Abena was coming from a bad relationship when I found her. When I told her I love her, she gave me the kindest smile and was about to say something but she stopped. I waited for almost a minute for her to say something but she never did. I asked her, “You didn’t say what you were about to say?” She shook her head. I asked, “So I should take it as you’ve accepted my proposal?” She answered, “No, I can’t accept this. I just returned from a relationship that nearly killed me. My healing is not even complete. I can’t jump into another one. I don’t have the heart to.”
I thought fancy promises could break down her resolve but nothing I said worked on her. “I would be a different person, trust me. I will not be anything like your ex.” She responded, “I’ve heard that before. In fact, I’ve heard that too many times that it doesn’t move me again.” Anything I said sounded familiar to her so I decided to say nothing and instead act what was on my heart. For so many weeks, I tried kindness toward her. I tried to show care and I tried to say the right words. A month later, I revisited my proposal. She said, “No, it’s not possible. We can be friends, that’s all I have left.”
I didn’t know her ex or hadn’t heard the reason why they broke up but I was angry with him. In fact, I hated him for killing the heart of a woman I wanted. “Why are some men this wicked? You look at a lady like this and hurt her this much? What kind of a heart do you people have?”
She kept saying no to me but that didn’t stop me. She didn’t run away from me so there was always this hope that one day she would say yes. Anytime we met she smiled a lot. She was happy to see me and it was obvious but whenever I mentioned a relationship, the smiles on her face slowly faded away. She told me, “I’m sorry it looks like I’m using you to kill the pain I’m going through. If I tell you what I’ve been through, I don’t think you’ll even have any desire left for me. I enjoy your friendship so let it remain like that.”
From the stories she told me, she was coming from a relationship no lady should have a reason to be in. The guy’s parents didn’t like her but she was determined to prove to them that she was worth it, so she went beyond herself to do a lot of things a woman like her shouldn’t do. The guy came to the realization that she loved him too much so he took advantage of it and started treating her wrong. She said, “I caught him in bed with another girl. It hurt me like hell but I thought the fault was from me so I apologized to him. Then everything started going wrong from there. He chose the girl over me and I knew it but I wasn’t ready to leave him.”
They dated for five years and looking at where they had come from, she didn’t think it was a good idea to leave the guy and start afresh with another person. She had had to sleep at the door of the guy because the guy was in the room with another lady. When she told me the story the only thing that came from my mouth was, “You really loved this guy.” She said, “Say the truth. Tell me I was really stupid and I will understand.” I didn’t say that. I didn’t think she was even stupid because I’d grown to know what love can make us do. I rather understood her and blamed the guy for being stupid.
I decided not to bother her again with my proposal. Instead, I stayed back and enjoyed her friendship and all the care that she could give as a friend. She was happy, she told me. She told me I was the reason she laughed a lot. She said, “Looking at what a man did to me, I shouldn’t be closer to another man like this but you make things easier. You’re very kind and I like that about you. I only fear things will change when I start a relationship with you.” I responded, “You’’ never know until you give me a try. If I’m a good friend, then I will be a better boyfriend.
She said yes to me. Even her yes came shrouded in terms and conditions; “Let’s give it a try and see what may turn out. If you change, I will walk away. I’m sorry you may not have the extensive period I gave to that guy to abuse me.” I understood her and our love journey began. Each day when I woke up, my only aim was to make her feel better. It wasn’t my aim to prove that I’m better but I was determined to make her see the difference between me and her ex.
She’s a teacher. I was working in a manufacturing company. A year after being together, we started talking about marriage. It took us only a year to come to the conclusion that we deserve to spend the rest of our lives together. She lived not too far from me so when her rent was about to expire I told her not to renew it. “We would be married very soon so there’s no need to spend money on renting when you will soon live with me. If anything, I have to look for a bigger space that would contain the both of us when we marry.”
A few weeks after talking about this dream, I lost my job.
I saw it coming but I didn’t think it will get to my doorsteps. The company was downsizing and people went home at the end of every month. I was the only person in my position so I thought I was safe. They told me they were changing directions and unfortunately the new direction didn’t need my services. I was crushed to pieces.
I had to rely on my savings to get by. I was even scared to invest what I had because If it didn’t work then I had lost everything. I moved from office to office looking for a job. In the evening, I will end up with Abena. One day she asked me, “You still think I shouldn’t renew my rent?” I told her, “Please do. Things are not how they used to be but trust me, I will bounce back very soon.”
It has been two years and I’m still without a job. My rent expired and I couldn’t renew so I had to move to my parent’s house to share a room with my junior brother. Currently, it’s tough, but this girl comes around wearing this huge smile as if everything is alright. She’s helping me to get a job. I went into cleaning services and she was the one who bought me the materials I needed. The office that engaged my services wasn’t far from my home so I was doing it myself. The money was ok. I got another office and hired a lady to help. The lady eventually took that contract from me and took all the money. The cleaning business wasn’t growing and it didn’t give me the time to look for better jobs so I stopped.
It’s hard currently. This is not the life I promised this girl and it saddens my heart that I’m failing her. No, she’s not complaining. She comes home and stays around with me and my brother as if it’s normal. Sometimes, she would tell my brother to excuse us before we could even kiss. I have to take trotro before I get to where she lives. There’s no money so I give her excuses. She’ll send me money and tell me, “Now you have no excuse to come around.” I will go there and spend a couple of days and she’ll do everything for me as if I were her world. Things like that get to me but she tells me not to worry. ”One day you’ll have a job and all this will be a thing of the past.”
I believe her but I’m failing her. I’m even scared someone will come along and take her away from me. If that happens, my world will come to a standstill. I’ve discussed it with her over and over again ad she laughs at me. “I’m here with you and I’m happy, that’s the most important thing.” She says.
I know the only solution I have is to get a job and I’m on it. I have a degree and I have the experience so it won’t take a long time for me to find what I’m looking for but my fear is losing this girl. I pray it doesn’t happen. I pray her smile doesn’t fade before better days come. I’m writing this to assure her that better days are coming so she should continue to hold on. I will show this piece to her when it gets published. I hope she reads and smiles that her wild smile but most importantly, I hope it gets her to believe in me and also trust the process.