For Not Pitying Me…

They tell you they’ll treat you like everyone else.

They tell you that your disability doesn’t really matter.

They’ll make it look as if it’s really not a problem.

But you see, it always becomes a problem. Always.

There have been all kinds of stories. From “I wish we could eat at a place without drawing so much attention to us,” to “I’m not so sure the guys will feel comfortable around you,” to “I really don’t know how I’ll introduce a one-legged woman to my father.” Even with the girls, there’s been “you know our ‘hanging out’ is usually swim-time – it would be awkward to invite you when it’s so obvious you can’t swim.” (Never mind that I actually had learnt to swim with my leg and stump!)

Of course it hurt. And it hurt more because I’d lost the leg because of something too stupid to say. It didn’t help either that I was not a quiet or subdued person. But frankly, what made it worse was the pity. They tell you they’re fine with you, but their eyes tell a different story.

With time, I’d learnt to have what I called ‘superficial fun’. I could meet up with colleagues and acquaintances and have a good time. Shallow talk, drinks, and then goodbyes. It worked well. No inner circle, just mum. No actual friends, mainly co-workers.

 

When I started the firm, I knew that a lot of the favours I got were because people pitied me and didn’t expect that it would amount to anything (Although I know you strongly disagree) – but look at us now!

I remember one of the university interns asking me how I could be so strong when people had almost no regard for the handicapped. She was one of the few that didn’t have that pity look. She was straightforward and genuine. One day, I hope she gets out of law school and comes here to work. Or that she builds a firm to rival mine.

She had no idea that before you, it really wasn’t much strength. It was more of a daily motion. Put one leg in front of the other each day – actual leg, then prosthetic leg, or crutch, or whatever. That, and the occasional ‘superficial fun’.

She had no idea the countless nights when I felt that my left leg was burning – even though it actually wasn’t even there. She didn’t know how much I’d cried over the stupid pitying glares that people gave me. She had no idea how much love had been lost… how many heartbreaks I’d suffered. And how I’d decided that love was not for the ‘crippled‘.

She, like many others, did not know that you were the one wake-up call that I needed.

 

When I met you, I was in my old wheelchair. It didn’t seem to bother you… because you stayed and talked, and drank with me, and teased me, and sort of flirted with me. I thought it was the drinks. I was pretty sure that we’d sober up the next day, and you’d remember that the girl was in a wheel chair with a stump, and decide to forget about it all – it was all too familiar!

But you called me the next day, and asked to go on a date. I told you I had a fitting for my new prosthetic leg, so I didn’t think it would be possible – thinking that that would remind you that I really was in a wheel chair.

But you asked to tag along “I’m on leave, so I’m pretty free! I could tag along and then take you out to dinner after?” – At that point, I must say that I was starting to get smitten! I had to sit in front of my mirror, and remind myself that this was all ‘superficial fun’. I could not afford to ever be heartbroken again.

Yet after that physio appointment, I knew that I wanted you. It didn’t matter in what context – brother, friend, doctor buddy, boyfriend (even though this possibility was so far-fetched to me). Whatever you were offering, I was willing to take it… I needed as many people that treated me as if I was like everyone else, as possible.

 

I remember the stupid smirk on your face when I asked the dude if I could go back to wearing miniskirts with the prosthesis. How you got into doctor mode, bantering with him, and not being arrogant about all the answers he gave – which you already knew.

That day, I decided that if I had just 2 people that didn’t care about my cut leg, 2 people that would treat me normally, after a day of dealing with pitying glares or hurtful comments, then I’d be okay.  I had mum already. And now there was you.

After 10 months, I got back to practicing, and there were times when I could swear that I won the cases just because the judge saw that I wore a prosthetic leg. You wrestled me out of that thinking of course – “You’re a smart young woman – helluv vibrant, irresistible, nothing about your absent leg has anything to do with your winning any case! You’re efffing brilliant – and you should even start your own firm! ”

I fell in love with you that day. Proper love, you know. It was just unexpected. You motivated me. Before you, a lot of my colleagues knew how to bring me down easily. Especially with regards to the incident, and the leg. And of course, the pity.

I remember when you got to mine, from the clinic one afternoon, and I was so upset about Le-Ann’s child abuse case. I was poring over my books and barely noticed that you were there. My leg was somewhere on the couch, and I was sprawled on the floor, in a tee and shorts.

You claim you stood there for about thirty minutes, just looking. I noticed you only when I turned to get my bottle of water, and I was startled, wondering why the hell you were standing there staring at me that way!

“I’ve been lusting after you for some time now…”

I thought I was imagining it. I mean I knew you cared about me, and respected me as a person, I liked that you hugged me often, and made me feel mushy on the insides. I knew that our relationship was special, and we would always be in each other’s lives, caring for and motivating each other. But I had no idea that you found me attractive in any way. It took me by surprise.

It took me by surprise too when you got down on the floor – lab coat, stethoscope and that weird bag in hand, and kissed me. All the raging hormones that had been banked securely for years were breaking their boundaries and pushing me over the edge🙈 . It’s why I started tearing up. I know you probably knew that. My lies about how emotional the case made me didn’t seem to appease you.

Later on, when we’d just eaten, and I was going over the case with you, and planning out my arguments, you did it again. Out of nowhere. “I want to marry you, Diane, and make many little Dianes with you.”

I remember also when I came by the clinic one evening to bring you food, just because. How one of nurses asked me if I was sure I was in the right place. I remember how mad you were when you finally came out. I remember them loud-gossiping about ‘the boss’s girlfriend’, how I must have used some sort of ‘juju’ to get you, because how would such a good doctor – tall dark and handsome, settle for a ‘cripple’. That word! It was the first time I saw you irate!

