We sat in my sitting room watching one of those Ghanaian movies. It was a pleasant but lazy afternoon. My friends, Uduak and Yetty had visited since we were forced to stay at home because of the nationwide strike and protest. We had nothing to do and there was really nothing interesting to watch apart from the movie.
There was nothing spectacular about the plot of the movie. The same old love story of a woman who married a much older man and fell in love with her step son. I watched the movie half heartedly while I read a novel which I was reading a second time. I was bored with the movie. I looked at my friends and saw how they concentrated on the movie as if their lives depended on it or there was going to be an exam on the plot after viewing it. I smiled to myself as I tried to get back to the movie. “Love is a game, sex is the real thing” one of the actors in the movie said. The statement got my attention. I pondered on it wondering how true the statement is.
, “I called “is that statement true?” Ore
“What statement is that?” Nduak asked as if she just came back to planet earth
“Love is a game, sex is the real thing” I replied
“Why are you fascinated with that statement? Yetty asked
“Because I am a romantic by nature but I am beginning to wonder if love is actually real” I said
“Ah! I don’t believe in love or let me rephrase, I used to believe in love but I now, know better. Love is just a word that’s touted about. It is a cliché that has being abused. People use it because they want something from you or just get in between your legs.” Nduak said.
“You have become jaded.” I replied rolling my eye balls. “If you don’t believe in love how come you have stayed married for the last twenty something years?” I asked
“Haven’t you heard? What’s love got to do with it” Nduak sang in her croaky voice and we laughed.” Honestly, love has nothing to do with it. I married my husband because I got pregnant. Our relationship, even when we courted was filled with emotional manipulation and verbal abuse. I ran away to
when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want his wahala so I took off. But he came after me pleading and apologetic. Since I didn’t want to be a single parent, I agreed. Really, being a single parent twenty-five years ago was a taboo and my parents didn’t help either; insisting that I had disgraced the family. I had to weight all my options and I married him” America
“If you didn’t love him, why did you stay with him all these while?” Yetty asked
“Where will I go with my broods? How am I to manage with six children? I beg, I stayed because of my children. I know staying with my husband will give them a good life. Look, nothing has changed since I met my husband. As a matter of fact, things seem to get worst. But I have developed my coping strategies. I just pray that my children would not make the same mistakes.” Nduak said
“I believe you must feel something for him. No matter how small.” I said not wanting to believe that she was not romantically inclined towards her husband
“Yes, I feel something, which is more of dislike. My friend, love is a game o! We all pretend to love but half the time…..!” She left the sentence hanging, paused and continued. “Do you know that sometime, I have sex with him so that I can get some money from him? With him, money is the instrument of manipulation for me, my body is. Now tell me, how am I better than the common hooker on the street except that I have only one customer, my husband. We have both perfected the act of emotional manipulation”
I was taken aback by Nduak’s outburst. I never knew she felt like that towards her husband.
“You try my friend” Yetty commented.” This is why I have refused to marry. I was in love once. I dated this guy for ten years. I gave him everything and did everything in my ability to make him happy and comfortable. I had money so that was not an issue. I didn’t have any problems taking care of his needs. I loved him so much that I just wanted to see him happy and he capitalised on that. I ended up being responsible for all our financial needs. I was manipulated in everyway one could imagine. Everything was my fault and I was made to believe that I could not do anything right. The more I tried to satisfy him, the more dissatisfied he became. Ah! How I tried. I sacrificed everything for him. After a while, I thought if I got pregnant things would change or at least, improve. I stopped using the contraceptives hoping to get pregnant. I tried but nothing happened. I visited my gynaecologist and I had to undergo the most painful and horrific medical tests that I didn’t wish on my enemies. I had some problems really but according to my doctor, nothing to prevent me from getting pregnant. At the same time, I started talking to him about us getting married. We had spent 10 years together and my parents were no longer comfortable that we were living together without him making an honest woman out of me. He refused initially when I broached the subject, insisting that I have to get pregnant before we can tie the knot. I became almost desperate and I signed on for an assisted conception programme which was very expensive but I didn’t mind. It was the condition I had to meet before I got married and so getting pregnant was the only thing on my mind.
At the clinic, I was asked to invite him for examination and other necessary procedure but he refused saying that I didn’t seek his permission before signing in on the programme. I pleaded with him to see reasons and how was I to get pregnant if he was not going to be cooperative? I was devastated at this point. After a while, he reluctantly agreed to go with me to the clinic but only until after our wedding ceremony but well, we could proceed with our plans. I didn’t understand why we had to wait until after the marriage ceremonies but who cares? Anything to make him happy abi? I was excited and earnestly started putting things together for a ceremony that I was not going to be the bride.” Yetty narrated
“How do you mean?” I asked
“Oh a month to the date of our wedding, he married another girl. I beg! Love?” she said sarcastically.
“That was a really bad experience. Ah! Ten years of a relationship? Only for him to marry somebody else? I just can’t fathom it” Uduak said
“Why did you court for such a long time?” I asked
“Long or short courtship doesn’t really matter. We met at the University then in my prelim and we dated all through University. Moreover, there was always a reason why we couldn’t marry. Again, I wasn’t really crazy about marriage not after watching my mother go through her gruesome experience with my father. I just didn’t want to go through all that wahala but what happened? Please I don’t believe in love again o!
“So what are you doing with mystery lover?” I asked. We have taking to calling her recent boyfriend that because she has refused to introduce us or disclose his name to us.
“My mystery lover? Hm!” she giggled mischievously. “That one is another story. You know, I have known him all my life technically. Actually, he was my first boyfriend. We didn’t quarrel but we lost contact until two years ago when we saw each other again. He started showing interest in me and I thought well, let me give him a chance. I mean he has had his bad experience too and I expect him to have learnt from his experience but alas! Initially, he was very devoted and I actually started feeling something akin to love. I believed in him and I started opening up to him. However, he is comfortable now and he has started the game of power and emotional manipulations that men tend to use in relationship. You won’t believe that he gets angry at every little thing and sometimes, will not pick my calls or call me for weeks and he expects me to know through some astral means what could be biting him. Am I a witch? I don’t have energy for this emotional manipulation. I am a grown woman and I can’t deal with a man who has refused to grow. I care but I am not treading the road I took before.” She concluded.
I kept quiet for a long time pondering at the experiences of my friends. I have had it rough too but I still believe in love. “But who is there to love?” I asked aloud
“Your brother who is probably the sweetest human being on earth but most likely, manipulating his wife.” Uduak answered