When you enter Akua’s room, the first thing you see is the photo frame on her wall. It’s a large frame with the inscription, “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” That’s a quote by J.R.R.Tolkien
I remember discussing this quote with her when she carried the frame to the hostel room where both of us were staying. She said to me; “We’ve been friends all these years because of the faith we have in each other. When I fall, I know you would have my back. I know I always have because you’ve never turned your back on me just once.”
I and Akua have been friends for eleven years. We met at the secondary and from the very first day that we met, we never got separated. We sat next to each other in class, shared secrets and even got into trouble together.
I was there for her in her first ever relationship breakup and I’m the one she confided in when she broke her virginity. We didn’t keep secrets and we didn’t have any other friend come between us. It was always the two of us until we completed secondary school.
We continued our friendship at the university. We stayed in the same hostel room until we completed.
Life at the university was a different ball game altogether. Akua matured into a wild and inquisitive person. She wanted to try everything—trend, lifestyle and adventure whiles I loved to live a low-key life.
In our first year, she brought in a guy she introduced to me as her boyfriend. Leonard. Some months later the relationship ended. She complained about the guy not being faithful and also stingy. She left Leonard and a month or two later brought in Alex.
Alex is a quiet guy and very reserved. At some point, I wondered how he kept up with Akua’s wild life. But somehow they kept going. After a year and a half together, they broke up. Actually, Akua left him. She wouldn’t tell me so much of why she left him apart from saying she felt Alex wasn’t the one.
After Alex, she settled down for a while and later brought in Roland. It was the first semester of our third year at the university. At first, I didn’t know how to relate with Roland. I didn’t want to be closer to him and then one day, he would be gone, just like all others but I warmed up to him as time went on. He brought me dinner anytime he came around and sometimes took both of us out. I liked him.
Just when we were about to graduate from school, Roland got jilted. That was the first day I saw a man crying. He came to the hostel cried and begged but Akua wouldn’t look at him. He kept asking me to plead on his behalf and I did but Akua wouldn’t listen. At that time I was also going through my own heartbreak from a guy who left me so I couldn’t get involved in their issues.
Every morning, Roland would send me a message asking me to convince my friend to change her mind. I tried. I told Akua, “Roland is a good guy. People go wrong sometimes and we don’t have to see only their wrong and punish them. We should count the blessings they bring too so we can forgive.” Her answer was, “I’m not taking him back. If you think he’s a good guy, you can have him.”
From that day on, I stopped talking about Roland. I concentrated on my wrecking heart and how I could heal.
A few months later, we graduated and left campus.
After school, we started some small buying and selling business that kept both of us busy until we got posted for our national service. I met Roland where I was posted to do my service. He had also been posted there for his service. I told Akua about it and she couldn’t be bothered. She said, As you can see, I’ve moved on long ago and I can’t be bothered about that guy and how he lives his life.”
Roland and I became closer. I liked him. I mean he was a gentleman and couldn’t hurt a fly. He was very good with gifts and gave me gifts very often. At some point, I feared he was going to propose to me and I couldn’t say yes because of obvious reasons. But the day he finally proposed, I said yes!
I’ve loved him internally, so much so that I only could say yes even though what I actually wanted to say was no. We blossomed and love took both of us on a smooth ride. I started spending most of my weekends with him. Time spent with Akua became less and less as Roland took over my world.
I couldn’t tell Akua what was going on. I didn’t know how she was going to react to the fact that I was dating her ex. At some point, she suspected something was going on in my life but she couldn’t ask. Maybe she trusted I would have told her if really that was the case.
After our National service, Roland was maintained and later offered a permanent job at where we did the service. I didn’t have a job so I continued doing the buying and selling business with Akua. She had a car, so we bought clothing and accessories and distributed them to buyers.
A year later, Roland suggested we should get married. I was over the moon. We hugged, we kissed and later celebrated it with a dinner at some quiet restaurant. I needed someone to share this news with, but who? All happiness faded when I remembered I had to tell Akua finally that I was going to get married to no one else but her ex.
That killed me a little on the inside but I had to. Roland wanted to do it on my behalf but I stopped him. When we finally settled on a date for the marriage, I took Akua out for lunch and gave her the news;
“I have good news for you. I’m getting married. I mean very soon.”
“Are you serious? You don’t even have a boyfriend.”
“That’s one secret I’ve kept from you. I’ve been dating this guy since National Service.”
“Are you serious? I thought we don’t keep secrets between us.”
“Yeah I tried not to keep it secret but it wasn’t easy telling you due to some circumstances.”
“Wait, circumstances? Don’t tell me It’s Roland.”
I nodded to affirm her suspicion. She covered her opened mouth with her palms with this shocked look in her eyes.
“Yeah, it’s Roland. Now you know why I couldn’t tell you?” I said.
She didn’t say anything. She got up and left. On her way, she sent me a message; “Don’t ever call me a friend, bitch!”
She never picked my calls neither did she reply my messages. Roland tried to intervene but that made it worse. My parent went to her, she refused to meet them. She didn’t want to have anything to do with me. Just about a week to my wedding, she sent me all the money I invested into our business through mobile money. That was when I knew I’ve lost my friend.
I had my wedding without her. Through it all, I was dreaming of how it would have been with her on my side. I missed her but there was nothing I didn’t do to have her with me. We lost all ties and nothing could bring us back together again.
Three years after my wedding, she had her wedding. She didn’t invite me but I attended. I attended the wedding with Roland and our two-year-old daughter. She saw us. We waved at her but she didn’t even smile. It broke my heart that I couldn’t be part of her moment but there was nothing I could do. It was she who decided to part ways with us.
Our road darkened and she said farewell. Now, who is the faithless?
-Story by Belinda Nutifafa, Accra-Ghana. SILENTBEADS.COM