He came here to work and rented a place close to where I live. I see him every morning. The only thing I did was greet him and pass.
One morning he stopped me. He said, “I see you here every morning but I don’t know your name. What are you called and what do you do?” I told him, “My name is Akuaba. I’m a teacher here.”
He said, “Nice name Akuaba. I’m also Patrick. I’m new here and looking to make new friends. Would you be my friend?” I said, “I don’t have any problem with that. We can be friends.”
He took my number and also gave me his number. He didn’t call immediately. We met on several other occasions before one evening he called me. He asked me, “Are you busy?” I said, “No. I’m watching TV.” He said, “Come out and let’s talk.”
I met him in front of our house. We sat on a verandah nearby and talked. I must admit, I enjoyed the conversation.
It was my first time sitting and talking to him but it felt like the two of us had been friends forever.
We did it again the following day and it later became a daily thing. One night he proposed to me. I said, “I don’t believe you, city guys.
One got a friend of mine here pregnant and vanished into thin air. We are very careful around here because of that.” He said, “I’m different.
I will prove to you that I’m different. It’s not my intention to hurt you and this place is going to be my home until I’m transferred so where would I run to?”
He proved his seriousness to me over the period. He will come to my place every now and then and I will cook for him.
He became a friend to my mom and a chat mate to my dad. Anytime he travelled to Accra and was coming, he brought me a gift and also bought something for my parents. I said yes to him. My parents even said yes to him before I made it official.
My dad didn’t stop talking about how good and considerate he was. My mom said, “He’s different from the guys you see around here. He’s handsome and educated. Pick him up and run with him.”
We had a very beautiful relationship. The gossips never stopped talking about us. There was this woman who asked me to be careful about him.
She said “He’s a stranger. Remember what one did to your friend and be careful.” I knew what I had so I didn’t pay ears to their concerns. On weekends, he’ll take me to Accra and bring me back on Sunday mornings. I loved the city.
I fell in love with the lights. I fell in love with the lifestyle. I told him, “When would you be transferred back to the city?”
He said, “I don’t know but after three years I will start working towards a transfer. If that doesn’t work I will start looking for a new job.” I said, “Please do. I want to live here with you. A change of environment will do.”
I met his parents and met his siblings. They loved me like I was one of their own. So, three years after dating, we got married.
My joy knew no bounds. My joy was rooted in two things. One, I’d proven the naysayers wrong. All strangers are not the same.
Two, I will have the opportunity to live in the city with him. I was born and raised here. I needed a new environment. I needed to see the end of the horizon—needed to grow the rest of my life on a different soil so I could harvest new crops out of my life.
Just a few months after marriage, he got a transfer back to the city. I was overjoyed knowing my dreams had come to pass. I started asking when we would be moving.
He kept postponing until one day he told me, “I would have to go first and get us a place to live. I don’t want us to go back and live with my parents. I need to be my one man and get my own place.” He moved to Accra without me.
He came back on weekends to visit. I got pregnant, not long afterward. He started using the pregnancy as an excuse. “Give birth first.
If I take you to Accra, you’ll surely have to come back after delivery so your parents will look after you. So stay here. Give birth. By the time the baby arrives, I would have gotten a place for the three of us to live.”
I agreed with him though I wasn’t convinced. He kept coming in and going out often. I started seeing a change in him. He acted distantly.
He behaved as if he didn’t belong with me. He got angry very easily and stayed on his phone longer than he used to.
When I gave birth, it took him a whole month before he came to the village to look after us. He used work as an excuse. He used his boss’ attitude as an excuse.
He used everything as an excuse as far they served his purpose. My mom said, “Your husband has changed. What is going on between you two?” I told her, “I wish I knew.” She said, “Put your eyes on the ground. Something about him is off.”
One weekend when he came over, I went through his phone. His change was about a girl called Monique. Looking at her photos, she is older than I am.
She had her own business she was running. She didn’t know my husband was married. At some point in their conversation, I realized my husband had already visited her parents and they had accepted him wholeheartedly.
I should have been hurt but I’d seen too much to allow that to hurt me. I had seen the shadow of the problem long ago before it got to my door.
So I was prepared for the shock. I picked the lady’s number and forgot about what I read. I didn’t ask him any questions. I didn’t attack him because he was cheating.
