.Signed, Efua


Our friendship grew pregnant when Eyi and her family bid farewell to the burnt orange hues of Benin City, for serene Sunyani, Ghana.

We often spent our youthful evenings running through the greens and blues, with the unwavering sun melting into our skin.

The Mangoes in Aunty Abena’s basket which balanced awkwardly on the makeshift counter beside the roadside, became our agreed go to snack.

Our echoes of laughter enveloped by the sounds of Tro Tro drivers and honking cars.


Then something changed.


Sunyani served us humid weather accompanied with droplets of rain in the afternoon,

the afternoon Eyi’s father received the news of his job offer, in London.

At first, melancholy and I quickly became acquainted as I watched Eyi’s father and mother leap for joy, but it was the fierceness of our promises that soothed the aching and fuelled our belief that our friendship was indeed destined to bleed into eternity.


But something happened.


It first showed itself in our routine video calls, when her skin no longer bruised brown, but echoed the insides of the yams we usually ate on Fridays.

Aunty Nana Yaa says Eyi is bleaching.

Her skin was wealthy in melanin.

The sun once bowed in her presence, now it shrivels in confusion.


Eyi no longer sounded like the Eyi I knew, but like a character from a British show we often watched. It was almost as if her words were rehearsed, every word placed meticulously in front of the other. 

Ma says the only constant thing in life is change.

She says I should give her time.

She says she’ll come around.


Six months ago, Eyi informed me of her name change.


She said it in her usual matter of fact tone.

A tone I had once loved, but now resented.

Pa says this is an important lesson for me to learn.

He says some friendships last for a lifetime, whilst some are for a season.


But last week, something happened.


Her voice strained when we spoke on the phone, almost as if her eyes were filled with water. 

She says her identity now sits in an uncertainty that feels foreign.

I told her to come home.

Come home to the skin that bruises deep brown.

Come home Eyi.

Come home.



Signed, Eyi


I was told you asked for me, Efua.


Yes, the sun once bowed in my presence, but I quickly learnt that although our sun loved me, this new sun, does not quite like my existence. It crumples, Efua. It deflates, recoils when it sees me. At first, I could not quite understand how two suns that bore a striking similarity could pale in comparison. Aunty Jennifer, Mums new friend, says that blackness does not always equate to familiarity, to understanding.  


The suns are not the same, we are not the same.


With difference comes animosity, a flattening of unity, because how else does one manage their fears if not to declare the unworthiness of others. So, when Steph and Daniel insisted my greatest crime, was my hue, I emptied the bottle. Mum started first, and then I followed.

It was our neighbour who sold mum her first bottle. We no longer bruise brown.

We echo the insides of the yam we usually ate on Fridays.


When the class could not quite contain their giggles as I read, because every word was smothered by my heritage, I learnt to mimic those who held my skin, but sounded like the characters from the British show we often watched.


And when my teachers would pull me to the side and ask with a coy smile. ‘Did someone do your homework for you?’  because it was assumed that with darkness came a dullness, I did not dig my heels and serve the bluntness that made others quake at the knees, instead, I learnt to sink, to bury, and then to morph.


As you can see, I cannot come back. I am different now. I could not shed the skin on time.

It is emmeshed, mutating, we are one.



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