How a Company Manager Wanted To Sleep With Me Before He Could Offer me A Job- Lady Narrates
Dad returned from a funeral in the village and got sick. It started as a fever or something like fever. It was 1984, access to fast medical care wasn’t that easy. Everyone around him speculated what the issue was. They used local herbs to treat the disease but a week later, it got worse. He got paralyzed on one side. He couldn’t move his left hand and couldn’t move his left leg. They rushed him to the nearest hospital which was like 25 kilometers away. The situation got worse each day until he was discharged from the hospital. They said it was a curse. They said it was witchcraft; “They got him when he went to the village.” Others said, “They don’t want him to do well in life that is why they’ve cut his success short.”
The hospital didn’t work, so for over a year, they moved him from one church camp to another. What medicine couldn’t do, we try prayers too but little or no improvement was seen in his situation. My mom started selling assets. Everything she laid her hands on she sold it to raise money for my father’s health. Three years later, he was still the same or worse. There was no money. There was no asset to sell. There was all to face in life.
I and my senior brother suffered before we could eat. We lived in a compound house then so we relied on the benevolence of our neighbors before we could eat. My brother will help pound fufu for neighbors before he could bring a bowl of fufu home for us to eat. Mom was suffering. She was only forty years but life sucked her youth off her and left her dry—so dry that any wind at all could break her down. When life became so tough, my brother had to drop out of school. His reports weren’t good enough so mom said, “It looks like we are wasting the little money we have on you. I’ll take you to Agya Addo’s shop so you start learning fitting. If you don’t like that one, tell me what you want to learn so I take you there.”
I was sacked from school one day. Fees hadn’t been paid. I was doing vocational skills. Fees for our final practicals had also not been paid. I had little hope when I was going home. Mom wasn’t doing well. Dad had been sick for years and also not doing anything. I thought it was the end of my education too so I started thinking of being an apprentice for a seamstress nearby. When I got home and I told mom that I had been sacked she said, “Bear with me. Tomorrow we will go to the market, you’ll sell with me and see how much we will raise.”
For a whole week, I went to the market with her. What we raised amounted to nothing. I wasn’t the only one who needed money. Dad also needed money for his medicines. I was tired. I was too tired to even raise an arm so I told mom, “If we can’t get the money, we don’t have to kill ourselves. I will learn a trade.” She slapped my head and said, “Don’t be stupid. You’re smart. I won’t allow you to rot like your brother. You’ll finish school and get a good job. We are not giving up.”
One dawn I woke up from sleep and felt like urinating. We lived in a compound house that had only one washroom for the whole household. I shared a small corner room with my brother while my mom and dad also slept in the room next to us. It was dark outside so I was a little bit scared. I dashed into the washroom and bumped into two people there—a man and a woman. The woman’s face was against the wall while the man was humping from behind. It was dark so I didn’t see them well until I heard my mom’s voice. The woman whose face was against the wall was my mom and the man was the landlord.
I even forgot that I went out to Urinate. I ran back in and went to bed hoping I will wake up the next morning and realize that everything was a bad dream. I couldn’t sleep again. The shadows of what I saw kept haunting my memory. My mother’s voice. Her face against the wall. The landlord behind her. When morning came, I was scared to get up from bed. I didn’t want to see my mother. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I stayed in bed until she walked in asked me, “Won’t you get up? You won’t go to the market with me today?” I got up, telling myself, “It didn’t happen. It was just a bad dream.”
There was dead silence between us when going to the market. We both kept looking away from each other, walking together but separately. Just around a bend before we got to the market, she held my hand and pulled me closer. We both stopped. She said, “You’re not a child and I know that you understand what you saw this dawn but let me tell you this, you don’t understand everything. It’s hard but I had to do that so you don’t grow up and do it yourself. Your dad is dying but I had to do it for him too. I can’t tell you everything but I hope you understand.” She turned her face away from me and wiped away her tears. She didn’t want me to see them falling from her eyes but I saw it. She walked away and left me behind.
When we returned from the market, she said, “Get ready, you’re going back to school tomorrow.”
The next morning, she placed both fees in my hand and gave me extra money to keep for myself. She said, “If you learn hard, you won’t have to go through what we are going through now. Go back and be great.” On my way back to school, I cried. The pictures of that dawn never left me but mom’s voice was stronger, “It’s hard but I had to do that so you don’t grow up and do it yourself.” I completed school. I wanted to start working immediately but mom didn’t allow it. She said, “Get an education. You’re smart.”
