There is only one person who can tell me “I love you” and “Leave there” in one breath, in one word.
I know only one person who can call me “Sheilla” and it does not feel foreign…
There is only one person who can remind me that my waist beads need changing, and at that same instant, this person has more than enough new strings of beads and thread and all, ready, to do the new beading.
I know only one person who can play and laugh, cry and worry, pray and work, all with full and earnest zeal, all at the same time.
There is only one person (alive) who can call me “Ishe”, easy and free, with nothing seeming forced or stolen, without any shadow of anything seeming out of place, with nothing at all feeling like a fraud or camouflage.
Just like that.
I know only one person who sees a bra or some fancy dress – anything to the tune of an article of clothing – and immediately imagines and knows beyond any telling and instinct that I am the only person who the designer and maker of that piece of clothing had in mind…
There is only one person who, once upon an instance, chased me for almost forever and finally when she got hold of me, she remembered too late, she remembered all over again that she just cannot spank me, that she just cannot bring herself to spank me.
That she cannot even bring herself to pretend to spank me.
I know one person who will remember that the ripe plantain portion of the cooking is for Aisha, and in the midst of every dish exotic and embellished, she will know beyond knowledge itself that Aisha will (always) choose the corn and fish end of it all.
There is only one person who will do or undo my hair, who will see and help me get fitted in a dress or similar, and she will not be afraid to forget that I am no child – no small child, I mean.
No doll, in fact.
I know only one person who would visit me too frequently (while I’m away from home) that I would need to beg and give her reasons upon promises why she needed not come visiting me that often, that she really needed not come checking on me far too often.
There is only one person who can get herself worked up in worries about me, worries because anything as nothing as as ants and dust are ‘worrying’ me.
Worked up with worry that is just not her own.
I know one person that (my sisters and) I bypassed all her names and invented a name unique to her and peculiar to all others, a name for her and only her, a name she did not, does not, does not look like she ever will mind.
There is only one person who will call me “Aisha” and I never need to turn and look to be sure who called and why – with never any need to be sure of anything at all.
Only one living person.
I know only one person who would mindlessly sacrifice her youth and sweat, who would pour all of her stubborn love and unflinching presence for me, even if it means setting aside (her) other loves, even if it means breaking and looting into her stores for the future, even if it is to her own hurt and lack and shame and worse.
There is only one person who I will never be able to return – to even, ever, begin to pay back – the milk and pillar, the honey and rock, such kindnesses and all over again, more of these and all others like them that she has been, and continues to be.
I know only one person who can call me on phone and by (her) asking only “Aisha, what have you eaten today?”, she would have asked her “How-are-you-s?” and a thirty and thousand and more other questions.
There is only one person who when I sit to count my lot of blessings, I have to pause, ponder and count and count again and one more time and another.
One more time and again and never too many.
There is only one Naa Amanua Ankrah.
And she is not only *The Eyes (That See) For The Nation/ People, she is not only **The One Who Fights To Redeem The Nation/People.
This Naa Amanua Ankrah, she also is the Queen and Mother, the immense and great Good, the ever-giving and never-ending Love that God gave and did and showed me.
That Queen and Mother, that Good and Love that is called Naa Amanua Ankrah, today is the day she first happened – on this side of life and eternity, at least.
And I choose to bless her ***today (too) with the boundless Person of Father God Himself.
– Monday, 3rd September 2018; Dansoman, Accra.
*The name Amanua is derived from the Akan (Akwamu) expression ‘ɔman (no) aniwa‘, which can be translated as the ‘the seer of / the eyes of the nation‘.
**For the Otublohum clan of the Ga people in Ga Mashi, where my Mother hails from, the appellation (known as ‘sabla‘ in Ga, and ‘mmrane‘ in Akan) for the name Amanua is ‘ɔko(m)afo ajeman‘, which loosely means ‘the one who fights for/to redeem the nation’. Ajeman may also be spelled Agyeman(g).
***An earlier version of this post first appeared as a Facebook post on my wall, on Saturday 1st September 2018, my Mother’s birthday.