Dear everyone… Happy New Year! This is long overdue, and I’m sorry. And to show how sorry I am, this is the longest part so far! I hope you like it!
Hugs & Kisses!!
The knowledge that wherever it was he was in New York, Nadia could be a couple minutes or hours away kept him on edge the whole time. Sarah hadn’t wanted to accompany him on the trip – she hated flying, so he had one junior pastor, and the head of the music ministry with him on the trip. It was their first such trip, so they were all for the fun things. He probably would have been too, for their sakes, if he didn’t keep feeling he might meet her randomly.
Would it be such a bad thing to actually meet up with her? You haven’t seen her in years and she’s still running in your mind. You don’t think it’s a good idea to just say hello?
He kept battling whether or not to call her… Day 4 into the conference, he realised he couldn’t keep up with it. He had to call her. It was even likely she would be too busy to meet up with him. But at least he knew he would have tried.
She picked up after four rings.
“Hi, this is Nadia!”
For a few seconds he was stunned silent. She sounded just like she did years ago, just less bubbly, and a bit more exotic – her accent had changed.
“Hello, who is this and how may I help you?”
He could have sworn he heard a gasp. Nobody else called her Nady – she hated it, but it was all he called her. She hadn’t expected him to reach out to her. They were both silent for a bit. Almost as if the sound their breathing alone could answer all the questions they had.
“Brumah, how’s it going? I saw posters of your conference around. Looks like it’s making the waves.”
Somehow, Brumah could feel her shock. He didn’t know how to act, what to say, only he knew he needed to see her.
“Nady, I want to meet up with you before I leave. I… I know it’s been years, but maybe just thirty minutes?”
She was quiet.
“I leave in two weeks. After the conference, we have a week of a couple of meetings, and probably some touristy activities. If you have any free time on any day, we could meet during your lunch break? Or after work? I don’t really plan to take part in the touristy things, so whenever it is that works for you… I’ll make it.”
He sounded so miserable, almost desperate, Nadia wondered exactly what was wrong.
“I can take some part of my day off on Monday. What time works for you?”
“Anytime, I can clear my whole day on Monday, I don’t think there’ll be much going on anyway”
“Bazar Tapas isn’t far from my office, we could meet there at 1PM Monday? It’s on 31st… I’ll send you the address”
“I’ll be there.” They were both silent on the phone for a while.
“I’ll see you soon Brumah, I need to go now.”
Akyiaa was so surprised that her mother- in-law was giving her such advice.
“Do you know how I had to sacrifice my master’s degree after school so I could have and take care of Papa? School isn’t all there is to life. As a woman, you make the sacrifices. They’ll pay off one day.”
She had gotten tired of listening about an hour and half ago. Funny how the rumour mill hadn’t spared her. Especially at church.
‘So she’s leaving her husband to go to school 4 years! Who’s supposed to take care of him?! And it’s not even as if she’s had children. This woman, I don’t even understand. Does she know how many of the women will jump on her husband once she’s gone?’
Her colleagues at work were the most encouraging. Papa was still acting weird, and she didn’t know how to feel about it. She didn’t know if he felt his staying more at the hospital would make her decide to give up the residency. She wasn’t confused about her decision to leave. She was confused about the reaction of the man she loved.
‘God, did you make an African woman to sacrifice everything? Is there a part of my life that I can live without having to think if society would approve? Or if my husband would be okay?’
If Papa had gotten this opportunity nobody would have questioned his leaving. Nobody would have even asked what his decision was! He would likely have been asked if he was taking his wife, or if she’d visit sometimes. It made her so mad that people didn’t even consider what she wanted. But she’d have been okay with all that if she at least knew that Papa supported her. She wasn’t new to people talking about her. And frankly it didn’t bother her so much. But to think that some of the people she loved the most shared those same sentiments saddened her deeply.
She lit up when a call from her father interrupted her mother-in-law’s long winded speech.
She went to the car to take the call, planning to leave without a word. They could always assume it to be an emergency form the hospital.
“Baby girl, Daddy misses you.”
She was teary just hearing that.
“Your mother told me what’s going on… how are you taking this?”
“Daddy…..I’m just tired.”
She was trying not to sniffle.
“I haven’t changed my mind about the residency. But it’s starting to look like it’s that or my marriage.”
He was quiet for a while, before he said “Any man that tries to clip your wings, is not the sort of man you deserve.”
