We met four years ago. He walked into my office that day to make some business transactions. I can’t remember exactly what he came to do but I can remember how his presence made me feel.
I looked forward to seeing him every day after the first day we met and as fate would have it, our business transactions got to the point where we needed to have each other’s contact. We kept our relationship strictly professional until I posted a picture of myself and my best friend one day on my Whatsapp status.
He asked, “Is that your friend?” My heart somersaulted. I said in my head, “I hope he’s not interested in my friend.” I told him, “She’s my friend. My very best friend.” He answered, “It’s a small world. We grew up in the same neighborhood. She’s even my junior in senior high school.” My heart finally came to a rest when he told me that. I said, “Small world indeed.” So I went to my friend to ask for more information about him. I asked how he was while young and how he’d become while grown-up. My friend described him as a good person who has interests in intelligent stuff. I said in my head, “It’s a match!”
Our relationship became less formal when we learned we had a mutual friend. We started having conversations around her and before long, we were all lovey-dovey with each other. When he proposed love, I told him to give me some time to think about it. Actually, I had nothing to think about. I just wanted to follow the norm. Or play hard to get, maybe. A week went by and he asked about it again. I said yes to him. Our love story then began. Not a single day passed without him calling first thing in the morning. He made sure he kept contact throughout the day. He was very caring and thoughtful. He was always looking for what was best for me and how to make life easier for both of us.
He asked to see my house shortly after we started dating. I obliged and took him home. That was when he met my mom. My mom liked him. Just a few moments we spent around her, she was able to identify the same qualities I found in him. She thought he was calm and well-behaved so she welcomed him into our family. He became a part and parcel of us.
A few months into our relationship, he said casually, “There’s this girl in the UK that my family wants me to marry.” I said, “Huh? Your family wants you to do what?” He laughed and said, “You have nothing to worry about because that girl is not my taste so love wouldn’t work between us.” I trusted him when he said he wasn’t interested but then again, his family was involved and that got me worried. I said, “Your family’s involvement is what worries me. What if they don’t accept me because of that?” He said, “My family is no threat to us. It’s you I choose. They even know about you. What’s left is for them to see you.”
One day he took me home to see his family. I met his mum, his grandma, and one of his aunties. He introduced me as his girlfriend and his family was receptive. When his dad and uncle came to Ghana from the UK, he made us meet with them too. I was finally at peace knowing his family knew about my existence. Our relationship continued beautifully until he lost his job. He lost his job but not his commitment towards me. We were fine but his family thought he needed something sustainable and that was when they brought the marriage with the UK girl up again. This time, it came with an ultimatum, either he finds work or he marries the girl in the UK so he too can travel to the UK.
As if the universe was against us, we searched every corner for something that would keep him afloat for the meantime but we were met with “no” wherever we turned to. He came up with a plan; “What if I get married to the girl in the UK so I get my papers, divorce her and come and marry you?” I said, “Do you think that is easy? I really can’t imagine sharing you with someone else.” He said, “It’s easy. Just watch me.” I saw trouble but he kept assuring me so I trusted him.
I was with him when he started the process with the girl. The conversation they had. The plan for her to come over so they get married. Everything. I felt I was losing him but he said it was just a trick to get to the UK. I remember falling sick the day their marriage happened. I remember crying myself to sleep and refusing to eat. I remember the feeling of loss and disappointment in my heart. It wasn’t easy. After getting married, the lady left and we were back together as if nothing was lost. We were back to being the lovers we were until a year later his papers were finalized and he left the country.
Our communication suffered. I couldn’t initiate a conversation or place a call unless he did. I hated that I had to go through this. I was hurt. I wanted to leave but the love I had for him kept me believing in his promises. He was far away from me but he kept sending gifts and sweet lovely things. On Val’s day when I least expected to receive anything from anyone, he came through with a beautiful gift. I was so shocked and happy at the same time. That simple gesture kept me believing even more.
One day I sent him a text on something very urgent. When the reply came, it felt off. It was very different from how he would naturally respond to my message. I got the feeling it was the wife but I played along. Finally, she told me, “I am his wife and I want to know what’s going on between you two.” I told her, “There’s nothing between us. We are just friends.” She said, “I am not a child. I am reading your chats now and it doesn’t look like you two are just friends.” I said, “Those are old chats. We used to date but no more. That was long before you came into the picture.” She said, “I know about you but I’m telling you to stay away from my husband. Whatever you had together should be behind you. He’s married now and I’m not going to sit and watch for you to come between us. You better back off.”
She said so many hurtful things and each word felt like a daggerc through my heart. That was when it hit me that I just have to walk away from everything and bury whatever I had for him. The next day he sent me a text wondering why all our chats had been deleted from his phone. I told him what happened. He was shocked but he kept telling me, “That changes nothing. I still have you in my heart and I still have plans for us.”
I loved him too and that wasn’t going to change but a woman should know when to hold on and when to walk away. That moment wasn’t a time to hold on and I felt it. I got broken yet found the strength to pick up the pieces and walked away. It had to end so I made it end right there.