Augustin was shocked when I broke up with him. The relationship was only four months old. He said, “I thought everything was going well. What did I do wrong? You tell me.” I looked at his face and then looked away. He kept asking me what the problem was. He kept pleading with me to tell him what went wrong. I had nothing to say. I was breaking up with him because nothing was wrong. The love he had for me was too perfect it got me scared. It was the reason I decided to run away.…CONTINUE READING
Our first date was at a restaurant I chose. It was a very expensive place. I chose it thinking it would scare him off but it didn’t. He was there before me. He was going through the menu when I entered. He got up, pulled my chair and sat down after I’d sat down. I looked through the menu and saw the prices. I asked if they were too expensive. He nodded his head. “Too expensive but I didn’t expect anything less.”
His honesty that night made me lean towards him in a way that felt like I was giving myself to him. I said sorry. “Sorry that I chose this place. I didn’t know it was that expensive. We can go somewhere else if you want to.” He shook his head. “We are here, let’s make the night count,” he said.
I went through the menu not looking for what I wanted to eat. I went through looking for the cheapest thing on the menu to order. I settled for a drink, something I could have bought from the street for say GHC10. At the restaurant, it was GHC80. He asked if it was because he said it was an expensive place. I answered that I had eaten before coming.
After the night, he opened doors for me. He walked beside me like a protector; tall, broad-chested, handsome, with plenty of beard, just the way I like my men. When I got home he texted, “I’m waiting to hear from you before I sleep.” I didn’t respond to his text. He called. He said goodnight and asked me to dream about beautiful things.
New love is like that. All the men who turned against me and abused me were sweet at the beginning. I knew Augustin would change too and I was eagerly waiting for the change.
When I accepted his proposal, I went through everything quickly just so he would change for me to say, “I knew it. The whole thing was a facade. An angel mask on the face of the devil.”
We had our first sex a day after I’d said yes. I slept over at his place two days later. I worshipped him, to let him know I loved him deeply. Men, when they know you love them too much, when they know you can’t live without them, they begin to treat you badly. I was eager for him to treat me badly so I gave him everything I thought was the reason he came into my life.
To my disappointment, Augustin never changed. In four months, I experienced two different health crises. The second one, I passed out in his arms while he was carrying me to the hospital. I woke up at dawn to see him watching over me, like the protector that he was. Later when my mom visited, she asked who he was. “Augustin,” I answered. She retorted, “I didn’t ask for his name. Who is he?”
When my dad came to visit, he also asked the same question. When my sister came in, she asked, “Is he our in-law?”
I hated that my family knew him. We had dated for a few months and my whole family had come to know him because he was ever present at the hospital until I was discharged. He took me home. My parents thanked him. My mom stayed for some days. She told me, “Augustin is different.” I said in my head, “Lucifer was different in the eyes of God until the fight that brought him down here on earth.”
I desperately needed Augustin to change because I was used to that kind of love; the love that abuses me and I will still stay. I was used to the toxic kind of love. The one that ignores you for weeks and later appears and pretends everything is alright.
I was used to unavailable men like Andy, my third ex. I got to know he was married after three months in a relationship. I didn’t leave him. I stayed until he used his wife as an excuse to leave me. I was used to abusive men like Fred. He slapped me twice because I complained about his cheating ways. I didn’t leave until he swatted me off his skin. I was used to men like Ebo. They take your money and spend it on other women. I loved the thrill of those kinds of toxic love. I lived for the drama. Augustin was drama-less. His wasn’t toxic so I ran away.
My sister asked, “Why did you leave him? This one was different.” I answered, “That’s the point. I don’t want a man who’s different. I’m going to lose him at some point anyway, so it’s better I lose him now when the relationship is still young. Don’t worry. I’ll get the man I deserve very soon.”
Augustin never made an attempt to get me back after the breakup. You know, even the toxic guys who left me came chasing after me. I gave them another chance and they took it from where they left off. They left me on several occasions but they came back. I left Augustin and he stopped watching my status. He disappeared totally like we never existed.
One dawn I was feeling feverish. It felt like I was going to have an episode. The start of a storm. I needed to call someone. Augustin came to mind. I thought about him and I missed him. I typed a message on my phone for him but I couldn’t press send. I deleted it, typed it again and deleted it. “Can we talk?” That was the message. I responded in my head, “No we can’t talk. He has moved on.”
When I mustered the courage, I typed, “It looks like I’m going to have an episode. I need help.”
I sent the message at 10:10 p.m. He read the message and left me on blue tick. I was waiting. I was getting worse the longer he didn’t respond. He was online and then he vanished. I was sweating, feverish and wishing for death. At 11 p.m. I heard a knock on my door. My heart stopped beating. I knew who the knock was coming from. The pattern was familiar. I burst out crying. He stood at the door, tall and handsome, like the way I liked my men. He asked, “Are you OK?” I answered through sobs, “It looks like I’m dying.”
“Should I take you to the hospital?”
“Let’s wait a little and see.”
He sat next to me telling me how happy he was to see me. I told him to stop lying. He said, “It’s true. I’ve been thinking about you every day. Hoping you’ll call and say you’ve changed your mind.”
The more he talked, the more I got better. I was no longer feverish. His presence felt like a quilt over my skin in cold weather. I asked, “Why didn’t you call or try to come back?” He answered, “I thought it was an episode you were having and once it was over, you’ll call me.”
I cried. My mom’s voice echoed. My sister’s too. “He’s different.”
Yes, he was and I deserved something different. Something less toxic because I’m also the child of God. True love looks good on me.
We are here, a year after marriage, as a husband and a wife. It turned out that all the sickness I was having was my body’s reaction to the way the men I loved treated me. With Augustin, I’ve been fine. Even my doctors are surprised at the turn of events when it comes to my health.
I Told Him To Go Ahead And Do It
We stay up all night playing Ludo. No one wants to lose. We would play ten games and I might lose ten times but I would keep playing and playing hoping one win would wash away all my defeats just like one less toxic love made me healed. And then we would laugh in the face of defeat, go to bed and begin again the next day. It’s like a perfect metaphor for our love story. No matter what, we’ll go to bed and begin loving each other again when the sun comes up.
“You came to the family to kill and destroy but nothing lasts forever”- Rita Edochie to Judy Austin
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