 

I’m getting too emotional over this letter…😫 The point, is just to say, thank you… For not pitying me. For loving me. For showing me that being ‘handicapped’ in anyway, is not the end of life. That life can be amazing regardless. Thank you for dancing with the one-legged girl… For 3 years of seeing me as whole, when I had doubts. For dealing with my issues – phantom limb and the low-key low self esteem being the worst of them. Thank you for all the fights we’ve had – it’s refreshing to know that you don’t let me win them just because… (Oh and thank you for all the make- up sex we’ve had to have🙈🙈. The most recent of which may have led to a thing…😂🤣😂🤣😬😉)

We’re expecting.

I have a feeling that you already know, and you’re just waiting till I say it. I hope it’s a boy. And I hope he becomes just like his father… (just without the leaving of soapsuds in the bathroom part😋).

Thank you for everything. But especially, for not pitying me!

Diane.

 

 

juju – evil spirit, fetish or black magic.

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Six Years Late III

Thanks for getting to the end of ‘Six Years Late’, guys! I know for many people this might not seem like the happy ending. But hey… 😀 Please leave a comment, tell me what you think, and do share it with anyone who might be interested.

In case you missed the other parts, you can find the first part here: Six Years Late, and the second, here: Six Years Late II .

Hugs!

Elise

 

 

I was sitting in his couch, drinking a glass of sparkling red wine. It was one of the finest bottles of Lambrusco there ever was– one of my favouring bottles – La Battagliola… Though sweet, it had that spicy, bitter bite right after.

He was one of the few people I knew that enjoyed it as well. The girls usually preferred white wine… and even when they had red wine, Lambrusco was not an option. It was the kind of wine you could get through, without even realising! It could also get you drunk without any ‘tipsy prelude’.

 He had that E.L.’s song playing over and over “Mi sweety jole, my one and only my shorty…”

Kweinuaa, Sakyi and Annie had fallen asleep a short while before I showed up. Apparently they’d been running round the house, playing tag, and putting him out of his mind with all the noise.

“Remember when we were kids and we’d play ‘pilolo’, and ‘zanzama’?”

I could already feel a buzz from the wine.

“I was the girl that would always knock the guys the hardest whenever we played zanzama. The other girls would take it easy, cos they wanted to be spared when it was their turn… I could not be bothered!”

Where did that happy carefree girl go to?

 “Mi naa bo po po po, Mi naa bo po po po, nk33, hef3 he ni maya, moko moko moko b3… mi naa bo po po po…”

He was looking at me… in that lazy, yet serious way that only he seemed to be able to. I’d only noticed recently that he had a small dent in his cheeks – it wasn’t a dimple, more like an indented scar. We’d spent more time together in the past 4 months than we ever had before. I’d noticed things about him I’d always overlooked. Like how his jaw did a twitching thing, when he was contemplating things, how he gritted his teeth very subtly whenever an argument came up. And how his smile, though rare, brightened up his face entirely!

Nii had quite suddenly become a common face at any function we attended. After the last time he’d showed up at the house, he’d showed up at some church programmes, and at my office on six different occasions (with flowers and/or lunch). He’d packed out of Ebo’s house, after an argument about whose side he was on, and apparently gotten himself a place at the  Trasacco Valley. I still hadn’t sorted out the way I felt about the whole situation. I was civil about him, but I was not swayed. I had a beautiful life built, and I was not going to bring back toxic memories into them.

And I was sure that I was going to have a happy ending. Maybe just not yet, and surely, not with him.

I handed him the letter…

“So I suppose you’ve come to a verdict?” He said when he saw the addressee… His jaw twitched, as he took it from my hands, sliding a tad closer to me in the couch.

Dear Nii,

I never thought I’d write a letter like this. After about 6 months of your absence, I stopped believing I’d ever see you again. But this is life. And I suppose the unexpected should always expected.

I was very shaken when you suddenly re-appeared. I didn’t expect to be this affected by your return. I didn’t expect to be put so off-balance. And yet already, it’s been over four months!

A few weeks ago, the last time you showed up at church, I had quite a number of people asking me if I’d forgiven you, if there was going to be some sort of reunion. I didn’t know what kind of answer to give. I had not forgiven you. You see, I had buried all of the hurt inside some dead part of my heart, and slowly, without realising it, you were still chipping at my heart… year after year, taking chunks away, from inside out…

Last week, I decided that that had to end. I decided that I would forgive you. I would set myself free. I decided that my heart was too fragile to let this keep festering. I would not let it destroy me.

Now I want to be clear about something. Forgiving you has nothing to do with getting back together with you, making it work, or whatever words you’d prefer to use. Unless the Holy Spirit Himself comes down to speak to me concerning that, I honestly do not see it happening. So I want you to continue to remain as far away from me as possible. It’s been quite liberating hearing your story, honestly. I’m more liberated to go about my own life. I’m only thirty – three. And my life will count. It will count without you in it. I’m glad that I never had that delusion that these young girls keep growing up with these days, thinking that they cannot function without a man. Thinking that they need a husband to validate their lives. Much as it’s helpful, it can be done without. And for six long years, Nii, I’ve made it work.

So I’m going to return to the dating scene, my dear. And I’m going to be a very happy woman – even happier than the woman you married – if that’s possible.  I will spend drinking nights out with the girls, I will laze about my house and read books. I will drive to the beach whenever I feel up to it. I will go to church and enjoy services, and pretend I cannot see or hear all those who seem to think they can decide what I do in life. I will not spare a thought over you – as I have not done in years. I will do what’s best for my daughter and I.

