Perspectives IX

Happy February Guys!! It’s the month of Love, and I wish everyone as much love as possible in the rest of the year! The Penultimate part of Perspectives is here! And as always, please keep the feedback coming!

Also Perspectives is likely to be published into a book sometime soon…. Hands up if you’d be interested in a copy lol!

Aaand If you’re behind, you can find the other parts right here: Perspectives IIIIII , IVV , VI  VII & VIII

Hugs,

Elise


Sometimes, God is quiet.

God, you can’t let Bruma die. I don’t know what I’d do. I’m distraught. And I’m scared. And I don’t even know if going is the right thing to do, but I’m going anyway.

The only available flights out were first class tickets on a South African Airline flight, which required that they fly out to Dulles, transit for an hour, and then fly ten hours directly to Ghana.  She didn’t mind the outrageous cost. She was numb and tired… and terrified. Mackenzie was a bit fussy initially. But he seemed to realise his mother was not quite in the mood for his fuss.

It was a very long 10 hours.

She imagined the worst – and the best. Sleep evaded her all ten hours. She wanted to hurl at a point, and she knew she couldn’t blame the crappy plane food or air sickness.

Dear Bruma

If you never get to see this letter, I’ll be the most miserable woman alive. I’ve lost love once in the past. I can’t lose you a second time Bruma. Doesn’t matter that we don’t get to be together, it matters that at least I get to see you, or talk to you. It matters that you’re alive, and that I have my friend of so many years with me.

It hurt me that you would even wonder if it would make any difference to me if you died. It would make a world of difference Bruma. You matter. And you don’t only matter to me.

So many nights, I create this mini family in my head, where you’re the father, I’m the mother, Mack has an adorable baby sister, and we’re one happy family. I day dream about the loving man you are….and how I know for sure I wouldn’t have to bother myself wondering if you loved me.

I haven’t particularly come back running into your arms the way I wish I could because… well life… Considering the circumstances, with Sarah, the church, and all that society does and says, I didn’t want to be the reason why your family would break apart. And even if I wasn’t the reason, the church would never understand that – people in general, would never understand.

My mind is dashing everywhere… all the things I left unsaid, all the things I wanted to say about Sarah’s treatment of you… all the support I wish I’d given you, how I wish I’d had the courage back then to stand up to your mother. And how I feel like maybe if you’d had just a little courage in standing up to her I’d have taken the cue.

I can’t believe you tried to do this. I can’t imagine how bad the hurt must have been. I wish I could have seen through your pain and your efforts. I wish I could have done more. I really really hope you live, Bruma.  

I love you so much!  I never stopped. I never will. And this 10 hour flight is too much time, I don’t know what I’d do if you died. Please Bruma, choose life.

I know how broken you were, and I was so proud of your efforts – therapy, prayer, actually speaking about it (on the few occasions that you did). Being broken doesn’t make you any less of a man, Bruma. Accepting it and working on it is the bravest thing to do, and you did it. You did it! The world can be a terrible place… and of all the cruelty we’ve ever had to deal with, I hope your death will not be one. Not now.

I love you. Please come back to.

Please Bruma

Nady.


Sometimes, God probably just laughs at us from above.

Bruma was in a coma. Sarah didn’t understand how it had happened or how the other woman had known. Bruma was all sorts of things she didn’t want, but he definitely wasn’t a cheater.

She was frantic, pacing in the hospital half the time. Was she the reason he had committed suicide?

The doctor couldn’t tell if he would come out of the coma or not. There was no indication of how much of the drugs he had taken, but if it was enough to get him straight into a comatose state, then it was definitely a lot. She wasn’t paying much attention to what the doctor said she didn’t know what to feel.

This was a man she didn’t quite love, but he had been good to her. So good to her! Very few men were like him. And although he annoyed her and often made her want to leave, death wasn’t what she wished for him. She didn’t know what she’d do. And the girls definitely didn’t love her the way they loved him.

God, I will try to be a better wife if you wake him up, I promise!

He was still not up the next morning. She had wanted to go home to shower and come back, but there was no difference, and it felt so odd seeing him lifeless. She had informed the other pastors and the presbytery to pray. And she’d asked that none of them visit, because really there was nothing to see. Their prayers were enough.

She couldn’t get the nagging feeling about the other woman out of her mind though. Was Bruma actually sleeping with her?

She convinced herself that he was – she could barely remember the last time they were intimate. And much as that was her fault, he had stopped initiating completely. They also hadn’t had a proper conversation in so long. The longest form of communication they’d had recently were through those letters they wrote each other. She felt her heart beat faster when she remembered the last one she wrote to him. He was not her choice – true…. But maybe she shouldn’t have been so cold about it.

“Bruma please wake up… I’m so sorry!”


There are things nobody prepares you for. Usually, a cheating spouse is one of them. And for some reason, it hurt more that he was not cheating with a person of her sex.

He was sleeping with a man.

Akyia was really seeing stars. Before she managed to get to the car in her confused state, she had thrown up all over the lawn. She didn’t understand what was going on. It was as if her brain had decided it didn’t want to carry on.

Was this new? Had she pushed him to do this? Is this something she could ever forget? He’d had his member in her so many times… and now it was in a random man’s ass! She knew that man… she was trying so hard to remember exactly where it was from. She didn’t think it was the hospital. Because then she’d have known him. Or was he a new friend?

“God why?!” She shouted out as she drove. She didn’t want to drive to her parents’. Didn’t want to answer any questions – at least not yet.

Her husband was suddenly a homosexual…

Was it sudden? Or was he just curious? How long had this been going on for?

Maybe she was hallucinating? To think she’d almost given up her lifelong dream to save this sham of a marriage they had!

The tears were blinding her and she knew she shouldn’t be driving in that state.

She parked on the sidewalk for a minute to think.

The tears weren’t going to stop, and she was giving herself a headache. She hadn’t even rested after her flight!

She drove to the nearest sensible looking hotel, and checked in for the night. She didn’t even know who she could talk to about this. At this point, she didn’t even want to talk. All she wanted was to pass out for a few days. Her head was pounding so hard by the time she got to her hotel room. She hadn’t eaten all day but that wasn’t her primary concern. She grabbed the beer in the hotel fridge, and downed 4 Advils. She lay on the bed wondering what she’d do.

“God I’m so happy there are no kids in this marriage…”


The queue at immigration was outrageous. She was glad someone pointed out that she could skip it because of Mackenzie. She scaled as quickly as she could, and was glad she hadn’t checked in a suitcase. Manoeuvring both of their hand luggage and a sleeping boy was difficult. She ordered an Uber before getting them outside.

Luckily her driver arrived just in time. She rushed him to her mother’s house, to drop Mackenzie. She called Sarah and asked for the hospital. She seemed hesitant initially, but told her anyway. It was about thirty minutes away. She changed the location and went back with the same Uber.


One look at her pained face and Sarah knew that she was in love with him. A woman always knows. She didn’t know how to feel about that. Because if not for this woman, she may not even have realised Bruma had taken anything. She would have assumed he had fallen asleep. And this morning they’d probably be at a morgue and not the hospital.

You’re probably headed to a morgue soon anyway.

They were both silent. Both of them just looking at the lifeless body. Nadia asked if Sarah wanted to take a break to freshen up.

She wanted to. But she didn’t want to give this one the satisfaction of being the one there when he woke up. If he woke up.

As time passed, the chances of his waking up became smaller and smaller. The doctor said his heart was the main issue now. Whatever he had taken had not only put him into a coma, it had also caused his heart to start functioning abnormally.

She eventually went home around 10PM.

Nadia watched him through the night. She held his hand through the night, speaking words to him. She took out her tear stained letter and read it to him. She prayed with him. She tried to pretend he was only taking a nap. She tried not to panic when her heart could tell he was slipping away.

There was no change in the morning when Sarah returned.


Yaa was meeting with Andrea and Wendy together for breakfast. The plan was to have a mini bible study, discuss a few things…. really just some girl chat. It felt nice hanging out with both of them. They’d only done it once, and already it felt like a thing she was ready to add to her weekly routine. Not only was it fun, it was helping her get over Adeola.

“I listened to a sermon by T.D Jakes…. can’t remember when it was, and it got me thinking about church…. about our church. He talked about how the pressure of fitting into a religious environment can tempt you into hypocrisy. We become more concerned about being accepted by the people we worship with, than we are about being used or accepted by God.”

“Back when Gyedu and I were having issues…. I asked that we go and see a church counsellor…. he told me he didn’t want anyone in the church thinking he was not in charge of our affairs – when clearly he wasn’t. It hurt me that he cared more of what others would think than he did about our failing marriage. He didn’t want people hearing about the divorce, he didn’t want people hearing anything remotely not normal about him. And I think that sickened me.”

Yaa completely understood her. Hypocrisy was stinking in the church. And it wasn’t something that was going to go away quick. She had days when she had to quickly correct some passing thought she’d had about someone, because obviously, she had no idea what she’d do in their shoes.

“Same thing as when I got pregnant. I expected some compassion I think. Even if it wasn’t from my friends, maybe from the presbytery? The pastors? Their wives? Heck I’m not the first to get pregnant out of wedlock, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. And sorry as I was, the church made me defiant. My main crime was getting caught to be honest. Because half of the churches population are shagging each other, and because they’re not ‘caught’, they get to look their noses down and tell me trash….”

Yaa knew she had to get in control of the emotions here.

“But hey ladies…. we were not called to a perfect church! We are the church, and just as imperfect as we are, everyone else can be. True, the self-righteousness and hypocrisy really should go… But whatever it is, Christ wants us! Wants our help in making His body whole!”

She hated the fact that it sounded as if she was preaching.

“I’m not righteous. At least not by my efforts I’m not. And I don’t hold anyone to the standard of Christ. Not even the leaders. Christ was the only one who was tempted in every way yet without sin. We’re not. Ours is to love, and do our best with the help of the Holy Spirit. And fellowship with other imperfect people to help build the church!”

She said the last statement with an obvious smile. They both knew what she was driving at.

Yaa said a silent prayer in her heart for their lives, and their churches, and this lovely newfound fellowship they were enjoying. She felt so much peace. Of course she prayed for help to get rid of Adeola from her heart.

Their breakfast ended up turning into a full blown lunch, with great mimosas. Andrea apparently knew one of the bartenders at that restaurant, so they managed to have them unlimited.

Yaa knew she was a lightweight – and an overly sentimental drunk. In Uni, she had been the first to get drunk after a shot. She would slow dance herself to loud Celine Dion songs, and cause her flat mate to go to sleep with ear plugs – there were probably just about 3 such occurrences. 

She had planned to spend the rest of the day at the beach, listening to music and reading a novel. Now, she knew she was going to go home and fall asleep singing Backstreet Boys. Wendy gave her a letter just when she was headed home.


Dear Yaa,

I really hope you decide to read this letter. Wendy told me she couldn’t help me meet you, but begrudgingly agreed to hand you this letter.

I’m so sorry Yaa. I don’t know why I never told you about this… her…the marriage.

I never took off my ring because I didn’t want a bunch of women assuming I was an eligible bachelor. I was so hurt by Fatima and her family.

You made me forget totally that I even had it on!

Fati and I got married despite the long talk from our families about incompatible tribes. She was an educated woman, from Chibok and all that ‘Hausas only marry Hausas’ was really not our cup of tea. She wasn’t really a staunch Muslim, and that worked for me, cos she was happy to join me to go to church services.

