I found Abena when I was in my fourth year at the University. She was in her second year. We had a three-day training program on campus and she was there throughout. That was where she caught my attention, very elegant and eloquent. When we talked the first time, she gave me the impression of a woman who doesn’t have time for men. As time went on, she mellowed until we became good friends. Being friends with her wasn’t the final destination but it gave me the opportunity to know who she really was and what her dreams were. She didn’t want so much in life; “Just to make it in my chosen career and build a family I can come home to when my career stresses me.”
Apart from the love I had for her, I also fell in love with her approach to life, very firm but easygoing when you get to know her very well. When it came to the expression of feelings, she always had a poker face on. I couldn’t tell how she was feeling for me. Unlike me, my emotions were all over the place and at any given opportunity, I let her know that I loved her. One day I stopped acting it out and spoke my mind; “I want you to be my girlfriend. That’s what I’d always wanted right from the beginning. Here I am, telling you what’s on my heart for you. What do you say?” .
Her answer was, “OK.”
“OK? OK, what?”
“You said you want me to be your girlfriend, right? So OK.”
“Meaning you’ve accepted my proposal?”
“That’s exactly what OK means.”
A semester later, I completed school and left campus. We were both scared. We thought we were going to lose what we had. We were just budding lovers and were scared the new weather in our lives was going to shrink our leaves. We made promises. Promises like, “I won’t leave you, no matter what. I will do everything to have us together instead of apart.”
We kept the promises. We were apart but always found ways and means to be connected with each other. I had started a new job in a town not too far from Accra when the lockdown was announced. Two days before the lockdown, she packed her things and travelled to lock down with me. That should have been the happiest day of our lives but I started noticing behaviours that made it difficult for me to see a future in her.
Abena will sleep until she smells the aroma of what I was cooking before she will wake up. She’ll eat and leave the dishes there until I tell her to clean them. We stayed for almost two weeks, she never cleaned anything in the house. My room shared a toilet and bath with two other tenants so cleaning the washroom and toilet was shared responsibility. My co-tenants had their girlfriends doing it for them whenever it was their turn but when it got to my turn, I had to go and clean it myself. She saw me doing it but didn’t care. It was like that until she finally left.
I loved her too much to call her behaviour a red flag. I told myself, “When we marry, I will mould her to suit the needs of the marriage.” I proposed marriage to her last year and she accepted. I thought that will change her but it didn’t. She’ll visit me and won’t touch anything until I complain. Her latest excuse is, “I love it when my man does things like that for me. It makes me feel loved.” I asked her, “Does it mean it’s going to remain like this after marriage?” She told me, “Of course not. Marriage is different. It’s a lifetime thing so I can’t watch my husband do all that for me every day until death do us part.”
I still loved her and couldn’t imagine my world without her in it. In March this year, we did our knocking rite and started preparing for marriage.
Currently, we don’t live together. She works in a different region but we see each other twice a month. When there’s a long holiday, we spend it together.
Not too long ago, I met a young lady in town and we became friends. She’s a twenty-three-years old pupils’ teacher in a school not far from where I work. Our friendship didn’t last. At some point, emotions developed and I proposed to her and she accepted. It’s this lady who’s currently turning my world around. She’s the one whose attitude is telling me that I deserve better than I already have in Abena.
The first time she came to my house, she told me, “Allow me to fix this place for you.” She wasn’t even my girlfriend then. Just within an hour, my room was looking like a new place I’d rented. The following weekend, Abena came to visit. She saw my room and said, “For the first in our relationship, you cleaned your room in anticipation of my visit. You deserve two rounds for that.”
By the time she was leaving, my place was in a mess again. I had to push her before she would clean the kitchen she herself used. It’s not like that with my new girlfriend. I don’t have to say anything. When she comes around, everything looks better. My life gets a different rhythm in her presence. She’s very hardworking, just that her family doesn’t have it so she’s having it tough in life.
She wants to go to university but there’s no money. It’s the reason she’s teaching to raise money for school. I am saving for marriage. Every penny I put down has marriage written on it but the woman I’m going to marry isn’t worth it. Slowly, my mind has shifted to this new girl and she’s the one I want to settle down with.
I told her the other time, “When the forms come out, I will buy them for you. Whatever you have, I’ll top up for you to go to school and I’ll help until you’re done.” I’m determined to use the money I’m saving for marriage to help this new girl to go to school. Usually, my conscience pricks me when I’m doing something wrong but this time around, I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever about what I’m about to do. This new girl is the helper that I need to make it in this life. Abena wants a man who will clean after her while she’s busy queening around. I’m not that man. I’m ready to help but not to the extent that Abena wants it.
My only problem now is how to let Abena go. We’ve come far, especially with the knocking that we did. Family is involved now and it complicates things a little bit. Her parents love me like their own. They will call me every now and then to tell me that they’re praying for me. Her mom will tell me, “I know God is working miracles in your life. Very soon, it will manifest for us to have a great wedding and a beautiful marriage. God is fighting on your side so don’t worry.” Her dad too will often call and give me the same motivation. My parents are so in love with Abena that I don’t think I can change their minds that easily. If I even succeed to make them understand, I don’t think they’ll open their hearts wholly to the next woman in my life. They’ll forever see her as the woman who I left Abena for and that ain’t fair to this new girl.
How do I make things easy? How do I calm all the hearts involved in this issue after I’d told them what’s on my mind? That’s my trouble now. Please help me to decide.