Life Without Parole #10
By Iteti, Uganda:
My life seemed to be crashing all around me and I didn't have a clue on how to put the pieces back together.
I woke up to find Marcus standing by the bedside staring down at me. It seemed he hadn't slept a wink. I didn't know what else to do but to reach out and take his hand in mine. It was a tender moment; and to this day I blame the hormones. He reached over and brushed the side of my face with his fingers, smiled and told me to wake up because we needed to talk. I braced myself for the worst. I knew he was going to ask me to let him go.
Mother of all surprises, he didn't. After making breakfast, we sat at the dining table and just stared at each other. He had a kind of frown on his face that I had never seen before – it looked like he would burst into tears any minute. The words Marcus said to me that day will forever be engraved in my memory because he reached for my hand, held it and began to speak.
“Babe, I want to apologise for last night. I won't try to make any excuses because I know I can be a selfish bastard sometimes. But I'm sorry,” he began.
I nodded all through his speech, speechless.
Marcus had had a dream that night. A very disturbing dream involving our son (apparently he knew we were going to have a boy, and we did, eventually). He said that in his dream, he had kicked me out and left me with nothing. A few years down the road, because of his lifestyle, Marcus dreamt that he'd been diagnosed with kidney disease and our son, whose name was Ryan, was the only one who could save his life. Unfortunately for him, Ryan had grown up bitter and vengeful because Marcus had disowned him many times when he had tried to contact him.
At this point in the narration, I couldn't believe my ears. All I could ask was how this dream was going to resolve our situation. Marcus then told me he wanted to change his ways and to be there for us. He didn't want to live so carelessly anymore. My jaw dropped a mile as I stared at my husband's face, creased with the sincerity of a school boy whose dog really did eat his homework. It was then that I remembered my mother's opinionated but prayerful words when I went to seek her counsel, “Just you wait and see how the Lord will turn this around for you unfaithful ones.”
The Grass is Greener
The next few months went by like a breeze. Marcus was on his best behaviour and our little fights were at a minimum. We both decided to attend couple's counselling, more for the baby than for us. The sex was still great, especially after a fight. As a pregnant woman, I enjoyed the smell of sex my husband had on him after we'd made love, that whenever I craved it, I asked him for it. There were no complaints on that front; if anything, it helped us through the difficult nine months. I concluded that our relationship needed more work than we were putting in, but for now, what we had going would suffice.
When I finally went to have our baby, Marcus and I were spooning after an awkward, yet satisfying romp in the sheets. My water broke as I drifted off to sleep and my painful expulsion of four kilograms of baby began. I found the act of labour to be a tad too gruesome for my liking; the hot flashes got worse, the clothes on my back felt alien and irritating so I decided to walk naked around the maternity ward. I must admit, that I looked and felt like a crazy person and I could see the embarrassed look on Marcus' face as he tried to get me back into my room, but I couldn't care less. I wanted that thing out of me immediately.
Ryan came into our lives at 1am on July 5th. I was drained and exhausted but nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing prepared me for the burst of love I felt in my chest when I first laid eyes on him. It was like fireworks and deliciousness and ecstasy all wrapped in a creased bundle of joy. As a mother, there is no way to eloquently describe this feeling; it simply needs to be felt. Marcus looked relieved and at the same time afraid. He didn't hold Ryan for at least 3 days because he was afraid he would break him, but when he finally did, he didn't want to put his baby boy down.
I cannot say that having a baby instantly resolves all marital issues, but it seemed to resolve ours that year. Marcus changed; we both changed. Ryan gave us a reason to live and to live well. I will not lie and say that it was all sunflowers and roses from that moment on, because we did have some terrible, terrible times, but we were willing to work them out. I loved Marcus and I knew that he loved me back. What we both needed to learn was how to express that love.
Nine years down the road and we're still working this thing out. Gosh, it's tough sometimes and yet other times it is absolute heaven. We decided to try out the church thing, not because we believed, but because we saw how it worked for a couple – friends of ours who were on the brink of divorce yet they managed to make things work. We have two younglings now – Briannah joined us three odd years after little Ryan – and my babies are my world. We're doing alright, I presume.
A word of advice to any married couple out there, try asking your partner to do this one thing – to teach you how to love them.