She didn’t even know how to hold back her tears.
“I can’t tell you what to do anymore, baby girl… but I think you should speak calmly to him…. let him understand that you’re not leaving him. Men like to be pampered. He wants to feel like you’d choose him if it got down to choosing. So get around his head, and make him feel pampered, but let him know you’re going.”
I don’t think I’ve ever written you a letter. It’s hard living in the same house with you, and yet missing you. Although we’re together physically… (And even that barely), I know we’re not together. We’re living a façade. This isn’t what we envisioned. We may not have ever had that lovey-dovey kind of love before we got married, but at least we loved each other enough to put in the effort. Today, I feel as if your only allegiance is to the boys. I admit that for a long time I felt that way too. Are we too far beyond redemption? Do you no longer find me attractive? Do you want an out? Because much as I want us to fix this, and make it work, I don’t see the point of carrying on if we’re always gonna be this way. The boys are growing up, and with time, they’ll notice these things. They’ll see how cold we can be towards each other, without even intending to be. They’ll see how we never look at each other, never hug, or hold hands. They’ll see that we never sit to talk. We basically wake up from the opposite sides of the bed, and treat each other like we’re colleagues. I want passion, and love. I don’t want to wonder if you love me anymore or not. I don’t want to be here trying so hard to impress you, when you barely notice. I know I shouldn’t assume things, but we haven’t been intimate in over 2 years… are you okay with that? Are you seeing someone else?
I know that what people, especially people at church, think about you, is more important to you than what I think. And I’ve lived with that for a tad too long. I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that anymore. If you remain unwilling for us to get counselling and fix this, I’ll move back to my mother’s with the boys. You’ll be free to visit them whenever you want. And if you feel that we’ll work better that way, I could grant you a divorce, so you visit them or have them visit you as and when. We’re still young. Maybe I can find the love and passion I’m looking for elsewhere. Maybe you have a different definition of love, and you’re getting it elsewhere. I can learn to live with that. But I can’t sit here day in and day out waiting for you to realise I’m your wife, or that I have needs that haven’t been taken care of in forever. If I were ‘promiscuous’, I would have gotten myself very well taken care of a long time ago.
I’ve got so much to say, I just can’t seem to translate them into the right words. Should I say I miss you, when there are nights when I wonder if I did right in marrying you? And when I can go some days without even thinking about you? I really don’t know what to say. Let’s fix this please? Or let’s end it? I will be fine with whichever of the two you want. But I won’t carry on looking like the star couple at church, and living in shambles at home.
Yours, (Am I?)
Nadia had kept herself really busy. She’d filled her week up as much as she could. She’d ensured that she was too tired when she got home to think of anything. Her week was fully booked, even her personal assistant asked her why she wanted so much work done in one week. She knew she didn’t need all that work done so quickly. She really didn’t want to go contacting a married man that she was still in love with. She didn’t want to break down the wall she’d kept up for so long. So she was quite surprised when he called, desperately wanting to see her. She was even more surprised that she’d offered to clear her schedule and even showed him to one of her favourite restaurants. She was on edge all day after that call.
Why was he so distraught? Was he dying? Was something going on?
She managed to slow her pace at work after that, worked sensibly, and went home to Mackenzie. She knew that Brumah probably knew she had a son. But she didn’t know if he knew the details – of course he didn’t.
She spent half her week wondering if meeting with him was a good idea. They texted a bit after she sent the address. But she was careful to keep it short. She refused to be ‘that ex’.
She was still so attracted to him. Completely. She wasn’t sure if that attraction would ever go away. Probably not. But she loved him enough to ignore it. He couldn’t handle any scandals. Besides, chances were he had moved on. He was married… with two kids. He was probably happy.
“I don’t think I wanted to keep this child. Before getting pregnant, I was very against abortions. Right now, all I can say is that I understand. I understand everyone who chose that option. In my heart of hearts, I know if I’d found out earlier, that would have been my option too.”
Wendy found that she could talk to Yaa about everything. She hadn’t even been able to tell her mother half of this stuff. And it felt so good to be able to talk without feeling judged.
“Cos everybody treats you differently all of a sudden. Friends at work, those at church, the father of the kid, your family…it’s really an endless list…. I contemplated suicide”
Yaa was overwhelmed. She’d had her fair share of life’s pressures, but suicide wasn’t something that had ever crossed her mind.
