Six months after marriage, we were still out there looking for a new place to rent. My wife was still living with her parents and I was still living in a single room in my parents’ house.
We met every day, went to different places looking for accommodation. We met different estate agents who were only interested in what they’ll get from us and not what they’ll offer us. It was tough but finally got a place.
It was far from town in a developing suburb. We didn’t want to take it but looking at the suffering we’ve gone through and how long it had taken us to get the place, we decided to take it like that.
It was a two-bedroom self-compound house. Everything about the house was new and great. We only had an issue with the location. When we moved in at first, a man within our neighborhood warned,
“This place is a very quiet area. Our only issue has to do with petty thieves who come at night to pick things through the window. If you don’t put anything closer to your window, you’ll be fine.” I said, “Those guys are here too?” He said, “Where in Accra are they not? They are everywhere. You only have to be careful and you’ll be fine.”
Three months after we had moved there, I traveled. My job took me out of Accra for almost a month. I spoke to my wife every day and each night before she slept, I reminded her to lock all the doors and put everything away from the window, especially her phones and laptop. She’ll usually tell me, “I’ve done that long ago.”
One dawn I was asleep when I heard my phone ringing. I was deeply asleep and didn’t want to be bothered. I didn’t pick the first call. The call came again and again and again until I had no option but to get up and go for the phone. I looked at the screen. It was my wife calling. I thought, “Why is she calling at this time of the night? Or she can’t sleep?” I said, ”Hello.” She didn’t respond. All I could hear was her heavy breathing. I said, “Hello.” Her breath got heavier, louder, and faster. I screamed, “Lucy, what’s wrong with you?” She tried saying something but the words couldn’t come out. I started getting scared. “I screamed, “Are you ok? You’re scaring me. Say something!”
She said faintly, “They were here. Two men broke into the room.” I shouted, “They hurt you? What did they do to you?” She said, “They came in with cutlass and huge sticks. They beat me and threatened to kill me if I don’t allow them to sleep with me?” I shouted, “Call someone. Scream so someone comes around to help you.” She said feebly, “I’ve been screaming since they left but no one had come around.” I cut the call and called my senior brother. I told him what had happened to my wife. He said, “Tell her I’m coming.” On a normal day, it would take him over an hour to get to our place but about thirty minutes later, he called to tell me that he was around. The main door had been broken into so he went in, pick her up, and sent her to the hospital. The following morning, I returned from my travel to see her.
I couldn’t watch her twice. Her face was heavily swollen with bruises all over her skin. She couldn’t even open her eyes to look at me. I held her hand. I said, “I’m sorry for leaving you. If I was around I know this wouldn’t have happened to you.” She couldn’t talk. I only saw tears dripping from her eyes. The most important thing was to ensure that she doesn’t contract HIV. The doctors did their best on her. The nurses gave her the best of services. A week later, she was discharged.
The day she was discharged she told me, “I don’t think I can go back to that house again. Take me to my parents’ house. I can’t live in that house. She said that amidst tears. I drove her straight to her parent’s house. I couldn’t also go back to that house again so I moved back to my parent’s house too. I started looking for a new place while she was undergoing therapy. It took me two months to get a place. I took her there to check if she likes it. It was in the middle of town and the house had great security. She said, “It’s fine.” So we moved in the following day.
One day, I came back from work and all the curtains were gone, including the carpet. I looked at her face and got the answer. I said, “I’ll replace them, don’t worry.” Everything that reminded her of that dawn was removed so she could have peace in her heart. It wasn’t easy for her and it wasn’t easy for me. She was scared whenever she was alone. Even when she sat in a taxi and she was alone with the driver, she got scared. I remember one dawn, I woke up and I was missing her. It had been over seven months since we got intimate. I didn’t know how she’ll feel if I just go for it. I said to myself, “Let me wake her up and discuss it with her and see if she would be fine.” Immediately I tapped her she screamed out loud, “Leave me, leave me, leave me…” I said, “Hey it’s me.” She calmed down and said, “Sorry.” I could clearly see the embarrassment written on her face. She coiled back to sleep. My desire for shuperu (today, sex is shuperu. There are kids reading) jumped off the window.
It’s been over a year since the incident. We’ve not been intimate. Not even once. We’ve gone for therapy together. I’ve done everything I was asked to do but little or no improvement. I’m not in a rush for anything. I understand how deep the cut goes and I’ve been told it would take a little bit longer before things return to normal. I’m ok but recently it hasn’t been easy. A month ago she woke me up at dawn. I thought she was even going to tell me that she was ready for shuperu. She said, “I’ve been thinking about divorce a lot lately. I look at you and I see the frustration you’re going through because of me. Why don’t we call this marriage off so the two of us can begin again? Everything looks cloudy in my mind. I’m filled with fear. Those guys took a lot of things away from me that dawn. I’m not sure if I can ever be normal again.”
I responded, “We are in this together. You’ve been a lot stronger through it all. This is not the time to give up. And no, I’m not frustrated. The only thing I want more than anything now is for you to be normal again.” She said, “They talk about me. Even at work they still gossip about what happened to me. I just want to run away. I want to go where I won’t remember anything. Where my past would be erased from my own mind. I’m destroyed. Totally destroyed.” She cried all night. In the morning, she didn’t go to work. She had missed a lot of working hours that I’m even getting scared that she might lose her job very soon.
I’m not sharing this story to ask for answers. I was looking for a place to pour my frustrations and heartbreaks. To be honest, I act very strong in her presence but it hasn’t been easy for me. Twice I nearly cheated. The women were available. I was available too. The place was good and the time was ripe but I had to run away because it felt selfish. The voice in my head kicked in, “Your wife is battling the demons of her life and you’re here trying to have fun? What sort of man are you?”
She brought the divorce discussion again this morning. She talked about it passionately. It looked like it’s the only thing that would reset her mind. She’s not angry and I’m not angry. She hasn’t been a bad wife and I hadn’t been a bad husband too. Why then do we divorce just because we are too good for each other? Has there ever been a divorce like this before? Couples going their separate ways because they are too good for each other?
Currently, I’m staying strong, fighting all temptations, and at the same time asking myself, “When will it end? When would we be us again?”