Portrait of a young African American woman at home crying, wiping tears with a napkin, suffering

Silent Tear

A Rolex estate was a flagship  venture which was carried out by Ezmerald estate developers. These developers have had a reputation for the finest finishing on their buildings using the finest materials in fixtures and roofing works. Being in the industry for almost twenty years, it could be understood that, they might be nearing the third trimester of their progression in their business escapades. The Rolex estates venture was launched almost a few years ago and the intent was to have an estate especially affordable for young couples providing them with a serene atmosphere to enhance reflection and meditation. A few facilities were to be in place which also aided in the social network among inhabitants. These were  gymnasium,  pool , tennis and basketball courts. There was also consideration for the children who were likely to flood the estate hence an international school was to be situated within the estate with a facility for after school services. These estates were to be located in each of the major cities in the ten regions of Ghana.

About five years after the launch, a Rolex estate was ostensibly found in all the regional capital in the country. Little did they know that , one of these estates, would bear the most  tragic moments in my life .I happened to be part of the inhabitants of Rolex estates in Accra. The estate located off the Dodowa road had occupants of about eighty families with about hundred children. There were about four blocks with twenty buildings in each of those blocks namely; Sunshine, Pacesetters, Joy and Rushhour. Each of these names, funny at it may be, had rubbed on the occupants hence each living up to the name. In the Sunshine block, the sun always seemed to rise at that part of the estates. The block had most of the first occupants in there hence they had that attitude of being well vexed in the “ins and outs” of the estates. This was not under contention though others wished they did not always rub it in on every conversation. Joy block was always ‘joyous ‘especially in the evenings and weekends. There weren’t any dull moments on that block. Spontaneously, each resident knew when to turn on the loud music or allow another to do them the honors.  Due to these happy moments, most of those from the neighboring blocks always had in their plans for weekends to be in the Joy block just to chit chat with friends and helped in the merry making. The Pacesetters were mostly visionaries and most of the communal engagements had been pioneered by them. They had also worked hard in bringing in other facilities that intended to make life within the estates comfortable and complete. These include but not limited to patrolling of the police in and around the estates every 12 midnight, arranging for mobile farm market on Saturday mornings, laundry services, pharmacy, mobile health services  and a mini supermarket. The patrolling was necessary as the estate had had their fair share of robbery attacks due to the location; the environs were underdeveloped. However each of these had come against the backdrop of incessant complaints by inhabitants during estate meetings of not having such services at hand and always had to drive into town to access such. The estates now had become a comfortable place to live and one could decide to stay within the confines of the estates without needing anything outside. Rushhour block surprisingly had become a ghost town. Most of those who lived there leave before 6am and return a few minutes after 10pm. Most of those in this slot were busy couples who didn’t have any time to spare. Though they were abreast with happenings in the estates due to the Whatsapp group of the estates, they were almost never seen physically in meetings or gathering. They made sure their contributions to any deed were received but we had to excuse their obvious absence.

I moved into the Joy block with my husband, Arnold Drey about  five years ago after we returned from our honey moon. I could remember so vividly as if it were just yesterday. I was full of hope of a successful marriage and a loving one too. My little sister also moved in the following year  after she got married to her darling campus lover, Gerald Simpson. She joined the Joy family about five buildings from ours. Though we seemed so close, yet life had caused a deep rift between us making it near impossible to bond. How I had wished to see my own sister during those times! “Hey!!! “, Arnold shouted obviously referring to me.I remember that day so well!!”Are you going to sit there  daydreaming all day?” he inquired. “No dear”, I responded. “I need to step out to be with my friends at the fun square. You stay put till I come. Remember don’t even think of coming over.” he commanded. I nodded and watched him strode out arrogantly and with so much pomposity. Just six months into the marriage, the real Arnold came to roost. I had gotten used to his outbursts and threats. The once loving, courteous and responsible man I married had turned into a mean , cruel man more like a ‘beast’. He seemed insecure hence had become domineering and a bully ensuring that no man could come close to me.

