Akwasi and I were as thick as thieves. We attended the same secondary school and the same university. Even after school, we stuck together. He stood by me when I decided to get married two years after we completed school. Some people tried to tell me that I was too young but I didn’t care. I had met the woman of my dreams so I didn’t think there was any point in waiting around. My wife is beautiful, smart, intelligent, hardworking, kind, and very loving. I couldn’t envision myself spending the rest of my life with anyone else but her.
After we got married, Akwasi got a lady pregnant and their families forced him to marry her. He resisted the marriage at first, his reason being that the lady was very lazy. He said, “She refuses to work. I even set up some businesses for her but she couldn’t run any of them. How am I supposed to spend the rest of my life with someone like that?” The elders didn’t care about his protests, they insisted he had to marry her because he got her pregnant. The financial burden of the marriage ceremony was his alone to bear. I saw how much he cowered under the pressure of everything so I supported him in ways I could.
After his marriage, he always found a way to compliment me on the kind of woman I married. We would be having a regular conversation and he would chip in, “But man you force o. You get eyes for a good woman. Your wife is the real package.” This means, “My friend you’ve done well for yourself by landing such a good woman. She is the complete package.” His compliments always served as an ego booster and I’d end up sharing more amazing qualities about my wife with him.
When it came to Akwasi’s wife, the only thing he said about her was her bedroom skills. Some of the details he shared were hard to believe. It sounded as if he was describing a porn star instead of his calm and innocent-looking wife. There were times I’d ask him, “Are you sure that’s your wife you are talking about?” He would laugh and say, “You don’t believe me right? She looks too cool for it to be true. Don’t be fooled, she is very wild in the sack.” Unlike him, I never felt comfortable discussing details of my wife’s bedroom skills. There wasn’t even much to discuss anyway. She was good at a lot of things but when it came to shuperu, she didn’t know much. Sometimes I saw her watching tutorials, and later she would apply them, which was more than enough for me.
As the days dragged on, Akwasi brought new tales about his marital sexcapades with his wife. It got to a point I couldn’t listen in silence anymore. “What at all is your wife doing to you? Did you marry her for her shuperu skills?” I teased him. He laughed and said, “You know what? I won’t say much. There’s this lady I hooked up with before I got married. She has the kind of skills my wife does. You can give her a try and see for yourself.” I brushed him off, “Why would you say that to me? You know how much I love my wife. I can never cheat on her.” He laughed, “See who is afraid. I never pegged you for a coward.” I admit that my ego got bruised when he called me a coward. I wanted to prove to him that I wasn’t afraid of anyone. So I asked him to connect me to the lady in question.
My first encounter with this supposedly wild lady was horrible. I was so disappointed that I cheated on my wife for some trashy shuperu. “Even my wife at her worst is better than this.” I thought. After the whole thing was over, I told the hookup lady, “I am sorry that I got involved with you in the first place. I think it will be best if we never contact each other again.” She nodded in agreement and I went my way with my head bowed in shame. When I met my friend, he sneered; “Chale the woman said you didn’t put her in the mood. All you wanted to do was to knack and go. How can you enjoy her performance with that attitude?” Again, my stupid ego took a hit and I felt the need to prove something.
I arranged a second encounter with this lady. It wasn’t any better than the first. I was annoyed and disappointed in myself for the second time. This time I cut off communication with the lady and told Akwasi that I was done. “This whole thing is stupid and irresponsible. Don’t come goading me to give it another try.” After that warning, he stopped talking about anything relating to shuperu.
A few weeks later, I realized that I was getting sick here and there. Nothing, in particular, was wrong with me but I didn’t feel right. I couldn’t eat properly, and I started losing weight. My wife became concerned and asked that I go for a check-up. I am a lab technician so I decided to run some tests on myself. Everything came out negative except one. An HIV test. I couldn’t believe it.
I went to another facility and requested the same set of tests. The results were the same. I was so shaken. They took me through post counselling and asked that I bring my wife to get tested too. How was I going to explain a situation like that to her? I couldn’t do it so I lied to her and got her blood samples. Then I took it to my lab and tested it myself. By God’s grace, she was negative. I called Akwasi, my best friend, and told him what had happened. His only reaction was, “Why didn’t you use a condom?” I told him; “I don’t need this right now. I will come and see you at home tomorrow so we talk properly.”
The more I thought about going home to face my wife, the more restless I felt. So I figured I’d just go to Akwasi’s house that day so we talk about how to break the news to my wife. I didn’t think to tell him I was coming. We were close like that. When I got to his window, I overheard him talking to someone about me. I got curious and stood there to eavesdrop. I heard him say, “Now that he has contracted a terminal disease, his wife will leave him. He is always boasting about her. Let’s see how the tables turn now. I will even be the one to tell her and wait for the drama to unfold.” For a moment I thought I was hallucinating. My one and only friend Akwasi was rejoicing over my fall. Hell must have frozen over. I was so shocked that I quietly walked away from his window and went home.
I watched my wife serve me, and gave me a kiss for us to have dinner, and all I felt was the stab of my own betrayal. I tried to eat but I broke down in tears. She became worried, “What’s wrong?” I shook my head and said I was fine. I didn’t have the courage to tell her the truth. I suppose I am truly a coward.
At dawn, she woke up to pray as was her routine. I woke up and joined her. While we were praying, I blurted the truth about my sickness. She screamed “Jesus! How? How could that be?” I simply said, “I brought this on myself. I cheated on you.” She sat on the floor and wept. I sat next to her and also wept till the sun rose from its bed. I pleaded with her to forgive me.
My wife looked at me and said, “I’m not crying because of your diagnosis. I know that you are not a cheat. This is all Akwasi’s fault, isn’t it? I know because he has been making advances on me for the past four months. I didn’t want to tell you and ruin your friendship but now I wish I did.” I was so angry but my wife asked me not to confront him. She told me, “When I stood at the altar and vowed for better for worse, I meant it. We will go through this together.”
Four months after I tested positive, I have not been in contact with Akwasi. I blocked him, and we moved from where we lived into our own house. In that period, he went to my wife’s parents and reported me to them. He told them that I had contracted HIV and I was keeping it a secret from their daughter. My in-laws came over and tried to take my wife away, but she refused to go. She told them, “He is my husband, I know what he did but I’m not leaving him. We are in this together.”
Anytime she shows me love, I feel like ending my life. I ruined my marriage with my selfish desires. A marriage that is less than two years old. I know I don’t deserve her love. I secretly pray to God to take my life so that she can remarry. She’s a good person, and look what I’ve done to her.