Dear everyone…..Perspectives is back!!
Thank you for all the support, the ‘patient’ waiting , the grumbling, the threats and warnings, etc. I’m happy to be back, and to be ending perspectives soon!!
Remember the day I asked you to marry me? I don’t remember it in full detail. I remember that it was tough. I remember that we had no emotions between us. I remember knowing right from that day that this wasn’t right for both of us. I knew you knew as well. But I guess we did what we needed to do? You we’re destined to be a pastors wife, and I was determined to do something right by my family. Ours has been such an odd relationship. Functional, but odd.
You know this thing we keep telling our counselees? About foundations? ‘The depth of a foundation matters just as much as what it’s built with.’
It keeps ringing in my head….
The Bible verse that says build with good material, because your works will be tested with fire?
I know we’ve been building with good material….
I know that we’ve both tried. But I know also that our foundation was shallow. I know our foundation isn’t something we can fix. Because God knows I tried. I tried dates, I tried books, I tried conversation, and none of them seem to bring us closer together. We’re basically bonded together, only because of the kids.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed that the past few years have been harder for me than ever. I don’t know if you noticed the meds, or noticed my early morning/ mid-evening hospital visits…
I don’t expect that you noticed, because I tried really hard to hide it. How would people react to a depressed pastor? How many would even believe it? How many people would understand that I preached hope and love and faith, and yet I had suicidal thoughts on some days? How many would ask me to pray it away? How many of them would go about gossiping about the pastor that says he knows God and yet wants to kill himself. How many would understand? Would you understand? Would you, Sarah.
The past few months, I’ve had a lot to think about. I’ve questioned God, and I’ve told him my heart. I’ve asked him for a way out, a way to not feel so trapped. I’ve begged him on my knees and I’ve begged him in our bed. I’ve fasted, and I still can’t seem to figure anything out. I don’t know what to do. So this letter is to ask you. Sarah. Are you happy? Are you happy carrying on with this sham we’ve done so well with for so long, or is there something you want? Do you want us to see a professional? Do you want us to work on our foundation? Is there anything you want besides being ‘osofomaame’? Do you want me? As a person? Or is it just the title that you want? I’m making changes this year, Sarah, and I’m done being quiet about the things that hurt me. I’m questioning things, and I’m willing to change what isn’t working. I owe it to myself to be happy, as long as it remains in the will of God.
There are so many times when I see you chatting with a friend, and I wonder if you’ll ever get to a point where you can have a normal chat with me as a husband… not about the children and not as your pastor.
I want to be able to laugh with you about those funny hats Abrefi wears to church, but I can’t, because you will consider it slander. I want to be able to wake you up at 3am, just because I had a silly dream and I’ll probably forget it if I go back to bed without telling you. I want to be able to come round the kitchen and stress you, while helping you make my kontomire stew. But I can’t.
Sarah before anything else that I am – pastor, father, counsellor etc., I am your husband. You’re the one person I should be happy to see and talk to everyday. I used to be a very happy, carefree man. I don’t think God wanted me to be unhappy. And I know for a fact he doesn’t want you to be unhappy either.
Marrying you was a thing that was supposed to make me right in my family. I wanted my parents to know that I’d done one good thing. Now I wonder if my mother looks down from heaven to see if I’m happy.
When Mama died, I was devastated. I knew you were sad too. But it never once even crossed my mind that I could talk to you about how I felt. I wanted to be held. I wanted to cry – to wail. I wanted to tell someone that I wish mama had met our last baby. I wanted to scream to the world that the one person I wanted to impress the most in life was gone.
Instead, all my grief was bottled up in me, Sarah. I had to be strong, you said. I had to man up. I had to amidst the tedious task of planning a funeral and dealing with family members, hold my heavy grief so deep in my heart that it couldn’t show. On the day of the funeral, I felt things I’d never felt before. I considered taking my life.
I’m not saying that any of this is your fault. I’m just as much to blame. I’m just letting you know that I really wish it had all been different. I wish I could be your husband sometimes and not have to always be your pastor.
