth was not back. It was a Friday night, he was probably out with his friends. She slipped off her shoes and fell into a heap of herself on the sofa. It was really happening, she was actually going to blackmail her elephant cousin out of 5000 cedis. She smiled at the thought, replaying the days events in her mind. She had been so strong, so fearless, she thought of a couple of insults she could have put in for more dramatic effect. Elephant was too lame. She didn’t realize when she finally fell asleep with a smile still on her lips.

“look at this. This nonentity of a woman”

She was jolted awake by slurred speech and hot, vodka breath.

“Where the fuck is my food? Look at this..” He bent over and picked up her shoes “do I always have to clean up for you? Can’t you take care of your fucking self?”

Louane stared down in silence, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Joojo I was tired, I – “

“Are you not always tired. Tired from spending all my money” He fell into the sofa next to her, his head bobbling back so he stared at the ceiling.

She got up and went to the kitchen. Minutes later she returned with a sauce pan full of hot water and a towel.

“Honey I did what you asked me to do..”

He turned to her, eyes struggling to stay open. “You showed her the pictures??!!?”

“Yes…” He was quiet a while, even as she sat next to him, massaging his forehead with a hot towel

“Good Louane, good. What would I do without you?” He pulled her in for a hug, she giggled and hit him playfully on the shoulder.

“We will never need anything again”, Louane nodded, still smiling. What would he do without her….

 

Jacob limped on the tarred road, the moon his only illumination in the darkness, in the silence his heaves and grunts rung in his own ear. He could barely see, the fact that his left eye was swollen shut did little to help. He had been running for only God knows how long, had somehow managed to slip pass the two idiots guarding him. The one called Hamzah had fallen asleep on his shift while Attah had gone behind some bushes to ease himself. From all indications Attah had ended up asleep by his own excrement, too tired to think better. The ropes he had been rubbing his hands against had slid off at the most opportune moment, he had escaped, running into the darkness with no proper sense of direction, hoping to meet with a car, with any traveler and ask for help.

He could sense the pandemonium he had left behind back at the camp, in his mind he wondered how long it would take before the two men realized he was gone, and what they would do to him afterwards. Hamzah had given him the swollen eye, that one was ruthless, the way he enjoyed “interrogating him” with his fists and some funny attempts at shaolin.

He cleared his throat and spat out a ton of mucus, rife with the taste of dry blood.

A cars engine revved from the distance ahead of him, beyond a bend in the road. He stopped, a silent prayer playing around his lips. He had not prayed in years, in some ways he had come to accept this was God’s punishment for all those women he slept with, all the hearts he broke, but maybe God had decided to forgive him. Maybe it was all going to be okay.

Headlights burst from the corners of the road, the car approached him from a distance, its light blinding him momentarily. He shielded his eyes with his hands and tried to stand up straight, the last thing he wanted to do was look like some lynched thief. The car slew down as it reached him, the headlights burnt so brightly on his face now, he had to close his eyes shut.

“Put off the light”, the voice… he opened his eyes and immediately fell to the floor.

She stood towering above him, a smile on her face, a gun inside her hands. Behind her Hamzah and Attah stood on both sides of a pick up truck, Hamzah was grinning like an idiot.

“I wasn’t going to kill you Jacob. I love you. This, this is Louanes fault”

A shot rung through the night, a single shot to the head, his body slumped over, face first unto the road.

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