My girlfriend, Freda had something she would do and something she wouldn’t do. We all have that so it shouldn’t be a strange thing, except that Freda’s do’s and don’t’s are always backed with a certain level of superstition. When she accepted my proposal and we started as lovers, one day we went out and everything pointed to the fact that we were going to end up in my house and spend the night together. When we left the place we had stayed all night and hopped into a taxi, I told the driver where we were going. She asked me, “Won’t you take me home first?” I answered, “I thought we were going to my place together?” She answered, “Noo, today is Friday, my soul’s day so I’m not allowed to visit a man’s house.”
“You’re not allowed? Who won’t allow you? You’re your own woman and don’t need anybody’s approval before you step out so who won’t allow you?”
“You won’t understand. Let me go home. I’ll explain to you when we meet tomorrow.”
I tried all I could to get her to go home with me but she didn’t. We got to a place where she could easily get a car home so she told the driver to stop. She got down and left. She said, “Sorry to disappoint. I’ll make it up to you next time.” Immediately after she got down the driver laughed. He said, “Women. That’s how they are oo. They’ll spend your money but when it gets to the time for them to deliver, they’ll be giving you excuses.” I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation of such nature so I honoured her inquisity with no response.
I got home. Freda called to apologize. “I don’t know what would make you understand me but just take it as something you’ll tolerate from me. On Fridays, I’m not supposed to be in a man’s house. You may think I’m stupid but it’s a belief I can’t disregard no matter how I love the man.” I asked her, “So you mean all your life you haven’t been in a man’s house on a Friday?” She screamed, “Never! You can see me on Thursday night but I won’t spend the night with you on Friday to meet me at your house. Unless we are married.” “But why? Why is that an issue?” She answered calmly, “I was born on Friday. I’m supposed to treat the day with honour because it’s my soul’s day.”
I didn’t understand a word of what she was saying but to cut issues short. I decided to let it go. I saw her the following night and we spent the night together. It was one of the most beautiful nights of our lives. If my love gauge was reading five over ten, after that night, it shot to ten over ten. I was head over heels in love with her until day by day, she got me scared with different forms of superstition.
She won’t sleep on my bed one night because I had a white bedsheet. I was in the bathroom when she told me, “Hurry up. I’m waiting for you to change the sheet on the bed.” I was like, “Why do we have to change it? It’s not dirty. It’s freshly laid for your arrival.” “Then sorry for you,” she said. “I’m not allowed to sleep on a plain white sheet like this one.” I screamed, “Then change it.” She responded, “I can’t. Come and change it yourself.”
Things were getting weird so I started asking questions about how she was raised. According to the story, she told me, she lived with her grandma until she turned nineteen. Her grandma was considered a seer. A lot of people went to her when they were faced with issues they didn’t understand in their lives. So it was her grandmother who taught her about all those superstitions. She gave them to her as a form of instructions. What made it harder for me to understand her was that she couldn’t answer the question of why. “Why can’t you sleep on a white bedsheet?” “You won’t understand if I tell you so it’s ok.”
It was always like that whenever I asked a question about the superstitions she threw around. We planned to meet one evening and when it was about time to meet her I called. Immediately she picked up the call she said, “Sorry I didn’t tell you. I had to come home.” I asked, “Where is home?” She answered, “My hometown, I mean.” I asked, “What’s happening there? She hesitated. She said, “You won’t understand. I will tell you about it when I come back tomorrow.”
She came right into my house when she got to town.
“Now, tell me. Why did you have to go home?”
“My picture frame got broken. I woke up and saw it on the floor. I didn’t touch it and I don’t remember anything touching it but I woke up and saw it on the floor with the glass shattered. It wasn’t a good sign so I had to go home and visit my grandma.”
“Your grandma who died years ago?”
“Yes, I visited her grave.”
“For what? You’re very weird. Sometimes you make me scared of you with all these beliefs.”
“Just relax. I’m not asking you to be part of it but you don’t have to question everything.”
