I had a call from Steve. Steve had been pursuing me for months but I was not paying him any attention. I’d gone out with him on different occasions. It was one of those moments he proposed to me. I said, “No, I can’t date you.” He answered, “I will understand if you tell me you don’t know me that much so you’ll need some time to study me.
That’s fine but saying you can’t date me means you’ve thrown out all the possibilities of falling in love with me and that hurts.” I apologized. I said, “I can ask for time but it won’t change anything so the best thing I can tell you is the truth. Please understand me. You’re an amazing person by all standards. I like it that you care enough for me to be here with me but I can’t say yes to your proposal.”
I was coming out of a relationship that nearly killed me. I closed my heart to anything love and it’s the reason I didn’t even ask for time to think about it. He kept coming. He kept calling and asking me to judge him by the content of his character instead of judging him by his gender. I didn’t listen to him. My mind was made up. I wasn’t going to date anyone after what I’d been through.
The day before the lockdown when he called, he said, “Annie, the world is coming to an end and you still won’t give me the opportunity to love who I love? What if tomorrow we all die? What will we tell God if he asks us what we did with the love he placed in our hearts?” Somehow I was touched. I asked him, “So what do you want me to do?” He answered, “You know what I want from you. Just say yes to my proposal. That’s all I want from you.” I answered, “I will think about it again.”
I spent the lockdown with my friend Alice. She had been a friend for a very long time and she knew everything concerning my love life. She was the one I discussed the issue with; “So this guy Steve had been pursuing me since I broke up with Fiifi. The way love has treated me in the past, I don’t want to give my heart to any man again. The next breakup will finish me. It’s better I reserve what’s left of me.” She asked me, “That means you won’t get married? Remember there are stages.
You can’t jump and land in marriage. You have to fall for someone else before marriage can happen.” I gave her more details about Steve and in the end, she said, “He’s a good guy. Give him a chance. Today’s men don’t pursue a woman for this long. You say no, they move on to the next girl but he had been around. Please be fair and say yes to him.”
The next evening when Steve called, I said yes to him. He went crazy on the phone, screaming and jumping around. “This is the best news I’ve heard since this pandemic happened. Can you imagine? People are in the hospitals fighting for their lives but I’m here falling in love. How lucky can I be? Who am I that the universe will favor me this way?”
We couldn’t meet immediately. He works at the hospital and he was always busy because of the pandemic. We made several attempts to meet during the lockdown but we couldn’t. He always had something to do. When the lockdown was increased by another week, he called and said, “I will come to your place and take you home. Tell your friend you’re not coming back until the lockdown is lifted.” I told Alice about it. She gave me her blessings so the next day, I left with him to his house. He lives in one of the posh suburbs in Accra. A house that looked too big for him alone to live there. I asked him, “And you live here all by yourself?” He answered, “Yeah, days ago I was living here all by myself until you came along to change everything.”
When he left for work, I stayed behind and made meals. I kept the house very neat so he could return home to see a difference. He always complimented me on my good job. At some point, he said, “Why don’t you bring all your things here and come and live with me? It’s big enough for the two of us.” I answered, “If that’s what you want, then please marry me. If you marry me tomorrow, I will come live with you tomorrow.” He answered, “That’s not a problem at all. After all, that’s the point of this relationship.”
Not too long afterward, I took him home to meet my parents. He clicked instantly with my mom and they could talk about everything, just the two of them. One day my dad asked when he would come around with a drink to initiate marriage. He responded, “Very soon, dad. It won’t be long at all.” Because of that relationship he developed with my parents, he could come to my house, spend the night there and even do things you won’t expect a boyfriend to do in his would-be in-laws’ house. We were just cool and had a relationship that flowed seamlessly like the brook.
Somewhere in 2021, he sent me a message, “Come home. There’s something we need to discuss. I rushed home to him, ready and anxious about what he had to say. He said, “Promise me you won’t get angry if I tell you what I want to tell you.” I promised him. He said, “You’re just saying it but I know you’ll be angry once I tell you.” I told him, “You can only know when you tell me.” He said, “It’s ok. Maybe not today.” I pushed him to tell me. I even nagged all day trying to coerce him to say what was on his mind but he said, “Forget it. Maybe very soon but not today.”
Later in the night when he realized I was getting angry he said, “Oh it’s about what I did to you three days ago. I’m feeling guilty and thinking you didn’t like it.”
Three days prior, we were doing shuperu when he accidentally passed through the back gate. The pain was too much so I screamed and cried for him to stop. He didn’t stop until he got his release. I was angry, yes. I even told him we’ll never do shuperu again until marriage but at that moment, I felt like that wasn’t the reason he said he wanted to tell me something. I pushed and pushed but he wouldn’t tell me so I let him be.
Then he started hiding from me. He wouldn’t pick up my calls, He would rather send me a message later to tell me he was attending to a patient. He gave me one of his home keys but one day I looked inside my bag and it wasn’t in there. I asked him if he took it but he said no. I asked for a new key but he never gave it to me. When I called to tell him I was going to visit him, he gave me reasons why I couldn’t come around. One month later, the excuses were getting too many so I went to the hospital where he was working and stood next to his car until he closed from work and came to see me there. I told him, “I don’t know what is happening. You’re taking me home tonight. You’ll tell me everything tonight. I don’t like the way you’re treating me these days.”
