Love felt like a fairytale when I met him. He looked right and said everything right. He called me God-sent and I called him Mr. Right. He was my Mr. right because everything he ever did or said felt so right with me. After talking to him on phone he’ll say, “I love you so much it hurts to hang up on you so you hang up.” We’ll laugh about it and true to his word, I would be the one to press the hang-up button. That felt right and fun. The night before I sleep, I would be on the phone with him. After talking for several hours and have said several goodbyes but lacked the will to actually hang up, he’ll say to me, “What if we don’t hang up so we just fall asleep and pretend we are sleeping together?” That also felt right so he was my Mr. Right.
I was twenty-three when I found him. He was thirty-three—quite older than I was and the oldest I had dated. Friends told me dating older men feel better and safer but I didn’t understand it until I met James. I was twenty-five when we both walked the aisle. If you asked me the happiest moments of my life, I can recall only two moments; and those two moment happened with James so you can imagine the sort of joy he brought into my life.
A week after our first wedding anniversary, he told me he wanted a divorce.
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We went to bed as all couples do, without a fight and without bitterness. At dawn I felt a tap on my thigh, he said, “Rita wake up, we have to talk.” I was so deep into the sleep that I only murmured, “Tomorrow is Saturday, can’t we talk in the morning?” He responded, “I want a divorce.” I thought I didn’t hear him right. I quickly got up and sat on the bed; “What did you say?” He responded, “I said I want a divorce. Don’t think too hard about it and don’t ask me questions. It’s not about you. It’s me. Everything is wrong with me and I think I need space to fix my life.”
“Dear James, there’s nothing like your life but our lives. The two shall become one, remember? Tell me what’s wrong, we can figure things out together. We can work it out together and eventually come out stronger together.” He said, “You don’t understand.” I said, “Make me understand.”
He turned to the wall with his back turned on me and went back to sleep. The next day he packed few things up and left. A few days later, I got served with divorce papers.
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Two days before the beginning of this drama, I thought I had happy news to give him but I wasn’t so sure. I felt I was pregnant. I wanted to wait for a while, at least for a few days to confirm that indeed I was pregnant. Then I would have sneaked up on him from behind and show him the positive test kits. All that didn’t happen because my husband wanted out.
The day I got served with the divorce papers, I did the test and indeed I was pregnant. I didn’t want him to feel I was using pregnancy to pin him down so I kept it to myself for a while believing I could still change his mind to stay with me. I told him I wasn’t going to sign the papers because I love him so much and can’t let him go. He said, “You don’t get to decide to let me go because I’m already gone.” I sent some elders to talk to him. I sent a delegation from my church to beg him to forgive me if I’d done anything wrong. They all came back with the same answer; “He has made up his mind not to come back to the marriage.
I realized I had lost so I gave him the news, “I’m pregnant. I didn’t get the time to tell you because of all this drama. And please, don’t think it’s just an excuse to get at you. I really am pregnant and want you to be aware.” He responded, “You’re still young and might want to marry again, if you think you can do it as a born one, then go ahead and give birth.”
That hurt like hell but I realized nothing could make him change his mind so I accepted my defeat with the grace of a woman after grieving like a child. I thought about what he said and it got me thinking about whether or not I should have the baby. One day I wanted to have it. The next day I wanted to abort it. I called my senior sister and discussed the pregnancy with her. She said, “That beast of a man doesn’t deserve your child. Don’t let him pin you down with a baby he might probably not care for. Get rid of it and be free.”
I thought about what my sister said and I thought of what James also said. One morning, I got up and went to the hospital to have it removed. I was the fourth in the queue. Every thirty minutes or so, they’ll call the next one to enter the room….. one after the other, it got to my turn. I still was not sure if I wanted to do it or not. When they called for me, I ask the lady after me to go. She asked why, I told her, “I’m not ready yet.” Immediately she entered, I got up and left the place.
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My sister was right, James was a beast but what I had inside of me wasn’t a beast. It was as a result of the fertilization of my own egg. I played a fifty percent role of conceiving what was inside me and I wasn’t going to let it all go wasted. I kept my baby.
One week after I delivered, I heard the news from a friend; “James got married.” I asked, “He did?” She said, yeah he did. Rumor has it that the lady came from the US and they were childhood sweethearts.”
I thought I had moved on. I thought I had healed. Not knowing my wound was only scabbing. The news of his marriage forcefully removed the scab of my wound and I began to bleed again. “Childhood sweetheart? Where was she during the three years of our being together? He left the marriage and less than a year he’s married again?”
It all began to make sense. The swiftness to leave the marriage, leaving the marriage without any concrete reason, not caring about the child I said was bearing—everything began to fall in place. I began to understand why he said, “It’s not about you…” Yea it wasn’t about me. It was an old flame that got rekindled without my knowledge.
Knowing this set my heart free. All those times, I was thinking about what went wrong—I searched my soul and searched my heart. There was nothing I could find as the reason why he left me. I felt haunted anytime I thought of it. Now if someone asks me what happened, I have a perfect answer; “Nothing happened. He left to be with an old flame.”
He lives in Ghana and the lady had returned to the US. I have his daughter and I believe by this time he’s aware that I’d given birth because his junior sister is aware and had visited me twice but he hadn’t. Not even a call to ask about the baby. The last time his junior sister wanted to take a picture to send to him, I said no. He doesn’t need a picture to know about his own kid. Maybe he doesn’t want her, that’s alright. I’m keeping her for myself. I can own her all by myself.