Her parents were also semi – educated, and I guess that made it a bit easier?

We had no issues for the first two or so year – actually, we had a very beautiful marriage in those years. We did not let the negativity of others faze us, and we had a united front. A few months into our third year, we started having petty quarrels… all boiling down to the fact that we had tried everything we could, and we still couldn’t have kids. Her parents were suddenly against the marriage like the rest of her family was, and were on a hunt for another man for her.

What hurt me, was the fact that she wasn’t vehemently against the idea. It made me so mad.

I noticed she was very calm about our issues. Never wanting to fix anything, quietly listen to me rant, not saying anything that bothered her… all of that.

My decision to not sign the papers for so long, was my silly way of punishing her, of rubbing it in her face that I still had some control – that she couldn’t go ahead to marry him until I’d signed the papers.

‘Him’ was another Hausa doctor that her parents had found somewhere, who was apparently going to bring an end to the infertility I had brought to their families.

It had nothing to do with me remaining in love with her or anything remotely close.

You’re a special woman. A few weeks of being friends and you have me wrapped around my finger – you have me ready to allow Fati to move on.

I have tried to get you out of my mind, because at some point, I felt like an idiot stalker. Please agree to lunch with me – breakfast even.

I’m really sorry about this whole misunderstanding.

I’ve signed the papers, Yaa. I’m a single man.

Regards,

Adeola.

Yaa looked at the letter half drunk, and smiled, humming to herself.

“Sometimes I wish I could, turn back time, impossible as it may seem, but I wish I could, so bad, Baby… Quit playing games with my heart”

************************

Nadia went to freshen up for a few hours. Her mind was too clogged.

She held a sleeping Mackenzie in her arms, and cried quietly. She didn’t want to wake him up.

Lord, please don’t let Bruma die. I can’t lose him twice.

***************************

Sarah saw the letter on the fridge top. It was semi crumpled, and had tear stains. It seemed to have been written in pencil, so some of the words were not legible.

Her heart beat faster and faster as she read the letter. Bruma was actually cheating?

She could only see snippets of the letter.

“Considering the circumstances, with Sarah… … …  I didn’t want to be the reason why your family would break apart. ……… the church would never understand that – people in general, would never understand.”

“….. Mack has an adorable baby sister, and we’re one happy family. ….. about the loving man you are….and how I know for sure I wouldn’t have to bother myself wondering if you loved me. “

….. “I love you… please come back to me”

Sarah was stunned! Her husband was cheating!

Perspectives V

Dear everyone…..Perspectives is back!!💃🏽🍾🎊

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the previous parts of ‘Perspectives’, you’ll find them here: Perspectives I, II, III & IV

Thank you for all the support, 🙏🏽 the ‘patient’ waiting , 🤦🏾‍♀️ the grumbling, the threats and warnings, 😂etc. I’m happy to be back, and to be ending perspectives soon!! 🎊

Hugs, Elise❤️


Dear Sarah,

Remember the day I asked you to marry me? I don’t remember it in full detail. I remember that it was tough. I remember that we had no emotions between us. I remember knowing right from that day that this wasn’t right for both of us. I knew you knew as well. But I guess we did what we needed to do? You we’re destined to be a pastors wife, and I was determined to do something right by my family. Ours has been such an odd relationship. Functional, but odd.

You know this thing we keep telling our counselees? About foundations? ‘The depth of a foundation matters just as much as what it’s built with.’

It keeps ringing in my head….

The Bible verse that says build with good material, because your works will be tested with fire?

I know we’ve been building with good material….

I know that we’ve both tried. But I know also that our foundation was shallow. I know our foundation isn’t something we can fix. Because God knows I tried. I tried dates, I tried books, I tried conversation, and none of them seem to bring us closer together. We’re basically bonded together, only because of the kids.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed that the past few years have been harder for me than ever. I don’t know if you noticed the meds, or noticed my early morning/ mid-evening hospital visits…

I don’t expect that you noticed, because I tried really hard to hide it. How would people react to a depressed pastor? How many would even believe it? How many people would understand that I preached hope and love and faith, and yet I had suicidal thoughts on some days? How many would ask me to pray it away? How many of them would go about gossiping about the pastor that says he knows God and yet wants to kill himself. How many would understand? Would you understand? Would you, Sarah.

The past few months, I’ve had a lot to think about. I’ve questioned God, and I’ve told him my heart. I’ve asked him for a way out, a way to not feel so trapped. I’ve begged him on my knees and I’ve begged him in our bed. I’ve fasted, and I still can’t seem to figure anything out. I don’t know what to do. So this letter is to ask you. Sarah. Are you happy? Are you happy carrying on with this sham we’ve done so well with for so long, or is there something you want? Do you want us to see a professional? Do you want us to work on our foundation? Is there anything you want besides being ‘osofomaame’? Do you want me? As a person? Or is it just the title that you want? I’m making changes this year, Sarah, and I’m done being quiet about the things that hurt me. I’m questioning things, and I’m willing to change what isn’t working. I owe it to myself to be happy, as long as it remains in the will of God.

There are so many times when I see you chatting with a friend, and I wonder if you’ll ever get to a point where you can have a normal chat with me as a husband… not about the children and not as your pastor.

I want to be able to laugh with you about those funny hats Abrefi wears to church, but I can’t, because you will consider it slander. I want to be able to wake you up at 3am, just because I had a silly dream and I’ll probably forget it if I go back to bed without telling you. I want to be able to come round the kitchen and stress you, while helping you make my kontomire stew. But I can’t.

Sarah before anything else that I am – pastor, father, counsellor etc., I am your husband. You’re the one person I should be happy to see and talk to everyday. I used to be a very happy, carefree man. I don’t think God wanted me to be unhappy. And I know for a fact he doesn’t want you to be unhappy either.

Marrying you was a thing that was supposed to make me right in my family. I wanted my parents to know that I’d done one good thing. Now I wonder if my mother looks down from heaven to see if I’m happy.

When Mama died, I was devastated. I knew you were sad too. But it never once even crossed my mind that I could talk to you about how I felt. I wanted to be held. I wanted to cry – to wail. I wanted to tell someone that I wish mama had met our last baby. I wanted to scream to the world that the one person I wanted to impress the most in life was gone.

Instead, all my grief was bottled up in me, Sarah. I had to be strong, you said. I had to man up. I had to amidst the tedious task of planning a funeral and dealing with family members, hold my heavy grief so deep in my heart that it couldn’t show. On the day of the funeral, I felt things I’d never felt before. I considered taking my life.

I’m not saying that any of this is your fault. I’m just as much to blame. I’m just letting you know that I really wish it had all been different. I wish I could be your husband sometimes and not have to always be your pastor.

You know that I’ve never really figured sex out with you? It’s been close to 9 years, and I don’t know how… I don’t even know what I don’t know. I just know that it feels as if you never want me. And when because of that I decide to let you be, you come rushing at me with your passive aggressive words, asking if I no longer find you desirable. I don’t know if I can ever figure it out with you, but I’m willing to try – only if you are.

I want us to consider counselling, Sarah. I mentioned earlier that I started therapy after the suicidal thoughts I started having. It took a while, of course, but now I can wake up in the morning and not feel that dark cloud there all the time. I can speak without the tightening in my chest that kept happening. I can laugh genuinely again, Sarah. And I want us to be able to be happy. We owe it to ourselves, and then, to the kids.

I care about you, Sarah. You’ve been an amazing mother to our kids, and an amazing Osofomaame. One day soon, please be my amazing wife.

Brumah.


The finality of it all shocked her.

They were finally over? The twins were with her, but he’d promised to continue to provide for them. He’d signed to that effect. And he hadn’t really made a fuss.

There are days when she kept thinking maybe he had a mistress somewhere? But she didn’t want to think that way. She wanted to think that he was just not very sexually attracted to her. And maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. Maybe that meant that he could find someone out there that he was really attracted to, and who would be fine with his bedroom shenanigans, or the lack of them.

She’d expected the divorce to feel exhilarating. She expected that she’d be extremely happy. On the contrary, she felt raw fear. Had she done the right thing? Would the kids understand when they were older? Would she ever find someone else? Did she want to find someone else… she knew she did.

She looked at the one day old message from Akua.

“When are you ready to get back to the dating scene? I have a friend you should meet!”

Was she ready to flirt and date and do all those things she really hadn’t done so much of? Had she just thrown away her marriage for things like these?

But then again what was her marriage? She was unhappy for years. Unhappy and tired. She grabbed the bottle of gin, not bothering to use a glass.

Finally, she replied the message.

“I’m ready…. I guess?” He better be sensible, she thought.  I’m not ready for games. And the kids are certainly not ready for games either. Lol.


The whole flight, Akyiaa kept wondering if maybe she had made the wrong decision. She’d tried. She really had. But if the man she loved was not in favour of her pursuing her dreams, then was that really love? She’d tried to stay back, to decide that she could hold off and stay. But she’d started resenting him, and she knew that if she didn’t figure it out, she could probably become capable of murder at a point. His smugness about being the head of the family and having the last word made it so much worse. She couldn’t stomach it anymore. Good thing she hadn’t emailed to say she couldn’t make it. She’d bought the ticket two weeks earlier, waiting for a good time to tell him. But there was never a good time. The evening she left, she left him a letter. A very long letter. She passed by her parents’ house, and her dad drove her to the airport. They had no idea that he didn’t know. They had no idea that she’d neglected to tell him. “I’m really glad Papa came to his senses.” Her father had said. She only smiled and said nothing. She knew he was likely at the hospital, or with the guys. And that he’d be very upset. But she had to do this for herself. There was no way she could live with herself twenty years down the line, thinking of what could have been. She knew she had tried to live with it. She’d tried to not hate him for not wanting her to go. But she had failed. And ultimately, she knew she would fail at the marriage in the long run if she did nothing about it. She had to do something.


When the baby was put in her laps, it was almost as if her whole life had been brought to a standstill. She could barely pay attention to the people around her. She was exhausted. And completely and utterly dumbfounded. His dark, tiny fingers, his awfully tiny nose, and the way his lips curled when he yawned or stretched or whatever it is he was doing.

The pain she’d been in the past 8 hours had been completely forgotten. And she finally understood how people could have so many kids. The joy that followed the birth of one was intoxicating. As she put him to her breast, and felt his first tug, she shut her eyes, only now realising that she had been crying.

When Yaa met with the doctor concerning Wendy, he assumed straightaway that she was the mother. He discussed everything with her, and answered all her questions. He was a constantly smiling gentleman, who looked to be in his mid-forties. He looked tired – in a chronic way. As if he’d been tired for so long, and his rest wasn’t taking care of the tiredness.

When she asked if there was a protocol for adoption, he realised she wasn’t the mother. Yaa explained the whole situation, and he seemed happy to help even though he didn’t seem to know exactly how.

Yaa didn’t know why she went to look at his ring finger, and why she was disappointed when she noticed the wedding band. She chided herself and went back to paying attention to the man’s words.

They made a plan to meet together with the social welfare team, and Yaa left, wondering what kind of a family man he was, and how lovely he must look in shorts. She scolded herself countlessly, but she couldn’t stop wondering.


Nadia and Brumah continued to keep conversation. Not daily – they’d told themselves they couldn’t do that. They emailed weekly. So she knew about the letter Brumah had written to Sarah, and how for weeks he still hadn’t gotten a reply, or any change. She knew that Brumah’s therapy was better now than ever, and they’d started cutting back on his medications. She knew that he had work that was going to take him to some villages for a while. She knew that his daughter had just had her first tooth come out, and she was super excited.

