You guessed right. The room is a rented one. Oops! Sorry, the money for the rent is yet to be raised. But at least the mattress for the room is ready. It is what Elly’s fiancé uses in his auntie’s house. That’s all they have.
Elly called me on phone at about 4am one Tuesday, Trish, our other friend was on the line too It was very unusual and my impatient self could not wait but ask:
“El (Elly’s pet name), what’s going on, I hope all is well? Why a conference call at this time?”
“Elly, can’t this wait until the break of dawn? I slept very late and I’ve got to go to work in the morning. Can I go back to sleep?” Trish said in a rather low tone.
“Guys, guys just hear me out, okay? There is something we need to discuss and it’s about Nana and …”
Elly hardly finished when Trish interrupted “…and you, of course,” ending Elly’s statement.
“I hope he has not impregnated you?” I teased.
“What! Akosua don’t be silly. Now will you guys just shut up so I can continue?” Then the lines went dead for about two seconds.
“…So as I was saying, Nana and I are planning to get married in November, that’s like approximately two months from now. We are taking the first step this weekend-he’ll be introducing me to his family,” and I’ll do same, Elly landed.
The line went dead again, then Elly said “Why aren’t you two saying anything? Akosua…”
“Yeah I am here, just that…I just …I just…,” I stammered in my response, completely lost in thought, not knowing whether to be happy or sad for her. In her anxiety, she called out Trish. “Trish! Hello, Trish are you there? Crazy girl, she might have gone back to sleep. She did not even hang up.”
Trish had gone back to sleep, I sensed that too and said “But…Elly, your relationship is barely four months old. Don’t you think it is too early?”
“I agree with you, Akosua, but was your six-year-old relationship which just ended, worth the time you wasted?” Ouch! I felt the jaw locking jab and went numb for a while.
She knew she had hit a low blow and she gracefully apologised saying her intention was not to hurt my feeling, but rather to let me know she learnt something from my predicament.
My six-year-old, marriage-destined-relationship crumbled right before me just a month ago due to some misunderstanding. One would think that my ex-boyfriend and I knew each other well and would not have allowed a misunderstanding, as small as it was, to tear us apart. But it did. It is perfectly possible to be in a relationship with someone for years and still not know the person well. I may tell you all about that relationship one day.
And in a way, Elly was right, it wasn’t worth the time, resources and energy we wasted on it from the beginning but at least she was able to learn from it and so was I.
Back to our conversation, Elly continued: “I think that it is not a matter of how long you date the person. Someone can fake a life for as long as the courtship lasts so to me it’s not worth it. I liked him from the very first time we met and so did he. And I think that’s enough.”
“I know Elly, but they say when one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. Love alone is not enough. I am not saying you guys should court for six years but at least you should know some things about him and he should about you too. And these can only be achieved with time,” I advised.
Before Elly could say anything again, there was a sound from Trish’s end. “Oh my gosh! she mumbled in desperation. “What happened? Hello…guys are you there…hello?”
Then Elly and I burst into laughter “Ow I’m really sorry I slept off, please fill me in. What were you saying, Elly?” Trish begged.
Elly teased her about snoring into the phone and speaking in her dreams but she denied and we all laughed it off.
Trish, Elly and I became friends after we were put in the same dormitory for a term in senior high school. We were friends for the rest of our years in high school, throughout the university, national service. We are still the best of friends. Trish works at the Judicial Service Department, I am into events planning and Elly was retained at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she did her national service.
Elly, the perfectionist amongst us was against living in her father’s house after university but she had no choice. To her, living with your parents at twenty-five is like boiling an egg for three hours. She always talked about moving into her own apartment after university but her father disapproved of it.
She had not been in a serious relationship after breaking up with her high school boyfriend. At some point, she was worried that we all had boyfriends and she did not. Then a few months ago, she met her current boyfriend, Nana.
Trish is lively, a talkative and free-spirited person. She hardly sees anything wrong with anything or anybody and is always joking about serious issues. One thing about her is her brutal honesty- she says things the way they are and this has tested our friendship several times. But like an African proverb says there is no better mirror than a best friend so we always stand the tests.
“I dreamt about us o guys…it was like Elly was contesting for president of Ghana and we were standing on a campaign platform with her and chanting her name to a cheering crowd,” Trish claimed.
“hahaha hahaha hah,” Elly and I burst out in chorus when she landed.
“Trish, are you okay? Are you off your rocker? Akosua, I hope you are recording this conversation? What did you eat last night? Are you ever serious? Me for president, that’s a big joke. Enough of your silly jokes,” Elly said.
“Trish, Elly and Nana are getting married in November that’s why she called us,” I told Trish.
“Ow that’s good news, I can finally outdoor my new kente cloth…but wait o, Elly has Nana moved out of his auntie’s house now?” She quizzed.
“Not yet but he is moving out in a month’s time. He has a new job and we intend to rent a new place with part of Nana’s savings” Elly disclosed.