Oh, and just so you know, we know exactly what heaven on earth is like. It definitely doesn’t have you in it.

Now, about my daughter. Yes, Nii, you read right – my daughter – Kweinuaa. I’d like for you to stop harbouring any intentions of ever getting close to her. Because if you ever try it, Nii… I will get a restraining order. And if you send me to court, I will fight you. I will fight till I make you go bankrupt. You know better than to let this go unheeded – I’ve done my research, and I know how to make it work. She was not your daughter when I had her. She certainly isn’t now. 

Ebo and Ofoe have been amazing fathers to her. She will be just fine.

 

He paused and looked at me with a funny simper… I downed a little more of the wine. My heart was racing, and my chest beginning was burn a little. I could tell I was somewhere on the verge of drunkenness. I’d have to consider an Uber… or Ebo could drive me home?

 

And one day, I hope that you find some other woman, who can handle you. Someone who’ll be fine with a decision to bail anytime things don’t work. I hope she makes you happier than I ever made you. I hope you have babies with her. Because my baby girl is not to be shared. She’ll always be my daughter. Not ours.

All we have left, Nii, is the memory of a beautiful marriage, a horrid separation, and now, a surprising and civil re-acquaintance. Nothing more is ever going to come out of that.

Now that you’ve made your apology and intentions known, I’d like for you to know that you’re forgiven. Only forgiven so I can be free.

I will have a happy ending, Nii. But it won’t have you in it.

Regards,

Parker.

Ebo looked at me, and smiled – fully this time. It was an intent gaze. He took a sip of his Lambrusco, and kissed my forehead.

Maybe… just maybe, this was my happy ending.

 

 

The End.

 

 

This is the link to the E.L’s song that was mentioned. I don’t know the full meaning of it, lol… I’ve just recently fallen in love with it, and I hope you like it too.

E.L – Mi Naa Bo Po (Official Music Video) – YouTube

PS. Thanks Ike for the illustration 😀

Six Years Late II

I woke up from a very restless sleep, thinking I’d been dreaming.

But I saw the armchair he’d sat in. It was definitely not a dream. I thought there was a vague smell of his cologne. How didn’t I smell it last night? And after six years he still used the same one?

“Nii is back.” I half-whispered into the phone to Wendy. I didn’t know what to make of it. My heart was heavy. I didn’t think it would ever happen. That he’d show up with an apology – never in a million years. “Oh God! Well, what’s his story?”

What did she mean what’s his story? Did that matter in any way? I didn’t know the story and I didn’t want to know. And I was too scared that he would somehow try to meet Kweinuaa. I did not want that kind of drama.

Well would you stop him? It’s indeed his daughter is it not?

I was shaken. The events of the previous night kept playing in my mind. I was not sad, I was upset. Livid. Seething.

Six years was too long to decide you could waltz back in and make it work. I didn’t want a story – if even he had one. And I didn’t want to be so affected by his return.

He’d walked out of the room when I ‘threatened’ to hurt him. At least he hadn’t forgotten one thing. My calm threats were never empty. He said he’d be back. “And I promise, I’ll explain it all. I’ll make up for the years and the pain. I’ll make this work”.

You see, I think that the fact that he assumed I would want to hear the explanation upset me more than the fact that he was back. I didn’t want an apology, I didn’t want a story. I wanted to go back to 2 days ago, when it was me, my baby girl, and the beautiful life we had.

My phone rang just as I was driving over to Wendy’s. It was Ebo. We hadn’t spoken in close to two months. The last time we did, he was picking Kweinuaa up for a play date with his kids. I knew why he was calling. But I didn’t want to hear anything about Nii. Yet I owed it to Ebo to pick up the phone. He’d been a good friend. Perhaps the closest thing Kweinuaa could call a father, save for Ofoe, Wendy’s husband.

Saying a silent prayer in my heart, I picked up the call. And suddenly that phone call from the hospital about seven years ago flashed before my eyes. It made me suddenly nauseous.

“Ebo, ofee fine? Long time.”

“Parker Are you okay? Nii is in my house. He says he spoke to you last night. He’s acting weird – he’s been quiet half the time. Where’s Kweinuaa? What happened last night?”

He seemed even more distraught than I was.

“Ebo I’m driving to Wendy’s I’ll call you when I park.” It was a bit of a struggle gripping the steering wheel, I hadn’t even realised I was trembling. Why did he have the power to even elicit a reaction from me?

Maybe you never really forgot him. Maybe you still love him?

I laughed at that thought. I didn’t know how to feel about this. How did people react in these situations? I did not want to ask myself what Jesus would do, because I knew I probably could would not do it!

But how did people disappear for no reason, and then reappear? How did their loved ones cope?

Wendy knew I needed a distraction. She packed us all up to the beach. Her family and mine. It was not exactly the kind of day I had in mind, but it was a good one – the girls making sand castles that barely stood for five minutes, Ofoe, giving them piggy back rides in the sand, and Wendy and I eating and lounging the whole time. It was hard not to think about him.

Just when we were leaving, Ebo showed up. Of course, Kweinuaa was super excited, asking to go with him, and begging for a sleep over. It was a definite no – the kind that she knew she shouldn’t beg about.

