Growing up, one of the values my father instilled in us is hard work. It was a value he himself lived by. When he lost his job and the world seemed so hard for us, he didn’t sit by idly waiting for another job to fall on his lap. Instead, he helped my mother run her catering business.
My mother sold all forms of food as a local caterer. My father would wake up at dawn and help her with the cooking. When everything is set to be sold, he would head to the farm to work on his plantation. Over time, they saved enough money and opened a provision shop for my father to run. The food business, the shop, and my dad’s farming helped cater for four children. As the only boy among my siblings, I was assigned to help my father at the shop. I was doing a good job till I got to JHS 2. I don’t know what came over me but I started stealing from my dad. It isn’t that I was hungry or that my needs were not met by my parents. They did everything to make us comfortable yet it wasn’t enough for me. I always stole money from the shop. Sometimes I got away with it. On days I got caught my dad beat me as if to exorcise the demon of stealing out of me.
The more he beat me, the more I stole his money. My behaviour continued until I got to SHS. Some thieves broke into my father’s shop and robbed everything. I remember how devastating it was for my family. My mother wept the entire day. Seeing the terrible effect someone’s stealing had on my family taught me a lesson. It was a lesson my dad’s beatings couldn’t teach me. No one deserves to have their possessions taken from them. I sobered up and changed my ways. I never thought of taking something that wasn’t mine again.
Fast forward I have grown into a decent man. I am hard working in all aspects of my life. Even when it comes to my love life, I give it my all. I met my first love when I came to Accra to live with my uncle. I had just completed SHS while my girlfriend was still in school. We kept our relationship hidden until she also completed SHS. She introduced me to her parents and they loved me. I also introduced her to my parents. They welcomed her with open arms. We were together for six years. I planned my whole life and my future around her. I thought she was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with. Unfortunately, life happened and we were thrown in different directions. She travelled abroad in search of greener pastures. We tried to make it work but we couldn’t survive the long distance.
After her, I met a mobile money vendor. Her dedication to her work was what caught my attention. I tried to get her attention by engaging her in chitchats. It took some time before she warmed up to me. Eventually, we started dating. A year into the relationship she got pregnant. We sat down and talked about the pregnancy. I told her “This isn’t how I want it to happen but let’s keep it. I will do my best to support you financially.” As promised I did my best for her. The days went by very quickly. In a twinkle of an eye, she gave me a beautiful baby girl. When our baby was five months old, her rent expired. I spoke to her parents and suggested she moves in with me. In order for them to agree, I had to perform the knocking rites.
Things were good between us when she moved in. After the baby turned a year and a half, I spoke to her about getting a job. I could provide for their needs but I wanted her to work. She got a job as a mobile money vendor in our neighbourhood. She took her job seriously. Everything was going well until her boss started calling me with complaints. Her boss said she was making losses. She wanted to fire her but I reasoned with her; “Don’t fire her, please. I will talk to her and we’ll sort it out.” We talked about the losses she was incurring. She said “I don’t know what my boss is talking about. I account for everything accurately.”
The complaints kept coming in and I kept pleading her case. Sometimes I’d pay for the difference she lost. Sometimes her boss would deduct it from her salary. And she’d come home empty-handed. It got to a point her boss said, “I am beginning to suspect your wife is a thief. I don’t think anyone would incur this much loss consistently without intending to. Talk to her and get the truth.” How was I going to address this? I couldn’t have possibly asked, “Are you a thief?” The best I did was ask if she was using the money for her own personal means. She insisted that she didn’t know how she always came short.
After a while, I asked her to quit the job and stay at home. By then she had incurred a debt of GHC2500 which I had to pay. After she quit, her sister helped her to rent a container. I also invested money into furnishing the container. Her sister then gave her GHC5000 to start her own mobile money business. In the initial stage, the business was doing well. She even saved some money and bought some of the items on the marriage list. About five months into the business, I secretly audited her accounts. I found out that her starting capital was down to GHC3000. I confronted her about it but she couldn’t tell me anything coherent. I realized I wouldn’t get any answers so I let it go. About two months before our wedding, I audited her accounts again. This time too the money had reduced. I started panicking. I asked myself “What if her boss was right? What if she is a thief?” To dispel my fears I went into my susu (savings) box. To my horror, GHC1400 of my money was unaccounted for.
The surprising thing is, I don’t see her making any extra expenses. If truly she was stealing the monies, there was no proof of what she was doing with it. I asked her sister about it but she didn’t have any answers for me. I should have put the wedding on hold at that point. But I didn’t have proof and I hoped that there was a logical explanation for all of it. I wondered if she had a secret account or maybe, just maybe we were under spiritual attack. About two weeks to the wedding more money got missing from her business. I woke her up at dawn and begged her “Please tell me about your problem with money. It seems money gets missing around you. The truth will not change my mind about marrying you. I just want to help you.” Again she went on spewing a lot of things that didn’t make sense. I told her “If we get married and someone comes to tell me you are owing them money, I will file for a divorce.”
In November last year, we tied the knot.
After the wedding, I gave her GHC1000 to invest in her business. Not long after that, I found out she went for a loan from a loan company. Then a family friend came to tell me that my wife borrowed GHC1000 from him. I didn’t want any disgrace so I paid the debt. Another time I was walking in town when a lady walked up to me. She told me my wife owed her GHC100. I paid for that too. Just as I walked away I received a phone call from my wife’s friend. She said, “I didn’t want this information to get to you but I’m desperate. Your wife borrowed GHC600 from me but she has refused to pay me back.” At that moment I broke down in tears. The lady was shocked at my reaction. She ended up comforting me.
After that encounter, I went into her phone. That’s when I learned that my wife was owing more people money. A sum total of GHC5500. She is currently not going to work because her starting capital for her business is finished. She thinks I don’t know. She is seven months pregnant with our second child so that’s her cover. Whenever I look at her I die a little on the inside. I think she is my Karma. All the money I stole from my parents when I was a child is biting me back. I am truly convinced that my wife is my punishment for my past sins. How else can this happen? Whenever I ask her about her debts, she can’t give me any logical explanation.
Right now I am tired. I am thinking of divorcing her for the sake of my sanity.