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LifeStyle of Friday, 28 February 2020


Living with the enemy

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My wife’s Junior sister came to live with us a few months after we got married. The idea was to help her sister and also provide company in times when I was out. I had no problem with that. She was a good girl and knew how to keep the house and also avoid being in people’s spaces. But a few weeks after she came around, I started losing money in and around the house.

It started with my wallet. I hardly count the money I keep in my wallet but I know how I arrange them. The higher denomination at the back, followed by the next highest denomination till the least paper denomination. Some days, I would go through my wallet and a whole denomination was missing. They’ve gone extinct when I hadn’t made any purchase. I would stand there, think so hard and track the whole day’s activity trying to remember where and how I spent those denominations.

Most times I only had to accept that I’ve spent them though I had no recollection of how I did spend such an amount. It continued for a while. Since they were not large sums of money, I mostly ignored them or some times assumed it was my wife who had taken the money to buy something for the house. I kept ignoring but I was concerned.

One weekend, I came home with my tithe money. The idea was to put them in an envelope the next day and send it to church. I picked my wallet the next day and realized my wallet had grown lean. Just one night and the wallet had decreased from size sixteen to size eight. “Ah, what happened to my money? Who had taken money from my wallet?”

My wife’s sister came to mind.

You see, situations of such nature are difficult to handle. The suspect was my wife’s sister. If I don’t handle it with tact, they might end up saying I’m trying to drive the girl away from my house because she isn’t my relative. Family dynamics in marriage are hard to deal with so I called my wife and asked about the money. She said, “You know I can’t take your money without telling you. No way in hell would I do that. But Are you sure you came home with such an amount?”

I didn’t know how to answer her; “You mean I’m so daft I don’t know the amount I carry around in my own wallet?” I was waiting for her to bring her sister into the discussion but she never mentioned her. I told her, “We are the only people in this house and, to be honest with you, this is not the first time this is happening to me. Does that mean some other people have access to this house?”

She responded, “Ama also lives with us. Let’s ask her if she has any knowledge about the missing money.” She called her in. She asked her, “My husband can’t find a certain amount he brought home yesterday. Have you by any chance found it anywhere?” She responded. “No.” That was all. She didn’t take it. Life goes on.

It didn’t stop. I kept losing money every now and then. I told my wife, “The way things are going, I don’t want your sister to get the impression that I’m trying to pick on her. My money keeps missing and she’s not the one stealing it. You are also not the one and I can’t also steal my own money. Please do something before things escalate here.

A week later, we sent her packing.

But we still needed someone around so this time around, she brought her aunt’s daughter. She had completed senior high and waiting for her results. She was also helpful until things started going the same way again. Money kept missing and we didn’t know who was stealing it. My wife also started complaining about her money getting missing. “Or there’s some evil spirit in this house who had been coming to steal money from us?” My wife queried.

Again, we have to call the girl and question her. Her answer was this, “I’ve never stolen in my life and this is not the time to start.” My wife was livid. This time her money was involved so I could understand why she was livid.

I remember the look in the girl’s eyes the day we were sending her away. She was crying and there was some honesty in her eyes. I could believe her but my wife was convinced she was the one stealing the money. I wanted to give her some time to be sure but my wife insisted we send her away so we did.

I became very protective of the money I brought home. I locked my wallet. I kept extra money in my office drawer instead of bringing it home. Things were normal. No one was losing money again. Maybe the evil spirit that was stealing from us had traveled.

My senior brother and her wife came to visit my home one day. They were attending the wedding of a friend and decided to spend the night with us. All night we were together in the hall, watching tv and chatting the night away. My wife said good night and left us. The three of us continued chatting until late before we went to sleep.

In the morning, my senior brother called me on the side and said, “This is hard to say but you’re my brother and I hope you’ll understand me. “Last night when we were at the hall watching TV, you remember I went inside for a while and came back. I went to take a pee. When coming out of the washroom, I saw your wife dashing out of our room. I didn’t think much of it but this morning, the money we put in an envelope for the wedding couple is short by GH?550. The money in my wallet had been reduced to half and my wife’s purse had been tempered with.”

I didn’t know what to say. I was so shocked words eluded me. I asked him, “You said you saw my wife coming from your room?” “Yes I did,” he answered. “She was so swift as though something was after her but I thought she went in to fix something for us so I didn’t think much about it until this morning when we realized what had happened.”

I went inside the room and brought my wife. I wanted to hear her version too. I asked her, “My brother here says you went to their room last night. What did you go there to do?” She was standing still, shaking. I asked again, “Where are the things you picked from their room?” Again, she said nothing. My brother said, “No need to settle it here. Do it as a husband and wife do. It is well.”

After my brother and his wife had left, we continued the discussion. She confessed and brought the money she stole. plus a necklace she took from the purse of my brother’s wife. I was so ashamed I didn’t know what to say to her. I asked her why and she started apologizing; “It will never happen again, please forgive me. Don’t leave me because of this please.”

She cried and cried

I made her apologize to my brother and her wife but I didn’t believe her when she said it wasn’t going to happen again. Thieves are like that. You catch them, they show remorse. Days later, they go back doing the same thing. But this wasn’t a mere thief. This thief was my wife so I had to find a way of helping out. I told her, “You can take from me. It’s our money. Just let me know before you take it.”

I’m not really bothered by what she takes from me. I can always deal with that. My only fear has been what she might take from friends or colleagues. So I told her, “If one day you get caught outside of this home that you’ve stolen anything from anyone, that day, the two of us are over.”

So far so good. Nothing had happened and I hope nothing happens until the end of our days.

— Arthur, Ghana