He came with an envelope for me. He looked apologetic when he handed it to me. It was quite a thick envelope. Like some folded documents. “Nii asked me to give you this.” I knew I was not going to open it. But Kweinuaa was looking, and wondering. It was a wonder she didn’t ask who Nii was. I took it and shoved it down my bag. I saw the look on Ebo’s face. He seemed to know what was going on in my head. He offered to follow me home, so we could go talk. Kweinuaa was going to remain at Wendy’s. I took the offer, not because I wanted to do any talking, but because I didn’t want to have to think about all of this alone.

We drove home, and while I freshened up, I thought back to the last time I had given a proper thought to Nii. I’d constantly wondered what to tell Kweinuaa as she grew up. But I’d stopped wondering what actually happened years ago. It was not worth the heartache.

“Dear Parker, 

I know that this comes as a shock to you. I know you want to have nothing to do with me – all that happened last night confirmed that for me. I just feel like there are some things that you really need to know. The most important of them is how sorry I am.

Even though I don’t think that you ever wondered if you were a good wife, I want you to know that all the things that have happened had nothing to do with the kind of wife you were to me. You were a good wife. I won’t lie and say that you did anything at all to merit any of what happened. You were a good woman. The kind that any man would be excited to return home to. You were loving and happy, and very helpful, you were amazing in bed, and you were smart and sensible. You were special.

A couple of months after we started trying for kids, I felt very pressured. And I felt that maybe it was cos of me? So I did some tests. Initially, they said that I had no issues. Thinking that the problem was from you, I decided to get a mistress. Just for the purpose of having a baby. (Not that I consider this justified). But when after 8 months, she couldn’t have a baby either, I sought a second opinion. There, it was concluded that there was no way I could father a baby. I really didn’t know how to tell you. And for about four months, I sat on the information, trying to figure out the best way to tell you, and when. And then you came at me, with a pregnancy out of nowhere! I honestly assumed that you’d had another man father the baby. And although it was not in line with your character in any way, I felt betrayed. Around that same time, I got the offer to move to Mauritius. I stalled it long enough to find out if you’d come clean. I didn’t want another man’s child. And I felt like damaged goods, because what man doesn’t want a son of his own? It was very stupid of me, and I acted like a child. I don’t know what made my mind so made up about the whole situation. I don’t know why I didn’t stop to listen. 

I sincerely apologise Parker. Truly.

When I left, I assumed that you’d move on with the father of the child. I assumed you’d sign those divorce papers and get on with the other man. I wanted to see who he was. When after two years I was told there was no sign of such a man, I started to wonder.Then I heard you’d named her Kweinuaa; I thought to myself – if she was really my daughter like you claimed, maybe you’d have given her some Ga name of some sort….  I’m an idiot, I know. 

I’d met a lady from Sao Tome who was also in Mauritius for work. She did not want any babies in life, so you can imagine her joy when I let her know I couldn’t even have any. Though it haunted me on many nights, the fact that I at least owed you a reason for leaving, I maintained in my heart that if you cheated on me for a child, then you deserved this. It hardly occurred to me that for 8 months, I’d been having an affair for this sole purpose, so I had no right to judge.

Parker, I’m really really sorry!

A year ago, the lady I moved in with found out she was pregnant. My first reaction was anger! How could this happen to me twice? But she was so mad at me – saying I’d lied to her. She was not even planning to keep the baby, so I realised she really didn’t want it, so she’d likely not been having an affair. So I went through a series of tests again. I found out that indeed I could have a baby, I just had a rather low sperm count, meaning it was just more difficult for me to.

Parker, it’s haunted me for a year! It’s kept me up so many nights. I felt like a villain. I wanted to come back home to you. I’ve begged God to forgive me, begged him to let you forgive me. I’ve gotten to my wits end, Parker.

I am so sorry. If there’s anything I can do, let me know. I will do it. If it means that I have to go round the world, I will do it. I know I owe you six years of a beautiful life snatched from you… for something you didn’t do. I owe you so much. But if you’ll let me, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll make sure you and our little girl know what heaven on earth feels like…”

It was when I felt Ebo’s arms around me that I realised that I was crying.  I handed him the letter refusing to read what was left of it. There were other things in the envelope that I hadn’t even paid attention to. They looked like hospital reports. I didn’t need any of this. I attempted to push my way out of Ebo’s arms. But suddenly, it felt good to be there. To have someone’s arms to cry in. It really felt like a breath of fresh air. I just held on to him, and cried. Cried for the lonely nights when I wondered if I’d always remain alone. Cried for the times I thought maybe I’d done something to push him away, that maybe for some reason, I was inadequate. I cried for all the children’s parties I attended with Kweinuaa that made me ‘crave’ a husband. And I cried for all the things Kweinuaa may have missed, and would likely continue to miss from not knowing her father. I cried for all the stupid dates I went on, that ended up with me wondering – If Nii left after close to 4 years, what would make this one stay?

I didn’t have any words, just tears. I hadn’t cried about him in years. And I’d vowed I wouldn’t ever. But here I was.

“Ebo… he cheated on me. He cheated…. for 8 months… and I’m… I’m the one who… I’m the one who… who had to… to suffer for it! Ebo please… please tell me you…. you knew nothing about it?”

I was hardly coherent between sobs.

“Parker, I had absolutely no idea!” He said it so calmly, holding me as if his life depended on it.

When the sobs had subsided. I sat there, wondering what next. Wondering if I could ever look into the face of this man I’d once loved, without wanting to rip his throat apart. I wondered if this thing called forgiveness that they’d been preaching to me forever was even possible.

I remembered some random lady from church who’d once told me that if I truly forgave Nii, ‘God would give me a good husband – he would restore the years the locusts had eaten’. It was the first time I’d felt the urge to cuss in church. Maybe if Kweinuaa hadn’t been sleeping on my arm, I actually would have.

