Look deep into my eyes and you will see pain, even feel it. What happened to me has taken away every ounce of purity from my very being. That emotional pain has left nothing but scars that will forever remain. Hurt people they say, hurt people. That's exactly what I have been doing. Come along, let me tell you my story.
It was a Tuesday, not just any Tuesday for me because it was my second day after my 27th birthday. I had fantasized about making gestures with my left hand on that day just to show off my ring but that sadly didn’t happen.
What could be compared to the sight of my boyfriend on one knee posing the question on my twenty-seventh birthday? Tell me can anything be bigger than that for a bachelorette? You can call me desperate but I have no shame; I had waited for it long enough and I thought that twenty – seven would be a perfect age to get married.
My boyfriend of two years, Louis, was a year away from turning thirty-two and we had discussed marriage a million times already. We loved each other and knew each other enough to live together as husband and wife. We had talked about how many children we wanted to have; where we wanted to have our children and raise them; we had had all the petty fights; had all the big fights, the break-ups and made-ups. I mean we have endured and enjoyed all the bitter-sweet moments every relationship comes with and we were just more than ready for a big wedding!
Besides all that, Louis had a good job and I did too. Our salaries put together could run a home so why wait for a minute longer?
Now back to business. Prior to my birthday, I snooped around for signs of a surprise, you know… like the search for rings or proposal ideas in his browsing history and all that but there was nothing. You have no idea how much I hated it that my birthday fell on a Monday. I thought it wouldn’t make the planning of the perfect proposal easy for him. But I also thought that if he really wanted to make it happen, he could do it over some dinner after work or something. I had it all planned out in my mind!
My inbox was flooded with best wishes and my phone with calls from friends and family. I used half of the office hours that day to reply messages and answering phone calls on the day. Louis and some friends dropped birthday cakes, doughnuts, and gifts at the reception for me. They made me feel so special! My colleagues at work also showed me so much love on the day. “Maybe he’s planning a surprise dinner for tonight,” I thought behind my desk instead of working.
Aaaand Bingo! There he was at my office to pick me up for dinner. He took me home to change into an evening wear. Of course, he knew I would like to be in something nicer for the occasion. Then he drove straight to the place. It was at a quiet place with just the two of us. He set out a small jewelry box on the table after we finished our deserts and asked me to open it.
Gosh!! You should have seen how I hurriedly opened the box when he set it out on the table. Yes, I thought it was the ring but alas I was still dreaming. It was a necklace. But for the missing proposal from Louis, my twenty- seventh birthday would have been perfect.
“Dede!” That sound of my name brought me back to reality. I reflected on everything marriage that Louis and I had talked about as I sat at my desk that Tuesday.
“Dede! It's past 5 o'clock, time to go home. A friend of mine is picking us up to dinner today. You've had on a dreamy look almost the whole day - what are you thinking about?” Emefa, my friend, and colleague asked with a quizzical look.
For a second I was lost in thought and did not know what to say. “Uhm-uhmm… where are we having dinner and do I really have to come?” I answered.
“Yes, why not? He’s just an old friend. I don’t know where we’re going yet but we’ll figure something out once we’re in the car. He’s already here and is waiting for us in the parking lot. I know something’s bothering you. You would have told me all about the birthday dinner with Nana last night but you haven’t mentioned a word of it. If you ever wish to talk about it, I’ll be here.” Emefa stated.
“Nothing… Nothing…you uhm…I’ll go. I don’t feel for anything but I’ll have a cocktail or something. I’ll use the women's room first so I’ll meet you at the car park.” I noted, grabbed my purse and headed to the washroom.
I was unusually quiet in the car and I really wanted to tell Emefa about it but we had company. Emefa’s friend introduced himself as John. We arrived at a five – star hotel sooner than I thought and made our way to the restaurant. My phone buzzed in my hand and it was Louis calling.
“Hey, baby! What’s up? How was your day? Have you left the office already?” he said from his end.
“Heyy! It was okay…how was yours? I’m with Emefa and her friend; we’re having dinner at Movenpick.
“That’s nice. I had a hectic day but it was okay. I'm still at the office. Would you want me to pick you up afterwards because I’m certain I’ll be done with work by then?
“That’ll be great. I’ll let you know when we’re done. See you soon love,” I said.
“Alrighty, then! Enjoy your meal and I’ll see you later,” He responded and ended the call.
Emefa and John had placed their orders already. I picked up the menu to go through it. "Check out their smoothies since you don’t want to eat anything," Emefa said to me.
I glanced through it and just at the top of the smoothies I read ‘Special Menu for Dede’ and under it was the line “Will you marry me?”
Every muscle in my body froze as I read it over and over again. I raised my head to ask what was going on but before I could utter a word, Louis was right there kneeling on one knee with a glittering ring in his hand.
