Couple holding hands
Couple holding hands

It was Val’s day in 2017. We had been married for only a year so we did things like people in a new marriage. You see, when love is new, you hardly put things wrong. He called me Lillies (Lilian) and I called him Dillies (Denis). He’ll order lunch and had it deliver to me at my workplace and I would call him and tell him how he made my day. He would say something like, “I don’t intend to make only your day. I intend to make your days forever.”

That’s sweet, right?

So on that Valentine’s day, my heart was flying on a high note, expecting what Dillies had in store for me. I accidentally found a gold watch and a matching necklace in his bag the previous night. It was wrapped in a red case with a red ribbon running around it. The case was small but what it contained was enough to melt a heart. I knew they were for me. I even had time to feel bad for seeing them before they were officially handed over to me.

So I started rehearsing my lines. I didn’t want to spoil the moment; “Oh thank you. They are beautiful.” I would then remove them from the case, put the watch on and ask him to help me put the necklace on. I would run to the mirror, bust a pose and then run and hug him and thank him profusely. I didn’t want to kill the surprise element just because I’ve seen them the night before.

On the morning of Val’s day, he gave me a wrapped present that looked bigger than what I saw the night before. I opened it up and it was a set of lingerie. He said, “We are going out this evening so get ready on time.”

I wasn’t clear in the mind. Of course, I was expecting a necklace and a gold watch so why lingerie?

We had a date planned for the night so I believed that was where he would present the gold watch and necklace to me. We had a lovely night. Food and drink were on point. The location was splendid but I didn’t have the mind to concentrate on what was going on. I was passive at best thinking about when he was going to present that gift to me. We spent all night together and drove home without giving me that present.

The next morning, I checked his bag and those items were gone. Red flag!

The next night as he lay sleeping, I picked up his phone and went straight to his Whatsapp. The gold watch and the necklace were for a girl she had met not too long after we got married. Judging from their line of conversation, they’ve done a lot and have been to a lot of places. The girl had sent him a photo where she was in lingerie. The same kind of lingerie he got me. He even had a special name he called the girl.

I checked the time, it was 1:33am. I went back into the bedroom and woke him up. “So I was going through your phone and this is what I found.” I showed the girl’s photo in the lingerie to him. He was shocked. Maybe he didn’t think I would do that or he thought because he archived the message I wouldn’t find it. He sat in bed for many minutes not knowing what to say. I told him, “I knew about the gold watch and the necklace. I thought they were for me. Little did I know you had someone else in mind.”

He pleaded. He begged me not to leave him or do anything untoward. Right in front of me, he called the girl on a loudspeaker and told her I’d found out about her and that he had regretted everything that went on between them and doesn’t want it to continue. The girl didn’t say so much because she realized she was on a loudspeaker but I can imagine what ensued between them after that call.

I forgave him but I kept the receipt.

I’m a woman who loves completely. I give my all in love but when love fails, I’m always slow to get hurt. I forgave him not because he deserved to be forgiven, I forgave him because I wasn’t ready for a divorce. I could have stretched the matter and bring family members in to dissect and know who was wrong and what was wrong but the question I asked myself was, “After all is said and done, will I walk away?” The answer was no. If I wasn’t going to walk away then I better not create a scene.

Life slowly returned to how it used to be before the cheating. It was a long winding road but both of us were patient enough to allow things to happen the natural way and it eventually did. Then the virus came and then the city was shut down. The night before the compulsory lockdown, I caught him again.

The message on his phone read;

Lady: “Are you going to the hospital with me tomorrow?”

Denis: “It’s a lockdown, remember?”

Lady: “And so? I’m not going through this if you don’t come with me.”

Denis: Be reasonable. You know I would have gone with you had it not been this issue.”

Lady: I’ll be here. I hope I can still get rid of it after the lockdown.”

Denis: “Don’t be childish!”

“Hospital…” “Get rid of it…” You see where this is going? “But who is this lady?”

I went back through the chat until I found a photo. It was the same lady he called three years ago to tell it was over. He changed how he had saved her name. He thought he was being clever.

Again, I walked to him in the bedroom and showed him the message. I told him, “We’ve been married for four years and out of the four years, you’ve been able to keep a sidepiece for three years. She’s pregnant for you while I’m here struggling to get pregnant with you. Congratulations.”

I threw the phone at him and came back to the hall. I needed to cry. I tried holding back the tears but my throat kept pushing up the lump that was blocking the tears. I had to let it go. I cried my heart out. I thought he was going to follow me to the hall but he didn’t. I guessed he had nothing to say. All night, I was crying and asking myself questions: “Should I have left the very first time I found out?” Is it wrong for me to have given him a second chance?” Now what?” A lot of questions flooded my mind and none had the easy answers.

The next morning he walked up to me, “Why have you made it a point to go through my phone any time you feel like? Have you ever seen me going through your phone since we got married?”

Some times men ask the wrong questions. I don’t know why that is but for the life in me, I couldn’t understand why he would ask me those stupid questions at a time when he hadn’t answered any of the questions I posed to him. I told him; “If you’re trying to cover up your rotten deeds with such shameless questions, then you won’t succeed. You got another woman pregnant while married to me. You and I who need explanations?”

He started pouring out some flimsy excuses about the girl being a liar and she trying to pin him down with pregnancy. I asked him, “There are millions of men in this city. Why only you?” He kept speaking thrash and didn’t know how to pick his onions from his apples. I only watched him but in my mind, I’d already taken a decision.

We are both living in the same house with nowhere to go. When I’m in the hall, he will be in the bedroom. When I’m hungry, I cook just enough for myself and eat it. We just can’t sit together but we live under the same roof. Some days ago, I was watching TV while he was trying to cook something to eat. He tried lighting up the gas and it wasn’t working. I was watching him and hoping somehow the gas would explode and burn him to ashes. Men like him deserve to meet hell on earth before God puts them in the ultimate furnace.

There is very little I can do now. The world is facing a bigger problem than I am going through now so I would patiently wait. Soon we’ll leave this prison and live life as we’ve always lived. That’s when I will call for a divorce and leave his miserable life alone.

—Lilian, Ghana