Today is a Saturday & I’m in bed; I have not been in bed all day but I am now. In Ghana, Saturdays are for funerals & weddings—someday my wedding will be on a Saturday & someday my funeral will be on a Saturday. I may decide against a Saturday wedding, but not a Saturday funeral. Where would I be to make such a decision? Even in decision-making, there’s a time & place from where someone would have to take charge other than whom the decision is made for.
It is not my fault that Spotify is not available in my country; it is a form of intimidation—a form of disrespect, but I say this to no one. I do not understand why Ghanaian artists are on Spotify & our people cannot enjoy without a backdoor access. It is not exactly like colonisation but it looks like some of the things that come with it. Like, how African artefacts & treasures are stored in museums outside of Africa, at places we have no access to, at places we’re othered. Places where we have to pay to access what our ancestors have left for us. Places where we’re treated as aliens. Even accessibility to what is ours, our inheritance is barred, like our brothers& sisters barred for no crimes of theirs & crimes committed in their names.
This Saturday, I am at no one’s funeral, I am at no one’s wedding—I am in bed, taking peeks at Nigeria versus Burundi. My brother has placed a bet on Burundi’s win, but at the 80th minute, Burundi is down by a single goal. I want to tell my brother that he can decide to place a bet but he cannot say for certain the outcome—but he knows this. And I do not want to pepper a man’s sorrow. Everyone who bets knows this.
Earlier today, a pastor said on TV that it is after the burial he would need people around him, not during the funeral. I take this funeral to be that of a child or wife. He acknowledges that it is after the funeral he’d become most lonely & I imagine him alone on a bed previously occupied by two, turning again and again, waking up to check the time, going to the living room to switch on the TV, but only for company.
I spent time creating a playlist on Spotify, one I’m sure I’d be the only one to ever listen to. And that is also to feel a presence, for company—to feel someone else feeling how I feel even when I do not know who. I know it is wrong to go against Spotify, but I have & I am glad I did. I want to say I will not allow myself to be limited in the ways & where I listen to music. My playlist has ‘love songs’, I name it ‘fave love tins’. I know I’ve used tins in the wrong way but I understand & my people do too. Maybe fave too isn’t an actual word but I understand. Sometimes there may be borders, but they do not stop us from enjoying what is behind—America may say no immigrants, but America cannot stop us from listening to Kendrick Lamar’s i or u or any of our favourite rappers from the country.
Sometimes you’re afraid to say everything or too much about something & that is the issue with heartbreaks. You do want to talk about it at all but you end up throwing pieces here & there. My playlist has songs from Manifest, Rema, A.I, Teni, Fetty Wap, Twitch & FireboyDML.
The thing about heartbreaks is, you know when it is coming but you can’t stop it. It comes like a train with a dead driver.
As a Ghanaian, this country has broken my heart over & over but even that has not prepared me for what has come. What is more heart-wrenching than hearing flood is killing fellow Ghanaians in Accra anytime it rains—due to someone’s bad planning & placing of gutters & we, the citizens, dumping rubbish into our gutters? But even this did not prepare me for what has come.
I told a friend I do not want to approach love with care, with caution—I want to fall. I fear I will withhold some of me from love if I approach with caution. She nods. I have been preparing myself for a heartbreak. It came at an expected time but not a time I could stand it. The pastor knows death comes at the appointed time—his scripture says it but he couldn’t take it when it came. My brother knew Nigeria was more likely to win this match but he placed his bet on Burundi, for higher gains—and this is the foundation of all heartbreaks, the value of the lost thing determines the pain. I say thing because everything that is lost eventually becomes a thing.
I cannot say all the songs I’ve listened to today spoke to me or spoke to the issues of my heart but I can say I spoke to the songs & they spoke back—and I’m grateful they kept me company today & the days ahead as I mourn her & myself. I mourn her because she has lost something, me, & I mourn myself because I’ve lost something, her, & because each of these lost things is irreplaceable though they’d eventually be replaced.
This is what I have control of—the playlists & the songs I listen to but not when my heart will heal so let me enjoy this music as it lasts. Tomorrow, if I’m healed, I may not love these songs anymore but I’d be grateful. I pray I do not pass this heartbreak to anyone—not even these songs.
Henneh Kyereh Kwaku studied a Bachelor of Public Health, Disease Control program at the University of Health & Allied Sciences, Ghana. He’s from Gonasua in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. He has poems & Micro prose published/forthcoming at New South Journal, Three Drops Press, Ghana Writes, Lunaris Review, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine & elsewhere. Contact him via—Twitter/IG: @kwaku_kyereh & Henneh Kyereh Kwaku on Facebook.