Love In The Middle Of Nowhere

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He said hello and I said hi.

That was the first day. He said, “Good to meet you here.” But I didn’t respond to that one because guys who usually slide into my DM are nothing short of a waste of time. The next day he said, “What you said in there is true but I don’t know why everyone is on your case.” I responded, “Sorry, what did I say in where?” He responded, What you wrote in the group’s timeline.” I responded, “Oh, you are in that group too?”

Conversations started.

Each day, he passed by my inbox to say or ask something. I was gracious enough to engage him whenever he came around. From the conversations and discussions we had, I could tell he was a deep fellow. He could speak from a perspective I’ve never thought of. I loved his mind. He was considerate in his assertions and he was humble to admit it when he was wrong.

I liked him. Actually, I love people who are able to meet me at the cross-point of intellectual discussions. We swayed from talking about the things that happened in the group. We talked about books we’ve read and surprisingly, he had read a lot of books I’ve read and he agreed with me on major controversial subjects. He for my contact and I didn’t think twice about it. He said, “Oh, you’re not in Ghana?” I told him, “I’m a Kenyan and live in Kenya.” He said, “But your name doesn’t sound like Kenyan.” I responded, “That isn’t my real name.”

So we moved our conversations from Facebook Messenger to Whatsapp. Few times he called on the phone and a few times we had a video call. He was a charmer. The kind of brainpower he has and the way he goes about issues made me dropped down my defenses. The day he proposed I told him, “But you don’t even know me.” He responded, “If knowing someone means seeing or meeting them physically then yeah I don’t know you but if it takes conversation and spending time with someone to know them, then dear, I know you.”

That’s cute and that’s true.

I asked him, “You are in Ghana. I’m in Kenya. How do we make this work?” He answered, “When we are too sure about each other, I can come around or you can come around. We can decide on who moves to where later when we are ready to make things permanent.” This guy never said things wrong. He had the future in mind whenever we spoke about us. I loved it. I loved him so I said yes.

That night he called me on a video with champaign in his hands. He said, “Let’s celebrate this. Go and get yourself a glass.” I got a wine glass and sat in front of my screen watching him wax beautiful lyrics of our love and the beautiful future the two of us were going to have. He poured himself some champaign and told me to lower my glass and get some. It was funny and it was sexy. He said, “Just imagine you have a drink in your glass and let’s cheer to our future.”

I lifted my glass up and he did the same. We both screamed, “Cheers” while tipping our glasses toward our screens to meet each other. He drunk his champaign and I sucked the air in my glass. It’s one of the beautiful imaginary stuff I’ve ever done. Life was imaginary. Love was made and consumed in our fantasies. For once, fantasy wasn’t for that kid who wanted wings to fly or wanted to be a cinderella and dance with the prince. Fantasy was for us two—two mature adults who should have nothing to do with that.

We were ok and love between us kept growing and growing.

I’m not a kid when it comes to love and matters of the heart. I had my first relationship when I was barely seventeen. At twenty-nine, I’ve nursed three crazy broken hearts that nearly drove me insane and there have been some guys who came and left without a trace. I know what is it to love and to hurt and to break down. I got to a point where I had to build steel walls around my heart because it needed saving. Love and relationship aren’t new to me but this one was different. And its excitement came from the fact that it deviated from the stories of all the love I’ve been in.

Early January, we started putting plans together to meet. He should have been in Kenya on Val’s day but he couldn’t. Work was demanding. Financially, he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t doing any better too. We later agreed for me to travel to Ghana in March. It should have been early March, but again, some things worked against us so I couldn’t travel in early March. He sent me money for flight and hotel accommodation for a day.

We should have heeded the signs of the time. COVID-19 had started spreading across Africa and a lot of things were changing rapidly. We were not listening to the world. We had made a lot of plans that didn’t work so we were determined not to make this one fail. I traveled from Kenya and got to Ghana on twenty-something March. At the Airport, we were told by the pilot that we were going to be quarantined for fourteen days. At the terminal, we were told that the directive came from the government a day before we arrived.

I started shaking. I called him and told him about the situation. He tried calming me down. He said, “This thing is getting serious but you stay calm until you see the end of it.” The end of it was that we were ushered into a bus and led away to some hotel in Accra. We were told not to worry about anything because we were in safe hands. “My trip to Ghana is supposed to last for fourteen days but here I am spending all the fourteen days in quarantine.”

There was nothing much I could do. I took solace in the fact that I was closer to the one I loved. Back when I was in Kenya, I always felt the huge distance between us but in Ghana, anytime we spoke or anytime we had a video call, it felt like he was just living at the next-door. I only had to open my door and he would be at the gate to welcome me. That was soothing and kept me going.

We spoke first thing in the morning. I would watch movies, eat and sleep. In the afternoon he would call me on video. When the medical team came around, I told him about it. The various test I had to run and the fear and stress that came with it. Some days I was anxious. “What if I’m positive?” Does that mean I don’t get to see him ever and ever?” But slowly the days went by. Soon there were only three days left for me to complete the quarantine. My results had come back negative but I had to wait for the last test before I could be cleared.

Two Days More To Go…

He called in the morning telling me he had to do something at work and as such wouldn’t talk to me again until evening. That was hard but I accepted it in good faith. That afternoon he didn’t call as promised. Evening came and he didn’t call. I called him on Whatsapp and he didn’t respond. All the messages I sent to him on Whatsapp were left unread. I slept knowing I would wake up the next day to the sound of his voice on the phone.