You know that I’ve never really figured sex out with you? It’s been close to 9 years, and I don’t know how… I don’t even know what I don’t know. I just know that it feels as if you never want me. And when because of that I decide to let you be, you come rushing at me with your passive aggressive words, asking if I no longer find you desirable. I don’t know if I can ever figure it out with you, but I’m willing to try – only if you are.
I want us to consider counselling, Sarah. I mentioned earlier that I started therapy after the suicidal thoughts I started having. It took a while, of course, but now I can wake up in the morning and not feel that dark cloud there all the time. I can speak without the tightening in my chest that kept happening. I can laugh genuinely again, Sarah. And I want us to be able to be happy. We owe it to ourselves, and then, to the kids.
I care about you, Sarah. You’ve been an amazing mother to our kids, and an amazing Osofomaame. One day soon, please be my amazing wife.
The finality of it all shocked her.
They were finally over? The twins were with her, but he’d promised to continue to provide for them. He’d signed to that effect. And he hadn’t really made a fuss.
There are days when she kept thinking maybe he had a mistress somewhere? But she didn’t want to think that way. She wanted to think that he was just not very sexually attracted to her. And maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. Maybe that meant that he could find someone out there that he was really attracted to, and who would be fine with his bedroom shenanigans, or the lack of them.
She’d expected the divorce to feel exhilarating. She expected that she’d be extremely happy. On the contrary, she felt raw fear. Had she done the right thing? Would the kids understand when they were older? Would she ever find someone else? Did she want to find someone else… she knew she did.
She looked at the one day old message from Akua.
“When are you ready to get back to the dating scene? I have a friend you should meet!”
Was she ready to flirt and date and do all those things she really hadn’t done so much of? Had she just thrown away her marriage for things like these?
But then again what was her marriage? She was unhappy for years. Unhappy and tired. She grabbed the bottle of gin, not bothering to use a glass.
Finally, she replied the message.
“I’m ready…. I guess?” He better be sensible, she thought. I’m not ready for games. And the kids are certainly not ready for games either. Lol.
The whole flight, Akyiaa kept wondering if maybe she had made the wrong decision. She’d tried. She really had. But if the man she loved was not in favour of her pursuing her dreams, then was that really love? She’d tried to stay back, to decide that she could hold off and stay. But she’d started resenting him, and she knew that if she didn’t figure it out, she could probably become capable of murder at a point. His smugness about being the head of the family and having the last word made it so much worse. She couldn’t stomach it anymore. Good thing she hadn’t emailed to say she couldn’t make it. She’d bought the ticket two weeks earlier, waiting for a good time to tell him. But there was never a good time. The evening she left, she left him a letter. A very long letter. She passed by her parents’ house, and her dad drove her to the airport. They had no idea that he didn’t know. They had no idea that she’d neglected to tell him. “I’m really glad Papa came to his senses.” Her father had said. She only smiled and said nothing. She knew he was likely at the hospital, or with the guys. And that he’d be very upset. But she had to do this for herself. There was no way she could live with herself twenty years down the line, thinking of what could have been. She knew she had tried to live with it. She’d tried to not hate him for not wanting her to go. But she had failed. And ultimately, she knew she would fail at the marriage in the long run if she did nothing about it. She had to do something.
When the baby was put in her laps, it was almost as if her whole life had been brought to a standstill. She could barely pay attention to the people around her. She was exhausted. And completely and utterly dumbfounded. His dark, tiny fingers, his awfully tiny nose, and the way his lips curled when he yawned or stretched or whatever it is he was doing.
The pain she’d been in the past 8 hours had been completely forgotten. And she finally understood how people could have so many kids. The joy that followed the birth of one was intoxicating. As she put him to her breast, and felt his first tug, she shut her eyes, only now realising that she had been crying.
When Yaa met with the doctor concerning Wendy, he assumed straightaway that she was the mother. He discussed everything with her, and answered all her questions. He was a constantly smiling gentleman, who looked to be in his mid-forties. He looked tired – in a chronic way. As if he’d been tired for so long, and his rest wasn’t taking care of the tiredness.
When she asked if there was a protocol for adoption, he realised she wasn’t the mother. Yaa explained the whole situation, and he seemed happy to help even though he didn’t seem to know exactly how.
Yaa didn’t know why she went to look at his ring finger, and why she was disappointed when she noticed the wedding band. She chided herself and went back to paying attention to the man’s words.
