Dear everyone… Happy Easter! (It’s not quite over yet, is it?) I really have no excuses this time – well I do, but I really shouldn’t have been gone this long. I know the usual “I’m sorry for being gone for almost forever” doesn’t quite cut it. Nonetheless, I’m so sorry! I hope you enjoy this! And I can almost promise the next part wont take this long – I’m already working on it!
Brumah got back to his hotel room with mixed feelings. First, relief. He was relieved that he had gotten all of it off his chest, relieved that he’d gotten to see Nady and got to hold her in an embrace even if it was for barely a minute. His heart bled though. Maybe he hadn’t thought it through as well as he should have. What would Sarah say to him? What would she do if he left her…..?
Yes he was considering that.
He knew theirs had never been a ‘proper’ marriage. But he did marry her. He made promises before God. And what would he say to her? What was his ‘why’? And what would she do?
Would she be her usual passive aggressive self or would she fight him? He was so worried about her. He knew he was being selfish. But he’d been too unhappy for too long. He’d popped depression pills for close to 2 years, and to a large extent he knew the cause of his depression.
He and Nadia had agreed to try to meet once or twice before he headed back home. He knew how much he’d prayed about this whole thing, but he couldn’t help but wonder about Sarah. For the girls, there really was no questioning it. He was not going to stop being their father. He was not letting them go.
He had so much more to pray about.
Nadia was so conflicted. It was almost as if she could feel her heart breaking all over again. She went to bed thinking about Brumah. She remembered that day when he’d come over to the house to let her know they couldn’t be together. She’d expertly fought back her tears while he was there, and cried herself to sleep weeks and months after. Her mother had asked her countless times to talk to Brumah. But she insisted it wouldn’t make a difference.
She remembered the last time they’d made love. It was as if they both knew it would be the end of them. It was one of those days when they’d held each other closer, and looked in each other’s eyes more often. They’d been slow and thorough. She’d thought back to that morning so many times. How he looked into her eyes, with all the words he couldn’t say. How her unshed tears manifested as muffled moans and groans, shudders and stutters….
But even if she got Brumah back, what would her life be like? She’d have the constant guilt of knowing she broke a family up…
She’d also considered his ministry…. how society wouldn’t understand anything from her perspective – or even his. No matter what, she would always be the ‘home-wrecker’. Worse still, she’d be the big Pastor’s home wrecker.
Would her son love Brumah or his kids? I mean there wasn’t much to hate about him, but kids were kids…. why was she even thinking this so far out?
How did her ‘simple’ life suddenly get so complicated?
She trudged up to Mackenzie’s room to see him tucked in already. Of course he wasn’t asleep. He never fell asleep till she got back, try as the nanny did.
“Dear God, if Mackenzie loves him like I do, It’s really going to be hard not trying to get back with him. Why is this happening now? Why am I here praying about wanting a married man? Of course it’s not the first time… but why is he here now? What is going on? ”
Papa had stopped giving her the silent treatment – to some extent. He gave one word answers, and ate her food now. He mostly ignored her. They no longer had their normal banter at table. There was so much tension when he was home – which wasn’t even much anyways. They didn’t eat lunch together at the hospital anymore. People started asking questions, and she didn’t know what to say. Usually she’d pretend to be so busy at lunchtime, just so the time would pass quickly. He on the other hand, joined friends to go places for lunch.
She’d tried talking to him like her dad had suggested, but she really wished she hadn’t. He looked at her blankly for a few minutes, and started fidgeting with his phone. He was not ready to listen. She had to think of something.
So when one of their mutual friends called to ask if she was in fact leaving Papa, she thought it was a joke. She was not planning on leaving Papa! She was going to study, and return home. She had no intentions of staying for good. She had every intention of coming home every chance she got, and she had every intention of ensuring he came over whenever he could. But who was she explaining this to? Nobody cared enough to listen. Very few wanted to know the actual story. Most were happy to continue with what they heard as rumours – some even wanted to add on to it!
When Papa finally drove in Friday night, it was close to midnight. Akyia was waiting up in the living room. She had dozed off a bit in the couch, but was woken up when she heard him opening the gates. She’d been crying earlier, and she’d downed about half a glass of whisky. She quickly went to wash her face.
She had news for him.
Lately she could barely stand him. She’d started wondering if losing her career for the man she loved was truly worth it. But then again, was her career worth losing the man she loved?
