I have always had a simple dream for my life when I was growing up. Whenever our class teachers asked, “What do you want to be in future?” I would answer eagerly, “I want to be a nurse.” See? How hard can it be to achieve this dream? All I had to do was study hard and go to nursing school, then I would become a nurse. This was how I envisioned it all to go.
I knew that I would need good grades to make it to nursing school. And to get those grades I must avoid all distractions. So while my classmates were busy having fun and boyfriends, I was married to my books. I turned down any boy who proposed love to me. Even when I got to secondary school, I didn’t succumb to any form of pressure to follow the status quo.
After I completed high school, I had to stay home for three years before I finally gained admission into a nursing training college. Words cannot describe the joy I felt when I received my admission letter. I was more than thankful that I didn’t give up when things became difficult. My life held the promise of a happy future. “After school, I will pursue my career as a nurse, and then I’d meet my dream man. Everything will fall into place.” This was the talk I always gave to myself.
While I was still in school, we were asked to choose a hospital for our clinical. I chose a hospital closer to home but my friends succeeded in persuading me to choose the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Little did I know that I was going to meet a handsome medical student there who would sweep me off my feet.
His name is Idan. The first time I saw him he was holding a chart in one hand, while he flipped through a folder with his other hand. I approached him and said hello. He responded with a warm smile and a husky hello. Needless to say that we became friends from that moment.
By and by, our friendship birthed love in our hearts. It was beautiful what we shared. We talked about the future. And it was a happy picture we painted. Tell me, what is more beautiful than a marriage between a doctor and a nurse? It was the perfect life, and I wanted it.
After my clinical, Idan visited me when I was doing my mental health affiliation. I also visited him on campus once. We never engaged in any sexual activity during those visits. That was the nature of our relationship.
Although Idan was my first boyfriend, I wasn’t willing to have shuperu with him. It didn’t matter how much I loved him, the plan was to wait till marriage to have sex. That’s why I freaked out when Idan sent me a text message one day. It was a simple message but it got my heart beating. “I want to make love to you.” It was a declaration of his want and intention, but it sounded like a threat to me.
I thought about everything that could go wrong if I agreed. Even the most radical contraceptives fail. Condoms break. People on the pill sometimes end up pregnant. Some babies are born holding their mother’s IUDs. I couldn’t risk getting pregnant and blowing up my future just for a few minutes of pleasure. I was convinced that the only way to stay safe was to abstain.
I called Idan and we had a lengthy conversation about the things we wanted. “I love you Idan, but I want to wait until marriage. Nothing will change my mind,” I told him. “I respect you for sticking to what you want. However, I can’t wait till marriage. If you are certain that you won’t change your mind then we should go our separate ways.” Who would have thought my perfect future with him would fall apart because of sex? I was hurt but I took it all in good faith. I told myself that I will meet someone who will understand me and wait for me.
One month after he walked out on me, Idan came crawling back. He said he loved me and that he would do his possible best to make things work. I saw the opportunity to have the man of my dreams once again, so I took it. I took him back hoping things would be different this time around. But months later, we realized we still had the same differences. I wanted to give my virginity to my husband on my wedding night, while he wanted to have shuperu with his girlfriend. Neither of us would compromise, so he left me again. I was crashed I lost him a second time, but it felt like the only way to secure my future.
I went through the pain. I healed, and then I moved on. Ten years later, I bumped into Idan. He is now my district director. He had a wedding band on his ring finger, while all my fingers were empty. “I see you are married,” I remarked. “Yes,” he smiled, “I am married with kids.” I felt something like regret when he made this announcement. This is a man who left me because I wouldn’t sleep with him. He has it all, while I am thirty-two-year-old woman who doesn’t even have a boyfriend.
Although he is married, he said he still loves me. He asked that we continue where we left off but I refused. I advised him, “I am happy you have a career and a family. It’s not easy to have the whole package so don’t screw it up.”
I keep thinking about the past. I wonder what would have happened if I had just slept with him. Maybe I would have been his wife right now. I became a nurse but I didn’t get the man. Maybe if I had taken the chance, I would have had everything; the career, and the perfect husband.