I saw his call on my wife’s phone at around 10pm. My wife was in the bathroom then so I picked up the call. I said hello and he responded, “Masa, now we can’t call your wife in peace again?” We both burst out laughing.
That’s Owusu. He works in the same hospital with my wife and it was through him I found my wife.
I remember that day very clearly as though it was just yesterday. I’d gone to visit Owusu in his office at the hospital. While in his office, this beautiful nurse walked in with some files in her hands. She wore a white dress with a white pair of shoes to match. She said, “Do you have this drug in stock? it had been prescribed to one of my patients but I want to be sure if you have it first.”
While Owusu was going through the stock, she cast a glance at me; “Pardon my manners, I didn’t even greet you.” I said, “You don’t have to worry. It happens oftentimes.” Owusu chipped in, “Mavis, that’s Wisdom. A very good friend of mine. We were in the same senior high school together and also attended the same university.” She responded, “Then you guys go a way back. Good to still be friends all these while.”
We spent some time talking as Owusu kept going through the stock. When she left I told Owusu, “This girl is gorgeous. I don’t mind seeing her again. Can I have her number?” He said, “Was she not standing right here just a moment ago? Why didn’t you ask for her number?”
A week later, I was there again. I saw Mavis again and we spoke. I was there three days later, She was off-duty. I took her number from Owusu and called her. I told her I was at the hospital but unfortunately, she wasn’t on duty so I took her number just to check up on her. She was very pleased. She laughed a lot. She giggled when I asked if I could come to visit her. Later she said, “You don’t have to worry, I will be at work tomorrow, you can pass by if you want to see me.”
Tomorrow came and I passed by just to say hello.
That day I made my intention clear to Owusu that I would like to date Mavis. He said, “She’s a good girl but I doubt if she would say yes to you because most of my friends here had approached her and they all got a no as an answer.” I told him, “Let me try my luck, after all, what do I stand to lose if I get a no?”
There is an unwritten law of nature that says, “A faint heart can never win the heart of a fair woman.” I didn’t want to assume she would say no to me. I wanted to hear it from her so after knowing her for about a month, I asked her out on a date and she accepted. That night at the table, I asked about her fears and she said, “Men.” I asked, “What has man gotten to do with it?” She answered, “Men lie. It’s very difficult to know what’s in the heart of a man. Today, he’s in love with you, tomorrow there’s no love left in his heart for you.” I asked, “Are you speaking from experience?” She answered, “Yes, three times. Three times they all left just when I thought everything was alright.”
I took my time with her. I stayed friends with her until one day she said yes. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
Knowing what I had in my heart for her, I didn’t waste too much time staying in a relationship with her. I knew her. I knew her heart and I knew she was the one. A little over a year into our relationship we got married. At our wedding, Owusu walked up to me and said, “You’ve made me proud. I didn’t know you guys would get this far in this shortest time. He hugged me and hugged Mavis too. If you came to my hall some years ago, you would have seen a huge photo frame of me and Owusu on the wall, hugging. It’s the biggest photo I had on the walls of my hall. It was there to celebrate friendship and to celebrate the fact that it was through him that I and Mavis were made one.
Our story has a beautiful beginning but not too long after marriage, I and Mavis started having issues. In the first month of our marriage, we fought more than we laughed. There were so many things she didn’t like about me and she expressed them in a way that made me very angry. She didn’t like the way I chewed when I was eating. To her, I made a lot of noise with my lips and teeth while chewing and it annoyed her. Honestly, I didn’t know that problem existed until she drew my attention but the way she said it sought to demean me; “Hey, you didn’t learn table manners when you were young? Why do you chew like nika-nika grinding maize? huh!”
She then got up and left me alone on the table. It was a huge fight that night. She didn’t know how to say sorry and I didn’t know how to forgive without hearing “sorry” so little fight mostly escalated into a huge one.
When she had morning duty at the hospital, I always dropped her off before continuing to work. One of those mornings, I was running a little bit late and it was all her fault. She didn’t wake up early, she did things so slowly as though there was nothing at stake. Just some minutes before our usual time to leave home, she went to pick her uniform and started ironing. I said, “Girl, you knew you had something to iron, why didn’t you tell me to do it for you when you were bathing? By this time we would have been on our way.”
I don’t know what I said wrong that got her so angry or maybe it was the way I said it. She retorted, “Go, I will come and stop breathing on my neck as if I’m some child you’re driving to school.” We stood there exchanging words until her uniform got burnt. Come and see insult, as if I was the one who intentionally burnt her uniform with the hot iron. I angrily drove off leaving her in the house. All day, I called her phone to apologize but she didn’t pick up. In the evening, I apologized to her. I told her, “It’s obvious you and I haven’t been married before. This is our first time so definitely we will struggle but believe me, we’ll get good as we move on.”
Four days later, there was another fight. I’d sent money to my mother from our joint account without informing her. When she found out, I told her I was going to refund the money soon that’s why I didn’t inform her. She got triggered. She said things that day. Even my mom got her share of the insult. Her final statement was, “Obviously this thing isn’t working, we better stop before it’s too late.” The next day, she went to the bank and withdrew half of the money in the joint account. She said, “The remaining half in the account is yours. You can send everything to your mother now.”
