© The Klever Magg
Maya could not stop crying.
Her world was crumbling around her feet swiftly.
She begged her uncle for leniency but he paid no heed to her pleas.
To him, she had brought shame to his household. She had dented his reputation as a Pastor and he would have none of it. The die was cast and she was to leave his house. That was final.
“But I don’t have anywhere else to go, Uncle Fii. You are my only family,” Maya stated tearfully.
“You should have thought of that when you went spreading your legs to a boy you hardly knew,” Uncle Fii replied. “You’ve disappointed me greatly, Maya. I gave you everything you wanted. I clothed you and gave you a roof over your head. How could you do this to me? You have to leave before the Church Council finds out what you have done. They would punish me by stripping off my title as the Presiding Pastor. I can’t let that happen. You have to go very far away. You have to vanish into thin air. Go and look for the boy who did that to you and stay with him.”
“Please, forgive me. I know I didn’t do good. I didn’t know. I was naïve. I didn’t know this would happen. I made a mistake, please forgive me. I have nowhere to go, please!” Maya begged pitifully.
Maame Serwaa, Uncle Fii’s wife, was fuming with rage as she watched the two exchange words. She had not liked Maya much ever since she set foot in her house, but since it meant her husband would get access to the money Maya’s mother left her, she agreed for Maya to stay. She had always looked for excuses to get rid of her. Now, she saw the opportunity and she was not going to let it slip by.
She had dragged Maya to the hospital to be tested when she suspected the girl might be pregnant. When it was confirmed Maya was indeed pregnant she had pushed her husband to the wall to the extent that he had no option than let the girl leave. It was not like he had much of a choice.
“Shut up, you ingrate. Go and look for the imbecile that got you pregnant.” Maame Serwaa shouted.
“Please, Auntie Serwaa, I’m sorry. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know where to find him.” Maya pleaded.
“You are really a disgrace to womanhood. You’re telling me you slept with a boy you hardly knew? You are worse than I thought. You are nothing but a cheap whore. Get the hell out of my house before you turn my kids into prostitutes!” Maame Serwaa added furiously.
“Enough, already Serwaa. She made a mistake most teenagers make. She’s leaving anyway, there’s no need for you to call her names.” Uncle Fii ordered.
“You see why she is like that? You have pampered her so much that she thinks she can do just about anything and get away with it. You are both fools.”
Uncle Fii guided Maya to the porch and gave her an envelope containing a thousand Ghana Cedis he had managed to withdraw from Maya’s account without his wife’s knowledge. He felt sorry for Maya but under the circumstance, he had no option than to let her go. His wife had changed drastically towards her when she learnt about the inheritance that would go to Maya when she turned eighteen.
“Take this, you can travel to Accra and look for that boy. I’m very sure, judging from the things you said about him, that he wouldn’t shut you out. I’m sure he would take good care of you. I hope you understand that my job and marriage are on the line here. Take good care of yourself. May God be with you.”
Maya picked her bag and headed for the door with tears falling down her cheeks in gushes.
She stepped into the cold morning with no destination in mind.
She was only seventeen years old and pregnant.
Maya walked the streets of Sekondi without a plan.
She was all alone and had no clue where to go. She did not have many friends. Her only friend had relocated with her family to Cote D’Ivoire shortly after the final exams. She did not have any friends from the Church because her Uncle’s wife forbade her to make friends.
As she walked aimlessly around she thought of her parents. She thought of how good life had been until she lost them one year apart. She had only been thirteen when her Mom died of a tumor in her brain. Her Dad had died suddenly a year earlier of a heart attack. She had no one else to take care of her so she had come to her only surviving relative, her mother’s half-brother.
For the first month or so she felt at home and happy but all that changed as soon as his wife delivered. She made her do all the chores in the house which left her tired and unhappy.
Her Uncle did not have much control over what happened in his home since he was mostly out till late. He worked as a Pastor in one of the big churches in Sekondi.
In all her suffering at the hands of her Uncle’s wife, she was grateful for one thing: the chance to stay in school. She had missed a whole year of school when her mother passed but Uncle Fii fixed that and she was able to complete her secondary education.
It was when they were in their final year that the church organized a youth camp for all final year students from across the country.
They had all camped at Aburi Gardens for two weeks. It was such a joy for Maya to be out of the house for a change and things went so well she wished the camp meeting never ended.
She felt loved. Prince made sure of that.
Prince was a boy who came from Accra.
They met casually at the registration desk when they arrived and took a liking to each other immediately. They talked as if they had known each other for ages. And for the rest of the camp time they met under one of the cocoa trees every night and read a book or listened to stories mostly told by Prince in their free time. He had made her feel loved with little things as giving her a short note or word on a piece of paper every day when they parted to their various beds.
He had always insisted she read the notes when she retired for bed. The words had always been short and beautiful. They always lifted her spirits and she had gone to bed every day with a smile on her face.
Prince was so kind and caring. He offered to give her free lessons in Mathematics when she mentioned her difficulty in the subject. All too soon the two weeks were up and on the last night as they lay under their cocoa tree and watched the stars, there was an unspoken tension and sadness between them. They were both buried in their thoughts.
“You don’t have any story today?” Maya asked in a bid to break the unsettling silence between them.
Prince did not answer.
Maya felt uncomfortable and sad indeed. She recollected the fun they had just the night before. They had moved from one tree to the other whilst Prince told a short story about each tree. She marveled at the depth of knowledge he had on almost everything. They had finally gotten to the friendship tree where people had engraved their names, messages and funny faces to convey a thought or feeling. They read all the messages and names. Prince drew a smiley face and wrote his initials (POP) in it. When he was satisfied with his drawing, he had handed the pair of dividers he used to Maya to write anything she wished.
