dear aunty vero,

thank you for calling earlier and speaking to me about my relationship up with yuza. i heard everything you had to say, and your reasons for wanting me to continue with him. i couldn’t really say much because there were people around. so i have decided to write you to tell you about my decision.

have you ever had to do something to attract anyone when you are already with someone? have you ever said something to attract that someone? have you ever changed your accent when talking to that someone you are interested in? have you ever refused to talk to that someone when in a gathering so the person thinks “what’s wrong with that one?” the idea being to attract the person’s attention? have you ever dressed to attract that someone? have you ever had to associate with someone you really wouldn’t associate with just so you get close to the one you want to attract? have you ever deliberately put yourself where the one you are trying to attract will ‘bump’ into you? have you ever kissed that someone, who  three weeks before you couldn’t stand the nature of their beard, dressing, or talk? have your texts, when you are already with that someone, ever changed from “hi” or “hey” to “hey boo” or “hey love” when you need a favor? you have? then you’ve manipulated. have you ever wondered how your soul-mate relationship suddenly crashed from the high heavens to the pits of hell?  have you? then you’ve been manipulated. i made my decision because i didn’t want to become a manipulator just because yuza believes love is manipulation.

when i met him he was the sweetest thing ever. at some point i even thought he was naïve, his favourite sentence was  “i need your help, please …” i didn’t mind helping. but i didn’t know at first i was being primed with these small requests – the foot-in-the-door technique. he was like the beggar who asks you for the time, and then ask you for money. i didn’t realize that by saying yes to one request i was being primed to say yes to the next, and the next, and the next.

we were in the cinema hall in river walk one friday night when he blurted out in the dark:

        “you know, my last girlfriend cheated on me with my best friend … that’s why i don’t want you to have any male friends. you can understand that, right?” 

      “i do. you have nothing to worry about with me cheating on you.” of course i understood what he meant. my heart bled for him, just imagining how cruel that girl was – his best friend?  i’d die if my best friend took my man. then the following monday evening, he did something that completely made me think something wasn’t right. i had gone on a drinks date with my colleagues from the office i was temping, he called me just before five o’clock and i told him where i was. a few minutes later there he was – furious. he had passed by the office to pick me up and was told i had left with some colleagues. then he said the most outrageous thing.

          “i didn’t know your colleagues were male.” then he laughed sarcastically. i felt like crawling under the table, but i just smiled. later when he picked me up – yes, he insisted on picking me up from the drinks date, he said:

             “i’m sorry i acted an ass in front of your colleagues, but i worry a lot that you will leave me!” i looked at him, said nothing. why is he laying his insecurities on me? why is he sucking me into his insecurities and taking the focus off mine? he looks like he just dropped out of a magazine page, i have insecurities too, you know?

           “would you like for me to do that to you when you are with your female friends?” he kept quiet. he didn’t say anything for the rest of the trip to my place. he pulled up outside my parent’s house, left the car engine running, and leaning across, he kissed me.

           “sorry, i have to go. i have to do something for my dad, he is traveling out first thing tomorrow morning. will text and call you later.” and he was gone.

i didn’t get a text, i didn’t get a call – for two weeks. his phone was off. i couldn’t reach him in any way. for the first time i realized he didn’t really have anyone close to him i knew. i knew where he lived, but i couldn’t just rock up and ask for him – what if he wasn’t there, in these day and age of break-ins they just might think i am a thief. i also couldn’t go camp outside his house to see if he will come out or go in at any time. then i panicked. what if something was terribly wrong with him? what if he died or something? dear god! then just as he disappeared, he re-emerged.

           “hi!” never has two words and an exclamation mark made me so happy. i couldn’t be angry with him – i was just relieved he was okay. i was glad he was back – in my life, and i swore to get to know him more. i didn’t want to ever be in the situation i just went through for two weeks ever again. i wasn’t letting this dude out of my sight ever again.

           “hey love! you ok? man, you got me all worried. you ok? what happened?”

