Efe had a four-year-old daughter when we met. She was the one I wanted but I later got to know she had a kid and that didn’t change anything. If you love someone, you love them for them and you also love them for whatever they come with. I loved the kid as my own and always sent her gift anytime I visited.
She told me about her beginning and how she came to have a daughter. She said, “I was sixteen and didn’t know what I was doing. He said he loved me and I believed him. We got intimate once and the pregnancy happened. At first, he didn’t accept responsibility and then he came to tell me to get rid of it. When I gave birth, he came with his family to name the child.”
Not too long after the child’s second birthday, the guy traveled outside the country. He never called. He never sent money, he never cared, Efe moved on.
And then I came into her life. A young teacher with nothing but dreams and the will to love her all the way.
Anytime she came to visit me, she came with her daughter and anytime I went out with her, she made sure her daughter came along. She told me, “She’s part of me so if you truly want me, you should start getting used to her.” At first, the child called me “Uncle Afram.” Soon she was calling me “Dada Afram.” It sounded weird and at the same time cute. I was so sure of our relationship so I took her home. I introduced her to my mom as my girlfriend and the girl I would marry in the near future.
I thought it was unnecessary but she went ahead to tell my mother that she had a child. I jovially asked her, “Must the whole world know that you have a daughter?” She answered, “Your mother is not the whole world. And it’s better she knows now so someday she doesn’t use it against our marriage.” Somehow, she was right but it was still unnecessary.
Two years into our relationship, we started making preparations for marriage. I rented a bigger place for three and started getting the things we’ll need as a family. We started getting the items for the traditional wedding; clothes, jewelry, bags—one thing at a time. That was the same period the father of her daughter returned from his travel.
At first, she heard it from the grapevine and then one evening, the man visited her in the house. In the presence of Efe’s parents, the guy apologized for all the years that he’d been missing from his daughter’s life and made a promise to take the child along when returning abroad. He gave the parents gifts and gave Efe some money for the kid.
I didn’t like the fact that he came out of nowhere and all of a sudden his six-year-old sins had been forgiven. But I also was happy about the fact that he was ready to take the child with him. It gives me and Efe the opportunity to have a fresh beginning of our own. So I was praying and hoping that he did what he himself said he would do.
Then the wall began to crack.
He might have said something to Efe that I wasn’t aware of. All of a sudden, Efe changed towards me and everything we planned to do. She wasn’t seeing me like she used to. Little things got her angrier. She didn’t want to hear me mention anything about marriage.
What changed? I started putting my ears and eyes on the ground.
She wouldn’t tell me anything but her father was kind enough to let me in on what was going on. He said, “My son, the truth is only one. It hurts that no one is telling it to you. Efe reconciled with her child’s father. As I’m talking to you now, they’re making plans to travel abroad together. As a father and a man, I’ve told them the truth but the support she’s receiving from her mother is what’s urging her on. You’re a good man. Don’t let this floor your confidence or hurt your heart so much. There are always better days.”
I wasn’t surprised but I found it very hard to believe.
I met Efe, I asked her about it and she confirmed. She said, “I have to do it for my daughter. I want my daughter to have a father—her real father so in the future, I don’t have to tell her the sad story of how her father abandoned us after her birth. I’m doing this for my daughter and I hope you understand.” “But I haven’t been a bad person for your daughter?” I said. “Or you have a reason to believe I won’t be the father your daughter needs?”
“No matter what you give and what you do, you will always be her step-father. That’s the fact,” She said. From what I saw in her eyes, she wasn’t doing it for her daughter. Her daughter had been just fine all these years without a father so why now? She was doing it for herself and what she had to gain. Nothing else.
From that day going, I knew I had to face life without Efe. I accepted my defeat with the grace of an adult. I didn’t do anything wrong to Efe but I lost her. It wasn’t my fault. That gave me a lot of consolation but it still hurt like hell.
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The father of her daughter moved in to live with her in her parents’ house as they were preparing to travel together. Three months turned to six months. Soon it was a year. Efe, her daughter and the father of her daughter were still in Ghana. Efe got pregnant again and was hopeful that she was going to deliver the baby abroad. At the labor ward that night when she was delivering her baby, there were no white nurses or white midwives. They didn’t scream “Push!” That means she was still in Ghana!
The truth finally came out but she was so deep in the mess that she couldn’t pull out.
The father of her daughter didn’t actually return as in came back to Ghana because he wanted to. He was caught and deported. He came home to Ghana, empty-handed looking for a place to begin again. Efe became the soft spot to dig because he once dug there. Efe’s parents had a home they could accommodate him so he lied to have a place to begin again.
It hurt her so bad but she couldn’t look at my face and tell me how it really hurt the day we met. Instead, she looked up and said: “All is well.” I looked at her and responded, “Yeah, all is well. Your daughter will grow up with her real father. When you do things with a clean heart and good intentions, no matter what happens, all would be well.