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Oh I have missed you so much, it hurts.  There is so much to tell you, I don’t know where to start from.  But I had to definitely go off for a few weeks.  The doctor had advised; heeding was for me to do.Huh, I didn’t want anyone to know this, but you, I can trust:  Obodai has for the third time put me in a family way and “merhn”, I don’t know if to blame it on my aging waist … but this time around, I really feel hassled and harassed by the condition.

I throw up often, produce lots of saliva, and have lost appetite.  Pleeeenty sleeping is what I love to do presently; I really feel lazy.  The smell of onions just repulses me. Poultry products are a no no.  The sight of fresh fish makes me throw up. 

Well, today, I am here to seek your advice on a matter.  You see, owing to my present “incapacitation”, I have had course to seek help with the cleaning of my home and in some cases, cooking.

I told a few neighbours about my need, and six weeks ago, a neighbour introduced me to a wingless angel in the name of Mercy, a young woman who lives down our road.  Her husband works as a chauffeur in a company here in Accra.

Mercy is such a blessing.  She comes in early each day to help sort Naa and Nii Friday out before their father sends them to school (on weekdays).  On a daily basis, she mops our apartment, scrubs, and cooks. 

Her hardworking nature aside, she is very generous.  She brings me fruits and vegetables frequently.  Anytime her husband travels outside Accra (and he travels virtually every week) he brings lots of foodstuffs.  She would bring me more than enough.  I don’t know how to repay her kindness. 

Just this Sunday however, something happened which has left me thinking; in fact, the incident has made my already diminished appetite almost vanish. 

Mercy brought me tomatoes, onions, kontomire, fresh pepper, two large tubers of yam and a bunch of plantains.  She prepared a large pot of gravy and kontomire stew for me.  For the first time in a long time I was able to eat relatively well on Sunday. 

Lost in gratitude, I decided to walk her home, to thank her kind husband.  That walk, I must say, did me a lot of good; I hadn’t stepped out of my home in two weeks. Her house is about 10 minutes’ walk from mine.

Parked outside their single room self-contain apartment was a black Mercedes-Benz hearse. I was quick to ask if there was a funeral in the compound house whose tenants they are. 

Smiling she said, “Antie Ablah, I thought you knew?”  I wondered what it was she thought I knew.  Without allowing me to speak further she said, “I thought you knew my husband was a driver?”  Yes, I knew he was a driver.  She hadn’t kept that from me.  But as to what company he chauffeured at, I didn’t know.

 My heart started to beat.  I was only hoping she wouldn’t tell me what I didn’t want to hear.  As I continued to contemplate what the hearse’s objective on their street was, she said, “Antie Ablah, my husband is a hearse driver”.  I almost screamed, “Whaaaaat?”  Thank heavens I didn’t.
She didn’t notice the distressed look my face had suddenly assumed else I am sure she would have read plainly into my thoughts, and would have regretted offering me those goodies. 

“So is it the hearse he buys all the foodstuffs with?” I asked. “Sure.  It’s spacious as you can see so he is able to buy loads of stuff each time he sends someone to the hinterland.

Sometimes too, the family members of whichever person he transports to a destination are able to give him some of the foodstuffs as gifts.    By “someone and person” she meant a corpse.  Apparently, it was his role to drive his company’s clients who were to be transported outside Accra.

How were the foodstuffs kept in the cabin when bought?  My mind began to race into various drives.  I began to imagine stubborn tomatoes and oranges which might have refused to be tied up tightly in their polythene bags rolling all over the cabin where the caskets and their content are held till the cemetery stage.

 Awwww, were the yams and cassava loaded into the cabin kept in polythene bags at all?  Or were they allowed to freely roll all over the casket region.    The kontomire she brought early that day, were they thrown into the back without being wrapped in a plastic bag, or were they neatly wrapped.  Were the many fruits and vegetables she brought exposed to the speechless experiences of the hearse’s cabin.  Oh saliva filled my mouth immediately. 

I immediately wished I hadn’t firmly sucked the juices of the oranges the way I had done each time she brought them.  I love to eat all of an orange but the rind, so my mind brought up images of how much of my mouth had probably licked and juiced around a “hearsy oranges”. Hmm.  And all those bananas I hadn’t washed before eating … Oh!

Feigning weakness, I withstood her from calling out her husband to greet me, and begged to quickly walk back home to rest.  I spat and spat all the way from her home to mine.  I couldn’t stop thinking of the means by which those edibles had been transported for all these weeks. 

I haven’t been able to touch the gravy or kontomire stew she prepared for me after my discovery.  Obodai doesn’t really mind.  He eats any of them when he has to.
But me.  I don’t know whether it’s my present state that’s making my imagination run so wild.  Thoughts of all the fruits and veggies I have patronised so far make me want to throw up. 

What must I do to free myself of this problem?  Mercy tells me her husband will be traveling to the Brong Ahafo Region on Friday – he is transporting a “client”.  On his return, he will bring a lot of foodstuffs and I am therefore marked for a joyful receipt. 

How do I stop her from implementing her plans?  How can fruits and veggies for the living be transported by a hearse?  Help me.

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