I had just gained admission to the University of Ghana. Then King and I met for the first time. He was working at Kotoka International Airport at the time. I was seventeen and he was twenty-one when we started dating. Our love had the sweetness of fresh palm wine. We were young and determined to hold on to each other forever. We had big dreams to achieve, and we were on the path to living our best lives. However, the unfortunate happened.
King was transferred to Kumasi Airport. He had no choice but to relocate to Kumasi. It broke my heart to be separated from him. “Hey, you don’t have to worry. We can make the long-distance work. I will visit you when I get the chance. You will also visit me when you can. We will make the best of it,” he promised. I wasn’t ready to lose him, so I agreed to give a long-distance relationship a try.
It was hard but we spoke every day and discussed in great detail, how our days went. One day in the second week of his stay in Kumasi, I couldn’t hear from him. It was unlike him to go off the grid. So I knew something was wrong. I felt some kind of distress in the pit of my stomach, which confirmed my fears. I didn’t know anyone to contact in Kumasi, so I had no way of knowing what was going on. I prayed and hoped that he was okay.
I kept calling his number until he eventually called me. I was so relieved to hear his voice that I almost cried. “Where have you been? I have been worried sick about you.” His voice sounded strained when he spoke. “I am sorry for the silence but I was involved in an accident. I will tell you the details later, but I just want you to know that I am better now.” At this point, I started crying. It was to my relief that he was alive and well after all.
When he was ready, he narrated his accident to me. He was attacked by an armed robber. The man wanted King’s possessions and he refused to give them up. They struggled. The man cut King’s stomach open with his knife, yet my man refused to give up his possessions. By the time the robber took off, King was holding his intestines in his hands. He stood at the roadside but no car would stop and help him. A long time passed before a Good Samaritan picked him up and dropped him off at the nearest hospital. There was no doctor on call. So they left him unattended till morning. The hospital staff thought he would die so when a doctor found him holding on to life, he transferred him to a bigger hospital.
Considering for how long his stomach was open, they wrote him off as dead. However, God’s grace preserved him. He responded to treatment surprisingly well, and within three weeks he was back on his feet. People praised God on his behalf. Others wondered if he had some African spirit protecting him. And there were those who shook his hands and said: “Congratulations man, death challenged you to a dance, and you won.”
Two months into his recovery, he started drinking. We all thought it was a phase but it only got worse with time. He would drink to the point where he would pass out. His family and friends came together and tried to find a solution to the problem. “Did King cheat death only to die as a drunkard?” they asked. Maybe someone cast a spell on him and turned him into this shameful being, they wondered. Some people even said he was paying for some secret sins of his. They just wanted something to pin down, to blame him for his condition.
They assigned him a counselor who took him through a series of counseling sessions, but nothing changed. His mother left home and went to live in a prayer camp in order to intercede for him. All of it amounted to nothing. I was also deeply affected by my boyfriend’s drinking habit. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. How could I, when my first love was drinking himself to death? This is a man who called me perfection. I could never do any wrong in his eyes. He gave me anything I wanted without complaining. How could I be fine when he was obviously in emotional pain?
One day his mother called me and said: “AJ, I am trying to help King but I have exhausted all my options. We all know he has a soft spot for you. Maybe if you spend some time with him, it will help.” I was also willing to do anything to help him, so I agreed. By then he was back to work in Kumasi. So, during the Christmas holidays, I packed my bags and booked a flight to Kumasi. My father objected to it, but I didn’t care about his feelings at that moment. I had a man to rescue from the grips of alcoholism. I arrived Kumasi on the 25th, and the next day we went to a party at his friend’s farmhouse.
King got drunk to the point that he couldn’t give the taxi driver the right directions to his house. The driver got upset and dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. Instead of pleading with the driver, King rather tried to fight him. The driver pushed him onto a table by the roadside and he passed out.
I was new to town. I didn’t have anyone to call for help. No cars passed by. I was completely alone with a man who had passed out. For the first time ever, I feared for my life. I prayed to God to keep us safe. I also called on my ancestors for protection. I was willing to pray to any deity at all. That’s how afraid I was. When I calmed myself down I prayed once again: “God, if you see us through this night I will leave this relationship. I will concentrate on serving you. I vow to be celibate until marriage. Please help us.”
God being merciful, nothing happened to us that night. King regained consciousness around 4:00 am and saw me sitting on the pavement sneezing my head off. I am asthmatic, so sitting out in the cold was bad for me. When he came to, and saw where we were, he burst into tears. “Babe, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.” I didn’t say a word to him.
The only thing in my mouth was the lingering taste of fear. The taste propelled me to honor my part of the deal I made with God. When we got home that morning, I took the next flight to Accra. He tried to talk me out of going but I refused. I had to completely cut him off.
It broke my heart to leave him but it had to be done. One cannot go back on a deal with God. Later, I heard he never touched alcohol again. Eight years after I left him, he got married and had a baby girl. I learned he named his beautiful daughter after me. Our story did not end the way we hoped but we each got our happy endings.
Courtesy Beads Media