My first love was Fidelia. When we were in school and our love was new, we were inseparable. She told me I was her first boyfriend and to avoid having the image of a bad boy in her eyes, I also told her she was my first ever girlfriend. That was our first year at university. For four years, we moved together. We learned together, went for lectures together, and on weekends, she stayed all day in my hostel. Everybody knew about us and every year, our friends teasingly named us “Couple of the year.”
We thought we would be married after school, and in fact, we did everything within our power to ensure that marriage between us was possible. We completed school and were posted to different places for our national service. I was posted to Kumasi and she was posted to Koforidua. We were both broke as the proverbial chapel rats but we tried whatever possible to travel to see each other once in a while. Then we completed our National service, got employed, and started talking about saving money for our marriage.
We opened a joint account together and I remember when we were filling the banking forms and we got to “marital status,” She asked me,” What should I put there, “I said, “choose married.” And she did. Each month, we both contributed 10% of our salaries into the account. Her’s was bigger than mine because she was paid better than me but she didn’t mind. For about five or so months, we contributed money into that account until things started changing.
Fidelia found another man while on a job trip. She told me about the man and how the man proposed to her just three days after collecting her number. We both laughed at the man. She said, “If I was that available, would he had been the one to find me?” I said, “When they get little money, all they do is to go about finding women they could sleep with and later jilt them. He thinks you’re that cheap.” We didn’t talk about the man again. In my mind, he was just a passing wind—someone who passed through without footprints.
For three months, Fidelia stopped contributing to the joint account. I didn’t make any fuss about it. People sometimes run into issues with money. Maybe she was in a position she couldn’t contribute. Not knowing she was thinking of leaving the relationship. She talked about it on several occasions. It started as a joke—a joke without a punchline. She said, “I’m beginning to have a change of mind and I owe it to you to be truthful about it. I don’t think we can have a future together. Something about us isn’t right.” I begged her. I told her to consider where we had come from and the strides we’ve made so far. I made promises and even told her I would change my character if that was the issue.
A few months later, I found out she was dating the man we both laughed at. The passing wind has finally left footprints on her heart. We hadn’t fully broken up though she had told me on several occasions that she was leaving. I begged her to come back to me. She didn’t. She continued with the man until I left the scene.
Five years later, I found myself sitting next to her on a bus traveling from Kumasi to Accra. The passing times did nothing to her beauty and her beautiful smile. She was happy to see me and I was super happy to sit next to her. She looked at my finger and said, “Wow, you’re married.” I said grimly, “Unfortunately yes. I found me a woman who loved me and we married two years ago.” I asked her, “What happened to you and that…” Before I could land, she screamed, “Don’t bring that man up. He wasn’t the one for me. The relationship didn’t work out. We didn’t even last a year.”
Whenever the bus fell in a pothole, our skins touched and the chemistry began to build. When the bus took a curve and I bent toward her, I would stay that way for a while even after the bus had straightened up. We got to Accra and somehow picked the pieces together. We spoke a lot and had a lot of video chats. She asked about my wife a lot and every time she did, it felt unsettling. I told her, “Would you leave my wife out of our conversations?” She said, “Sorry, I didn’t know you didn’t like it.”
We met one day, I leaned forward to kiss her and she stayed still to receive the kiss. Some minutes later, we found ourselves panting for breath in a car parked in the middle of nowhere, in a night I should have been home with my wife. That wasn’t the only time we got intimate. It happened times without number and each time, it happened in my car—parked in a no man’s land deep in the night.
A year later, she sent me a wedding invitation and my heart got broken for the second time. I felt lighter and didn’t know how to feel about her getting married. I told her, “You’ve succeeded in breaking my heart the second time, and this time, it hurts than the first.” She said, “You’re married. It’s my time to get married too but don’t worry, anything can happen.”
Anything can happen. That was her way of telling me she’ll be married and still kiss me when she gets the chance. She’ll be in my car with me so we could park in the middle of nowhere and be us again. The man she got married to came from the US. Two months after marriage, they traveled together to the US and that was the end of us.
I do miss her sometimes. I still yearned to have a piece of her with me so when my wife delivered a bouncing baby girl, I told my wife, “This girl would be called Fidelia.” She asked me, “Why Fidelia? What’s the meaning of Fidelia?” I told her, “I don’t know what it means but it’s a beautiful name and it’s not common.” She nodded her head in agreement, unknowingly perpetuating my ex-girlfriend’s existence in my life.
I and Fidelia couldn’t marry and it’s been several years since I heard from her but anytime I look back, there are two things that remind me of her; our joint account that is still running and my daughter who’s named after her.