As a child, I had always wanted to practice medicine. I felt being a medical doctor was the finest and uppermost pursuit of a life’s work for anyone who appreciated and loved to solve problems, relating to and being included by stories of humanity. I was also a curious interrogator of information, so I felt being a medical doctor would have been the awesome thing to do with my life. The thought of it alone, as a young girl, was fun. I could have been the most brilliant, detailed, solid hand worker with an extraordinary consciousness and desire to save lives.
And because I believed my best, and probably highest use could be as a surgeon, I denied myself a lot of things (entertainment, friends, love, etc.) in order to focus on my dream. I focused, I read, I learnt and committed my 110% to this course, but could not make it to medical school.
I attempted the application Three (3) times, but could not make the cut. I had the grades, but I guess others had stronger grades and connections. Due to this, I resolved in my heart to pursue other sciences, but challenged God, to arrange a medical doctor to marry me in future – as compensation.
So, I was pursuing another programme in science at KNUST, when I met this guy who took my breath away at first sight. Decently dressed, gorgeously gorgeous, tall, dark, well-built, eloquent talker, smooth operator, gainfully employed, and every other good thing on a lady’s A-list. He pursued me, so I let him. He worked in Accra, but had to be traveling to Kumasi twice every week, to oversee their company’s new branch in Kumasi, for the next three years. So, for the next three years of my stay on campus, I had a boyfriend, spending two solid days with me, every week, in Kumasi. We moved in together when I was in my second year at school. He had rented an apartment for us.
I loved him. He had become my other inspiration to be great in life. And he loved me too, Dave, very much. Since the day I met him, every birthday of mine was Christmas. He showed me love and attention. I wanted to do same for him on his birthdays, but he made me understand he wasn’t the type interested in parties and celebrations, though he enjoyed doing it for others he cared about. I believed him, and let it go. But in my final year at school, I wanted to do something special for him on his birthday: A surprise, kind-of.
Secondly, it dawned on me that I did not know where he lived in Accra. So, I was going to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. His birthday was a Thursday, and I had an examination to write on that day. I didn’t know which was important to me: my final semester exam, or surprising the love of my life?
Because I had arranged everything for his surprise birthday. I had a mutual friend with him that I knew personally, who just happened to know where he lived in Accra, so the surprise was ‘Lit’.
I had hired a kitchen in Accra to prepare assorted meals, paid the mother of a friend on campus to bake me his cake, with the caption: ‘I love you Ato’ on it. Bought his favorites champagnes, boxer shorts and singlets, and tried my best not to forget anything important to him.
Dave, imagine my luck when the Thursday examination got postponed to Monday! I drove to Accra, picked the food from the kitchen, picked my friend who knew where he lived, and was all smiles, going to surprise him. We got to his house at around, 8:15 PM, and house was on fire, literally. He was throwing a party. That was my first shock that after all, he wasn’t the quiet and reserved person he always painted himself to be.
He loved to party and drink, a lot! Because, when my friend and I walked in, he was on the dance floor (living room), in the arms of this lady, who looked more than just ‘a friend’. I was holding his birthday cake, my friend was carrying his prepared meals, when we both witnessed him kiss this girl he was dancing with, intensely. All this while, he hadn’t seen me. I think the horror on my face was so evident, those standing around me could easily put 2+2 together.
I wanted to turn and run as fast as my legs could carry me, but legs weren’t moving, no matter how hard I tried. It was like, I had accidentally stepped into bitumen. He made a dance move that directed his position to face me directly. He panicked, but then controlled his shock. He did not move an inch from his dancing partner.
He held onto her firmly, and pretended had not seen me. I kept staring at him, but he would steal a quick stare, and then look away, looking all guilty and equally shocked, confused and embarrassed.
I turned, still holding his birthday cake, and quietly walk out of his house, straight to my car.
I was not anticipating such a surprise. The reality of what had happened to me that Thursday evening, jolted me to my senses. When you witness the one person that you love, break your heart in such a manner, hurt your feelings in the worst way possible, everything changes in an instant.
Life, as I knew it did not look the same again to me. A greater part of me wanted to reorient, reinvent and reshape my prospects in love – into something different, but it wasn’t happening. The hurt was that deep.