He said he couldn’t take me home and I asked why. He answered, “My family has come to visit. The house is full and you know I can’t just take you there like that when I haven’t introduced you properly to them. Wait until they are gone, then I will take you home again.” This hide and seek continued for over two months. I got angry and went to stand next to his car at the hospital again. I told him, “I won’t listen to whatever you’ll say. Today, we are going home together.” He said a lot of things to get me to leave but I was determined not to leave. Then he said, “OK, let me confess to you. I’m married. We have three children. My wife and kids came from abroad not too long ago. It’s the reason we can’t go home.”
His confession stung me like a scorpion’s stinger. All of a sudden I couldn’t feel my heartbeat. I said, “Steve, you’re joking right? No this can’t be true. Are you saying this just to get rid of me? No, it can’t be true.” He said softly, “I’m sorry I lied. I love you so much. I didn’t want to lose you that’s why I lied. Please forgive me.” I screamed, “Steve you’re mad. I should do what? Forgive you as if this didn’t happen? Me, forgive you so you can go ahead and enjoy your family while I bleed to death? Steve, you’re lying. You’ll regret ever crossing paths with me. Expect me tomorrow at your house. Your wife would know what you did to me. No wonder you asked me to get rid of the baby when I got pregnant. What was I thinking? I could do all this for you only for you to pay me back this way? Steve, I will destroy you.”
We were outside but he went down on his knees begging me. I walked away. By the time I got home, he was in my house waiting for me. He had told my mom to speak to me on his behalf though my mom didn’t know the full story. When I narrated everything to my mom, she broke down and cried. She said, “Steve you’ve killed me. I trusted you. I’ve never related to any of my daughter’s friends like I relate to you. I like you but why would you go to that extent? You could have told her the truth and she would still accept to be with you but why give her hope and later kill the hope this way?
That night he said he wouldn’t go home until I forgive him. I knew he was only trying to keep me around so I don’t go to his house. It was my dad who asked him to go and come the following day. When he left my dad called a meeting. He said, ‘The harm has already been done. We can’t do anything to change things. We can only move on. It hurts but we can only move on. But before that, I will make sure he compensates you handsomely. A man in his position will do anything to set himself free.” I was still crying so I didn’t have the mind to say no or yes to what my dad was saying.
The following day he came around after work. My dad told him everything and asked him how much he could compensate me. He said, “I want her to name her price. If I can, I will go by it. I’ve hurt her and I’m ready to do everything to make her happy.” I said, “GHC1,500 every month.” He asked, “Until when? I didn’t have an answer. My dad said, “looking at what she had been through it’s better you do it until maybe she gets another man who will make her forget about what you did to her.” My dad turned to me and asked, “Is that alright?” I nodded my head. We negotiated until we concluded on GHC1,200 every month.
He had been paying the amount every month since July 2021. He had never defaulted. Every once in a while, He will call and apologize. I will tell him, “The only reason I haven’t blocked your number is because of the monthly allowance. I don’t need your call. Concentrate on your family and leave me alone. But he never stopped calling. Sometimes I will pick up his calls and other times too I won’t mind him.
The problem now is, because of the arrangement I have with him, I’m not able to open up to another man. There is this guy I like. I want to say yes to his proposal. He came home one day and spent all evening with us. The next morning Steve called me, “Do you have a boyfriend now? Just tell me so I can stop paying the allowance. I wasn’t fair to you and I’m being punished. If there’s fairness in you, you will come and tell me you have someone.” I asked him, “What are you talking about?” He answered, “That guy in your house last night, who is he? He came there around 7pm and left around 11pm. What was he doing there? What was his mission if he didn’t have anything to do with you?”
I angrily cut the call. But the question on my mind was, “Who is telling him all that?” Our house is a semi compound house with two other households. It could be that he had paid someone in the house to keep an eye on me. If that’s the case, then I don’t know who else he had asked to keep eyes on me. The next day he called my dad and told him a guy spent a night with me. My dad called me, “If what he’s saying is true then we have to stop him from paying those amounts to you. I want fairness that’s why we all agreed for him to compensate you this way. If someone is in the corner, speak now, and let’s tell him to stop. He can’t do that forever.”
The problem here is that I lost my job last year. I was a pupils teacher waiting for an opening to enter the corporate world. I haven’t had that opening yet. The Covid also dried the account of the school I was teaching so I got laid off. What he sends me is what I live on so I can’t possibly ask him to stop. This guy here is also very serious about me, looking at the things he’s telling me and how he intends to go with the relationship if I say yes. I’ve been in a relationship and lost. Two times I nearly die. This guy coming can also be one of the guys who will be serious with me today and leave tomorrow. If I cancel the arrangement, and he later leaves, I’ve lost twice. I wanted to get a job before saying yes to the guy but this guy won’t listen.
“You don’t need a job before everything. A job is not everything. Some women have married while jobless. We can do this too. Just give me a chance.” So even when I haven’t asked him to come around, he’ll come. I haven’t gone to his house though. I’m scared Steve would get a hint of it and use it as a case against me. What do you think I should do? I can’t also tell this boyfriend of mine to pay me a monthly allowance like Steve is doing. He might think I’m a golddigger and leave me. Please I need your opinions.