Human beings are designed for many things. Loneliness isn’t one of them. – Mary Alice.
The room was small, the day was noon, the bed was a double iron bunk, and I was 14. While my three roommates snoozed away as the siesta demanded, I laid supine, day dreaming,about a boy.
In this dream, I was the love of his life and he was the love of mine. We loved each other in a way that was true and devoid of any judgment. I could confide in him and he too could confide in me.
We supported each other, helped each other win, and because he was much older than I was – groomed me and lovingly forgave my childish excesses.
We were inseparable. He had this beautiful home which every time I went visiting, we would spend time cooking together, conversing or just watching a movie with my legs crossed in his thighs while his fingers caressed my toes.
Sometimes we played our favorite board games. In the cool of the evenings, we took long walks, side by side, enjoying the evening breeze as it blew across our faces and through my hair.
When he asked me to marry him, of course I said yes. We got married in a small church with our family and friends present – nothing too elaborate but it was just how I liked it. We moved in together to start our lives and got pregnant straight off the bat.
After our first baby, we went on to have two more children and all the while, he still thought that I was the most beautiful girl in his world.
Our marriage was not a complete fairytale, but we agreed that divorce was not an option so we worked through every issue that reared its ugly head at our union.
He was a complete gentleman; put together, matured, honest, reasonable, humble, and brilliant.
I loved him!
We raised our three kids and went on to grow old together – still loving each other, playing our favorite board games and taking long walks in the evenings ….
That was the dream.
______ _______ ______
I was born on a quiet Tuesday night in November. My mother recollects having a painful labor that lasted three days. She wanted to give up, believed she wouldn’t make it.
She begged the Lord to take her life as the pain became horrifically unbearable, but the good Lord ignored her request, and instead, he brought me forth. When the nurses handed me over to her and she cradled me in her arms, she stared at me till morning came – amazed that such a beautiful small creature with so much dark curly hair was all hers.
I had a happy childhood. My parents were quiet folks with decent jobs. They were not rich in money but our home was filled with love, so much love that I learnt from an early age what a family is supposed to be like and what love means. I understood love because of the way by father loved us, but more so because of the way he loved me.
Though not rich, my father worked hard to make sure our needs were met; we may not have had fancy toys to play with or spent vacations in foreign countries, but we had a roof over our heads, healthy food on our table, clean clothes, nice schools and he took us to the park every Sunday after church to play.
As the years rolled by, my father’s hard work was rewarded and he was able to start meeting both our needs and our wants. We moved to our own house which had a big yard and all the space we did not enjoy in our former rented apartment.
It was endearing watching how lovingly my father treated my mother – he never hit her, never cursed at her, never took her money, never stood in the way of her dreams, instead, he put her first especially above his family who didn’t like my mother very much and were in the habit of stirring up a lot of trouble for her. Yet, in all that, my father protected and stood by her to this day. I wanted that kind of marriage – a man like my father who would not only love me with such reckless abandon but also love our kids, protect, provide and guide us through life.
It was on that premise that when I turned twelve and went away to high school which was a boarding house, I would lie in bed and dream of the life that I too would one day have. But that wasn’t all, I wanted to graduate and move on to the University, have a good job and be successful in my own rights, but I also knew that I didn’t want to be a lonely successful woman with no man of my own and kids to share it all with.
I didn’t want many men, (this I’ve always felt) – I just wanted to be with one man all the days of my life. Monogamy appealed to me, so I stayed away from all the boys in school whom I perceived weren’t going to love me long time.
________ ________ ________
I had my first boyfriend when I was 16. He was a college boy and I felt so lucky to have him. I was in high school with a boyfriend in the University, it was a big deal. He was older and wiser, just the way I like my men. I fell helplessly in love with him. I felt that he loved me too due to the little attention he gave me, the endless letters we exchanged and all the sweet nothings he would whisper into my ear as he kissed my lips in the rumpled sheets of his bed, and groped my tiny breast. Looking back now, I think that he was simply using me.
That relationship had more sad moments than happy ones. I wasn’t ready to give up my virginity and that became a big issue for him. We would kiss and he would smooch me with our clothes on, he didn’t like that very much.