I placed the cake in the back seat, watched my friend put the meals back on the seat, and then sat quietly in the car. We did not talk for over an hour. I didn’t want to talk; I just wanted to think, and not overreact. I believed there was an explanation to all that. I hoped there was, so I made the decision to just wait outside his house – till everyone had left the party.
My friend had a wife and kids to go home to. I didn’t want to be selfish, so I begged him to leave, and that, I would be fine.
He wouldn’t take it. He stayed an hour and a half longer, by my side, in the car… in silence. Dave, all this while, not a single tear had dropped. I couldn’t cry!
At 11:35 PM, I insisted he left to his home. His wife wouldn’t stop calling his phone; and he had to go to work the following day too. Another part to this whole episode that didn’t make any sense to me was, why he would host a birthday part in a weekday, late at night?
And come to think of it, I had told this friend of mine so much about my boyfriend: How we met, what we have both gone through in Kumasi, the love, etc. He was very excited for me and wanted to officially congratulate him for choosing me. Hmmm! It was getting late, and people were still partying in the house. I had to send the meals somewhere or throw them away. The thought of throwing the food away, was what first brought uncontrollable tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help it, Dave, I cried!
When it dawned on me that I could probably, also just be his Kumasi option, I thought to myself – you have got to be kidding me! I couldn’t see that coming. We were supposed to outlive the few years we had dated, not so?
This couldn’t have happened to me. I wept!
I started my car, with tears in my eyes, and drove off. I couldn’t see ahead clearly. The tears were clouding my vision. Four (4) seconds drive later, BAAAMMM! I accidently hit the back of a parked car. Everything seemed to be going wrong for me. The alarm of the car sounded, and I heard footsteps running to my direction. He muted the alarm, and then came over to check on me.
He looked familiar. I had accidentally stepped on his shoe when I was in the living room [When Ato kissed the other girl]. When I got in my car, I thought I also saw him outside of the house, in the porch, staring at me. I wasn’t sure but it looked like him. I think I could remember this because of the color of his shirt. I liked it.
I wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know how to apologize for crushing his car either. It was all too much in a day. I assured him I was fine. He asked where I was going: I didn’t know. I planned booking a hotel room, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure of where I was going. He calmly talked sense into me, and then asked for my car keys. I wasn’t reluctant in any way. He made me feel I could trust him. I felt at peace. He suggested driving me to his place, which was about 10 minutes’ drive away.
What could I do in my state?
He settled me in his very clean, comfortable home, put the meals and the cake in his fridge, and then quickly rushed out to get his car. I had fallen asleep when he returned. I woke up very late the next morning. I had slept on the floor of his living room. He wasn’t home when I awoke, but he had prepared breakfast, and left a note that he was at work; carefully detailing enough information about where to get what, in his house, in the note.
My friend called to check on me. I lied that I was fine, and that, I was returning to Kumasi that moment. My boyfriend called and texted a dozen times to know my whereabouts. He wanted to explain things to me. I wasn’t strong enough to talk, so I ignored all his attempts to get in touch. My host returned from work, and I wasn’t still in the mood to talk to anybody. He warmed the meals I ordered for my boyfriend, and ate his. He loved it, because he went for a second round. I watched him cut a slice of the cake and eat also. He made me feel really hungry, so I joined him at the dining table.
I thanked him for the breakfast, and then started crying again. He consoled me, served me a plate, and did not engage me in any further conversations. He just watched me eat, gracefully. Apparently, he had gone through my bag to find information about me, when I had fallen asleep the previous night. He knew my name, where I schooled, and had seen my examination timetable. He knew I had a paper to write on Monday. He asked what I was going to do about it, but I wasn’t sure.
Dave, I wasn’t sure about anything. I narrated my story to him, and he told me he had figured it all out already.
My dad knew I was seeing someone. He even knew his name, an ‘Ato’, but had never seen or met him. I wanted to be very sure when introducing a man to my family; so I wasn’t in a hurry to bring anyone home. And, I am talking about my boyfriend, that’s the man my dad had an idea of.
