Chances, if you are married, are that one day you will sit in a courtroom next to your lawyer – who will possibly be a man.
Across from you, facing you, eyes unwavering, gaze steely, will sit a man you will wish to have never met, with his lawyer – possibly a lady. You will try to rival the man’s steady gaze with your own. Never in your life will you have wished, like you will at that moment, to possess a few masculine features to add to your femininity. You might even attempt to beseech your face, if that were possible, to give you a morsel of sternness to use against him.
Even then, your heart will pound furiously against your chest. Do not be afraid, not of him – you will tell it. And yourself. Do not give him the satisfaction of seeing you fazed.
This man that you will face, this man that you will be pepping up for, this man that you will feel so much hatred for – exceeding hatred that is no good for your health or your heart – will have once been the man you intertwined your legs with in the throes of passion. You will have one day, and many days after that first time, allowed him to mount you and enjoy the softness and warmth that your womanhood offered. You will have trusted him enough to give your fragile heart only to him, leaving no room for any other man. He will be the very man you had whispered ‘I love you’ to, numerous times before you screamed his name. The same one who had carried you gingerly to bed when he had found you sleeping on the couch after watching a late-night movie. And many such romantic, thoughtful and kind gestures.
You will have taken him home, proudly paraded him to your family; your heart fluttering, your cheeks all flushed and your smile impossible to contain. You will have shown him off to Daddy. Convinced him that he did not have to worry about you any more – because there really was no need to, you will have said. With him, you would have promised to raise your parents the grandchildren they so wanted. You would have had the intention of growing old together in marriage’s popular till-death-do-us-part schtick.
You and him will have started out on your own. Depending on each other. Loving each other. Molding the perfect family and home together – and for each other.
Until…well, maybe until one day, while you snored in your sleep (having cried the whole night perhaps, because of something inconsiderate he could have said or done maybe, and only finally being able to fall asleep as the day broke possibly) love got up very quietly, approached the door on tiptoe and opened it very slowly. Maybe it eased out of your abode into the waiting dawn and kept walking with no intention of ever coming back. There will be no goodbye. Just like that, like that member who is fed up with that WhatsApp group, you will wake up to get the notification that Love left.
You might have woken up, maybe because you heard the unintended creak of the closing door, or because love left an aftertaste, or because you caught a whiff of Love’s lavender scent on its way out … who knows why really? You don’t know why, but you woke up from deep slumber either way. You became fully aware that what you had was no more. Love did not want to be in your group. And you knew better than to forcefully add it back.
That very early morning you will have lay in bed. Still sleepy yet unable to sleep. Love having left with your sleep. Love having left you staring at the man whom you shared a bed with. Making you ask yourself who he was, because you were not sure who this man you married was anymore. Wondering why this man was not bothered even when he knew that the apparent trajectory of your relationship was bothersome. Love left and allowed you to watch this man who slept and snored soundly beside you.
This could have been followed by the fights. The very many fights. You will have argued about everything; his coming home late, the picking up of kids from school, dropping them off to school, what to have for dinner, where to go for dinner, which bills to pay promptly, which bills to delay payment, who should pay for what, why the electricity hadn’t been paid, when the water bill was due, why the child in boarding school was not visited, where to buy books for your son in pre-unit, whose relatives were more nagging, clingier and more parasitical, which set of in-laws felt most neglected – and which ones rightfully so, why the house help was not efficient, whether to keep the house help – therefore settling for the devil you know, whether to let her go – preferring the angel you don’t know instead…
You will have argued about everything.
And you will in turn have done everything to hold on to your sanity. Nothing will have worked. Not the counselling sessions, or the date nights or family interventions.
You will find yourself seated in that courtroom, next to that lawyer that you hope will have the ability to replicate a scene from Suits into your drama-filled life. You will look into the hateful eyes of this man who once loved you, as he tries to make your life a living hell by maybe demanding for all the wealth you built together or for full custody of those babies that you made together or doing just about anything that can add a shade of misery to your remaining years here on earth.
From that seat, you will finally realize that a man who goes down on his knees and asks you to marry him can give you a glimpse of what heaven looks like or make your life a living hell. Giving him your hand in marriage can also mean allowing him to turn you into something you can barely recognize when you look into the mirror years into your marriage.
You will sit on that chair, not making sense of how you got there. Unable to comprehend why when love left, it had to leave you at war. Why it had to turn into hate. Why a mutual friendship had to turn to enmity. And why love had to scrape off all of your self-esteem on its way out.
Only on that chair when you finally come face to face with him and allow yourself to see that man for who he really is, when the love blinds will finally be removed, will you be able to acknowledge the very thin line that separates love and hate.