As he opened the doors, ready to ignore her and head to the table for his dinner, as was his custom lately, she got up and started talking. Blabbering actually. It was a thing she did when she was nervous. Often, he had laughed at her because of that. Today, this wasn’t funny.
“Papa, I’m no longer leaving. I hope this makes you very happy. I hope you’re happy knowing that the one thing I wanted the most, at this point in my life, is slipping through my hands only because of you. I really wish I could understand you, but I can’t. And that’s okay. I said for better, or for worse to God about you. I never thought I’d be so close to my dreams and yet so far away. I hope our marriage survives this. Because if it doesn’t, I swear you’ll pay for making me lose out on my dreams, and also on a happy marriage!”
She gulped down a tablet of diazepam with what was left of the whisky in her glass, knowing damn well that wasn’t the smartest move.
She walked stoically to the bedroom, leaving a very stunned Papa at the door.
He had no idea what had just happened, or what was coming at him!
Wendy and Yaa’s bond had grown over time, she’d helped her defer the final year of school, to have the baby. The plan was to have the baby in a few months, breastfeed for a couple of months, then have her mother/a nanny take care of the baby, while she returned to school. Yaa was willing to take care of the cost of all of that, and Wendy was extremely grateful. Even though she was old enough to be her aunt, their friendship was that of colleagues. They weren’t formal together. They were friends. Wendy enjoyed Yaa’s company, and enjoyed thoroughly the fact that for a long time, she hadn’t had to struggle financially. She was happy to hear things from Yaa’s perspective. She was happy to make pregnancy jokes with someone. She was happy that she didn’t have to pretend that she had it all figured out.
Yaa could talk to Wendy about her crushes, without getting one of those “so are you thinking of marrying him?’looks or questions.
It was refreshing for both of them.
Andrea had finally given up on her marriage. She wasn’t willing to try anymore. Gyedu had taken to coming home on some days, and staying at ‘work’ on some. She’d stopped waiting up for him. She’d stopped trying to impress him. She’d gotten herself a therapist, and after some therapy, settled on a lawyer. She was well on her way to serving him the divorce papers. Her only problem was the kids. She knew Gyedu was not going to fight her over that. But would they grow up hating her for leaving their beloved father? One thing she would always give him credit for, was his provision for the boys. She didn’t need to ask him for anything for them. Not that she would if the need came – she could very well provide for them. But he never made her have to.
Lately, on the weekends, she’d send them to her mother’s, either so she could hang out with friends, or have therapy. She’d started making new friends, and started learning to flirt. It felt good to finally get round to doing fun things again. She wasn’t bothered anymore when she was asked about her wedding band. She’d sent an email to their head pastor about leaving Gyedu. It was a two-page long email, explaining everything she had tried to do to save the marriage. She had somewhat secretly informed their marriage counsellors a while ago about the situation. Funny, the information was met with long meetings (with her alone) where she was asked to be more submissive and to understand that men can be egotistical, especially where their sexual performance was brought into question. And how they could also be a bit pre-occupied. She was questioned if she had ever had sex outside the marriage, and if she was comparing him to another. She hadn’t tried meeting the counsellors again. Gyedu was probably spoken to as well, but she’d never know. He never talked about it.
She’d gotten to that point where she didn’t really consider herself married anymore. The only thing that would make it final was if she gathered the courage to take the darn ring off. She hadn’t gotten there yet. And she was hoping that would come easy soon enough. Maybe after the papers were served?
She’d started looking into buying a new place. A two bedroom house she could have for herself and the boys.
She had a long way to go, but she knew she’d get there. She had decided that society wasn’t going to detect what happiness was supposed to look like to her. She knew God hates divorce. She knew also that he hates self pity and gossip and slander too. He’d hate the disrespect she’d show to her husband, the head of the family, if she remained married to him. She had to choose one sin, before she became guilty of them all.
And God understood her right? She was tired.
Dear God…. I’m so sorry!
When Brumah walked into her house, the first thing that struck him was how cosy it felt. It wasn’t one of those mansions that felt too bougie to relax in. it was designed very cosily, and was just…. Homey.
