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The Borrowed Wife gives a new spin on sex, lies and video. Add a car accident and you have a making of an intriguing story.
Vida Frimpong hates and loves Mensah. Her marriage has its secrets and melancholy, but awesome sex. Living on the other side of the country was supposed to last six months, but after a YouTube video surfaces, Mensah becomes more distant as Vida waits for some sort of resolution. Her close-knit Ghanaian community provides her with love and laughter in New York, where she tries to balance the needs of her family and her desires for a more fulfilling life. But a late night car accident with a mysterious stranger suddenly gives Vida the opportunity to reexamine her future.
Julius Gallo, no ordinary billionaire, offers new views to Vida’s cultural beliefs—and an unconventional agreement.
Does Julius have all the answers? Can he provide Vida with the happiness she is longing for? Will Vida uphold her vows to Mensah, or take a chance and explore her passions elsewhere?
The Borrowed Wife is an unforgettable novel that will keep you entertained as you discover the intricacies of Vida’s family life and the cultural pressures she faces to maintain her marriage no matter the cost.
Funny, sexy, and filled with a compelling cast of characters, you’ll laugh and empathize with this amazing woman’s emotional journey.
Auntie Cece says she will be over in a few minutes. I know Mensah has contacted her by now. I refused all his calls and deleted his late night text messages. The children know something is wrong. They don’t know about my four-page Dear Mensah letter. I haven’t told anyone. But I am sure Mensah has told Auntie Cece. She is the only one cheering for him. She is the only one now trying to save my marriage. Why are things so complicated now? Everything has changed. My feelings have turned from anger to sorrow to hate back to love and now I’m somewhere in between. I don’t hate him, but I don’t know if I’m still in love with him either. His last voice message was the longest message he has ever left me since he relocated to California.
“Yaa, how long is this going to last? I don’t know what else to tell you. You won’t return my calls or my text messages. Is this how it is going to be? Silence? It’s been several months. And now you send me this letter stating that you want a divorce. Oh, like it’s that simple. At least hear me out before you make any decisions. I know I fucked up, but Kate is not here anymore. We need to talk and as soon as I get an opportunity, I will be back to New York. Why can’t you give me a chance to explain myself? I bought you a ticket to join me in the Bahamas this weekend. I’m leaving Dubai tomorrow and I will meet you at the hotel. Just you and me, Yaa. I’ve already spoken to Auntie Cece to watch the children. All you have to do is show up. I’ve taken care of everything. Give me a chance, Yaa…please. Let me hear from you. Please.”
The noise of footsteps approaches and then a gentle knock at the door.
“Hello, Auntie.” She pushes the door through. Ghana suits her well. She has a tan and her hair is braided past her shoulders. She looks youthful. Her skin is the color of fried ripe plantain.
“Good evening, Yaa. Where are the children?”
“They are across the street at Chin’s house.”
She sits beside me on the bed and takes my hands into hers. Oh, no…this is one of those long marriage-is-not-easy talks. “I don’t know the whole story, but what I know is marriage is never easy. There is someone who has to play the fool. Be the smart one, but don’t show that you are smart. One has to see, but don’t see. Nowhere is easy. You can’t run away from yur problems and expect not to face them again around the corner. At times the rope is long but every rope has an end. You will cry at times and laugh another time. Marriage is sweet and sometimes it’s sour. I don’t know much. But I do know Mensah loves you and the children.” She pauses and, for the first time in a long time, tears fall down her cheeks. “You have to forgive him. At least for the children’s sake. The decision you make will not only affect you, but them as well.” Now I’m crying. The boys love their father and I would never do anything to change that.
“Auntie, I understand.”
“No, you don’t understand.” She sobers up to a firm stance. “Don’t be fooled by shining things and think it’s gold. Men are funny. They can want you so desperately at one time and then throw you to the side another time. You must stay wif yur husband. He stood in front of our family to promise to take care of you and love you. He hasn’t moved away from that promise.”
“So love includes a mistress?”
“Solomon was a wise man, but he had many wives. I am not saying that it is not a painful thing to discover, but a man who can push that aside and say he still wants his wife deserves another chance. Don’t make a mistake that you will regret.”