They made a plan to meet together with the social welfare team, and Yaa left, wondering what kind of a family man he was, and how lovely he must look in shorts. She scolded herself countlessly, but she couldn’t stop wondering.
Nadia and Brumah continued to keep conversation. Not daily – they’d told themselves they couldn’t do that. They emailed weekly. So she knew about the letter Brumah had written to Sarah, and how for weeks he still hadn’t gotten a reply, or any change. She knew that Brumah’s therapy was better now than ever, and they’d started cutting back on his medications. She knew that he had work that was going to take him to some villages for a while. She knew that his daughter had just had her first tooth come out, and she was super excited.
He also knew that Mackenzie was increasingly getting more involved in the swim team, and it made him happy. He knew that she had gotten a good advertisement deal that could land her a large amount of money. He knew that she had plans of coming home to visit her mother with Mackenzie, but he didn’t want to get over excited. He didn’t even know if they would get to see each other. He wanted Nadia, but he also wanted to honour his marriage.
He knew though, that his days were a lot happier, because he felt heard. He felt needed. He felt wanted. And that feeling beat many other feelings he’d had in the past couple of years. He could pray without feeling any guilt about not keeping Sarah in the loop. Because he’d literally poured out his whole heart to her. Well almost all of it. And it didn’t seem to make any difference for her.
Recently he had a hard time though preaching at church on some occasions.
In one of his last sermons, he spoke about Destiny and the will of God.
How too many people put their destinies in the hands of mere men, mere mortals. How God had a path for everyone, and yet not everyone wanted to follow in that direction. And how God never forced humans. How he gave us all free will.
He remembered the tears in the beautiful red haired doctor’s eyes when the sermon was over. He remembered wondering to himself if he’d taken his own destiny into his hands by marrying Sarah. Later in the week when he emailed Nadia, he asked her if she thought he did. But her reply hadn’t come yet.
Nadia didn’t know what to think about that. All she knew was that she had survived him leaving, and much as she wanted him back, she knew she couldn’t. And she was content with this new friendship they’d started – at least she prayed she’d remain content. What she didn’t know, was if he had taken his destiny into his own hands, by leaving her for Sarah.
I know you’re probably going to hate me forever for this. And I don’t know if, or when you can forgive me. But I do know that if I’d stayed, we’d both have been very miserable. I know I tried. Really tried to be the submissive wife everyone has been asking me to be. But I really don’t see myself putting this dream on hold just because your ego can’t handle it. (And if there’s another reason why you had wanted me to stay, please do tell me, because I really can’t seem to find it.)
Three week ago at church, when Pastor Brumah spoke about destiny and the will of God, I felt as though God was talking to me. And I know that God doesn’t contradict himself. I know he says to submit to the husband. I know also that he asks husbands to love their wives. I really don’t know where the love we had is, Papa. I know that this residency is something I’ve worked so hard on for so long, and something I’ve dreamt about and prayed about and longed for since forever. And you know this too. So I can’t seem to understand how come you don’t want me to go.
Unfortunately, it’s too late now.
I just want you to know that this is not me asking for us to break up or for divorce anything at all. If anything, I want to be able to prove to you that we can do this. That long distance for 3 or so years is really not going to be as bad as you think. Especially because we’ll get to see each other a couple of times each year.
I left in the freezer stews and soups that should last for at least six weeks. Hopefully before the six weeks are up, your anger may have gone down, and we can figure out food for the rest of the while that I’m away.
You don’t know what I’d give to have your support, and to have had you go on this trip with me. To help me settle, and to know that even if the situation is not the most ideal, that you’re in it with me. I wish you knew.
I’ve attached to this letter a ticket for this Christmas. I know your visa expires in about a month. But then your leave isn’t till Christmas. And I’d be really happy if you could renew the visa, so I get to see you at Christmas. If you decide not to, I understand.
But I want you to know that going away was a good thing. I started resenting you after I made the decision to stay, and I realised I couldn’t let that decision rob me of both my happiness and my marriage.
So please understand. Please understand that I really needed to do this. And please understand that I love you. And I tried so hard to stay and forget about this, I just couldn’t do it.
*Osofomaame – Pastors Wife