A piece of me died that day. “Is that how every marriage is in the beginning or I’m the one who doesn’t know how to marry?”
So that night when I saw Owusu’s call on my wife’s phone, I used the opportunity to speak to him about my wife’s behavior. I told him, “Kindly speak to your sister for me. We are only in our first year in marriage but it feels like we’ve been married for ages and now tired. Kindly tell her to be patient. I know she listens to you. She might understand you better so please do talk to her for me.” All he said was, “Hmmm…let’s see.”
On my wife’s birthday, I decided to surprise her. I bought some cake and some drinks and sent to the hospital. The idea was to go to Owusu’s office and have Owusu call her to come over. She’ll then come and meet me with the gift and we’ll both scream surpriiiiiise! I went to Owusu’s office that day and she was seated on Owusu’s desk and both of them were eating cake. The surprise was spoilt but too much cake doesn’t spoil the occasion so we added mine to it. We ate, we drank and had fun until I left for my workplace.
I know you’ll ask why I didn’t call Owusu before going there with the gift. The answer is this, I and Owusu were at a point in our lives where we didn’t need to call before visiting each other. I knew where to find him at any given time and he knew where to find me too. When I got married, we became less tight but nothing changed. Owusu knew Mavis before I met her. Mavis listened to him more because they were good buddies even before I came into the picture. I needed to use Owusu’s influence on my wife to make things work.
So one evening when my wife had gone to work, I decided to pass by Owusu’s place and have a discussion. That morning, my wife said something that gave me chills. She asked for a divorce. Maybe she didn’t mean it but the fact that she could mention divorce at that stage of our marriage scared me. When I got to his place, I knock three times and there was no response. I checked the time it was 9:35pm. “Or he’s sleeping?” I could hear some loud music coming from the hall so I turned the doorknob and it opened. TV was on and the sound system was also on but there was no one in the hall. I screamed his name and he responded from the inside of his bedroom so I sat on the sofa waiting for him.
The sofa right in front of me had a nurse’s uniform on it. It didn’t bother me. It could be for anyone at all. Next to the center table was a half pair of a shoe and close to the entrance of the bedroom was another pair of the shoe. Those shoes looked like shoes I’ve seen before. “Oh no, this can’t be….”
I screamed his name again and again he responded but he was still not coming out. I picked the uniform from the chair and lifted it to have a full view of the style; “Oh no…this can’t be Mavis’s dress.” I screamed his name again and he responded, “I will be with you shortly…” I went to the bedroom door and turned the knob and it was locked.” I shouted, “Owusu, who’s there with you? Is that Mavis? Tell me it’s not her. Why are her dress and shoes scattered around here? Owusu speak to me!”
He kept saying, “I’ll be with you shortly but minutes went by and he was still inside there. I started banging at the door violently and he shouted, “You want to break the door, I’m fixing things here, I will be there shortly.” I asked, “Why is Mavis’ shoes and uniform lying around here?” That’s when it occurred to me to call Mavis’ number. I called and the phone started ringing somewhere around the hall. I searched around the room and finally found the phone stuck on the inside of the armrest of the sofa.
I needed no more evidence that the woman Owusu was in the room with was my wife but how did we get here? How did we get to this point where a boyhood friend of mine gives me a wife with the right hand and take her back with his left hand? How did this happened and for how long has it been going on?
I threw myself down into the sofa like a sack without the load. I didn’t know what to do or say, I kept screaming their names and kept banging on the door for several minutes but the two of them stayed quiet through it all. I wasn’t going to leave that room until they came out.
The banging of the door and screaming of their names drew the attention of some neighbors and two of them came to ask what the problem was but I didn’t say a word to them. I kept banging and screaming. Later, the landlord and two other men entered and tried to persuade me to leave the premises. When I didn’t budge, the three of them held me up and carried me outside. They knew what was happening and wanted to prevent a further fight.
I waited for her all night that night but she didn’t come home. Her phone and her uniform were with me. I called her parents to ask if she was there and they said, “She’s here and she had told us the kind of embarrassment you’ve caused her and her colleague just because you found her in his house.” Hours later, I was in her parents’ house and explained everything to them. She kept screaming from behind that I was lying. She said, “Because of his violent behavior, I asked him for a divorce even before that incidence.”
Her parents were on her side, her father especially. They prevented us from settling our own issues. They took the matter up and ran it the way they thought fit. I wasn’t going to take her back, not in hell’s name but it hurt me so bad that her parents were doing that to me. She never accepted the incidence the way it happened and all the people who were there when the event happened refused to bear me witness.
Eventually, she got the divorce she was looking for. Two years later, she and Owusu got married secretly. They couldn’t even invite their own friends to their marriage ceremony. They were hiding from the shadow of their own shame.
Knowing who Mavis was, I was very happy that finally, Owusu will get the punishment he deserves. Marrying Mavis is going to be his punishment and final death because a woman like her is like a slow poison in a chalice. She won’t kill him immediately. She will take her time to destroy him slowly, take him through ceaseless pain until the point he’ll beg for mercy killing but at that moment, even his own enemy would refuse to be the one to throw the final blow. That’s what makes me happy. The two will deserve whatever comes to them.