Millie was beside herself with joy when the day she had been praying towards for months came to pass: the day Dave asked her to marry him. They had been dating for close to eighteen months.
Millie wasn’t really convinced if he had the prospects of being the one till she came to know that Dave was no stranger to the United Kingdom. Her eyes got all dreamy when he told her he intended to settle down in the UK. She had always wanted to visit the Queen’s land. Her visa application was bounced four good times after an uncle sent her an invitation. She decided to forget about it; perhaps it wasn’t her time. But hearing the magic ‘I love you’ words from Dave, she quickly said she felt the same way; already imagining herself in the plane landing on English soil.
But he would never pop the question. What was holding him back, she had no idea. She tried bringing it up in their conversations but he’d brush it aside saying he had some things to sort out first before he’d settle down for real. He looked economically stable to her. His apartment was well furnished. Maybe he wasn’t sure about her, she thought. So she decided to prove to him what a wife material she was. She would go to the market and shop just to prepare his favorite dishes (she had to ask for help about some of the recipes: that was how serious she was about it). He did show his appreciation for her efforts but that didn’t seem enough for him to take the next step.
Was there another woman? She hadn’t had any reason to think so but one can never be too sure with men especially the traveling type. After a few tests and stalking trips, Millie was convinced that he wasn’t seeing anyone else; on this side of the globe at least. Whenever he traveled to the UK, communication was a bit on the low side and that got her worried but he always returned with fashion goodies and that was more than enough for her to forgive his shortcomings.
So when he finally got down on one knee holding the cute ring, it was way overdue for her. Excited was an understatement for her reaction that day. She was going to the UK!
But an unpleasant surprise awaited her. A few weeks to the wedding, Dave informed her that he wanted to settle down at home instead. Was he kidding her? In order not to appear as a social climber, she swallowed her disappointment and decided to pray for a change of his heart instead. If it was the act of the witches in her family standing in her way to go abroad and hindering her progress in life, then fire should burn them from above!
A few days to the D day and Dave still hadn’t changed his mind. Had she made life too comfortable for him here in Ghana? Maybe she should remind him of the roller coaster ride the economy was on and how the currency kept fluctuating like the ‘dumsor’ status of their electricity. He got her to calm down when assured her of moving them there. Ha! The plans of her enemies had failed!
Little did she know that his reluctance to go back to the UK was because he was trying to hide from someone. About ten months after being legally declared as husband and wife, Millie returned home from work to find some white woman in their living room. She couldn’t help but show her puzzlement since Dave had failed to mention that he was expecting someone and a white lady of all.
“Hello, are you here to see my…?” Dave rushed in.
“Hi Millie. It’s good you’re here. Let me introduce you. Honey, this is…”
“Millie? Your sister, right?” she said with a broad smile. Millie frowned. She wasn’t that familiar with the accent but she was sure she heard the word ‘sister.’ She glanced at her husband who chuckled nervously.
“Yeah, Debby; this is Millie, my sister. Millie, meet Debby; my wife.”
Was this a dream? Then it was time to wake up because she wasn’t enjoying it. She stared at the woman and then back at him. Was this a joke? Debby extended her hand.
“Nice to meet you, Millie. Your brother has told me nice things about you. He also told me your sad story; about you having to move in here because your husband passed and his relatives threw you out of your home. That must have been a terrible experience. My condolences on your husband’s passing,” she said. When Millie looked at her sorry, coward and lying excuse of a husband, her eyes filled with tears of fury.
“Sorry I had to tell her. I had to explain why another woman was living with me. Forgive her reaction, she gets emotional when she is reminded of the pain she went through,” Dave said.
“Of course; I’m sorry for upsetting you. I’d go in and take a nap. It was nice meeting you, Millie. I do hope you and I become friends.” Millie forced a smile and Debby left the room.
“Shush! I’m sorry about the bombshell. This was impromptu. I had no idea she’d show up here like this. I promise to tell you everything. For the meantime, I’ve sent your things to the boys’ quarters. You can stay there for the meantime.” “What? I should leave my matrimonial home and bed and go to the boys’ quarters?”
“Well if you care to know, she provided the funds for me to buy this place. So she can’t be the one to stay there.”
“Why did you call her your wife?”
“Lower your voice, Millie. She is my wife. That is how I got my immigration papers sorted out. That is why I didn’t want to go back. Someway somehow she found me here.”
“So how long is she staying?”
“Considering her luggage, it would be a while and there’s another news. She has a son for me.”
