This Thing In Our Chests: by Awo Twumwaah

They are friends again; now that the traffic has turned that sleepy green and there are no potential pedestrian customers in sight.

“How much did you make?”

He smiles into her face.

“You first”

She chooses their normal route of conversation. He twitches his lips. His almost empty blue bowl begins to dance on his head. He tips it, reaches for, and bites the corner off one of the two unsold sachets, showing his half broken front tooth. As he downs the water, he studies her, like he does every morning before their goodbyes. Her small beautiful feet in the charlewote meant for a girl a year older, her rounded lips, freshly licked. He would remember every line and every detail of her face, even into his oldest age.

He continues to watch her even as she faces him with her own empty bowl beating lightly on her hips in rhythm to the words only she can hear.

“I said you first.” She teases.

She enjoys how he suddenly stops looking and truly struggles with keeping this truth from her. She understands. The decision to tell or not to tell is a hard one. She sees it, in her own truth she’s keeping from him. This afternoon, her Aunt says she must be sent for the cutting; a mark of all the women she comes from. Her Aunt says it will pain her but she cannot stop her going. She knows. She heard the loud barking from the clan messengers when her Aunt mentioned her upcoming exams and asked about the possibility of rescheduling. But that hasn’t bothered her like the gnawing dreams she’s woken up from each night, or the present knowing that the goodbyes said today will be the last she’d ever say.

She steps in front of him, kisses her palms and places it on his beating chest. The two lovers said goodbye this way in the Korean series she watched last night. He doesn’t understand. He once said that he only watches boxing because boxing is for men. So he silently looks at her now, knowing nothing of the sand storm she’s holding in her chest.


Awo Twumwaah (@awotwumwaah ‏) currently lives in Accra, Ghana. She works in the accounting and Finance field, and is a lover of the arts. She is currently interested in poetry, fiction and the performing arts. She shares her life and work on her blog and her social media platforms.

Related country: Ghana

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