Couples fight
Couples fight

Dear James,

We were both young when you said you loved me. You were only twenty-three but you looked like you could take on the world and win. I was nineteen, budding and yet to blossom into the woman you expected me to be. To date, I don’t know what you saw in me. Maybe I was beautiful in your eyes or we had seen each other for so long I appeared to be the natural choice when you needed a girlfriend. Or just maybe you believed in my future. Whatever the reason that brought you to me, I could only be grateful that you came into my life at the time you did.

My friends called me lucky but I told them, “I’m not lucky. Love finds who it will find. It found me so I have to enjoy it whiles it’s here.” You were not my first boyfriend. I had a boyfriend when I completed SSS. It wasn’t anything serious. The farthest he could go was to kiss me. We were kids. We played with love’s fire. You were my second boyfriend but it was you I lost my innocence to.

That night when you asked me, “Haven’t you done it before?” I thought you were asking me about being kissed that’s why I said, “Yes, I’ve done it once.” But you were talking about something different. You were talking about sex and I didn’t know it. At some point, I realized you had misunderstood me but I didn’t want to change what you thought of me so I allowed it. I allowed you to go all the way—it was painful. I clenched my teeth to make it bearable but it was you so I didn’t mind giving it away. Love gives, even when it doesn’t have more of what is being asked.

The day you completed school and you were leaving me behind, I shuddered. I didn’t know how I was going to survive the rest of my years on campus without you. And I got scared thinking you might leave campus, find another woman and forget about me. The future of us looked bleak but you kept telling me to remain hopeful and keep loving you because you were always going to remain my boy. There was very little I could do. I couldn’t freeze your time frame so my time frame would continue moving till it collides with yours. All I could do was to watch you leave because you had come to the end of your time on campus.

You kept calling me and telling me what was happening in your life. When you had the time, you came to campus to see me. Those were the best days of our lives. You’ll take me out, have fun in a little corner of the world until it was too late for us to continue staying outside. You’ll bring me back to campus, kiss me goodbye and ask me to be a good girl. Indeed I was a good girl. I was your girl through and through that was why many men came my way but didn’t give any of them my yes. Those who came close enough, I told them, “My heart is already committed to someone else. I’m sorry, I can’t be yours.”

Just when I was about to complete school, come home and continue the love with you, you came telling me you’ve had an opportunity to travel outside. No matter how hard I tried to be in the same space with you, the winds of change kept blowing you away from me. I was happy for you—for the opportunity to better yourself but traveling overseas to do it saddened my heart. Again, I couldn’t stop you so just a week for me to leave campus, you sat on the plane and left to the new place you’ve decided to begin your new life.

I believed in your promises. You said, “I’ll live each day preparing a place for you so when the opportunity finally arrives, I would come for you.” I trusted you and the intentions of your heart. There was no promise you gave that you didn’t fulfill but the places we travel have a sneaky way of turning us away from our dreams. You stopped calling at some point. Your excuses became one line, “I’ve been busy with work and school.” I understood you but I was thinking you could do better than you were doing. I didn’t mind if you had to call me at dawn to tell me you were coming to sleep or use your lunch break to say just hello to me.

You didn’t.

You allowed yourself to drift away while I was steadfast, thinking a change would come someday. One year—two years, nothing changed. You were so gone and all I could see were the memories of the footprints you left in my life. Three years after you had stopped calling, I decided to move on and give love a chance. That was when I found Nicholas who became my husband a year and a half later. Nicolas had been nothing but amazing. Talk about a man who supports his woman’s dreams and always desires to give her the best. That’s Nicholas for you. We’ve had a good run of love and had been blessed with two adorable kids.

And then one day you called my phone and everything started coming back to me. You said, “Hello Freda. You know who is speaking?” My heart skipped. It was as though you were standing behind my door knocking. I wanted to say, “Yeah, this is James, the love of my life.” But when I opened my mouth, I said, “James?” It sounded like a question or I wasn’t so sure but I was very sure it was you. That was the beginning of you sneaking back into my life. I told you I was married. I told you I had two kids but that didn’t bother you. You said, “I’d come to take what is mine.” A piece of me got excited for hearing that. That after all these years, you still call me your own. It sounded so much like you and all of a sudden, I wanted you again. I wanted us to continue from where we began.

It was hard hiding to talk to you on most nights but I was ready to risk it. When you called and I couldn’t pick because my husband was around, it broke my heart to pieces. That was when I realized the love I had for you didn’t die but rather got buried alive under the rabbles of confusion and chaos and you having to leave without telling me. I wanted everything again. It sounded sinful. It sounded like I was cheating on an innocent man. Everything about it was wrong but you wanted it so I was ready to give it to you to prove I still have love for you.

The day you told me you’ll be in Ghana in December, I couldn’t hold my happiness. I was so excited it became obvious in the way I talked and did my things. My husband asked, “What’s making you so excited?” I lied, “Nothing. I’m just a happy girl.” I started eating healthy and taking a lot of slim tea to be in my best shape. I spent hours in front of the mirror thinking, “Will he find me beautiful enough to take me away?” “Am I still the girl he fell for?” “Am I…”

The day came that I had to meet you at the airport so I take you to the hotel I reserved for you. Would you believe it if I tell you I bought a new dress and a new set of panties for the occasion? The devil was doing me. But the night before your arrival I thought things through. I really did. I asked myself, “Freda, What have you become? Are you no longer the wife of Nicholas and a mother to those two lovely kids? Why have you allowed yourself to be swayed by a love that never stayed?” I really gave the whole thing a deep thought and realized this: I wasn’t in love with you but rather in love with the memory of what we once shared.

Seriously, did you think I was going to let everything I had built over the years go just because of you?

So the day when you called, I didn’t pick. You called again and I didn’t pick. I switched off my phone, went to the kitchen and prepared dinner for my husband. He asked me, “You said you had an event to attend, won’t you go again?” His innocence almost made me cry. I said, “No, I’m no longer going. It’s hard to go alone and leave you and the kids here.” He thought it was love. I thought it was liberation.”

When I switched on my phone the next day, I saw your message asking me where I was and what the name of the hotel was but I knew you wouldn’t be stranded because this is your home country. That’s why I never responded to you. Thank God you left me alone and didn’t contact me again. I Still think about you sometimes. I miss you. We could have been great together but it didn’t happen. With this letter, I’m only telling you one thing, I loved you with all my heart and I would do it all over again if time restarts for us but I’d moved on into something greater. I have the love of Nicholas and my kids and it’s all I need.

I wish you the best of life and happiness. When you find a woman you love, marry her and start a family too because in the end, family, is all you have.

—Freda, Ghana