Friday, April 12, 2024

I CONFESS: Regretting mistakes of my youth


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THERE ARE SOME THINGS which can just make your life miserable and every day an unhappy one for you. This has been my lot since making a critical error as a young woman while studying. To this day, the memories and the actions I foolishly got involved with haunt me immensely.

I have found it necessary to withdraw from a lot of social activity, if only because of the name-dropping and name-calling or the perception that it will happen. While, I have found ways to enjoy myself and find contentment with certain pursuits, it is while reading this column that I felt it important to share my feelings on an issue which could impact others. Hopefully, these others may come across this article and find it as a way to help guide their life or the lives of others.

Twenty years ago while studying at a tertiary institution, I lived in a certain St Michael district and since I had no transportation of my own, I had to take either the Transport Board bus or a minibus. It was while waiting at the bus stop I met a fellow student, also attending a tertiary institution. He was not from Barbados. We struck up a casual relationship, at first exchanging pleasantries such as “good morning” and “how are the studies going?” and such like. After about three weeks he invited me to go to the cinema since it was a long weekend and we had a few hours away from the classroom, even if not the books or completing assignments.

I accepted his offer and went to the movies. We enjoyed each other’s company, had a snack afterwards and I returned home and he went to his. We started seeing more of each other and I subsequently visited the house he was renting. Well, one thing led to another and we eventually had an intimate relationship.

He was older and more mature than I was and he did things to which I had never been exposed. He took me to dinner, he took me dancing and we enjoyed driving late evenings and simply relaxed on moonlit nights.

For some reason there was a coldness starting to develop in the relationship. I soon found out that having acquired a car, he circumvented passing by the bus stop where I would be waiting on mornings.

Then, another woman who also took the bus from that said location, and with whom I had only a few brief exchanges, told me her girlfriend, who used to catch the bus with her since they were going to the same school where they taught, was now getting a ride and did not have the decency to ask her new boyfriend to take her along the same time. I felt she had a point.

To my horror I found out two days later that this man with whom I felt I had found love passed the bus stop with a young woman in the car and did not even glance at me. They stopped and offered the other woman a ride.

I was left in the cold. I started to sweat in disbelief. Another student studying at the same institution as he, and who knew of our relationship, came over and told me not to worry that I had not lost anything.

He described this man whom I felt was my own as nothing more than an exploiter.

I saved face and the following morning I went to the bus stop nervous and uneasy. The car came up once again, stopped and the second woman entered the back seat. They all seemed to be laughing. I wondered: were they laughing at me? I noticed the other student was there but he was totally ignored as well, even though going to the same campus.

He started talking to me and invited me to church. He was a devout Methodist as was his entire family. I accepted his offer and attended the church. As fate would have it, there was a social at his place of study and he invited me. At first I was reluctant, but then I decided to make a statement and attended. My first lover was there and so was the young school teacher. He was shocked when I turned up hand in hand with his classmate.

Well, my relationship with this second guy grew and we became very close. I visited his homeland and met his family. What worried me was that even though they welcomed me, I could not stay at his parents but had to stay with his sister and her husband.

While there, his sister told me that her parents were very strong on certain values and one was that they never believed in any of their children – girls or boys – having any pre-marital sexual relationships. They frowned on it and felt it was a bad omen. I had had a sexual relationship with her brother.

I returned home and the relationship continued when he came back to Barbados to resume his studies. To show he cared for me he bought me a beautiful piece of jewellery and took me to a lovely restaurant for my birthday. But there was a coldness developing in the relationship.

We drifted apart and I hooked up with a guy studying with me. Again, as fate would have it, he was from another Caribbean island and the relationship lasted for the remainder of my time as a student. I visited his homeland, I got pregnant for him and had a daughter. The relationship continued after the pregnancy and within another 15 months I was pregnant again. He hardly supported the first child and made it known he did not want a second one. He already had two children in his homeland from previous relationships. I had an abortion.

My daughter and I have a very close relationship. I have told her of my mistakes. She has appreciated my frankness. She is now 23 and recently married. She was extremely careful in choosing a partner and dating anyone. Her father wanted to attend her wedding after he heard from a friend in Barbados. She said absolutely not. He has become extremely bitter and has resorted to using social media to tarnish my reputation.

I must confess I hate what I did in my late teens and as I turned 21, as I now have [as some might say is] egg on my face. It tells you the importance of making the right choices.


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