He also knew that Mackenzie was increasingly getting more involved in the swim team, and it made him happy. He knew that she had gotten a good advertisement deal that could land her a large amount of money. He knew that she had plans of coming home to visit her mother with Mackenzie, but he didn’t want to get over excited. He didn’t even know if they would get to see each other. He wanted Nadia, but he also wanted to honour his marriage.

He knew though, that his days were a lot happier, because he felt heard. He felt needed. He felt wanted. And that feeling beat many other feelings he’d had in the past couple of years. He could pray without feeling any guilt about not keeping Sarah in the loop. Because he’d literally poured out his whole heart to her. Well almost all of it. And it didn’t seem to make any difference for her.

Recently he had a hard time though preaching at church on some occasions.

In one of his last sermons, he spoke about Destiny and the will of God.

How too many people put their destinies in the hands of mere men, mere mortals. How God had a path for everyone, and yet not everyone wanted to follow in that direction. And how God never forced humans. How he gave us all free will.

He remembered the tears in the beautiful red haired doctor’s eyes when the sermon was over. He remembered wondering to himself if he’d taken his own destiny into his hands by marrying Sarah. Later in the week when he emailed Nadia, he asked her if she thought he did. But her reply hadn’t come yet.

Nadia didn’t know what to think about that. All she knew was that she had survived him leaving, and much as she wanted him back, she knew she couldn’t. And she was content with this new friendship they’d started – at least she prayed she’d remain content. What she didn’t know, was if he had taken his destiny into his own hands, by leaving her for Sarah.


Dear Papa…

I know you’re probably going to hate me forever for this. And I don’t know if, or when you can forgive me. But I do know that if I’d stayed, we’d both have been very miserable. I know I tried. Really tried to be the submissive wife everyone has been asking me to be. But I really don’t see myself putting this dream on hold just because your ego can’t handle it. (And if there’s another reason why you had wanted me to stay, please do tell me, because I really can’t seem to find it.)

Three week ago at church, when Pastor Brumah spoke about destiny and the will of God, I felt as though God was talking to me. And I know that God doesn’t contradict himself. I know he says to submit to the husband. I know also that he asks husbands to love their wives. I really don’t know where the love we had is, Papa. I know that this residency is something I’ve worked so hard on for so long, and something I’ve dreamt about and prayed about and longed for since forever. And you know this too. So I can’t seem to understand how come you don’t want me to go.

Unfortunately, it’s too late now.

I just want you to know that this is not me asking for us to break up or for divorce anything at all. If anything, I want to be able to prove to you that we can do this. That long distance for 3 or so years is really not going to be as bad as you think. Especially because we’ll get to see each other a couple of times each year.

I left in the freezer stews and soups that should last for at least six weeks. Hopefully before the six weeks are up, your anger may have gone down, and we can figure out food for the rest of the while that I’m away.

You don’t know what I’d give to have your support, and to have had you go on this trip with me. To help me settle, and to know that even if the situation is not the most ideal, that you’re in it with me. I wish you knew.

I’ve attached to this letter a ticket for this Christmas. I know your visa expires in about a month. But then your leave isn’t till Christmas. And I’d be really happy if you could renew the visa, so I get to see you at Christmas. If you decide not to, I understand.

But I want you to know that going away was a good thing. I started resenting you after I made the decision to stay, and I realised I couldn’t let that decision rob me of both my happiness and my marriage.

So please understand. Please understand that I really needed to do this. And please understand that I love you. And I tried so hard to stay and forget about this, I just couldn’t do it.

Love,

Akyiaa


*Osofomaame – Pastors Wife

Perspectives III

Dear everyone… Happy New Year! This is long overdue, and I’m sorry.  And to show how sorry I am, this is the longest part so far!  I hope you like it!

Hugs & Kisses!!

Elise


The knowledge that wherever it was he was in New York, Nadia could be a couple minutes or hours away kept him on edge the whole time. Sarah hadn’t wanted to accompany him on the trip – she hated flying, so he had one junior pastor, and the head of the music ministry with him on the trip. It was their first such trip, so they were all for the fun things. He probably would have been too, for their sakes, if he didn’t keep feeling he might meet her randomly.

Call her?

Would it be such a bad thing to actually meet up with her? You haven’t seen her in years and she’s still running in your mind. You don’t think it’s a good idea to just say hello?

He kept battling whether or not to call her… Day 4 into the conference, he realised he couldn’t keep up with it. He had to call her. It was even likely she would be too busy to meet up with him. But at least he knew he would have tried.

She picked up after four rings.

“Hi, this is Nadia!”

For a few seconds he was stunned silent. She sounded just like she did years ago, just less bubbly, and a bit more exotic – her accent had changed.

“Hello, who is this and how may I help you?”

“Ahem. Nady….”

He could have sworn he heard a gasp. Nobody else called her Nady – she hated it, but it was all he called her. She hadn’t expected him to reach out to her. They were both silent for a bit. Almost as if the sound their breathing alone could answer all the questions they had.

“Brumah, how’s it going? I saw posters of your conference around. Looks like it’s making the waves.”

Somehow, Brumah could feel her shock. He didn’t know how to act, what to say, only he knew he needed to see her.

Nady, I want to meet up with you before I leave. I… I know it’s been years, but maybe just thirty minutes?”

She was quiet.

“I leave in two weeks. After the conference, we have a week of a couple of meetings, and probably some touristy activities. If you have any free time on any day, we could meet during your lunch break? Or after work? I don’t really plan to take part in the touristy things, so whenever it is that works for you… I’ll make it.”

He sounded so miserable, almost desperate, Nadia wondered exactly what was wrong.

“I can take some part of my day off on Monday. What time works for you?”

“Anytime, I can clear my whole day on Monday, I don’t think there’ll be much going on anyway”

“Bazar Tapas isn’t far from my office, we could meet there at 1PM Monday? It’s on 31st… I’ll send you the address”

“I’ll be there.” They were both silent on the phone for a while.

“I’ll see you soon Brumah, I need to go now.”


Akyiaa was so surprised that her mother- in-law was giving her such advice.

“Do you know how I had to sacrifice my master’s degree after school so I could have and take care of Papa? School isn’t all there is to life. As a woman, you make the sacrifices. They’ll pay off one day.”

She had gotten tired of listening about an hour and half ago. Funny how the rumour mill hadn’t spared her.  Especially at church.

‘So she’s leaving her husband to go to school 4 years! Who’s supposed to take care of him?! And it’s not even as if she’s had children. This woman, I don’t even understand. Does she know how many of the women will jump on her husband once she’s gone?’

Her colleagues at work were the most encouraging. Papa was still acting weird, and she didn’t know how to feel about it. She didn’t know if he felt his staying more at the hospital would make her decide to give up the residency. She wasn’t confused about her decision to leave. She was confused about the reaction of the man she loved.

‘God, did you make an African woman to sacrifice everything? Is there a part of my life that I can live without having to think if society would approve?  Or if my husband would be okay?’

If Papa had gotten this opportunity nobody would have questioned his leaving. Nobody would have even asked what his decision was! He would likely have been asked if he was taking his wife, or if she’d visit sometimes. It made her so mad that people didn’t even consider what she wanted. But she’d have been okay with all that if she at least knew that Papa supported her. She wasn’t new to people talking about her. And frankly it didn’t bother her so much. But to think that some of the people she loved the most shared those same sentiments saddened her deeply.

She lit up when a call from her father interrupted her mother-in-law’s long winded speech.

She went to the car to take the call, planning to leave without a word. They could always assume it to be an emergency form the hospital.

“Baby girl, Daddy misses you.”

She was teary just hearing that.

“Your mother told me what’s going on… how are you taking this?”

“Daddy…..I’m just tired.”

She was trying not to sniffle.

“I haven’t changed my mind about the residency. But it’s starting to look like it’s that or my marriage.”

He was quiet for a while, before he said “Any man that tries to clip your wings, is not the sort of man you deserve.”

She didn’t even know how to hold back her tears.

“I can’t tell you what to do anymore, baby girl… but I think you should speak calmly to him…. let him understand that you’re not leaving him. Men like to be pampered. He wants to feel like you’d choose him if it got down to choosing. So get around his head, and make him feel pampered, but let him know you’re going.”


Dear Gyedu,

I don’t think I’ve ever written you a letter. It’s hard living in the same house with you, and yet missing you. Although we’re together physically… (And even that barely), I know we’re not together. We’re living a façade. This isn’t what we envisioned. We may not have ever had that lovey-dovey kind of love before we got married, but at least we loved each other enough to put in the effort. Today, I feel as if your only allegiance is to the boys. I admit that for a long time I felt that way too. Are we too far beyond redemption? Do you no longer find me attractive? Do you want an out? Because much as I want us to fix this, and make it work, I don’t see the point of carrying on if we’re always gonna be this way. The boys are growing up, and with time, they’ll notice these things. They’ll see how cold we can be towards each other, without even intending to be. They’ll see how we never look at each other, never hug, or hold hands. They’ll see that we never sit to talk. We basically wake up from the opposite sides of the bed, and treat each other like we’re colleagues. I want passion, and love. I don’t want to wonder if you love me anymore or not. I don’t want to be here trying so hard to impress you, when you barely notice. I know I shouldn’t assume things, but we haven’t been intimate in over 2 years… are you okay with that? Are you seeing someone else?

I know that what people, especially people at church, think about you, is more important to you than what I think. And I’ve lived with that for a tad too long. I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that anymore. If you remain unwilling for us to get counselling and fix this, I’ll move back to my mother’s with the boys. You’ll be free to visit them whenever you want. And if you feel that we’ll work better that way, I could grant you a divorce, so you visit them or have them visit you as and when. We’re still young. Maybe I can find the love and passion I’m looking for elsewhere. Maybe you have a different definition of love, and you’re getting it elsewhere. I can learn to live with that. But I can’t sit here day in and day out waiting for you to realise I’m your wife, or that I have needs that haven’t been taken care of in forever. If I were ‘promiscuous’, I would have gotten myself very well taken care of a long time ago.

I’ve got so much to say, I just can’t seem to translate them into the right words. Should I say I miss you, when there are nights when I wonder if I did right in marrying you? And when I can go some days without even thinking about you? I really don’t know what to say. Let’s fix this please? Or let’s end it? I will be fine with whichever of the two you want. But I won’t carry on looking like the star couple at church, and living in shambles at home.

Yours, (Am I?)

Andrea


Nadia had kept herself really busy. She’d filled her week up as much as she could. She’d ensured that she was too tired when she got home to think of anything. Her week was fully booked, even her personal assistant asked her why she wanted so much work done in one week. She knew she didn’t need all that work done so quickly. She really didn’t want to go contacting a married man that she was still in love with. She didn’t want to break down the wall she’d kept up for so long. So she was quite surprised when he called, desperately wanting to see her. She was even more surprised that she’d offered to clear her schedule and even showed him to one of her favourite restaurants. She was on edge all day after that call.

Why was he so distraught? Was he dying? Was something going on?

She managed to slow her pace at work after that, worked sensibly, and went home to Mackenzie. She knew that Brumah probably knew she had a son. But she didn’t know if he knew the details – of course he didn’t.

She spent half her week wondering if meeting with him was a good idea. They texted a bit after she sent the address. But she was careful to keep it short. She refused to be ‘that ex’.