He began to date other girls, older girls while with me and told me about them. He won’t call my phone except for when he needed something. He cancelled dates, every time, and whenever we fought, he never tried to make up – only I did – always.
The relationship lasted for six years – on and off until I was finally able to let him go.
They were a few loves after him, but none was the dream so I opted to stay single.
It was lonely.
______ ______ ______
I moved on to Law school, still dreaming of this “man” (no longer a boy now). I was studying to get my , B.L, I had a wonderful friend, loving and supportive family, but this dream man was the only thing missing from my equation.
Men made advances, but because I didn’t want to be with just anyone, I declined and continued my wait for this older, wiser, well put together, intelligent, tall fine man, whose soul would dance with mine, whose vision would align with mine, whose lips would teach me profound things, and whose fingers would bring my skin the utmost pleasure.
I looked out for him in crowds, photos and in the faces of strangers.
I didn’t find him.
One day, I went to see a movie and I met this “person”. I thought he was handsome, very handsome but I noticed almost immediately that he was young and wore his trouser a bit below his waist line. I didn’t like that.
He was munching on some popcorn. I said hello, he said hello back. By the end of the movie, we exchanged numbers and he started to call to see me again. But because he was young, loud and a bit too carefree, I didn’t want to. However, as we began texting back and forth, I had a change of heart.
This “person” agreed with my visions and shared my thoughts on the things that mattered to me. He made me laugh – more than any man ever did. Sometimes I laughed so hard, pee escaped my bladder. I began to think that maybe I had let my imagination go on an overdrive, dreaming of this “older man” and that maybe I was wrong. And so three months after dating “this person” long distance (as he went back to his place of abode after the cinema), against my parent’s advice, ignoring my father’s tears, we got married.
I didn’t care that he didn’t have a job, a car nor money. I was in love, happy and we were going to have our own family – my own family with this person that brought so much laughter to my soul.
Three Months into our marriage, he started to have an affair with his ex-girlfriend. I found out and that broke me in ways words cannot describe. I felt it was too soon. It killed something inside of me. It made me question my self-worth, my beauty, his love. It hurt so bad, I didn’t know I was capable of bearing a pain like that. I was devastated with grief.
He apologized, and even though it took me a long while and I really just wanted to revenge, I found it in my heart to forgive him. Unfortunately for me however, he continued to see her, brilliantly covering his tracks this time and consistently lying to my face.
He loved her..
And if that wasn’t enough, we faced financial crisis – we didn’t have any money of our own and we were forced to rely on family and friends for financial assistance. It was really hard, on the both of us, but I think I had a harder time as living in lack was all so new to me. What more? I was a nursing mother with a husband who waited on his dreams and investments and wouldn’t find anything menial to do in the interim to support us.
I wish our issues were solely financial; if money was the entire problem we had, that could have been bearable. But it wasn’t as we began to feel the pinch of the repercussions of not studying each other well enough before saying I do.
We had so many differences we hardly agreed on anything. He didn’t like to take long walks in the evening, he didn’t like to play board games, he didn’t enjoy my company, and he definitely didn’t like sleeping with the windows open so we could feel the breeze blow across our faces.
We had different ideologies, different beliefs on marriage, how to raise a family and how to act, different beliefs on life. We couldn’t sit together and have a conversation for twenty minutes without getting into a brawl. The man who had once agreed with me now thought otherwise – or maybe, he had always thought differently, only hid it…
My husband was not older and he wasn’t wiser. His lips didn’t teach me profound things.
He had a bad temper, something I didn’t know he possessed. I too was temperamental so our home was full of screams and angry tongue lashing words. We were always arguing, everywhere, it was terrible.
I hated how he could not put a point across without yelling and was irritated at how he believed that yelling somewhat made him more manly. I hated how his eyes bulged out of its sockets whenever he got angry and how his chest bounced with every word he spat. I hated the way he unleashed words at me in the presence of our children even when I begged him not to.
