The first time I removed my ring, I was only one week old in marriage. I had returned from the honeymoon and was smelling of fresh marriage. She didn’t know I was getting married so when I met her, the only thing I could do was to remove my ring and pretend nothing had happened.
She was the girl who came to my office with issues concerning the lighting system of her house. She said, “We always have half current in our home. The light goes off every evening and comes back on hours later with a half current.” I took her number that day and promised to send some guys over to have it fixed for her. A day later I called her, “My guys said they came to do the job for you. Did they do a good job?” She answered, “We didn’t have any problem last night so I guess they did a good job.”
I told her to contact me anytime she had issues and she said ok.
A week or two later she called; “The issue came back.” I sent guys over to have it fixed for her. Through that we became friends. We talked a lot and met once in a while. I realized she was there for the taking so I shot my shot and she nodded her head in affirmation. It was only six months to my wedding with my current wife. I thought I was having fun. The strategy was to be with her for a while and leave immediately when she commits the slightest blunder.
Two months into the relationship, I looked at her and said to myself, “If only I met you before her, you would have been the one.” I wasn’t exaggerating or telling myself a lie. She was perfect. She didn’t put a step wrong and she didn’t say a word wrong. She was beautiful and graceful in the way she did her things. A girl like her is easy to love wholeheartedly but where was she when I was single and looking for love?
That made me believed the joke I read some time ago. “When you’re single, you don’t meet good and beautiful people. The day you say yes to someone, beautiful people appear from nowhere to make you regret your choice.
I was living alone due to work. The woman I was getting married to lived alone in the city. I wanted her to move in with me after marriage but she called the place I lived in a village and preferred to be in the city. Again, moving to my place meant she had to change jobs which she wasn’t ready to do. The arrangement was for me to visit on weekends and she would also visit on some weekends until I work out a transfer to live with her.
That arrangement provided a fertile ground for me to live with this new girl without any suspicion. The love I had for her kept growing each day and didn’t know how I was going to leave her. We had issues and a lot of misunderstandings that provided me with an opportunity to leave but each time we had issues, I found a way of resolving it.
One month to my wedding, there was nothing I could do but play smart and leave her. I stopped picking her calls for no reason at all. I stopped responding to her messages. She came home one night asking why. I told her, “It hurts the way you treat me sometimes. So all this while you had someone in your life and you didn’t tell me?”
I was only creating a problem where there’s none. I was only looking for a reason to leave. But that night, after going to and fro with her on a problem that didn’t exist, she said, “I can swear with my life that you’re the only person in my life now. Whoever is feeding you with that false information is just looking for my downfall so she could laugh. She’s jealous that I’ve found happiness. Don’t listen to them. You’re all I have.”
A night that was supposed to be my escape actually became the night when a lock was put in the door of our love. We kissed. We made love. We spent the night together in bliss of a soldier that had returned from war into the arms of his love. Everything was different that night. In the morning I told myself, “This won’t die an unnatural death. We have many rivers to cross before the end but I hope the end doesn’t get messy.”
In a week to my wedding, I told her I was traveling on a job. “I will be away for two weeks but don’t worry, I will keep in touch every day.”
On my wedding day, while in church waiting for the bride, I picked my phone and saw a WhatsApp message from her, “I didn’t hear from you whole of yesterday. I hope everything is right. Call me when you’re less busy.” I responded, “I’ll call you soon. Please take care for me.”
She wasn’t a social media person but to be on the side of safety, I deactivated my Facebook account. I was going to tell her someday when things were right. I didn’t want her to find out from someone else or through a social media post. I was going to tell her somehow.
So that day when I returned to my base from honeymoon, I called her to meet me in the house and minutes later, she was there. My ring was off and tucked safely in my wallet. She stayed till late in the night when I saw her off. Wearing and removing my ring became some kind of sports. At work, I wore it because my colleagues knew I was married. On my way home after work, I had to take it off. It was tiring but I dared not forget. Also, I was looking for an opportunity to leave the relationship or tell her the truth. Leaving the relationship would have been easier but that girl doesn’t know how to give up on a man.