She was still so attracted to him. Completely. She wasn’t sure if that attraction would ever go away. Probably not. But she loved him enough to ignore it. He couldn’t handle any scandals. Besides, chances were he had moved on. He was married… with two kids. He was probably happy.


“I don’t think I wanted to keep this child. Before getting pregnant, I was very against abortions. Right now, all I can say is that I understand. I understand everyone who chose that option. In my heart of hearts, I know if I’d found out earlier, that would have been my option too.”

Wendy found that she could talk to Yaa about everything. She hadn’t even been able to tell her mother half of this stuff. And it felt so good to be able to talk without feeling judged.

“Cos everybody treats you differently all of a sudden. Friends at work, those at church, the father of the kid, your family…it’s really an endless list…. I contemplated suicide”

Yaa was overwhelmed. She’d had her fair share of life’s pressures, but suicide wasn’t something that had ever crossed her mind.

She had decided she was going to try to adopt Wendy’s child, probably Wendy herself. It was all so toxic… all that she’d been through. For a 24 year old, it was all a bit much. And how did the church help? By excommunicating her 🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️

She enjoyed her lunch dates with Wendy so thoroughly it was as if they were age mates!

“As a child, I had fairytale ideas of marriage – maybe I still do? I wanted a man to come and sweep me off my feet! I didn’t want a man that thought he was saving me from the scorn of the world by marrying me. I guess with time, I realised that was unreal, and I realised also that maybe marriage wasn’t for me? Or maybe it’s cos I lost the one love of my life? One day I’ll tell you all about him…”

They sat quietly for many minutes, each content in the others company.


Brumah was very tense. He walked into Bazar Tapas, about fifteen minutes earlier, planning to wait for a bit, compose himself, figure out what to say, before Nadia came in. But she was already sitting there when he walked in. She was concentrating on something on her laptop. She had a very well done bun on her head, and eyeglasses sitting atop her nose – when had she started wearing those? Her lips were slightly apart. Her lips.

He stopped and steadied his thoughts.

Nadia was beautiful. After so many years she was still so beautiful! She looked up and noticed him standing there. She smiled. An unsure smile. A beautiful smile. Brumah was trying not to be dramatic. He felt himself stiffen and he hoped she didn’t. He walked to her, as she took her glasses off and shut the laptop.

She stood to hug him. He smiled at her. He was so overwhelmed with emotion he couldn’t trust himself to speak.

“Hi Brumah, it feels good to see you after so long!” He held her in a hug. Though warm and long, it ended a bit more abruptly than he’d have liked.

“You look amazing Nady!”

“You don’t look bad yourself…. I was honestly expecting a pot belly!”

He laughed. She made him happy. It hadn’t been 5 minutes, and he was already feeling at home. A feeling he hadn’t had in a very long time.

They ate and talked, as if no years had passed by. They both avoided the topic of marriages and relationships. But she showed him a photo of Mackenzie. He also showed her a photo of his 2 girls. They both looked so much like him.

“You sounded almost sick when you called me Brumah… is this why we’re meeting? Are you dying? Is there something wrong?”

He smiled when she said that. And he looked her straight in the eye and reached for her hands. It was a thing they used to do. To prove the other was being totally truthful, they’d look the other in the eye, hold hands and speak, without thinking.

“Nady, I’m not here to disrupt your well-structured life. But I’m unhappy. I miss you. I’ve never admitted any of this out loud before. I know very little can be done about this, but I needed to see you. And I needed to let you know.”

She looked away. She needed to scream. She wasn’t ready for that.

“Brumah you’re married. You love your wife. You have a beautiful family.”

“Nady, you of all people know these things can be a sham. I care about Sarah. A lot. And she is a good woman. I just don’t know if she’s the one for me. She is a good mother. I really haven’t thought about any of this. I’m being selfish, I know. But I’ve been so unhappy for so long, it’s starting to take a toll on me. I’ve prayed about it Nady…. for years. I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed. I’ve stopped myself from calling you. I’ve actively done all I can……..”

“I’m not asking that we have an affair, or that you stop seeing your man, but I just really needed to let you know. I want to be happy again Nady. And today, sitting here, just talking, I know I haven’t felt this way in years!”

Nadia didn’t know what to say. She wanted to tell him, that there were few days when she didn’t think about him. That she had never forgotten what it felt like to be in his arms. She wanted to tell him that when she was expecting Mackenzie, she’d imagined him kissing the baby bump daily, and singing his silly songs to him. She’d imagined him running to the stores for her cravings at dawn. She’d imagined having and raising him with her. She wanted to tell him about the nights she’d managed to fall asleep only after imagining herself in his arms, or him inside her. She wanted to tell him. She was so conflicted. How would Sarah feel about all this? She refused to be the reason a home would be wrecked. Her heart was shattered years ago when Brumah was taken from her. Wouldn’t Sarah feel that way too? It had hurt. Very very badly.

“Nady say something, please…..”

Nadia hated how her tears came unexpectedly and at very odd moments. She was trying hard to not cry. Oh but how she missed him. What would it hurt to fall asleep in his arms tonight? It had been so so long.

Was that even what he was offering?

Oh God!

Perspectives II

Hi guys! I’m finally back with the second part of ‘Perspectives’. I’m sorry it took forever (I know, I’m constantly apologising for disappearing lol!) I promise to do better with the next part. As always, please tell me what you think, share with someone who might enjoy it, or might be going through something similar, share your thoughts with us all. Most of all, I hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t read the first part yet, you’ll find it here.

Cheers to a lovely weekend! ❤

Elise


Brumah had a sermon he’d been working on for weeks now. Somehow he couldn’t seem to get the message coined into the way he felt the Spirit was leading him. And lately, his thoughts kept going back to Nadia. Especially as his appointment to preach in New York approached. He’d prayed those thoughts away on so many occasions, lately it wasn’t working. He knew she had a little boy, but as much as possible he tried to not look her up or wonder about her. Sometimes he missed her so much… missed the way she made him feel about himself. Missed her funny quips. She was a very happy girl…. it took so much to rile her up….

But she was considered a bad girl. That was obviously no problem when he was also considered bad. When he got saved, his mother had over and over and over, drummed it into his head, that this was not the kind of girl a Christian boy brought home.
He remembered how nervous he was the day he broke up with her. She thought he was kidding. “I know I’m not good enough for your family, and that’s okay…. but I thought I was enough for you?” She said it with a smile on her face. But he knew her too well to know that deep inside, her heart was breaking into a thousand shards. Just like his was.

He still hadn’t forgiven himself. He’d prayed, and cried out to God… In his mother’s words, “no child of mine will be yoked with an evil woman!”
He’d cut communication with her for so long, and she hadn’t fought it. There were times he was tempted to think maybe she was fine with it all. But he knew her too well. Knew she didn’t want to disrupt his well-structured life. She loved him, and he knew it… loved him enough to remove herself just so he wouldn’t have to suffer. She loved him in a way no woman ever would.  And he loved her in a way he knew he couldn’t love any other woman. He thought back to the last time they’d made love…. he was reaching dangerous territory now. He missed her so much more when he thought about the sex.

He knew he shouldn’t be comparing, and he tried so hard not to. But Sarah constantly shamed him when it came to that department. He felt like he had to earn the right to sex. And even when he did earn it, it was on her terms. No funny positions. No strange sounds. Shower before. Aim: Make babies.
He’d tried over the years to dissuade her. There were days when he’d decide to just hold her in bed, make out with her, no sex, and just enjoy his wife. She wouldn’t have it…. “Ei Osofo, why? Today no action? You know I don’t like your games. Are you thinking about something else?”

He’d gone a couple of months at a time without sex/foreplay at all sometimes, just to see if she’d even want him at all. He often gave up before he was led into temptation elsewhere. Funny enough, no woman, no matter who tried, had ever gotten him to even consider losing guard – and so many women had tried, both in and out of the congregation.
Yet one thought of Nadia and he had to command himself to be strong, and sensible…

God why can’t I forget about her?! It’s been 8 long years! 


Akyiaa looked at the screen in disbelief… She was walking on her Paediatric ward when she saw the alert. She got matched! She speed dialled Papa!
“Papa I got matched!”
She was too excited to hear the catch in his voice.
“Let’s celebrate! Dinner tonight, on me?” He agreed quickly and cut the call.
She’d been working on starting a residency in the US for about two years. She wanted to be a Paediatrician. Papa had tried also…. he didn’t like the learning process, he’d stopped after the STEP 2 of the USMLE when his scores were not quite amazing…. he figured he’d best remain home, and work on getting into a residency programme right here. Akyiaa had tried to talk him into carrying on but he wouldn’t budge. So she went ahead and finished up. He kept telling her to forget about it, usually in a joking manner. But she knew what she wanted, and there was no budging.

She was over the moon about it, it felt like she was walking on cloud 9! That dream was finally about to come true!
She didn’t notice that Papa was weird at dinner. Her heart was too full. When the bill came and she paid, she finally noticed Papa had been too quiet. She looked at him, and asked if he was okay….
“So have we decided that you’re actually going?”
For a second she was a bit confused.
“Actually going where?”
“To New York?”
“Sorry I’m confused… you mean am I planning to go do the residency? Why the hell not?”

“But what happens to us then? I mean it won’t be less than 4 years in all, and I’m guessing you’ll want to practice there for a couple years after? So what happens with having kids, what will Mama say? And are we going to be apart for that long? You know I don’t like long distance things and…..”

Akyiaa was seeing stars…
“Papa, if the tables were turned, would you think I’d have a problem? Of course I’d miss you and we wouldn’t get to be together as often as we’d like but it’s not forever? Besides you could come over every leave? And vice versa? We haven’t even discussed the possibilities and you don’t want me to go?”

“It’s not that I don’t want you to go… but have you thought it through? We won’t have kids for the next 4 years? And you’ll be at least thirty-three by the time it’s over. And knowing you, you won’t want to have kids during the residency… You of all people know the risks of having a first child after 30… It’s not that I don’t want you to achieve your dreams, but is now really a good time? Can’t we wait a few more years? Who knows, by then I could also figure out the steps properly and we’d go together?”
She knew if she carried on she’d probably start crying. She grabbed her purse and car keys and walked out to the parking lot without a word. She only allowed her tears pour silently just as she sped off. Good thing they came in separate cars!


Andrea knew she couldn’t talk to any of her friends about her husband…. at least not her ‘Christian’ friends…. especially those whose husbands knew Gyedu. She’d tried Selassie one time, but she got told “Sister, aren’t you happy it’s not out in the open? These are the kind of things you keep quiet and pray about. God always hears.” And this was a person she’d considered would maybe listen to her, of course pray with her and then give practical solutions…
There was Nana Aba, who was usually considered their naughty friend… she’d considered on and off speaking to her about this. She’d considered Pastor Brumah too, but she knew Gyedu would kill her.
His indifference lately had gotten worse, and try as she could to not care, she really couldn’t handle it. She was dying slowly inside. Save for her boys, she felt so alone! This wasn’t what she signed up for.

Nana Aba was surprised that Andrea wanted to meet with her alone. They were good friends, but it had been ages, and there was hardly a meeting with just the two of them. Usually all the girls were there as well.
It all made sense when she finally got all the info… She knew it was important to her friend. But the irony of the whole matter made her want to laugh! Wasn’t it men that were out there cheating on their wives because they (the wives) were not willing to be adventurous? Why was he withholding sex from her? Was he cheating on her? She was obviously struggling here and he was out there doing what?

