After two years of working in the company, rumors started swirling around that another daughter of the Company’s owner was coming back from abroad to work in the company. The guy occupying her position was moved to another department to create a space for her return. Those who had worked in the company from the beginning had stories to tell about her and it wasn’t pleasant stories. The stories were about how authoritative she was and how she could be very unaccommodating. Sadly for me, she was going to head our department so I began to shiver.
One morning I got to work and saw a new black Range Rover parked outside of the main office block. I thought the CEO was in. It was when I entered the office that I realized it was rather the daughter who had come. She was beautiful and carried around this aura that said, “I won’t entertain nonsense.” She went from desk to desk introducing herself and asking some questions about our work and how she could be of help. When she got to my desk, she asked, “Gentleman, my name is Ruby what is your name and role.”
“My name is Michael. I’m in charge of production and also see to it that product delivery is done on time.”
She nodded and left my desk. When she entered her office, everybody in the office breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Someone said, “It looks like this small CEO wouldn’t make things easy around here.” So from that day on, we called her Small CEO. She comes to work in the morning, walks through our office, says a very loud good morning to us all, and enters her office. That would be the last time we’ll see her until the next morning.
One morning when she came to the office she walked to my desk and said, “I saw you last evening when I was going home, do you live on that stretch?” I said, “No, I don’t live there. My church is around that corner so I go there sometimes when we have a program.” A week or so later, on my way to church I saw her again. I thought she didn’t see me but just a meter or so away from me, she stopped. When I got to where she had packed she asked, “Is it far from here? I responded, “A little bit.” She said, “You can join me if you don’t mind.”
From that day on, anytime I would have to go to church, I would tell her in the morning so I leave with her after work. Some times you need to get closer to people before you can judge them. The way she spoke and related to me didn’t look as bad as people will have me believe. Yeah, at work she was a different person, but when we close and we were in her car together, we had no barriers. We spoke about everything—weekend plans, church activities, office gossips. Everything.
One Friday evening, on our way home, she said, “If you don’t have any plans for the weekend, I also don’t have any plans. You can come around if you don’t mind.” My only concern was her other brothers but she said, “No they don’t live with me so don’t worry.”
I called her on Saturday morning and asked what time was appropriate to come around. “You can even come at dawn and I’ll receive you. No problem at all.”
I was there on in the afternoon. We both went out and stayed till it was very late. I went there on Sunday after church. We stayed in her house. She cooked and we ate. The following weekend, I was there. The next weekend, she came to see my house. She laughed at how I’ve decorated my room and suggested ways I could arrange things better. The weekend after that weekend, I attended her friend’s wedding with her. And from that point on, it didn’t matter whether or not I was going for a church program, I joined her car and she dropped me off.
I saw what was growing between us but I was very careful. She was my superior at work and needed to be handled like a fragile object before anything breaks but I was also aware that she liked me and I could make a move if I had the gut but where was I going to buy that gut to make the move?
We kept being friends until one weekend we went out and had a lot to drink. I don’t drink but I needed an excuse to say what was on my mind. If She said, “Yes,” it was my lucky day. If she said no, I would say, “I don’t remember proposing to you. I might have said it under the influence of alcohol.” I drunk a little and pretended I was heavily drunk so I could tell her. I told her, “Can we be more than friends? I think I like you.” She responded, “Don’t be stupid.”
The next morning she was at my house. “What made you think I would like to date you?” I said “Huh?” “You proposed to me yesterday. I want to know what gave you that impression that I would like to go out with you?” I was an inch away from denying it when she said, “I want to know if you said it because you truly like me or you said it because I gave you the impression that I like you.” I stood there for a while and said, “Errrm, I said it because I like you. I really do.” She said, “I’m going home, would you come along?”
I picked my shirt and followed her home. We sat in the couch of her hall and spoke all day. She asked questions about love and I answered. I confirmed my feelings to her all over again. I was expecting to hear yes or no but she asked, “What’s your plan for us? Where do we go from here if I say yes?”