One morning, as I was getting ready to travel to see my wife, I heard an aggressive noise of someone trying to open my door. When the person realized it was locked, she started banging the door and screaming my name. I knew it was her but why she was aggressively banging at my door, I didn’t know. Immediately I opened the door, she entered with her phone in her hand. She asked almost tearfully, “You are married? ”Before I could say anything, she showed me the photo on her phone. There I was, in my wedding suit holding my wife by the waist.
“Wait I can explain.”
“You can explain? That you are not married and this photo is a lie?”
“Nooo not that, It’s true I’m married and I’d wanted to tell you but didn’t know how.”
“So all this while you were accusing me of infidelity, you were the one being unfaithful?”
“Please understand me. I love you so much and didn’t want to lose you.”
This girl sat in the chair quietly for several minutes. I was the one doing the talking, trying to let her see reason with me. She got up and left. She didn’t say so much or did too much. When I set off, I called her but she didn’t pick. All weekend when I was with my wife I tried calling her but she didn’t pick and didn’t respond to my messages.
There are two types of women. There are those who walk away in the face of disappointment. It breaks their heart and it makes them cry but they walk away. They cry themselves to sleep and swear not to have anything to do with you again. After some days, the pain eases out and they become who they used to be. You try to get back into their life and they show you the red light.
On Monday when I returned to work, she walked into my office with fury written all over her face. I knew I was in trouble. She said, “I thought of involving your wife in this issue. I want to bring chaos into your marriage. I wish I could destroy it so you feel the pain I’m going through right now but I know women. The marriage is new so she’ll do everything to protect it. She’ll forgive you and I will become the third person. I won’t do that.”
There and there my heart started racing. I wanted to kneel down and beg her for forgiveness but she was not even looking at my face.
The other type of women don’t just walk away in the face of disappointment. They only walk away after they’ve taken their pound of flesh. They fight until they pay you back in your own coin. That girl sitting in front of me that day was of this type. She kept talking for several minutes and she didn’t look at my face once. She said, “I won’t involve your wife who’ll forgive you easily. I will hand you over to someone who will cause you greater pain. If you walk across the west side of this town, you’ll meet a river there. I will give you to the god of that river and I swear you’ll never know peace. You thought I was easy to walk over? Then you were wrong.”
I didn’t want a scene, so I begged her on the low to forgive and forget. I pleaded with her, “Please don’t do that, I will do anything for you so we settle this amicably.” She just got up and left my office.
She continued not picking my call so that evening I went to her house. I met her mother and explained everything to her and how sorry I was and how I was ready to do everything to settle it. The mother said, “I wish I could do something to help but this girl won’t listen to me and don’t ever think she won’t do what she said she would do. She’s capable of worse things so find a way to calm her down.”
For a whole week, I chased this girl around the town and she was not ready to talk to me. The news spread at my workplace and I became the talk of the office but that didn’t bother me. I needed to calm her down before she kills me. I was always in touch with her mother who was also trying to talk to her.
One morning, the mother called me to come to the house in the evening. When I got there, I saw four chairs arranged in a circle. It looked like there was going to be a meeting. I sat in one of the chairs, the mother sat in one, and one man who was introduced as the head of the family also sat in one of the chairs. We waited for over fifteen minutes before she joined us. After close to two hours deliberations, they asked me to pay the girl GHC10,000 as compensation. I pleaded with them to reduce it for me and they finally settled on GHC8,000. I had only one week to pay.
I didn’t have all the money so I had to call my wife and asked for a loan. Of course, I didn’t tell her what I was using the money for. Three days later, I paid the girl off so I could own my peace again.
Something has to change a man and this really changed me. It did not only bring fear into my life but it also thought me we can’t toy with other people’s emotions and expect them not to deal with us. I started getting scared of my own shadow.
I put my ring back on and I’ve never had the desire to remove it. Yes, wearing a ring doesn’t stop the temptation. There are some women who don’t care about what you have on your finger so I have to develop the discipline to look elsewhere anytime I’m tempted to look at another woman twice. So far so good.
A year later, I got transferred from that town so I could live together with my wife. I get scared any time I think of that girl but I’m always grateful for the lessons she taught me. She’s the reason why I’m a better man today than I used to be.
Changed Man, Ghana