This Is The Doing Of Our Landlord And It’s Marvelous In Our Eyes…
I got a job in Accra and had nowhere to live. The office gave me two weeks to look for accommodation. I used two weeks to comb through the areas closer to my workplace but didn’t get a place. I spoke to an old-time friend who agreed for me to move in with him while I look for a place for myself. His place was very far from where I work. On a bad day, I had to pick three trotro and a taxi before I get to work. On a good day, I had to pick a taxi and three different trotro before I get to work. The only difference is whether the taxi comes first or last. I stayed with my friend for two months without getting a place of my choice. The good ones were expensive. The inexpensive ones came with a lot of problems I couldn’t live with.
One day an agent walked me into a house that was perfect for me. It had everything I needed and was closer to my workplace. I could pick only one trotro and get to work. We met the landlord and he layed down the rules. The only rule I had issues with was the time the main gate closes. He said, “Here, the gate closes at 10pm. When it closes, it doesn’t open until the next morning at 5am.” I took the room. I felt nothing would keep me in town until 10pm.
After a week or so, the landlord called for a house meeting where he laid down new rules. He changed the time the gate closes from 10pm to 9pm. I was the first person who protested. He asked, “You came here just a week ago. Should I refund your rent so you go and look for another place where the gate never closes?” I kept mute. The rest of the tenants didn’t say a word. It was after the meeting that I heard them talking about how bad the new rules were. I was a new tenant. I had no friends there and there was no one I could speak my mind to so I went into my room and slept.
One night, I got home around 10:30pm and found the gate locked. I went around the house checking if I could see anyone around and begged them to open the gate for me. I didn’t see anyone. By the time I got back to the gate, there was another tenant sitting in front of the gate. She looked at me and she laughed. I asked, “Do you know anyone we can call?” She said, “Nii would have helped but he traveled this morning. Apart from him, I’m not on that terms with anyone around here.” We sat for a while, thinking of what to do. I decided to jump over the wall. She said, “If the landlord sees you jumping over his wall, tomorrow morning, he’ll give you your rent and ask you to leave.” I said, “So, should we sleep here?” Her name is Anita
I jumped over the wall, opened the gate from the inside and the two of us entered our rooms.
A few days later, it was us again behind the gate. I came to meet her with her phone in her hand. She was calling Nii to open for us. For the next five minutes or so, she called Nii severally but he didn’t answer. She looked at me. She asked what we’re going to do. I said, “Should I jump?” She said, “Hmmm, this landlord is capable of anything. If he catches us, we are moving out tomorrow.” I jumped. I opened the gate and she entered. That night we exchanged contacts. We called each other in the night asking if we would be late to the gate. She was always late because of her job. When she got my contact, she stopped calling Nii and started calling me instead.
I was out with friends one night when I saw her call on my phone. She said, “I’m at the gate ooo where are you?” I answered, “I’m with friends. We are out. I don’t think I will come home tonight.” She said, “Oh ok, then I will call Nii then.” Ten minutes later, she called back again. “Nii is not picking up. I’m dead.” I said, “Wait for me, I’m coming.”
I left my friends, picked a taxi and ran home. I was thinking, “If I could leave my friends, run home only to jump a wall for a woman then there’s something happening behind the walls of my heart. Is it love? Is it care? Or it’s the combination of the two?” I got there, jumped the wall, and saw the landlord seated comfortably in front of his door. He looked at me and I looked back at him. He asked, “Did you pack your things before leaving the house this morning? If you didn’t, then use the rest of the night to pack up because you’re leaving my house tomorrow morning.”
Anita didn’t know what was going on so she kept shouting from the outside asking me to open the door. The landlord asked me, “Oh so you’re coming in with your girlfriend. You’ll do anything to have a bite of her, including jumping my wall? Then you have failed. Doesn’t she have a home you can go to?” He opened the gate and saw Anita. I don’t know why but that got him more pissed off than he already was. I thought he was bluffing about giving me my rent so I walked off and entered my room. Minutes later I heard a knock on my door. Immediately I opened the trap door, he threw the money on me and said, “I don’t want to see you here after tomorrow.”
