Single at 48 – I can’t believe it! This isn’t something any woman would wish for but here I am clocking 50 in two years’ time and I can’t even boast of a boyfriend!
I have been single for several years now. It was a plan at the beginning to focus on my career but it became a problem at some point. I always told friends and relatives who advised that I got married that the right man would find me no matter my age. But it hasn’t been that easy.
The brave face is only for them to see but the loneliness is the reality that I deal with daily. There have been times when I have stayed indoors and wept. It gets worse on my birthday each year, and days like Valentine’s. When I put on my radio and all that I hear is talk about love, when I switch on the television, all that is shown are various commercials telling people’s successful love stories.
But how did I get here…hmm! It’s a long story.
Like any other teenager I had a dream. My dream was to study hard and become one of the best doctors in the country. A profession I got interested in by playing doctor roles in school dramas. I was told it was impossible for an average student to become a doctor so I worked harder to be one of the best students in my school. Everything was on course until the unfortunate thing happened.
I got pregnant. A regrettable part of my life – getting involved with a man at the age of 15. There is very little one can do after the harm is caused. I disappointed myself, my late father and my mother. I remember how excited she was about this whole doctor thing! hmm…
We depended on the little money she made from selling fish at the market. We lost my dad when I was very young and I do not have any siblings. She did not remarry and my mother always told me I was her only hope. She promised to see me through my education with her last penny. I remember how I used to assure her that I would make her proud one day. But eventually, I let her down. Ah! If only I could turn back the hands of time!
All her warnings fell on deaf ears. I ignored all the pieces of advice she woke me up at dawn to offer. I thought she talked too much, she would share some regrettable experiences with me but I ignored all those. I used homework as excuses to go out each night to hang out with my friends.
The most surprising thing about it all is that she barred me from going out on the night the baby was conceived but I managed to escape while she slept.
Although I saw some changes in my body, I did not know about the pregnancy until she noticed the changes and started questioning me. With a critical look at my palm and my eyes one evening, she shook her head and said nothing. She woke me up at dawn the following day.
“Efua, I am you mother and you know I love you, right?” She asked.
I nodded and she continued…“You are pregnant and I need you to tell me who is responsible,” she stated.
I starred at her like a confused student would stare at a teacher. Then she added “I won’t harm you…trust me. I need to know who is responsible, please. Talk to me.”
Truth is, I was surprised and did not know what to say. But later, I mentioned my boyfriend’s name and explained to her that he was the only man I had had sexual encounter with. We went to see a nurse friend of hers and she confirmed I was four months pregnant. Abortion was not an option.
My boyfriend, Owuraku was 17 years old and was in the same class as me. Unlike me, his parents were both alive. His dad, Mr Ofori-Amakwah was a lawyer and a very respectable man in the neighbourhood.
But guess what? Owuraku denied impregnating me when his father asked him. hmm! He did. And no words can describe how it felt to hear him tell that lie.
My mother could not take it because she knew I was telling the truth. She wept bitterly when we went back home, called out my daddy’s name repeatedly. She believed things would have been different if my dad were alive. I thought she would be angry with me after all I had caused her but no, she wasn’t. Like an old adage says even if a baby seems unpleasant to look at, his mother never refuses him. She believed in me.
In a typical Ghanaian home like the one from which I come, the girl would have been thrown out of the house or forced on the man responsible for the pregnancy. But I thank God that did not happen to me.
Owuraku’s parents sent him abroad to study soon after the confrontation at their house.
I quit school because of the pregnancy. I feared being mocked by my mates at school. It was just some few months to the Basic Education Certificate Examination but I could not go to school with the pregnancy.
I delivered safely when the time came. It was a miracle that there were no complications because I visited the anti natal clinic just about twice throughout the pregnancy. There was no money.
My mother adopted my daughter some five months after delivery. I registered and sat for the BECE the next year. I knew I could still make it and become the first doctor in my family. Like they say, it is only when you are unable to dance that you say that the yard is stony and also when you are building a house and a nail breaks, you do not stop building, you change the nail.
I gained admission into the senior high school with financial help from an uncle. Over there, no one knew about my child. Some guys made advances but I played the ‘I know where I am coming from and where I am going card’ and pushed them all away.
My mother came along with Aseda (My daughter) every time she visited me at school but my friends thought she was my kid sister. Interesting right?
It was easy to say that because she grew up so fast. She took after me-her looks, how she talked – she was just my carbon copy as my mother would always say. And she was a very smart kid as well.
Aseda was my joy and a look at her and my mother encouraged me to work harder. I got a part time job as a hotel receptionist after senior high school. It was not easy working at that age, closing at odd hours sometimes but it was all good because it prepared me well for the future.
The hotel job was to help me make some money to apply at the medical school. But I fell in love with the hotel job. At this point, I decided to abandon my doctor dream and acquire some more skills and remain in the hotel management field. The challenges I faced working at that age were enormous.
At times, men who visited the hotel made advances at me but I was more focused and did not fall for any of those. Some senior staff of the hotel would threaten to get me fired if I refused them my body but I survived it all.
I enrolled at a hotel management school and worked on weekends and in the nights. I had also started a small events management company with a colleague at work – Sally. She took care of our gigs when I was on duty and I did same when she was.
I was in my early twenties and the main focus was still to succeed in life. Marriage was the last thing on my mind. My mother was against my decision. Her thought had always been that Aseda would be better with a mother and a stepfather than a single mother. But I argued that she was the reason why I was working hard. I made sure she did not lack anything.
She was about seven and one day she got back from school with a big question. She hit my mother with the bomb and mom told her to reserve it for me. I got home that night very tired and as usual I thought she was asleep so I walked up to her side of the bed planted a kiss on her forehead and realised she was awake.