Sitting there quietly, trying to piece myself together mentally, and slightly embarrassed that Ebo had seen me at my worst, I heard a key in the lock.

I knew Nii was back again.

I was too spent to say a word. He walked in, saw Ebo and I in the half embrace that we sat in, and made a face. Neither of us made to move.

I made a mental note to change the locks.

‘Ebo, ofee fine?’ – Ebo are you okay?

Six Years Late

I closed from work late and tired. Good thing Kweinuaa was sleeping over at Wendy’s. I was a little too exhausted for her bedtime stories and long goodnights… and I was having one of those emotional evenings when weird flashbacks from the past were unsettling me. I smiled, remembering her incessant requests last night – mummy, maybe a piggy back ride will make me fall asleep faster than Beauty and the Beast.

It was our turn to have the power out, so I wasn’t surprised at the darkness in the neighbourhood, with a few lit houses, and the loud hums of different generators as I turned onto our lane. I hope Sule remembered to buy the fuel, I muttered to myself.

When I got onto the compound, I thought of taking a shower and just going to bed. Then I thought, it’s a Friday night, and you haven’t had one like this in ages, maybe call the girls and meet up for some drinks? Or maybe just go to bed? Or maybe get yourself a glass of wine and that book you planned to read last month?

I’ll think of something once I get inside. I sat in the car for five minutes. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and breathe out all the stress for just five minutes.

I woke up with a jolt. I had ‘dozed off’ for the past hour and 48 minutes. 12:26AM. Screw that shower. Straight to bed it is.

I walked in the darkness first to the outhouse to put on the generator – no fuel.

I groped my way inside, stripped of my clothes, and lay on the bed. I didn’t even have the mental capacity to think.

Then I heard a sigh.

Why was there a sigh that wasn’t mine? It must all be in your head… you’re tired.

“I thought you’d never get out of the car.

Goosebumps. I clutched the blanket to my chest instinctively.

I knew that voice. Knew it too well.

My pulse was thundering in my head. I hadn’t heard that voice in a very long while.

It was a voice that had calmed my nerves many times. It’d sung to me on several occasions. It had whispered sweet nothings into my ears in the past. It used to be my favourite voice.

My eyes had somewhat adjusted to the darkness. And I could see his outline. Couldn’t make his face out… it was too dark for that, and his eyes were either only half open or closed. His voice was raspy. Like he had just woken up? I was still silent.

“I’m so sorry.” His voice cracked.

It was also the same voice that had accused me of infidelity, and walked out without even listening for an explanation. It was that same voice that had angrily asked me to carry my pregnancy to ‘whoever was responsible.’

It was the voice Kweinuaa should have heard daily, growing up.  It was the voice that had been away for the past six years, without much of a trace.

The first time Kweinuaa asked me where her daddy was, I thought I’d faint. She was barely four, and I was not prepared for it. I took her to my mother’s that night, and got drunk. I hadn’t had to think about him in so long, and suddenly, I not only had to think, I had to explain to her. What would I say? Your daddy thinks you’re not his daughter… and he didn’t even stay around long enough to check and be sure!

It was quite ironic. We’d wanted kids for two long years. One year after marriage – for we dedicated one year to being ‘crazy in love’… we started trying. After that year, we tried… two years of trying. One year with no interventions, and the last year with all possible tests and medication, etc. We almost tried IVF.

But then it finally happened. I got pregnant. I decided I’d surprise him. You know, these extra things that people do. Bake a cake and put a note in it? Or balloons? I needed it to be special.

But I couldn’t. I was too excited to keep it in while baking a cake. I ended up blurting it out over dinner. I was expecting the excitement I felt to be mirrored in his eyes. I was expecting a kiss, maybe some dancing, and a very steamy night.

But when I told him, he looked me in the eye, and called me a cheat. Me. Ekua.

I’d never seen him that way. Three years of marriage – and it was not a marriage that hadn’t had issues – yet I had never ever seen him like that. He stormed out into the night, and left me too shocked for words or tears. He returned the next morning, and asked me to send the baby to the father, whoever he may be. Did he think he was infertile? Or was he having some sort of mid-life crisis? Because the baby couldn’t possibly have put itself there. I had been a faithful wife. He was an amazing husband, and nothing would have made me cheat.

He spent less and less time at home after that, till he was practically only returning on the weekends to pick clothes and leave. His parents tried to talk to him. My mother tried to talk to him. Our pastors. A couple of colleagues. I tried. If he wanted a DNA test, I was completely for it. He wouldn’t even listen. I’d never been that depressed. It was a classic case of the broken heart.

Three months later, he took a job promotion that sent him to Mauritius. He didn’t tell me directly. He left a note on our bed, together with signed divorce papers – The very bed he sat across from right now. I was six months along then; I’d survived the horrible months of morning sickness without him, I’d survived the back pain, and odd feeling feet. I’d driven myself about 45 minutes at 3am one day, to get a pork sandwich from the only place I knew to run 24hours. I’d considered an abortion on so many occasions. I’d wondered what the point was. I was 27, pregnant and alone – for no reason whatsoever.

The night he left, I planned to go to the airport. I’d spoken to his best friend who was going to take him to the airport. He would stall and ensure we met.

That afternoon, I started bleeding!

I drove myself to the hospital, in a frenzy. I called his phone – of course he didn’t pick up. I called his best friend, and explained it to him. I listened as he told him. I listened as he scolded him, to try and make him reason. I heard the silence.

And then after the long silence, he said “Ebo… Mi’ya!” It was the last time I heard that voice.

