I had come from work that evening. I looked around the house and my boyfriend wasn’t around. “He should be here,” I said to myself. I called him on the phone and he didn’t pick. I called him several times and he didn’t pick. I began to worry. “What’s happening? How could he not pick my calls?” I kept calling and calling until late night when he sent me a message; “Stop calling me. It’s over between us. You can go ahead with Joe now that I’m out of the picture?” I called him and he picked;
“What are you talking about? Who’s Joe?”
“You think I don’t know? For the past two months, I’ve been reading your messages so I know what I’m talking about.”
“Dear, I can explain. Please don’t take it the wrong way.”
“What can you explain? That you didn’t spend a weekend with him when you told me you were traveling to see your parents? What do you want to explain?”
“Just come and let’s talk. There’s a lot to explain to you.”
He hung up the phone on me and that was the last proper conversation we had before our six years relationship came to an end. But how did we get here? How did we get to the point where he caught me cheating and who’s Joe?
I and Nana were both fresh out of school when we fell in love. We were both doing our national service. Our love didn’t know who was wrong or who was right. We fought and made up like all lovers do but the most important thing was, we both stayed true to each other. After the national service, I was maintained at the place where I did my service. Nana wasn’t maintained but he succeeded in getting a job elsewhere. It wasn’t a full-time job. He was taken on a contract basis which was annually renewable. The pay was good and we started making plans for the future.
After three years on the job, Nana’s contract was not renewed. He had to move around looking for a new job. A year later, he couldn’t find a job. He couldn’t continue paying his rent so he had to move his things back to his parents’ house. Some days he came to my place to spend some days. My place was also his place. He could come there at any time he wanted even without telling me. He had his own keys and I had mine. We were like a married couple.
One year turned to two years and Nana still didn’t have a job. I’ve never seen a desperate guy in my life like Nana. At some point, he said, “Or I should go and do sakawa? I have a lot of friends doing that and they all look fine.” I told him, “Just be patient. At the right time, things would be better.” He asked for money and I gave him. Sometimes I looked at him and figured out what he needed and was not telling me. I would go out there and get that for him. He loved me for that and I also loved him for his fighting spirit.
At some point, I realized I had to help with the job search. I spoke to the HR of our company and left his CV, just in case an opening comes up and he fits. I spoke to anyone I came into contact with, sometimes lying to them that I had a brother in the house who need a job desperately. All the people I spoke to promised to help. Some did and of course, some didn’t care. It had been three years since Nana stayed in the house without a job. At some point, he stopped coming around. He saw himself as a burden on me and didn’t like that. Men want to be in control but in this case, he couldn’t be in control because he didn’t have what it took to be in control.
I didn’t stop. I kept trying for him. One evening, he called me on the phone and he was almost in tears. He said, “Even my own parents are turning against me. They don’t understand why I can’t get a job. They’ve started picking up on me, calling me lazy as if it’s my fault that I can’t get a job.” I felt pity for him and sensed how frustrated he sounded on the phone. I told him, “Why don’t you come around and cool off for a while? Just rest around. Remember this is your place too.” He promised to come around the next morning.
Desperate times require desperate actions. I knew someone who could help. Joe. I had not called him all this while because I knew what I had to give to get Joe to help. I was simply not ready. Joe was someone you could call a big man though he looked tiny. I met him at a seminar where he was the invited guest. After his presentation, I went to see him, to build a network with him. We exchanged contacts and the next time we spoke he said, “I love you. I fell for you the very moment I saw you.” Why do these men always behave that way? You see them as role models until you try to get close to them and then they throw all their principles in the dustbin and begin to go into the gutters with you.
He pursued me for a long time but I didn’t give in. But we were not in normal times. My boyfriend needed a job by all means before he did something stupid to himself so I went back to Joe, telling him my problem and asking him to help me. It was like entering the lion’s den to ask for a piece of its meat but a girl had to do what a girl has to do. After telling him everything, he told me, “But this is not an issue. There are plenty of places where I can fix him. I can make a call today and tomorrow he’ll be gainfully employed but you don’t want to play ball with me. How can I play ball with someone who isn’t willing to kick when the ball is in her court?”
He spoke in parables and I understood clearly. That wasn’t the first time. I knew what he wanted. That night when I came back home, I saw Nana sleeping on the couch with his hand tucked between his thighs. Miserable man. When life begins to kick you around, it kicks you so hard that you become miserable even in your sleep. You start to feel so small so you begin to act so small. It was a couch. He could have spread himself up and occupy the couch fully but he tucked his hands in. He didn’t think he deserved all the space on the couch. Sad. I didn’t wake him. I went inside the bedroom and slept.
I started talking to Joe, accepting his proposal so I could get what I wanted. He didn’t like to chat a lot so we spoke on the phone very often. The messages Nana said he read were just the tip of the iceberg. I started dating Joe and the height of it was the weekend I spent with him while he was attending a conference I really loved to attend too. I wasn’t qualified so the only means I could attend was to go Joe’s guest. It was a great weekend, not for me but Joe and he started ranting about how good the weekend was and how he enjoyed being with me and all. All that was a Whatsapp conversation and those were the ones I believe Nana read.
I gave his CV to Joe and a day or two later, he said he had given it to a friend who had given him his word that he was going to work on it but it would take some time since the role wasn’t available yet. Great. I kept bombarding him about it and he kept telling me to be patient. “They’ll call him very soon. Just wait and see. And tell him to exercise some patience,” He told me.
Unfortunately, they didn’t call Nana as soon as he wanted it and that was the time he also took interest in going through my phone to read messages. The devil finds work for the idle man indeed. While I was tired and asleep, he was busy going through my phone.
A month after he sent me that breakup message, Joe called me and asked, “Has he told you that he had been called?” I said, “No he hasn’t told me anything.” He said, “Maybe he’s trying to surprise you. He’s starting work at the beginning of the month.” I gave a very huge sigh of relief. I knew he was going to call me, to at least tell me that he had gotten a job. I waited for that call and to date, that call never came. He knows it was through me that he got the job because I told him about it. What he didn’t know was that the job was given him because of my affair with Joe.
Now both of us are liberated. He has his job and I have my freedom from Joe.
Joe wanted to marry me after everything. I could have given him a chance but I didn’t trust him to be faithful. He was desperate for me to be his wife. He got me a new place and paid three years’ rent. He traveled with me to conferences, both abroad and locally. He was doing all that for me to agree to marry him but I didn’t. I knew him too well and the red flags were too glaring for me to give him that forever chance in my life. So, I continued saying no until he gave up on me.