Once an American singer boasted that his exes are in Texas. Like him, I also have had exes and even if I can’t tell if any one of them is in Texas, I know for a fact that one of them didn’t treat me well and this is why I’m glad. If that confuses you, wait until you read my letter to him before you make up your mind.
I write this letter with a great deal of joy in my heart. The same heart you tried to smash into a million smithereens but thankfully failed. I’m on top of the world because I loved but got only hate in return. Contradictory as that may sound, it is the biggest truth I have had to tell myself since you so cold-heartedly left me. It is true that where you used to be in my life there is now only emptiness, but it is not the end of the world. You did your thing almost with the savvy of a gentleman and have thought me lessons only a fool will fail to learn.
“I’m in love with someone else,” you said on that coldest morning of our nine years together when you shattered the very foundations of the world I thought we had been building together with me tirelessly making my humble contribution.
But what was even more painful is the fact that for a whole month before that you were an absent and reluctant participant in the life I thought we were building together, a life that has become clear to me I was the only dogged builder. You thought me to build differently. And even if I have met others after you, I haven’t allowed any other to cut me, let alone as deeply as you did.
But none of it was easy to learn. I recall for instance that barely one week after you dumped me, I found myself trekking for no reason at all and often ending up where we met at the Calabar Kitchen with your favourite white soup in Ikeja. That soup you introduced me to and I used to love so much, became so tasteless in my mouth, worse even than sawdust soaked in warm water.
“Where your oga, why e no carry you come again? Abi we offend am?” became the constant question from Mfon, jolting me into reality and forcing me to put a distance between me and the place not wanting to keep lying about our post-relationship status.
I loved you Pascal with the love queens reserve for their kings but you treated me like a slave girl good only to be exploited. I will never be a slave to another. I will continue to love blindly but I will always have my white cane to feel my way around.
I took those walks down memory lane because memory washed me like a cascade of unshed tears not knowing how to start over. But it was a good thing, I was like a dead person, my life flashing before me moments before I expired, the death of our relationship and the relentless love I had for you. There couldn’t have been anything as painful in my life up to that point. But thanks to you, I have felt that pain and overcome it. I’m a winner!
If you were to ever consider writing back these are the answers I still think you owe me. But it won’t kill me if you fail to respond as it won’t be the first time. Why did you choose Gbemi over me? Why run away and marry the one person I introduced you to? Why keep me waiting for nine years only to turn your back on me? How could you profess so much love for me then turn around and give that same love to some else? Even if I had a nasty smell, you should have told me, breaking it down to me rather than mouth your lame I’m in love with someone else.
I have had plenty of time to think on your departure and what I could have done to hurt you to warrant your leaving me but nothing comes to mind. During that period, I have found myself waking up in a cold sweat an realizing that it had not been a nightmare but actually real. Often holding tight to my pillow and wishing it was you. I’ve long gone past that stage in my life. I’ve reached and overtaken the point where cords used to bind us. I’m my own woman, an iroko tree that has seen many seasons and weathered the most bitter of storms. It is the one reason I left town when the opportunity for me to take up a new job in Abuja came my way. There were those who felt that it was the shame of your marrying Gbemi so hurriedly that made me skip town. Maybe they are even right. But I know that going away told me in bold lettering that our life together was over and a new beginning was imminent. And even if I’ve been unable to run away from my thoughts, the life we built together, I’m smart enough to know that was another life far removed from the one I lead now.
It is true Pascal that I wanted to hate you but I forgave you even if I’ll never forget. I forgave you for my own peace of mind. I also forgave myself for I was complicit in bringing this pain upon myself. I started the journey to end my pain by ridding myself of the things you gave me and those that reminded me of you. For instance, I got rid of my wigs and went out to get many shades of make-up. I wear my hair naturally now and you wouldn’t recognise me were you to run into me on the road for the make-up. But first, I threw out every trace of you in my life, the music that you loved so much, the presents you gave me over the years, most especially the perfumes you never tired of getting me. I have left you behind and can attest that time does really fly. When you left me, I was tearful and wanted you back even if I knew that it was foolhardy to make that move. But I’m totally over you now and you, Pascal, are like a distasteful memory swept away by a devastating hurricane distorting my remembering.
Best of all, my search is over. I’ve found a man who is more than you in everything. His name is Bidemi and he actually found me after a few men that remind me of you came along. Just looking at him fills my mended heart with joy and makes me glad I didn’t end up with you.
Your Ex, Diane