Eating with the Enemy ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

 Nouna,

I hope this finds you well. I promised to tell you someday, didn’t I? Well, here it goes: Today marks three years after everything ended. I pray you find some meaning to it.

It started as a minor crush. I was a fresh Senior High-School-leaver at home with basically nothing to do. Big brother was on long vacation too so I became his backpack, following him everywhere he went.

That was how I met him, Theophilus Nana Yaw Macbeth, the youth president of my church.  He was my brotherโ€™s friend, not the kind of friend that is like a best friend but one of those boys you would call a brother just because you recognise him. He had a bright countenance with this cute dimple on the left side on his cheek which showed anytime he smiled.

Nana knew of my crush on him because my brother would not keep his mouth shut with his constant teasing. The young man seemed pleased with this discovery and decided to capitalise on it to make a move since he apparently had a thing for me too but was too shy to say it. He would come by the house to see me with the excuse of just passing through to check on church members (eei Christian brothers!).

Before I gained entry to University, when he had fully gained confidence and grown metallic wings, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I hurriedly accepted without praying or thinking through the situation. What was to be prayed about anyway? The brother was โ€œfineโ€, he was spiritual and had a lot of girls crying for his attention. He had also given me attention for years; I could not let the chance slip by me so I said yes.

Everything seemed to be going on well for us both at the initial stages. We were getting to know each other and I was at the receiving end of a lot of attention and showering on of gifts; I loved every bit of it.

Nana had a little bit of an issue though, I noticed he had great difficulty in using simple courteous words; I am sorry, thank you, please etc. He did not like saying them, especially please, something I easily overlooked. You could not blame me; a girl in love will consider the biggest of issues as highly insignificant just to keep what she wants.

The first day I visited his home, I found his mother had Alzheimerโ€™s and could not do anything. She was practically a baby again. I had some cousins at home who were helping me with chores during this period so I had a lot of spare time. I chose to use that time to help Nana with his chores, which I always ended up doing alone.

Soon, a help was brought to assist them so I stopped doing the chores. Nana’s dad started complaining to him that I had changed and become lazy because I did nothing when I came over. Lazy, how? Then what was the essence of getting a help?  I was angry when I learnt of it but that did not stop me from still visiting, I loved my boyfriend.

Shortly before I was done with university, my dad went on retirement and my life took a 360-degree turn. Anytime I came home on holidays, all through till after school, my life was centred around house chores. Again, Dad was very strict so I couldn’t always step out of the house and visit Nana like I used to, meaning, time spent with my him greatly reduced.

Nana started complaining about me being busy always and not having time for him. This went on till our relationship went sour, nothing was going on. Sadly, we had grown on each other after almost 5 years of dating so you can imagine what it was like.

When National Service began, things became worse. I was working alongside taking a professional course. Becoming swamped with all the chores and no spare time for anything and anyone, including my boyfriend, the complains increased.

After being without one for almost two years, Nana finally had a job offer from a reputable firm. I remember praying with him over his employment letter in the back seat of a trotro.  Fortunately, he landed the job and the joy that filled our hearts knew no bounds. It was more of a relief for me because at least, he would be occupied now and stop complaining about me not making time for him.

At his office, there was a girl I was older than by 2yrs working in one of the departments. I remember her name as Joana. The young girl loved church and I admired that about her. I enjoyed engaging her in conversations because we both loved listening to music and certain preacher men. She grew on Nana and so did he; he called her his baby sister.

We became so close that whenever I closed early from work, I would pass by his office to see them. On days he was on an errand, we would chat till he returned and at others, we would buy lunch and eat together from the same bowl. Since I was without a sister and because she had such a sweet spirit, I practically adopted her as a younger sibling. We even gave her a pet name, Jo.

People in the office hinted a couple of times that there was something fishy going on between Nana and Jo because I had been to his office severally and they knew me. He clearly told me to ignore anyone who came to me with such stories because, according to him, he had eyes for no one else and moreover, Jo had a boyfriend who was abroad. I took his word for it because Nana was honourable.

Work and school pressure were taking a toll on me and my attention for Nana was gradually diminishing but this time the complaint was not forthcoming. Whenever he called or I did, he would spend the time talking about Jo and how good she was, sometimes he even forgot to ask simple questions like “how did your day go?” It always had to be about Jo.

