I did not see this moment coming, or perhaps I was told it was coming, but I ignored the signs and the warnings. Daniel and I met when I was four years out of university; I was a late bloomer in the love department. I had been running away from marriage. I did not understand the construct and why it was so important. I was accused of withholding my mother’s joy, ‘Ijo Ayo’ she called it. Then Daniel happened, and all hell broke loose.
When I was younger they warned me of bad boys, I was warned about men who used girls and disposed of them quickly. I was told ‘don’t bring bele to this house’ by my father. Aunties said to me ‘don’t get raped’, I was told that my husband must love me more than I loved him by my pastors. I was cautioned to avoid bad behaviour. But no one taught me the how to do the right things. How to love others and how to love myself. No one showed me how to create a happy home, or how to be a good mother and wife.
Daniel walked into my life haphazardly. I was so insecure when I met him; he taught me how to open up and how to let him in. In loving me, he taught me to love myself. Daniel did not need to be persistent, one sound of his voice and I was hooked in. His words made me laugh, and his smile crippled my defences. I suppose all my preconceived notions about relationships were dissolved when we met, and then there was the lust. Like a fountain of chocolate fondue tempting you to dip in without saying a word. I had been so afraid I would never feel the ‘magic’ and ‘fire’ that everyone talked about, but Alas, Cupid had an arrow for me.
That is why when the church refused to marry us, Daniel said the registry would not object. When our families said we were foolish, the courts did not care, like that steaming fondue fountain, we were in love, and the heat was not dying down.
Most days now I just sit with Tomisin, she asks me questions I cannot answer. She says that God doesn’t love her, she accuses us of hating her. Somedays when she has the energy to fight me, she raises her voice, and yells and sometimes I smile knowing my child is like everyone else’s troublesome teenager. I was at a secondary school girls reunion and Funke was there, she was always an abebelube, she bragged so much about her daughter’s accomplishments. I was thanking God that Tomisin was still alive. I was holding back tears in my eyes because I knew Tomisin would want to travel and explore with her friends, but my fear would not let her do so. I was so used to a crisis that the suggestion of peace was a foreign notion.
Daniel has Cynthia these days, and that has taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. We have been so distant, between hospital visits and arguments about finances we never had a chance for love. The burner on that fondue was turned off, and the chocolate went cold. I thought that was allowed, I assumed it was meant to grow cold, I thought young love did not last, I saw my parents and others have similar relationships, I thought that was the natural progression of things. Then aunty Solape told me it wasn’t, she told me I should fight to get Daniel back; she wanted me to save my marriage. She wanted me to try, but I was tired, I am tired. Now that he has Cynthia, he doesn’t argue anymore. He is kinder and gentler, he listens to Tomisin more and visits the hospital when I am at her side.
Do not get me wrong; Daniel is a good man. But he needs things that I am too tired to give him. He needs attention that I am unable to provide. He loves Tomisin and provides for her, but he is not her mother. The way my heart breaks when she is in a hospital bed is different. Each time a needle comes near her, or she screams out in pain, any compassion I have for him flies out the window. Daniel can oversleep in our king-sized bed, but I cannot. Somedays his heart is steady and he accepts our fate but I do not. His heart broke once on our first hospital visit with Tomisin, but mine breaks every time; it shatters into smaller pieces every day. When she screams in the middle of the night, when she falls when trying to run with her friends, when she drinks only one litre of water a day and pays for it a week later. It is my heart that breaks, it is my weakness that broke us.
I remember Daniel saying to me that we would make it work. He said that we had love, and that was all that mattered. He promised me that nothing they said would make him give up on love. He made so many promises then, and he never kept a single one of them. However, I cannot blame him for this dessert that stands between us; I saw the space building, and I allowed this vacuum to be created. I allowed someone else take the last iota of joy I may have had left. I feel guilty for doing this to Tomisin, and I cannot talk to Daniel who was always my best friend. Daniel blames me for the failure of our marriage. Tomisin blames me for her suffering. I blame myself for everything. That day when the doctor said we both had AS genotypes, we should have parted ways. When the church refused to perform a wedding, and our families objected, we should have listened. But Daniel said he loved me; he said we would make it through. But alas, our love did not conquer all.
My name is Tope and I am despondent.
This is the final entry in the series. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, let me know and there may be more where they came from. But you have to say so in the comment box below!
Don’t forget to catch the other monologues in series;