She was my girlfriend for three years and had plans of getting married at some point in our lives. We spoke about it a lot but there was always something we had to do before we could get married.
She was in school, so we said we were going to get married after she had graduated. When she graduated, we said after her National service. After her national service, my dad fell seriously sick and I was the one taking care of him so we said we were going to get married when my dad got well. And then my dad died so it became after the funeral.
Some days after we buried my dad, we made one last plan, “We would marry when she gets a job.” She got a job so we decided the following year we were going to get married.
Just recently, I saw a photo of both of us on Facebook memories and it really brought back memories of that day just before the photo was shot. We attended a friend’s wedding and during the photoshoot, I handed my phone to the photographer to take a photo of us. Just before the photo was shot, Nancy screamed, “Next year would be our turn!” Kraw! The photographer shot it. One of her legs was up and her two hands were also up in the air doing the peace sign.
The following year, true to her words, she got married but the man she got married to wasn’t me.
We went our separate ways in May. In September, she said I do to a man who had recently returned from Abroad. A man she always told me not to worry about because they were just online friends. I wasn’t at the wedding but I saw all the wedding photos she posted on her timeline. A piece of me died but the piece that survived was stronger. I moved on.
Six months after her marriage, she called me. I don’t know why but I was very happy when I saw her name flashing on my phone. Maybe, I didn’t let her go completely. The piece of me that survived carried the memory along. She said, “Hey, I’m glad you picked up. I’m sorry for how things turned out. Everything was my fault. Yes, I lied somewhere and I gave up on you at some point. Please forgive me.”
“Oh don’t worry, I’ve moved on. I’m fine now and I wish you well in your marriage. At this point, that’s all I could do, wish you well so I can have a free heart and mind to move on with my life.”
We were both quiet on the phone. I didn’t have a lot to say. I was only happy that she called. I asked her, “How’s he and how’s married life?” She answered, “I’m beginning to regret everything. It was like I didn’t give myself the chance to know him better. Now that I’ve come to know him, I’ve realized my mistakes.”
What mistake was she talking about?
The man went back abroad after the marriage and hardly called. They both had plans of living together after the marriage but since they got married, the man hardly talks about the plan. She still was living in her parents’ home even though the man promised to rent a place for her. Anytime she raised the topic, the man either brushed it aside or say something like, “Why live alone when your parents have enough room to accommodate you.”
Everything in the marriage was killing her. She ran out of options of who to talk to so she ran back to me. We continued talking every day. We met a lot of times and surprisingly, nothing was changed. The only thing different was that she wore a wedding ring and I had none.
Old flames die hard, they say. One afternoon she asked me, “Am I dead to you? Forget about the marriage, it’s not working. It’s only a facade. You and I are the true thing.” I believed her. So that evening when we met, things got intense. Our past and our present collided and the love we made was the best we’ve ever had.
I asked her, “What happened to us now?” She answered, “Just watch me, I’ll right my wrongs and we’ll be alright.”
It sounded easy but I knew we were in for troubles and I was ready for whatever came our way. Deep down I wanted her. I’d never wanted any woman like the way I did when it came to her. When she left, I tried loving another but I couldn’t give it my all. It felt hollow, empty and hopeless. Now that she was back in my life I wanted to have her for good.
It had already been a year and the man she married to never honor any of his promises. She had already told her parents that she wanted out of the marriage and they supported her. That was half of the battle won. When she told the man about her decision to divorce him, it took him one whole week before he responded. He said, “You’re not reasonable. Always looking for things I can hardly give. You want to come abroad with me, I’ve told you to give me a year or two. You want this, you want that, I told you to take your time. Now you want a divorce? Wait, you’ll get it.”
When I realized things were getting close to a divorce, I started getting scared. I questioned myself; “How’s the world going to take it when they see I’ve gotten back together with her after all that has happened? Are they going to blame me for instigating the divorce?” I started developing cold feet. I didn’t even know if I was ready to marry her.
While together one evening, I asked her, “Do you think we are doing the right thing?” She asked, “Are you scared?” I told her, “It’s like everything is happening so fast and I feel I’m the one to blame for collapsing your marriage.” She answered, “I didn’t have a marriage. I fell for someone’s lies and now I’ve realized my mistakes. I’m not leaving him because of you or for you. I’m leaving him because it’s right for me. I can’t waste my life here waiting for someone I don’t know when he is going to come. I’m doing this for me.”
It took close to eight months for the divorce to be finalized. After everything, she asked, “What next for us?” I told her, “Seriously, I can’t tell. I know you are the one for me but I’m still not sure where we go from here.” She nodded her head as if she was thinking about something serious. I asked, “What are you thinking about?” She said, “Nothing. Everything is complicated but we’ll be fine, won’t we?”
Something about my indecision got on her nerve so she left me. She didn’t call me and I didn’t call her too. It’s like we both needed a break and gave it to ourselves. When one morning I called her, she told me there was a guy coming closer into her life. I said, “Ah, it’s been only some weeks and there’s someone already?”
“It’s good to meet people who know what they want,” she said. “Now, I don’t know what you want and you know how much I hate to wait. Now, if I wait, who am I waiting for, you?”
We got back together but with no marriage plans. We were both ok. Just waiting and hoping for a better tomorrow. The universe has a way of playing with the things that happen to us. There are days we plan for A and are so sure that A is going to happen but in the end, D comes along with a smiling face.
Our love life became sketchy. Today we would be together, tomorrow we would fall apart only to come back together again. So one day I decided enough was enough. I was going to do the right thing and stick together with her. We both had our issues but we always come back together so why don’t we do it once and for all.
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We had broken up and stayed apart for about a month and some weeks. I called her phone with this confidence knowing I was going to do it once and for all. When she picked up, she didn’t wait to even hear what I had to say. She said, “The last time we broke up was the last for both of us. This going and coming hurts me. I’m not doing it any longer.” I told her about my plans. I promised her it was the last time it was going to happen. I told her we should give ourselves one last chance but she said, “Our chances are done.”
A few months later, she got married to that guy who she told me was getting closer to her life.
They’ve been married for three years, and the last time I saw her, she was pregnant. She moved on with her life but somehow, I couldn’t. I think of her sometimes and ask myself how I could let her go twice when she was all I needed.
—Nana Arhin, Ghana