I was baffled. “What is it about a wall that this man would be this mad about me because I jumped?”
All night I sat in front of the house with Anita, thinking of what to do next. She was more worried than I was. She couldn’t sit still and couldn’t keep quiet. I was looking at her and falling in love instead of thinking about my problem. She said, “I will gather the whole tenants tomorrow morning. We would go to him and plead on your behalf. He likes to be begged. He likes to have power. Let’s give him the power so he can forgive.”
The next morning I was asleep when Anita came to knock on my door. She said, “Tony, wake up. We are ready.”
We went to him. We begged. I asked for forgiveness and promised never to do it again. The rest of the household joined voices to beg on my behalf. He said calmly, “Ok, I will think about it and see what I can do. You guys know me. You don’t have to try me. Don’t dare me at all.” I was in my room when he sent his daughter to come for the money. When all was said and done, I decided never to stay out late again and rather be the guy who stays home and opens the gate for Anita. Each night when she returned from work she called me. Each night, I got up and opened the gate for her. She would bring me food. She’ll bring me snacks. Sometimes we’ll sit and talk till the cock crows.
One night, I opened the door and we talked. The next morning we were lovers.
She said, “I knew it would get here. I’ve been expecting it for so long.” I answered, “Even a wall with a barbed wire I’ve jumped for you. What is the height of your heart that I can’t jump over?”
The landlord saw me coming from her room one night and he asked, “What did you go there to do that you’re coming out this late? I’ve been monitoring you two. I won’t sit and be the old man who didn’t do anything when he saw something going wrong. What is going on between you two?” That night I stood up for my right. I told him my mind and it turned into give and take. He said, “When I had the chance to eject you I should have. Look at him growing horns. We shall see.”
So when Anita came home late and I went to open the gate, he got angry and started insulting us. Because of us, he made new rules that when the gate closes no one had the right to open it until the next morning. I didn’t mind him. I kept opening the gate for her each night when she came around. Then he shifted his attention to Anita, threatening her with ejection. One night he said, “Only God knows the kind of work you do on the street that you only close late at night.” Anita told me, “Tony, I will look for a new place and leave here. It’s becoming too much.”
She got a place and left the house but I stayed. I went to her place often. When it’s late, I slept over. I didn’t have anyone there to open gates for me in the night. A year and a half later, we did the knocking and planned to get married in the next three months. She made things easier. She made life comfortable. She set my mind on bigger goals and I fell for her every move. When our wedding invitation was ready, the landlord was the first person I sent one to. He said, “Is that where it has gotten to? I answered, “Yeah, that was where it was going right from the beginning. When you keep jumping walls, one day you’ll land in a heart that loves you endlessly”
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He didn’t attend our wedding. When I was sending the thank you message to those who attended the wedding, he was the first person I sent the message to. As expected, he didn’t reply. We were moving to a bigger place so I stayed for a while. He asked when I would be leaving. I told him I still have a year left on my rent so he can’t ask that question. When I was leaving, I notified him and told him I would like to collect the remaining of my rent. He snapped, “What do you think? That I don’t have money to pay that chicken change? Leave and I will refund.”
I left the house three years ago. I don’t know. Maybe the refund will hit my account today or tomorrow but as I speak, he hasn’t paid me a dime. All the same, I have him to thank for the woman I have now. We met because of his bad rules. We found the strength of our love when he tried making things difficult for us. He locked the gate on us at 9pm so the gate of our hearts can stay open for each other forever. We are here, enjoying marriage because of a landlord who made things difficult for us. One day we’ll build our own house. We’ll become landlords too. The rules would be different but no man would be allowed to jump walls for a woman in the house. We know where that would lead to. We won’t allow it.
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