His ‘landlord’ didn’t like women

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We dated for two months and I didn’t know where he was living. I wasn’t comfortable that a man who proclaimed love and care for me wouldn’t show me where he was living. I staged a protest for days. I didn’t pick up his calls and I didn’t answer his text. When he asked me to meet him in town, I declined. I told him, “Randy, I’m not asking you to introduce me to your parents. I’m only asking you to show me where you live. If that’s a problem for you then leave me alone.” His defence had always been about his landlord and how strict he was. He rented a house where the main gate was closed at 9 pm. The landlord didn’t allow women in the house because he was a pastor and didn’t condone fornication. If you didn’t introduce her to him as a wife, there was no way he’d accept you.

I asked him: “How can a single man marry without having a girlfriend first? Is his house the only building in Accra you can find a living space? Why don’t you leave this house with its so many rules?” He told me to give him just one month to look for a new place. So all the time, I was meeting him in town and hotels to have shuperu. I was living with the hope that a month or two later, he would relocate so I could get to see his place. That didn’t happen. It was one excuse after another. I decided enough was enough and staged that protest. He realized I wasn’t joking so one day he told me: “I will take you home but you have to understand a few things. I will sneak you in, deep in the night, when the landlord is sleeping. You’ll have to tiptoe because we will pass by his room to mine and while in my room, you can’t speak on top of your voice, lest he hears.”

I was eager, so I said ‘yes’ to all the rules. He directed me to a landmark closer to his place and asked me to wait for him there. I got there around 11pm and he came for me. When we got to the main gate, he opened it carefully and slowly like a thief at dawn while signalling me not to make any noise. I didn’t breathe. He took my slippers and held them so I would walk barefoot. Slowly, we got inside his room and I finally breathed. Even with that, I couldn’t do it loudly because it was against the rules. Apart from the crazy rules, I loved everything in there. He looked very organized for a room that size. We spent the night together and I left around 4 am, before the landlord would wake up at 5 am to pray.

It became a routine. Every Saturday night, I would sneak in the same way as I did the first time, with my slippers on my chest, tiptoeing with a stiff neck so the shake of my head doesn’t wake the landlord up. It was tedious and frustrating so I started looking for a new place for him. I even paid agents so the two of us would go and look at the place together. Every place we went, he said ‘no’.

One Saturday night, the landlord decided not to sleep. I was at the gate around 11pm but the landlord was up and playing music in his room. His lights were on, so you could see him moving around with his wife. I sat at the gate, joined Alpha Hour and prayed until Alpha Hour closed before the landlord slept for us to go in. Because I got in late, we both overslept and woke up around 6 am. I was happy inside my head while he was pacing up and down, thinking of what to do. He was blaming me. “Why didn’t you wake up? Didn’t you hear when the alarm went off? It looks like it’s intentional. You want me to have problems with my landlord so he’ll eject me.”

“Come on, don’t be dramatic. How can I do that intentionally? Didn’t you also oversleep?” We agreed I wouldn’t go home until the landlord went to Church. That day, the landlord decided not to go to Church. Randy went to bathe and started dressing up for Church. I was like: “Are we going together?” He responded: “No, you’ll be here. I will go and come back. If I don’t go to Church, my landlord would come and knock on my door and ask questions.” The room didn’t have a toilet or bath. You have to go outside to use them. When he was leaving, he told me, “In case you want to urinate, do it in the bucket.” I asked, “How about if I want to go to the toilet?” He showed me where I could get a poly bag and do it inside.”

It was the lowest low of my relationship life. He went to Church and came back at 2 pm with his bible clasped under his armpit. The first question he asked me was: “Did you shit in here?” I was so angry, I planned it would be my last day in his place. He said: “I know you’re angry but don’t worry. I will get a new place very soon.” While he was talking, I opened the door and left. He tried holding me back but I pulled away from him and majestically walked out of the gate while he stood there watching. When I got home, he called and was very angry: “What did you do that for? Do you want him to throw my things out? You see why I didn’t want to show you where I live?” I apologized to him and asked what happened: “He told me: “I’ve explained things to him. He was angry but I told him it would never happen again.”

Three days later, I went there around 7 pm and entered the house. I greeted the man who looked like the landlord. He asked if I was looking for someone and I mentioned Randy’s name. He asked if I knew his door and I nodded. He didn’t look like the way Randy described him. He wasn’t angry or anything. I went to knock on his door and a lady answered. I was like, “Wow, a lady?” She came to the door and the first thing I noticed was the ring on her finger. I sighed, thinking she was his sister. I told her I was looking for Randy and the face she gave me wasn’t pleasant. She called out his name and Randy came running. He was wearing a ring too. He jerked when he saw me. I was like, “Oh, you’re married?” 

I’m always thankful to God for the calm he brought into my heart at that moment. I’m very temperamental sometimes but at that moment, I was engulfed with this sudden serenity and peace I didn’t know where they came from. His wife was still standing there. He was winking at me to leave. I was like: “Is she your wife?” The woman responded, “Yes, he’s my husband. How may we help you?”

I was blunt. “Randy is my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for over seven months now. This is where we meet. Just three days ago, I was in this room. He locked me up because we both overslept. There’s a blue bucket in there, I urinated into it because he didn’t want his landlord to see me. I never knew…” Randy shoved me and ordered me to leave. His wife held my hand. She said: “Keep talking. I’m listening.” While she was pulling me to stay, Randy was pushing me out. I stayed long enough to tell my story. Then I concluded, “If Randy opens his mouth to tell you I’m a liar in my absence, may the gods of this town strike him with paralysis. And if I’m the one lying, the gods should kill me before I reach home.”

That was when I burst out crying. I’d given my all to him without reading the signs. I thought he was the one for me but it hurt me the more when I realized I’d broken the rule I set for myself to never date a married man. I went home alive. Randy is still alive because he couldn’t tell his wife that I was a liar. He was transferred here to work and he found me just a month after he arrived. They were planning for his wife and kids to join later but his lustful desires led him to me.

His wife has filed for a divorce. She tells me after the divorce, she would travel with the kids to join her parents abroad. I won’t call her a friend yet but we talk very often and she tells me how far with their divorce.

When she needed me at their families’ meeting to give evidence, I went. Twice I was there and twice Randy held my neck trying to break it. I was already broken, so I wasn’t scared. I’m healing while he’s breaking down to pieces every day when he thinks about losing his wife and kids. We pay the price for our sins, sometimes later and sometimes instantly.

— Fiona

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