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LifeStyle of Monday, 22 June 2020


#WhyIRemovedMyRing: It’s a ring I shouldn’t have worn

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Day by day I think of that guy I met that day and ask myself, “What if I wasn’t wearing that ring? Would he or would he not…?” Well, I can’t tell but to date, it fills me with regret knowing I didn’t give myself the chance to witness what could have been.

I was very young when our church prophet prophesied good things into my life. He said he saw a great future ahead of me. He saw riches abound and most importantly, he saw a great man by my side. My parents didn’t take the prophesy lightly. They did all they could, to ensure I stayed active in the church. To them, the prophecy would only come true if I stayed close to God and did what he desired.

So I became a church girl. There were only three places I was allowed to be; home, church, and in the mission house serving our pastor. Even after school, my parents, my dad especially, ensured I kept to the standard with which I was raised. I was a youth leader. I was a lead singer in the church. I was the treasurer for the women wing of the church. I was everywhere in the church. People respected me because of that and I was the girl your mother would wish you grew up to become.

It was a church event in another town where I met Noah. He was the president of the youth group we went to visit. I had to work together with him throughout the program. After the program, we exchanged contacts and became very good friends. Birds of a feather fly together. People of the same faith easily pitch tents together so we got closer and closer and as fate would have it, he proposed love and I accepted. It was a distance relationship so I wasn’t scared about my parents finding out and reprimanding me.

We kept our love alive. New love has a way of keeping you on your toes every day especially if the subject of your love doesn’t stay closer to you. We stayed up all night talking to each other, making plans for the future, and scheming to meet. One day I lied to my parents and traveled to the other side of town to see him. That day we kissed. That day, emotions got over us so we did what the Bible says we shouldn’t do. It was my first time but judging from the way he did it, it wasn’t his first time. I can say it was his hundredth and I wouldn’t be wrong.

I cried afterward. I regretted what I did with him but he said, “It’s like that at first so don’t worry you’ll be fine.” My parents were preparing me for the fulfillment of a prophecy but the devil in me won.

We didn’t stop talking after that. I realized I wanted him more each day. Some days I wished I could fly to him and do the whole thing again. I swore to myself, “This time I wouldn’t regret anything. I’m old enough to do what adults do” but things changed so quickly that we couldn’t have the sanity and will to have another round of sin. I missed my period for three days. I didn’t mind. Seven days later, my period didn’t come. I started getting worried. I called him, “Noah, can this once make me pregnant? Because my period is a week late.” He said, “I don’t think you’re pregnant. First sex can change your menstrual cycle so wait for a while.”

One month later, the test proved positive.

I remember calling him on the phone and crying out so loud. I remember blaming him for everything, “Noah you should have protected yourself. Noah, you knew I could get pregnant, why didn’t you do anything to prevent that? Noah, you’ve brought shame unto me. Noah, tell me, how do I face the world going forward?” He said, “Why are you talking as if it’s the end of the world? There are options. It’s not too late to avert this shame.”

I knew where he was driving. “Noah, I hope you’re not thinking of abortion?” He screamed, “Exactly what I’m thinking of. It’s the only option available to us if we want to save our face from shame.” I told him, ” Getting pregnant at this stage of my life is enough sin than I could bear. I won’t commit a murder. Let’s plan something else. We can arrange something quickly to save faces. It could be an engagement or something. Let’s think fast.”

He said, “I’m not in the position to be a father. This is something you plan very well. You don’t wake up one day and decide you want to be a father and a husband all at once. Please be reasonable. Let’s get this one off our way so we can plan a better future.”

I knew from there that I was talking to a rock. He can’t hear and he can’t change his mind. I told him I was going to keep it and nothing could change my mind. That was when he started missing my calls. He never responded to my messages. That was the sad end of a joyous beginning. When my parents got a hint of my pregnancy, they were highly disappointed and my dad was really hurt. I apologized but they wouldn’t listen. My dad told me to leave town so the church wouldn’t hear about it. It would cause him a lot of shame and even his position in the church when the elders find out.

So I left for Accra some weeks later to live with the elder sister of my mother. On my way to her place, I walked by a man selling rings. I pointed at one that looked like an engagement ring. He said, “Those comes in pairs. One for engagement and one for the wedding day.” I responded, “We are doing only engagement for now. The wedding will be in the future.” He mentioned the price and I bought it. I told myself, “I’m not going to be a pregnant woman without a man and this ring here is going to be the proof of a man in my life.”