“Then how are you going to fund your wedding? You know your dad’s status in the country. You cannot opt for a small wedding. How are you guys going to fund that?” I asked.
“Nana’s savings and I intend to help with my savings,” Elly answered.
“Hehehee…then Nana must have saved a fortune…you want to leave your daddy’s Trassaco mansion and settle in a rented single room with a man? Omg! You must be kidding me! As for me I need not say, do I?” Trish paused to Elly’s chug and continued “I will not do that for a man, not for any man!”
“Does that really matter, Trish? Will you be serious for once? I don’t even know why I included you in this discussion. You two are asking too many questions. But on a more serious note, that’s what we have planned and I thought you should know since both of you are going to be bridesmaids” Elly replied.
“Yaaaaaay!” Trish and I responded in chorus.
“Guys I need to go, Nana, is calling…let’s talk later in the day,” she said.
“Yeah sure, I need to get ready for work, let’s talk later, take care,” I responded.
Trish said: “Alright girls, later but y’all should not forget to send me congratulatory messages…”
Elly asked why even before I could understand what Trish said. “Because my friend [Elly] is getting married soon,” she answered. Elly herself did not even ask for one.
We laughed it off and hung up. And yes I recorded the whole conversation that’s why I am able to recount everything in this piece. Elly, Trish and I do that sometimes, play back when we are together and laugh over it.
Time flew past like an arrow and before we knew it was time for the wedding. Like all true friends would do, Trish and I helped Elly prepare for her big day. It was during one of the wedding shopping days that Elly told us she and Nana rejected her father’s offer to help them.
“He said he would buy us a house at our preferred location and sponsor our wedding but after thinking through it, we rejected it,” she noted.
Surprisingly, Trish backed Elly on this and said she was with her on anything that would make her happy. But honestly, I thought Elly should have taken the offer. “He was only trying to be a good dad, Elly…I think you made a mistake and if it is not too late…call him and take it,” I advised.
And I remember her giving me some lecture about how taking the offer would have taken the man out of her husband, a decision that will haunt their marriage forever. She even entertained the thought that her father could use that to control her marriage. Really?
“How is that going to happen?” I quizzed but she shut me down and said she made the right decision by not accepting the offer. I kept quiet and we moved on.
Guess what? The wedding came out better than we expected it to and it was a great honour to stand behind my BFF and watch her say ‘I do’ to the love of her life, the one with little, in fact, nothing but means everything to her.
Photo Credit: Instagram/Oneclickphotos
We heard from Elly that the beginning of their life together was not easy but they gradually braved the storm. She even recounted how they would project Nana’s laptop with an office projector and watch movies because they did not have a television set.
“It was basically our suitcases, two sofas, a centre table, a rice cooker and a table-top fridge. We slept on the mattress without a bed, ate rice and ‘shito’ (black pepper) for about a month after we moved into the new apartment. And I am glad that we began our lives like that and as long as I was okay with it, Nana was too” Elly said.
It’s been eight months since Elly and Nana got married and things have changed, yes, a lot! They now live in a house they acquired after Nana’s promotion at work. They bought their household items one after the other until they had everything they needed in their home, she said. Their soul mate stature, and fairy tale love story have been nothing less than a success so far.
A saying goes like if you wait until you are ready you could be waiting for the rest of your life but my question is, does this apply to marriage? Is Elly and Nana’s style advisable for any new couple or not everyone would be as fortunate as they were?
I bet many of us have similar stories or even worse to share. Should a man, own a house or car before thinking of proposing to a woman? And how prepared should a woman be to go into marriage?
A Marriage Counsellor and Life Coach, Amos Kevin-Annan said marriage is a journey of unknown discoveries, and both parties should be physically prepared, spiritually, emotionally prepared to embrace everything that comes with it.
Financially, Mr Kevin-Annan believes both partners should have predictable sources of income to support each other.
“Some people do not have bank accounts (any savings) yet they want to get married, how can you fend for yourself, let alone support your partner? Yes, it is good to have faith sometimes but faith cannot pay bills.”
Also, the Life Coach advised that both parties should be clear in their minds about what they want and be ready to stand on their feet and start a life away from their parents.
“And most importantly, both of them should be ready to learn new things and unlearn old things and develop spiritually, except for those with an exceptional upbringing- having either a silver or golden in their mouth. Those may have a different start-up in life,” Mr Kevin-Annan added.
A lot of my friends say they are not ready for marriage- (emotionally, financially and in fact everything with a ‘lly’ trailing behind it).
Some of them have sworn only to get married after they have acquired their master’s degrees. But are all these necessary requirements for marriage? A penny for your thoughts.
The story is fiction by Akosua Asiedua Akuffo, an Online Journalist at Myjoyonline.com.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Patricia.email@example.com
Twitter / Instagram handle: @asieduaschest