There are friends I grew up with. We went to school together and did most things together. In school, we were called the four musketeers. In good times and in bad times, it was always the four of us. After school, I did my national service with two of these friends—Cynthia and Pamela. It was Grace who got separated from us but even that, she was always involved in everything we did.
We were the ladies you will call party girls—if for a month no one invites us to a party, the four of us will put money together and organize our own party. Life was beautiful that way and we hardly had any stress in our lives.
The greatest change in my life was caused by Grace. It was through her that I found the man who later became my husband.
During national service, I visited Grace in her office and she introduced me to his boss. She said, “Boss, meet my twin sister Asantewaa. We may physically not resemble but we are twins. Each from different parents and we do everything together..” The boss smiled and said, “So you’re the crazy Asantewaa I’ve been hearing of every day?” We laughed and we shook hands. The boss was involved in our conversation throughout. He sounded like someone who really liked me.
One day he called; “Hey, you haven’t come around for a while so I decided to take your number from grace and give you a call.” That call…that call was the beginning of what threw us into a cage of romance. A month later we were a thing hidden in the dark but three months later, we sprouted and became something you could see and say, “These two are together.”
“Oh Martin, you put my heart in a spin with the way you look at me and say the things you say.”
A year and a half later, I was holding the hand of Martin and were standing in front of a pastor who gleefully asked, “Asantewaa, do you take Martin as your blah blah blah and blah?” I said I do and the two of us moved from being a boyfriend and a girlfriend to being a wife and a husband.
Things started changing between me and the rest of the girls.
My friends didn’t see it but I had the eyes so wide and a heart so deep to sense the subtlest of change. I called Grace one day, “Hey girl, When was the last time you called me and stayed on the phone with me for over three minutes?” She laughed. “You’re married now. We have to leave you alone to concentrate on your marriage. What we did when you were not, we can’t do it again.” I asked, “Says who?” She responded, “Married women have their husbands to care for plus you’re my boss’ wife, I have to give you that respect.”
I had the same conversations with Pamela. She said, “But Asantewaa, you know we can’t continue being the way we used to be. You’re married now and you have to look the part.” When I spoke to Cynthia, she made my heart cried. She said, “We were all here having fun and living life and then you went ahead and got married. Now, look at us. The rest of us can’t go on like we used to be because you were the bond that held us together.”
Honestly, I don’t know who made that rule. Yeah, our counselor said it during counseling but I took it as advice I couldn’t implement. “These are the girls I grew up with. It’s through them I found this man who made me a wife so why should I let them go just because a man put a ring on my finger? Does marriage mean forgoing friends and happiness? Hell, I can’t do that.”
So one weekend, I called my ladies over to my house and had a noisy party just like we used to do. My husband was deeply involved serving us food and drinks but guess what, these my friends couldn’t bring themselves to feel free like we used to. They were all of a sudden playing good girls and being wallflowers. I couldn’t believe my eyes that day. Hey, girls what’s up? Cheer up. It’s only us and a man here.”
I had to accept defeat. I had to come to terms with the fact that I’ve lost my friends. We didn’t fight and we didn’t pick on each other but just because I got married, they were slowly drifting away. We could go a whole week and some days without hearing from each other. One day, I saw them on Instagram—the three of them. They’ve had a beach party and posting photos and having fun on Instagram. That made me really sad. It was a weekend, I could have gone with them and my husband wouldn’t have had issues.
The problem is, my husband didn’t lose his friends? They were still going out and having fun. Friday nights were my worse night. My husband will come home very late. He will call to tell me earlier that he wouldn’t come home early because he’ll be out there with some friends. I would be home alone, watching movies I’ve watched several times. That didn’t feel right so I decided to find a way to reconnect with my friends. Friendship is about fitting in and being where you blend so one night I went out with them. It was a club.
My husband had traveled but I told him I would be out with my friends. That night I took off my ring for the first time. They didn’t notice. They kept asking if my husband will be ok. They were worried my husband will accuse them of spoiling me. That didn’t stop me. In the club that night, I danced like a woman possessed. I didn’t know how to use all the freedom available to me that night. we danced, we got drunk and danced some more.
There is always that guy who would make a move on you and wouldn’t take a no for an answer. He came right from behind and started dancing with me. Because I didn’t talk or say no to him, he held my waist and started pushing towards me. I still didn’t say a word. I was there to have fun and I didn’t care which turn the fun will take. I kept dancing with him and he kept throwing himself all over me. Grace walked closer to me and whispered in my ears, ‘Why have you removed your ring?” I only laughed.
When I got tired I took a seat and this guy came to sit next to me. “Can I buy you a drink?” I answered, “You’re a gentleman. Don’t ask me. Just buy me a drink.” He brought drinks and we spoke all night. My friends tried all they could to stop the conversation but we kept going. When leaving that night, we exchanged contacts and he asked me my name. I felt alive again. I felt I’d regained what was lost and I was rejuvenated. Going back home, Grace again asked why I removed my ring. I said, “I would have missed all this fun if I had it on. I didn’t want to miss a thing.”
That same night the guy called. I didn’t pick. The next morning he called, I didn’t pick. He kept calling and I kept missing the calls. Later he sent me a message, “At least, say hi to me? I’m not a bad person.” I said hi and he said hi back. He called and I picked. He said, “Could we do it again this weekend?” I responded, “If only my husband will allow it, why not?”
“Yeah, I’m married. Happily married.”
“You want to see some proof?”
“Lol, not really but I’m surprised.”
“I know. A married woman has to have fun sometimes.”
“I still want to know you more.”
I wasn’t there because of a boy. I was there to be with my friends and reconnect with them in the best way possible. That night, we did get back and had fun and we’ve never looked back since then. Every now and then, we go out and the ring goes off. I’m not out there to cheat. I’m out there to blend and have fun with friends who have been the pillars of my life. If a boy comes through, we talk, we drink, we dance, we exchange numbers. In the end, I go back home to the man I said: “I do.” With or without the ring, he’s all I have. And my friends too.