One Day To Go…

He still hadn’t responded to my messages and he still hadn’t called. “I would be leaving this place tomorrow and I can’t hear from this guy?” I tried all avenues I knew and did everything I had to do to reach him but all I met were dead ends. “Wow, what’s happening?” All of a sudden I started experiencing this nameless fear. It looked like all my hopes and dreams were crumbling down and there was nothing I could do about it.

Leaving Quarantine Hotel…

The first thing I did when I woke up was to call his phone. Switched off. I sent him a message; “Today, I leave quarantine hotel and there’s no place to go and you know I can’t go back to my country until this is over. If you can read this, kindly get back to me. I’m in a desperate position right now.” I sent it to his Whatsapp, I sent it to his Messenger, I sent it again as a Text Message. No response.

Soon the authorities were at my door asking me to get ready to leave.

I didn’t know where I was going but I couldn’t also stay at the hotel so I packed my things and joined the bus. There was this elderly woman, around fifty or fifty-eight years. We both came to Ghana on the same plane. I sat next to her on the bus from the airport to the hotel. When leaving the hotel, I saw her again. I rushed to her side and sad hello. She said hello back. She had a Kenyan accent. She looked into my eyes and asked, “Are you ok..? I shook my head. Suddenly from nowhere, tears started flowing down my cheeks.

She said, “Hey, it’s over now. We are going home. Why would you cry? You should be happy.”

She thought it was about the stress of being quarantine for that long. She thought I was broken because of that. She asked, “Where are you going?” I was chocked with tears so I couldn’t say a word. The bus arrived and we were told to get in. She said, “Stay with me. You can sit next to me so we talk.” In the bus, she asked again, in Kikuyu, “Where are you going?” I answered, “I don’t know. I don’t have anywhere to go.”

I told her my story. How love brought me all the way from Kenya to Ghana and left me in the middle of nowhere. She was shocked and disturbed at the same time. she said, “There could be something wrong somewhere with your man. Ghanaian men are not like that. I hope you have a name and some details? I will help you find him.”

It was that woman who took me in and gave me a place to stay. Her story was similar to mine. She was a Kenyan woman married to a Ghanian businessman. She said they met at a business forum in Nakuru and started dating from there. The first time she had to travel to Accra, she was just like me. She didn’t know anyone and was in love with a man she barely knew, just like me. She got to Accra, stayed with him for a week and immediately knew she wasn’t going back to Kenya again.

They married a few years later and are settled in Ghana though she goes to Kenya often when the time would allow her. She told her husband my story and he laughed out loud as though it wasn’t a problem. He said, “I hope there’s nothing wrong and we could find him because young men these days can play stupid games with other people’s emotions.

We started from where he works.

I told the woman what he told about his work and the company he said he worked for. We went online, got some numbers and started calling. We tried and tried but we didn’t get anyone to respond to us. “Probably they don’t come to work because of the lockdown,” she said. The next day, we drove there to see if we could get anyone to talk to but the offices were locked. We came back home.

The woman asked me again, “Apart from work, he didn’t give you any information that can lead us to someone who can lead us to him?” I loved the spirit of the woman and how determined she was to help out. So that day, I tried reading our various chats from the start to see if I could find something. That was when I realized he had blocked me on Facebook and on WhatsApp too.

The rhythmic beating of my heart changed immediately. My hand started shaking and I started having a whole lot of jammed thoughts in my head. “If he could do that to me, then everything that’s happening is intentional. I don’t have to waste my time and my guardians’ time anymore. I told them what I just found out. The woman was still upbeat, “There’s something wrong somewhere. You said he bought your ticket, right? How could he buy your ticket when he knows he wasn’t going to meet up with you anyway? Something doesn’t add up. Let’s keep looking.”

Her husband was very straightforward with me. Maybe it was because he was a man and understood how men work. He said, “My daughter, it’s good to have hope but at some point, you just have to let things go so you can work on the way forward. That boy is an idiot. He doesn’t deserve all the time you are wasting on him. Let’s start thinking about how to get you back to Kenya.”

In the solitude of the night, an idea came to mind. Bernard. He had a friend he was all over with on his Facebook timeline. He commented on his every post and I once had banter with him under his post. I sent him a message on Messenger and he responded immediately. I asked for his contact and he sent it.

I was straightforward with him when I called. I told him why I contacted him and why his help would be so important to me. “I’m stranded in Ghana all because I trusted him. I have nowhere to go and I have no one to help me. Take me as your sister and help me out.” I promised him I wouldn’t bring his name into the issue if he helps. Then he said, “I’m sure his wife came back from where she was working because of the lockdown. I guess that’s the reason he’s running away from you.”

“His wife? You mean he’s married?”

“Yeah, he’s a married guy with two kids.”

I was searching for the truth but this truth killed all the life I had left in me. Not because of the fact that he was married but why would a guy treat a fellow human this way? You make a fellow human being travel this long distance just because she believed in your lies? Since when did men become this callous?

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I told my Guardian what I found out and she was totally broken. She even shed some tears for me. The husband said, “I’m glad you finally found closure to this search. Now, snap out of it and let’s think of how to get you back to Kenya.”

I’ve spent four weeks in Ghana. I’m in the best hands I could ever find. These two don’t have their children around. I’m their child now. The man sees me around and begins to tease me. He had even given me a local name that translates as “Love is death.” He tells me, “If it’s a Ghanaian boy you want to marry, there are plenty here. When the lockdown is over, I can get you someone who wouldn’t run away.” He never stops teasing me and I enjoy it because any time I laugh, a broken piece inside of me gets fixed. I’ve started laughing a lot so very soon, I would be completely healed and be whole again.

—Agnes, Ghana

#LoveOnALockDown

Credit SilentBeads

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