Saturday, January 28, 2012
Letter from the Other Woman III
(This is the final part of a three-part story. You can read the first part here , and the second part here ).
In spite of my growing jealousy, I’d panic every time he would mention that you two were having problems because I didn’t want you two to break up.
Then it would mean that I’d have to decide whether I wanted to be with him for real. And I didn’t want to be with him. By now, I was sure.
Whilst I wish I could say it was because I didn’t want to be a home-wrecker, which I didn’t, it was more because his being with me showed his home was wreck-able.
And I didn’t want to become another ‘If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat on you’ statistic. Yes, I’m ashamed to say my ambition had been reduced to not becoming a statistic… when I was already one.
Did the shame make a difference? No. There I was counseling Paul back into your arms whenever he was in a place where it seemed he would break up with you… whilst he was in my arms.
There was I temporarily withdrawing and breaking off communication with him whenever I felt he was getting too attached to me during one of your rough patches, only to run right back when it ended.
Once in a very long while, my near-dead conscience would draw from the last vestiges of its strength and reprimand me. But by now, it was so weak that a roll of my eyes returned it to its comatose state.
It fought valiantly. It just never won. It kicked and screamed when it noticed the time I spent talking with, thinking about, planning for and being with Paul exceeded the time I spent on everything else.
It reminded me that an idol was anything you put before God. I wasn’t even praying much anymore. I listened for a short while, and then gave it a generous dose of Valium.
What is the point of telling you all this now? Forgive my rambling. Poor man’s therapy, they say. But then again, being the psychologist, you know this more than I.
Yesterday, at 19:47 GMT, Paul got down on his knees and asked me to be his wife. He said he had asked you for a divorce and your response had been a resigned “ok”.
He said that your recent miscarriage had made him realize that if a child came into the picture, he would be stuck with you forever and it was me he wanted a forever with.
He said it was the worst acquiescence he had ever obtained and that the loud thud of a broken woman throwing in a towel heavy with her hot tears was not a very pleasant sound.
He said, “The worst part was that I couldn’t even hold her as her frail frame racked with sobs. All I could think was, stop crying so I can go to Gifty”.
My comatose conscience miraculously leaped back to life and filled me with remorse deeper than I ever imagined a human could feel. I’d become the woman I said I’d never be; the home-wrecker.
The engagement ring, supposed to be one of the things a girl looks forward to most, slapped me like a glass of ice-cold water poured into one’s face at 4:00am on a cold Harmattan morning.
I sank deeper into the sofa. Good thing I wasn’t standing. Someway, somehow, I found the strength to pick up the ring, put it back in the box, and send him home.
I didn’t see that coming. I guess I should have known when he stopped talking your problems over with me. When he stopped getting angry at things you did.
Or maybe when he told me he loved me and instead of the usual “get away!” I found myself saying “I love you too” and he smiled as if he’d won the biggest ‘try-your-luck’ balloon.
Or perhaps even when he was in that recent car-accident and his siblings and close friends were calling me, not you, to ask how he was doing… but I didn’t.
I had received a transfer letter earlier in the day. I was re-locating to Brussels in three months. I told him I had a surprise when he came over and he said he had one too. His surprise was obviously bigger.
I never thought I’d be the other woman. I read my bible and prayed since I was a little girl. I still blush when a kissing scene comes on and I am not watching the movie alone. I’m no Delilah.
I had the Cinderella dream once upon a time and whilst I realized I’d let go of my happily-ever-after dreams when I turned 17, I never intended to take yours away… and certainly not this way.
I hear Paul never made it home last night. A drunk driver hit him, they said. The one time I decided to do right by you and Paul… and this is how it ends.
So whilst I’m the last person you’d want to hear from, I needed to confess my pending man-slaughter (I may as well have put a gun to his head if he dies) …and to explain the request for divorce …
… and why Paul insists on holding on to an engagement ring as he fights for his life in the ICU.