had my first girlfriend when I was in SHS one, Annette. We were young and were trying to make meaning of our feelings for each other. We called it love but we didn’t know how to explore it or we didn’t have the space to explore it the way we wanted to. We were both in the boarding school where there was no hiding place for first-year students. It was hard for us to even stand next to each other without being questioned but we tried. He tried our best to make use of the space available to us. We would hold hands, we would send letters to each other in class, I will buy her chocolate and she’ll pretend it is the best gift she has ever received. Two terms later, a senior took her from me.
But I learned. I learned how to deal with heartbreaks and I also learned how to go ahead and take another girlfriend when one is lost. I proposed to Lizzy when we were in the second year. By the time I was in the third year and about to complete school, I had dated about five girls in school. It was that easy for me. I see a girl I like, I walk to her, I try to be friends but also make it obvious that I would end up dating her, weeks later, she’s my girlfriend.
Every girl I wanted in school I had her so I grew with the understanding that finding women to love was easy, you only have to tell them and they accept. After school, it was difficult to find a girl, especially when I was jobless and looking for a spot where I fit. At the university, I maintained one girlfriend. I loved her so I wanted to keep her until death do us part but she had her own plans. In those plans, I wasn’t part of her future so right after school, she sent me a message to call it quits. I felt the pains but it was manageable. I vowed to be successful so I wouldn’t have to go through such heartbreaks again.
And then Becky came my way. She lived not too far from where I lived. If I decide to walk to her place, it would only take me fifteen minutes to get there but mostly I picked a taxi because true love doesn’t trek and get his feet dirty. The problem with Becky was that she was a staunch Christian who saw everything through the filter of the Bible. When I proposed to her she asked what my intentions were. I said, “I love you, that’s the whole intention. I don’t know what the future holds but I know one thing for sure, and that’s, if you say yes to me, we would be together until we get married.” She smiled and said, “Guys and sweet words. It’s all sweet and nice until they get you.”
I told her, “Maybe you’ve been meeting the wrong kind of guys. It’s the time to try me, the right kind of guy. I will love you till you know guys come in different shapes.” She told me, “If only you can do one thing for me then we will be good to go. I’m a Christian. I wouldn’t want to be engaging in shuperu until something firm is established. If you understand it that way, then we are good to go.” I was a little bit deflated but I still said yes to her. Usually, women will give you the rules but when you’re able to show them good love, they change their stands and let you have your way. I was hoping that was going to be the case with Rebecca.
We dated for three months and I hadn’t even held her hand. She won’t come and visit me and when I did, we would stand outside of her door and talk. I never complained. I held on to my game plan, to love her better because love opens ways. Then she started inviting me to her church. If I gave excuses and didn’t show up, she would be angry and not see me for days; “I don’t like it when my guy plays hide and seek with God. If you can play hide and seek with whole God, then who am I that you won’t disappoint?”.
She had a point so each time she invited me, I went with her. We would pray for a good job because we were both jobless. We would pray for a better future together because we both wanted to have a brighter future. She introduced me to a number of friends in her church as her boyfriend. I felt secure about her love and intentions toward me. Things started changing when we were about six months old in love. I would go to her house and she would let me in. She started coming around my place often and during one of her visits, we had our first kiss. It was like drinking from a holy chalice. I’d kissed lips but Becky’s own was different. Things changed from there but we never had shuperu. We would hug and touch, that was all.
We both had the jobs we were praying for so I rented a new place and left my parents house upon her advice. She helped me pack my things and helped me decorate my room. She placed her photo frame on top of the TV where every visitor would see it. “So that when you bring a woman here, she would know this space already belongs to a woman,” she said. We had dated for over two years when one day, she willingly asked me for shuperu. We had it on my new mattress and in my new room. She said, “It doesn’t mean it’s going to continue like that. We are still holding on to the promise until we get to the end.
That shuperu happened to be our first and last until that day when I nearly walked into the sea.
A friend of mine came to town from Accra and we decided to go out and chill. I knew Becky wouldn’t go but I asked her to go with me so she wouldn’t accuse me of going out without telling her. When I called she asked me, “What places are you going to visit?” I answered, “I don’t know. We all have to meet and decide.” She said, “I can’t move around with you men. I know you’ll go to bars and drink. I can’t sit around such a community but make sure you don’t drink anything hard when you go out.”
As she suspected, we moved from bar to bar and restaurant to another. We were only looking for a happy place but no place felt good enough so we ended up at the beach. That was where we spent all night. Around 11 pm, my friends started picking up taxis and leaving for their homes. Three of them left, leaving me and Akwasi. We lived not far from the beach so we decided to hang around for a while.
Akwasi left to look for a place to urinate. Later he came back and said, “Come and let’s go and cause a commotion. There’s a car going up and down in the dark. The way the thing is shaking, I suspect the guy is having shuperu with his girlfriend. Let’s go and cause them.” I got up and followed him to the spot where it was happening. Truly the car was going up and down and shaking vigorously. The glass was tinted so we couldn’t see clearly who was inside. I was scared a little but Akwasi rushed to the car door and open it and I followed. Immediately the door got flung, they started looking for a cover. Akwasi screamed, “Don’t you have a room? Is this the right place for this?”
I saw the face of the man and I felt pity for him—a man who could as well be my father. I pulled Akwasi’s shirt to stop but he was determined to get something from the man so he kept pushing. The girl was trying so hard to hide. I turned on the light of my phone and threw it into the car and screamed, “If you don’t settle us I’m taking a video to post on social media. You want to go viral?” The man was looking for something to give, the lady was still trying hard to hide her face. I threw the torch on her and she turned away. My heart sunk. I screamed, “Becky!” Akwasi said, “Put the light on her, is she the one?” I threw the light on her again and Akwasi screamed, “Eiii Becky! Is that how you are? Who is this man? One of her legs was out of her pant and was struggling to place it back in.”
I sat on the floor with my phone lying by my side. Akwasi held me by the shoulders and lifted me up. I was broken. I kept shouting, “Becky is that how you are? Becky? Becky? Becky?” We went back to where we were seated at the beach. The music was loud but it couldn’t mask the pain. Akwasi said, ‘It’s all my fault. I should have minded my business.” I placed my head on the table. I thought my heart was going to drop off from my chest. I couldn’t sit and I couldn’t stand. It’s different when you’re told the woman you love is cheating. It’s even different when you read it from her own chats on her phone. Catching your woman red-handed is an experience I wouldn’t even wish on my enemy. It breaks you from top to down. Your world shatters and you hear the sound ringing in your ears all night.
Akwasi got up to go and check if they were still there. I got up and headed straight to the sea. The waves flashed the sands beneath my feet but I kept going. The water got to my knee but I kept moving until a hand grabbed me by the collar and started pulling me away. I fell in the waves and it gushed through my nose. That was when I came to my senses. It was Akwasi who ran to grab me. He kept shouting, “What are you doing? Where do you think you are going?” Are you going to kill yourself because of a woman?” He took me home and stayed with me all night so I don’t do anything silly. Becky didn’t call until I gathered the strength to call her three days later. She said, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say apart from sorry. I know you won’t forgive me and it’s alright. I will live with this guilt forever and that would be my punishment.”
I couldn’t forgive her. It was over that very moment but the pain I had to go through made me realize that matters of the heart aren’t something we have to take lightly. She killed something in me and that thing never grew up again, that’s my trust in people. I dine with people using a long spoon so I can be safe wherever I am. Becky is married today but I’m here, still dealing with the scars she left on my heart. I don’t hate her. I even sent her a message to wish her well in her marriage and I meant it.