Four years after marriage, my work transferred me to another town. I had to leave my wife and our three-year-old girl behind and go alone. Before leaving, I promised to come home every weekend to see them. I tried. Every weekend I drove for almost five hours just to be home with my wife and kid. My daughter especially loved to see me and grew up to expect my return every weekend.

A year later, I grew tired. Driving to my family every weekend became an impossible thing. I made it two weeks; every fortnight I went home. That also didn’t favor me. It became every three weeks and then later became once a month. It wasn’t my fault and not that I had grown tired of seeing my family. I’d loved to see them every day but I got too tired every weekend. My job required a lot of traveling around and then at the end of the week, I crowned it with a five-hour drive back home. 

But there was not a single day that I didn’t call to check up on them. The first thing I did when I woke up was to call them. I would talk to my wife and I would talk to my daughter. In the evening when I get home earlier, I’ll call them on a video call and the three of us would get connected. There’s something the distance between us did for me. I always woke up missing my family. Absence makes the heart grows fonder, it’s true. I loved my wife more and each day when I was returning home, I thought of all the things I was missing and how I was going to do it with her when I finally got home. The kisses, the sex, the I miss you while looking deep in her eyes. The special food she cooks while I’m around. I thought about all of them on my way back home.

It was a Friday. The following Monday was a holiday and it was only just a week when I returned from home. Honestly, it wasn’t part of my plans to go home on that weekend but my job took me closer home on that Friday so I said, “Why not continue the journey back home? After all, Monday is a holiday.” So that evening when my job was done, I continued the journey home. It was supposed to be a surprise. While driving my wife called. The usual evening calls we do. I spoke to her. She sensed I was driving. She asked, “You’re still not home?” I told her, “Yeah today I traveled far and wide and the job delayed so I’m now driving back home.” She asked why I didn’t come home knowing the following Monday was a holiday. I nearly told her I was on my way coming but I didn’t. The fact that she wanted to see me made the surprise worthwhile. I told her, “Yeah, it’s a holiday but there is something I have to do on Monday morning.”

Slowly and steadily I got home. The clock on my dashboard read 12:17am. I called my wife on phone, she didn’t pick. I called, again and again, she didn’t pick. I knocked several times on the door and she finally responded. She’s fond of sleeping with the music on so I wasn’t surprised I had to struggle to wake her up. She asked, “Who’s that?” I said, “Eiii, you can really sleep. I’ve been calling you for ages.” She mentioned my name. “Ansah?” I asked, “Who else?” I left the door and went back to the car to pack my things from the car. I was busily packing my bag and stuff from the car when a shadow flashed before my eyes. I lifted my head and saw a silhouette of a man tiptoeing and holding some stuff on his chest. I sat in the car, turned the ignition on, and turned on the car light. Before the light could reach him, he had already jumped over the mini wall and was running away.

Who could that be?

The house we lived in was an apartment that had three other tenants. That running man could have come from any other person’s room but why was he running? Why was he carrying his load on his chest, running and jumping over walls? My wife came to open the door and I walked in. I saw my daughter sleeping on the couch. “Why is she sleeping here? Were you sleeping here with her? She answered, “She was watching TV when I went inside. Unknowingly, I fell asleep leaving her here.” It didn’t make sense. We never slept while our girl was watching TV. We didn’t even leave her alone in the hall. I entered the bedroom. Bedsheet looked crumpled with my wife’s panty lying on the floor where the bed’s footboard was. My heart started beating fast. “This man could have come out of our bedroom. Why would my daughter sleep in the hall? Why would my wife’s panty lie here, crumpled?”

I started looking for more signs while she was still in the hall trying to pick our daughter up. She came in and started following me around, bringing conversations that had no bearing in our existence; “Sorry to keep you waiting for so long at the outside. I was so deeply asleep.” “If you called you were coming, I would have left you a dinner. Now, what are you going to eat?” “I called you and you didn’t even say you were coming. If I knew I would have stayed up awake and wait for you.” I went to the bath and she followed. To the kitchen and she followed. To the fridge and she came along. “Are you looking for something?” She asked. She kept trailing me around the house until I finally sat on the couch and she sat next to me. She was jumpy. She was looking suspicious. Her eyes moved around the room unnecessarily as if she was looking for something.

I concluded; “The shadow I saw was coming from our room.” There was no concrete evidence but my wife’s behavior. Our baby on the couch and that pant on the floor was enough to convince me that the running man was from our room. The pant looked like it was taken off hurriedly when emotions were high. That’s why nobody cared where it landed. I slept that night with a lot of questions burdening my heart. “Why would my wife cheat?” Who was he cheating with, is he someone I know? How long has she been doing that?” Is my daughter even mine?”

The next morning when the sun’s light came in, I saw something under the bed, not too far from the side rail. I stooped and pick it up. It was a male watch with a cracked screen. That watch belonged to Sampson, a guy who once lived in the neighborhood and was giving my wife a lift whenever she was going to work. He came to the house once in a while when I was there, talked with us for a while, and left. I didn’t hear from him again when he moved out of the neighborhood so what was his watch doing in my room?” That very morning, I packed up my things and left the house. She asked, “Why are you leaving so soon?” I answered, “It was supposed to be a short visit. I have other things to do on my way back to my station.”

I went back, cried, thought of crazy thoughts, and thought of when I was going to serve her divorce papers. I needed no further evidence that she was cheating and on that ground, I could leave her but I didn’t leave her. I instead thought of ways to make things better between us. I worked it out with my company, told them a lot of lies so they could transfer me back to where I used to be. It was difficult at first but I persisted until HR heard my plea and brought me back home. 

Deep down, my wife knew there was something wrong. My behavior towards her and the way I talked to her changed. She might have fought with her conscience, asking if I caught her that day but we never spoke about it. I never mentioned it to her and we had to fight it out with trust broken.

She tells people that I’ve changed. I’ve turned worse than I used to be. She tells people that she didn’t do anything to cause me to change but I know deep down that she knows when things changed and she could connect the dots if she was clever. Some days I want to talk about it but I feel so embarrassed to even bring the topic up. If another man slept with your wife then you’re not a man enough or there’s something your kind of man lacks and that pushed your wife into another man’s arms. I don’t know.

It’s been only a year since the incident. Somedays I forget. She does all the good things and I forget her cheating ways but anytime something goes wrong, I remember and that makes me angrier than I should be. I don’t want to leave her, that’s for sure. I love her so much and I love our daughter so much. I can’t allow us to be destroyed but I can’t also seem to totally forget what she did. 

-Ansah