I was always bothered whenever my friends and I came together to talk about their love life. It was really difficult for me during those times, but I had to always pretend to be enjoying the conversation. I had never sustained a relationship for more than two months, unlike my friends who had kept theirs for years.
God being so good, I saw a fine gentleman at the mall; my beauty attracted him just as his cute self-attracted me… Before I could say, Jack, the gentleman was seated across my table and we were already chatting. I had a lengthy conversation with Darren as if we had been friends for years.
Gradually, we transitioned from friend zone to lovers with few months of getting to know each other. Darren knew how to treat me so well and always had a sweet way of calming me down whenever I was angry. So I fell so deep for Darren, to the extent that I was always scared of losing him. For the very first time in my life, I had sustained a relationship for close to 3years. I felt so proud of myself. And all through the three years of dating, Darren never gave me a reason to ever doubt him. But one time, he asked that we seal our love with a blood covenant. I outrightly turned down his offer yet he never got angry.
Oh, I didn’t tell you what Darren did for a living! He’s a car dealer… Yes, a car dealer. I know you would be asking why I didn’t date a colleague lawyer…. Love, they say, goes where love dey (is).
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At one point in our relationship, Darren was getting colder and redrawn. I pressed until he came clean about how the chunk of money he had invested in a deal had gone bad. His lifetime earnings plus a loan he took had all vanished into thin air. Charlie, the guy looked dead from the shock; even I felt the effect;
I had to step in to clear the mess and get him back on his feet. For starters, I allowed him to move in with me to save cost; I clothed, fed and did everything to truly express my love for him when it mattered most. Though I earned a colossal amount as a lawyer, the amount needed to defray the debt alone was beyond my life savings. I had to put all my other projects on hold to focus on solving Darren’s problem; I emptied almost all my bank accounts to pay off his debt and gave him money to start a business. He was so happy and I was too.
That evening, I crowned the excitement by giving him my body to do with it as he pleased; for I was convinced he is the right person. Even though the pain from my first sexual intercourse was unbearable, I was happy because I loved Darren.
Things progressed smoothly after that rough patch in his career.
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Some months later, I received a call from a lady; “my name is Gifty and I hear you’re dating my husband Darren; madam, if you love your life, stay away from him.”
The line dropped, making me miss the opportunity to tell her what was on my mind. I tried countless times to reach her but the phone number was always off. After a few days of trying without luck, I gave up reaching her. So I confronted Darren, who said he is not married to Gifty or any lady for that matter. He went on and on about Gifty being an ex-girlfriend; knowing how truthful Darren has been to me, I had no choice than to believe him.
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One afternoon, I got a text message from Darren. Before the message notification popped up, I had been trying to reach him all morning; all to no avail. The text read:
“Hello my sweetheart; God bless you for everything you have done for me. I really appreciate but right now I’m on my way to the United States of America. Thank you for your support and it’s my humble prayer you get a good man; some of us do not deserve good women like you. All the same, I love you always.”
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The message got me confused, as though it was some prank the guy was playing on me; I didn’t want to believe that signal via text was my reward for loving a man wholeheartedly. Seriously, I couldn’t deal; I wept my eyes out for weeks… Hmmm. I couldn’t do anything, not to talk of going to work… Honestly, I was traumatised. I was indoors, and the most painful thing was that I couldn’t forget all the times I shared with him; it kept playing in my head like a movie. At a point, I felt like killing myself because I wasn’t happy. But my parents, sister’s family and my best friends stuck by me.
Two years had gone by after the Darren chapter and I honestly could count the number of suitors I had ignored. Hmmm, even my parents were just tired of telling me to settle down so they stopped. My best friend Marilyn wasn’t tired because she knew I was surely going to settle down someday. My sister’s children and Marilyn’s were my only joy; they were always at my place to keep me company.
After four years, I realised I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to adopt a baby. Yep, adopt a baby from an orphanage. Sorry to disappoint you if you thought I wanted to get married, lol.
I went through the necessary processes and got myself an adorable baby girl. Clarrisa, named after my mum, grew into a beautiful young girl and I vowed to always give her the very best in life. I loved her so much to the extent that I always wanted her around me; she was never out of my sight.
So I was on my way to work one morning when Gifty called. I hope you haven’t forgotten Gifty….; yes, that lady who called me abruptly asking that I stay away from her husband. Receiving the call, I was a bit confused on why she was calling. “Why now? I’m single and not searching”, I thought.
To cut a long story short, Gifty called to apologise for wronging me and also asked if I could accommodate her for a while. I didn’t know whether to be shocked about her boldness or surprised at her shamelessness. “What the hell”, I literally vocalized in my head. “Ah well!”
I came back home to give the whole episode with Gifty a thought. Coincidentally, I figured I needed someone to take care of Clarrisa when I’m at work. Knowing my history with Gifty, I thought of the ill she could possible do my daughter versus the support I could derive from her joining us at our home. I decided to give her a try (my instinct was really leading me here).
I called Gifty in the same week to tell her I had decided to engage her as a house-help to take care of my daughter. She was excited about the offer, asking how soon she could start. I took her to my home to start work immediately.
From my bedroom upstairs, I could hear the horn of Clarrisa’s school bus firing away. I quickly got downstairs to welcome my daughter; I gave her a peck, pulling her towards Gifty. “Baby girl, I want you to say hello to auntie Gifty, our new house help.” My baby nodded in agreement.
Before Gifty could get to where my daughter and I were at, she fell all of a sudden; I froze in my tracks, without ideas on what to do next; “God what kind of trouble is this; I don’t want anyone to die in my hands….” I prayed unconsciously.
Quickly, I managed to single-handedly put her in my car and raced towards the closest hospital around Madina. Thank goodness she regain consciousness not too long after we got in. Charlie, like I go chop hot! So I left her side to go take care of my baby at home.
By the next morning, I was back at the hospital to check on Gifty. From the glass partition at her ward, I could see her talking to some hospital staff. She was looking much better I guess. Upon seeing me, she motioned that I come in; which I did. Gifty asked if she could talk to me alone. As if eavesdropping on our conversation, all the nurses left the room. I sort of panicked a bit. I braced myself for whatever she was coming to tell me….
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“Madam Kimberley, I’m very sorry for causing you all this trouble; I think you deserve to know the truth”, Gifty clears her throat again. “Your daughter Clarrisa is my biological daughter and I intentionally offered to live at your house.”
By this time, my mouth was wildly opened. “I knew it; I knew her offer to be a maid was too good to be true.”
She interrupted my thought process. “Darren left me when I told him I was pregnant for him; I couldn’t stand the pain and the shame of raising a beautiful angel like this without the love of my life. So after delivery, I pleaded with the nurse on duty to take the baby to the same orphanage you adopted Clarrisa.”
“Oh my God, what happened to me some years back is about to repeat itself….” I screamed. “Ooh, so all this while I was taking care of Darren’s daughter; all this while, I was so busy loving Darren’s blood. JESUS…hmmmmm.”
What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
Story by Maame Yaa Obbih
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