I asked if everything was okay with her. She said yes and got up to sit on the bed, then said “Mummy where is my dad? My teachers said I should ask you his name and where he is.”
I sat by her and told her her father’s name and told her to tell anyone who asks her about her father that he had travelled. She nodded and went to sleep.
After that night, I started thinking about settling down with a man-at least to fill the fatherhood gap in my daughter’s life. But none of the men that came my way was the type I wanted to settle with.
I wanted to experience the good things I saw and heard about people’s relationships which made me want to go into a relationship but another part of me said the time had not come yet. I would read every book about relationships and imagine myself doing the things some characters in some of the books did but then I hadn’t met my ‘perfect man’ yet.
On days when some of my colleagues had their boyfriends picking them up after work, I wished I had one. And men kept asking me out but they were too short, too tall, too out-going, too reserved or even too handsome for my liking!
I recall when Sally and her boyfriend hooked me up with her man’s friend. They planned a double date and I got to know about it only after I arrived at the place. Although I did not like the idea, James’ broad-shouldered dark-skinned stature halted my gaze and made me want to hang out. His good sense of humour got me cracking up all night.
I had a real good time with him whenever we were together but…yes there was a but. I thought he was just good at seducing women with his good looks. All he was interested in was sex-he was a player.
He said all his friends were females, he hardly called me, and he professed his love for me a million times but acted differently. And the worst of it all, he flirted with other ladies even when I was with him – I caught him several times! And of course he apologized every time and said it wasn’t going to happen again but it did. Sadly I had to break up with him.
I went back to focusing on my career and taking care of my daughter. I pretended as if all was okay when people talked about that part of my life. I would tell them “I don’t need any man. I am fine like this.” But truth is I needed a man seriously. I was just scared it wouldn’t end well due to my past experiences with men.
Few years after the ‘James experience’, I became the CEO of the events management company I started with Sally. She had moved to London with her husband. Business was booming and life was so good by the grace of God. I had built my own house in one of the residential areas, bought another one for my mother.
I drove the latest car at the time, enrolled Aseda in one of the best schools. I lived the life I had always prayed for but the absence of that one thing – made my life incomplete- a husband.
I don’t know what happened but men hardly approached me at that time. I started to think that maybe I did not go to the right places where they could find me so I got very active at church. I joined the prayer warriors group and attended church services and meetings regularly. I prayed, fasted and obeyed all the pastor’s instructions.
After some years of ‘no show’, I thought God’s presence was not in that church so I decided to look elsewhere. Yes desperation is the right word to use! I was in dire need of a husband.
I went as far as proposing to a man in the church – a man I would ordinarily not accept to be with. And the sad thing is that he rejected me because he did not seem to like the fact that I made the move. And I think he was scared of how I was going to treat him-with my wealth and everything…especially when he was only a high school teacher.
I heard a pastor preaching on radio one day. After the preaching, he gave out a phone number and said people with fertility problems, those looking for marriage, or with marriage problems and others should call. I noted down the number and phoned after the programme.
He directed me to church and asked me to see him personally at his office after the service the next day. He asked me to come with a bottle of water and a white handkerchief.
I went with the items as directed. Guess what happened? The pastor said for me to get a husband, he had to stay in a hotel room with me for a week. “The hotel must be close to a beach so that the spirits bothering you can enter the sea after I deliver you,” his words as I can clearly recollect.
Yes, I was desperate but I wasn’t ready to sleep with a married pastor? Did you just ask how I figured out what he was going to do at the hotel? Well… I don’t think God will answer any prayers that are said in a beach side hotel room faster than a prayer said in the church.
I forgot about it and continued to pray on my own. Like my mother keeps saying, the right man will come at the right time. “Continue to look up to God,” were words that were never absent from her speech whenever we talked about it. But the clock kept on ticking, I was getting older by the day and I was worried especially with the fact that I had only one child.
On my fortieth birthday, I was so sad. Aseda had travelled to the USA to study law so she wasn’t around. She was almost twenty-five years and I had explained to her what her father did. I suggested that we went to see Owraku and his family, get a paternity test to prove that she was his daughter but she refused to go.
She said she did not need anything from him and did not want to have anything to do with a man who denied her. She has been so angry with him that she does not want to hear anything about him. It worried me so much that she hated her father but she deserved to know the truth.
At times, I blame myself for the absence of a father in Aseda’s life. Maybe I should have looked for Owuraku later to find out why he denied the pregnancy but another part of me said since he hadn’t come to see me and the child it meant he still did not consider himself father of Aseda.
She came home with a man when she was about 28 years old. A young man she met in the States. It was so fulfilling to see her get married. They both went back to live in the United States after their wedding.
As happy as I was for my sweet daughter, I still had my problem to deal with after she left. I stayed indoors and wept the whole day. Then I thought…“If tears could solve this problem, I would have been married to the best man right now because I had cried enough.”
Of course someone might say that not every woman on this earth will get married – true. But that is not my portion.
Marriage has been part of my resolutions for years. And I continue to add it each year. Maybe in the past I deceived myself with the ‘I have stopped thinking about it’ statement but this time, I knew it was real.
Nothing is impossible with God. I believe a miracle will happen soon. It has not been easy but I have been consoling myself with the fact that I still made it in life despite getting pregnant at 15. Now all I do is pray. I pray 24/7 and wait on God.
This is what someone put in Asiedua’s chest- A true life story.
Pastor Mensah Otabil once said he does not believe that experience is the best teacher. He said what if your experience kills you?
Where would you be to learn from it? So he said experiences of other people are the best teachers. So when things happen to people, you observe and learn from them. I believe many people can learn from the experiences of others.
If you have an exprience-good or bad- to share, kindly send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org\ email@example.com