           “i’m ok, just had issues –”

           “and you couldn’t tell me? did you want to kill me or something? look man, never do that again – please. i don’t know how many times i died in the past two weeks.”

           “i’m sorry!” while i was relieved he was ok, i found out later, he was busy enjoying the fact that his plan had worked. welcome to the fear-then-relief procedure, girl. now, imagine someone bumping into you in a crowded place, you get angry, turn around and find out it is someone in a wheelchair. what do you do? you feel sorry for the person, and even apologize for being hit. but wait, he has an accomplice. a second guy in a wheel chair – this one is the real cripple. he has a form in his hand, you know those types asking for funds for some project or charity cause or something? he pushes it in front of you. now, because of your recent experience with the fake cripple (at the time you didn’t know he wasn’t a cripple) you are so relieved you pledge a huge sum. in most cases you don’t bother to sign your name. you get where i am going with this regarding emotions, don’t you? call it what you may, you never see the fear-then-relief procedure coming.

           “what do you want to do later?”

           “we can go for dinner, if that’s ok with you.”

           “ok.”

           “seven?”

           “seven is ok.”

           “later, babe.”

           “seven.”

when he picked me up, he handed me a bottle of my favourite perfume – coco mademoiselle. i felt like kieran knightley.

           “babe, this is so nice.” i leaned over, turned his face towards me, and kissed him hard on the lips. he smiled.

              “how much was it?”

           “the price doesn’t matter. consider it a mother’s day present in advance.” oh, the night lit up, the stars were dropping, i was making wish upon wish. this is bliss. then i debated the number of kids in my mind. two would be fine – a boy for him, a girl for me. i couldn’t concentrate during dinner. he was saying nice things, he was planning our future, he was looking handsome, he was telling me he loves me, he was telling me he wants me.

after dinner he changed completely. there we were sitting morose in the car – i didn’t know what could be wrong. he seemed ok all through dinner, and now this. did i do something wrong?

           “you ok, love?”

           “yea, i am ok.”

           “then what’s wrong? you haven’t said a word to me since we left the restaurant. did i do anything wrong?” he said nothing – just continued to stare out through the windshield. i brought out my lip-balm and applied some on my lips. looked sideways to him, he was still staring through the windshield at nothing. he was stonewalling me. he has been doing this of late – whenever i wanted to discuss issues of concern with him he just shuts down and close himself off from me. why is he doing this? didn’t he just say a few hours ago, he wanted me to be the mother of his children? does he want out of the relationship? why doesn’t he simply say so? it’s not as if i couldn’t feel the contempt from him of late, but i thought, hey, he is human.

             “did you not enjoy the food?”

           “i did. dinner was ok. not what i was hoping for. i would’ve preferred us spending a quiet time together this evening, but i guess as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. i love you and it’s important to me that you are happy, even if it means not doing what i would’ve preferred.” oh, god! i looked around – for nothing really. i didn’t know how to respond to that. he had me stumped. all i knew was i felt guilt like never before. there i was thinking we had a lovely evening by eating out, when all he wanted was to spend a quiet time with me. dear lord! this wasn’t the best way to make up for not seeing him for two weeks. what do i do now?

           “we can still spend time.”

           “it’s ok. dinner was fine really.”

           “but you’re so quiet. my heart is eating me out, man. i am so sorry.” then he reached over and hugged me. i felt more bad for spoiling his evening. gosh, i am always messing things up. is that why he disappeared for two weeks? am i boring him? he didn’t say anything, but he has just said we could’ve done something more intimate tonight. come to think of it, a quiet time would’ve been a lot better than dinner in a room full of people.

           “look, from now on, you decide what we do, ok?”

         “hey, stop worrying about tonight. i had fun really, just that i had wanted to spend a quiet time with you.” then he smiled and added “make up for the two weeks.” i thought that was so sweet of him.

           “i just want what’s best for us, for you especially. want to do fun things with you and make you happy.”