I want to respond to her. To tell her that my feelings for Mensah have changed. But it would be a series of repeated exchanges that would not result in anything. Talk less and listen more, Vida. She reminds me of all the wonderful things Mensah is. And that his indiscretion should be pardoned. My heart remains hardened by the image of Kate in the T-shirt I bought him greeting me at the door. For how long was this going on? Does he think she is more beautiful than me? Is he happy with me?
“Are you listening to me?”
“It is a woman that turns the roof over her head into a home. Don’t let anyone destroy that. I will look after the children. Please meet him in the Bahamas.” She kisses my forehead and I nod in agreement. “Do you need help packing?”
“No. I can manage.”
After dinner, I tell the children of my plans this weekend with their father. It turns out they are aware of Mensah’s plan. Kakra wholeheartedly admits to the destination.
“I heard you and Auntie Abla talking about an all girls’ trip to the Bahamas. You said Daddy promised you on your tenth anniversary,” Kakra says. He beams with hope and I’m convinced even more that I have to go. I owe it to the children.
Later that night. I text Julius.
“Hi. I won’t be able to come by tomorrow. Going away for the weekend. I will call you when I get back into town.”
This seems ambiguous enough. The shorter the better. Julius’s call is coming through.
“Good evening. How are the children?” Julius says.
“Fine,” I say softly.
“Rosemary? And Auntie Cece?”
“Abla’s in Connecticut. Mrs. Lindsey is back. Auntie was here earlier, but she left after dinner.” He’s never asked about Auntie Cece before.
“Hmmm. What’s for dinner tonight?”
“Jollof rice and fried chicken.”
“Sounds delicious.” I know he wants to know more about this weekend, but is waiting for me to say something.
“I should have brought you some.”
“It’s late. Perhaps you can make me some over the weekend, depending on what time you get back.” And there it is, a subtle probe.
“I’ll be gone for the whole weekend. Maybe next weekend?”
“Just you and the children?” he asks.
“No, Auntie Cece will be here to watch the children.” I can’t tell him a unicorn story. Especially now that I have gotten to know him a little more this past week. Vida, just say it and get it over with. “I’mmeetingMensahintheBahamas,” I rush through the sentence and wait for his reply. Maybe I should repeat it. It didn’t sound coherent. Silence.
“…There’s a really good restaurant in Nassau. They have live music; steel drums and the food is excellent. If I recall the name, I will text it to you.”
“Okay. Thank you,” I say. I owe him more. I start to apologize, but he doesn’t allow me to continue.
“You must have a lot to sort out and it’s getting late.” I check the clock by the bed. It’s 9:51 p.m.
“I will see you when you get back. Safe journey.” My phone flashes. He ends the call.
Morning comes and I am filled with mixed emotion. There will probably come a time when I will look back on this day and say either I really fucked up or made the right decision. I instruct the cab driver to take me to Long Island City instead.
Top 10 Reasons why....
You knew you wanted to be an writer
2. I have stories building up in my head and on my desktop
3. I love to watch people and characters for my stories
4. I started watching the Oscars in the 3rd grade. Every year my mom will let me stay up late to watch it. I used to write down the names of all the winners and the categories. I prayed one day that my name would be amongst one of the best screenplays.
5. I majored in Premed in college and was failing miserably. I took a creative writing class and my professor told me at the end of the semester, writing was my calling not Premed.
6. I freestyle a poem in my creative writing class in college titled Chocolate Drop. We had to leave it in the professors mailbox, which she shared the next day. Everyone loved it. And at the end of the class, someone stole it.
7. I’ve read and watched The Color Purple over 30 times. Alice Walker is one of the reasons why i wanted to become a writer.
8. I have interesting family and friends. Things they say I could not make up myself. .loolo. My mother and sister was my muse for Abla.
9. At the age of 14, my aunt asked what I wanted to be growing up. I told her a writer. She told me I would starve to make a living. Fast forward, to the present, that desire is still there.
10. I have a song in my heart that I want the world to hear.
Yoyo Opoku is a writer. As a first generation American, she shares her euphemisms and humor about growing up in a multicultural home. She is the author of The Borrowed Wife and Husbands On Hold.