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She’s The Reason Why Anytime I Hear ‘Berlinda’, I Look Over My Shoulders

She’s The Reason Why Anytime I Hear ‘Berlinda’, I Look Over My Shoulders

We had been dating for just six months. All of a sudden she started accusing me of cheating. She started asking questions. My answers were not enough. Every word was scrutinized as if I was being interrogated by a professional interrogator: “Why did you not pick my video call in the night?” “What were you doing that night when I called and you didn’t answer?” “Who is that girl you liked her photo on Facebook? Where do you know her from? How long have you been cheating with her?” It was too many for me to answer. It also became difficult to answer especially when she didn’t believe any word that I said.

“Berlinda, listen to me,” I said. “This relationship is only six months old. I don’t know where this your attitude is coming from and what you saw that brought this new behavior but if you’ll believe me and accept that you’re the only woman in my life, everything will be fine. Don’t spoil what we have with jealousy. It’s precious to me. I’m ready to build this. I’m ready to take it where both of us want this to be. Just believe me.”

Asking someone who doesn’t believe you to believe you is like pointing something to a blind man and saying, “Look, isn’t that beautiful?” He can’t see and he can’t appreciate the beauty until you bring that same thing to him to hold it, feel it, smell it, assess the whole thing with the rest of his senses before he’ll come to accept how beautiful that thing is. I had to bring myself to her in a place where she could also touch me. Feel me. To know the truth for herself. 

So I was always with her. When I wasn’t, I told her where I was and the reason why I was there. When she called and I couldn’t pick, I sent her a message right away for her to know the reason I couldn’t pick her call. I made myself seen in all forms. Transparent. I even threw a light on my opaque side so I wouldn’t have anything to hide. It still didn’t cure her fears. She still had it. She still felt there was someone in my life. Maybe a ghost that she alone could see. 

One night I went to her place to visit. All night she was moody. She didn’t talk to me until I asked a question. I put my best on. I shared my best jokes but she didn’t laugh. “So Berlinda, what’s the matter with you?” She answered, ‘I’m fine.” I said, “You don’t act like you’re fine. Is there anything wrong somewhere? Did someone hurt you? Or I did something wrong?” She retorted, “Because of your bad deeds you always think you’ve done something wrong. Can’t I remain quiet in my own house again?” 

I didn’t go any further. I knew where that would lead us. She spent every minute on her phone. Something, if I did, would have brought a barrage of questions. I stayed calm and watched her do what pleased her. I thought I was spending the night with her. Around 12am she told me she wants to lock her door. I said, “Lock it? Obviously, I’m not standing in your way.” She said calmly, “Go to your house and let me lock my door. I don’t feel like spending the night with you tonight.” 

“Really?” 

“Yeah, I’m not in the mood for your presence.”

I looked at her, waiting for the punchline that would throw me on the floor with laughter. But it turned out that not all jokes have punchlines. She held the door open, waiting for me to step outside. Slowly, I walked out. I thought to myself, “This girl would come begging before I step foot into her house again. Whatever has come over her, she should date that thing and leave my life alone.” I was with my thoughts while walking the dark street and negotiating the dark curves leading to my house. Around the bend that leads to a community school in the vicinity, I saw two gentlemen walking in my direction. The place was dark. I could see only the silhouette of walking men. At first, I didn’t take them seriously. They were men going their way just as I was going my way. 

Their steps quickened. They were pacing in my direction. That was when I started sensing danger. One of them screamed out, “Hey, stop right there. Where do you think you’re going?” I stopped. One was holding a huge stick that can fall an elephant with just a single strike. The other one was holding a machete. Now I was shaking. The huge one said, “Bring out your phones!” I gave the ‘yam’ phone to him while trying hard to conceal the bulge of my main Samsung phone. The tiny guy said calmly, “You want me to strike you with this thing? Bring the other phone before I get angry.” Calmly, I picked the other phone and gave it to him.”

