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Everyone said to me, “Why don’t you walk away?”
I told them, “You don’t walk away from something you love just because there are few problems. Every life has some problems. I will make things better, you’ll see.”
I had dated Willie for four years. The relationship started having problems just after one month. All the problems we were going through were my fault. “If only I could stop bringing problems into this relationship, then Willie would love me better and everything would be alright.” I blamed myself because that was the only thing I had left to blame.
A month into the relationship, he took me out for a movie. At the entrance, I felt a tap on my shoulder, when I turned, it was Kobby. I screamed out of surprise and hugged him. “It’s been ages, what are you doing here?” He asked. I responded, “Yeah. it’s been a thousand years. I came to watch a movie, you?” He said, “I also came to watch a movie…” That was when Willie pulled my hand. I introduced him, “Kobby, meet Willie, my boyfriend.” Kobby extended his hands to shake his hands but he ignored him and pulled me away.
He was quiet for a long time at the cinema. I asked if everything was alright and he didn’t mind me. Minutes later, he pulled me from my seat and said, “Get up, let’s go.” I followed him outside. He was clearly angry. When we got outside he asked, “What was that for? Who’s that guy?” I told him, “He’s someone I used to know back when we were in senior high school.” He asked, “Just that?” I told him, “We were very close, I think we even dated along the line.”
He angrily pulled my hand down the stairs then back into his car. “You mean you dated that thing? What were you thinking? Honestly, if you told me you had an ex such as this one, I wouldn’t have dated you, I swear. You embarrass me.
Honestly, I didn’t know what was the basis of his anger but the way he was shaking like a falling leaf, I thought it wise to apologize to him. “Dear I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have related to him the way I did, knowing I have someone like you. Please forgive me. It won’t happen again.” He started the car’s engine and drove us home. We went out to watch a movie but we ended up acting one ourselves. All week he was angry about it. He wouldn’t pick my call and he wouldn’t see me. I went to his house to ask why he was angry and he said, “It’s all your fault. Now I have to bring myself to a point where I will forget the fact that my girlfriend has an ex who is a nobody. That will take some time so give me space.”
He said that to me while looking through his trap door from the inside of his room and I was standing outside. After talking, he slammed the door and left me standing on the outside. I turned and took the walk of shame back home. It was all my fault. If only I didn’t meet Kobby, if only I didn’t hug him, all these wouldn’t have happened. I sent him messages every day, apologizing and telling him I would be better. It took him two weeks to forgive me and allow me to see him.
I had mad love for him. When I dreamt of the future, when I dreamt about my kids’ father, he was the only one I saw. Physically, he ticked all the boxes. He had a well paying job and lived in a prime area in Accra. Yeah, that wasn’t his own house but he had acquired a land somewhere closer where he was going to build us our future home. He even asked me how I wanted our home to look like. I told him everything I wanted. Like a girl speaking to Santa, I ended it by saying, “There should be a swimming pool in front of the house where you and I will sit and relax after a hard day’s work.” He said, “Come here sweetheart, you think just like me, that’s why I love you to the moon and back.”
I saw him as my beginning and my end and I was ready to make it work no matter what.
Then he started driving all my friends away from me. He didn’t want to hear that I was with a girl who was my friend. He said, “Friends and what they say are the cause of 90% of all relationship breakup. They poison your mind and give your heart a forbidden fruit. Stay away from them.” I did. I started cutting them off one by one. If I had the man of my dreams, what do I need friends for? My circle became smaller each day until all I had was him.
Matilda was getting married so she called and asked if I could be one of her bridesmaids. I was very excited for her and was very glad she was considering me as one of her bridesmaids. I told her, “Yes I would do it. What are friends for?” I’ve known Matilda since we were young. We formed a formidable friendship where we told each other our secrets. When my first boyfriend forced his way through me, she was the one I ran to. She was the shoulder I cried on. The least I could do for a friend like this was to honor her invitation to be part of her bridal train.
I told Willie about it. He asked, “You’re still out there making friends?” I answered, “This one isn’t a friend. She’s a family though from a distance but I grew up with her and had so many things going for us.” He agreed. I said, “thank you for being a darling.”
I went all out and rekindle the relationship between me and Tilly. We planned the wedding together; what to wear and who to wear what. I was in charge of everything photography and for the first time, there was this warm air of love blowing around my life. I felt useful and I felt I belong. The night before the wedding, I was with Kobby. I reminded him about the wedding the next day and he said, “Forget it, you’re not going anywhere. Instead of spending time in planning your own wedding, you’re there planning it for friends. Tomorrow, you’ll spend the day here with me. You’ll cook and we’ll watch movies.”
I said calmly, “But Willie, if you knew you were not going to allow it, why didn’t you tell me earlier? Tomorrow is the wedding. So many things rest on me now, I can’t disappoint her.” He walked up to me, took my phone, put it off, and said, “Case close. If she can’t reach you, she can’t bother you.” Nothing I said made sense to him. He threw in an ultimatum, “You can choose between me or your friend. You can go to that wedding tomorrow but you can’t come back to me.”
I’d been guilty of so many problems in the relationship and I wasn’t ready to be guilty again so I stayed with him and ignored my friend. I knew she wasn’t going to forgive me no matter what so I decided not to call her. Three days after the wedding she called me, “What happened? You made me worried. I called your phone all day and it was off. What happened to you?” I told her a well-scripted lie, “Tilly, something bad happened to me. I had a fight with Willie the night before the wedding and it left me with bruises on my face and swollen lips. He crashed my phone too. You were getting married, I didn’t want to involve you.”