I hated how much he lied. I hated how he didn’t see me for all that I was. I hated how when he made his first millions, he squandered it on other people and his ex-girlfriend only to fall back to me when he was down and out. I hated that he beat me up. I hated how he always threatened to end our marriage every time we fought.
I hated how lonely I felt living with him. I hated how his kisses didn’t bring me pleasure. I hated how I became a changed person; no longer loving the things that I used to love because I was so sad.
He hated that I didn’t stand in awe of him, respecting his every wish, not being content just living in his shadows. He didn’t feel appreciated, he didn’t feel respected, he didn’t even feel sexually satisfied – but to let him would have meant bruising me. I wasn’t excited and worst off, I didn’t find it pleasurable.
We were both miserable, finding solace in other people.
We had many fights in the course of our years together, each with me usually initiating the peace because I really couldn’t deal with the adversity.
Many times, I tried to accept my life with him, love him just the way that he was, suck all the pain in, ask for help, give what I got – called it destiny, but the more I did that, the more I lost myself to him.
But in spite of the issues, my husband was a nice, considerate and kind man. He tried to make me happy in his own way, we both did. There were days that I was happy and willed myself to be content, but by the end of the third year of our marriage, we both agreed that we were not compatible, may have made a mistake, with him calling me exactly that.
There was no working it out this time around, we weren’t even sleeping in the same bed at this point nor sharing the same room. But I think that in spite of the anger that brewed in our hearts towards each other and the painful words that stayed fresh in our memories, he waited for me to take the step of reconciliation, as I usually did.
I believe that if I had done that, begged him, he would have hugged me and made up, but I was tired of doing that as I too was hurt and filled with resentment over the life I had with this person who was not what I dreamed about on that iron bunk when I was 14. But more than that, I was tired of living with a man who constantly dangled divorce in my face because he knew how much I dreaded that word – that life.
I was tired of the tears, tired of the suicidal thoughts and god! I was exceedingly tired of the loneliness, for whether we were fighting or not fighting, I was lonely.
I couldn’t converse with him, not in the manner that I enjoyed. I couldn’t share the moments that mattered to me with him, quite frankly, we rarely shared the same space; if he was in the living room, I would be in the bedroom and vice versa.
Talking for long minutes and being together made us fight, so we avoided it as much as we could. But beyond all that, I was tired, pained at having my kids live in a war zone for a home. I knew that it would affect them, was affecting them negatively and I didn’t want them to have such bitter memories when they grew up or think for a second, that my life with their father was normal nor acceptable.
I began to plan my exit.
It was such a hard decision to make, not because my life with my husband was worth living, but because I was about to do something I never believed in – never thought would be my portion.
I would cry, call my mum, write down my reasons for wanting to leave, cry again, decide against it, tell myself that maybe being happy wasn’t so important….
But every time I thought against it, he did something to reaffirm my belief that leaving was my best option. One of such things was constantly singing to me that he was going to divorce me.
It was unbearable, everything was.
By winter, I packed my bags, took my kids and went home to my parents.
______ ______ _______
Today, I am a single mother, raising two beautiful girls. I am happy, relieved to be away from my husband.
He was a good man. But sometimes, two good people do not make a perfect match for each other.
________ ________ ______
I am happy but I am still lonely.
It’s easy to decide to be with just anybody. Say yes to any of the men asking. Wallow away in the company of people who don’t even know my middle name, but I don’t want just a quick fix for this ache I feel. I’m not wired to share myself with someone whom my soul does not connect with, at least on some level.
It’s lonely living this way but I’m willing to wait for the right one, for the right friends while enduring this loneliness that has remained uninvited in my life.
_______ _______ _______
I’m taking this time to heal, lick my wounds, rediscover myself, build my character, and build my career.
Some days I am strong and striving, other days I feel everything at once – down trodden by all the pain my heart has had to deal with, wishing I can unremember, hoping and praying “not any more”. In such times, I weep in the car by myself and silently ask God to help me.
________ ______ _____
I stay dreaming about this “man”, and something tells me that he’s dreaming about me too. Until we find each other, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking care of myself, and carefully making choices that would enhance my life and that of my kids.
I’m keeping hope alive.