I am Mrs. Nancy Drey formerly Nancy Sweetie Daniels. I was the pride of my parents Mr. and Mrs. Daniels till Nora came along two years after me. We were a beautiful family full of love. Mr. Daniels died in a suspicious car accident on the Tema Motorway when Nora and I were on campus. It was tough living without the man of the house. Though he saved enough and invested much that left us well catered for, his love and advice we missed greatly. Don’t get me wrong, mum had been great back then but she lacked the touch dad added to the family. Mum never got over the loss herself; his smile and the long standing partner for life was gone. She never interfered in our relationships and neither did she ask about it that much. She thought life was the best teacher and we would learn with time. Arnold came into the picture when I was jilted by Nat Enchill. We were inseparable pair on campus with so much in common. We dated for almost three years before our families were informed of our intent of getting married after school. This I later realized was a wrong move. His parents had a problem with him settling with me. They thought he was a great future candidate to replace his dad as Member of Parliament for the Anantan constituency. In short, he was being nurtured for a political career  which begun with he being in Parliament and then the subsequent steps would follow. He needed to have strategically chosen a lady who could bring that goodwill towards this ambition. Nat, promised to fight for our love but it became a cliché . On the eve of my birthday, Nat called on phone. “Me Naa, how are you?” he asked. “I am well, Me de, yourself? Seem you sound a bit down, any issue?” I asked. “Me Naa, I think we need to call it quits. I cannot go against my family wishes. I believe you would understand? You are a beautiful girl and I know you would find someone quickly and easily too”, he added then hanged up. I held the phone on my cheek supported by my shoulder for several minutes. “That is it? Aaaa!! Is that it? What did he just do? He broke up with me on phone? “, I was lost for words. Nora, who had been helping me with preparing few delicacies like piped cakes, chips, chinchin and doughnuts for my birthday party the following day, drew closer with her hand covered in flour. “Big Sis, what is it?” she wondered. “Just wait. I just have to be sure what just happened”, I answered whilst trying to get through to Nat. His phone was turned off. “What!!!He has broken up with me.”, I shouted in disbelief turning to  Nora. I felt a bit dizzy  at once but she was quick to block me from the back.

Nat Enchill was gone and it was difficult to even get hold of him. We had graduated and almost done with our national service hence not easy tracing his whereabouts without going to his house. Obviously, going to his house was suicidal. After almost a year of  searching for him and unable to get the answers my soul was yearning for, I received a mail from one of my childhood friends, Joan .She was in the same university with Nat  in Australia. He was pursuing a Masters degree program in Public Administration. I held my peace and drew the line that it was time to move one. That was an unconquerable feat. It took about six years for me to accept my first date which didn’t end well and another three years after that to get into a relationship with none other than Arnold Daniels. He came across as someone who was gregarious, responsible and persistence. He never took a No for an answer. We met at the gym close to our family house .We made time to meet over lunch and dinner sometimes. My mum found him as a great replacement for Nat since she was getting worried over the numerous suitors I had turned away all in the name of a broken heart. “Nancy, it is about time to start your own family. This Nat guy must have been married with children by now. You need to also get on with your life.” Mrs. Daniels encouraged . For the first time after nine years of breaking up with Nat, she dared to confront me.” My dear, I have kept quiet all these while because I thought it was prudent to leave you to recover .But my daughter, bitter as it may be, Nat would never come back to you. Please move on. “, she urged. I looked straight into the eyes of my mum and hopefully for the last time,  allowed tears, a lot of it, to flow. I wept on my mum’s laps whilst she held me trying to comfort me. I consented to courtship with Arnold when he proposed and we were married almost a year after. I would never forget the last words of my dear mother on my wedding day. She said,” Nancy, you would learn to love him. You have at least tried to give yourself a chance with love .This love would develop and soon , you would be head over heels with Arnold.”

