The cold sun looked golden and beautiful at this time of day, as though tempting you to come out and bathe in its sea of cruelty; the cold-hearted monster. No one came out while the sun raged anymore. Dela stood looking at the empty street from her room. Her small space was filled with countless recycled books and houseplants that needed little water to survive, almost everything she owned was either recycled or being reused. She dropped her curtains, sat back in her chair and pressed record.
“We meet again” Dela sighed into her tiny microphone. Her husky voice always held emotion in such a way that you somehow felt what she was feeling. “I’m sure we are all worried about the first edict the ‘government’ passed this evening” Am I really worried? Dela wondered “At this point we are tired of being worried” she paused “or scared.” It was true. The news, however devastating, never lasted more than a day. She giggled with a mix of bitterness and fondness. Strange and yet alluring, making you curious about her next words.
“Remember when the grown-ups thought COVID was the worst thing that could happen in their lifetime?” she paused and then sighed “I know it’s in the past” She sniffed loudly “And it will do no good to dwell on it but I can’t help but feel in this very moment, with all this uncertainty that THATSHOULD’AVEBEENTHEIRWAKEUPCALL!” Her hands and voice rose in frustration to no human audience but her semi-withering house plants. The poor things, they deserve none of her rage. She looked away and shouted, “We had the time!!” Her air purifier hummed in the background filling the empty silence as Dela’s mind was filled with the several warnings and movements by Climate Justice and Climate Change activists.
“We – had – the – time.” Dela repeated more softly, her voice laced with sorrow. They had lost people, everyone had. The ‘Yey3n’ flood had caused the biggest casualty yet, the entire Accra flooded, an estimation of three million people DEAD. It had rained for 8 days continuously as though to make up for the extreme heat Ghanaians had barely endured 2 months prior. Those who didn’t die by drowning died starving; waiting for a poorly equipped government who had failed to save them.
Dela suddenly found it difficult breathe, as though she was under the water again. The bodies she saw. Oh! The Horror! She began to feel dizzy and queasy. Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4 breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4, just like always, breathe in she steadied herself with her arm on her desk breathe out. Dela collapsed back into her chair.
“‘Had I known is always said at last’” she said on a shaky breath. Dela suddenly became conscious of the constant smell of mould in her apartment. She laughed out of nowhere, “Who remembers that saying?” she asked, wiping the sweat on her face with the back of her palm. Of course, she expected no response, this podcast had no listeners yet but the one-way conversation brought her a great deal of comfort so she continued, “It reminds me of those slim-slim storybooks like pamphlets that we read as children, you know, the ones that always had a moral lesson at the end” she laughed again, swaying lightly from side to side in her chair “‘You Reap What You Sow’, ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’, ‘No One Knows Tomorrow’” Dela paused “‘The Devil You Know is Better Than The Angel You Don’t Know’” Dela murmured reflectively. “They were so good”, a smile creeping up her face as she spoke. “So good”, she repeated.
Dela caught a reflection of herself in a portion of her mirror exposed from the falling drape. Her hair was a compressed black mass and the oversized t-shirt she wore with the words ‘Fix the Country’ written on it covered most of her thin body, however, what caught her eyes were, well, her eyes and the fear they clearly showed. Fear was of no use to her at this moment. She looked away.
“It’s been about 3 hours since ‘The Heroes’ announced their successful coup in overthrowing the government. As a vigilante group you’d think that they’d at least come up with an original name.” She chuckled. “Since they’re first attack 5 months ago on ECG to provide free electricity our country has new division. The right or the left, the angels or the devils, whose side are you on? No side I tell you. Not yet at least”
“Are The Heroes bad or good? It’s almost impossible to be sure. They have ruthlessly killed corrupt officials allegedly selling our Lithium to foreign countries to line their own pockets. Well, I guess it’s not alleged since there was evidence, right? They believe they can they can run our beloved country better and I’ll be more than thrilled if they really do! If for once, whoever makes decisions for us makes them for our benefit and not for themselves or their family.” “Selfish jerks.” Dela muttered as she idly stared at the darkening sky.[Click] “Attention! My friends!” A deep male voice boomed over the neighbourhood intercom. Dela paused her recording, her heartbeat in her ears “You have 15 minutes more till the new electricity restrictions are set in place. As announced earlier, aside the provision of food, water and health care, electricity will only be made available for air cooling and purifying equipment.” There was a rustle of papers in the background “District offices are being set up and everyone is to report there at 2:00am tomorrow to receive your respective assignments if you want to qualify for food, water, health and cooling. As we sustainably work together to stabilize our country, the rationing of resources will end. Unfortunately, we cannot tell when.” The voice paused then continued, “We are working in the interest of all Ghanaians and we count on your cooperation if we are to all have a future” [Click]
Panic surged through Dela. It wasn’t as though she had not heard the announcement the first time around. It was why she was recording her podcast at such a crucial time. She imagined that people would be calling family or friends whom they might not hear from till no-one-knew-when. She imagined she would have too, if she had them as well: family and friends. She no longer allowed herself to get attached anyone only to mourn their horrible death; it was a use of energy she couldn’t afford. Dela pressed a few keys on her computer and leaned back in her chair to look up at the projections on her ceiling as she flipped through pictures. Through tears-blurred eyes she saw the faces of her parents and her sister smiling. She had cropped herself out the photo but she remembered the day the picture was taken. Her father had insisted it had been too long since they took a family photo so they put on their best clothes and faked a smile for the drone camera. She pressed another key and saw Kwame’s face; the mischievous glint in his eyes and his shy smile. He had been there for her when she had lost everything but she was all alone again. It was hard to remember them without remembering the way they had all left her: environmental poisoning, heat, starvation, animal attack, or disease. She wiped the tears slowly falling down her cheeks with her t-shirt and clicked a few keys again.
“We have less than 5 minutes together.” Dela resumed her recording “I’ll miss this. Having people listen to whatever nonsense I had to say. Many times I have felt comforted by you. There were some days I thought about being gone, the fear just eating me up” she paused “At least one of us was eating” She chuckled. “I guess what I’m saying is thank you” Thank them for what? She thought “For being my companions in misery I guess.” She cracked a weak smile. “I pray we all make it to the end of this if there is one” She loudly cleared her throat choked with tears “Till…”
Dela was suddenly plunged in total darkness and silence except for the soft humming of her air systems; releasing the breathe she didn’t know she held; she got up from her chair and crawled to the coolest corner of her room and wept, her entire body shaking.
She had long since out of tears when she heard a [Click]. The neighbourhood intercom boomed with a woman’s voice this time “It is 1:45 am. Kindly report to your district office at the Old Police barrier”. Dela got up to wear her protective clothing as the message was repeated severally. She took one last look at her dead gadgets before walking out into the familiar heat, locking her door behind her.
“…We meet again, after 37 months” Dela said with a bright smile.