Bukola was in a desperate situation. She didn’t have anyone she could discuss the issue with because it wasn’t a topic she would be comfortable discussing. She always thought about how to begin such a conversation? That she lost her husband because she wasn’t comfortable with sex?
Abbey moved into the guest bedroom in the ninth month of their marriage. It was a Saturday and she had gone to the market to stock up the house with foodstuff. By the time she returned, he had gone out. Although when she was leaving, he didn’t say anything about going out. That has become a new habit, where he doesn’t tell her anything about his movement. He hardly talks to her in the house and when she greets him or asks him something, he answers under his breath. But that Saturday when Bukola opened the wardrobe to change and noticed all his things gone, she knew they were heading for the end of their marriage.
She broke down and cried wondering where help would come from. She had been praying for divine intervention into the problem and nothing has happened. This wasn’t what she thought her marriage would turn into, but then she never really thought about it or understood the institution of marriage. She could only judge with her parents’ marriage, and as far as she was concerned, that was what she was hoping to get.
Bukola made up her mind to attack the issue and immediately called Abbey on the phone. It rang several times, but he didn’t pick. Various scenarios ran through her mind. It wasn’t always she gets to call him on the phone but when she does, he picks, so where could he be? Bukola waited all day for him to return and when he finally did late at night, she asked him why he didn’t take her calls. Abbey said he was at a noisy place watching football and left her in the sitting room and went to bed in his new room. No dinner.
Abbey made it impossible for her to ask him any questions. They continued this way for a week before he travelled for a course that lasted 3 months. By the time he returned, Bukola had moved his things back to their bedroom. He said nothing about it, so Bukola took it as a sign that the answers to her prayers were at work. He even bought her gifts from the trip which convinced her more that things were going to get better. But that day of his return was the first and last day they conversed for over 30 minutes since their problems began. Because soon enough, Abbey made sure he stayed out late until she had slept and he left home early. The only time things appeared normal was when they had relations visiting for the weekend. Then Abbey came home early, ate in the house and pretended with her that all was well. But it was a lie she couldn’t change or share out of shame and fear. She continued to trust God, went for prayer meetings, and never missed church. She was looking for answers but wasn’t getting them until one Sunday morning, something happened in the house.
She usually left for church earlier than Abbey because her church was further than his, and they had different services. But on this morning, she walked into the kitchen looking for him when he wasn’t in the guest bedroom and noticed him all dressed up for church. Bukola had come to tell him she was going to church and would be out till evening because she would visit her parents. Asking why he was dressed, he answered he wanted to attend his church’s first service for a change. And at that moment, she felt a deep urge to ask to follow him to his church, but she couldn’t speak. She needed ways to spend more time with him. So with a heavy heart, she returned to the bedroom to retrieve her bag and broke down crying.
Abbey heard the muffled sounds and knocked on the door before he entered. Bukola, who was turned away from the door, felt him standing at the door for a while and just looking at her. After a while, he went and held her in an embrace, their first body to body contact in a very long time.
After she quieted down, he told her he had to get going else he would be late. “Can I come with you?” Bukola asked him and he looked at her quietly for seconds and nodded.
This week's edition of 'Desperate housewives'
Before I Lose My Husband (3)
“Can I come with you?” Bukola had asked her husband, Abbey. That day was also the first in a long time they sat together in a car. And the 20mins drive to his church was in silence. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing. She didn’t know what to expect. She had no idea what was going through his mind, as she continued to steal glances at him. But he wore a very serious countenance. One she had never seen before.
All through that day’s service, Bukola’s mind was occupied with her problems, so when Abbey asked her on their way home if she enjoyed the service, she shrugged. On getting home, he reminded her she was visiting her parents. She told him they could wait that she had things to sort out. Things like what? He wanted to know but she couldn’t frame her words. What happened this morning, Buki, what is going on here? He continued to question her.
Bukola was confused. She felt he ought to know she was making a move towards solving their problems and should take the steps with her. “I’m tired,” she told her husband and he nodded and said he was also and had been sad a long time he was going to be a divorcee. “What?” she asked. “We are not ending this marriage. It is against my religion!” Abbey laughed wanly and walked away into the guest room.
Bukola sat dazed for a while and hurried after him into the room without a knock. “Can’t you see I am trying to change? You asked what happened this morning. It is me trying to tell you and not finding the words that I am tired of living this way and want a change for us and admitting I need help. I don’t know what to do or who can help me, but the last thing I want is to end this marriage and it’s not just because of religion, which hasn’t helped me despite all my prayers, but I do love you. I am willing which is why this morning and your church happened, Abbey. Say something.”
Bukola was crying then and waiting for him to say something or even look at her, but he didn’t. She went and knelt by the side of the bed where he was sitting and touched him, willing him to raise his head and look at her. When he did, she discovered he had tears in his eyes. Bukola realised at that moment that her husband had also nursed the same fears she had. He asked her to sit beside him and they sat there quietly, saying nothing but just being together, each with different thoughts.
Eventually they went to the kitchen for a late breakfast and he asked where they could start from. She said she didn’t know but felt they were doing the right thing, talking and being together. He nodded.
That Sunday was the beginning to recovering for their marriage as well as their pains. They were together the whole day and he came to sleep in their bedroom but didn’t move close to her. While they discussed their work and mutual friends, Bukola’s was anxious about what would happen next or what wouldn’t, but she had made up her mind things had to change. When she got up to turn out the light, he asked her to leave the light on.
“I want to see you and want you to see me,” he said. Bukola’s fears were back. Abbey left the bed to stand by her. “Remember what you said about change? Let’s try. You don’t have to be scared. I am your husband, you are my wife and I love you and we cannot avoid this.”
She was scared and she was expectant and she was shy but she let Abbey take her on a road she wasn’t familiar with.
Bukola described that first week beginning the Sunday they went to church together as the best week of her life. The road has been bumpy but she is rediscovering a new Abbey, their friendship growing deeper by the day. Her parents who believed she would eventually bring Abbey over to their church were shocked when she told them she was joining Abbey’s church. Everyday has become a blessing of love and friendship and surprise.
It’s been four months since that Sunday morning and Bukola is still enjoying her new found love. In another two months they will have their second wedding anniversary, but Bukola and Abbey are marking that Sunday as the most special date never to be forgotten.
The story appears as it was published in the 'Desperate Housewives' column, in Business Hallmark Newspapers last week and this week. Stories are real and are shared to educate women and also for advice. Names are changed for reasons of privacies. If you have a story to share, yours or the story of someone you know, feel free to contact me.