Three years ago when we were about to marry, the only person who had an objection was my elder sister. She said I was too young to marry (I was twenty-six). He said my boyfriend was also too young to marry. She even called him on the phone and said, “Young man, put the marriage plans aside and plan for a better future for yourself. At this age, marriage shouldn’t be the most important thing on your list.” Yaw was patient with her. He gave her the respect she deserved as my senior sister. When he told me, I went to tell my parents and they said, “She means well though she’s handling it in the wrong way. Don’t mind her.” We put that episode behind us and got married.
A year later, my husband lost his job. Things got very hard. We were depending on my meager salary but we didn’t give up hope. When things got very hard, we sold things we could sell just to steady the ship. Then our rent expired. We didn’t know anywhere to turn to. I went to my parents to ask them for help. They didn’t have it. Instead of them to let it remain there, they told my elder sister. She called one night and insulted me, “It’s your pride that would bring your downfall. You need help and you know I can help you. What stops you from asking me?”
I apologized to her on the phone. The only reason I didn’t ask her was that I didn’t want her to tell me that she was right about my husband after all. I wanted to keep the integrity of our marriage intact. We didn’t have much but we could rest on the purity of our marriage. My elder sister called one morning and ask me to come home for the money. She gave me a year’s rent. She said, “Next time when I tell you something, you’ll listen to me. I knew that guy couldn’t take care of you. I said it but you took it like I’m a mad woman. You see your end now?”
I needed her money so I didn’t respond to her. Because we didn’t have money, I went home often to visit my parents. I would help them with their work. Sometimes my mom will prepare soup and make banku for me to take home. They were doing a lot to help me out. My sister saw what was happening and used it as an opportunity to get at me. I ignored her when I could. Sometimes she will give me money. Sometimes she’ll give me insults to send to my husband. I took it in good faith. I knew our situation wouldn’t be permanent.
A long the line, I got pregnant. We had been trying since we got married but the pregnancy came and I couldn’t be happy about it because of our situation in life. My husband wasn’t working. How were we going to take care of the child? I was even scared to tell him about the pregnancy. I was scared he would ask me to abort it but I told him and he sighed. He said, “God will provide. He gave us this because he knows we can take care of it.”
I visited y mom one day and she said, “Ohemaa, I don’t see you well. Is it what I think it is?” I nodded. She screamed, “Fool! You wouldn’t have told me if I didn’t see it?” I answered, “I knew you’ll see it that’s why I didn’t bother.” My dad got to know about it and he called to congratulate me. He said, “Don’t worry too much about tomorrow. God would provide.” I was comforted. My husband was also doing everything he could to get a job. He was doing gigs for friends to earn something. Whatever that paid, he was there to do it.
I was home with my mom when my sister came around. She looked at me from the head to the toe and said, “You can’t even afford to yourself but you’re pregnant? Who is giving you this silly advice? That a woman can give birth even when she can’t feed the child?”
I was stunned. My mom was rubbing my thigh trying to calm me down. I looked at my mom’s face and she winked at me. I lowered my head and I started crying. My sister screamed, “When we tell you the truth you try to cover your guilt with tears. If I didn’t pay your rent, you would be sleeping on the street. Now you have the courage to get pregnant. Who is going to take care of the child? Please don’t bring problems home to us ooo, we too we are suffering.” My dad was inside the room. He heard what was going on and he stormed out. He screamed at her, “Her Anoa, are you out of your mind? What gives you the right to talk to your sister like that? If you think you have sense, marry and manage your own life. Stop interfering in your sister’s life.”
I’ve never seen my dad angry like that before. I got up from the seat and bade them goodbye. I never went to my parents’ house again. My mom visited and brought me food. Dad came around often too. I was six months pregnant when my husband got a job. It wasn’t as huge as his previous job but it was enough to bring something to the table. We put resources together to buy all the things we needed before the baby arrived. One dawn, my water burst so I was rushed to the hospital. I gave birth around 7am. An hour later, my baby died. Yes, she was born with complications but I thought it was something she could conquer. She couldn’t so I left the hospital and went home empty-handed.
I cried for days. I couldn’t eat. Sometimes I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t see my daughter for long but I missed her. She had my eyes, the only memory I kept of her. When I kept crying and not eating, my husband called my mom and told her. One morning my mom came for me. My baby had died for barely a week when my sister looked at my face and said, “God knows best. He knows you guys can’t cater for a child. He didn’t want the child to suffer, that’s why he took her away. See the positives and stop crying. Or you’ll kill yourself too because a baby died?”
I stood up on my feet so I could be equal in height with her. I said, “You have everything but you’re jealous of my little blessings. What you said gives you away. You have a hand in this. You killed my daughter with your witchcraft. You’re a witch. If I doubted it, today gives me the confirmation. You’ll die husbandless and childless if that’s what you think of God. You think I’m afraid of you?”
It turned into verbal altercations. For the first time, I wasn’t going to let her win and for the first time, I wasn’t going to cry while facing off with her. “What do you have that I’m jealous of?” She asked. “That your miserable husband or that single room you both share? If that’s what you call marriage, then I will be glad to die childless and husbandless.”
My mom couldn’t break the fight so she allowed us to fight it off. In the evening when my dad came back from work my mom told him what happened. He was very angry too so he charged into my sister’s room. He got there and saw her crying. She told my dad I started the fight and that she was pained the way I talked to her. She told my dad I had cursed her, all because she tried to give me advice. My mom was there to speak on my behalf so I didn’t have to say a lot. After that day, I packed my things and went to my husband.
A week later my mom called. She said, “You need to apologize to your sister. She had been crying since you left. It looks like what you said has really affected her emotions. Call her and apologize.” I screamed on the phone, “Me? I will never apologize to that girl and I’m happy my words hurt her. She can cry a river I don’t care. For how long would I swallow her bitter words? I will never apologize.”
I didn’t. My dad also called asking me to be the bigger person and apologize. I said, “Dad, I’m the smaller person here so I will never apologize to her. If I get the chance, I will repeat the insults again. That girl had been my pain for far too long.”
I haven’t apologized.
It’s been a month already but my parents won’t let me rest. My mom had come here to tell my husband to convince me to apologize to my sister. I haven’t changed my stand. Do you think I have a case here? Who is supposed to apologize to who? If it happened to you, would you have apologized? I want honest answers to decide on what to do next. Did I go too far with my words?