There is something weird about him, almost like a mystery. He doesn’t talk a lot and when he does, he chooses his words carefully as if he’s been charged for every word he says. I could be in a room with him all day and I will be the only one doing the talking while he stays and nods his head, and once in a while throws in questions. I didn’t like the way he was calm and didn’t like the way he would be in a room and at the same time be absent. When he proposed to me I said no. I was expecting him to ask why but he didn’t. He kept quiet as if he was thinking about the next word to say. I asked him, “Is that all?” He answered, “I thought you will say I should give you time to think about it but since you didn’t say it, I don’t have anything more to say.”
A week or so later we met. He asked me about the proposal; “Have you thought about it long enough?” I answered, “I didn’t tell you that I was going to think about it. I didn’t give you any inclination that I was so going to think about it so what makes you think that I was thinking about it?” That day he pushed for an answer. I could see it was not in his character to demand things. He was inhibited in his ways. It showed on his face that he was trying to get something out of the proposal. I told him, “No problem but you have to make me feel like you want me. Don’t be in a room with me and be a ghost. I like men who can take charge of situations and conversations.”
A few days later I visited his house. He introduced a boy in the house to me as his junior brother; “He lives with me and goes to school. He’s my parents’ last born. His name is Akwasi.” The boy looked like thirteen but he told me he was sixteen. I asked, “Where did you hide some of the skin?” He laughed and that warmed him up to me. I was with him all day until he came to ask me what I was going to eat. I asked, “Do you have any food for me?” He answered, “There’s a food joint nearby. If you tell me what you’ll eat, I will send Akwasi to buy it for you.”
I asked him, “Is there a market nearby or a place I can get some ingredients to buy?” “You’re coming to cook?” He asked. I answered, “Yeah. You live alone with your brother. I can cook something and leave the rest for you to eat later. It’s better that way than buying already made food.”
I went to the market with his junior brother. We got all that we needed and came back home to prepare the banku. Because it was my intention to leave some for them, I made a lot of stew and made the banku into so many balls. I called him to come and eat with me and he said he was good. I asked, “You mean you’re not hungry or is the banku that you don’t like? He answered, “Yeah, banku is not my thing but I will eat mine later.” I ate with his junior brother. We talked over the food and from all indications, his junior brother loved to see me around. It was around 7 pm when I said goodbye to them and left their house.
The next time when I was going there, I bought the ingredients myself. I shopped to prepare two different stews and a soup. I bought yam so they can eat it with the stew. They had gari and rice already so I thought they could live on it for some time. Again, After preparing the food, I called him to eat and he declined. I called his brother to come and eat and he looked at his brother before coming. I asked him, “Is everything alright? You don’t look gay like the first time when I was here. What’s the matter with you?”
He said he was fine and that he wanted to see if his brother was cool about him eating with me. “The last time you did, he didn’t like it?” He answered, “He didn’t complain but I only wanted to check first.” What he said didn’t make sense but because my boyfriend was there, I didn’t want to probe further. The boy wasn’t comfortable eating with me and it showed. After every minute, he’ll turn back and look at his brother. I told him, “Relax and eat. He won’t do anything to you. We ate our food and left my boyfriend’s own on the table. He didn’t eat in my presence. The next time when I went there, everything was finished.
I was a little bit surprised that they could finish everything within two days. When I asked him he said, “This is a refugee camp ooo. We don’t waste time on food because we are always hungry.” That day I didn’t cook for them. We were going out and it didn’t look like I would get the time to look for them. We went out to meet some of his friends and we sat at a bar and chilled all night. He introduced me to all of them as his queen. Some of them laughed. They asked me, “Say the truth and shame the devil. Who proposed to who? You did right?” We all burst out laughing. They knew their friend very well. They knew he struggled with women so they were surprised he could get me.
We left very late but the following day was a Saturday so I managed to go to the market and prepare the food in my house before sending it to them. When I got there, my boyfriend wasn’t home. He told me he was out but was on his way coming. Akwasi was there and he was very happy to see me. He asked me, “What did you bring? Let me eat mine before my brother comes.” I asked him, “Why? Would he do something to you if he sees you eating?” He shook his head, “I just want to eat quickly.”
It was the second time he was telling me that and I wasn’t going to let it flash so I probed. He said, “Promise me you won’t tell him anything I’m going to tell you. If you tell him, he would be so angry he might send me back to the village.” I asked him, “Is that serious?” He answered, “It looks like you don’t know my brother very well. He has a temper so I usually don’t want to offend him. That’s why I haven’t told you this all this while.” I asked him, “So what is it that you’re going to tell me?” He said, “My brother doesn’t eat the food you prepare. Immediately after you leave, he’ll put all the food in a large poly bag and take it to the ‘borla’. Even when I begged him to let me eat it, he would tell me I’m a dog, that’s why I eat everything.”
I said, “Tell me it’s a lie.” He answered, “Please don’t tell him. This food you’ve brought, if I don’t eat mine before he comes, it will end up on the ‘borla’ while we hit the street to queue up for kenkey and fish.” I asked him, “Why would he do that? Is something wrong with the food I prepare here?” He answered, “I eat good food only when you’re here but I don’t know why my brother throws the food away.”
I sat in the chair feeling dejected. I didn’t know if I should bundle up all the food I brought and take it away or leave it there to end up in the refuse dump. His brother said, “If you take it away, he’ll suspect something. Just leave this one here but don’t worry yourself to cook for us again.”
A few minutes later, he arrived. He smelled the aroma of the food at the entrance so he asked, “You’ve prepared food already?” I answered, “You don’t want it? I should take it back?” He answered, “No I’m only asking you. Why the haste to take it back? What would we eat” I was traumatized by what his brother told me so I wasn’t myself all the while I was in his house. He kept asking me if everything was right and I kept telling him everything was right. I was thinking about how expensive food has become and the effort I put in to prepare all that only for it to end up in the dustbin. I wanted to ask him but Akwasi stayed closer, ensuring that I don’t give him away.
I’m fine with him. We haven’t fought and he hasn’t insulted me but I’m not happy when I see him. I’ve stopped going to his home for a while now and he keeps asking if everything is alright. I can’t open up and tell him because of what his brother told me. I want to ask him questions but I can’t betray his brother. I would feel bad to know I’m the reason Akwasi was sent back to the village so I’m here sulking, unable to talk and unable to be happy.
I want to know what would make a man do that. Is he scared that I will poison him? He’s scared that I will put a spell on his food so he wouldn’t be able to leave me? I don’t want to talk about the possibility of him thinking I’m not a good cook because he hasn’t tasted my food before. What in this world would make a guy act the way my boyfriend is acting? We’ve dated for only five months and I’m already regretting giving him a chance.