Nights are cool in Accra, in August. I’m sat at this alfresco place somewhere in Osu. The beers here are always about two degrees shy of being frozen. Perfect for consumption. The food is great when there’s not a lot of people. There’s not a lot of people. It’s Sunday night.
Hell Work resumes tomorrow. I don’t have work. I quit because of you.
I get the grilled tilapia, with some cassava chips. Not yam, cassava. Just like you liked. The pepper is hot, the kind of hot that can only be countered by a cold, cold beer. Accra capitalism. Staying by plan. Make your pepper very hot, sell more beers.
A couple of foreigners are scattered around in plastic chairs. The music is shit, probably off some playlist on YouTube. None of us are here for the music. It’s set at a low volume so we can hear ourselves talk. That’s fine. For everyone here except me. You’re not here, so I don’t talk much. Only to the tired waiter.
I clean off my tilapia till there’s just a few bones on my plate. It takes me three beers to handle the pepper. I order a fourth. Light a cigarette to counter the coolness of the wind. I’m satisfied. Stomach full, but empty inside. I am contradiction personified. There’s probably a quote for that by some obscure philosopher. If you were here you’d know.
I exhale smoke, and scroll through my phone. Messages from people wondering why they haven’t heard from me in a while. You’re the reason. Other messages wishing me a happy birthday. There’s nothing happy about birthdays. All they do is cause existential angst. Half the foreigners leave. Maybe something happening elsewhere. I don’t know.
I put out the cigarette with my foot. Light another one. I half expect to hear you complain. You tolerated my smoking after meals if I kept it to one stick per meal. You’re silent. You’re not there. I look up, trying to get the waiter’s eye. I want to pay the bill, tip him something nice, then leave. I catch the eye of this girl instead. She doesn’t look like she’s from around here. She smiles. I smile back. It’s perfunctory, but it works. I catch the waiter’s eye. He comes over. I ask him to get the woman any drink she wants. She gets a beer. Just like you did. She’s passed my little test. I get up. Four beers in my body makes me a little woobly, and my tongue is loose. I walk over to her.
Ghanaian? I ask. She laughs. Canadian, she says. I ask to sit, she agrees. You look like you have some Ghanaian in you, I start. She smiles. She doesn’t, she tells me. Do you want to? I ask back.
Do I want to what? She inquires. She’s slow to the take. I smile mischievously. This was your favourite pickup line.
Do you want to have some Ghanaian in you tonight? I say. She gets it now. She grins. Let’s see how the night goes, she says coyly. We’re ready to leave.
Do you want to grab some drinks with me? I ask. Will there be music? She counters. I grin. I know just the place, I tell her. We signal the waiter. Pay him, tip him. He’s not so tired now.
We get up to leave. I catch her checking me out. I smile a small smile. We both know we’re going to fuck each other tonight.
Maybe she’ll be thinking of someone else too.