“Do you want me to talk to him? I could do that for you, find out what exactly his problem is?”
Andrea choked on her Coca Cola, coughing and sending droplets everywhere.
Talk to him about what? Already, he thought counselling would make the whole world think he was a bad husband…. if Nana Aba went and spoke with him, he’d come back upset that she was going round telling her friends.
“You can’t talk to him, Aba…. I don’t even know what to do. He refuses to talk to anyone about it, and he obviously doesn’t want any help….”

“Isn’t there some sort of law that allows annulment of a marriage if it is sexless beyond a year?”
“Aba I can’t have the marriage annulled…What happens to the boys?”
She didn’t even know if she wanted the boys to grow up in this loveless marriage…
She’d envisioned a completely different marriage life… and here she was, 8 years down the line, wondering if it was worth it.
“Okay. Maybe you should talk to him… maybe he’ll understand how important it is to me to have a husband and not just a roommate…”


Yaa knew she knew that girl from church. The one from the choir. How had she transformed so much in such a short time? She parked and called out to her.
She looked so surprised, Yaa even thought she had the wrong person.
“I haven’t seen you in church in ages!” She laughed a half-hearted laugh, “Ooh I had a few things to take care of…”
“Anyway, I’m getting lunch, come let’s get it together..”

She didn’t know why she felt so drawn to her. But she wanted to know her story, and where the father of the baby was. And what her plans were. She’d noticed even before she stopped showing up at church, that she also didn’t really hang out with the friends in the choir anymore. Funny enough it wasn’t unusual. People got ex-communicated, and all of a sudden they had no friends!

She noticed how guarded she was over lunch. How slowly she ate and how lost she got in thought. She tried to put herself in her shoes…. young, unmarried, pregnant. Life was definitely an interesting game.
“Okay, lets strike a deal, my dear….. everyday we’ll meet here for lunch and a chat?”

Wendy was a bit struck by the whole afternoons events. She liked this lady, admired her from afar. She just never knew they’d ever sit together for anything. She looked down at her small bulge, and the food they were eating, and how difficult it was for her to come by such… she had to agree. What’s the worst that could happen?
“Yes please. We have a deal.”


Nadia had seen the flyers all over social media. She’d seen it countless times. Each time she saw it, her breath caught. She was so confused. Why was her heart racing over a man she hadn’t seen in over eight years?
He’d been invited to do a week-long series at a  nearby church. Maybe she’d take that week off and fly out to see her parents with Mackenzie. He’d never been home to Ghana before, and he hadn’t seen the grandparents since his last birthday. He was constantly asking about his “Naahnas.”

In all of New York, why did this have to be the church he was invited to?

God I know you have a good sense of humour sometimes….but to be very honest, this one is not funny!

Her mother said she wouldn’t be available that month, that the notice was too short to cut off from her work. She preferred that they’d come after a month… when she’d already planned to take a month off. She settled on that, inwardly groaning and praying for self control to not try to reach out to Brumah while he was around. She thought about the times years ago, when they could just sit at the base of that tall coconut tree, not far from her house, and overlooking the beach…. it was their place. She wondered if that place was still there. If he ever went back there. They’d had the most intense conversations there, shared a lot of good memories there…. they’d read books together there, made out countless times there, and there were times too when they’d sat in the quietness and said nothing… it was their place.
She missed him so much sometimes…. missed the trips they’d done together, crazy silly fun they’d had. He was a very skilled lover…. in and out of bed, and he knew her body so well! She sat there reminiscing, trying not to get hot and bothered… There was one day on a trip they’d done up north to Mole, when he’d kept her in bed all day, constantly putting her to sleep with satisfying exhaustion, and waking her up to either food, or some more pleasurable activities. There were other days when he’d just hold her, whisper sweet nothings into her ears, nibble on her neck and ears, and fall asleep with her that way. Those were things she’d never had since him. Things she’d missed. Things she wondered if she’d ever get over.

Oh Lord… Eight years down and thoughts of him still get me wet! Why?!


Osofo – Pastor

Perspectives

This is a story about 6 individuals, and how their intertwined stories may not seem like they really seem. Many of the happenings in this story are from real life tales. Many are fictional.

Let me know your thoughts! Have you ever been in any of these situations? Have you met someone in such situations? How did it go? What did they do? Share them with us!

Elise


 

Bruma hadn’t always been a Christian. But he was a good one – a good pastor too. He lived to please the Lord. He knew in his heart of hearts, that he was trying. He knew that he wasn’t perfect. But he knew also the grace of God that had carried him out of destruction.

He knew he would probably have been cursed somewhere, likely dead if that grace hadn’t carried him out. He knew it. And he was grateful. How he became a Christian was nothing short of a miracle. But that was a story for another day.

When his mother asked him his thoughts about Sarah, he didn’t quite have an opinion. She wasn’t the kind of girl he’d have gone for, though very beautiful, she was a bit plain, a bit too submissive and a bit too ‘deaconess-y’. She hardly questioned things. They had to be done a certain way… the right way. But that wasn’t a good enough reason for him to say no. So he agreed to marry her. He didn’t want any more stressful issues with his family. He’d caused them enough pain.

Before he married her, he went to Nadia to apologize. He knew he owed that girl so much! He’d cost her two abortions, and too much heartache. She was the one that genuinely had his heart. And she’d stuck with him through all the stupidity of his youth. She was the only one of all the girls he’d had in the past that he could never forget. She left the country when he decided to move on. She told him she didn’t want to stand in the way of his transformation, but she couldn’t trust herself to not keep coming back. Nadia was a good woman! Her kind of crazy was what his heart needed. And on many nights, when he was alone with his thoughts, he wondered what could have been.

Sarah was good too. Only that she had been socialised in such a way that made her believe that almost everything modern was a sin. She owned nothing above her knees, she didn’t consider joking as a couple a normal thing – hers was to respect him, and cook for him. When he bought her lingerie for their honeymoon, she told him she was fully submitted to him, but she couldn’t do any ashawo things. He thought she was only joking. If only he knew!

 


 

“The church is arguably the most judgemental place on earth. Day in and day out, the church turns hundreds of people away – with a glare, with one word, one sentence, and one rumour. Aren’t we supposed to be the source of love? Aren’t we the ones who should comfort others? Are we not the ones to bring others over to this bright side?”

Akyiaa was always excited when it was pastor Bruma preaching. Apart from being good looking, he was also practical, straight to the point, and not repetitive like some of the other pastors. She’d skip on her post duty rounds to be there if she knew it was him preaching! Today, he had started a new series about the hypocrisy that needed to go away from the church.

She remembered all the time church people had made interesting comments about her.

“But why would a Christian woman even decide that she can wear an anklet?!” “Is black lipstick too a thing? Did you see it on her Instagram? Asɛ bɛyifo!”

And though she considered herself quite liberal, she looked back to all the times she herself had thought judgementally about others. Even if she didn’t voice them out, she’d thought them. And that, was just as bad!

“I need you to understand, church, that our righteousness did not save us! We’re all saved only by grace! Now a man with long or braided hair, has been given grace just as much as a man with a haircut – his hair, his choice! A tattoo doesn’t change the grace that God has given to us! Red hair will not stop you from going to Heaven! The jewellery you wear, will certainly not change anything about your walk with God!”

 


 

Andrea was finally tired. Tired of the façade she’d been living, tired of the pretence and the effort required to live it.

She remembered clearly the last time her husband had so much as looked at her…..

About two years ago, she’d stopped trying to convince herself that he was not having an affair… there was almost no one she could talk to about this. In church, Gyedu was a saint – he was an elder. He loved the kids. And as much as possible, he was civil to her. Many women wanted men like him. She’d be called ungrateful if she complained.

They’d been married 8 years, and the last 2 of those years, had been without sex. She didn’t consider herself a very sexual person, and it wasn’t as if Gyedu thought much about her when it came to sex… He was her first, and when they first got married, she thought sex was gruesome. But she decided she’d not waited this long for sex that would make her wish she was still celibate. She’d been brought up to think that God would reward her for remaining a virgin prior to her marriage. This really wasn’t the reward she had been expecting.

So she researched. She read articles. Both Christian ones and all those ones that she knew her church people would disapprove of. She bought books and magazines on the matter.

When she brought it up to Gyedu that she didn’t really enjoy the sex, and hence had done some research, on how they could maybe make it better, he wouldn’t have it! It was about six months into their marriage, and it was the biggest fight they’d had – well not quite a fight, just he became a very angry man.

 

“Where are you getting all these ideas from? We’re not people of the world! I’m not going to do anything funny just because you claim you’re not enjoying it! What do you even have to compare us to? Was I not your first? Or are you seeing someone?! Who has been putting these ideas into your head?”

She’d tried a few more times after that. To initiate sex, to try some position that would maybe get her close to some satisfaction, but Gyedu really wouldn’t have it. He didn’t want to be “carnal.”

From then on, sex had been his thing. She didn’t bother anymore to pretend that she was enjoying herself. She was so excited when she got pregnant. Although it was a difficult pregnancy, she didn’t have to deal with two times a week being painfully pounded and harrowed ‘like a good wife’.

When the twins were born, she put her all into her beautiful sons. She moved in with her mother for over a year, well beyond the customary three to six months that was acceptable. Gyedu visited fortnightly, and even then, their conversation was strained.

When she moved back home, they merely lived like roommates. She tried hard to make it work. She prayed and fasted. She apologised to his sore ego for making those suggestions earlier in their marriage. She did the things that made him happy. Cooked all his meals just the way he liked them. Got him gifts that she knew he’d like.

It didn’t change much. He stopped having sex with her altogether. When she tried to initiate it, he’d rub it in her face that she claimed she didn’t enjoy it…so why keep pretending? She tried talking to Gyedu about getting counselling. He was even more upset about that than he was about their sex issues.

“You want me to be ridiculed in the church, is that it? You want people to think I’m an incompetent husband?”

What made it easier for her was her five year old boys. They were her joy. She knew that it was up to her to bring them up to respect women, and not live like the world revolved around them.

Her marriage was just a façade, and she knew it. She didn’t want herself getting tempted by men elsewhere. She’d had advances made at her at work, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to say no. She couldn’t bring herself to cheat on Gyedu, but a woman has needs too! So after two years, and four months of being celibate though married, and over three years of thinking through, praying, wondering and convincing herself, Andrea ordered herself a vibrator.

 


 

Wendy was excommunicated from church when she got pregnant. It was one of the most difficult times of her life. But somehow, her meetings with Pastor Brumah and Elder Aining made it a bit easier. She understood that this was so that others wouldn’t fall into the same mistakes that she had. She wasn’t sacked, just she couldn’t hold any leadership positions, and she couldn’t be a part of the choir anymore. It was for a short while.

What surprised her was how the members of the choir suddenly treated her. She knew for sure that there were a number of them that were sexually active. But you see, that was the flaw in this whole excommunication thing. We’re all holy, until we’re caught!

All of a sudden, she was no longer friends with Rachel – how could she hang out with the latest sinner? She assumed that one of them would at least call to ask how the pregnancy was going, and how she was coping. On the contrary, she was very blatantly ignored at church. She thought it was a figment of her imagination, that maybe she was overthinking it cos of her own shame. But she was very obviously snubbed by two or three members. She wasn’t one to hold grudges. She decided she’d leave the church for a while. She was unfortunate to have committed a sin that couldn’t be hidden from the church. She’d thought of the abortion she knew Rachel had done, just so the church and her family wouldn’t find out. But hey, she had been the unlucky one. Life was that way. She would be okay at some point. She knew it.

