Buki was a stubborn child. She still is stubborn. You see she is still friends with the shopkeeper down the street (she’s lived there all her 25 years). The shopkeeper is now very old but when Buki was a little girl, she’d walk to her in nothing but her panties, to buy try-your-luck balloons with coins she had stolen over the course of the year. She’d pay her, pick a number with her fingers crossed and her eyes closed and wait to see what luck gave her. She always got a tiny balloon – Always. She’d keep going each day to try till there were no balloons left. The woman liked her because she had said Buki was very persistent and that was a good thing – to keep trying.

When she was a little older her dad wanted her to learn how to play the piano. 3 teachers came and went and she still couldn’t play a simple tune. Eventually she learned to play the flute. One wonder that she still couldn’t explain was what happened to her underwear in school. She’d go and come back home with her school uniform clean but her chemise and undershorts will be so dirty one would think she took off her school shirt and pinafore and played in her underwear. Well…she did. But…uh…never mind.

She gradually developed paranoia that had her always looking behind her, checking, cross-checking if everything was in place, if the door was locked, if no one had followed her to the gym where she’d go walk for about 5 minutes on the treadmill at a very slow speed and get off sweating like she’d just ran a marathon, and then just sit and chat with one of the trainers. That is where she met her husband who uh…became her uh…her ex-husband that very morning. He had come there for the first time and ended up with a sprained ankle after he tripped on the very treadmill Buki had used. And it was the same paranoia that cost her her husband.

The washroom in this court building was simply beautiful. Buki had been sitting in one cubicle for about an hour getting worked up over her situation. She couldn’t believe she had just been divorced. Someone else must have spent some time reflecting in there too, on the door was engraved with what must have been a hair pin, the words;

Try your lock                                         

Buki traced it with the finger on which her wedding band had been and started crying…tracing a “u” through the ‘o’ in ‘Lock’. It took her back to the shop where she bought the balloons. It was exactly how the lady said it. “Lock” instead of “Luck”. “Try your lock”.

She sniffed, blew her nose and muttered something about Ghanaian English, straightening her suit skirt after she got up.

She turned the knob and the door did not open. She tried again, and again, shaking the door, banging on it while struggling with the knob. She slumped back onto the covered toilet seat, exasperated, and looked at the engraved words again.

Try your lock

She burst out laughing.


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