Local Classic

Author’s note: This is fiction. The narrator is a figment of my imagination, not me.

Local Classic

Fashion, these days, is more like a lifestyle than a statement. And although I am seventeen, almost legally an adult, there are females, both older and younger than me who wear so many uncomfortable things, for the sake do looking good. Sometimes, it would be worth it, I agreed because they’d look stunning even when they couldn’t, breathe, and the tightness in their midsections do help minimise their food intake, which is a great thing for people who were getting fat anyway.

So I enjoy my walks on the street. I get to observe people in their very own self-inflicted discomfort, which is amusing, just like the big joke called life.

What I see: the girls wearing bodycons so tight that they have to suck their stomachs in as dad as to look concave; the girls with the skirts so tight that they have to pull their shirt down one side then the other, after every step; those people wearing strapless clothes that have to be pulled up every minute. But my favourite thing to observe is the women in high heels.

A woman walks robotically, trying to make sure that after every step, she won’t fall. Paranoia affects her balance, and then she wobbles. She pauses, then looks around furtively, making sure nobody noticed. Then she passes by, trying to look more self-assured, like it never happened, and also because she still feels sexy. It’s a good feeling. All around me, on certain days are the mechanical footsteps and the never-ending chorus of kro-chia-kro-chia, as the stiletto heels touch the cement pavement. But I…I choose a different path.

I’m in my Levi denims, with a black Calvin Klein shirt on top. My earrings are gold-plated and dangly, as are the numerous bracelets I wear on my wrists, which jingle each time I move them. When I have my braids, they’re in an elegant updo. When I’m rocking my weave, it cascades like a waterfall on my shoulders. My style is classic.

But when I’m roaming the streets of Accra, no outfit of mine is ever complete without my one signature: my favourite, turquoise pair or chalewote. I am not just designer classic. I am the local classic.

Chalewote :D
Chalewote 😀

-Akotowaa

P.S. Ghana has no giraffes, in case any foreign people are reading this blog. And to whoever manages Delta Airlines’ twitter account: w’ayɛ adeɛ paa. Bɔ wo’nsam.

My Daughter Loves Me

Author’s Note: If you find controversy or anything you STRONGLY disagree with, attack the forty-nine year old, male, fictional narrator of the story, NOT me. Clearly, all opinions expressed are the opinions of said fictional, male, adult character. Any relation to the views of the author (me) is purely coincidental. Thank you.

My Daughter Loves Me

I remember when I was fifteen and I thought with conviction, “I will be the best parent in the world.” Of course, even then, I knew that by all standards, I couldn’t possibly be. My actual goal was to make my children think I was.

Thirty-four years down the line, I am almost a quinquagenarian, and my sixteen-year-old daughter still, amazingly, tells me that she loves me everyday. And I, still, amazingly, never get tired of it. She is my treasure, my life’s greatest achievement, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Sometimes, I actually feel that my sole reason for existence is to hear these words: “Daddy, I love you more than anyone in the world. Yes, even my boyfriend, who you really have to stop terrorizing,” on Father’s Day every year. Of course, she’d only started adding that last bit since she turned thirteen.

I knew, of course, that having a girl would be more work. I’d always believed they were more complex, more intentionally perceptive and harder to please. Yet, I had succeeded and that was all that mattered.

I think about all the people that pity children who have parents that are not very good to them. I constantly tell these people that sensible children will not need their pity. But with a greater intensity, I scorn those who slander children because they don’t show their parents enough “love,” even if said parents are horribly flawed people. The reason is: I believe in genuineness. One is only a deceiver if he displays love where he does not feel it. The whole “love them at all costs because they gave birth to you” mantra of adults, especially African adults, should be behind us by now. For giving birth to you, surely, one’s parents deserve respect. But love? It always has to be earned.

As to the aforementioned decision I made at the age of fifteen, I came to make it after I allowed myself to receive a lesson from my own terribly flawed father: You can learn how to be a good parent both by understanding what to do from a good parent and understanding what NOT to do from a bad one. Among what I learned were:

  1. Showering your child with no end of material things does not amount to a great show of love. Neither does it compensate for the time you don’t spend.
  2. Sometimes, the child is right, and I will not be doing myself a favor if I constantly refuse to accept it.
  3. If I don’t listen to my children, I will grow old not knowing a damn thing about them.
  4. If I am constantly lecturing, my child will never feel comfortable telling me anything, and again, I will grow old not knowing a damn thing about him/her.
  5. I should let my child be free to experiment alone…but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t pay attention.
  6. When I am proud of my children, I should tell them so.
  7. I will never let my children forget that I love them.

True to my word, I have never let my daughter forget that I love her, and she never hesitates to tell me anything.

Till today, I regret not having the courage to speak frankly to my now deceased father to alert him, “Hey, parenting? You’re doing it wrong.” But I know that the reaction would have been kin to this: In the words of Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, “What? My foot, my tutor?” The child did not teach the father. It was never done.

But I do not regret putting what I learned from an upraising with him to good use, because today, my daughter loves me.

-Ivana Akoto Ofori

“Musings on a May Night” by Ivana Akoto Ofori.

Written for FlashFiction Ghana.

Flash Fiction Ghana

Rain is here. I wash my clothes and I wait in fear for the element that desires nothing more than to prove my work futile. There’s nothing like the paradox of a Ghanaian night in May to spark memories. Indoors- ɛhyew wɔ mu: it’s hot. Outdoors-awɔ de me: I’m cold. Yet I’d rather not wear a cardigan (yes, even in spite of the vicious mosquitoes). I wouldn’t be able to feel the cool breeze. It’s as close as Ghana’s air ever gets to frosty, though “crisp” is a better descriptor.
What I’d really like – forget that it’s late – is a bowl of fufu and steaming hot abɛnkwan, to counter (or complement, whichever you prefer) the cold air. My thoughts take me back to ten years ago, age eight, on a similar May night. Except I wasn’t wishing for palm nut – I was pounding it.
That…

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Crossroads

Note that this was written for the sake of sheer stupidity. 🙂

Crossroads

I knew at once that I was at major crossroads in my life. You would have thought that after being faced with this same choice day after day, sometimes even multiple times in one day, that I’d have gotten used to it.

Not true. It never got easier. Left? Further left? Right? Further right? Or directly in front of me? So many roads. So little time to choose. Necessity tried to speed up my decision. Biology fueled the necessity to speed up my decision. They made things go faster but made nothing easier.

I stood there and deliberated. Someone walked in and intruded on my thoughts. Someone stared at me like I was crazy. Someone didn’t understand; no-one understood my dilemma.

After a few more seconds, I went with my sense of smell. I took the path of least resistance—and anyway, the number of options had decreased by one. That was because Someone never spent as long on this grave life choice as I did.

I sucked in my breath, held my head high and walked right into the left bathroom stall. I’d repeat it all again an hour after my next drink.

-Akotowaa