We were not in a good place financially when we got married. My husband was working as a fuel station attendant and I was a pupil’s teacher—not a trained teacher but somehow after senior high, I got employed in a school nearby to teach the kindergarten kids. The salary wasn’t good but it was enough to keep body and soul together.
So money was the problem from the onset but we were determined to get married. We didn’t want to be in debt just so we could marry. We did what our money can do and bought the things our financial situations could allow us to buy. Nothing flashy, just the basic things to get us to say I do to each other.
Just two months after marriage, I realized both my wedding and engagement rings were fading. We couldn’t afford any karat’s worth of gold so we bought the cheap ones we found at the market. We were made to understand that they were not pure gold but rather a certain metal coated with gold color. My ring was glittering but it wasn’t gold. Honestly, it looked like the normal wedding ring and the seller promised us that it could go a whole year before we see any changes.
Sellers and their words are not to be taken as the truth. Just two months of wearing them, the gold color started to wear off. That was ok. No surprises but the rate at which it kept going off was so drastic that just about five months of using it, I was left with no gold coating on the ring. Then It started to rust.
I stopped bathing with it and stopped washing with it but it kept rusting. At some point, my friends and colleague teachers started asking questions; “Eiii what happened to your ring? Is it pure gold? Then why is it rusting?” One girl told me directly in the face; “Why did you allow your husband to buy ‘zaminama’ ring and put on your finger?”
I decided enough was enough. I wanted to buy a new one with my own money but my husband didn’t think it was a good investment of money; “Why would you spend that much on just rings? We have rent to pay and utilities to take care of. Take your time. When tides are good and favor knocks on our door, we can buy a new set but not now.”
He was making a lot of sense. I agreed with him.
But the rings were looking very ugly on my finger. One morning, I took them off and left it on our center table. He asked, “Why have you removed them?” I answered, “People look at my ring and begin to wonder the kind of man I married. They immediately assume my husband is too poor to afford a good ring for me. It’s better I take it off than walk around advertising our poverty to people.” He didn’t say anything.
I went to school every day without a ring. I walked around the neighborhood and even went to church without a ring on. Some thought my marriage was over or I was fighting with my husband. They started making assumptions out of my marriage but everything was fine. I told them, “My ring is in bad shape but my marriage isn’t.”
One evening, my husband left a folded paper on the center table and asked me to pick it. I opened it and they were a new set of rings. They looked shiny and new. He said, “Those are pure because you deserve pure things.” I was so happy I didn’t know what to do but funny enough, I was scared it was fake and would begin to fade soon so I didn’t bath with it and didn’t wash with it. He kept assuring me and I kept doubting. I started trusting him when he said there was a warranty on them and I could get new ones the very day it starts to fade.
A year after, the ring still stays the same—I believe it now. They are pure.
My husband continues to wear his old ring. It has faded and had turned to brown but he still wears them. My plan was to surprise him with a new one somewhere around April but the Covid-19 came to spoil all my plans. No more school for me and no more salary for some months now but when school reopens, I’ll gather whatever I have left and buy him a ring he could be proud of wearing, just like the ones I’m wearing now.