We had dated for over a year but I still didn’t understand the woman I was living with. She was kind and very submissive. She will never fight back when you’re angry. She would wait for you to calm down and tell you, “This is not something we are supposed to fight about. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” Whenever I did something wrong and I expected her to be angry, that was when her calm nature would shine through. For all the times that we were together, she was never angry, not even once. Aside from those scary things she was involved in, her life was that of calm and harmony. She was too calm it got boring at some point.
Every relationship has some troubles. Sometimes it’s these troubles that forge a stronger bond between lovers. You fight, you realize that both of you want the relationship that much so you make up and then you learn not to fight over that same issue again. That never happened in our relationship. Whenever I fought, I fought with myself. She would surrender even before I say the first word. That was the kind of woman Freda was. I’d wanted to marry her but her way of life was too weird for me. I couldn’t see myself listening to her rant about what she believes in and what she doesn’t.
I formed a plan to walk out before things escalate but the problem was she couldn’t even get me angry so how do I run away from such a person?
One day, we attended a friend’s wedding. She didn’t want to go but I had to force her. “Eric is my childhood friend. The only friend I’ve kept to this stage of my life. I can’t miss his wedding.” She said, “I’m not saying you should miss the wedding. I’m the one missing the wedding because I don’t know anybody. I would be lonely.” I coerced her until she accepted to go with me.
The early morning before the wedding it got cloudy. The cloud covered the sun as if it was going to rain in the next minute. The wedding wasn’t something I was going to miss so I told her, “Whether rain or shine, we are attending this wedding.” We went together, had fun and later came home. The cloud never left the sky until the reception was over before it gave way for the sun to appear. When we were coming home Freda said, “Your friend’s marriage won’t last.”
It was the bluntness of it that got me angry. “Hey, how can you say such a thing about someone you don’t even know? Because I forced you to the wedding to think you have the right to say just anything?”
Actually, It wasn’t anything to get me angry but I’d been looking for a way out for so long that anything at all could trip me off. She said, “Did you see the cloud before the wedding? That’s how I see their marriage. The clouds would clear very soon and the marriage may come to an end.” I said, “Take your witchcraft out of my life. Whatever your grandma gave you is not more powerful than God. You think you know everything?”
Again she refused to fight back but I used that as an opportunity to create a crack that wasn’t there. I started missing her calls. She came to apologize but I didn’t mind her. We went a week without talking to each other. One day, I told her I couldn’t continue with the relationship because I couldn’t understand her ways; “You and I are different. I don’t think I can marry a woman who walks around pretending she knows the mystery of life and yet has no explanation. The two of us won’t work so it’s better we give up.” Her answer was simple; “If that will make you happy, then fine. I’m sorry about what I said about your friend. I’m very sorry. I know it’s the reason for all this. Forgive me.”
We stopped talking. I had a different job and left town so I didn’t see her again. During the Covid, she came to mind. That was like three years after we had broken up. I called her and she answered. I asked, “Are we going to survive this pandemic?” She laughed. She said, “You called to mock me?” We talked for a minute and hung up. That was the last time I heard from her.
So why am I sharing this story?
My friend Eric’s marriage came to an end a couple of months ago. I was shocked when he told me about it. He said, “We never experienced any form of happiness in that marriage. We were like rivals who were forced to marry. When we had our first child and he died a week later, we decided to let the marriage go. We were both too tired to go on. Maybe the baby could have been the thin thread for us to hold on to but he too didn’t survive so…”
After listening to him, I said to myself, “Wow, so she was right?”
I didn’t call her. The fact that she was right even made it worse for me. I wouldn’t like to live with someone like that. Life is better when you don’t know. Ignorance is bliss. I haven’t called her again and haven’t tried to even establish contact with her just because she was right. I’m happy I know someone like that exists and because of her, I believe whatever anybody says, even when there’s evidence that what the person is saying could be a lie. Life is not all about the things we see. There’s more. The more is mostly unseen.