I’ve lived in this house for the past three years. It’s my third rented house since I moved to Accra six years ago. I’ve lived in places where the landlord didn’t give us a breathing space. I’ve lived in a place where the house rules were so stifling. You couldn’t bring a lady to spend a night in your room without seeking permission from the landlord. The last place I lived before moving to this place, the main gate closes at 10pm. After 10pm, you can’t go out nor come in because it’s only the landlord that has the keys to the main gate. I didn’t last in these places. I started looking for a new place before my rent expired.
I moved to this place in 2018. The landlord here is the best landlord I’ve ever met in my renting experience. It’s a storey building we live in. I was occupying one of the rooms on the ground floor until the time came for me to get married. Just when I was about to get married, the tenant at the top floor apartment left. I spoke to the landlord about it and he agreed for me to upgrade to the top apartment. The top floor has two apartments. Each apartment has two bedrooms. I live in one of the apartment whiles the landlord live in the other one with his wife. My apartment shares a wall with the landlord’s bedroom. Both of them are retired, so they are mostly in the house enjoying their retirement. I will close from work, go to the house and a few minutes later, I will hear a knock on my door. It’s my landlord’s wife. “Here, we cooked something and thought of leaving you a portion.” I will take it and pour my heartfelt gratitude to them. This was before I got married. I didn’t leave them out. On weekends, I will also come home with a gift for them.
They were like my parents. They treated me like their own son. A few weeks before my wedding, my fiancee came around so I introduced her to my Landlord and used the opportunity to invite them to our wedding. He said, “Wow, my son is finally getting married. You’re now a man.” He went ahead to give me some tips and tricks to succeed in marriage. He looked at my wife-to-be and asked, “You look like a good woman. I hope you won’t give my son troubles?” His wife chipped in; “Why don’t you ask the man that question? It’s always the men that give their women trouble and not the other way round.” It turned into an argument between them. We slipped our invitation card into their hands and left.
A month later we got married. One month after marriage, my wife moved in to live with me. We are in our fourth month together since my wife moved in here with me. One morning I was on my way to work when my landlord stopped me. He asked, ”Where is your wife?” I said, “She had gone to work long ago. She leaves very early because of traffic.” He said, “Let me have a word with you. Last night your wife was too loud. Her voice was all over the place around here. It was difficult for us to sleep. You know we are aged. We struggle to sleep sometimes. Tell her to tone it down so our old bones can find rest in the night.”
Saying I was embarrassed would be an understatement. My eyes were on the floor, trying to avoid his gaze. He said, “No, you don’t have to feel bad about it. You guys are newly married. You have young blood and the energy to climb a mountain. That’s ok but tell her to tone it down a little.” I said, “I’m sorry sir. I will talk to her about it. It won’t happen again.” He said, “Don’t be too harsh about it. Just tell her lovingly. She’s a woman. She would understand.” I said, “Yes sir. I will handle it in a way that won’t bring problems. Trust me.” He tapped me at the back and said, “Wo yɛ bɛma oo.” I smiled shyly and left his presence.
All day I was thinking about it. “How do I solve a problem like this? How do I tell my wife?” Should I text her? Or I should wait when we both get home so I will look into her eyes and tell her what the landlord told me? Or I should send her to the landlord so the landlord can tell her?” My wife is a very shy person. It took us over a year for her to be very expressive during sex. She was quiet for a very long time. You could see the potential of loudness on her face during the action but she wouldn’t let it out. I wasn’t bothered until one day she let it all out. She had never stopped since then.
I enjoy the sound actually. When she does it, I look at her face and it makes me feel like I’m doing the Lord’s work very well. The sound comes from a deeper place. There’s something genuine about it. “How do I tell her to stop something like that?” I battled it in my head and laughed about it. I said, “I’m not telling her anything. You old guys should brace yourself for the worse. If you can’t handle it, sleep with earphones in your ears.”
I went home that evening and pretended nothing had happened. I didn’t tell my wife anything. Instead, I decided to change things a little bit. Instead of doing it in the bedroom to disturb their sleep, we’ll rather do it in the hall, which is a little bit far from their bedroom. My wife too, when she realized the location had changed, she decided to raise the pitch of her voice. At some point, I will do “shiiiiii” for her to know she’s going overboard. We were good for some time. For a very long time, the landlord said nothing about the noise. I told myself, “Problem solved.”
One late night we were on it, doing the lord’s work when I saw my phone’s screen lit up. It was a call from the landlord. Who will stop in the middle of this journey and pick up a phone call? I didn’t bother. I turned the phone’s screen downward and continued my journey until our tired bodies gave up on us. I checked the phone again and saw four missed calls. Early the next morning, I stepped out so he would see me and start the discussion. Immediately he saw me descending the stairs, he screamed, “Herrh….heerh young man stand there and wait for me.” I waited. His first statement was, “I knew you won’t pick my calls. what did I tell you the other time?” I said, “I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentional. I saw the calls only this morning. That’s why I even came out.” He said, “You’re lying. You saw it and ignored me because you were busy. Didn’t you give her my message? You didn’t tell her?”
I said calmly, “I told her. These days we don’t even sleep in the bedroom. We sleep in the hall so we don’t disturb you.” He said, “You sleep in the hall? And we still hear you guys from here? Then it’s intentional. You guys have decided not to allow us to have some sleep.” I said, “I’m sorry sir. You haven’t said anything about it for a while now so I thought everything was good.” He tapped me at the back and said, “See gentleman, we are retired and resting. I’m sorry to bother you. It looks like I’m interfering in your life, forgive me but it gives me worries. Kindly do something about it.”
I decided to play some music to musk out the sound. That didn’t help either. He said the music was too loud. At some point, I thought it was psychological. They stay awake and look out for the noise. They hear it because they tuned their ears to listen to us. Then things started changing. My wife for a very long time was hushing it. She’ll scream into the pillow, put a cloth in her mouth, do everything to hush out the sound. I wasn’t enjoying it. The struggle to hush out the sound wasn’t worth it. I asked her, “What’s wrong with you?” She said, “Nothing. Why do you ask?” I said, “You’re struggling. What’s wrong with you.” She didn’t say anything until the following morning. She said, “I didn’t want to tell you but the landlord’s wife spoke to me. She said the two of us are too loud we disturb their sleep.”
I laughed. I said, “Dear, when you go to work today, throw your eyes around. Start looking for a new place. We need to move from here. She laughed. She asked, “She has told you already?” I said, “She didn’t tell me. It was her husband. He even called one night when we were in the middle of the journey. I’m tired already. We just need to move before they break into our room one night and drive us out.”
So, my dear friends, we are in the market scouting for new accommodation. We need a place that does not share walls with anyone. We want to be loud and proud. We want to do the lord’s work in peace and harmony, without being called to tone it down. Help us if you can.