Kojo and Bisi: Love Brewed in a Hazy Pot

Mon, 19 Apr 2010 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

Kojo and Bisi: Love Brewed in a Hazy Pot

It was the summer of 2002 when Kojo fell in love with Bisi. He was 15; she was 16. They were both students at a local secondary school in Ho, Volta Region. Kojo is of Ewe descent; Bisi is a Ghanaian citizen born to Nigerian immigrants. Bisi's parents had moved to Ghana in the early 1960s in search of Kwame Nkrumah's promise of a better Ghana; they had no reason to return to their Motherland, as they prospered in their business: petty trading. Although Kojo was the younger of the two, he was already in Form Four at the time, while Bisi was in Form Three. They had met one hazy afternoon on the corridors of the school's Assembly Hall. He stared at her for such a long time, an outraged Bisi would ask sarcastically, "What are you looking at, mister?" Smiling and pretending to not have heard her haughty comment, Kojo asked, "What is your name, lady?" To which Bisi responded, "Who wants to know?" They both smiled simultaneously and disappeared in different directions.

Kojo could not sleep that night! He had gone to bed shortly after completing his assignments for the next day, but sleep would develop wings and fly away from him, leaving him to battle thoughts that were more appropriate for an adult. He was in love – there was no doubt about it. But what was he to do? He knew he was too young to worry about seeking the affection of a member of the opposite sex, more so because most secondary schools had strict regulations in place regarding concupiscent cavorting. Kojo was also aware that stories abounded of past students who got poor grades in school, especially at the G.C.E. Ordinary Level, because they took an inordinate physical interest in members of the opposite sex. Above all, Kojo was conscious of his family's penurious condition, which meant that he had a thorough understanding of the sacrifices that his parents made each year to keep him in school!

Despite Kojo's thorough analyses of the compendium of issues now buffeting his mind, he was determined to make Bisi his girl – and nothing was going to stop him from conquering that ostensibly intractable hurdle: he was convinced that winning Bisi's heart was not going to be an easy task! The next day, right after supper when most students would gather in front of their classrooms for a quick chatter before the commencement of the mandatory two-hour evening studies – usually from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Kojo walked up to Bisi and said "hello." She smiled exposing a not-so-white set of teeth marked by unusual indentations on their anterior surfaces. Despite these "imperfections," Kojo knew in his heart that he was smitten – and Bisi's extraordinarily captivating smile had removed the last layer in his wall of resistance!

Kojo spent the first 30 minutes of that evening writing a beautiful poem about Bisi, which he intended to hand to her the next evening. He had begun his ode, "My feelings for you outstrip the vastness of the ocean …." Although Kojo tried hard to focus on his studies, his feelings for Bisi seemed to have taken over every myelinated nerve fiber in his brain, forcing him to jettison his readings and devote the rest of the evening to writing the sort of poem that he believed would make maximum impact. At 9:00 p.m., right after the school bell effused its monotonous echoes into the tranquil campus air, Kojo scampered off to his dormitory, where Bisi continued to remain the central character in his young mind. Suddenly, fear gripped his heart as he wondered if these feelings floating in and out of him were what love was made of. He wished he could simply wrap a strong rope around this lumber of love and throw it away, but it was not going to be easy.

It would take precisely one week before Kojo had another face-to-face encounter with Bisi, and it was on the school's soccer pitch, as the soccer team was practicing for an impending match. Bisi's boyfriend, Frank, was a regular defensive player on the team, although he was only 15 and in Form Three. Kojo did not ascertain this information about Frank readily, but Bisi's loud cheers for one particular player – Frank – had aroused Kojo's suspicion, which then forced him into asking bystanders if they knew of a special relationship between Frank and Bisi. The response, which came from a skinny female student with a pronounced forehead, was not what Kojo had expected: Bisi was in love with Frank and Kojo knew immediately that the wall he needed to climb to make Bisi his own had just doubled in height!

Kojo felt a mélange of emotions – hate, jealousy, bitterness, despair – as he tried to regain his composure. What was he to do? Should he continue with his plan to woo Bisi? Was this a sign from a higher power that it was better for him to rather focus on his education now and leave matters of the heart for the future, when he would have matured considerably? Should he try to find out if Frank's and Bisi's relationship was more than casual and if they knew each other intimately, although they were both still young?

Completely buried in his thoughts and momentarily unaware of his surroundings, Kojo did not notice that the soccer ball had drifted toward where he stood, with a group of four players – two from each opposing team – in a maniacal and frantic chase to get there first, as was expected. Before Kojo could get out of the way, one of the players had viciously, albeit inadvertently, knocked him to the ground.

It would be several hours later before Kojo regained full consciousness, his right leg entombed in a plaster-of-Paris cast. His right leg had been twisted awkwardly by the impact, leaving his tibia broken in two places. It was now obvious that he would walk around campus in crutches for several weeks, a task that was nevertheless daunting for a young man who always got around briskly and effortlessly. Kojo's parents, as distraught as they were, would never learn the whole truth: that their son was so engrossed in a possible romantic liaison with Bisi, he let down his guard around a group of aggressive and combative footballers.

The next day, while soliloquizing in his hospital bed about the events of the previous day, Kojo was informed that he had two guests. He told the nurse it was all right to let them in. As Frank – with Bisi by his side – apologized to Kojo for accidentally knocking him unconscious the previous day in an effort to get to the ball first, Kojo could only wonder if his mind was playing a trick on him again. So it was Frank! Believing that Frank's commiseration was verisimilitudinous, at best, Kojo quickly jettisoned his now-hazy feelings for Bisi and replaced them with sharp, vile thoughts for Frank, wishing that he could lunge at Frank and tear him to pieces! As Kojo feigned an intensification of pain in his right leg and called for the nurse on duty, Frank and Bisi had no choice but to announce that they were leaving. As the two lovers walked out of the room, unintelligible curses rang out of Kojo's mouth, forcing the nurse to wonder if the fracture had afflicted his mind, too.

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master's degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.