I made up my mind that night. I’d be fine. I would get over him and be okay. Of course, easier said than done!

I had Kweinuaa a month later. A premature little girl, with little chance of survival – at least that was what I was told. I thought of leaving her at the hospital. Or giving her up for adoption. But then I held her the first time, and knew I couldn’t do it.

Nature wasn’t cruel to me. She looked nothing like her father. She was a spitting image of myself.

So after close to six months of hospital shenanigans, I brought my daughter home for good, with a resolve to be okay. And we were okay. For the first year, Mama came to live with me. And I threw myself into work, and into my Kweinuaa. She was lovely! She started swimming lessons at 2, Ballet at 3, and mini piano at 4. She started reading at 4 – well ahead of her peers. She was a smart child.

My friends, and family had tried to set me up with so many different men, on so many occasions. One – third of them were idiots who didn’t want a woman who already had a child. Another one-third were men who wanted to be babied and pampered and chosen over Kweinuaa. The final one-third just didn’t work out. They were good men. But so was my husband…. or ex-husband.

So six years down the line, I did not expect him back, and I certainly did not expect that he still had the keys to the house.

“I don’t know what to do to make things right.”

I laughed when he said that. Hearty laughter. I was devoid of any emotions. Was this a dream? Was I hallucinating? Because this was absurd. It was all too funny. “God if this is a dream please make it stop.”

“It’s not a dream. Ekua I’m here… and I’m sorry. And I’m ready to make it work.”

I rummaged through the drawers, in search of my pepper spray. This was the work of the devil… and I did not have the time for it!

Mi’ya – I’m leaving (Ga, A popular Ghanaian language)

Happy 21st, My Son!

My Dear Kwaku Okatakyie…
Happy 21st Birthday! You don’t know how nostalgic this week has been for me… for us. It feels as if it was just yesterday when you were put into my arms… a beautiful 3.9kg bundle of Christmas joy!
I remember seeing tears in your Papa’s eyes… even though he denies it. It’s difficult to remember another Christmas when I was as happy as I was that Christmas.
You came to us at a point in our lives when we needed all the love we could get as a couple. And you brought all that love and so much more!!

Your Papa and I have been pondering for a really long time what to give you today. I know you’ve been hinting about that car since God knows how long…. it’s not going to happen! (But hey, you never know! Keep your fingers crossed, and your prayers fierce!)😉😉
We decided that we’re first of all going to give this letter to you. You’ll find out later what else we got you.

Remember when you were 3, when I’d just had your brother. You were such a curious child! You asked me many interesting questions. One of them stands out really tall, and remains fresh in my memory. You had such a queer facial expression looking at him, and then you asked “Does it mean I’m no longer your baby? Who will be my mummy?” Much as it made me laugh, it put somethings in perspective for me.
You will always be my baby, Kwaku. No matter how old you are, or what stage you are in life. You will always be my baby – our baby!

You’re a special young man, Kwaku. Special in every way. It’s beautiful how you take care of your siblings, especially Kesewaa. I wonder the kind of hot seat many young men will be subjected to when she’s old enough to start dating!
It’s lovely how much you can bring all of them to order, and make things happen. I still have in mind that Easter three years ago, when you brought them all together to fast, pray and then afterwards, organised that Sunday lunch as well! You are very special!

Now I want you to know, no matter how exceptional you are – and you really are, my love, you’re not the gift of God to the women on this earth! You’re a very good looking young man, and you have a heart of gold. You’re from a good home, and you treat people with respect. That does not give you the right to feel as if you’d be a gift to whoever, whenever. You are an amazing gift to us, but you’re going to be a gift to only one woman (besides me of course). And that woman, will also be a gift to you.
I know so many young men like you, who unfortunately parade themselves around, feeling as if they would be doing any woman a favour by being with them. That kind of attitude stems from pride and arrogance. And I did not bring you up to be proud or arrogant.

K, I’ve seen how the girls hover around you. Don’t let it get to your head. And I know that you have a thing for Kukuaa (Don’t ask me how I know – a mother always knows!😌), she’s a lovely young lady, and we like her. But we don’t want you to ever feel pressured to be with someone because we like her… We want you to have a mind of your own, and based on that, decide who you want. I like to believe we’ve brought you up well, and based on the many good decisions you’ve been making, that you’ll do a good job in deciding. But I want to remind you that on top of your list, should be her love for God! She should be an ambitious woman, who will not settle or allow you to settle for anything average! She definitely should be pretty, because we need good looking grandchildren. She should know what she wants and work for it. And she should be caring and lovely. She definitely can’t be perfect; even you my son are not perfect.

I don’t want you to ever look down on any woman. No. matter. what. It has become a subtle culture for men to feel superior. Before, it was overt… now, it’s annoying how it’s almost always there, no matter how low-key it is made to look. I know how well you can cook. I taught you to cook so you do not feel that a woman should be the one to cook for you. If she cannot cook, cook for her. Cooking should not be a deal breaker for you, because you, my son, could pass for a chef! You’re not marrying a woman to be your cook. So when the other boys talk about these things, and I know that they always do…. Keep in mind your Mummy’s words. Cooking should not be a deal breaker!

There are very few things that should be deal breakers. When I met your Papa, it was his calmness and fervent love for God that drew me to him. You already know that he was not my kind of man, but God had such big plans for us, he taught me that a person could become your kind.
This is to say that much as you need to set high standards, do not go crazy in giving God such a long shopping list!