She had decided she was going to try to adopt Wendy’s child, probably Wendy herself. It was all so toxic… all that she’d been through. For a 24 year old, it was all a bit much. And how did the church help? By excommunicating her 🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️
She enjoyed her lunch dates with Wendy so thoroughly it was as if they were age mates!
“As a child, I had fairytale ideas of marriage – maybe I still do? I wanted a man to come and sweep me off my feet! I didn’t want a man that thought he was saving me from the scorn of the world by marrying me. I guess with time, I realised that was unreal, and I realised also that maybe marriage wasn’t for me? Or maybe it’s cos I lost the one love of my life? One day I’ll tell you all about him…”
They sat quietly for many minutes, each content in the others company.
Brumah was very tense. He walked into Bazar Tapas, about fifteen minutes earlier, planning to wait for a bit, compose himself, figure out what to say, before Nadia came in. But she was already sitting there when he walked in. She was concentrating on something on her laptop. She had a very well done bun on her head, and eyeglasses sitting atop her nose – when had she started wearing those? Her lips were slightly apart. Her lips.
He stopped and steadied his thoughts.
Nadia was beautiful. After so many years she was still so beautiful! She looked up and noticed him standing there. She smiled. An unsure smile. A beautiful smile. Brumah was trying not to be dramatic. He felt himself stiffen and he hoped she didn’t. He walked to her, as she took her glasses off and shut the laptop.
She stood to hug him. He smiled at her. He was so overwhelmed with emotion he couldn’t trust himself to speak.
“Hi Brumah, it feels good to see you after so long!” He held her in a hug. Though warm and long, it ended a bit more abruptly than he’d have liked.
“You look amazing Nady!”
“You don’t look bad yourself…. I was honestly expecting a pot belly!”
He laughed. She made him happy. It hadn’t been 5 minutes, and he was already feeling at home. A feeling he hadn’t had in a very long time.
They ate and talked, as if no years had passed by. They both avoided the topic of marriages and relationships. But she showed him a photo of Mackenzie. He also showed her a photo of his 2 girls. They both looked so much like him.
“You sounded almost sick when you called me Brumah… is this why we’re meeting? Are you dying? Is there something wrong?”
He smiled when she said that. And he looked her straight in the eye and reached for her hands. It was a thing they used to do. To prove the other was being totally truthful, they’d look the other in the eye, hold hands and speak, without thinking.
“Nady, I’m not here to disrupt your well-structured life. But I’m unhappy. I miss you. I’ve never admitted any of this out loud before. I know very little can be done about this, but I needed to see you. And I needed to let you know.”
She looked away. She needed to scream. She wasn’t ready for that.
“Brumah you’re married. You love your wife. You have a beautiful family.”
“Nady, you of all people know these things can be a sham. I care about Sarah. A lot. And she is a good woman. I just don’t know if she’s the one for me. She is a good mother. I really haven’t thought about any of this. I’m being selfish, I know. But I’ve been so unhappy for so long, it’s starting to take a toll on me. I’ve prayed about it Nady…. for years. I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed. I’ve stopped myself from calling you. I’ve actively done all I can……..”
“I’m not asking that we have an affair, or that you stop seeing your man, but I just really needed to let you know. I want to be happy again Nady. And today, sitting here, just talking, I know I haven’t felt this way in years!”
Nadia didn’t know what to say. She wanted to tell him, that there were few days when she didn’t think about him. That she had never forgotten what it felt like to be in his arms. She wanted to tell him that when she was expecting Mackenzie, she’d imagined him kissing the baby bump daily, and singing his silly songs to him. She’d imagined him running to the stores for her cravings at dawn. She’d imagined having and raising him with her. She wanted to tell him about the nights she’d managed to fall asleep only after imagining herself in his arms, or him inside her. She wanted to tell him. She was so conflicted. How would Sarah feel about all this? She refused to be the reason a home would be wrecked. Her heart was shattered years ago when Brumah was taken from her. Wouldn’t Sarah feel that way too? It had hurt. Very very badly.
“Nady say something, please…..”
Nadia hated how her tears came unexpectedly and at very odd moments. She was trying hard to not cry. Oh but how she missed him. What would it hurt to fall asleep in his arms tonight? It had been so so long.
Was that even what he was offering?