I met her on Facebook somewhere in 2016. From what I saw on her profile, I deduced that she was a calm and decent person. The photos she posted of herself were beautiful and I was drawn to her because of them. I started our interaction by liking her posts and occasionally commenting on them. As time went on, I slid into her inbox and introduced myself. She was warm and welcoming. That was the budding stage of our friendship. With time, our conversations moved from Facebook chats to phone calls and text messages. There was nothing we didn’t talk about. I had a girlfriend at the time so all there was to us was just friendship.
Somewhere along the line, I travelled to South Africa in search of greener pastures. I tried to keep our friendship going but that couldn’t happen. Whenever I called her number, it wouldn’t go through. I tried to reach her on Facebook but her account was deactivated. I didn’t know what was happening. I became concerned about her but there was no one I could ask to check up on her for me. I said some silent prayers for her and continued to try her number from time to time. After a while of not reaching her, I gave up trying and moved on with my life.
A year after my stay in SA, things went bad for me. The greener pastures I went in search of were a mirage. The pastures I found were dry and brown. I sat myself down one day and said, “This place is swallowing me whole. There will be nothing left of me if I continue to stay. I am going back home” I made preparations and returned to Ghana. Upon my arrival, I found out that the woman I was dating before I left was in a relationship with a pastor. To say that I was hurt is an understatement. My heart was shredded like unwanted paper. I broke up with her and swore never to love again.
I started sleeping around with random women. My agreement with them was, “No strings attached.” This behaviour was very unlike me. Trust a broken heart to change a man into a soulless bastard. Some of the girls agreed to the arrangement, only to get attached and start wanting more. I had to let them down easy but it was still painful for them and messy for me. There was a gaping hole in my heart that needed to be filled. I realized that the random hookups were not making me feel better. What I needed was a listening ear, a caring heart, and a safe space where I can pour out my disappointment. What I needed was a friend.
That was when I remembered Bernice, my Facebook friend who disappeared when I needed her the most. I checked my phone and I still had her number. I called her and it went through. When she answered, I almost wept; “Is that really you? I thought I would never hear from you again. What happened?” She laughed at my relief “Dude relax. I will tell you everything in due time. Why don’t you tell me about what you’ve been up to? South Africa didn’t work out?” That afternoon we spent over an hour talking and laughing over the phone. Her soothing voice calmed my aching heart. I wanted to keep talking to her but she had to go.
Before we hang up I asked, “Where are you? I want to come and see you.” At that moment the laughter left her voice. She sounded as if she was trying not to cry; “I’m in the village right now. We are making final preparations for my dad’s funeral this weekend.” “I am so sorry for your loss. How can I help?” I asked. She couldn’t tell in what capacity I could help her but she gave me directions to the funeral. I travelled to her village over the weekend and stayed glued to her side. She had friends who were there for her but I was the obvious one.
I consoled and held her in my arms throughout the entire process. I think that was the moment I fell in love with her. Seeing her in so much pain tugged at my heart. All I wanted to do was to make it all better. Her mother saw the way I held her together and she seemed pleased. I bought a wreath as a parting gift for her dad. I noticed the phone Bernice was using wasn’t a good one so I made a mental note to change it for her even though I was broke and unemployed. Luckily, one of my friends in the UK sent me a phone and I gave it to her. The smile on her face when I gave her the phone made me happy. There and then I knew that I would do anything to see her smile like that. I would conquer Mars if she required me to. I was utterly in love with her.
After the funeral details had been ironed out, she moved back to Accra for good. I did not propose to her officially. We just fell into a pattern that suggested we were in a relationship beyond friendship. I started referring to her as my girlfriend and she welcomed it. That was it. We lived our life refusing to let her father’s death shadow our happiness. We attended church services and church parties together. After eighteen months, I proposed marriage. I did it at my place with just my closest friend on the other side of a video call watching and cheering us on. It was beautiful, and she said yes to me.
A few days before our wedding a woman called me. She said my fiancée was dating her husband. She told me, “I cursed her because of what she is doing. If you marry her that curse will affect you too. The only way I will reverse it is if she apologizes to me for the problems she is causing in my marriage.” Bernice a cheat? Cheating on me with a married man? The woman must be mistaken. That’s what I thought. I told my brother about the woman and we agreed that my brother would confront Bernice and make her think that I am not aware of the accusations. When my brother confronted her she denied it. My brother has great persuasion skills but he couldn’t persuade Bernice to admit to the affair. I told myself, “Maybe she is telling the truth. I am sure the woman is mistaken.”
Fast forward, we got married. She did not contribute a pesewa to the event but we did everything her way. I bought her wedding dress and the dresses of her bridal team. While my friends paid for my outfit. I paid for her mother’s clothes too and paid for her transportation to Accra to attend her own daughter’s wedding. While my mother took care of her own expenses. I asked her brother to give some of our guests a lift, and he requested money for fuel. Meanwhile, my brother did all the rounds during the event with his own money. At the end of the event, I compiled a receipt of GHC30,000. Some of the expenses did not come with receipts so they are not included in the amount. I didn’t expect her to pay half the cost but at least she could have covered some of the costs.
Everything that happened during the wedding was just a prelude to the marriage.
Things have gone badly for us, me especially. We planned to travel out of the country after we got married. A friend in Germany was helping us but he gave up because of the cost involved. I offered to go first so she joins me later but she refused. The two of us going together too doesn’t seem to be working. That’s because she lied on an important document so they keep rejecting her visa application. We are still here because of her.
This is frustrating us. Our marriage has become a constant battleground, we are always arguing about one thing or the other. During one of our many arguments, she shouted at me, “I married you because I wanted to prove a point—I wanted to prove to that woman who cursed me that her curses didn’t work. That’s all there is to this marriage for me, just to prove a point so do whatever you want to do, I don’t care.”
That was when I remembered the woman’s phone call.
She called to warn me but I didn’t listen. I believed Bernice was telling the truth. As I write this I am completely broken. After my first heartbreak, I swore I would never love again. Then I fell in love with Bernice, my old friend. For once, my world made sense. I thought she loved me too. I thought our love was made of the stuff epics were written out of. Only for her to crush me in a violent outburst, telling me she never loved me. My heart is bleeding all over this page and I am beating myself up for letting my guard down.
How do I move forward from here? What do I do with this information?