Unknown to me, he was a very good friend of Mike. Mike was amazed that I knew Ralph. I got so excited when I saw Ralph because I had not set eyes on him since he lost his father – my uncle, and relocated to Tema with the rest of the family from Kumasi. Blindfolded with excitement and other emotions, I forgot to introduce Ralph as my cousin but hugged him tightly instead. I got lost in thoughts and lost track of time.
Ralph finally tore me away from him and said jokingly, ‘Make sure you don’t squeeze the life out of me Iron Lady’.
We all laughed heartily, I however failed to notice the jealous anger in Mike’s eyes and that he wasn’t himself. Mike did not enjoy the movie premiere as much as I did, and after walking me back home later in the night, something just did not feel right. I inquired what the problem was, but he just said he was stressed out. I thanked him for the day and went straight to my room. I tried calling to make sure that he was home and safe but he did not pick up. I went to bed with a troubled mind.
Many days passed and then it was time for him to go to ‘Ho’ for his national service. That was about 7 hours away from Kumasi by bus. It was as if there was a cold wall between Mike and I but he always insisted that there was nothing wrong. Despite this, I missed him terribly.
Three months after Mike left, I never heard from him again. He would not return calls or messages. He blocked every channel I could reach him through. Even Ralph could not get through to him. And since he had no friends that I knew of, I ran out of options to get in contact with him. I did my best to leave him behind and live my life like I had done in the past.
In my second year, I met Kwabena Ofori, a service personnel who doubled as the IT lab assistant, he was a fine gentleman and very punctual. Word had gone around that he was a “player” based off the news from where he used to be. That wasn’t my cup of tea as I loved the way he made me feel special whenever I was around him. He allowed me to be myself and not fake a personality. He adored me! Or maybe that was what I thought.
What we had did not last long enough though. There was just one leaven that corrupted the otherwise fine gentleman. I could not bear that he never accepted how dark I was. He never failed to let me know how he favored slim, tall, fair women too. Though I was averagely slim and tall, he made a joke all the time about how hard it would be to find me in the dark should there be a power cut. This was because I was dark skinned. The irony is he is darker than I am! Most people found what he said amusing, but I did not. I then wondered if his keen adoration early on had been just an act. I spoke about him with my mum. She kept smiling all the while as I was pouring my heart to her, and she just said one thing I will never forget.
She said: ‘God loves us for who we are, not who we should have been. If his love is genuine, he should be concerned about who you are on the inside and not the outside’.