He stopped sending us money. He stopped talking about our dreams to live together in the city. He stopped caring. I told him I wanted to leave my parent’s house. He promised to rent a place in the village for me but he never did.
He said he didn’t have money. He said the company wasn’t paying him well so he wants to even change jobs. His son fell sick and I called for him to send us money. He said he didn’t have money. I said, “It’s your own son we are talking about here ooo.
You don’t have money so he should die?” He said, “What are your parents there for? What are you also there for?”
One evening, I called the girl. I asked her, “It’s Patrick with you?” She said, “Please who am I talking to and why are you asking of Patrick?” I said, “My name is Akuaba.
The wife of Patrick.” She said, “You mean Patrick is married? My own Patrick that I’ve been dating for almost a year?” I said, “Yeah, I’m the wife. I got to know about your existence two months ago.” She burst into tears, “Sorry I didn’t know.
I swear I didn’t know he was married. I don’t know how to even believe what you’re saying.” I said, “I know you are not aware of his marital status. I can send you our wedding photos. What evidence do you need? Tell me and I will provide.”
She was mute for a while. She said, “What do you want from me?” I said, “Nothing. I just thought you should know.” She said, “Thank you.
I will confront him and that will be the ned of him.” Minutes later my husband called me. I’d not been insulted in my life the way that guy insulted me on the phone that night. I can’t count the number of times he called me a villager and called my ancestors uncouth villagers. What was my sin? I had betrayed him to his side chick.
He screamed on the phone, “People say you villagers use juju on strangers who visit your town. I didn’t believe it but now I do. I don’t even know why I married you.” I said to myself, “This marriage is over. I won’t wait to receive such insults again.”
Days later Monique called. She said, “I confronted him. Come and see how he was begging me. He said a lot of things.
He said he didn’t know what made him marry you. Dear, can you divorce him? He doesn’t deserve a woman like you.
He’s plain silly.” That day we had a very long conversation. I told her everything that man had done to me. She said, “He doesn’t send you money? Even for the upkeep of your kid?” I said yes. She said, “I know what to do.”
A week later she sent me GHC2,000 cedis. A week afterwards, she sent another GHC2,000. I asked her, “What did I do to deserve this? She said, “I got it from him. He’s desperate to get me back. I’m using that as an advantage to collect money from him.”
You deserve it better than I do.” That day I cried. “He could give that much to a woman but not give it to me? Even when his own son was dying? What did I do to deserve such wickedness?
He stopped visiting but I didn’t care. Monique kept calling me, telling me everything my husband had been telling her. A lot of it broke my heart so I told her, “Please stop telling me what he tells you. I’m trying to get over him.
In my mind, I’m a single mother. I’m waiting for the right time to make it official.” She said, “Don’t just leave. Make sure he experiences fire before you leave.”
I rented a new place with the help of Monique. I found the place, told her how much it cost and she got the money for me.
We could talk on the phone for several hours thinking of what next to do. One day she said, “I’m a working woman. I don’t need his money and he knows it.
I want you to be ok, then I will tell him where his money went and leave the picture.” I told her, ”I have a place now. I’ve saved something. I’m also working so I earn something each month.
I can take it from there. I will tell my parents about the divorce so they initiate it.” She asked, “Are your parents going to support you?” I said, “They are witnesses to everything so they’ll understand.”
When he came home and we were talking about the divorce he told my parents, “Your daughter connived with another woman in Accra to extort money from me.
“You think I can have peace of mind to marry a woman who connives with another woman and steal money from me?” My dad asked, “How did that happen? My daughter doesn’t know Accra so how does that work?” He couldn’t say anything until my dad sacked him from our house.
It’s been four months. Traditionally we are no longer married. Legally, we are working on a divorce.
Monique is now a sister to me. She tells me, “If at any point in life you want to move to Accra, let me know, I will help you settle.” I’ve never met her before. I only know her through photos but she treats me like a sister.
The sad thing is my husband still pursues her, asking her to give him some time to finish with the divorce so he could marry her.
When she told me I said, “You’ve found yourself a husband, hold him tight.” She answered, “I will rather catch a grenade and die than to hold on to such a man.”