I went back to the bedroom and sat on the bed, took off my shoes and begun to loosen the necktie that suddenly felt like a suicide object. I thought of my four friends whom I used to hang out with; Kwaku, Asare, Joe, and Ntim. I recounted some of the great moments we’ve had together, apart from work; they were the ones I used to spend most of my free time with. Kwaku and Joe have two more years to work before pension, Ntim went on pension six months ago and had gone to his village to do farming, and Asare was due for pension at the end of the year. I thought of arranging a hang out with them like we used to but then I remembered I had just started pension and I will no more be on salary. I could not use my pension pay to do such things anymore, indeed no situation was permanent.
I thought also of my female friend Edem, she was a long time friend, way back in Senior High. We dated for a while but things didn’t work out so we parted ways. Someway, somehow, we met again at church and became close. I made her aware I was married and she respected that but it did not stop us from going out on dates, calling and texting each other. It was fun, we enjoyed each other’s company, we accidentally kissed a couple of times but there was no sexual relationship between us. She, however, took the place of my wife in my heart; I shared my thoughts and time with her, she never complained or nagged like my wife, or so I thought.
Even when Edem got married and had kids, we continued our relationship; I sometimes took her and her kids out and bought them gifts on their birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I bought my wife and children things too, I spent my money on them also but not my time. I was enchanted by Edem’s looks, though my wife was more beautiful and graceful. I thought I was in control of things then, but I now know that I did not behave wisely, I did not pay attention to wisdom according to the book of Proverbs 5:1.
A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, knows nothing. Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell. Proverbs 9:13, 17, 18.
Indeed, stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. Hmmm, how was I to know that the lips of an immoral woman drip honey and her mouth is smoother than oil? But in the end, she is bitter as wormwood. Proverbs 5:3-4. She was a sweet church girl, very active in the choir and other church programs, most people were fond of her in church and I did not categorize her to be immoral at the time then, probably because of birds of a feather flock together.
Now at old age, I have to spend the rest of my years with my wife, the woman whose life I made miserably, and the woman I had no close relationship with. How on earth was I going to survive my pension life? She possibly may have replaced me in her heart with the children, church activities and her business. Sadly, I do not have any other business that I could engage in and also fetch me extra income. I never had the time nor sought any business opportunity; I didn’t see the need until now.
I also do not have any hobby or interest that I could engage in to occupy my time. I used to play football too, but how was that going to help at old age? I used to be good at painting too but I never developed the interest, I thought it was a waste of time.
“Well,” I said with a heavy sigh, feeling very depressed at the sudden reality of life. The only thing that was probably not too late to do was to develop the habit of reading, so to start I picked up my Bible from the bedside table and lazily flipped through the pages and opened to the book of John with no special reason. I scanned through and rested my eyes on John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.” I pondered over this verse sometimes and I gained a different understanding. How does one know God? How can a person hear the voice of God if they do not know Him? A person knows another if he or she spends time with the person, we know God by spending time with Him through the reading of His Word and prayer. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your Word.” Psalm 119:9. I fell short here also, I have been too busy with myself I never had time with God nor His works. Thankfully, I have life and it is never too late to turn to God.
I shuddered and almost jumped out of the skin when I felt a slap on my shoulder, I turned to see the person who had so startled me. “I have been standing here and calling you for some time now. Did you fall into a trance or something? Please take a break, you have been working all night anyway, you seem very tired.” I turned and saw my wife standing so close to me I nearly knocked her down when I got up from my seat. I looked at her with confusion written all over my face. She equally looked at me with confusion and asked if everything was alright with me. I shook my head when I realized I had been daydreaming, I was not on pension!
I picked up my beautiful wife and whirled her around until she laughed so hard she was gasping for breath. I had not carried her since the day we took our wedding pictures. I put her down, met her smiling gaze and told her to get dressed because I was taking her out. “Fii, you must be crazy.” She said still laughing. “We are on lockdown, have you forgotten that the President announced a two-week lockdown three days ago and we have been working from home.” She said shaking her head. “What has gotten over you?” She asked.
I smiled mischievously and said “Coronavirus.” “What?” She exclaimed stepping back away from me. “I think I have been infected,” I told her. Her look of horror made me almost burst out in laughter but I managed to stiffen my laughter. Still, with that look of horror, she started to rant “Did you visit that your friend who came back from abroad three weeks ago? Fii, I thought we agreed that…” I could no more control myself; I burst out laughing so hard that she joined me in laughing when she realized I was just kidding with her.
I pulled her closed to me and held her by the waist with my left hand and softly told her that I missed her. She still looked surprised by my behavior. “Sweetheart, there are so many things I want us to do together, we will go out for dinner every Friday, travel out of town ones a month, go on vacations, take the kids to the zoo and visit other tourist sites in the country. And yes, I am going back to develop my painting skills, and I think I will take up that position that was offered me at church if it’s still available. I held her chin in my right hand, tilted up her head locked my mouth with her soft mouth that I had not felt in a long while. I gave her a long deep kiss that left both of us breathless, I was surprised a simple kiss could arouse such passion in us, it was there all along, we just had to rekindle and nurture it.
Love is like a flame of fire, you need to fan it regularly so it does not go down. My wife smiled at me and said: “I don’t know what happened to you Fii, but I love the new you.” I took her hand in mine as we walked out of the door to a future where I set my priorities right and make good use of time because it passes so quickly like vapor.
…Esther Obeng Darko