I have a seven-year-old daughter. I was seventeen years when I gave birth to her. I usually want to skip the story surrounding her birth because all that story brings to me is heartbreak, regret, and sometimes tears. I love my girl to the end of the world and there’s nothing I won’t sacrifice to make her happy. That’s why I wish the story surrounding her birth would just go away—just vanish so I could have her to love and care for but like what they say, no matter what we say or do, we can’t escape from our own stories. So another day comes and you’re reminded of the mistakes you did that brought an angel into your life.
I was seventeen, naive and innocent but was ready to explore the horizon ahead of me. My friends had boyfriends they did so many things with. They’ll come back to the hostel and tell me the things they did, the joy it brought them, and how they couldn’t wait to do it all over again. So one day I told Alberta to give me a boyfriend. I wanted to experience their joy too. A day or two later, she introduced me to a guy she said was a friend to her boyfriend. The guy didn’t have to do much to woo me. One day I followed them out and in an uncompleted building downtown, the guy held me against the wall and had his way with me. It was my first time and just that once, got me pregnant.
I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until the pregnancy was already three months. The boy ran away. The only thing I knew about the boy was his name. I didn’t know where he lived or where he came from. When my parents asked who got me pregnant my answer was, “I don’t know him.” They asked, “How? How did you get pregnant for someone you don’t know? How did that happen?” I told them, “It happened just once and after that once, I didn’t see him again.” They thought I was lying to cover up for the boy but I told them, “That’s the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.”
Six months later, I had a beautiful baby girl. The girl was only six months old when I went back to school. I completed SHS, passed with flying colors. I went to the university and completed with first-class honors. After my national service, I was retained at where I was posted due to my hard work. I started making money, so I moved from my parent’s house into a rented apartment with my girl. All through the years, no man ever walked to me to propose love or anything. I didn’t even think about it because I was out there kicking life’s ass to be able to become something for myself and my daughter.
At some point in my life, I thought men were running from me because I was born one. I held on to hope; “There’s someone for everyone so one day that someone for me would sneak in and make my lonely days over.” And then Aboagye came along. A man who went around carrying his dreams on his shoulders. I don’t know which oracle spoke to him about his future but this guy was so sure that he was going to be great in the future. He described himself with every fancy word that’s connected with wealth. The only problem was, he had no work. He has his certificates—plenty of them but no work to do.
I gave him a chance in my life because he loved my daughter and my daughter loved him too. I remember one day, my daughter asked me, “Is uncle Aboagye going to be my daddy?” That question hit me so hard. My daughter needs a daddy. She had been starved of masculine affection for so long she wanted to cleave to this one that’s available. That’s the reason why I agreed to Aboagye moving into my house though we were not married. It could also be the reason I allowed Aboagye to go see my family with a drink to perform the ‘knocking’ rite when I knew very well that he was unemployed.
At first, he was diligent with his job search but with time, he slowed down. He was always in the house, watching tv and playing games until the evening when he would help my daughter with her homework. At some point I told him; “You’re one smart guy. If there’s no employment out there for you, why don’t you start something on your own?” He said, “I have all the plans laid out. All I need is money.” I asked, “How much would you need?” He said, “GHC30,000 would be enough to set the ball rolling.”
The next day, I went to the office and put in a loan application for GHC35,000. Two weeks later, it got approved and the money was sent to my account. I handed the whole amount to him telling him to make me proud. Then he started making himself proud. For close to three months I didn’t see any business initiative from him. I saw new clothes. I saw new shoes and sneakers every other week. I saw designer perfume. And he didn’t eat from the house again. “Aboagye, how far with the business. I haven’t seen anything since I gave you the money.” He said, “I’m in the process of registering the business. The delays come from them and not me.” I asked, “But people have businesses they haven’t registered? You can start something before the commencement cert comes.” He answered, “I’m not ready to do anything illegal. A business like mine has to stand on legal legs before it can walk.”
A year later, he continued living in my house with no work and no business. We started having series of fights. Each time we fought he threatened to leave the house; “I would leave this house and it’s when I’m gone that you’ll realize no one has time for a born-one woman.” That statement always got me on my nerves. So much so that one day I nearly slapped him. But in my sober moment, when everything was quiet and dull, I thought to myself, “Maybe he’s right. Who has time for a born-one? All these years he’s been the only one to stick around. It’s true what he says.” Then I would be scared to lose him so I make him stay and do whatever he would do with his life.
He’ll be in the house sending me messages while I’m at work; “There’s no drink in the fridge. Get some when coming to the house.” “My shaving stick is finished. Get some for me.” “The prepaid got finished. Send me MoMo to load some.” And the most annoying request; “My perfume got finished. Do buy some for me.” I started feeling the burden of financial stress. I was paying for the loan I took from the office so my salary was deeply affected. It got to a time I was struggling to pay my daughter’s school fees; “Courage, where art thou?”
He came home late one night, smelling of alcohol. I served him his food. He went to take his bath and later went to sleep. At dawn, he jumped on me trying to sleep with me. I couldn’t stand his breath and I couldn’t stand his method. I struggled with him and succeeded in pushing him off me. He said, “Born-one with attitude. It’s my fault. When I’m gone…” I didn’t wait for him to finish his statement. I said, “Tomorrow you’re going to pack out and I mean it.” He screamed, “I’ll go. You think you can order me around? I will go.”
He was in bed when I was going to work. I told him, When you are ready to leave, call me, I’ll come for the keys. He never called. In the evening, I asked why he was still there. He didn’t answer. My daughter was there so I couldn’t pick a fight. The next morning I didn’t go to work. When my daughter went to school, I started putting his things together. He thought I was joking. He asked, “Are you serious?” I said, “I look like I’m joking?” Clothes and shoes are easy to pack so the next twenty minutes I was done packing for him.” I said, “I want to lock my door and I don’t want to do it with you on the inside. Please leave.”
I left him in front of the house and left for work. When I came back, he was gone.
Guess who’s begging now. Definitely not the born-one woman.