 


 

Nadia had been living in the United States for the past eight years. There were still very few days when she didn’t think about Brumah. About what could have been. She’d never been bitter about any of it. She loved him. And she knew that he loved her as well. But life happens. And people hardly end up with the ones they love. Even when they do, life happens. She’d tried to meet others when she moved. She’d even been married once, to an abusive older man. She’d had a lovely baby boy, and then left that marriage. She was currently very comfortable, living in a place that many would consider a mansion, with her son. He was four, and the sweetest soul alive. She’d given up on her wild ways, and gotten right with God. She fellowshipped at the local church not far from where they lived. It was a church of love. That’s probably what drew her to it. She remembered visiting Brumah’s church in Ghana one time, where one elderly woman came and covered her with a cloth in the middle of the service, because the tattoo on her right shoulder was showing, and “we don’t do that here.”

So many times she’d considered going back home. But she knew it probably wasn’t for the best. It would worsen how much she wanted Brumah, and she didn’t want to be a homewrecker. She could tell he was happy. At least from what she saw on social media. He had a vibrant ministry in one of the big churches back home, and he was loved by many. His wife was beautiful. A bit more quiet than Nadia thought he would end up with, but she seemed good for him. 8 years, and they were still going strong.

She’d tried praying the love she had for him away. If only it worked that way!

 


 

Yaa was the Country Director at the UNDP Ghana office. She was strikingly beautiful. And her charisma made her loved by all. But she’d had to put up with so much pressure – first from men, and then her family, and then from her church, even from friends! How could you be thirty – eight and not want to be married? She’d heard one usher once talking to a lady, saying that it was because she earned so much money. Men didn’t want a woman who earned more money than them. She was livid that day. But as always, she kept her composure. She’d also heard once that she’d given up marriage for success. As if people didn’t have the two. Another rumour was that she was too authoritative for men. She laughed when she heard that one. Of course there were also rumours that at this age if she wasn’t married then she had some person she was hitting it with from time to time. Because humans somehow could not understand that a woman could be fine without a man, and without sex.

Yaa just did not want marriage. She’d been harassed by her family members, sent on awkward dates, some of which had to end abruptly, because the idiots assumed that at her age, she was desperate and would marry anyone regardless.

She’d had just one love of her life. And she felt content to have had that experience. He died early, even before they’d ever thought about marriage or any of those things. She simply didn’t want marriage, and people didn’t understand that! For the past eight years, she’d had people praying for her, that God would give her a husband, to people sending random men over to try to win her. She didn’t appreciate it, but she wasn’t rude about it. She hoped that at some point they’d get the memo. But it didn’t look like that was happening. Even her close friends, after they got married, started to slowly shun her company, or tried to send her on blind dates. So she threw herself into her work, and into her fun. She worked hard! And she travelled the world when she wasn’t working. She took herself on dates she liked, and did all the fun things she wanted. Marriage was really not the thing for her.

 

To be continued……….

 

 

Ashawo – offensive word for prostitute

Asɛ bɛyifo – like a witch

 

Risking a ‘Miracle’

Photo Credit - Google images

 

Hi guys!! It’s been quite a while! This is a post to raise awareness on Sickle Cell Disease, and the need for people to know their sickling status long before they fall in love! It’s inspired by many true stories – Stories of the many parents who have spent countless hours and money in hospitals, and endured guilt that only they can understand; stories of many kids who have suffered right till their adulthood, and stories of the many other kids, who did not make it. 

Also, it’s quite a long one, I hope you like it, and learn from it! If you have any experiences, any knowledge that would help someone, anything, share it in the comment section, and share this with a friend! Who knows who we may be reaching out to?

Elise

 

********************************

It wasn’t a big room. But it was filled with more people than it was made to hold – as usual.

And it wasn’t my first time here, but it had been a while. I’d had many encounters with different doctors, and different waiting rooms – but this was my favourite one. Growing up, I literally lived here! But it had been so long, I’d almost forgotten all about it… the musty smell of harsh antiseptics, the screech of cleaning equipment, the shuffle of haughty nurses (all with asses so large, it looked as if it was one of the requirements to be a nurse!) the eager, fake-humility of medical students, and the loud barks of arrogant doctors/nurses. It was all so familiar! Oh and of course, how could I forget the ever so common squabble between impatient patients!

By the time I was 12, I had been to Dr. Asafo’s office so many times that all the nurses, cleaners, pharmacists, security men, doctors and orderlies knew me too well. I knew all the nooks and crannies of that hospital. I knew when to sneak in, so I could skip the long queues. I knew that people would hardly pity me, so sneaking in to see the man himself was always my best solution. I knew that if I went in on Friday mornings, I’d get mango juice and hot bread from him.

I was an ultra-skinny child. Ultra-skinny is what I like to call it, because it sounds nice. I got tired of all the teasing in school, and all the random people trying to feed me, (“Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai?”) that I coined my own word for it. Ultra- Skinny.

I didn’t like the fact that I was that small. But it was not something I could do anything about. It would never change. You see, I was born with the Sickle Cell Disease. And in Kumasi, Ghana, where Bone Marrow Transplants weren’t yet available, sticking to my drugs and instructions was the only way to survive. Even then, I still had crises.

I’d learnt to deal with it, and it’d been working just fine – to a large extent.

Today, I wasn’t here to see Dr. Asafo for the usual check-up, or the once-in-a-while ‘hello’ visits. I was here to show him someone. I needed his sickling status checked. I didn’t want a situation where I would bring children like myself into the world. I needed to know well ahead of time. I could have had him check it anywhere. But I also valued Dr. Asafo’s opinion.

 

When I was seventeen there was a young boy that I was attracted to – Barimah. He was quite amazing. His sickling status was our main barrier – AC. I made it clear that we could not be together. But he would not relent. It’s the thing I miss most about him. His unrelenting nature. If he wanted something, he went for it. “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” that was his anthem – day and night. But I couldn’t live that way. At least not regarding the person I decided to have kids with. I could not willingly bring a child to this earth who would suffer. I had to think about the future. I couldn’t always carpe diem!

We lasted two years… and over those two years, he actively researched, and found information on Sickle Cell SC disease… and how it wasn’t as bad as the SS one. Once, he sent me a whole PowerPoint presentation, on things we could do for our kids, if in the future, they ended up with Sickle Cell SC Disease. One afternoon, after one horrible crisis, my mind was made up. Nobody I loved was going to have to go through this if I could help it. Barimah had to go, and hard as it was, it took a year for both of us to finally come to terms with our separation.

I remember asking mum when I was about 13, why she married dad when she knew they could have a child with SCD. (Because I knew they both knew before they got hitched.) She looked into my eyes and said “We wanted a miracle from God.” I can’t explain the kind of rage I felt. “You wanted a miracle, so you decided, why don’t we test God’s miracle-doing business by having a child who will be hospitalised once or twice every month? And one that would die at age 4? Is that how it works?” I was in a frenzy, and she was almost in tears!

I didn’t talk to either of them for about two weeks. But then I realised that there was really nothing that could be done – the milk had already been spilt – I lost my little brother when he was 4. I was 8 then. They never had another child, and it’s been just me since. I had to make it count.

So I was here to ensure that I didn’t go down that path with Mick. I couldn’t spend this much time in a hospital over my child – assuming I lived long enough to have any. And most of all, I would not subject any child – any living creature, to all I’d been through.

I had the power to make a difference with my knowledge. And I believed that love meant that I would use that knowledge for good, no matter how hard.

The first time I met Mick, we were opponents on a high school debate. Of course, thanks to my size, I get underestimated a lot. He’s a large burly fellow, and he was the lead of his team, as I was mine. They didn’t expect much from us, so for the most part, they were very complacent. After one round, where they lost completely, they got the memo, and started to get serious. Mick was a good debater. And he didn’t shame me, or comment about my size. He generally didn’t say much – unless it was his turn to debate of course. I was am a chatterbox!

“Miss Koomson. Dr. Asafo will see you now.”

“But didn’t she just come here? Madam I’ve been here since morning, why is this one going before me?” The usual chatter of impatient patients. I was too used to all of it.

Mick just followed me. He had been extra quiet since morning. We both knew that this could be it. The end of all we were hoping to build. He had a dramatic way of putting it. “Your love for me is not unconditional. Because I know that if I were to have any S or C in there, you’d disappear from my life. So why don’t we just check later?” I’d agreed to later for the past three years and a half.

But it was dangerous. I had fallen in love. And I had to think for my kids. My future. His future. I believe in miracles. But I believe that if God has given me the ability to do something about it, he’s not expecting that I ignore that ability and ask for a miracle!

“Akosua… it’s been ages! I see you’re well” He always had that smiley teasing way about him. I was so nervous. Mick was calm, smiling when he had to, most likely not even following the conversation. After our usual banter, Dr. Asafo had one nurse draw blood from him, and then asked us to hold on for a bit outside, while he saw some other patients.

I don’t know if the whole situation was now finally dawning on me, or if I somehow suddenly felt that we would definitely have to break up… but I got so nervous, I could tell I might throw up. He looked at me and he could tell. He gently grabbed my bag, held my hand, and walked us out. I was too nauseous to utter a word. He knew! He knew, and that made this all so much worse. What if I couldn’t have him? What if I ended up with someone who had no clue when I needed to leave? Someone who would be quickly bothered by my crises?  What if? I got lightheaded really quickly, and so he stopped me.

“We don’t really need the results, Akosua. Ok let’s not have kids! We can adopt… We’ll stage a pregnancy if people want to assume it’s actually ours…Or what about a sperm donor?

I want you. I don’t want to lose you because we could bring sick kids into the world. And I don’t want sick kids either. I don’t want them to suffer. But I really truly want you.

But if you decide that you can’t be with me, I’ll be okay with that. I can be your friend. I can pick you up when you need me to, I can just… I don’t know… just… let’s not do this today, okay?”

In that minute, it dawned on me that maybe, this is what my parents had. Maybe this is why they risked love for a miracle….

I couldn’t afford to take that risk.

 

 

Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai? – Young lady, don’t you eat? Please eat okay?  (Fanti, a Ghanaian language)

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – ‘seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow [the future]’

 

Six Years Late II

I woke up from a very restless sleep, thinking I’d been dreaming.

But I saw the armchair he’d sat in. It was definitely not a dream. I thought there was a vague smell of his cologne. How didn’t I smell it last night? And after six years he still used the same one?

“Nii is back.” I half-whispered into the phone to Wendy. I didn’t know what to make of it. My heart was heavy. I didn’t think it would ever happen. That he’d show up with an apology – never in a million years. “Oh God! Well, what’s his story?”

What did she mean what’s his story? Did that matter in any way? I didn’t know the story and I didn’t want to know. And I was too scared that he would somehow try to meet Kweinuaa. I did not want that kind of drama.

Well would you stop him? It’s indeed his daughter is it not?

I was shaken. The events of the previous night kept playing in my mind. I was not sad, I was upset. Livid. Seething.

Six years was too long to decide you could waltz back in and make it work. I didn’t want a story – if even he had one. And I didn’t want to be so affected by his return.

He’d walked out of the room when I ‘threatened’ to hurt him. At least he hadn’t forgotten one thing. My calm threats were never empty. He said he’d be back. “And I promise, I’ll explain it all. I’ll make up for the years and the pain. I’ll make this work”.

