The relationship between Nii Tackie and Massa in Alex Agyei-Agyiri’s Unexpected Joy at Dawn is nothing short of romantic. The two are in a marital relationship. Nii Tackie is Massa’s husband while Massa is Nii Tackie’s wife. There are several textual evidences to support this stance.
In the beginning of the text, the author describes the kind of relationship that exists or has existed between the two:
. . . he and Massa were quite intimate as friends. In fact, so serious were they with each other that they had become quite inseparable.Page 2, Unexpected Joy at Dawn
In the following paragraph in the text, the novel describes how long they’ve been together before Massa’s illness:
Life had begun well for them two years before, until suddenly she was taken ill.Page 2, Unexpected Joy at Dawn
From the foregoing, it is evident that Massa and Nii Tackie are intimate friends and lovers, and have been together two years before Massa’s illness.
However in these excerpts, it is not explicitly stated whether they are just lovers or married couple. The author clears all doubts in Page 107 during Linda’s amorous advance and seduction of Nii Tackie in her room.
Linda references Nii Tackie’s marital status. She says, ‘You’re married. I know that.’ And in the following page, she is found saying, ‘I know your wife is sick, quite sick, and has not been well for a long time . . .’
These actually show that Nii Tackie and Massa are not just lovers. They are husband and wife.
As to how long they’ve been together as a couple, I would say two and a half years. Remember that they’ve been together for two years before Massa’s illness.
And in the beginning of the text, the author clearly indicates in a sentence that depicts accurately the longevity of Massa’s illness and the extent of what it has reduced her to:
Her flesh had been flaking away by the day and within the six months that the sickness has run, he gauged, she had become a third of her size.Page 1, Unexpected Joy at Dawn
In conclusion, Massa and Nii Tackie are inseparable, intimate married couple who have been together for roughly two and a half years.