         “you make me happy, love. really.” ‘girl, you better listen to him from now on. no more stuff you read from magazines on how to please your man,’ my conscience chided me.  

after that night, whatever he wanted was whatever i wanted. when he was sad i was sad. i was constantly thinking i was responsible for his sadness. three weeks after the dinner the first of the three cases of emotional transfer happened.

            “just lost my aunt.”

            “dear lord! so sorry to hear this, love. what happened?”

            “accident.”

            “my god! are you ok though?”

            “yea, i will be ok.”

silence. no texts or calls for three day, then:

            “my uncle just died from cancer.”

           “hey! oh, so sorry to hear this. was he sick for long?”

          “yea. he had it for a while, but he neglected it until it was too late for the doctors to do anything. he was in such pain.”

           “you ok?”

           “lol! i am ok. don’t fret. the funeral is this saturday.”

           “want me to come with you?”

         “no need. don’t know if i will be able to attend, i was really close to him. i feel so bad.”

           “sorry, hun.”

silence. and my heart was in a wrench. i wished i was there with him to console him. i couldn’t call him because i didn’t want to call when they were busy with one of the funeral rites.

            “hie!”

no response. he must be busy. then three weeks later.

           “my cousin is having serious issues in her marriage.”

           “hey babe! your cousin?”

         “yea. she went through her husband’s phone and found messages from other women. don’t know what to say to her.”

          “say nothing, you don’t know what caused the man to cheat in the first place.”

       “true. i won’t say anything. thanks, talking to you has helped. i was really feeling bad.” not as bad as i was feeling. he shouldn’t have to be going through these things at 23.

           “can you talk to her for me?”

          “you think that is wise? i am just 18, what kind of advice can i have for a woman who is married?”

            “what do mean?”

          “i can’t talk to her. in the first place how did i know she was having issues with her husband? secondly, it is just rude.”

           “rude!”

silence.

thirty minutes later he called:

           “hey, babe.”

           “do you ever stop to think how your behavior affects me? i can’t believe you won’t do this for me or her, you’re just selfish! you never think of others! you never think of me!” and the phone went dead.

yesterday, three weeks after that call, and after numerous pleas from my friends to call him and be there for him, i laid back on my bed and thought – hey, why am i suddenly responsible for his emotions. i was in no mood to call him – enough was enough. but i was struggling to find the strength to go through with it. i know when i started out in this relationship we both had expectations, requirements and deal-breakers, that was only natural because we were blending two lives, and i knew when we did that that compromises had to be made. but why was i always the one making compromises? here i am, i am 18, and i don’t know what i want from life because i have completely set aside what i want in an effort to please my man. yet, that is not enough for him. this can’t be normal. my mind was in turmoil. the tears came without me knowing i was crying. i turned and picked up the bible from the bedside table and started flipping through:

        when the lamb opened the fourth seal, i heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “come!” i looked, and there before me was a pale horse! its rider was named death …[1]

i flipped:

            am i now seeking the approval of man, or of god? or am i trying to please man? if i were still trying to please man, i would not be a servant of christ.[2]

aunty, i don’t understand how fate works, but i have come to realize that god speaks to us through signs and coincidences. yesterday after i shut the bible. i shut my eyes. i shut my eyes and thought hard about the two passages. what were they trying to tell me? what was god trying to tell me? what are the signs in them? what is the coincidence of these two passages at this time in my life? i thought back on the events of my relationship with yuza. aunty, i am not saying i was a model girlfriend to him. i had my insecurities. i had my moods. but when you realize it hurts more when you’re with the one you love, than when you are away from him, it’s time to move on. aunty, no one has to tolerate abuse simply because we were raised to think we deserve it. that’s why yesterday, i shut my eyes and decided to shut the fifth horseman out of my life. 

your loving niece,

benedicta.

Copyright © F-K Omoregie 2016

 

[1] Revelations 6:7

[2] Galatians 1:10