By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
Hi, my name is Mbekezele and I am 35 years old. I've been married to my wife Mary for 7 years now and we have no children. Mary and I met in University and we dated for about five years before we got married. The first time I ever saw her was at a Poetry Night event on campus and she came out and performed a piece called 'To My Unborn Child'. She completely blew me away this tall, light skinned dreadlocked girl with so much passion and soul. That night I felt that her poem ended too soon. I wanted her to stay on stage a little while longer. Heck, I wanted her to stay on the stage the whole night so I could just watch her. I was hooked. That night when I went home I couldn't stop thinking about her and I decided that I was going to find her on campus and introduce myself to her.
It took me about a week before I finally bumped into her. She was sitting in the cafeteria having a cup of coffee and reading a book and as soon as I saw her my heart started beating fast and I started walking towards her but I had half a mind to turn round and bolt in the other direction. I got to her table and cleared my throat and said, 'Uhm hi my name is Mbekezele.' She stopped reading her book and looked up at me stone faced and said, 'Hi Mbekezele. Can I help you with anything?' and I said, 'No, uhm I remember you from the Poetry night last week and I just had to come and tell you how brilliant you were. I thought you were fantastic' I saw her crack a smile a little and it was probably because of how enthusiastically I was saying this. She probably found it cute, or maybe I looked silly, I don't know. She offered me a seat and we spoke for quite a while. We exchanged numbers and became friends and ultimately lovers until we finally got married. She was the woman of my dreams and we had such a special connection. She was my best friend.
But now, 7 years later, Mary and I aren't the same people we were, who were inseparable at University. We've been trying to have a baby for the past five years. We finally went for tests and it was found that I can't have children. Mary has always wanted children, her own children. She was never interested in adopting. Ever since the news came about a year ago, Mary has been different. She was depressed for a long time and wouldn't let me in. She even stopped being intimate with me. I was hurt and disappointed that in the moment when she was meant to stick with me and be supportive she started drifting away and blaming me for us not being able to have kids. Her reaction broke me. It happened to me and I couldn't change it. I was also a victim in all of this. She just wouldn't accept it and she was angry at me as if I was the one who caused it.
At first we used to fight a lot and she would constantly remind me of how I am not a real man and how I am the cause of her sadness. Over time, we began drifting apart and our relationship hit an all time low. We were like two strangers living in the same house. I started staying out late at night at the local pub with my mates so that at least when I got home Mary would be sleeping and I wouldn't have to go through the awkwardness. I felt like I was a failure as a man.
It ate at me every day and Mary would make sure I never forgot that I had ruined her life-long dream of having children. But that wasn't the only thing that ate at me. I had a dirty little secret. There was this prostitute that worked just outside the pub I went to who I always saw. She was tall and light skinned and she reminded me of Mary when she was young. I always saw her but I never spoke to her. One night I was leaving the pub and she was there and I went up to her and we started talking. She caught me by surprise with her level of conversation. She was different. She wasn't hardened and vulgar like the other prostitutes that were around. Her name was Nyasha. There was just something so appealing about her that I couldn't shake off. The next night I saw her again and again we spoke but this time for longer. The pattern continued for some time where I would see her standing outside the pub and we would speak. I started looking forward to seeing her and she would get in my car and we would go for drives around town and just talk. Eventually I stopped going to the pub and I would go to her place and we would hang out there. I knew it was wrong but I didn't try to stop it. It wasn't as if I was doing anything with her and I knew Mary probably didn't care anyway with the way our marriage had disintegrated.
We carried on seeing each other and we've been doing this for about six months now. Last week when I was at her apartment, she broke down crying saying that she had never imagined in her wildest dreams that she would ever meet a man who was interested in her and not her body and she said that I had changed her life and she didn't want to lose me. Then she told me that she loved me. The weirdest thing is that I told her that I loved her too, and I meant it. We kissed and as the moment started getting heated I stopped her and I said, 'I'm still married.' I then quickly got dressed and I left. For the first time I felt guilty about my relationship with Nyasha. Since then, I haven't been able to look Mary in the eye. The guilt is consuming me. What has become of me? I'm married and having an affair with another woman, but not just another woman, a prostitute. I just can't understand how it has gotten to this stage yet at the same time I know exactly how it happened.
My marriage with Mary is practically over but if I leave her, I can't leave her for a prostitute. What will that say about me? What will people say when they find out? At the same time she's the only person whom I confide in and who understands me and accepts me for who I am. I can't describe how I'm feeling; on the one hand, I'm in a marriage that isn't working but at the same time I'm in love with a woman who I shouldn't be with. I can't take this guilt anymore and I need to make a choice. Either I divorce my wife or I end it with Nyasha. I have to decide, and I will; just not today, maybe not this week, but ultimately I must decide and I must do it soon.
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