Ten years after

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I met Bernard once when I was in SS 2. We had an instant connection and started talking from there. While we were talking he asked me: “How do you feel about long-distance relationships?” I said: “It’s not a problem for me but we have to meet from time to time.” That was when he told me: “I am in love with you and I want you to be my girlfriend. But the problem is, I am about to travel to Europe. I don’t know when I will be back but if you are willing to wait for me we can start something.” I liked him too, so I said yes.

I was sixteen and he was much older yet he said he had never been with a woman before. Because I was also a virgin I believed him. I had many men coming my way after he left the country but I never paid attention to them. I was determined to keep my promise and wait for my boyfriend however long it would take him to come back even for a visit. I also didn’t want to engage in any activity that would tamper with my hymen. So I never let any guy get close to me.

As time passed, my memory of what my boyfriend looked like began to fade. We spoke on the phone alright but I wasn’t using a smart phone so he couldn’t send me his photos. I had also only met him once so it was easier for me to start forgetting his face. Even with that, I never thought of leaving him. I stayed faithful to him until I got a smart phone and he started sending me his photos. 

After five years of waiting for him, he left me for another girl. The excuse he gave was: “I don’t know when I will be back and I don’t want to waste your time and keep you waiting. Please move on.” Later, I learned that the girl was in the picture all along. While I was faithful to him, he was dating someone else alongside me. I was terribly hurt by his lie and his broken promise but I moved on. I met a guy who was not living abroad and we dated. I no longer had a need to keep my virginity so I let go of it. My relationship with this guy didn’t work out so I was single when Bernard’s elder brother called me. By then I was in the university and it was two years after our break up. He wanted to apologize to me on behalf of his brother. He said Bernard was too ashamed to call me himself so he sent him.

His brother had earned my respect in the years that I had known him. So I couldn’t turn him away. He told me: “My brother made a mistake when he let you go and now he is seeing it. He wants you to give him another chance to make things right. Will you do that?” 

I was reluctant at first but I couldn’t also say ‘no’ to his brother so I said ‘yes’. Bernard was on his best behaviour the first year we got back together. After that one year, he told me: “I want my family to come and meet with yours for the “knocking on the door” rites. Then I will come down for us to have the marriage ceremony.” 

I was so happy to hear this that I said ‘yes’ immediately. Right before the knocking on the door rites, I heard from the rumour mill that Bernard had children before leaving the country. I couldn’t believe them. He was a virgin before he left so how come he had kids? I called his sister and asked her but she didn’t want to talk. I pleaded with her: “You are also a woman. Would you like to marry a man without knowing if he has kids?” That was when she spilled the tea: “I am sorry we didn’t tell you. It was his wish that we keep it a secret. He has two kids with different women. They are fifteen and twelve.”

After hearing the truth I called him to confirm it and he told me: “If I had told you I had kids right from the beginning would you have given me a chance?” I told him: “We will never know now. You never gave me that chance. I don’t trust you anymore. I am done with this relationship.” He apologized, and his family also apologized on his behalf. I accepted their apology and we went ahead with the knocking rites.

It’s been three years since we had the knocking rites and Bernard has not come to Ghana even for a visit let alone talk about our marriage plans. We have now been together for ten years and I have nothing to show for it. Everyone in my life keeps asking me: “When will your man come home for you to get married?” I tell them: “We are working on it, it will happen soon.” 

At this point, I have run out of excuses. I don’t know what to say or do again. I still have men coming my way but I feel like I am tied to Bernard because a promise of marriage has been made between our families. I suppose my question is: is it wise to keep waiting for a man I only met once ten years ago? Should I move on? I don’t want to disappoint him.

  •  Courtesy of Silent Beads

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