When I got to my aunt, the ring was the first thing she spotted. She said, “So why are your parents angry? Even if it’s a promise ring, then the man has good intentions. All is not lost?” I told her point-blank, “This is a nothing ring. I bought it a few hours ago on my way here. I don’t want people looking at me and judging me. I can’t answer their questions.” She laughed and said, “There’s no shame in being pregnant. I had all my three kids out of wedlock but God has always been God to me too. Don’t mind your parents, you’ll be fine.”

For two months I stayed indoors watching how big my tummy was growing. Not only that but to also stay away from prying eyes. For several days I prayed for forgiveness from God and asked him not to hide his face away from me because of what I’ve done. I tried all I could to establish a connection with Noah. I wanted him to know I was still there for him and would be ready anytime he’ll be ready but he kept dodging contacts and didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

I was almost five months pregnant when my aunt gave me money to go shopping for baby stuff. I wore a long straight dress to cover up my belly. You have to look critically before you’ll see I was pregnant. Just when I was about to enter the shopping premises, this black SUV pulled off just right in front of me. A gentleman’s head came out of the window and signaled me to come. I thought he was someone I knew from the church or something but when I got closer to him, I realized he wasn’t someone I knew.

He asked my name and I said, Mary. He said, “Mary, please I’m parking right next to that car over there. Could you speak to me for some minutes?” There was this unknown excitement in his eyes. Like he was in a rush to tell me something. I walked to where he had parked. He said, “There’s something about you that got me to stop to look at you very well. You’re pretty and you’re different. Could you be my friend? I want us to be friends, trust me I don’t bite.”

I started fidgeting with my ring just to draw his attention to it. His eyes slowly dropped from my face to the ring then he said, “Oh I’m sorry, you’re married?” I only smiled and kept looking at him. I said, “I’m five months pregnant.” He asked, “Are you married?” I said, “I’m engaged to the one I’m pregnant for.” Suddenly his face changed. The excitement in his voice vanished. He said, “I’m sorry about that. I didn’t see your finger, forgive me.”

He stood there and watched as I left. Some steps later, I looked back and he was there looking at me. All throughout the shopping, I couldn’t get the encounter off my head. “What was pushing this man to come after me?” And I mentioned that I was pregnant twice but that didn’t bother him. Or he thought I was lying?”

After the shopping, I passed by and he was still standing there. He waved at me and I waved back. He ran towards me and said, “If you don’t mind, I’ll take you to where you’re going.” I said, don’t worry, it’s not far from here, I can manage.”

He wasn’t going to take a no for an answer so I sat in his car and he drove me home. He asked, is your husband home?” I told him, “I live with my aunt.” He asked, “Can I see her?” I was about to say no when my aunt came out. Immediately she saw me in the car she screamed, “Hey who’s that with you?” I didn’t know what to say. A friend? A stranger? But he stepped out of the car and shook hands with my aunt. He said, “I’m her friend. I met her today at the mall and decided to bring her home.”

He stayed for a while. Throughout the ten to fifteen minutes he stayed, he never took his eyes off me. He’ll look at my face, then my ring, and then back to my face. When he was leaving, he took my number and promised to call. I told him, I’ll be expecting your call.”

My aunt was curious. She wanted to know who he was. She even thought he was the guy who impregnated me. I said, “No. He’s a guy I met some hours ago.” I told her everything and how he was eager to be friends with me. She said, “The next time you speak to him, you’ll tell him the truth. It’s not for nothing that a man his caliber will follow you home. You’ll remove that ring and you’ll tell him everything. How long can you go with this deception?”

I thought about him all night. I didn’t blink once throughout the night. The thoughts of him kept me awake.

Me: “It’s true, I should have told him the truth.”

Me: “But he’s a stranger. I can’t tell him everything about me?”

Me: “Hmmm he’s cute though but will he like me if he gets to know that I’m pregnant for someone?”

Me: He didn’t care when I said I was pregnant? He likes me. Maybe he wouldn’t mind if he hears my story.”

When I got out of bed that morning, I removed that ring and flushed it down the toilet to stay down there with people’s opinions about me and my pregnancy.

For the rest of the day, I stayed on the sofa and watched the screen of my phone occasionally to see if he was calling. The whole day I watched my phone and the whole day he didn’t call. “Why didn’t I ask for his number? I would have called him and tell him the truth.”

The next day, he didn’t call. The day after, he didn’t call. I kept waiting for his call every day until the day I finally gave birth, but his call never came. I even prayed about it; “God, if it’s your will which I want it to be, kindly touch his heart to give me a call. If nothing at all, he deserves to hear that I’m not married. He was kind to me and I’ll want to reciprocate his kindness by letting him know the truth.”

I’m smiling as I write this portion of the story. It’s been seven months since I met that guy. He had never called but something tells me he’s going to call someday. I don’t know when but I know he owes me a call and I also owe him the truth.

Mary, Ghana