I am just dazed, sitting behind my laptop at work, just seconds after laughing with my colleagues. Absurd huh? Cos that has been the story of my life these days; I act normal one second, the next second I’m hit with my current predicament with my thoughts every minute.
I just got back from my honeymoon three months ago and I’m supposed to be the happiest man alive, I have a beautiful loving wife, with a banging body any man would die for, very hardworking and polite as well. But I’m not happy, I’m burning inside. Lemme tell you why. This is my broken pen.
Six months before we tied the knot, Freda and I had already had countless fights concerning our wedding preparations. It all started when I told her I wanted us to have a simple traditional ceremony, head to the court to sign our certificate then have dinner in the evening. It did not sit well with my to-be wife. Freda was following many wedding pages on Instagram and had already painted her perfect wedding picture in her mind. And as opinionated as she can be, you can imagine how many times she and I fought on this issue. But I knew I had to let go of the fight when she threatened to call off the wedding one Saturday morning, over the phone. I was stunned and went mute for a minute or two. “Why can’t you give me the wedding of my dreams Edward? You proposed to me and promised me the wedding of my dreams. I’m sorry I can’t continue with the wedding if you’re saying this to me!” She said.
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I’m a 28 years old account executive at a well-established advertising agency in Accra. I work hard for a living. I earn 2,500 cedis every month, I’ve been with this agency for four years now, I drive a 2012 Hyundai Elantra, live alone. I think I’m comfortable. I had reached the point in my life where I felt I was ready to settle down but never did I think even the wedding would take a toll on me.
So I had set my sights on my mid-year bonus. Every two years, we are given bonuses as employees who had been working longer in the company. I was to receive 75,000 cedis if my maths was correct. I was going to use that for my wedding, just so I would not be affected that much. I also requested for an advance on my provident fund, of about 40,000 cedis which I was going to use to top up, and my savings of 30,000 cedis as a final top-up. So in all my wedding budget was a little close to 200,000 cedis, and I thought that was enough to give my baby the wedding of her dreams.
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The money I had requested for alongside my bonus, was going to be due after our wedding, so I had to request for a loan, from some friends to have our wedding expenses sorted out. But unfortunately, after the venue, gown and decorations were paid for, we had almost reached our budget limit. Overwhelming really! Freda kept on adding things, again, and again, and again. I finally got some support from her parents; I think they could tell I was struggling to put up an extravagant wedding. They covered the photography and food costs.
We had the wedding at Kempinski Hotel and it was one to talk about. All my colleagues congratulated me for putting up such a top-notch ceremony, while not having much. “I saved towards it” – is what I told them.
Later that evening, Akufo Addo announced a lockdown due to the rise of COVID 19. We were all made to stay home. Our General Manager had sent out emails to all employees, reinstating how were all to work from home and observe the social distancing protocols.
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Lockdown gave Freda and I more time to spend together. That honeymoon was our best time together actually but the devil always has a way of adding his little ingredients to a pot of happiness being cooked. I had a shocking email one morning that gave me the shock of the year.
It was two months into lockdown. I stepped outside and sat on the porch, set up my desk, opened my laptop, checked my mail, and read through our Manager’s email. It stated that “the increase in COVID cases has led to our clients withdrawing from projects, and therefore, affecting the financial state of the company. We however would like to put on hold payments of all bonuses and provident funds” – this email came as a shock to me. I started making phone calls talking to my colleagues at work. Fortunately for me, I was not laid off like some of them, but it was my debts I was worried about.
I informed Freda about the situation and that confrontation turned into a big argument. “What do you mean by our problem? Why did you not tell me the reason you were changing the wedding plans was that you did not have enough funds? It’s your problem now! Not ours.” I stormed out of the room fuming before I would say something I would later regret. How was I going to raise over a hundred thousand Ghana cedis? That’s when I knew I was a finished man!
We resumed work and started running shifts. On my second day in the office, I was summoned into our manager’s office, only to be informed to take a pay cut as the agency was further being hit financially. I sat in the manager’s office and started shedding tears. I was inconsolable. I believe the manager thought I was crying because my salary was going to be reduced, but he had no idea how I was boiling on the inside, only my wife and I knew how devastated I was.
It’s been a year, and It’s now time to start paying my debts. Just yesterday, I had received a call from Freda, telling me she is two weeks pregnant. Things are just getting worse for me.
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How do I fix this broken pen, my people?
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