One more thing, K… remember your Eighteenth birthday? (Of course, how can you forget it?) Remember how elaborately we celebrated your entry into adulthood? Remember your thirteenth as well? I’m gonna give you a back story to what was going on in our lives when you were thirteen. First, your Papa was facing a big lawsuit at the hospital. It was quite a difficult situation. It was the kind of thing that could take away his medical license forever. And that would have had such a great impact on us! I had also just had a miscarriage. And then we were having a few issues here and there, as married people tend to have once in a while. But that did not stop us! On your eighteenth birthday, I had a 3 day deadline to present my thesis, and it was really quite a big deal. Your Papa had such a tough time finding a colleague to represent him at the Medical Conference he was supposed to be at. That did not stop us either! I just want to let you know, that life is interesting. It has so many downs, and then it has the ups. But don’t let the downs steal the joy of your ups! Don’t go so crazy about getting something done or planning into the future, that you forget to live in the present! Do you have any idea how many times daddy wishes he had skipped some hospital time to spend with your Grandma before she passed away? Trust me… life is short. And you get to decide what you want to do with it. You also get to decide who you spend it with. So in all your getting in life, don’t forget the ones who love you, and the ones you love. Never let your work or your education or anything else get in the way of love. Make the people you love your priority – never ever make things get in the way of that. Because that can be disastrous! (If you don’t believe me, ask your dad about that one time he forgot my birthday!!)

Once again, there’s this thing that you’ll learn as you grow up. With time, your friends will reduce. By friends, I mean the active circle of people you trust and constantly spend time with. That is not a bad thing. It only means that with time and age, and wisdom of course, you’re realising that some people are not worth your time, or energy – and that is okay! I want you to be very careful of the people you keep as friends, because they, to a very large extent, help shape the kind of person you will be – as you already know, “bad company corrupts good character”… and “the companion of fools will be destroyed!”

Kwaku, most importantly, today, your Papa and I want to tell you, not to let go of your first love. I’ve seen your passion for God, and how much you love to work for Him. I’ve seen the fruit of the Spirit so overtly manifesting in your life. I’ve seen your hunger for the word of God, and how much you yearn to let others know it! I pray that this never wanes. I pray that this yearning will only continue to increase! I hope nothing gets in the way of your love for God!

 

Remain confident of this – that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! All will go well with you, and you will prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. You will remain in perfect peace as your mind remains stayed on God!

We love you so much, Kwaku! I pray you never ever question that!
Love,
❤️❤️❤️
Mummy and Papa!

PS – Maybe I was sort of kidding about the car 🤷🏾‍♀️ Do not tell your Papa I said anything!!
Also…. I remember you and Oti wanted to do the trip to Amsterdam😊☺️ – that’s my personal gift to you!

I love you!!

Can You Surface Soon? V

Entry 08

Dear Future Husband,

This week I’ve had so much to think about, so much going on in my already hyperactive brain.

I think that this might be my last letter… And that’s really one big problem with me; sticking to a course is so hard. I don’t know whether it’s boredom or laziness or just plain old tiredness. Maybe my obsession with Paapa, singleness and marriage has waned? (Praise the Lord!). We probably all have those phases when we’re ready for God to bring that person and super ready to be in a relationship… Well lately, I’ve just been meh about it. I think it’s the books I started reading. I’ve come to realise that there’s really a lot more at stake where relationships are concerned. And honestly seeing where I’m at in life now, I know I need time.

I know God is working on me and preparing me so that I’m not just some average woman when we do meet – I hope you do not settle for average. Because hey, life is short, and if you only live once, you can’t live average right?😌

So I’m not going to settle on being an average person, I hope you don’t either. And I hope that you don’t plan to give average love… because I can’t have that. I don’t want mediocre love. I don’t want to be kept wondering. I don’t want the kind of love that ‘other couples have.’

I’m a very different girl – and though that may not always be a good thing, it means that I hardly want what everyone wants. Of course there are the basic things that I want too – your love, your attention, complete peace of mind, etc.

This week, I had a conversation with a friend. A Ghanaian girl too. I don’t remember how the conversation got to talking about money, and men, and different roles we play. Apparently there’s a general mentality that in a marriage, “a woman’s money is hers, and a man’s money is theirs”? 😂🤣😂🤣Honestly it came as a bit of a surprise to me… but apparently it works for many people!

I realised somewhere in the first year of undergrad, that I’m repelled by rich boys… (that’s a long story for another day) So much as I want you to be a self-sufficient, responsible and hardworking young man, I hope that you don’t have the kind of money that somehow makes you think that the world revolves around you. (Like, what am I supposed to get you on your birthday if you have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it?) And just so you know, I don’t ascribe to that thinking. I think that if we’re going to be in this together, we’re going to decide how things work, and who pays what. There’s a high likelihood that I might earn a lot more than you,😂😌😶 and I really hope that you’re not the kind of guy that will have a problem with that.

Anyways, let me stop digressing. The plan today was to talk about family. I come from an amazing family. I think that God was very very generous when he gave me my family. And I understand that our families will be from different backgrounds, with different kinds of experiences, etc. but once we decide to be together, we’ll be merging all of that… and I’ve seen first-hand how explosive that can be! Marriage won’t just be between us especially if you come from my Ghanaian culture; it is considered a merging of the two families. One thing I pray for is that our families will get along; that they can co-exist peacefully, and not only co-exist, but love each other! I pray that we can all have fun together, laugh together, pray together; be one and treat each other as Christ would have us treat each other. I clearly don’t know if we’ll be best friends but I hope at least that we’ll love one another.