I was quiet. I thought rich people make the plans so we the poor could follow. Why is she sitting there asking me about my plan for us when she could just say something and I would say yes?” I said, “We could use this period to know each other very well. If it happens that you love me just the way I love you, we could get married.” She asked, “Where would we live when we get married? Have you made any arrangements for us?” I said, “From now onwards, everything is about you and I. We can make plans for us—together. You know my room, we can get a better place if you decide to move out of this place but we can live in this very house too if you want us to. Just tell me.”
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She smiled. “I like it. Let’s plan together but you’ll have to leave the company very soon so start finding another job. The day you leave, I’ll introduce you to my parents.”
Six months later, I resigned. I didn’t have a job but I had to leave so I could use all the time available to me to get a job. Three months later I got a new job I could be proud of and it was that same month she took me to meet her parents. “You look like somebody I’d met before. What do you do?” Her dad asked me. I told him I was previously working in his company. I told him what I was doing currently. He nodded and said, “She’s my last born and you know what that means. Just protect her with all your heart and strength and she’ll make you a good wife.”
“And she will make you a good wife…”
The father didn’t lie. Everybody had doubts about me and Ruby. “She’s too rich for you. She won’t respect you because of her money.” I nodded my head. My former colleagues were also on me, “That family will treat you with no respect because of where you’re coming from.” I said ok. Even my own parents advised me against that. My father called me at dawn to advise me against the marriage. “You’re a man and you ought to Lord your home. These rich people won’t give you the chance to be your own man. They’ll frustrate you.” I told him, “She’s a good girl. You need to really know her before you judge.”
So two years after intensive dating, we got married. It was a very small family wedding where only a few close friends and families were invited. After the wedding, we went on a full month honeymoon in one of the resorts in Ghana. At the honeymoon, she asked, “Where do we go from here?” I answered, “We’ll go out there and live each day as it comes. One day at a time”
When we returned from the honeymoon, I went to my little room, packed all my things, and went to live in her house. It’s a man’s duty to provide a home for his wife. That’s what it is in our society but I married a woman who owned a bigger house. She couldn’t leave that house there to come and live in my tiny abode so I had to go. I was happy to do it but somewhere I felt I wasn’t being a man enough. I suspected that was where the problem would come from if we were going to have one but it was just my ego playing tricks on me. She didn’t have to say that I owned that house with her, she simply made me feel that house was mine more than it belonged to her. She has two ways of referring to the house: “My marital home” or “The house of my husband.”
My old friends think I play it too safe with my wife. Some times they tease me that my wife is my boss. They can’t understand the kind of respect I have for her. Some say I’m scared of her—I’m scared of losing her that’s why I try to play it safe around her. Outsiders will always say what they will say but I’d never been scared of my wife. If a woman treats you like you’re the most important thing in her life, you also treat her like the queen that she is.
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She has all the things to make her life comfortable yet she treats me like her only comfort. What else does a man need? That’s why I don’t listen to friends. One friend said to me, “Because of this girl that you are married to, you can’t take credit for anything in your life. When you drive a new car, they’ll say your wife bought it for you. When you travel on a vacation with her, they’ll say she paid for it. No matter what, you won’t get the credit you deserve.”
I told him, “What is wrong if she takes the credit? Where there’s happiness, it doesn’t matter who takes the credit. Women marry rich men all the time and we applaud them for marrying into a good home. Can’t a man also be applauded?”
She doesn’t try to change me. She doesn’t judge my sense of fashion or push me to dress in a way to fit her social status. I went to her friend’s wedding reception with her one night and I thought it was going to be something casual. She wore a dinner dress I hadn’t seen her wore before. I wore khaki trousers and an Ankara shirt. We got to the wedding reception and everyone was in a tuxedo. I felt odd and out of place. I thought I’d caused her embarrassment. When we were coming home I apologized to her but she only laughed at me. She said, “Don’t mind them. It’s not your fault that they take life too seriously.” I was trying to say sorry and she was trying to make me feel better.
One night she fell asleep on my lap while we were both watching TV. I looked deep into her sleeping face and felt proud and content that she was in my life. I said in my head, “They say you are going to be disrespectful to me but it’s been over four years now, when are you going to start disrespecting me?”