Mom left Dad when I was 9 years old. I came home from school one day and she was gone. I wouldn’t blame mom for leaving, Dad was a jerk, he was quick tempered and slow to reasoning, he use to beat mom up anytime he came home completely drunk or sober. I was little so there was nothing I could have done about it. Dad use to tell me not to meddle in adult affairs.
From the mat on the hard cement floor I slept on, in the single room demarcated by a curtain which hanged wall to wall on the sides in the middle of the room separated by my parent’s bed area from the rest of the room, I hear mom weeping and sobbing almost every night. I was only a child, eventually I got used to the snivelling and whimpering, it didn’t bother me anymore.
School closed at 3pm but I stayed late playing with my friends till it was 5:30pm. Dad was sitting next to door way, he was in deep thought; he didn’t respond when I greeted him ‘good evening’, I’m sure he didn’t realize I was even there. I went inside to change my clothes, I was famished, so I started shouting and calling mom’s name. Dad responded, “She’s not there”, I went outside and said, “Dad please when will she be back?”, he replied, “Next week”, then I added, “where did she go”, Dad got pissed, chuckled and replied, “why all these silly questions?”, I answered, “Dad please I’m hungry…”, with a stern look, he gave me 1cedi to buy bread. That was the last time we spoke about my Mom.
Weeks turned to months, months to a year and still no sign of Mom, my morbid fear of Dad was so intense I couldn’t dared ask when Mom will ever come back. I came back from school very hungry just like other days ever since mom left, waiting for Dad to get me something to eat, he usually came home very late dead drunk smelling like s**t, but today was different, he came home early, someone was with him. Dad introduced her to me as my new mom, I was confused but I dared not question him. Mom had been gone for a while now, I miss her all the time, but I was getting a new Mom, at least, I’ll get food to eat ‘cause I knew Moms always cook.
Old Mom was nothing like new Mom, new Mom was young and pretty compared to old Mom but old Mom’s cooking was the best, new Mom’s cooking sucked! Only if new Mom’s cooking was as good as she looked. First week of new Mom’s arrival was peaceful until the following weeks, the familiar weeping and sobbing resumed. Dad beats new mom more than old Mom, one night Dad got upset and started beating new Mom because he saw her standing somewhere talking to another guy. With time I realized beating women was a way of keeping them in check.
I dropped out of high school age 17, Dad couldn’t fund me anymore, apparently he prioritized alcohol over me as I’ve learnt all these years. Dad physically abused me because I stole his 2cedis for food, he almost killed me, and I still have that scar on my eyebrow. So I moved out, I was 18. Finding a job for a guy like me was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I had to survive , Boss found me and asked me to joined his gang. It was just a group of guys who would do anything to survive on the streets.
In the gang all I had to do was to sell rolls and parcels of ‘weed’, and in return I get a place to sleep, food to eat, some commissions on the sales and friends to talk to when I’m bored or lonely, pretty good deal right? Months later I decided to lock my hair so I stop combing it, all the other guys had locks so I didn’t want to feel odd, soon enough I started smoking ‘weed’, dammn that s**t was
I’ve been living on the streets for years now, still selling ‘weed’ on the streets, evading the police ‘cause they sometimes raided our ghettos and take all our ‘ganja’. Life in the ghetto wasn’t easy. The ghetto couldn’t tame my temper, sometime I’d throw tantrums or go berserk if anyone disrespected me. Growing up, I learnt beating people up were the only way to get respect!
I met Dad on my rounds distributing weed, he couldn’t recognize me, last time he saw me I was 18 years old but now I’m 26, a man now. I told him I was his son but he didn’t believe me, I pulled my locks behind me but he still couldn’t recognize my face, then I showed him the scar on brow and asked him, “Do you remember this?”, he was speechless, he was shaking like a vulture in a storm, he said, “you’ve really changed”, I could tell from the looks on his face that he was scared of me. He startled when I tried to touch him, then he begun apologizing for the scar, I got the feeling he thought I was going to get a payback for the scar on my face, we talked for a while and said goodbyes, that was the last time I saw him.
My friends and I were playing cards, when she walked by for the first time.
I still remember what she wore that day, a flower shirt on a navy-blue jean with a round cap on; she was looking fly as the Emirrates airline. I could tell she was new in the hood ‘cause that was the first time I saw her. I decided to catch up to her just to say hi.
I got close to her, she didn’t seem to be in a hurry. I was about to tap on her shoulder when she turned around. Dammn she looked like she was made of gold, her light skin shimmered to the setting sun. She was smiling when she looked at me; she wasn’t startled to see me. I was speechless, she said, “Hi”. Holy s**t!!! The pretty girl spoke to me, I thought to myself, for a sec I had to turn around, maybe she was saying hi to another person behind me. No one was behind me, I was stroking my fingers through my locks and smiling foolishly to myself, then she asked, “Hi, I realized you were catching up to me so slowed down my pace”, and I replied, “I just wanted to say hi to you, but it seems you’ve already beaten me to it and now I’m thinking of what to say next”, she burst into laughter.
