By Iteti, Uganda:
“You can't possibly be serious!”
That's the first question that comes to mind when I tell people my story. Granted, it may look like I am attention-seeking or self-destructive, but the reason I tell my story is in the hope that whoever reads it out there will somehow be better for it. I know that it is possible that at least one person reading this will be able to relate to it.
I grew up in a pagan home. My parents were a mix of apathetic and conservative Christians on the brink of divorce. There was infidelity and incest, molestation, hatred and violence; there was exhaustion, depression and pretence. I grew up around a cocktail of screw-ups and consequently became a screw-up myself. It wasn't easy trying to be a normal kid at school when there was only darkness in my mind.
Marcus, my lover turned boyfriend turned fiancée turned husband turned ex-husband then husband again, was born and raised in your everyday dysfunctional home in Canada. His dad had up and walked out on his mother when he was only 9 years and his sister was 12. His mom, of course, was very religious and judgemental and hell-hath-no-fury-like while raising them, so he pretty much grew up hating his dad and defending his mom – but only to a certain extent. I still believe he blames her for their father walking out on them.
Marcus and I aren't your average cultured African couple. We both hated routine, rules and religion except that I was quieter about it. We smoked weed and drank hard liqueur, we were realists and hippies all in one.
Our Dating Years
Marcus and I met in our younger years. I was 17; he was 21. I was Goth; he was a flirt. We hit it off perfectly. The first night we met was spent at the back of his corolla talking and making out, a thing I would later regret given the things I had learnt from my Christian relatives about being Christian and the fire and brimstone that awaited unfaithful ones. I still liked locking lips with him though and listening to him talk about his passion – basketball and computers.
The first time was awkward. He didn't know it at the time, but he was my first kiss. I wasn't an adventurous girl; merely a depressed and lonely one. I wanted an escape, and he was it. We continued to kiss and to grind on one another, because let's face it, the only place we knew to do it was uncomfortably at the back of his car, and he was simply too scared to go past unclasping my bra. So we kissed, and kissed some more until he had to go back to school, far away in Canada.
For two years, Marcus and I were on-and-off boyfriend and girlfriend. He'd email a little then come back home, we'd make out some more and then he'd be on his way back to the great abroad. It's only later that I realised that the official term for what we were doing was “booty call”. Young and so naive I was. He knew exactly what he was doing because every time we were together in public he'd still manage to flirt and touch other girls inappropriately – in front of me. But I didn't mind, I accepted him for who he was and we both knew it.
Our relationship just faded soon after that. We grew up and we moved on. No hard feelings.
Fast forward to 7 years later, I hadn't heard from Marcus in a while when he contacted me on Facebook. I was giddy with excitement. The tone in his message was collected. He was in town, it had been a while (you think!??!) and he wanted to see me. Put on a sexy dress, he flirted. Screw you, I sent back, see you soon.
On the evening that we met up, we ended up making out in the back of his car outside my parents house. It was like 9 years ago all over again. He told me he was back to stay and wanted to see where this relationship could go. He called me a free-spirit and said he'd never stopped thinking about me. We obviously never started out as friends. So due to my inability to find a man who was ready and willing to deal with all my drama, I settled for Marcus. I was attracted to him and he never made me feel weird about being different and open-minded. So I said yes.
We started dating in September, 9 years after that night we first met and kissed in the back of his Corolla. He still flirted with other girls in front of me, and he still called me up for quickies in the middle of the night. The only difference this time was, he was mine and he always, always came back to me. So I silently fell deeper and deeper in love with this flirtatious stud muffin of a basketball player (in his spare time that is). And so that sealed it for me. We dated for a while until a few months later on his birthday when he proposed.
I said it first. I love you. He looked into my eyes on his 30th birthday, with a cigarette in hand and said, Marry Me!
To Be Continued…
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