Inasmuch as they may mean well for us, can we leave them out of our business? Can we not live with them? At least till we’ve built up our own family? I don’t mind visits, but can they remain visits? Can we keep them out of our challenges? Because of course they’ll take sides! And even when we’ve sorted out our issues, they won’t forget…

This is my prayer, that my in-laws will be like second parents to me. Because I want my children to know and love them fully without reservations. I pray you’re praying for the same. I know my family’s opinions really matter to me so I pray that they fall in love with you too, and treat you like a son/brother!

I’d like to believe that at some point, you’ll show up. And although the wait feels long, (especially this Christmas when couples are running around throwing snowballs at each other), I know that you’re working on yourself, just as I’m working on me!

So can you surface soon?!

PS. I’m gonna keep my promise of sticking to writing you these letters, till the month is out!

Can You Surface Soon? IV

Entry 07
Dear future husband,
For a very long time, I hated taking pictures. (To a certain extent, I still do). I over-analyse every single detail in every picture that I take – people say it’s a girl thing. But the thing is, I am insecure and self-conscious about myself. I was always the other sister, the fat one. The one with the crooked teeth. The one who stood out (not in a positive way lol). But I suppose I had the brains to make up for my looks. (And the heart maybe? Inner beauty?) lol!
When I was ten, I overheard some guys from my older sister’s class at church, talking about us. I don’t remember the details, but I remember being referred to as “that other one… the not so pretty one… she doesn’t really look like them, or?” It must have stuck somewhere in my subconscious. Because for some reason, it wasn’t until I became an adult that these insecurities became very evident.
One thing you’ll probably come to know is that I don’t like my body so much. I don’t like my teeth and that’s a hard one because it’s right there on my face. I’ve come to accept and like the gap, because it identifies me as daddy’s little girl, however that’s about all that I like about it.
So these days when I take pictures, duck face is my go to …. because when I show my teeth, all I see is that they are crooked and weird. One day, when I start making my millions, that’s the first thing that I’m going to change about myself.
I won’t lie and say I’m at the stage where I’ve accepted myself fully and come to realize that my body forms a part of me… but quite recently, my devotional warned against self-pity and after a conversation with one of my friends, I realized that wallowing in self-pity and a sea of insecurity really doesn’t help anyone, especially when there’s someone (Christ) who has given me worth more than I can imagine and is so willing to continually hold me up.
I’ve been praying that you won’t be the kind of guy who will “just accept me the way I am”. I’ve been praying that you’ll actually find me beautiful, and be very open about declaring it… ( I’m a pda kinda girl 🤣😉)
Half the time, I need to remind myself that I can be am beautiful. It’s been a hard road for me in that regard, and I’m still on it. Because of that, I had a phase when any guy that called me beautiful or pretty, (if he kept up with it), was at some point elevated to ‘prospective boo’ (Okay, I was thirteen, and I had the imagination of an alien…. But still)
One day, I might be able to stand naked before you and not cringe. I hope that when that day comes, when I have come so far on this journey of accepting myself, you will not just find me ‘acceptable’, you’ll actually be excited!

So back when I was in Ghana, I don’t think I ever doubted that I was smart. I was more often than not at the top of my class – and when I wasn’t at the top, it was okay too, because I knew I wasn’t the only good student. But then I got into this thing they call an Ivy League Liberal Arts College, and it broke me! It gave me such a low self-esteem of myself that I wonder if I’ll ever get back to that confident girl I used to be. I met people who were smarter than me – those who worked hard for it, and those who somehow were just smart… and so I began to settle and doubt myself. I did not work as hard as I should have, (because it felt like even when I worked hard, I still didn’t do well). I made many mistakes because of that. It was like I had just resigned myself to ‘fate’ to take over. And it didn’t help that I wasn’t sure of what my purpose was. Honestly if I could do undergrad all over again, I would seek help right from the start, and work really hard … no laziness, and no procrastination. I would also not let go of dreams because of a low self esteem.
Sometimes I wonder if I stopped being Pre-Med truly because it’s not the path for me or because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to pursue it. Will I ever know?
I think I’m ranting like this because it’s that time of the year when you have to think about the future – the plan after grad school. I still don’t have a clear sense of my career path (I’m not as quick to call that my purpose anymore). My parents want me to go do a PhD – I think I want to do that as well, but then can I?
So the other day, dad sent me a list of schools to look at; actually it wasn’t a list. It was one school. Harvard. Instantly, I felt I didn’t qualify. Do I? Because first of all, your girl doesn’t have research experience… and it’s Harvard – they only take the best. The worst thing is that even as I sat doing my own research for schools, I felt so unqualified. I kept thinking which school would even want me? Sound familiar? Senior Year Of Undergrad all over again!! But I refuse to go through that same depressing, unhappy season again. And I told God that the next time, if there was going to be a next time, I’d walk with Him through that season, and not worry or be anxious about anything.
What’s the worst that could happen? 😩😩 That I’d get rejected by the schools? Then maybe find a job? And if I do not find one, I head back home to Ghana? Frankly, I don’t think that sounds bad at all!!

So here’s to not worrying or feeling insecure about qualifications or self. Here’s to looking up and not down. Here’s to walking with the Lord and trusting Him and truly seeking His face while holding on to the fact that no good thing will He withhold from those who seek His face!!

If you meet me in the near future and by the grace of God, I appear more confident than I am now and am walking in God’s purpose for me, I want you to know that it really wasn’t an easy road getting there. I’m sure you have your own story and I really can’t wait to hear about it.
I really wish you were here already, so we could have all these talks together… because I think my journey to finding myself is going quite well😉

So if you don’t mind, please surface soon?
❤️