Tuesday, April 23, 2024

I CONFESS: Happily ever after just a dream

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TWENTY YEARS AGO I got married after a wonderful courtship. When my wedding was held, I felt proud of having achieved something major. That day I walked down the aisle was not just my special day but it was a feeling of being in wonderland.

I knew my friends and my detractors all looked on in amazement as my wedding had all the trappings any bride could want. The church was beautifully decorated, the attendants were exquisitely bedecked and the groomsmen were all eye-catching. The groom and bride would have had tongues wagging as we were the centre of attention.

My reception lived up to expectation as my parents spared no expense, even though they are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. At that time cruising was not a very popular thing, but we were afforded the opportunity to go to Florida and take a one-week cruise for our honeymoon. Life had started out as perfect as anyone could have wanted.

I was a very proud individual and now on reflection realised that I looked down on people, which is neither the Christian-like attitude to adopt nor is it – plain and simple – a decent thing. As fate would have it I got two quick promotions at my workplace and these gave me good salary increases which ensured financial stability. A company vehicle came with the second promotion as well as some perks senior managers in the private sector usually enjoy.

Given how we had started out, my husband and I decided that we would travel every year and we fell in love with cruising, so we decided that every other year we would try to go on one. We did fulfill those dreams as we went to Alaska, the Panama Canal and even to Europe. We did enjoy the good life.

Both my husband and I joined service clubs and lived active lives. We were socially conscious about contributing to our country and got involved in a number of events.

Despite my perceived successes, there was one thing missing from my life. I wanted children and obviously had hoped that I would have been pregnant within a year of marriage. I did nothing to prohibit my becoming pregnant. I sought the intervention of my medical practitioner, but still without success. For some reasons, I did not go to a fertility clinic to get help.

After ten years of marriage and no child, I started to give up on that dream. Work and the other pleasures I enjoyed filled my heart and soul. Furthermore, I was just short of 40 and knew my biological clock was ticking fast and loud. Then I was over that milestone. I knew the period of my life which I was looking forward to enjoy had gone. My parents hopes and wishes were dashed. My husband simply seem to have accepted and suggested we get on with life.

My husband and I became even closer. We spent a lot of time together only apparently being separated  when he was at work or vice versa. We even started using one vehicle to work, that was mine. The joke at the club was that we were two peas in one pod.

During this period we would interact with a number of needy children given the work of our organisation. On many occasions I felt like asking the mothers if they would allow one of these children to come to live with me. I did become attached to two of them and had them over for weekends. But then I realised that I had some cousins with children and reached out to help. I eventually found one of the children, young and still  with a decent mind, whom I invited to spend a weekend, then a week then a longer period. We became very attached. My relative, recognising the bond, suggested that the child stay with me and could spend Saturdays with her.

I decided to send her to a private primary school since I wanted her exposed to the very best of things. She was only five years old so she quickly settled in. She made lots of friends and she did her schoolwork to everyone’s satisfaction.

When it was time for her to take the Common Entrance Examination, I started to pay even more attention. She was coming in the top ten in the form on a consistent basis, she was involved in extra-curricula activities and she was a responsible child at home.

One Saturday after her swimming classes she told me something puzzled her. I asked and she indicated that there was another girl attending her class who looked like her uncle, my husband. She said the little girl’s mummy had been asking her all sorts of  strange questions. She explained, and I had to pay attention.

The next Saturday I went to the swim club and decided to stay around. My daughter pointed out the child who looked like her uncle, and I was immediately taken aback. It was a frightening coincidence. I saw the child’s mother and approached her indicating that she had been asking my daughter questions and I feel she should speak to me. She simply said hello, got up and went to her car. At the end of the classes she and her child left. I subsequently found out that she belonged to another branch of my club.

I asked my husband if he knew a little girl who was attending swimming classes. He immediately acknowledged that the little girl was his offspring and went on to say that a child was what he wanted more than anything else. The idea of “just the two of us” was a mere dream, at least on my part.

Two days later my husband packed his bags and walked through the door, never to return. He subsequently filed for a divorce which was quick and amicable. Fortunately I have my daughter and our bond is stronger than ever.

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