 I had held on to those words as if my wish depended on it but unfortunately my mum had it all wrong. Here I was on a  particular Saturday morning back then, with almost the entire estates meeting up at the fun square (central place where gym, courts, mini supermarkets and mobile van for farm markets were) and I couldn’t even go over. Life with Arnold started off as a dream come true but six months within the marriage then I realized how much of a control freak he was. He always wanted to be the only one to speak to me in a gathering. Not only that, he determined the extent I needed to talk hence making it so embarrassing. I used to go with him to the fun square till something unbelievable happened. I had bumped into another childhood friend, Millicent Quaye now Millicent Morrison. We had a chat whilst Arnold went off to play a match at the tennis court. Millicent took me over to the gym to meet her husband , formerly the  room mate of Nat Enchill, when we were on campus. I just couldn’t believe how small the world could be. The three of us talked at length unfortunately interrupting the workout schedule Nii Morrison was on. “Let me get cup of juice for all of us whilst we continue our chat outside. What do you guys want me to get for you?” Millicent asked whilst still moving out. “Pineapple will do for me, Sweetheart”, Nii answered. I opted for Mango. “Do you know Nat is back in town?” Nii asked wondering if it  would be of any interest to the now married Nancy, thus my good self. “Really? I am sure he must be a big man, married with children. Please spare me the details. I don’t want to get sick.”, I pleaded. “He inquired of you when he arrived few months back. “, Nii continued unperturbed by my response. “Yes, he is married with a son. “, he added. “Why are you telling me this, Nii? What importance would Nat ……?” I asked but couldn’t complete as right beside me stood Arnold fuming with rage and taking  a cursory look at Nii. “ Nancy we need to go. Let us get going.”, he ordered. I turned to Arnold with the intention to introduce him to Nii , only for my arm to be grabbed and  fastened around his arm whilst being dragged away. Millicent was approaching with the drink but Arnold run into her without even saying sorry but I signaled to her that I would call her later. “ Who the hell is this dude? How could Nancy have ended up with this uncouth man ?” , Nii fumed. Millicent was taken aback and wondered the kind of  married life Nancy had.

I was dragged into the parking lot with  a lot of onlookers wondering what had gone wrong. I managed to release myself off the grip and shouted , “ What have I done ,Mr. Drey? What?”, I was shouting now almost on top of my voice. “Get your ass into this car now.”, he ordered. I mellowed and complied else I knew what would confront me in the house.

Millicent, still disturbed by what happened was strolling around the mini supermarket when she was blindfolded .” Who is this?”, she wondered. “ You guess.”, the voice beckoned. “ Hmm…clues. Give me clues”, Millicent became uneasy. “ I used to worry you a lot when you came over our house to buy ice cream for me. I was like an adorable little sister of yours” , the voice released few clues then further added,” You comforted me when my sister and I lost our dad  whilst on campus”.”N..N…ora!!!!” , Millicent screamed .  “Yes!!! Good job. I bet you could do better with charades too.”, Nora said amidst laughter. They embraced and shared few moments on the past and issues of their lives.” Millicent explained that she came back from pursuing her Masters  in Business administration ( General Management) few months ago with Nii. He flew over to the UK for us to tie the knot since most of my relatives were over there. “I had planned to pay your mum a visit  and to retrieve the contacts of you two but seeing you all had  obviously halted the plan.. Unfortunately, I met Nancy’s husband. He didn’t seem like a gentleman to me.Where did Nancy get that one from?”. Nora sighed sorrowfully. “Yes I know he could be a bit nasty but especially when he sees another man with his wife. “, Nora explained trying hard not to give out so much information for the world to see how pathetic her sister’s life had been with Arnold.  “ He is the jealous type?”, Millicent exclaimed. Bubbly Nora managed to cleverly change the subject in order not to be cornered to say more.