You see, I think that the fact that he assumed I would want to hear the explanation upset me more than the fact that he was back. I didn’t want an apology, I didn’t want a story. I wanted to go back to 2 days ago, when it was me, my baby girl, and the beautiful life we had.

My phone rang just as I was driving over to Wendy’s. It was Ebo. We hadn’t spoken in close to two months. The last time we did, he was picking Kweinuaa up for a play date with his kids. I knew why he was calling. But I didn’t want to hear anything about Nii. Yet I owed it to Ebo to pick up the phone. He’d been a good friend. Perhaps the closest thing Kweinuaa could call a father, save for Ofoe, Wendy’s husband.

Saying a silent prayer in my heart, I picked up the call. And suddenly that phone call from the hospital about seven years ago flashed before my eyes. It made me suddenly nauseous.

“Ebo, ofee fine? Long time.”

“Parker Are you okay? Nii is in my house. He says he spoke to you last night. He’s acting weird – he’s been quiet half the time. Where’s Kweinuaa? What happened last night?”

He seemed even more distraught than I was.

“Ebo I’m driving to Wendy’s I’ll call you when I park.” It was a bit of a struggle gripping the steering wheel, I hadn’t even realised I was trembling. Why did he have the power to even elicit a reaction from me?

Maybe you never really forgot him. Maybe you still love him?

I laughed at that thought. I didn’t know how to feel about this. How did people react in these situations? I did not want to ask myself what Jesus would do, because I knew I probably could would not do it!

But how did people disappear for no reason, and then reappear? How did their loved ones cope?

Wendy knew I needed a distraction. She packed us all up to the beach. Her family and mine. It was not exactly the kind of day I had in mind, but it was a good one – the girls making sand castles that barely stood for five minutes, Ofoe, giving them piggy back rides in the sand, and Wendy and I eating and lounging the whole time. It was hard not to think about him.

Just when we were leaving, Ebo showed up. Of course, Kweinuaa was super excited, asking to go with him, and begging for a sleep over. It was a definite no – the kind that she knew she shouldn’t beg about.

He came with an envelope for me. He looked apologetic when he handed it to me. It was quite a thick envelope. Like some folded documents. “Nii asked me to give you this.” I knew I was not going to open it. But Kweinuaa was looking, and wondering. It was a wonder she didn’t ask who Nii was. I took it and shoved it down my bag. I saw the look on Ebo’s face. He seemed to know what was going on in my head. He offered to follow me home, so we could go talk. Kweinuaa was going to remain at Wendy’s. I took the offer, not because I wanted to do any talking, but because I didn’t want to have to think about all of this alone.

We drove home, and while I freshened up, I thought back to the last time I had given a proper thought to Nii. I’d constantly wondered what to tell Kweinuaa as she grew up. But I’d stopped wondering what actually happened years ago. It was not worth the heartache.

“Dear Parker, 

I know that this comes as a shock to you. I know you want to have nothing to do with me – all that happened last night confirmed that for me. I just feel like there are some things that you really need to know. The most important of them is how sorry I am.

Even though I don’t think that you ever wondered if you were a good wife, I want you to know that all the things that have happened had nothing to do with the kind of wife you were to me. You were a good wife. I won’t lie and say that you did anything at all to merit any of what happened. You were a good woman. The kind that any man would be excited to return home to. You were loving and happy, and very helpful, you were amazing in bed, and you were smart and sensible. You were special.

A couple of months after we started trying for kids, I felt very pressured. And I felt that maybe it was cos of me? So I did some tests. Initially, they said that I had no issues. Thinking that the problem was from you, I decided to get a mistress. Just for the purpose of having a baby. (Not that I consider this justified). But when after 8 months, she couldn’t have a baby either, I sought a second opinion. There, it was concluded that there was no way I could father a baby. I really didn’t know how to tell you. And for about four months, I sat on the information, trying to figure out the best way to tell you, and when. And then you came at me, with a pregnancy out of nowhere! I honestly assumed that you’d had another man father the baby. And although it was not in line with your character in any way, I felt betrayed. Around that same time, I got the offer to move to Mauritius. I stalled it long enough to find out if you’d come clean. I didn’t want another man’s child. And I felt like damaged goods, because what man doesn’t want a son of his own? It was very stupid of me, and I acted like a child. I don’t know what made my mind so made up about the whole situation. I don’t know why I didn’t stop to listen. 

I sincerely apologise Parker. Truly.

When I left, I assumed that you’d move on with the father of the child. I assumed you’d sign those divorce papers and get on with the other man. I wanted to see who he was. When after two years I was told there was no sign of such a man, I started to wonder.Then I heard you’d named her Kweinuaa; I thought to myself – if she was really my daughter like you claimed, maybe you’d have given her some Ga name of some sort….  I’m an idiot, I know. 

I’d met a lady from Sao Tome who was also in Mauritius for work. She did not want any babies in life, so you can imagine her joy when I let her know I couldn’t even have any. Though it haunted me on many nights, the fact that I at least owed you a reason for leaving, I maintained in my heart that if you cheated on me for a child, then you deserved this. It hardly occurred to me that for 8 months, I’d been having an affair for this sole purpose, so I had no right to judge.

Parker, I’m really really sorry!

A year ago, the lady I moved in with found out she was pregnant. My first reaction was anger! How could this happen to me twice? But she was so mad at me – saying I’d lied to her. She was not even planning to keep the baby, so I realised she really didn’t want it, so she’d likely not been having an affair. So I went through a series of tests again. I found out that indeed I could have a baby, I just had a rather low sperm count, meaning it was just more difficult for me to.

Parker, it’s haunted me for a year! It’s kept me up so many nights. I felt like a villain. I wanted to come back home to you. I’ve begged God to forgive me, begged him to let you forgive me. I’ve gotten to my wits end, Parker.

I am so sorry. If there’s anything I can do, let me know. I will do it. If it means that I have to go round the world, I will do it. I know I owe you six years of a beautiful life snatched from you… for something you didn’t do. I owe you so much. But if you’ll let me, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll make sure you and our little girl know what heaven on earth feels like…”

It was when I felt Ebo’s arms around me that I realised that I was crying.  I handed him the letter refusing to read what was left of it. There were other things in the envelope that I hadn’t even paid attention to. They looked like hospital reports. I didn’t need any of this. I attempted to push my way out of Ebo’s arms. But suddenly, it felt good to be there. To have someone’s arms to cry in. It really felt like a breath of fresh air. I just held on to him, and cried. Cried for the lonely nights when I wondered if I’d always remain alone. Cried for the times I thought maybe I’d done something to push him away, that maybe for some reason, I was inadequate. I cried for all the children’s parties I attended with Kweinuaa that made me ‘crave’ a husband. And I cried for all the things Kweinuaa may have missed, and would likely continue to miss from not knowing her father. I cried for all the stupid dates I went on, that ended up with me wondering – If Nii left after close to 4 years, what would make this one stay?

I didn’t have any words, just tears. I hadn’t cried about him in years. And I’d vowed I wouldn’t ever. But here I was.

“Ebo… he cheated on me. He cheated…. for 8 months… and I’m… I’m the one who… I’m the one who… who had to… to suffer for it! Ebo please… please tell me you…. you knew nothing about it?”

I was hardly coherent between sobs.

“Parker, I had absolutely no idea!” He said it so calmly, holding me as if his life depended on it.

When the sobs had subsided. I sat there, wondering what next. Wondering if I could ever look into the face of this man I’d once loved, without wanting to rip his throat apart. I wondered if this thing called forgiveness that they’d been preaching to me forever was even possible.

I remembered some random lady from church who’d once told me that if I truly forgave Nii, ‘God would give me a good husband – he would restore the years the locusts had eaten’. It was the first time I’d felt the urge to cuss in church. Maybe if Kweinuaa hadn’t been sleeping on my arm, I actually would have.

Sitting there quietly, trying to piece myself together mentally, and slightly embarrassed that Ebo had seen me at my worst, I heard a key in the lock.

I knew Nii was back again.

I was too spent to say a word. He walked in, saw Ebo and I in the half embrace that we sat in, and made a face. Neither of us made to move.

I made a mental note to change the locks.

‘Ebo, ofee fine?’ – Ebo are you okay?

Happy 21st, My Son!

My Dear Kwaku Okatakyie…
Happy 21st Birthday! You don’t know how nostalgic this week has been for me… for us. It feels as if it was just yesterday when you were put into my arms… a beautiful 3.9kg bundle of Christmas joy!
I remember seeing tears in your Papa’s eyes… even though he denies it. It’s difficult to remember another Christmas when I was as happy as I was that Christmas.
You came to us at a point in our lives when we needed all the love we could get as a couple. And you brought all that love and so much more!!

Your Papa and I have been pondering for a really long time what to give you today. I know you’ve been hinting about that car since God knows how long…. it’s not going to happen! (But hey, you never know! Keep your fingers crossed, and your prayers fierce!)😉😉
We decided that we’re first of all going to give this letter to you. You’ll find out later what else we got you.

Remember when you were 3, when I’d just had your brother. You were such a curious child! You asked me many interesting questions. One of them stands out really tall, and remains fresh in my memory. You had such a queer facial expression looking at him, and then you asked “Does it mean I’m no longer your baby? Who will be my mummy?” Much as it made me laugh, it put somethings in perspective for me.
You will always be my baby, Kwaku. No matter how old you are, or what stage you are in life. You will always be my baby – our baby!

You’re a special young man, Kwaku. Special in every way. It’s beautiful how you take care of your siblings, especially Kesewaa. I wonder the kind of hot seat many young men will be subjected to when she’s old enough to start dating!
It’s lovely how much you can bring all of them to order, and make things happen. I still have in mind that Easter three years ago, when you brought them all together to fast, pray and then afterwards, organised that Sunday lunch as well! You are very special!

Now I want you to know, no matter how exceptional you are – and you really are, my love, you’re not the gift of God to the women on this earth! You’re a very good looking young man, and you have a heart of gold. You’re from a good home, and you treat people with respect. That does not give you the right to feel as if you’d be a gift to whoever, whenever. You are an amazing gift to us, but you’re going to be a gift to only one woman (besides me of course). And that woman, will also be a gift to you.
I know so many young men like you, who unfortunately parade themselves around, feeling as if they would be doing any woman a favour by being with them. That kind of attitude stems from pride and arrogance. And I did not bring you up to be proud or arrogant.

K, I’ve seen how the girls hover around you. Don’t let it get to your head. And I know that you have a thing for Kukuaa (Don’t ask me how I know – a mother always knows!😌), she’s a lovely young lady, and we like her. But we don’t want you to ever feel pressured to be with someone because we like her… We want you to have a mind of your own, and based on that, decide who you want. I like to believe we’ve brought you up well, and based on the many good decisions you’ve been making, that you’ll do a good job in deciding. But I want to remind you that on top of your list, should be her love for God! She should be an ambitious woman, who will not settle or allow you to settle for anything average! She definitely should be pretty, because we need good looking grandchildren. She should know what she wants and work for it. And she should be caring and lovely. She definitely can’t be perfect; even you my son are not perfect.

I don’t want you to ever look down on any woman. No. matter. what. It has become a subtle culture for men to feel superior. Before, it was overt… now, it’s annoying how it’s almost always there, no matter how low-key it is made to look. I know how well you can cook. I taught you to cook so you do not feel that a woman should be the one to cook for you. If she cannot cook, cook for her. Cooking should not be a deal breaker for you, because you, my son, could pass for a chef! You’re not marrying a woman to be your cook. So when the other boys talk about these things, and I know that they always do…. Keep in mind your Mummy’s words. Cooking should not be a deal breaker!

