Thursday, December 1, 2022


Flight number GH 8986 was fast approaching its destination: KIA. The last announcements and instructions before touchdown reached him via the speakers. They came in English and French, and he understood them both. He was lost in a reverie; he was taken away as he was trying a grammatical parsing of the English sentences when his neighbour nudged him to fasten his seat-belt. He had that eerie feeling there was something amiss but was unable to say what. Certainly, a common announcement had no power to levitate him on a good day.

He did buckle up with promptness. He then reached out into his backpack for his mobile phone. He could remember ignoring messages for a third day running because he was working on something rather important. He now wanted to read a few of them, knowing that within minutes he would be in his home airspace. He’s hoping to catch up on the latest juicy gossip before touch down. Anas, Kwesi Nyantakyi and Kenedy Agyepong must have staled out of the news, he assured himself.

A countless number of messages started popping up. He deemed them to be group chat messages making a fuss out of the lawyers’ divorce but was deluded. He felt delaying a read but the urge to acquaint himself was stronger, and the surge was alarming.

It was indeed shocking, what he saw. He initially thought it a joke but the accompanying pictures, vox pop and voice notes proved he must prepare to solve a calamity. It was indeed a disaster. He left WhatsApp Messenger for Facebook’s funny solace, but it was worse there. Pages upon pages were awash with the news. He turned his phone off, hoping it was all a trance or rather pretending he did not see. He could not hold the trauma and therefore tuned his phone off. Just then something told him he should rather read the messages to know what was in store for him before getting home.  He complied.

He sought to find out when this disaster occurred: three days ago. That was his birthday. “God have mercy”, he muttered under his breath.

James was thirty seven, holding two post graduate degrees. A professional lawyer who had a Master of Philosophy degree in French from France. An ECOWAS lawyer, at least that’s what his friends called him. He was returning from Kenya, aboard a Zimbabwean national carrier. He would not sit on a British Airways nor Lufthansa airbus for personal reasons. Since his country’s national airline went down almost a decade earlier, he had preferred to board an African airbus, no matter the tomfoolery he had to endure. He was in Kenya seeking admission to read his PhD in French. Why Kenya of all places if he could afford it in France? Why not in any francophone country or even Ghana which is bordered by three francophone countries? No one ever understood James.

He reminded himself it was six weeks since the debauchery took place. And he’s been away for three weeks now. Before his departure, calls to Janice’s numbers ether did not go through or went unanswered. In fact he woke up the day after the act, feeling sick and sorry about the whole thing. He was in fact fasting for a wife and could not understand why he could bring himself to sleeping with a member of the choir. The thought of the popular messages he listened to at home struck him that morning.