The big one said, “Now walk straightforward. Don’t try to do anything funny or else it will turn bloody. Go and not turn back.” I was shivering at this stage. I turned and started walking away. One of them screamed, “Hey hey hey, not yet. Stop right there. Bring out your wallet.” I started pleading, “Please spare my wallet. I can give you the money in it. All my ID cards are in it and I don’t want to lose them.” The big guy said, “You think we have your time? Drop it before I strike.” At this time, the machete was up. I took out my wallet and handed it over to him. They took off and left me standing there. I should be grateful for my life but I was hurting for all the things I lost. That increased the anger I had towards Berlinda.

I got home and laid still on my bed. I couldn’t sleep all night. I thought of what I was going to do without my phones and the process I had to go through to be able to get all the missing cards again. It was hard but there was nothing I could do. The following day, I went to the market and bought another ‘yam’ phone in the meantime. Immediately I got my chip on, Berlinda called. It was around 6pm. She was angry. “So you blocked my lines because of what happened last night? Do you see the reason why I’m always fighting with you? You always go extreme when something little happens between us.” I listened to her rant. When She was done I said calmly, “I was robbed. They took my phones and my wallet. Two men. They had arms. I had nothing.” 

She screamed, “When? How? Where did it happen?” 

“When I was returning home from your house. But don’t worry, I’m fine.”

“Why Shouldn’t I worry? I’m really worried. Wait for me in the house, I’m coming.”

So she came. She apologized for driving me out. She cursed herself for being the reason all that happened. She was crying and pleading with me to forgive her. “It’s not your fault. What would happen will always find a vessel through which it can happen. Stop taking the blame. We should rather thank God that I wasn’t hurt.” I said. 

It took me three months to be able to get a new smartphone but it didn’t bother me a lot because what happened brought some strength back into our relationship. She stopped fighting me. She stopped accusing me of unnecessary things. The ghost I was dating vanished from our relationship. We were us again. The Berlinda I once knew and fell in love with was back and she was back for good. I compliment her on the change. I encouraged her to keep it up. She said, “I’ve seen the results of anger and I don’t want it to happen again. I’m a changed person.”

Two and a half years later, she’s moving out of her place. Her landlord increased her rent and out of anger, she decided to leave the place. We found a new place nearby and started packing her things to the new place. I was there right from the start. We gathered the things and moved them into a waiting vehicle. She went with the vehicle while I stayed behind putting things together. I was dusting off an old handbag when a phone fell out of the bag. A ‘yam’ phone that looked very familiar. Immediately I held the phone we got connected. I said, “My phone? How did it get here?” I pressed to turn it on and it was off. I placed it in my pocket while thinking of how a phone that was robbed from me got into the bag of my girlfriend. 

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I helped her move to the new place. When I got home I charged the phone and it had everything as if it never got missing. “Wow, so she had a hand in what I went through that night?” The following day I went back to her new place, threw the phone on her, and asked, “Where did you get this phone?” She shook a little. She was voiceless for a while until she said, “What do you mean? I don’t understand.” I said, “This is the phone that was robbed from me. I found it in your bag. How come?” She answered, “You found it in my bag? How is that possible.” I said, “Berlinda, if you push me to the wall, I’ll report this to the police. I don’t mind the fact that you’re my girlfriend.”

She denied knowing anything about the phone. I pushed her. I even begged her but when it got to the point I realized she was toying with me, I said, “You’ll answer to the police tomorrow.”

That same evening she called. Her answer was, “The whole thing was staged. I’m responsible. I knew you were cheating and the only place I could find the truth was from your phone. I arranged with them. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” 

Wow! I’ve heard stories about a woman’s jealousy and how far they could go when their hearts are involved but this was a whole new level to me. “So how did they take my wallet too? My wallet couldn’t carry any information on cheating so why take that one too?” She said, “That was not part of the arrangement. They went too far with it. All I wanted were the two phones. They brought the phone without the wallet.”

What could I do? Beat her? Swallow her? Have her thrown to the lions? I couldn’t do any of those things. I could only sigh and put an end to the relationship. She spoilt the name Berlinda for me. I want to forget so I don’t go near where Berlindas are. 

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Berlinda..”

“Nice meeting you. Adios!

–Reginald

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