“It saddens my heart and breaks my spirit into pieces to announce to you this day that my wedding, that is supposed to come off this weekend had been called off. It’s no more happening. I’m grateful for your support up to this point. I still call on you to pray ceaselessly for me as this is the hardest decision I’ve ever taken in my life. Counting on your support and prayers.”
It was the early hours of April 1st when I sent this message to friends, family, and well-wishers. I didn’t draft that message. I was too broken to put words together. It was my pastor’s wife who did me the favor of putting those words together.
Just some seconds after sending this message, my Whatsapp started buzzing;
“Are you out of your mind? Who in his right senses would play April-fool jokes with her own wedding?”
“Alice, tell me you’re joking. You are joking, right? It’s April fool’s day, we all know.”
“Alice, what happened? who is doing the leaving? You? Him? What went wrong?
“Whether it’s coming on or not, we are still wearing our wedding dresses to that church on Saturday. You better be there. Idiot, you think we don’t know it’s April Fool?”
“Alice, what did I just read?”
It wasn’t only Whatsapp that kept beeping. All-day and hours unend, my phone kept ringing. All I saw were the names of beautiful people who really wanted the good for me.
I didn’t know how and where to begin my story so I kept quiet and cried till I had no tears left in me. I didn’t answer calls and I didn’t respond to Whatsapp messages. It was just me and my wandering thoughts; “Should I commit suicide?” “How am I going to face the world from now onwards?” “Is there a place I can hide forever? Where no one will ever see me?” “I think I should end this life. That would bring an end to this pain and embarrassment once and for all.”
But at some point, a girl has to get up, be a woman and face the world squarely. That’s exactly what I did.
Ben and I found each other at a point when we both needed each other. He was a man looking for a woman to keep his thoughts straight up and settled. I was a woman waiting to be found by the right man. When Ben came along, it wasn’t difficult to see he was the one I was waiting for.
We dated for almost two years and later decided marriage was the next step.
Ben didn’t put a leg wrong during our dating days. He never got angry and was always the one with the master plan. He always had a free spirit and saw the positive side of things. He was there for me through it all.
So a week to our wedding, I had a call from my pastor. He said, “Alice, there is a problem. Can you and your husband be here in the evening?” I started feeling anxious. What could be the problem? I asked him, “Pastor, is it that serious? what is it about actually?” “You have to be here with your husband in the evening. We need to address this issue as soon as possible before it gets out of hand.”
I checked my time. It was 2pm. I called Ben to inform him. He was also anxious and restless. “It’s a week to our wedding, what could be the problem?” He asked.
At exactly 6pm we were in our pastor’s house. Some elders of the church were already seated. Later, the wife of the pastor also joined. The pastor gave us the news;
“Alice, there’s an issue but God is with us so there’s nothing we can’t do.” He turned to Ben and asked, “Do you know any woman called Agyeiwaa?” Ben’s demeanor changed immediately. His facial expression moved from innocence to worry in just a matter of seconds. He responded with a very deep sigh; “Yes pastor, I know her.” The pastor asked again; “What do you have going with her?”
For close to two minutes Ben couldn’t say a word. He was only nodding his head like a lizard. The pastor kept asking, “How do you know her?” He started talking; “I met her some months ago when I went to Koforidua to work.”
“And then what happened?” The pastor asked. He was taking forever to answer that question so the pastor laid the whole story down;
“This morning, we heard a knock on our door. It was a young lady and a woman. We later got to know the young lady was called Agyeiwaa and the woman with her was her mother. The long and short of it all is that Agyeiwaa is eight months pregnant and she said Ben is responsible.”
I collapsed in my seat and started gasping for air; “This can’t be true right? Ben, please say something.” He was seated quiet and still like a stone. As if he wasn’t present with us. The pastor continued;
“That isn’t the major problem here. Agyeiwa’s mom also added that when they realized she was pregnant, they informed Ben about it and a month later, Ben came home with two other people who he said were his uncle and an elder of his family. They brought Schnapps and other items to perform the ‘knocking’ ceremony and indicated that when Agyeiwa delivers safely, they’ll come and perform the traditional marriage ceremony.”
At this point, I knew I was finished. I was only hoping to hear Ben say it wasn’t true. I was looking at him with teary eyes, praying and wishing he could say it was a lie. But he sat still…quite like a stone. He wasn’t saying anything so the pastor put it to him directly; “Ben, say something. We need you to tell us your part so we can decide on what next to do.” He looked on the ground, looked up and responded, “Pastor it’s true. The whole thing was a mistake and a bad judgment on my part.”
I got up and started leaving the room but one of the elders caught my hand and held me to stay. At this point, I was wailing as if someone dear to me had died. They all gathered around me, encouraging me to stay strong and look forward to the face of God for strength. I couldn’t take it any longer. My heart was virtually ripping off my chest. “Just a week to our wedding. How could this happen?”
I went home to my parents and gave them the news. My dad cried and it pushed my mom to cry harder. They were both asking; “How could this happen in just some days to your wedding?”
The next two days was very critical for me. Everyone was looking up to me to make a decision. Ben was candid about his shortcomings. He apologized profusely and begged me not to call off the wedding. Apparently, he went to perform the ‘knocking’ thinking it would keep the girl quiet and at ease until he was done with the wedding.
I loved Ben. Until this news came up, I thought he was an angel. He never did me any wrong and was willing to forgive every step of the way. I asked myself, “Is this a test to prove how forgiving I can be?” Looking back, I could have forgiven him and go on with the wedding but my future self would have suffered a lifetime of doubt and insecurity. The future was more important to me.
It was a Tuesday morning. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday then Saturday would have been the wedding. Time was ticking. Everybody was looking up to me to make a decision but then again hoping that I could forgive. I walked up to my parents and said; “I can go ahead with the wedding just to save face and save the name of my family but my future self would suffer and be unhappy if that happens. I’m not getting married to Ben. It should end here.
It was Ben’s time to cry. It was my turn to sit still, quiet and be like a stone. He poured all the apology within him but my thoughts were clear. I knew I loved him and I believed his apology but I had to choose happiness for my future self than to succumb today and suffer for life.
The only regret I have today is for my friends who were denied the opportunity to slay in their new dresses at my wedding and those who were denied their happy dance and well wishes. Apart from that, I’m a happy person and enjoying life with this new man in my life.