By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
When I saw Mbeke at the hospital it broke my heart. Seeing him lie there helplessly was very difficult for me. The last time I had seen him, he had just told me that he had committed adultery with another woman and that he wanted to be with her. I could have probably taken it if he had just said that he had an affair and he was sorry. But he didn't apologise. In fact, he told me that he still wanted to see this woman and that he was leaving me. When he confessed about his affair, I was in shock. It was difficult to process.
When Mbekezele and I got married, we were both virgins. He was the first and only man I had ever slept with and to think that he went and slept with another woman was a painful thing to take. I didn't sleep all night especially because five minutes before he confessed about his affair I was ready to apologise for my fault in the breakdown of our relationship and tell him that I wanted us to work at our marriage. I felt like a complete fool for ever allowing my Pastor to talk me into it. Clearly he hadn't heard from God because if he had, he would have told me to pack my bags and go because this man had broken our covenant bond.
When I got the call the next day telling me that Mbekezele had been mugged and was in hospital in critical condition the first thing I thought was, 'Yes, the bastard finally got what he deserves!' I was briefly satisfied but then a part of me knew that I at least owed it to his family to go and see him. In any case we weren't divorced yet and so it would look awkward if I, as the wife, didn't go and be by Mbeke's side in his moment of need. When I got to the hospital and I saw how bad the situation was, my initial bitterness was quickly replaced by sympathy. As much as I hated him at that time, it was difficult seeing him like that. He had been unconscious for almost 48 hours.
I was sitting at the back of his hospital room when he eventually woke up and I remember feeling sick when he looked at me. As much as I felt sorry for him, I still hated him for his promiscuity. When the nurse told us to step out of the room while they assessed him I remember going to the bathroom and crying uncontrollably. Why would he put me in this kind of position? Who was this other woman that he had cheated on me with and why her? Had I really been such a bad wife that he had decided to cheat?
All this anger and bitterness began to surface within me and I couldn't stop crying. This was the first time I had cried since he had broken the news of his affair to me. I composed myself and went back outside and sat with his family. When the nurse came back and told us we could go in and see Mbeke, I told everyone that I would follow in a minute and that I just needed a moment to gather myself. I just sat there, in the waiting room. I was a mess. I realized that I couldn't go back to Mbeke's room. I couldn't go in there and look at my betrayer in the eye and pretend everything was ok. The important thing was that he was awake now, I told myself. I got up and I left.
The next few weeks were particularly difficult. Mbeke had eventually told his family what had happened and his mother had visited me several times asking for forgiveness on behalf of Mbeki and pleading with me to take him back. I had refused every single time. He had hurt me too deeply. Even if we got back together things would have never been the same. I wouldn't have been able to trust him. He even tried calling me after he got out of hospital asking to meet up but I kept refusing. However, even though I wanted nothing to do with Mbeke, there is not a day that went by that I didn't think about him and what he had done to me and on one of these days I was sitting in my lounge enjoying the last glass of my second bottle of wine and it hit me: I had to get Mbeke back for what he had done to me.
So the next day I called him and told him that I was ready to meet with him and invited him to come over to the house for dinner. He sounded relieved at the other end of the phone and he agreed to come the following night.
When he came, he brought me flowers and a bottle of champagne and I tried my best to hide the scorn on my face. I was still so angry with him but I kept it together so that I could implement my plan. We sat and spoke for a while as I was cooking and there was a bit of tension between us because this was the first time we had spoken in almost three months. I couldn't look him in the eye because I was afraid I would throw something at him. My heart was beating fast. I hated him so much!
I had made oxtail and rice and I asked him to sit at the table while I brought the food. As he sat down I brought the rice and set it on the table. Then I went and took the pot with the oxtail which was burning hot because I had just taken it off the stove. I brought it into the dining room and as I set it down and removed the lid, he had looked down to put his phone in his jacket. That was the opening I needed. I threw the burning hot oxtail stew at him! He fell back off the chair and started rolling on the floor screaming in agony. I stood over him and watched. Satisfied. 'Now he knows exactly how I felt' I thought.
My anger had overcome me and I was shaking because of the adrenalin rush. While he was on the floor I yelled at him, 'Now you know how I feel you sick bastard! How could you cheat on me? Who do you think you are?' He didn't reply me as I imagine the pain he was under was still too great and then suddenly he got up, grimacing, and started moving towards me saying, 'Mary, what the hell is your problem?' and I started running away because I didn't want him to hit me but he caught me and to my surprise he hugged me and said, 'Mary, I know you're angry and you probably hate me right now but this is not the way to fix this baby.' I tried to escape his grip but he held me even tighter and said, 'I am so sorry for what I did to you and if it would make things any better I would let you throw a pot full of molten magma at me but it won't. All I can do is ask for your forgiveness. I love you and I want you back. I want us back Mary'. I felt something break inside of me and I began to cry uncontrollably. He began to cry too saying he was sorry. We were now both on our knees, in each other's embrace and for the first time in a long time, that bitterness that I had been carrying around for so long was gone. Yes, he had hurt me, but he was still the love of my life. Only, I wish it hadn't come to this for me to realize this.
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