Maya wrote her initials (MOM) beside his and added the phrase “Friends Forever” beneath it. They both laughed and left the tree hand in hand to their camps.
That night as she drifted off to sleep there was a smile on her face. She felt happy and loved.
Maya sat up, obviously irritated by Prince’s cold treatment.
“I guess I should be heading back to the girls’ camp. I wish you a safe trip home tomorrow.” She said and tried to get to her feet.
Prince grabbed her hand and begged her not to go.
“I’m usually like this when I’m sad or hurt. I am sad that we won’t be seeing each other after tomorrow. I’m going to miss you a whole bunch. I feel like a valuable treasure is being ripped from me.”
“I’ll miss you too. But at least we have today. We can make the best of it so we would always look back and laugh. If it is God’s will, that we meet again, we will. Stop being pessimistic and just be content that at least we had the opportunity to get to know each other even if it was for a short time. I know I will never forget you. You’ve made quite an impression on me and I would forever be grateful for the time we shared together. You have no idea what this means to me.”
Prince sat up and moved closer to her still holding on to her arm.
“I guess the feeling is mutual. You have imparted my life in these few weeks like no other. You have an amazing personality and you are such fun to be with. Thanks for sharing these weeks with me. I will forever cherish them.”
“Stop getting all sentimental, Prince. Stop behaving as if this is the end of the world. I am positive we will meet again. Just believe it.”
They both laid back folding their hands behind their heads and gazed at the starry night. Each aware of the unspoken deep feelings they have for the other.
Suddenly there seem to be a pregnant silence between them as they lay so close to each other and listening to the heartbeat of the other. Prince tilted a little to his side and snuggled closer to her. He ran his hands through her hair.
Maya felt butterflies in her tummy and turned to look at him with her feelings on her face.
Prince planted a kiss on her forehead and brushed his lips against hers, sending shivers through both of them. Maya moved closer as if in surrender. Prince asked her to take out the gum in her mouth and she did with a smile on her face.
He kissed her on the lips as soon as the gum was out.
They lost control of their feelings in that kiss. They lost touch of time and their surroundings in that kiss as their hands caressed and touched places that brought nothing but pleasure. They explored and gave their all till there was nothing more to give when they made love under the stars in the gardens.
Prince looked down at Maya sleeping soundly in his arms and smiled. He would give anything to stay like this forever. He knew all the walls he built had tumbled down without a fight or a sound. He had vowed to marry a virgin. He had seen his resolve broken to pieces right before his eyes and the funny part was that he had enjoyed every second of it. He knew Maya was his angel and was aware he would walk in her halo for the rest of his life. He knew he had broken every rule that night. He knew it was a risk he had taken but he just did not care what was in store for them. He loved her. He loved her more than words could say.
They both drifted off to sleep and he had woken when he remembered the trouble they would meet if they returned to their camps late. They were already an hour late when he checked the time. He looked down at her peaceful face and saw that she was everything he needed. He could see her love written all over her face and prayed that it would never fade away. He knew that he would see her halo everywhere he went. Her love had hit him like a ray of sun and totally transformed his darkness into a bright light.
He felt awakened and loved. He knew from that day onward, everywhere he went he would be surrounded by Maya’s embrace.
He patted her softly and told her it was time to go.
She sat up and looked shyly into his eyes.
“I love you, Maya Ofori-Mintah!”
“I love you too, Prince Osei Poku!”
They both got to their feet grudgingly and left hand in hand.
A few blocks from the girl’s camp, they stopped and just glared at each other, both filled with strong emotions.
Kevin pulled out a box from his pocket and handed it to her. He opened it to show its contents to her. He took out the beautiful necklace from the box and opened the locket. It had his picture and his initial in it.
Maya was dumbfounded. It was the most beautiful thing anybody had given her.
“I got it from the gift shop this afternoon. I don’t want you to ever forget me no matter what happens,” he said and put it around her neck.
Prince handed her the note that came with the necklace.
It was a poem he had penned just for her.
The Way You Are!
When I look at your face, there’s nothing I would change if I had the power to.
You are perfect the way you are.
Your beautiful eyes make the stars look dull,
Your hair is beautiful and electrifying,
Your smile brings all the joy I need in my life,
You are amazing just the way you are.
So never, ever change.
Live large because you are blessed and loved by this poor heart of mine!” POP
Maya had tears of joy in her eyes.
She felt overwhelmed with love and happiness. Prince’s words had touched the core of her soul and she felt elated, lifted and adorned with the most expensive jewellery in the whole wide world.
“I want you to promise me you will never change, Maya. That you would be just the way you are. “ Prince said.
“I promise with all my heart! I will never change. I will never forget you.”
Maya pulled out a bracelet she had made with beads and loom bands and gave it to him. She told him it wasn’t much of a present but the important part was that she had made it with love.
Prince had kissed her briefly and hugged her more than twice before they finally parted for the night.
They both walked into their camps to find their chaperone fuming with a mixture of rage and fear. After endless interrogations, they had both been able to convince their chaperones that they had fallen asleep whiles watching the stars under one of the trees in the garden.
They were both so apologetic and taken that they were usually composed kids and had not misbehaved throughout the two weeks of camping; the matter had been laid to rest and they had been released to go to bed. It was way past midnight and their buses would leave early in the morning.
That night sleep eluded both of them as the uncertainty of the future hit them.