She took a deep breath and said, “This guy would be the death of you someday. Listen to me and walk before it’s too late.”
From that day on, I cut ties with Tilly again. She can’t come and tell me what to do with the love of my life. “If she walked away, would she have been able to get married?” It’s amazing what love does to us. The signs were clear. The red flags kept flying high on my face but I picked them up and painted all of them white so I can deserve a victory in a losing game. I lost my friends. I lost my identity. I gave my all to him and ended up losing myself. Even when all he brought was pain and hurt, I kept hoping that one day, he would change. In my mind, “If I love him desperately and give him all I have, he will see through me and give some love back.”
He never wasted a moment reminding me that he was all I have. One day after a fight which nearly cost me my sight, he screamed at me, “Do you think if I leave you, you’ll get another man like me? Look around here, every woman in this world’s dream is to have a man like me. You have me and you’re playing with what we have?”
Even when I was down and having blurry sight, I lifted my eyes and said sorry to him. When he saw me the next morning he realized he had put me in very bad shape so he was remorseful. He appeared like he was about to cry. He said, “Sorry I hit you. I love you too much and little things you do hurt me to the core. I don’t want to hit you so please stop getting me angry. I want to love you with all my heart but all you do is to bring me pains.”
I felt sorry for him and I felt very disappointed in myself for bringing pains to the man whose sole desire is to love me like every man would love his girlfriend. “Maybe, I’m useless. I’m not worthy of love. Who will love me like the way he does if I lose him.”
I kept holding on to him like a child will hold tight the hands of his mother.
A colleague at work called me one evening when I was at his place. My phone was in the hall and I was in the kitchen heating meals. The colleague kept calling when I wasn’t picking and that drew his attention. He looked at the name that was calling and called me to come and pick. I rushed to the hall, picked the phone, and started going back to the kitchen. That was when he signaled me to stand there in the hall and receive the call so he’ll hear our conversations. I didn’t mind because he was just a colleague.
That guy too, I don’t know who sent him. He only called to say he misses me and couldn’t wait to see me at work the next day. Yeah, I was working with him on a team but that doesn’t give him the right to miss me when I was away. Willie kept looking at my face, waiting to hear the response I was going to give to the guy. I said, “You know I have a boyfriend right? How can you miss someone’s girlfriend?”
Immediately I hung up the call, he said, “You’ll not step foot in that office again. I thought he was joking. The next day, he locked me up in the house and went to work. I had to call my superior and fake a serious sickness. For the next three days, he kept locking me up anytime he was going to work. On the third day, I called Tilly. I broke up and cried like a baby while narrating my story to her. That was the day I told her the truth about why I couldn’t attend her wedding.
She was so livid she wanted to report the case to the police but I calmed her down and promised never to return to him if he let me go. When he returned from work that day, he looked at me in the eyes and said, “I love you too much I don’t want to share you with anybody. You don’t have to be angry with me, you have to be angry with yourself for bringing other people into our relationship. I said, “I’m sorry, it’s never going to happen again.”
When I was leaving his house that day, I knew it was the last time.
I didn’t call him when I got home. The next day he called and as expected, he was very angry; “Why didn’t you call me when you got home. These are the things you do that make me very upset with you. Why didn’t you call me?” I said calmly, “I didn’t call you because I wasn’t going to call you again. I’m giving my heart a break. I wish you well.” I hung up the call.
He called me over and over again but I didn’t pick. I started getting scared so I called Matilda and told her what I just did; “But I’m scared he would bump into my room any moment from now.” She said, “Come over.” I locked my door and ran to her place. Her husband was kind enough to allow me in. He called all day on Saturday. He texted all day begging me to show him where I was so he could come and apologize to me. I turned off my phone and kept breathing in and out.
My phone was still off on Sunday but every fiber within me was missing him. I wanted to run to him and apologize. I wanted to turn the phone on and call him to come for me. At some point, I nearly turned the phone on so I could call but Tilly walked in and said something that sounded like, “You’re doing well. Keep going because you deserve better than what he is giving you. Choose yourself for yourself and remain stronger for yourself.” I turned my phone over to her and asked her to keep it.
On Monday, I was so sure he was going to go to my office so I called in sick and requested one week leave. Yeah, he went there and he was told I was on leave. A week after, when I was going back to work, I turned on my phone and his last message was, “I’ve tried my best to get to you but to no avail. I’m not going to call or look for you again but remember you’re all I have and will always love you.”
I wanted to call him back immediately. He was the only one who ever told me something sweeter. I wanted to hear him say that right in front of me but the voice in my head said, “You didn’t come this far to get cleaned only to run back into the filth again. Stay focused girl. Stay focused.” I went to work, came back to Tilly’s house, said goodbye to them, and went back to my own home.
Loneliness was my problem. I realized I was scared to be alone so I started calling all my friends and started making up with them. They were kind to me. They didn’t count my sins against me and they were all happy when they heard I’ve walked out of the relationship.
It’s been over five months now. He called once and I picked. He said he was sorry. I said I was sorry too. He said he needed me. I said I needed him too. He said we should get back together. I said we couldn’t get back together because he wasn’t good for me. He said he would change. I said if he changed, it would help his next relationship. He saw the resolve in my voice and left me alone but deep down, all I wanted to say was yes.
Tilly called to ask me what I was doing with my life now that Willie was gone. I told her, “I’m giving myself a long love rest between my ex and my next. My heart needs a break so it can mend fully. I need to work on myself and on my confidence. He took a lot of things from me. I need to get them back before my next move. Until then, I’ve given my heart the break it deserves.
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