Date Archives December 13, 2018

The Elder from the War

She sat down, half-sliming and taking a sip of a cup of smoothie she had just picked up from the counter. From the corner of his eyes Kevin noticed the attendant at the counter staring at them. He must have thought to himself, “Are they married? Are they ‘committing sin’?” Just then Mr. Koku walked in, staggering. The way he walked one feared for him that he would suddenly fall apart. “He must be ill or something …” Amanda thought to herself. Kevin didn’t see him until he turned around from the counter. He was both shocked and upset. How could he intrude so rudely? Did he need money all the time? Kevin received money in six digits every month so he had no way on understanding that Ten Cedis every week was very difficult to live on particularly when someone was on drugs!

“How may we help you, Sir?” he snapped, giving Mr. Kokou a very hostile stare, straight in the eye. The old man was not a bit perturbed. He let out a little forced cough and softly responded in a cracked voice:

“I am so sorry to disturb you Sir…” He dipped his right hand in his breast pocket and out came a doctor’s prescription for some lung infection. “…I have to by some medicine… you see I used to smoke a lot before so it affected my lungs and created all sort of diseases in my tracheal system. I don’t have anyone to help me… please just Twenty Cedis to buy my medicine…”


Kevin’s first instinct was to ask what had happened to his extended family. How was it possible that he did not have anyone at all to help him? On second thoughts, he felt there was no need inciting another long story about the old man’s life. He needed to spend time with Amanda who was just smiling at the old man. He handed him a Fifty Cedi note and Mr. Kokou thanked him profusely.

“That must be the second time this week you are giving someone something to dismiss them rather than out of Christian compassion!” Amanda said, sipping her smoothie carefully,

“Unless of course you have other beneficiaries…”

Kevin stared at her. She always seemed to get him thinking more seriously about his spirituality.

“You do know he still smokes, right? Probably Indian Hemp!”

“What?”

Amanda laughed aloud. She could not believe the depth of his naivety. 

“The dark lips, bloodshot eyes, desperately agitating for small amounts of cash… he is what you call a junky. Does that make you regret giving him money?”

“Of course!” Kevin snapped, visibly upset.


Amanda laughed again, practically reeling. “You don’t want your money used for unholy purposes? Anyway, I think you just weren’t paying attention the last two encounters you’ve had with him. You might have noticed if not for a certain tall dark lady you were thinking about”

“Naughty you! And I suppose you know the name of that lady, huh?”

Amanda rolled her eyes and pursed her lips. Kevin watched her, strongly attracted to her sassiness. Her boldness in saying her mind. Her brain that matched her beauty.

“On a more serious note, Kevin, I think most people in our churches these days are simply too much into their own selves. I am avoiding using the word selfish but that is just what it is. When I was young, we were Catholics and a lot of emphasis was placed on helping the poor and less privileged. Why should the fact that a junky comes to church to beg for money bother you? Who did Jesus die for?”


Culled from Osimiri & Other Stories