My Mother And My Sister Don’t Talk To Me Because Of The Woman I Married- Man Narrates.
It started from the day I took her home. My mom asked her a question in Twi and she couldn’t answer. I had to draw my mother’s attention to the fact that the woman I brought home didn’t understand Twi. She asked me, “She speaks Fante?” I responded, “If she did then she would definitely have understood the Twi you spoke to her. She doesn’t speak Fante too.” She asked me, “Is she a Ghanaian?” I said, “Yeah she’s a Ghanaian. She’s Ewe.” “So what language do you speak with her when you want to communicate?” She asked me. I answered, “She speaks English. I speak English to her.” Then she said jovially, “So as I sit face to face with her, she expects me to speak English with her? Ɛbɛyiri.”
My mom is semi-literate. She’s good with numbers but not with alphabets. Maybe she figured early when she was in school that she would use numbers in her trading activities than alphabets, so she took her numbers seriously and disregarded the alphabet part of her education. We sat face-to-face for about thirty minutes and my mother couldn’t exchange any word with the woman I brought home. I told her, “Just say whatever you want to say, I will interpret it to her.” She answered, “How would I know if you are lying to me? Just tell her that she’s welcome but she should learn your language too if she wants to be happy with you.”
Minutes later, my mother was on the phone talking to my younger sister; “Come and see what your brother has brought home. Sɛ broni ooo sɛ bibini ooo I don’t even know. I believe she’s a Togolese. She can’t even speak Twi. When you talk to her, she just sits and stares at you like she’s looking at a wall.” I heard her laughing on the phone. I didn’t think it was funny so I told my mom, “Don’t do that. As time goes on she’ll learn. Why are you making her uncomfortable already?” She told me, “So is that your best bet? Out of all the women you wandered with, is that the one you settled on? Someone I can’t communicate with?”.
I didn’t see it as an issue. I was the one going to live with her. My mom would meet her once in a while so why should communication be an issue for her?” We spent two days with my mom. My junior sister also joined her to make fun of my choice of a woman. It didn’t bother me. I tried my best to block off those conversations so she doesn’t pick a hint that my family is making a mockery of her.
Months later, we got married.
My mom gave her a new name. She called her Broni Pɛtɛ. “How’s Broni Pɛtɛ doing?” She would ask me. I would correct her, “Mom, her name is Afeafa, not Broni Pɛtɛ.” She would respond, “Does it matter how I call her?” “Yes, it matters, Ma. Everyone loves to be called by their names. You don’t decide how other people should be called.” It got to a point where my wife started picking the signal that my family makes a mockery of her. I took her home one day and left her with my sister. My sister speaks English so she loved to talk to her but she told me in the evening, “I feel like your sister makes fun of me. She will say something to your mom and they’ll laugh, especially when they see me coming.” The next day I warned my sister to desist from that. But they never stopped.
One of my cousins got married and we went home. In the morning there was nothing to eat so my wife went to the kitchen and cooked banku and okro stew. It was something she quickly fixed so the house would wake up to find something to eat. I was in the kitchen with her when my mother walked in. She asked, “Broni Pɛtɛ ɛnoa diɛn?” (What’s Broni Pɛtɛ cooking). My wife didn’t get it so she didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything because it got on my nerves. My mom opened the bowl and saw what she was cooking. She said, “Eiii ancestors of okro. An early morning like this you’re here cooking okro?” Because she said it with a smile my wife thought she was praising her. I didn’t want her to pick the teasing signal so I also smiled.
In the afternoon, when we returned from the wedding, my mom said she would eat Jollof. My wife volunteered to cook for us to eat. Immediately she got up, my junior sister told my mom, “Tell her not to add okro to the Jollof ooo, these people I know them. They’ll put okro in everything.” I’d tolerated them for a long time and it was the reason they didn’t see the need to stop talking low about my wife. I got angry and started giving it to them. My wife heard my angry voice and stopped to listen. I might have gone far with the kind of words I used but it was the only way I could express my anger. I nearly hit my sister for making such remarks. They were both shocked and sat there without uttering a word. My wife asked, “Hey what is wrong?” I said, “Don’t cook anything. If they want to eat, they can go to the kitchen and prepare their own food. You’re not their slave.”
The next morning, we left the house without saying goodbye to them. My wife kept asking what the issue was about but I couldn’t go into details. I didn’t want her to know that she was the reason I spoke the way I did to my mother. For days, she was on me, asking me to call my mother and apologize to her. “She’s your mother. Nothing should make you talk to her the way you did. Call her and say sorry.”
So one early morning, I picked the phone and called her. She went into ranting mode; “So, because of that Broni Pɛtɛ nti you decided to insult me and my daughter? What hurts me the most is the fact that you did it in her presence. Do you think she’ll ever respect me again? But I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised at all because I know what these people can do to men they want to possess. Why are you calling me? Be with her. She’s your everything now. You chose her over family so continue.” Before I could say a word, she cut the line.
I went home alone to apologize to her but she didn’t want to look at me. I could see she was hurt. The way she looked hurt made me feel hurt too. I knelt down to ask her to forgive. I was down and begging when my junior sister walked in. That girl. She’s a devil. She saw me on the ground begging and told my mom, “Don’t mind him. He should go and take his wife as his everything.” I got up and quickly charged towards her. I wanted to headbutt her or slap her mouth or something but my mom got up and held me from behind before I could reach her.
It’s not just anybody they were disrespecting. This is a woman I’d married. A woman who will do everything for them without thinking twice. A man’s wife becomes his eyes. You can’t keep poking his eyes with a stick and expect him to stand still. I was on the floor in all meekness, trying to get my mother to forgive me for defending my wife and my sister came to poke my eyes with a stick again. They both held me and pushed me out of the house. I left them and went to my house.
Deep down, I don’t regret trying to make them respect my wife. My words were harsh and I regret those words to some extent but hey, when they come at her again, I will defend her again because she hadn’t done anything for them to disrespect her the way they do. It’s not a mistake to come from a certain tribe and it’s not a fault that we can’t speak certain languages. I’ve left them. My wife thinks I’ve apologized and everything is fine now. I like that she doesn’t push me to go and apologize. I know my mom would come around very soon. She’s just angry but time will work on her heart. Soon, she’ll learn to respect the woman I married. Someday, my sister will marry too and my mom will wish my sister’s husband will defend her like I’m defending mine.
I regret my words—to a certain extent but I have no shame in what I did. A man stands up for his family and that’s exactly what I did. You enable what you entertain. I don’t want to enable their disrespect toward a woman I call my wife. One day I will go back and apologize again. I know she’ll thaw from her anger. I know she’ll call me her son again because I am but most importantly, she will start respecting the woman I call my wife whether or not they speak the same language.