Mrs Clara Oforiwaa-Appau could not imagine what attracted her husband to the poor house help. But the more she thought about it, the more she got confused. And the fact that her husband, Kofi Boadi Appau, would not say anything beyond his apology, troubled her more.
The fact, however, was that her husband was more worried and scandalised by Nana Aba’s four-month old pregnancy than she was. He, however, had nothing to say except his continual prayer for the forgiveness of sins, his remorseful apologies to his wife and his determination to soak all the insults and abuses she subjected him to without any reply.
Mr Appau was the managing director of one of the country’s leading banks, and his wife was the human resource manager of the nation’s topmost insurance company. They had been married for 15 years. He was a respected elder of his church, and the youth looked up to him as a role model. His humility and modest disposition, despite his position, were simply matchless. And his moral uprightness was unquestionable.
In a world where all men are often tarred with the same brush with regard to fidelity, Clara often boasted about her husband’s commitment: “Even if I catch him naked in the same room with another woman, I will still not believe anything really happened between them.”
So she could not just understand what came over him to have stooped so low to have an affair with this stark illiterate who possessed nothing to attract even the wildest and most indiscriminate womaniser. Mr Appau could also not understand why he could not tame himself in this situation after he had endured some of the most tempting women of his life.
He had caused the transfers of two of his personal secretaries and requested that he would no longer work with female secretary because of their seductive tendencies. The most tempting of all was his nightly encounter with, Mavis, the sexy national service lady from the communications unit of his bank, who once travelled with him to Kumasi for a business meeting.
Mr Appau had a presentation the following morning and asked Mavis to polish it up for him. They had met after dinner and he had given her the clear instructions on what to do. So Mr Appau was startled when she knocked at his door and wanted to show him something and seek clarification. He grudgingly agreed and allowed Mavis in, but to his dismay, she was practically naked.
Her nightgown was transparent and her protruding breasts almost hugged him. As he led her to the table, she found a way of shaking her rounded waist, causing her Somanya-made beads that lay loosely on her bare and well-endowed backside to vibrate provokingly, delivering an irresistible invitation to her prey.
Mr Appau soon realised the issue she wanted to clarify was no issue at all, but before he found time to ask why she came all the way to his room because of that simple matter, she spoke in the most romantic voice, which he thought came from above.
“Sir, why did we have to book two rooms and pay so much when the two of us can share this spacious bed and feel even more comfortable?” she asked.
Before he opened his mouth, her dainty fingers, which were picking imaginary objects from his close-shaven hair, had travelled down into his ear lobes. He was dazed.
As he fought hard to say something, she was on his bed with her knees raised, exposing her smooth and well-carved thighs. She wore no pant and when Mr Appau turned, Yaa Mansa, the devil which subdues even the strongest of all men, greeted his gaze.
“You can sleep here and I can sleep here,” she said. “That’s why they gave you two pillows.”
“You devil, get out of my room,” Mr Appau howled after awakening from what appeared to him like a dream. Too shocked to utter a word, Mavis stood up, picked her laptop and made for the door. He was the first man to survive her trap. Three heads of departments had fallen for her without any effort and she wondered what kind of man Mr Appau was. Perhaps, he was not a man, she thought.
A few minutes later, she came timidly for her key and went her way.
Despite his ability to ward off these kinds of mounting pressures from women, Mr Appau fell for Aba, his house help, when there was practically no temptation.
It was a Saturday afternoon and his wife was attending the speech and prize day of her alma mater. Aba had just prepared an early lunch of plantain and kontomire stew and he really relished it so much. After eating she cleared the table with her usual courtesies. He then called her to pour him glass of fruit drink from the refrigerator, after which he complimented her cooking.
It was when she turned to go that he could not hold back what he had developed for her of late. He asked her where she was going and she said she was going to take her bath. He instructed her to hurry up and see him for a discussion, to which she respectfully obliged and took her bath in a matter of five minutes.
When she had finished, he was in his bedroom and invited her to come.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked Aba, after asking her to sit on the bed. She shook her head shyly and he went ahead to ask whether she sometimes felt like having a man.
She was too confused to answer. He asked again and she nodded. “I like you,” Mr Appau said and held her close to himself. She was too frightened to protest until he began to undress her. “There’s nothing to fear. It will be over soon,” he assured her and went ahead to peel off her clothes.
“Are you in your dangerous days,” he asked. It was needless because he was already inside.
“No, Sir,” Aba said without taking time to understand what that meant.
She lay like a piece of log and endured it, for she was too frightened to enjoy. It happened once and he could not bring himself to continue, for guilt had already dispossessed him of his manly prowess. After fruitless attempt to resurrect Kofi Manu>, he ordered her to get up and dress.
He handed her two GH₵50 notes. She was reluctant to take it until he said, “Take it. buy yourself a new pant.” He had seen that not only had her otherwise white pant become brownish with age, but it had been over-used and he had nearly torn it into pieces in his hurry to undress her.
Mr Appau became traumatised and fasted for the forgiveness of his sins and was almost recovering when the seed he had sown two months earlier began to germinate.
His insistence that the pregnancy should not be aborted infuriated his wife, and was the cause of her never-ending abuse for days. To his dismay, however, she woke him up in the middle of the night to apologise to him.
“Darling, I’m sorry for the abuse. I have been praying over this for some time now and the Spirit tells me you were bewitched,” she said. “I should have known better that nothing about that dirty thing could ever attract you when you have a wife like me.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do with witchcraft,” Mr Appau spoke for the first time. “That girl has something that you don’t have, something that attracted me the wrong way.”
“What does this dirty thing have that I don’t have?” she screamed.
“She has respect. I cannot justify what has happened, but if Aba has any witchcraft at all, then it is her respect. She makes me feel welcomed in my home,” he spoke with unusual steadiness in his voice.
“In this house she makes me feel important. It is something you have starved me for the fifteen years we’ve been married. It is a luxury and I easily get swayed by it.”
She wanted to reply but no word came out of her shaky lips. Her reply was with tears. Tears of grief. Tears of guilt. And tears of regret.
Mrs Clara Oforiwaa-Appau was a kind of woman every man would dream of having but she lacked respect for her husband. And she did not argue when her husband told her what made him fall.
Serwaa, you may be wondering why I have decided to bore you with yet another long tale. I’m not in any way laying the foundation for infidelity. I have no excuse to cheat on you. But I just want to illustrate the currency we men place on respect.
I’m not calling for worship. I’ve realised that respect is the missing element in your character and I have complained for the umpteenth time but without any positive response. Respect should be mutual but I have realised I give but I never receive.
If our relationship, and for that matter our marriage, will succeed, then it will depend on respect. We have to respect each other in order to live together. Make me feel appreciated. Let me know you value me. And treat me the way I treat you.
On mutual respect shall we build our marriage and the gates of divorce shall not prevail against it. Yours truly, Manasseh.
The Writer, Manasseh Azure Awuni is a senior broadcast Journalist with Joy 99.7 FM, Accra, Ghana. Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org