Everybody has that friend who goes through hard times often than normal. Immediately you see them coming to you, you know there’s one more trouble to talk about. One more heartbreak. One more situation that needs solving. Ann was that friend to me. She found in me a man she could open up to, so she told me about all her problems whenever they came.
At thirty-three, she thought she was wasting the juiciest part of her youth. She had no boyfriend and she was always in a hurry to settle down before age thirty-five. She made a lot of mistakes in the kind of men she accepted in her life. James was one of the mistakes and it was James who made her decided to give up on love. One day, James asked her to give him a loan for a business. It was a huge sum of money, close to GHC35,000. A week after taking the money, James ran away to Nigeria without telling her. Eight months later, James got married to a Nigerian woman.
Again I was the shoulder she cried on. That day she told me, “This love thing is not meant for all of us. It’s better I live alone than to bring people who only hurt me into my life.” I spoke my word of encouragement and did a lot of things with her just to help her forget the pain. At some point, the chemistry between us changed. She wanted me as a boyfriend but I already had Barbara. That didn’t stop us from kissing one night. That didn’t stop us from yearning for each other. We were adults. We knew the drowning nature of the river we were standing close to so, we both exercised constraint and let it stay at the kissing stage.
Five months later, I got married to Barbara. Ann was at the wedding and she was almost in all the photos we took at the wedding. It was at the wedding reception that I introduced her to my wife; “Barbara, this is Ann, the friend I’ve always been telling you about.” They both shook hands, spoke for a while, and went their separate ways.
My marriage was only a year old when Ann called to tell me about her surgery. She said, “My surgery is tomorrow and I’m scared as hell. Please pray for me. I’ve heard bad stories about such surgeries. I don’t want to end up as one of those stories.” It was late in the night. Considering the tone of her message, I realized she needed someone to talk to. I called her on the phone, spoke to her for about an hour, and wished her well. The next day she sent a message telling me the surgery was successful. She added, “The whole thing leaves me more worried than before.” I asked why and she said, “The doctor advised that I should give birth in the next year or two else the tumor may grow again. He said if I don’t take care it may prevent me from giving birth in the future.”
I understood her problem. She had no boyfriend and her age was something that bothered her. She didn’t see herself giving birth in a year or two because she didn’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a husband to impregnate her. During a conversation one day she said, “If I decide to wait until I get married before giving birth, I might not give birth at all. It’s now or never.” I asked how she was going to do it, she said, “I will find a man who’s appealing, get pregnant with him and leave quietly without telling him.” I told her, “That too can work. After all, you have a well-paid job and can take care of your child all alone.”
One day, while in her room all alone with her, passions went high and we finally succumbed to the desires of our flesh. It was like we wanted to devour each other. From there, it became a full-blown affair. We were doing it wherever we could find ourselves alone, we didn’t care where that place was. And then one afternoon, during the action, she asked, “What could be the worst-case scenario when the two of us secretly give birth?”
You don’t discuss serious matters with a man in the middle of a ‘journey’ especially when he’s at the edge of ‘coming’. I responded, “As far as nobody knows about it, fine.” After everything, I came back to my senses. I asked her, “Wait, did you mean it when you said we should have a child? I mean, you were serious about it?” She answered, “Yeah I’m serious about it. That is if you don’t mind. You won’t have any fatherly responsibilities. I would take care of the baby myself and it won’t even bear your name.”
At that moment, I didn’t say anything to her. In her mind, silence means consent. She thought I had consented but in my mind, I was running away, never to return to the affair again. I started avoiding her calls and doing everything not to see her again. I’d seen her mind and I didn’t want to father an illegitimate child. At some point, she stopped calling. I thought that was the end of us until one day she sent a message, “I’m pregnant. I didn’t want to tell you but it’s only fair that you know so you can live your life knowing the total number of kids you have.”
I called her immediately and she picked. I told her. “No, we can’t have it. Ann, we can’t have such a child. You know my wife and she knows you. Someday, the truth may come out and she won’t judge you fairly. Don’t be selfish. The right man will come along, don’t waste your chances on this illicit affair.” It was like I was talking to a piece of wood. She listened to my rants and quietly hung up the phone. I tried on several occasions to meet her and talk but she didn’t meet me. She applied for a transfer from her work and she was transferred to the Northern region.
When she gave birth, she sent me a photo with the inscription, “He’s a boy.” I had been married for three years without a child. A piece of me died looking at the baby and thinking of the kind of future he was going to have. “Such a beautiful boy. Too bad I can’t play any meaningful part in his life.” That realization made me sad but on the other side, I was happy knowing our inability to have a baby wasn’t my fault because I have proof that I can shoot and kill. I sent money to Ann through MoMo, the next minute she sent the money back and sent me a message; “You don’t need to play any fatherly role, remember?”
I’ve kept this secret so tight to my chest while I and my wife are still struggling to have a child of our own. I can’t predict the end of things and don’t know what the future holds. Maybe the truth may come out one day. Maybe, we may die with it but if the unexpected happens and the truth comes out, I only pray it doesn’t break my wife’s heart to the extent that she would ask for a divorce. She’s everything to me now and I pray when that time comes, she would learn to forgive.