There are very few things that should be deal breakers. When I met your Papa, it was his calmness and fervent love for God that drew me to him. You already know that he was not my kind of man, but God had such big plans for us, he taught me that a person could become your kind.
This is to say that much as you need to set high standards, do not go crazy in giving God such a long shopping list!

One more thing, K… remember your Eighteenth birthday? (Of course, how can you forget it?) Remember how elaborately we celebrated your entry into adulthood? Remember your thirteenth as well? I’m gonna give you a back story to what was going on in our lives when you were thirteen. First, your Papa was facing a big lawsuit at the hospital. It was quite a difficult situation. It was the kind of thing that could take away his medical license forever. And that would have had such a great impact on us! I had also just had a miscarriage. And then we were having a few issues here and there, as married people tend to have once in a while. But that did not stop us! On your eighteenth birthday, I had a 3 day deadline to present my thesis, and it was really quite a big deal. Your Papa had such a tough time finding a colleague to represent him at the Medical Conference he was supposed to be at. That did not stop us either! I just want to let you know, that life is interesting. It has so many downs, and then it has the ups. But don’t let the downs steal the joy of your ups! Don’t go so crazy about getting something done or planning into the future, that you forget to live in the present! Do you have any idea how many times daddy wishes he had skipped some hospital time to spend with your Grandma before she passed away? Trust me… life is short. And you get to decide what you want to do with it. You also get to decide who you spend it with. So in all your getting in life, don’t forget the ones who love you, and the ones you love. Never let your work or your education or anything else get in the way of love. Make the people you love your priority – never ever make things get in the way of that. Because that can be disastrous! (If you don’t believe me, ask your dad about that one time he forgot my birthday!!)

Once again, there’s this thing that you’ll learn as you grow up. With time, your friends will reduce. By friends, I mean the active circle of people you trust and constantly spend time with. That is not a bad thing. It only means that with time and age, and wisdom of course, you’re realising that some people are not worth your time, or energy – and that is okay! I want you to be very careful of the people you keep as friends, because they, to a very large extent, help shape the kind of person you will be – as you already know, “bad company corrupts good character”… and “the companion of fools will be destroyed!”

Kwaku, most importantly, today, your Papa and I want to tell you, not to let go of your first love. I’ve seen your passion for God, and how much you love to work for Him. I’ve seen the fruit of the Spirit so overtly manifesting in your life. I’ve seen your hunger for the word of God, and how much you yearn to let others know it! I pray that this never wanes. I pray that this yearning will only continue to increase! I hope nothing gets in the way of your love for God!

 

Remain confident of this – that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! All will go well with you, and you will prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. You will remain in perfect peace as your mind remains stayed on God!

We love you so much, Kwaku! I pray you never ever question that!
Love,
❤️❤️❤️
Mummy and Papa!

PS – Maybe I was sort of kidding about the car 🤷🏾‍♀️ Do not tell your Papa I said anything!!
Also…. I remember you and Oti wanted to do the trip to Amsterdam😊☺️ – that’s my personal gift to you!

I love you!!

Can You Surface Soon? V

Entry 08

Dear Future Husband,

This week I’ve had so much to think about, so much going on in my already hyperactive brain.

I think that this might be my last letter… And that’s really one big problem with me; sticking to a course is so hard. I don’t know whether it’s boredom or laziness or just plain old tiredness. Maybe my obsession with Paapa, singleness and marriage has waned? (Praise the Lord!). We probably all have those phases when we’re ready for God to bring that person and super ready to be in a relationship… Well lately, I’ve just been meh about it. I think it’s the books I started reading. I’ve come to realise that there’s really a lot more at stake where relationships are concerned. And honestly seeing where I’m at in life now, I know I need time.

I know God is working on me and preparing me so that I’m not just some average woman when we do meet – I hope you do not settle for average. Because hey, life is short, and if you only live once, you can’t live average right?😌

So I’m not going to settle on being an average person, I hope you don’t either. And I hope that you don’t plan to give average love… because I can’t have that. I don’t want mediocre love. I don’t want to be kept wondering. I don’t want the kind of love that ‘other couples have.’

I’m a very different girl – and though that may not always be a good thing, it means that I hardly want what everyone wants. Of course there are the basic things that I want too – your love, your attention, complete peace of mind, etc.

This week, I had a conversation with a friend. A Ghanaian girl too. I don’t remember how the conversation got to talking about money, and men, and different roles we play. Apparently there’s a general mentality that in a marriage, “a woman’s money is hers, and a man’s money is theirs”? 😂🤣😂🤣Honestly it came as a bit of a surprise to me… but apparently it works for many people!

I realised somewhere in the first year of undergrad, that I’m repelled by rich boys… (that’s a long story for another day) So much as I want you to be a self-sufficient, responsible and hardworking young man, I hope that you don’t have the kind of money that somehow makes you think that the world revolves around you. (Like, what am I supposed to get you on your birthday if you have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it?) And just so you know, I don’t ascribe to that thinking. I think that if we’re going to be in this together, we’re going to decide how things work, and who pays what. There’s a high likelihood that I might earn a lot more than you,😂😌😶 and I really hope that you’re not the kind of guy that will have a problem with that.

Anyways, let me stop digressing. The plan today was to talk about family. I come from an amazing family. I think that God was very very generous when he gave me my family. And I understand that our families will be from different backgrounds, with different kinds of experiences, etc. but once we decide to be together, we’ll be merging all of that… and I’ve seen first-hand how explosive that can be! Marriage won’t just be between us especially if you come from my Ghanaian culture; it is considered a merging of the two families. One thing I pray for is that our families will get along; that they can co-exist peacefully, and not only co-exist, but love each other! I pray that we can all have fun together, laugh together, pray together; be one and treat each other as Christ would have us treat each other. I clearly don’t know if we’ll be best friends but I hope at least that we’ll love one another.

Inasmuch as they may mean well for us, can we leave them out of our business? Can we not live with them? At least till we’ve built up our own family? I don’t mind visits, but can they remain visits? Can we keep them out of our challenges? Because of course they’ll take sides! And even when we’ve sorted out our issues, they won’t forget…

This is my prayer, that my in-laws will be like second parents to me. Because I want my children to know and love them fully without reservations. I pray you’re praying for the same. I know my family’s opinions really matter to me so I pray that they fall in love with you too, and treat you like a son/brother!

I’d like to believe that at some point, you’ll show up. And although the wait feels long, (especially this Christmas when couples are running around throwing snowballs at each other), I know that you’re working on yourself, just as I’m working on me!

So can you surface soon?!

PS. I’m gonna keep my promise of sticking to writing you these letters, till the month is out!

Can You Surface Soon? IV

Entry 07
Dear future husband,
For a very long time, I hated taking pictures. (To a certain extent, I still do). I over-analyse every single detail in every picture that I take – people say it’s a girl thing. But the thing is, I am insecure and self-conscious about myself. I was always the other sister, the fat one. The one with the crooked teeth. The one who stood out (not in a positive way lol). But I suppose I had the brains to make up for my looks. (And the heart maybe? Inner beauty?) lol!
When I was ten, I overheard some guys from my older sister’s class at church, talking about us. I don’t remember the details, but I remember being referred to as “that other one… the not so pretty one… she doesn’t really look like them, or?” It must have stuck somewhere in my subconscious. Because for some reason, it wasn’t until I became an adult that these insecurities became very evident.
One thing you’ll probably come to know is that I don’t like my body so much. I don’t like my teeth and that’s a hard one because it’s right there on my face. I’ve come to accept and like the gap, because it identifies me as daddy’s little girl, however that’s about all that I like about it.
So these days when I take pictures, duck face is my go to …. because when I show my teeth, all I see is that they are crooked and weird. One day, when I start making my millions, that’s the first thing that I’m going to change about myself.
I won’t lie and say I’m at the stage where I’ve accepted myself fully and come to realize that my body forms a part of me… but quite recently, my devotional warned against self-pity and after a conversation with one of my friends, I realized that wallowing in self-pity and a sea of insecurity really doesn’t help anyone, especially when there’s someone (Christ) who has given me worth more than I can imagine and is so willing to continually hold me up.
I’ve been praying that you won’t be the kind of guy who will “just accept me the way I am”. I’ve been praying that you’ll actually find me beautiful, and be very open about declaring it… ( I’m a pda kinda girl 🤣😉)
Half the time, I need to remind myself that I can be am beautiful. It’s been a hard road for me in that regard, and I’m still on it. Because of that, I had a phase when any guy that called me beautiful or pretty, (if he kept up with it), was at some point elevated to ‘prospective boo’ (Okay, I was thirteen, and I had the imagination of an alien…. But still)
One day, I might be able to stand naked before you and not cringe. I hope that when that day comes, when I have come so far on this journey of accepting myself, you will not just find me ‘acceptable’, you’ll actually be excited!

So back when I was in Ghana, I don’t think I ever doubted that I was smart. I was more often than not at the top of my class – and when I wasn’t at the top, it was okay too, because I knew I wasn’t the only good student. But then I got into this thing they call an Ivy League Liberal Arts College, and it broke me! It gave me such a low self-esteem of myself that I wonder if I’ll ever get back to that confident girl I used to be. I met people who were smarter than me – those who worked hard for it, and those who somehow were just smart… and so I began to settle and doubt myself. I did not work as hard as I should have, (because it felt like even when I worked hard, I still didn’t do well). I made many mistakes because of that. It was like I had just resigned myself to ‘fate’ to take over. And it didn’t help that I wasn’t sure of what my purpose was. Honestly if I could do undergrad all over again, I would seek help right from the start, and work really hard … no laziness, and no procrastination. I would also not let go of dreams because of a low self esteem.
Sometimes I wonder if I stopped being Pre-Med truly because it’s not the path for me or because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to pursue it. Will I ever know?
I think I’m ranting like this because it’s that time of the year when you have to think about the future – the plan after grad school. I still don’t have a clear sense of my career path (I’m not as quick to call that my purpose anymore). My parents want me to go do a PhD – I think I want to do that as well, but then can I?
So the other day, dad sent me a list of schools to look at; actually it wasn’t a list. It was one school. Harvard. Instantly, I felt I didn’t qualify. Do I? Because first of all, your girl doesn’t have research experience… and it’s Harvard – they only take the best. The worst thing is that even as I sat doing my own research for schools, I felt so unqualified. I kept thinking which school would even want me? Sound familiar? Senior Year Of Undergrad all over again!! But I refuse to go through that same depressing, unhappy season again. And I told God that the next time, if there was going to be a next time, I’d walk with Him through that season, and not worry or be anxious about anything.
What’s the worst that could happen? 😩😩 That I’d get rejected by the schools? Then maybe find a job? And if I do not find one, I head back home to Ghana? Frankly, I don’t think that sounds bad at all!!

So here’s to not worrying or feeling insecure about qualifications or self. Here’s to looking up and not down. Here’s to walking with the Lord and trusting Him and truly seeking His face while holding on to the fact that no good thing will He withhold from those who seek His face!!

If you meet me in the near future and by the grace of God, I appear more confident than I am now and am walking in God’s purpose for me, I want you to know that it really wasn’t an easy road getting there. I’m sure you have your own story and I really can’t wait to hear about it.
I really wish you were here already, so we could have all these talks together… because I think my journey to finding myself is going quite well😉

So if you don’t mind, please surface soon?
❤️