My beloved and me

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By Elizabeth Quarshie

My beloved and I cannot be together–or so they say. But why? I still don’t really understand, but they say we are not the same–or so his mother claims. We are not the same? Like how? I’m confused. On the day my beloved and I went to visit his mother for the first time, she made it clear to me that ‘we’ would never happen.

I sat there like a log, speechless, as if my tongue was tied but really, it was because I found no words to express my bafflement .

He asked me to excuse them: “Wait for me in the car Emefa, I’ll be with you shortly.” He appeared to be quite stunned by his mother’s mien himself.

I obeyed and left the room, but I stood by the door and eavesdropped. I needed to hear something, at least to help me comprehend why this woman who had sounded so sweet and welcoming over the phone earlier, suddenly became so indifferent to me, now that we finally met.

“Mom, what is the meaning of all this? Why are you being like this?” I heard him say. “I’m not being indifferent Akwasi, I’m telling you the reality.”

‘Which is…?’

“That you cannot marry her. No son of mine is ever marrying from that tribe or any other!”

“But mom why? She’s the one I love.”

“No way…Never! You will find someone else to love because I am not accepting this one. Not today nor tomorrow! There are equally good Ashanti women you can choose from, maybe even better!”

“But she’s the one I like mom!. I don’t want anyone else, why can’t it be her?”

“Mm-mm. Impossible. I will not accept an Ewe as daughter-in-law!’

“You know you’re being very irrational mom. You’re much too educated to be speaking like this! You of all people should know better!”

“Me…? You dare call me irrational…? Call it whatever Akwasi, I’ve said my own. See? She hasn’t even married you yet, and she’s already turned you against me, your own mother.’

“Mom, Emefa has done nothing wrong. She deserves a chance.”

“It’s either her or me then, let me know when you’ve made your choice. I have nothing left to say.’

“Ah-ah, this is too much, you can’t just……’

The door opened and banged. Soon afterwards, dead silence. Bitterly, I turned away, my heavy heart pregnant with words my lips may never get to utter. I headed calmly in the direction of the car we came in. Another door banged. I knew it was him coming out. I sat in the car and watched him tread over, shoulders slumped, his eyes drooped the way they do when he is fatigued. My own eyes stung from the struggle to hold back tears that threatened to trickle down any time soon.

He joined me in the car. I stared in the opposite direction, into the direct nothingness.

“I know you heard everything. Right?’ It was not so much of a question as it was a statement. But I nodded anyway. Hmm. ‘I’m sorry you had to hear all that Emefa. My mother is not a bad person. I promise to sort everything out. Don’t worry dear, we’ll be fine.’

I smiled, a painful smile. He took my hand in his and squeezed it gently, a feeble attempt made to comfort. I was not convinced. How could I not be worried? He didn’t sound so confident, like the Akwasi I know. I can tell he wasn’t so sure anymore.

I stared out the window, at the house one more time. Who knows? It could be my last.

As we left, I closed my eyes and allowed the tears to trickle down, caressing my cheeks as they made their way down to my chin. I bit my lower lip and wondered why it has to come to this.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, families we didn’t ask to be born into, identities we had no choice but to embrace, because of this division called tribe: my beloved and I cannot be together–or so they say. What do we do?

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