Twisted Thrice
Twisted Thrice
Author: Nana Kwasi Anto-Hia

CHAPTER ONE

It was early June. The rains had begun. And the weather was cold.

Early morning that day, when I was still in bed, grandma entered my room, and when I had responded to her call, she drew closer to the bed and whispered into my ears: “Someone wants to see you.” 

It didn’t occur to me to ask Grandma who it was. It could be Eben, my friend; I thought. He visits me whenever he hears that I'm back at the village.

I dressed up quickly and went out. It wasn’t Eben. It was Esther, and with her was her sister. Esther was a high school student in her final year, the daughter of grandma's friend. I knew her and everything about her family. Rumour in the community had it that, her father and brothers dabbled in the occult.  Her mum had divorced her dad. And her three sisters were married. She was the last born of her mum and dad. Her dad had another wife, but there were no children between them except step children. 

Esther was slim. Her face was below average in beauty. Her skin was flawless. Her finger and toe nails were beautiful and always neatly trimmed. Her titties were small but always stood beautifully in her dress. She had a slim waist, and below it was her supple, callipygous backside. She had a long neck, a small head, and a face that was not broad.

She first smiled when she saw me. Her beautiful smile revealed her beautiful white teeth  and her beautiful diastema between her upper incisors. She looked away when our eyes met. I didn’t understand her body language, but I smiled back. She loves me? I couldn’t tell.  I love her? I doubted.

The  super feminine, warm floral scent of jasmine on her first greeted me when I neared her. And before she said a greeting for me to respond, I wondered how she was able to afford such an expensive perfume. Like everyone in the community, her family were peasant farmers. Incomes were low. And expensive possessions were rare.

She greeted, looked away, and giggled. Her sweet voice nearly flicked my thoughts from what I was about to ask her, not because it plunged me into some sort of romantic tickles; it was because I had never heard her speak with such a voice. Perhaps, I didn’t know her as much as I thought. 

“I was told you are looking for me,” I initiated a conversation after I had responded to her greeting. I didn’t mean to have any meaningful conversation with her anyway. It was customary; I didn’t have to wait for her to tell me her reason for the visit after saying a greeting to me. 

Before she could reply me,  grandma slowly walked past us and headed to Esther’s sister who was standing few meters away. I perceived her intention – she was on a mission to eavesdrop what would transpire between us. I understood her actions better when Esther turned to look at grandma before she replied me. The two of them knew something I didn’t know about.

“Yes,” she replied, and giggled again. “We are on our way to visit our aunt, and I just decided to stop by and check on you.”

My mind wandered momentarily before I spoke. She wasn’t my friend, and I could not remember when I had ever had any sort of conversation with her. So, why did she decide to check on me? I couldn’t completely understand her. 

“That’s good of you. Thank you for checking on me." My voice sounded low.

Esther giggled once more. And stealthily, turning her eyes towards me, she glanced at me quickly.

I smiled as ours eyes met again. I began to understand the silent words that her eyes were speaking to me, but I had no urge to reply her likewise. We stood looking at each other for  few seconds. She probably expected me to say something more, but I had nothing to say. 

There was silence for few seconds until the sound of grandma’s feigned cough coincided with a hen's cackle. Then, Esther’s sister turned to look at us. A smile accompanied her words as she spoke. “How are you, Quasi?"

I responded positively.

And  jokingly, she added: “Your wife will visit you another time. May I have your permission to go with her now?”

Grandma laughed heartily. It was the first time I saw her laugh so cheerfully after the death of grandpa. I could guess the depth of her joy – it was deep.

But why? Why was she so happy to hear Esther’s sister refer to me as the husband of Esther?  She had her reasons, I was sure.

Like an unstoppable, contagious, airborne disease, grandma's cheerful laughter spread to Esther and her sister. The three women laughed as I stood watching them. I felt embarrassed at a point so, I frowned. 

Esther’s sister got wind of my mood, and stopped laughing. “Don’t mind us, Quasi."  There was a kind of warmth in her voice. Her intent was to let me forgo any ill perception of their actions. "We women often laugh without any reason," she added.

Hiding my thoughts, I feigned a smile in response to her, and however ungenuine my smile was, she perceived she had been able to persuade me to believe that, there was no reason behind their laughter.

Grandma understood my mood better. She knew me more than I knew myself. She gave me a sign to brighten up, when she turned to look at me.

Grandma was excellent in signs and gestures. She could blink her eyes thrice in a second to deliver different messages. Her expertise in gestures was something I could never master though I understood every bit of it.

Esther and her sister continued on their way shortly after.

Then, slowly, Grandma took few steps to get closer to me. I knew her intent. Her usual facial expressions when she was bent on persuading someone showed up. I didn’t give her the chance to speak first.

“I know what you have done." I spoke with a voice that she so well understood. It was a voice that she always reacted negatively to – one that displeased her always. 

I expected her usual negative reaction to the voice that so much irritated her, but this time, she smiled  and stood silent, staring at me. She swallowed her saliva before she spoke. She perhaps found it uneasy to voice out what she intended to tell me.