“Are you kidding me? Well, I also have news. I’m pregnant. Just got it confirmed today. I was excited to come share the news with you and you meet me with this!”
“Don’t worry; we’ll sort it out. But you need to stay at the boys’ quarters. For now.”
What had she done to herself? She was angry beyond words but what could she do?
She figured she could stomach the humiliation till she left but found out it wasn’t going to be easy. She forgot how overt whites were about displaying affection and how uncomfortable she felt having to witness another woman kissing her husband every chance she got. She wasn’t sure what Dave had told Debby about her but she thought it was okay to send her on errands. She was already battling her situation and she also had to play the part of the housemaid? That was the last straw.
As she lay on her bed fuming after having to endure vegetable washing instructions from You-know-who in the kitchen, a thought struck her. This shouldn’t spell doom for her. Obviously, her marriage to Dave was clearly compromised. But that didn’t she could reap something good for herself. She could still go to the UK and leave her coward husband with his ‘obroni’ wife here. It was only a matter of time till Debby discovered what an emotional fraud Dave really was. But the time she did, she would already be on the land where snow fell and trains actually worked!
She swallowed what was left of her dignity by sucking up to Debby and convincing her to help her out to go to the UK. Debby was more than glad to do so. Obviously, she wanted the entire house to herself and Millie was more than eager to trade it away.
“What is this I hear about you wanting to travel outside?” Dave asked Millie. He didn’t sound pleased with that.
“That’s my exit plan, Mr. Polygamous. If I’m to have a heartbreak, it would be better to nurse it in the white man’s land, right?”
“And our baby?”
“Your mean your nephew or niece? Don’t worry, I’ll send you pictures. And don’t think you’d be spared having to pay for child support.”
“You can’t leave me here all alone.”
“Oh yeah? You’re the one who’s having his bed warmed every night. Have you stopped to consider how hard this whole drama has been on me?”
“Don’t worry about that, Millie. I’ve started to convince her to go back to look after our son. Things will soon go back to normal.”
“Oh no, don’t drive her away. Her rightful place is by her husband. I’d advise you ask her to bring the boy down so you can all live happily ever after but only after I have left the shores of Ghana.”
“Please reconsider,” he pleaded.
“Sorry, can’t hear you. You were saying?”
Millie was beginning to think that she was being punished for getting married for travel purposes by the recent turn of events but the opportunity she had found made her reconsider that. She was proud of herself for locating an opportunity in her rather crisis situation. In all things, give thanks to God, right?
Unfortunately, Millie’s plan wasn’t going to pan out. Fortunately or unfortunately, Debby happened to chance on one of the wedding photos Dave and Millie had taken. Furious and disappointed, Debby packed out of the house and headed back home.
Millie came back from work and Debby nowhere to be found.
“Hello brother, where is dear Debby?” “She’s gone.” “What do you mean, gone?” “Gone back to the UK.” Millie dropped her bag.
“Why, what happened?”
“She found one of our wedding photos. I couldn’t lie my way out of that. She got angry and packed out. She said she’ll mail me the divorce papers.”
Millie knew the usual expected reaction was to be of relief but she was saddened by the news. The one person who could help her out of this country had left and wouldn’t want to hear from her after finding out they had been deceiving her all this while.
“I can’t believe you sabotaged my plan to travel to the UK,” Millie accused.
“Seriously? That’s your initial thought? I thought you’d be happy.”
“About what, having you all to myself? Oh please…that sibling stunt you pulled made every love I felt for you evaporate out of my heart. I was really looking forward to starting over.”
“With our baby?” “Your mean your sister’s baby?” “Come on Millie; I’m sorry. At least we can start all over. I really love you and I want to stay with you instead of Debby.”
“Are you implying Debby finding the photo wasn’t accidental?”
“I can’t believe you!”
“Listen, I know you really want to go to UK and I promise I’ll find a way to get you there, okay?”
“I was beginning to imagine my child having an English citizenship.”
“Do you choose UK over your husband?” Mille stared at her husband guiltily. Her number one motivation of marrying him was the prospects of traveling there and it now seemed it might never happen.
“Can’t I have both?”
“Of course you can. If you choose me first, I’ll make it a goal to make it happen for you.”
“I promise. If only you’ll forgive me for lying to you.” Millie considered the offer. She really didn’t have much of a choice. She was married to him and carrying his baby. Even if she eloped to the ends of the earth, she’d still need his help.
“Okay, I forgive you.”
“That’s my girl.”
Did he fulfil his promise? Take a wild guess.
*Obroni– white person
*Dumsor– frequent electricity outages
© Josephine Amoako 2016