When I was done talking, my host smiled, and just whispered, “You’re beautiful!”
It was like, he did not hear the narration of my ordeal. He did not care about the past. He cared about the woman in-front of him in the present. I asked how he knew my boyfriend. He did not know him. That day was his first time of seeing him. His colleague at work needed a plus-one (+1) to be her date. And, he attended the party with her because she promised there would be enough to eat and drink. I asked about his date, and he said her boyfriend was out of the country. I then asked of the name of my host:
“Ato!” he said
I thought he hadn’t heard my question right. I was referring to his name, not my boyfriend’s.
“Yes, my name is Ato!” he replied, and smiled.
He showed me his ID, and his middle name was truly, Ato. I read everything on the ID card, and looked inside his home. He was indeed a medical doctor. He had two framed pictures with his stethoscope around his neck. I burst into laughter. I realized he was confused. I laughed my heart out. He looked me straight in the eye and joined me to laugh. I laughed till I realized I was crying in the laughter. I didn’t know what was funny, but I couldn’t stop laughing/crying.
He excused himself, and then left to his bedroom. Three hours later, I got a call from my Dad. Someone had sent him a friendship request on Facebook, of which he had accepted and was already chatting with the person. My dad tags me a lot in most of his Facebook posts, so any Facebook friend of mine, or anyone who searches for my name on Facebook would know my Dad’s profile status. I tag him a lot in my posts too, especially when I share a picture of us, together. My host, had introduced himself to my dad as ‘My Ato’, and wanted to know if he could be his Facebook friend.
My heart missed a beat. I couldn’t respond to my dad, so he kept on talking. Dad had exchanged phone numbers with him, and was even texting. Dad ended the call because he (my host) was trying to call my father. I just sat there, like that!
When my host came out of his bedroom, he suggested driving me to Kumasi the following day, so I could prepare for the Monday examination. I said, ‘okay!’ He offered to drive me in my car so he returns with a bus. I said, ‘okay’!
On our way to Kumasi, that Sunday, I realized one thing about him: He did not find it difficult to express his feeling towards me. He spoke with me in such a way that, it felt like my needs were worth his consideration. His focus wasn’t on himself. He was focused on me. He made me understand that, showing me his emotions was his way of building and deepening a kind of friendship, and relationship with me.
“I’m interested in you” he said.
I wasn’t sure what he was looking for that soon, but I made him understand I wasn’t ready for anything with anyone anytime that soon. He told me he could wait. I told him I wasn’t letting my love for my boyfriend go that easily. I loved him. But he kept insisting he could wait. When we got to Kumasi, my boyfriend was already home. It was his rented house we lived in.
He saw my Accra guest, and was furious. I asked my host to take me somewhere else. He booked a hotel room, spent the night with me in the same room, waited for me to finish with my final examination paper, and then drove me back to his House, in Accra. He asked me to stay as long as I wanted. He never touched me suggestively. He never made the attempt to for Nine (9) months.
In all these nine months, I lived 10 minutes’ drive away from where my boyfriend lived. It didn’t occur to me, not once, to visit him. I lost interest in picking his calls. I lost interest in wanting to hear from him. I had just met this new guy, but I knew this one was different. I felt happy in a way only I could remember feeling as a child. I felt a trilling kind of nervousness, when I thought of him; when I had to meet him for lunch or other… When I talked to him on phone. All these made me feel alive, and thankful to be. He made me feel like I could take on the world.
Dave, my confidence skyrocketed. I forgot all about the painful past that used to occupy my mind. I fell in love with him. One dawn, I was feeling very horny and needed to be touched. I left my room to knock on his bedroom door. He opened it and before I could say anything, asked me to marry him. He told me he was also feeling very horny, but wanted our first sex to be on our wedding night.
I said, “Yes!”
And just kissed him lightly on the lips, and wished him a sound sleep. I returned to my room, and couldn’t sleep till the morning. I was excited. An unknown weight had been lifted off me. Love, somehow, did not feel as hard anymore… probably because I knew that I’d have someone at my side. We married in 2014, and our son is our latest project to make happy.
Dear Dave, I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. – From NAW