In 2010, life was very difficult for me in the village. My mother and I worked tirelessly but we barely had food to eat. I was a young girl in my late teens. I knew that if I continued to live in the village I would waste away. I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted to be able to take care of my mother so that she would rest, instead of going to the market to sell in the scorching sun. I weighed all my options and remembered an old friend of mine who lived in the city. I called her and we spoke at length about my life and what I wanted to do. She suggested that I come to live with her. “Life here is not milk and honey, but at least it will open your eyes to opportunities. So come and let’s hustle together.”
I moved to the city and lived with my friend as planned. Things were not easy at all. Of course, she already told me that. I went out looking for a job every day but I returned jobless. One day I was so frustrated that I didn’t go job hunting. Instead, I sat in front of the house lost in thoughts and staring into space. A married man who lived next to us approached me. “You look troubled. What’s wrong?” He asked. I replied “Oh I’m just worried that I haven’t gotten a job since I arrived here. I keep submitting applications but no one would hire me. If I don’t get anything to do soon, I may have to return to the village.”
As I recounted my ordeal, I saw a change in his eyes. My heart lurched in my stomach when I saw him lick his lips. I knew what was coming before he opened his mouth to speak. “What if you don’t have to go back to the village? Let me help you out with some money until you get a job.” I declined his offer, “I am sorry but I can’t take a loan from you.” He smiled, revealing a yellow set of teeth; “Oh it’s not a loan. It’s a gift. Take it, you obviously need it.” I declined that too, “That’s kind of you but I can’t accept it.” He wouldn’t give up, “You want me to spell it out to you, don’t you? Here we go, my help is not for free. I want you to be my girlfriend.” I turned him down and excused myself.
A few days after that encounter, my mother came to visit me. In a conversation, I mentioned the married man’s proposal to her. I was hoping she would be proud of me for turning him down. Instead, she said, “Why didn’t you accept him? Do you want to come back to the village?” I shook my head. “Then agree to the proposal and let him take care of you. After all, you are not going to snatch him from his wife.” I was nineteen with little knowledge of the world. Everything my mother said to me was like the gospel. I listened and did as she said. I went to the man and told him, “I was rushed in my rejection of you. I have had time to think about your proposal. My answer is yes.”
This man showered me with gifts and took me out to fancy places. He took care of me at the expense of his wife. After a while, his wife suspected that he was having an affair. When she confronted him, they got into a fight. I could hear them from my end. It was physical. It happened more often than I can remember. One time I heard the woman crying in anguish and cursing whoever was destroying her marriage. I remember her saying, “Whoever it is, will never know peace in her life.” I didn’t care. I wasn’t even worried about the curse. The man helped me to further my education. And whenever I came home from school, I’d hear from the neighbours that the man fought with his wife. Sometimes I’d see the bruises on her face. And I’d call my mother and we would laugh about it.
There was a pastor who used to preach behind our house. He warned me on several occasions; “I know what you are doing with the married man. God has seen your deeds. Repent now before it’s too late.” All his warnings fell on deaf ears. One day he came around to warn me again and I got angry. I told him; “If I’m the only one you can preach to, then go and get a job and leave me in peace.” He retorted, “Your deeds will follow you wherever you go until you come and apologize to me.” I brushed him off and went on with my life. Two days later, I moved out of the neighbourhood.
I went to live in Kumasi and got a well-paying job. I gave my best to this work and my bosses liked me. My life was taking a brand new shape and I was grateful for that. After six months on my job, they laid me off. I got a new job but that too didn’t work. They laid me off sooner than I could say jack. This became a pattern in my life. I will get a job today and tomorrow I would get sacked. I kept getting sacked for no apparent reason. My love life too wasn’t any better.
I dated a man for a year and we got pregnant, only to find out that he was married. It took the confrontation with his wife for me to know that he was a married man. She humiliated me publicly, and the man rejected the baby, claiming it wasn’t his. After serious fasting and prayers, this man came to claim his child. He promised to support us financially and rent a new place for us. Sadly, he died a month later.
I don’t remember how many times I have fasted and prayed. I have been to so many spiritual solution centres but my situation is still the same. All this while, it never occurred to me that my past was following me around.
It was earlier this year that I started remembering everything I did when I was young and naïve. I felt so bad about everything I did. I didn’t realize how harmful my behaviour was at the time, but I do now. I started looking into everyone I hurt so that I would make amends.
I looked for the first married man’s wife. The idea was to say sorry. They told me, “Oh that woman? She died long ago. You mean you didn’t hear about it?” I went around looking for the people I’d hurt and to my surprise, they are not alive. Dead and gone! How do I make amends with the dead? I don’t know where to find the married man who started all this. I don’t even know where his wife comes from.
For the past three months, all I think about is ending everything. The only person keeping me alive is my child. My mom is an old woman now. She is in her 70s but she still goes around the market hawking things on her head. I pity her. I wish I could do something to help her but here I am, unable to do anything for myself. I have regretted my actions. I wish I could turn back the hands of time so I would do things differently.
I’m holding on but as it stands now, I don’t know for how long I would have to hold on. I am sick and tired now. Everything I touch exhausts me. I have spent whatever I have consulting pastors and prophets but there hasn’t been any change. If anyone knows a powerful man of God or a spiritualist who can help me, please reach out to me. I know I messed but I’m ready to amend my ways and make peace with the issues of my past. I need help, please.