We talked for a while then I asked for her number, but she insisted on giving it out later. She asked me, “Why are your eyes red? Do you smoke?”, I said no, I was really impressed with her boldness, she didn’t feel threatened or anything, she was relaxed. She was about to leave when I asked her, “Ain’t you sacred of me?”, she replied, “what do you mean?”, and I said, “well…the way I look, my locks and red eyes and these funny clothes?”, she walked away smiling, saying, “I have a thing for guys in locks”. She had walked a few meters away from me when I shouted, “you didn’t tell me your name?”, she turned and shouted back, “Frimpongmaa”.
I took any opportunity I got to talk to her when I saw her anywhere. We’ve been chatting briefly at random places in town until she invited me over to her place. She lived alone, she was a student at the university, she lived off campus. After showing me her house, she told me she was busy tonight and if I wanted I could come to her house tomorrow, I promised to come.
I wasn’t the ladies man, most girls would freak out or wouldn’t get close to me because of the way I looked, Frimpongmaa was different, she wasn’t judgmental. Other girls wont get involved with me because I smoke medicinal Indian hemps and I have locks on my head, it’s a shame really.
I went to her place as promised the next day. We talked for hours, I enjoyed her company, I was ‘me’ when ever I was with her, I was free and open minded on anything she asked, I told her anything and everything. I felt alive when I was with her. I know ‘love at first sight’ is a crappy concept, but honestly, I fell in love with the moment I saw her, I loved her.
We’ve know each other for half a year now, I asked her to be my girlfriend but she said, “I’ll agree to your proposal only if, you stop smoking, find a decent job, quit hanging out with your gang and quit selling weed”, these were tough conditions but for her, I’d do anything.
It took me a year to quit smoking, it wasn’t easy. I told Boss I was quitting the gang and quitting selling weed for him, but he refused to give me permission to exist the gang, but after convincing him for three months he decided to let me go but only on one condition, he asked me to sell 10 parcel of ‘weed’ worth 8,000 cedis as a farewell gesture. I wanted my freedom so bad I decided to sell it and quit the gang. I’ve been staying with Frimpongmaa all these while, she asked me to stay with her when she realized I had quit smoking and I didn’t associate with the gang like I use to.
I came home with the ‘weed’, hid 9 parcels in my travelling bag and covered it with clothes; I planned on selling 1 parcel each day, so I went out to sell the weed. I came home late after selling and paying Boss the first parcel of weed; Frimpongmaa was still awake, obviously waiting for me. She said she couldn’t sleep, she was watching a movie. I changed clothes and took a bath. I was about to sleep when she said, “Cle, is there anything you want to tell me? Anything you hiding that you think I should about?”, I was too exhausted to talk so I said no and went straight to bed.
Frimpongmaa had left to school, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me, I had to sell all those weed to get my freedom. I opened my travelling and there was no weed! All 9 parcels of weed had disappeared! Then I remembered what Frimpongmaa asked me the previous night, I realized she knew about the weed! I had messed up, I promise to quit smoking and quit the gang, but if she’s found the weed, she’ll think I’ve been lying to her, she’ll never believe me, she’ll never trust me, she might even kick me out! I knew I had to come clean and explain the deal I had with Boss to her, maybe she’d understand.
Frimpongmaa came home at 1pm from lectures. She asked me if I didn’t go to work today, since she wasn’t expecting me home at that time, but I told her I did, but my boss let me have the day off when I complained of stomach ache. There was an awkward silence in the room after this brief talk. I wanted to come clean and explain everything about the weed so I asked, “Babe, is there anything you want to tell me? Anything you think I should about?”, she said no. Then I asked, “did you open my travelling bag yesterday?”, she asked me why I asked and I replied, “oh nothing, someone opened it and forgot to zip it, I thought maybe it was you”, but she said it wasn’t her.
The silence was killing me; babe was giving me the cold shoulder. I was waiting for the right time to asked about the weed. “babe, can I have a minute…”, just then my phone started to ring, it was Boss calling, I knew why he was calling, I haven’t sold any weed today and he was expecting his money for the day ‘cause I hadn’t called or spoken to him. I went outside to answer the call, Boss threatened to kill me and my girlfriend if I didn’t bring his money, but I tired explaining the current situation to him but he wouldn’t listen, he gave me up till 4pm to bring his money.
I was frustrated and angry, I got in the room and said, “Babe, please can I have the weed you took from my bag, I really need to return it before it gets bloody”, Frimpongmaa had to give me a long speech about how I’ve lying to her and telling her I had quit the gang and I was a changed man, Frimpongmaa kept blabbling for hours but time was of the essence, in this current turn of events getting the weed was the top priority since lives were at stake, Frimpongmaa’s explanations was secondary and unnecessary at that moment, so I asked her to just give me the weed, when I came I’d explain everything to her, but she was really angry, she said she had flashed all 9 parcels of weed down the toilet. That moment I knew I was ***ked up!