“You are growing,” she said simply, held my hand and led me to a bench on the veranda.

It was obvious she didn’t want anyone to hear what she wanted to tell me. “You are growing,” she repeated her words as she straightened the bench for us to sit. “It is time you consider getting a girlfriend.”

I chuckled silently, shaking my head. “Never have I told you that I can’t make a choice when I’m ready. She’s not attractive to me. You connived with your friend to give me her daughter?” 

I knew my words would irritate grandma the more, but I needed to be frank. I was serious. 

“When are you going to be ready? And who says she’s ugly? Do you know who an ugly girl is? You didn’t see her backside, her flawless skin, the beautiful diastema in her front teeth, and her beautiful smile?” 

“And why are you not talking about her face and her small titties?” I replied grandma before she could end her persuasive reasoning.

Taken by surprise by my undiluted utterance, grandma kept quiet, shook her head, looked at me and laughed. “I   didn’t know you are spoilt already, grandson . . ."

She paused and laughed. “What are you going to do with her titties?”

I wondered the answer she wanted me to give her. She probably didn’t know that I cherished plump and beautiful titties, not the overly large ones anyway. “I’m not spoilt,” I said, leaving out her question about the titties.

“Quasi,” she called loudly as if I was far away from her. I knew what that meant – she demanded my full attention.  “Every girl and every woman is beautiful, but the most beautiful one of all is not the one with the most attractive physical features,” she continued, as she looked at me without blinking an eye. “The most beautiful girl or woman is one whose heart is hidden from predators; one whose yes always mean yes; one who loves you not because you love her; one whose tongue doesn’t pronounce words that are hard to understand, and whose lips doesn’t feign a smile.

“And, if it happens that a handsome man, a man of dignity meets this most beautiful girl I have described to you, even in the grave, their bones rattle memories of the nights when sugar and honey were eaten with the skin instead of the tongue.”

The proverbs were new to me; their meanings were not clear, but I decided not to interrupt her till she finished everything she had to say. Grandma had the habit of changing topics whenever she was interrupted when making a point. Her examples and explanations almost always led to different discussions. I didn’t want that to happen.

“My grandson,” she continued, narrowing her point around Esther, “the girl who just left here is beautiful. It will take you a little more time to see. I see what you don’t see. It’s true you are taller than me, but my aged and dim eyes see farther than yours.”

I sat quiet ignoring all distractions,  and listened attentively to her when her sermon creeped back to the young woman she was trying to get me yoked with. She sounded convincing, but my young, masculine mind could not agree with her. Yes, grandma was right to an extent – Esther wasn’t completely ugly. Apart from her face and her small titties, I admired everything she was endowed with. But, I wanted my dream woman to be complete. That was my choice. 

Though my mind was unreceptive to Grandma’s persuasions, I knew she   spoke with genuine concern and wisdom. She simply wanted the best for me, but I doubted she fully considered what my heart desired.  Or, did she think I was green about romance, so youthful folly and exuberance would cause me to swallow any bait  and get hooked? No, I was not at all ready to negotiate what my heart desired.

So, when grandma brought her well-meaning sermon to an end, I respectfully made it known to her my feelings about her friend’s daughter.

“I don’t love her,” I said without realizing that I had raised my voice.

One of my uncle’s sons brushing his teeth behind the house heard me and laughed. 

Grandma grinned. She was enthused over my stand, I thought. I was wrong. What she said next made me understand that she grinned not because she had given up in her resolve to get me convinced to allow her friend’s daughter into my life. 

“That’s how it has always been, grandson." She said, and cast her eyes down, shaking her head.

I could see her mood swing from one of hope to one that was reflective. She thought deeply.  She remained silent for close to a minute before she spoke again.

“Grandson,” she bounced back much spiritedly, with warmth in her voice, “romance is like a dice; it always takes two sides to win a fortune but often, it is only one side that gets the attention. The one you love may not love you back. And it is highly unlikely that two people would love each other equally. Like the downside of a dice, a true lover isn’t one that comes with glory to seek your praise. There would be no top side of a dice if the down side decides not to rest.

“Grandson, you have the right to choose who your heart desires, but be careful so that you don’t  throw away the precious pearl that finds you, and go chasing after a mere shining stone.” 

The words of  grandma, though filled with proverbs and hard to understand to the full, made me think. “Isn’t love all about choosing a partner that appeals to one the most? Who would choose gold over diamonds, and stones over gold?” Many were the silent questions that my juvenile mind could not answer. 

“I don’t understand all that,” I told grandma as she stood up from the bench to continue her morning activities. 

“You will understand someday, grandson. I was once like you, and you will be like me someday. We become wise only when life's lessons leave a stain in our lives. A time may come when you will remember our chat today.”

I said nothing again. My eyes were fixed on grandma as she walked to the kitchen, but I wasn’t actually looking at her; my juvenile mind was still occupied with the many unanswered questions about romance and one’s choice of a partner.

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