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Nana said Jo called him every minute to know what he was up to. He even said she bought him a Bible and was making a budget for him because she complained he was a spendthrift, something I ever mentioned which he brushed aside.

 There were days Nana could call to tell me he took Jo to the movies at 10 pm with his dadโ€™s car. You can imagine my shock! Who takes a good girl out to the movies at 10 pm, the time she should be home? She should probably be asleep or preparing to sleep unless she is nocturnal like me to up at late hours.

When I expressed my dislike about the situation, his response to me was, โ€œWhat right do you have to complain when you barely make time for me? Jo does everything you should be doing for me now and if not for the fact that I feared God, I would have left you for her.โ€

I was horrified! Kojo was literally putting me in the “someone is competing with u so work harder” situation.

After my Service, I got a job in Tamale, with excellent working conditions and salary.  I discussed it with Nana and he thought it was the good thing for us because I was going to be far from my dad, the chores and everything else that was weighing our relationship down. I was glad he understood so I took the job.

When I first arrived in Tamale, he would continuously text and call during working hours and expect me to respond. Here, I was on probation and needed to be on the best of behaviour so I could not risk being caught doing personal things. Nana took offence in this and said I did not care about the relationship and him. That was when I knew trouble was really coming.

Nana stopped answering my calls. If and when he picked up he would say he was going to bed because he was tired. At others, the story was, โ€œI am busyโ€.  At this time, I had so much time available because I did not have other things to do apart from work.

There were times calls to him would be waiting and after several tries, he would pick up and say he did not see any missed calls.  I mean how can person activate the call waiting function on his phone and still say he has seen no missed calls? This went on for weeks.

One time I was so mad from being put on hold that I texted him to end the call and speak to me. That took him 20mins. When I asked who he was always talking to, he said it was Joana; the girl from his office. I did not want to come across as paranoid so I held my peace. He ended the call with me because he said he was sleepy so I let him. Around midnight, after tossing and turning from lack of sleep, I redialled his number and it was busy. Eei!

The next day, the same action repeated itself, then the day after that and the next. The straw that broke the camelโ€™s back was when I found he was flaunting Joanaโ€™s pictures all over social media saying things like, โ€œIf we have two of this kind of woman, the world will be a better placeโ€. A better place, for who???

I was dumbfounded. That was when I realised that indeed, you cannot eat from the same bowl with a person and not have him eat your meat.โ€™ The girl I took as my sister, the one I had come to love, was laughing with me and stealing my man at the same time. I lost it! I had to know exactly what was going on. I needed to be in the known of exactly my place in his life.

โ€œI am tired of taking chances, I am fed upโ€ฆโ€ I remember vividly him saying, โ€œToday it is either you are cooking or working or attending classes. I want out because I don’t know when u will stop all these things and give me attention. You do not even flaunt us on social media as if you are ashamed of us. When will you finish taking care of your family and take care of me? You are always busy. What do you expect me to do? Whom do you expect me to turn to? Jo of course!  The girl is obviously crazy over me and what you are not willing to give, she is.โ€

I felt some inner peace all of a sudden because I now knew exactly how he felt and did not have to keep fighting for something that was dead. I woke with a bad stomach upset and couldn’t eat anything so I cried my brains out and went to sleep. I remember I was so bitter I could paint the world black with my bitterness.

You know that thing they say, that the moment a woman chops off her hair it means there is a big step she wants to take? Well, itโ€™s true. I had my big chop. I cut off everything that would remind me of him including my hair. Oh yes, He loved my long hair so I cut it off. I needed my proper fresh start. People were amazed at my new changes but I wasnโ€™t. I was grateful for it because it was in those moments that I found true peace and forgiveness, I found God.

On the last day of the year, Nana called me to apologise, saying he did not want to enter the New Year being at loggerheads with anyone, especially me. I laughed, in fact, I laughed so hard I fell off my bed to the ground. I laughed not because I was being sarcastic nor because I wanted to spit in his face, far from that.

I laughed because I forgave myself and forgave him way before he came back begging. I laughed because I remembered a certain prayer I said at a point when I needed to keep a level head. I asked the Lord to remove anything and anyone that was not needed in my advancement in life and he was first to leave. I laughed because I had let go of every baggage; because I was free.

Before I ended the call, I said to him with a huge smile on my face, โ€œNana, say hello to Jo for me would you?โ€

THE END 

ยฉ2017 Naema

 Trotro – here

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