He sat at the dining table in the kitchen, where Nadia was making something. It smelt good… unfamiliar, but good. She said Mackenzie was upstairs and would join them when dinner was ready. He had mixed feelings about meeting the boy. He didn’t know if he would like him. He wanted him to. Badly. And he didn’t even know why. He was good with kids, and had never ever had to think if a child would like him or not. Here he was, hoping the little boy would like him.
There was some music playing from the living room, and Nadia was dressed in home clothes. Baggy trousers and a tank top. He wasn’t sure if she was wearing a bra or not. Why was he even thinking about that? God hold my thoughts please! He didn’t need his thoughts wandering now. They’d agreed to have a simple dinner and nothing more. She was concentrating on the food… whatever it was she was making, and he was trying to concentrate on his glass of fresh juice without staring at her backside. God, I’m having such a hard time here. I’m still so attracted to her. I’m so scared of doing something I’d regret now. I’m so scared. But I want her, God, I love her. I really really do, and you know it. Please do something. Make it work somehow God.
He sighed deeply and caught her staring at him.
“Brumah, everything okay?” She looked worried. She had no idea the flips his heart was doing just because of her concern. He said he was good, and she prepared to go get Mackenzie from upstairs.
“Hey baby, this is Uncle Brumah, he’s mummy’s very old friend.” Mackenzie was a star-eyed little boy. A little too pretty for a boy – if there ever was anything like that. He looked just like his mother. Except his hair was a curly, light brown that looked dyed?
He was a beautiful little boy.
“Hi buddy!” was all he said, as he took his place at the table. “We’re having these veggies that mummy likes to make. I’ll show you how to eat them if you don’t like veggies much.” He smiled “I don’t like veggies, but mummy says they’re good for me to grow. So I have a special way of eating them.” He whispered. He was so pretty, Brumah was really just looking at him and nodding.
He was quite a talker… maybe something he got from his dad? Cos Nadia was hardly this talkative. She was more contemplative.
In all, it was a good dinner. Mackenzie was a smart little boy. Quite witty for a child. And he was very curious about Ghana, completely looking forward to visiting.
When he’d been put to bed, Nadia and Brumah sat in the sofa talking.
“Remember when Mama almost found out I was pregnant? “ Brumah remembered so well. He knew Nadia wanted to keep the pregnancy – on both occasions. But he knew there was no way he could go tell his parents about a child born out of wedlock. He knew they’d hate him even more. He was the black sheep at the time, and that would have been the last straw for him.
So for both ‘mistake pregnancies’ they’d had, he’d taken her himself to the Hospital, and sat throughout the ordeal. Each time, she had a stupid smile plastered on her face after. But he knew. He knew the tears she’d shed later on when she was alone. He knew she’d try to never mention it again, but the pain would probably never go away – heck even he felt pained. Even years ago, Nadia preferred to grieve alone, at least initially, before she let him in on her sorrows. She said she preferred to sort out her feelings alone, before bringing him in on it.
“Nadia…. you don’t know how sorry I am about those. I had no right… I…. we shouldn’t….“
Brumah didn’t have the words.
“We were young and stupid. You didn’t force me… both times, we discussed it. There are days though, when I think about it. Maybe Mack could’ve had a bigger sister and bigger brother?” She chuckled, twirling her hair in her right hand.
“But it’s okay.”
Brumah wanted her even more then.
He missed actually talking about things. Even if she acted as if she was okay when he knew she wasn’t, it beat a passive aggressive approach any day.
“Nadia. I’m not gonna mince words. I miss you so much…. About a year ago, maybe less, it was a Saturday night….. I woke up at maybe 3am, horny as hell…. Being married, that shouldn’t be a problem right? The natural thing to do, is to reach over to my wife, see if maybe she wanted to help fix the situation…”
Nadia was already giggling. “Well…. I sort of knew what to expect…so I lay awake maybe thirty minutes, hoping that this odd morning wood would disappear and let me go back to bed…. of course it didn’t. So I finally woke Sarah up…. guess what she said?” He made the narration sound so funny, but she could tell he was probably hurt by it.
She said “Ei Osofo…. we have church in a few hours and sex is what’s on your mind? For a man of God, you can be pretty carnal!”
Needless to say, there was no trace of horniness left in me after that. That wasn’t the first time of such….. and it surely wasn’t the last.
Nadia was in stitches! Brumah himself was chuckling to himself as he thought about it.