“What kind of embarrassment was the……a…tt?” I asked but the response were two slaps. “Don’t you dare make a fool out of me in public. You get that? Why do you have to speak to any guy whilst I am around. “, he warned. As I lifted myself off the sofa with tears streaming down my cheeks , he pushed me back  unto the sofa and demanded, “ Don’t even try walking off from me.Till I am done, stay put and listen.”  I stubbornly picked myself up and started off to our room then all I remembered was a thrust from the back that sent me hitting the wall with so much force then I blacked out . I woke up few days later in the hospital with Arnold beside me trying to prevent me from talking too much to the doctor. “What happened, Nancy? This is not the first time I had seen you badly bruised. “, Dr. Wislon asked. He had been a family doctor of the Daniels since I was born. The rampant visit to the hospital with fatal bruises had become a worry to him. He had also realized that, there wasn’t any time, Arnold was not around so he couldn’t sit her down like a father to inquire about what was happening. “Dr. Wilson, we went over to the fun square at Rolex estates . I decided to join the  women football team . I think I  received a rude tackle from an opponent which sent me crushing down. “, I lied. He knew it was a lie but understood from my body language that, Arnold was a threat  if she dared to speak the truth. He decided not to push further but discharged her when she was better for Arnold to take her home.

I had a call from my mum immediately we got home. “ Nancy, what did I hear happened to you?”, Mrs. Daniels inquired. Dr. Wilson called to confide in me of how you had been to the hospital several times with bruises. Is Arnold treating you well? Does he beat you my daughter? Please tell me. “, Mrs. Daniels questioned in dismay. I bit my lower lip realizing the agony my mum would have been in upon hearing the revelations from Dr. Wilson. “ Oh! Mum. I am ok. Just a small accident. Don’t worry.”, I tried to calm her down. “Put Arnold on the line. I need to talk to him. I didn’t sell you to him so he better take good care of you. “, my mum demanded. “Mum, I beg you. I will be fine . Don’t ask me to give the phone to Arnold please “, I pleaded but Arnold grabbed my hand and took the phone ,” Yes Mum. Good evening. I am here.”, he announced. “ Mum, I am taking good care of her. I believe Dr. Wilson misunderstood us. We would even come over next weekend for you to see her. She is looking beautiful each day. “ , he lied. He later resolved that Dr.Wilson would no longer handle any issues pertaining to my health and I had to get well soon because he instructed that ,we had to pay a quick visit to my mum’s house the following weekend. In addition to the new resolutions, I would not follow him to the fun square again. I could only go if he had travelled. Hence the reason for the ‘imprisonment’ on subsequent Saturdays at home.

The loneliness on Saturday mornings was unbelievably nerve wrecking. Nora decided to also stay behind at home to call up during those times when Arnold was off to the fun square. “ Big sis, how are you holding up ?”, Nora would ask anxiously. “I am well little sister. I would survive.”, I answered. We had at least an hour to catch up on each other’s life and also got to know that she was pregnant.  I advised her to take good care of herself.” I would sis. Lest I forget. I saw Joan  just yesterday moving into  Sunshine block. She was with a man I believed to be the husband. She is back for good . I gave your number to her anyway. “ , Nora informed.” Oh !!! Ok !! Thanks. It is amazing how my childhood friends are so close but so difficult to meet up with them.” , I confessed sorrowfully. “Sis, I need to go now .Gerald just came in. I need to attend to him.”, Nora informed and hanged up.

“You should have been with me at the fun square , my Sunshine.”, Gerald lamented. “You know why I had taken a break from that right?”, Nora questioned.” Yeah right. So you could call sis Nancy and chat her up .”, he acknowledged. “I bought few items  for us to work on an English breakfast this morning. I am indeed starving.”, he complained. Nora rushed to the kitchen and got cooking whilst Gerald hit the showers.

It didn’t take that long for Millicent and Joan to plunge into the rumors going round about Nancy and Arnold. Much had been said with little certainty as to what really was happening in the house of the Dreys. Nora and Gerald had refused to give credence to the rumors by substantiating evidence presented by rumor mongers or denying. They always took the best way out either  be evasive or keep quiet.  Nevertheless, under few occasions, when Arnold had travelled, Joan , Millicent and Nora organized drink ups at my end to chat like old times. Those were the little blessings I counted on as they always knew what to do to keep me laughing and pampered.

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