“What! Oh my gosh!” The shock on my face couldn’t adequately reflect how I felt on the inside at that moment.
A few of my close friends and my sisters emerged from nowhere and everybody had their phone cameras on me.
Louis started, “Dede, I want to spend the rest of my life with you so if you let me, I want the rest of my life to start as soon as possible. Would you please allow me to try to use my remaining time on earth in making you happy?”
My gaze was first fixed deep in his dark brown eyes framed by graceful brows as he said those words, then it moved to his button nose, then those fine lips and then I stretched forward my ring finger and said: “Put it on already! Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ll marry you, Louis!”
With his face beaming with joy, he put the ring on my finger, got up, grabbed my hands and said: “I love you!” I slowly Ieaned into him and when our lips finally touched. It was as though the world was disappearing around us. It was an incredible moment. We finally pulled apart and that’s when I realized the cheers and heard the sounds of applauds in the restaurant. All eyes were on us!
The rest of the night was so magical, I could hardly believe that it was the same day that I began with so much disappointment and sadness. They really got me on this one! Wow! That was a great surprise. And you should see that white gold ring!
Nana and I grew up in Osu but at about age 8, my dad, a civil servant, was transferred so we moved to Koforidua. We lost contact until we met again at the University. He happened to be one of the seniors registering freshmen at the Faculty of Arts. He recognized me as soon as he saw me.
We exchanged contacts, talked afterwards, spent some time together to catch up on what we missed in each other's lives. As we got closer, I started yearning for him but apparently, that was mutual and when we both reached that point, we began something magical. It wasn't long until I officially became Nana's girlfriend. All my friends but me were in relationships at the time. Being single in the midst of couples is always an awkward moment no one enjoys. I hated it but now I have a special one to flaunt too. Don't get it twisted though, I didn't accept him because of those reasons, I loved him and I wanted to be with him.
Like many other pairs on campus, Nana and I were seen almost everywhere together. I spent time in his hostel room than in mine. Although Nana was a year ahead of me, He knew my timetable as if we were taking the same courses and so did I. For obvious reasons, we stayed back in our hostels for weeks after writing our exams each semester.
Our relationship wasn't always rosy, we had our moments but we had enough love to see us through each argument. It was like my universe began and ended with him. I felt the appreciation of my very existence each time we were together. He cared for me like no one had ever done in my entire life. Tell me, who wouldn't want to spend the rest of their life with such a man?
Fast forward to the aftermath of the proposal, Nana and I did all the tests that were required for marriage counseling. He came with his family to formally introduce themselves to mine and all the other formalities began. Yes! A date was set for my big day. It’s going to be the first day of the rest of my life with a ring on my 'ring finger' and I couldn't hide my excitement.
The proper preparation they say prevents poor performance. I wasn't going to let a thing go wrong on the biggest day of my life. Instead of about six months, we chose to do the marriage counseling for three months and the church agreed. They had to, I needed some more time to oversee other preparations towards the day; that was very important. After all longer counseling time was no guarantee of a successful marriage.
I wanted a perfectly planned and executed destination wedding so I insisted we hired the best for top notch services. If Nana and I were ever going to go viral on social media, our magnificent wedding will be the vehicle to take us there. I didn't want to be the talk of WhatsApp platforms for the wrong reasons. Everything had to be perfect on my wedding day.
Like first responders' arrival in certain neighbourhoods in America, our wedding day came so fast. And truly everything turned out perfect. From gown, to make up, to decor, to food and drinks, everything was just on point! I couldn't have asked for anything better than what I had.
My husband and I were happy, our families, as well as friends all liked how our wedding turned out. Now what? We began the lifetime journey for which we already received a certificate on our wedding day.
Will the perfect wedding beget a perfect marriage? Is everything going to be as perfect as the wedding? I know your initial answer is NO! And that's okay. Is the upgrade from relationship to marriage going to have any negative effects on Nana and me? Well...let's see!
I never for a second thought Nana and I were going to have everything so rosy. We couldn’t have. Our perfect imperfections will not allow. But somehow, deep down for some reason, I was scared, too scared but could not explain why.
We adjusted to marriage life so easily. In the first few months after our honeymoon, some of the weirdest things were having to say 'my husband', and responding to Mrs Osei. Some unexpected events sometimes caused arguments but they were nothing we could not deal with. It was like we were in sync on almost everything, finances, family, romance, you name it.
Before we hit six months, guess what? I was up the duff! But sadly, life happened. It changed everything about me. Love, life and existence meant nothing anymore. Far from what you think, my baby is still alive but you would have to read the next part of this to find out what happened.
The above is a fiction by Akosua Asiedua Akuffo.
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