When I finally got admission to the university, I asked her, “Can we do this?” She said, “What haven’t we done? It will be difficult but we’ll still do it.” I was in my second year about to write exams when I heard that my father has passed away. I cried like a baby. I couldn’t go home until I finished writing my exams. The day I got home and saw my mother’s face, I started getting the images of what happened that dawn. I wanted to blame her. When she got closer to me I wanted to tell her that she was the reason my father died. I said in my head, “You’ve been cheating on him with no other person than our landlord. If I saw it then maybe he knew it too. It was the reason he went early.”
The day my dad was being buried, I was looking at my mom from afar. I was judging her. I was cursing her in my head for doing what she did. Everything she did during the funeral was judged as a pretense. After everything, she told me, “He’s gone now. He should rest in peace but you can’t rest. Remember what I told you. You can’t grow up and be like me. You can’t grow up and suffer the same fate that I’ve suffered. Be better for yourself but for now, I will bear the suffering for you.”
After university, the man who promised to get me a job started making advances towards me. He said, “The competition is tight. Everyone wants what you want but I want to give you the opportunity. What will you give me?” I said, “I will give you my first salary.” He said, “I don’t need your money. You know what I need.” Yes, I knew what he wanted but I remembered what my mother told me, “It’s hard but I had to do that so you don’t grow up and do it yourself.” I told myself, “Mom paid the price. I don’t have to pay it twice. If he won’t give me the job, I will rather look elsewhere than give myself to him.”
I moved on. He never stopped disturbing me. Later he came to tell me that he wants to marry me. I told him, “But you’re married? He said, “My tribe allows for a second wife so there’s no problem.” I nearly threw my hand that day.
I found a job advertisement in the Daily Graphic. I applied. Weeks later, I got a letter to attend an interview. After the interview, one of the panelists met me outside and told me, “Don’t leave. I will like to see you after the interview.” I did the sign of the cross thinking he was going to help me land the job due to my performance. After hours of waiting he came. He said, “You’re very beautiful. The company will need someone like you to work with but unfortunately, most of the people are job.”
He wanted sex. I said, “Take your job. I will look elsewhere.” Then it started ringing a bell in my brains that in this world something has to give before something is gained. My mother was right. I had an education to rely on. She didn’t have anything to rely on apart from giving herself away. I was determined not to toe that line because that price had already been paid with sweat and blood.
I struggled for a year without a job. Then a friend told me about a scholarship program she found in the newspapers. He helped me applied. A few months later, I got a letter confirming my application. I won a fully paid scholarship to study for my master’s degree in Denmark. The day I told my mother about it and how much I needed, she said, “This is beyond me. I can’t have it any other way. I’m old and broken. No one wants a broken object but I will speak to relatives and see how it goes.” She contacted uncles and other relatives who could help. She traveled to each one of them one after the other, begging them to part with some money to help. She raised the money in two months.
I got to Denmark in 1991. Early December 1993 when I finished doing a presentation on my final project work, I got a letter from Ghana. The message was simple; “You have to come home. Your mother had died.”
I broke down completely. “How could she? How could she go just when we are about to reap what we sowed? Noooo, she can’t go.” If I was in Ghana when it happened, I swear I wouldn’t have allowed them to send her body to the mortuary. But what could I do? The dead would always get buried. The living will come home eventide to continue living until they also die. After the funeral, I told my brother, “Get ready, you’re traveling with me.” He was all I had and I was ready to do everything to take him along with me. It didn’t work out the first time but I kept trying until finally he also came to live with me in Denmark.
Mom is the reason why I don’t judge people. Goodness can come from sins depending on where the heart is placed. I know, people sleep around for pleasure. I know, people are lazy and they’ll cave in under any little pressure. I know, it’s easy to be sinful but I know also this, people get helpless sometimes—so helpless that any option, however bad may seem to them as the only saving grace. Mom was an example. She had to face the wall of a public bathroom so I can get an education. So that I wouldn’t be the one to do it. When I pray, I pray for her soul and tell God, “Don’t judge her deeds. Kindly judge her according to the intentions of her heart because her heart was well placed.