“On days like that, all I can think about is making love to you. I’ve replayed every single time we’ve made love in my mind over the course of my marriage. It gets worse when I want to have a normal conversation with her. To gossip about someone, or to say some things that are inappropriate for a pastor to say to people… but hopefully appropriate for a man to say to his wife? I will be given a mini sermon about the things I can and can’t say as a man of God. We’ve never loved each other. She knows it, and I know it.”
Nadia was staring at her feet, wondering what kind of a sham marriage Brumah had gotten himself into.
“Mack’s father was very abusive…. He hit me, said horrible things to me. The verbal abuse was what happened more often. The first time he hit me, I threatened to call the police…. big mistake… he beat me to a proper pulp after that. ” I pretended everything was okay, cos I’d just had his son. I was hoping he’d get sensible I guess? He didn’t. So I called the police one time while he was hitting me…. filing for a divorce after that wasn’t so hard.
I don’t know where he is currently…. just every month, I get quite a large cheque for child support.”
Brumah was clenching and unclenching his fists the whole time she was talking. He inched closer to her, wondering if it was okay to hold her.
“I’m so sorry Nady. So so sorry.”
This was the first time she was saying this to another person that wasn’t her shrink.
He wanted to hug her. He didn’t know if she’d want that. He didn’t know what to do… and for him that was a first. He knew Nady so well that this was unusual. The conflict was written all over his face.
“But Brumah…. we cannot do this…. I don’t even know what ‘this’ means…. we cannot based on this love that we still share hurt the people in our lives. You’ve got an amazing wife, and two beautiful girls. You said vows, Brumah…. for better or for worse.
And no matter how bad it gets, Brumah…. you can make something of it. And I hope this doesn’t make you question the fact that I still love you. I love you. I’m still in love with you. I don’t think I can ever not love you. But I’ve had to get myself to a place where the love I have for you makes me think about what’s best for you and I. Your wife probably loves you the way she knows how – the way she was brought up to love the pastor she’d marry. And even though that may not be how you’d want to be loved, she most likely loves you. We cannot have an affair, Brumah. And you cannot leave your wife or kids. Your ministry is important, and you don’t need a scandal in your life – surely not now. And so no matter how much I love you, Brumah, we cannot do this.”
Brumah was quiet for a bit.
“Love is an unconditional unmerited act of favour towards someone else without expectation of reward…” This is from a sermon one of the other pastors preached. It’s one of my preferred definitions of love.
My wife married me because it seemed great at the time. She’s never said the words “I love you” to me. And if she ever did, I’d be so surprised. Because I know that she cares about me, she loves the kids, she enjoys being the pastors wife, but she doesn’t love me. Love wasn’t why she married me.
I love you Nady…. and you already know that. I’ve hurt you in the past, and it’s a hurt that I’ve carried with me daily for over 8 years. And it’s a hurt I’ve tried to forgive myself for, but can’t seem to. I know you don’t hold it against me. But my heart does.
I’m ashamed to say, that I do not love Sarah the way I should. I never have. And it makes it even more difficult that she’s not the kind of woman I would have chosen for myself, and that she doesn’t love me either. Ours has been a partnership.
I don’t know what society will think of me if I should leave her. I kind of have a slight idea what she’ll think of me. I feel she’ll be happy to be rid of me though. There will be backlash, Nady. I will be hated, and probably taken off the church board. I will likely be stripped of my pastoral duties.
But Nadia, the past 8 years have been so hard for me.
I was diagnosed of depression a couple years ago. It was like a cloud I could not lift. Even my kids couldn’t in any way evoke a feeling of happiness in me. I wasn’t just sad. I was indifferent. I was hopeless, and it was almost as if I was trapped in a bottle. Yet I stood on the pulpits and preached amazing powerful sermons that people loved apparently! It was so terrible having people talk to me about how amazing the message was, when I just wanted to crawl deeper into the black pit I felt I was in.
No matter how bad it gets, Nady….. I cannot live the way I’ve lived over the past few years. Please help me here….
I’m not asking for an affair. I don’t want that…. but I want you. I’m just asking you, to leave space for a possibility. I’m asking you not to cut me off again. I’m asking you to make space for me in your future. I don’t know the full scope of what I’m asking, but I want you Nady!
She closed her eyes, willing her tears to stay in place. Brumah reached out and pulled her into his arms. She didn’t fight it.