I lost control and began yelling. My hands were twitching, all I knew was my hand went up and landed on Frimpongmaa’s face, I was filled with rage, I couldn’t control myself.
I bruised her face, I slapped her so hard on the face that she bleed from the nose, there was a long scratch from below her ear to her cheek, her face was oozing blood. She was screaming and begging me, but I wouldn’t listen, I was so angery I couldn’t stop smacking her face. I regained control of myself for a while when I realized she was motionless and bleeding.
I was terrified from what I had done, I knew smoking was the only way to calm my nerves down, I had about 8 rolls of weed on me, I got a lighter and went out. I bumped into our next door neighbor on my way to the bush to smoke.My phone kept ringing, Boss was calling me off the hook.
After smoking for 2 hours I decided to go back home and apologize to Frimpongmaa and explain my inexcusable actions. I was a bit high I didn’t realize the police was at the house until I got closer home.
I began to run when I saw them, but one of them raised an alarm and they quickly surrounded me, cuffed me and drove me to the police station.
Frimpongmaa’s neighbor had reported me to the police. I was detained on three chargers, 1. Violence and physical abuse, 2. Resisting arrest, 3. Illegal procession of illegal drugs, the police found 3 rolls of weed in my pocket. I was processed for court and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
After 4 years in prison they let me out on good behavior, I guess that much time behind bars does things to you. First thing I did when I got out of the prison doors was, I dropped down on my knees and thank God for my life. I told myself I wasn’t going back there, I promised myself I’d change and become a new and better person.
I was given money for transportation, I had only one destination in mind, Madina, my home, my hood, I longed to see Frimpongmaa and apologize to her. Truth is, she was the only one close to family that I knew. I made my mind to stay away from the gang, no one came to visit me in prison, that really hurt my feelings.
I didn’t want people to know that I was released so on my way back to the hood I tried all means of hiding from people who knew me, hiding and lurking in the shadows when I saw them approaching my direction.
I got to Frimpongmaa’s house; she was just about leaving the house when she saw me. She was looking beautiful as usual. she was stunned to see me. She stood there rooted for about 2 minutes. I got the feeling she was about to kick me out or scream for people to come hoot or drive me away. What ever she planned on doing, I deserved it.
But she run towards me and gave me a big hug, she was happy to see me. I was ashamed, I didn’t deserve her kindness. I tried to apologize and explain to her but she told me not to worry, it’s all in the past now. I promised never to let her down ever again! She asked me to take my bath, gave me food and fresh clean clothes, to my surprised she kept all my clothes; she didn’t burn or throw them away when I got locked up.
My slap left a scar on her face, and everyday it reminded me of the terrible person I was, my anger hurt the people I love most. I couldn’t deal with the pain I felt deep down when ever I saw that scar knowing that I caused it.
I told her I wanted to leave but she insisted I stayed until I picked up the remaining pieces of my life. I tried to be a better person but everywhere I go, trouble finds me, it won’t leave me alone, it always stays close to me, but I keep my head down, walk pass it and keep my hands in my pockets like
I’ve been out for 2 months now, living with Frimpongmaa, hiding from the world and people who knew I was behind bars. One time, I went to buy airtime for Frimpongmaa, on my way, I saw Boss, it was too late to run he had already seen, he was walking to my direction.
He pulled out a gun from his back and pointed it at me, he told me to give him the 8,000 cedis weed money I owed him, I tried to explain but he wouldn’t listen, I knew he could pulled that trigger anytime, so in my defense I tried to disarm him, in the course of taking the gun away from him, I heard a loud “KPHOOH”, next thing I know Boss was laying in a pool of blood.
People came out from their home to see what had happened, I freaked out, I knew running away will make me guilty, what choice did I have?
I started running home, as if I was being chased but no one was chasing me, but I knew it was only a matter of time before they came for me. The only thought on my mind was Frimpongmaa, I had to see her and explain everything to before its too late. Frimpongmaa spooked when I rushed home panting very hard.
I was scared and shaking, she asked me who or what was chasing me, I couldn’t speak properly, I replied, “I just shot a man down, I just shot a man down, I just shot a man”.
I could see those eyes of her about to rain tears, I told her it was Boss, he held me at gun point, I tried defending myself by taking the gun away from him but ended up pulling the trigger. I looked into her eyes and said, “I only have a few hours until they find and lock me away again, but just know that I’ll always love you, and thanks for everything you’ve down for me, there’s no way out, that’s why I need to run, I know it’ll only make me look more guilty but I’m out of options, I know I let you down again, I’m going away from you, and if you can, just find some place in your heart to forgive me, ‘cause woman I’m guilty”.
Story was inspired by A.I (Ayisi Ican)’s Anger Management song. Click Here to downlaod.
Watch A.I – Anger management video on YouTube
(Photo credit: Anger management video)
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story written by: @AbokiCleDre (follow me on twitter)
Copyright © 2017 by @AbokiCleDre
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