She was just a girl when she came to live with us. Twelve or thirteen years, I think. We were newly married and she was in the second year of junior high school. When we moved into our newly rented two bedroom apartment, my wife thought it would be a great idea to have their last born, Mansa, come live with us—to help around the house and also run errands for us.
She was a good girl and did what was expected of a child helping with home chores. When my wife delivered our first baby, it looked as though she mothered the child. Everything concerning the baby was her job. It was no surprise that the boy called her Mom when he began talking.
By the time we had our second child, a girl, Mansa had completed junior high school and was home awaiting her results. Again, she ensured she provided extra hands for my wife in raising and taking care of the kids. I liked her. She was hard working and never complained about anything.
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And then she grew up! She had completed senior high school and still living with us. Something about her started drawing stares from me. She had matured and looked everything like my wife except that she was sprouting so what she had standing up, my wife had the falling version.
I saw firm breasts when I looked at her. I saw sagged breast when I looked at my wife. Her curves had begun. My wive’s curves were filled with extra flesh. She was slim. My wife was thick and heavy.
I looked at her every day and realized what was lacking in my wife. My wife too was once like Mansa and I enjoyed her a lot that way. Now she’s not. Age and childbearing happened. It’s not her fault, yet I couldn’t stop looking at Mansa and comparing what she had with what my wife didn’t have.
Something in me wanted to see Mansa’s nakedness. I had pictured her enough whiles in clothes. I thought I had to see what was behind those clothes. I remember walking into the bath while she was there and pretending I didn’t know someone was there. I said “Oooh sorry I didn’t know you were here. Ok, let me pick what I came for and leave quickly.” All the while, I was looking at her—up and down my eyes went.
I also remember sneaking into her room one night while she lay sleeping. I tip-toed in and stood at the foot of her bed. Staring. All the things she kept behind clothes were out there on display as she slept.
I wondered; “If she wakes up to find me lying on top of her what would she say? Would she scream? Nooo maybe she’ll be too shy to scream. But what would she think of me? Won’t she report me to her sister? Oohh naaa she won’t. She’s too matured and shy of me to be able to report.”
I later snapped out of my thoughts and walked out of her room.
On another occasion, I walked into her room at dawn with my phone. She was dead asleep and naked. As usual. I took some photos of her. Intimate ones. In a revealing posture. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the photos. I thought maybe, instead of going there every night, if I had the photos, I would only watch whenever I had the urge to go look at her.
My cravings for her got intense with each passing day. The one question that kept lingering was; “What would she say if…”
If I touched her b00bs would she complain? Who would she talk to about it? What if she calls her mother and reports me? Ultimately, how was she going to see me afterward?
I wanted her but I was scared to upset the balance of the house. One day, sanity prevailed. I decided I couldn’t touch what I couldn’t see so the best way was to get rid of her. The question then was, “How do you convince your wife to let her sister go?”
I told my wife; “Mansa has been with us since she was a kid. Don’t you think she could pick one or two home skills from your parents too?” “Are you suggesting we should send her back to live with my parent?” she asked. I responded; “Not really, I’m only thinking it wouldn’t be wrong if she goes back to learn one or two things from your parents too.”
She snapped; “Go straight to the point. If you don’t want her around here anymore, there’s no need hiding behind words. Just say it!”
I immediately knew it wasn’t the right time to have a discussion. I abandoned my mission for another day. I only had to psych myself to be discipline around Mansa. No more looking. No more thinking of her. No more sneaking on her. I even deleted the photos on my phone. I was turning a new leaf.
That lasted for only two days and I was back to the sneaking business. I went to her room at dawn. She was covered. I tried lifting the cloth so I could see everything. She woke up and saw me right in the act. She quivered. She asked; “Are you looking for something?”
I said no. I dashed out quickly, very ashamed. The shame got intense when I realized the next day that she had started locking her door when sleeping. For several days, I couldn’t look at her.
That was when I resolved that she had to leave the house no matter what. I love my marriage and I was happy she was around but something had to give. And I didn’t care if I had to hurt my wife to achieve that.
I told my wife; “Mansa has to go. She’s been with us long enough. She would benefit from a better training from your parents before she finally goes to school.”
I knew I wasn’t making any sense but a man has to say what a man has to say. She replied, “This is the second time you are bringing this issue up. I don’t know what she has done to you that you want her out this much. Don’t worry, she would go.”
I realized she wanted a better explanation but I had none. I was only trying to save my marriage the best way I knew how.
Somehow, Mansa told my wife about how she caught me lifting her cloth at dawn and the many times I’ve entered the bath while she was there bathing. I don’t know what else she told my wife but I suspected she said a lot of things.
When my wife questioned me, I accepted my shortcomings and how weak I’ve become in the presence of Mansa. I said; “That is why I’m insisting that she leaves. I’m unable to stand the temptation.”
She said, “If a small girl like Mansa is tempting you, then I wonder who else out there is also tempting you. Mansa is not the problem. You are the problem. Can’t you control yourself? Are you not a man enough to control yourself around a little girl like Mansa?”
Most of the words that came from her that day were insults. Insults to my person, my manhood and my inability to have control. She was right. I deserved every word. I apologized and only asked her to let her leave. When the meat is out of sight, the cat can sigh.
It was difficult for my wife to let her sister go. She was her help and a lot more. But she let her go eventually. Trust was broken and I had to do a lot more to regain her trust. It wasn’t easy but today we have our peace and the only woman I see around my home is my wife. She’s all I have—curves or not.
-Fred Aban, Tema-Ghana.
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