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Turn not the other cheek

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By Mankhokwe Namusanya:

The thing that hurt, and still hurts, most was that he was ready to forgive.

However, even when he offered that opportunity for her to redeem herself, she refused it. She even made him beg. Offender became the offended.

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“I begged that woman, with tears, she still said no. Like I was even the one in the wrong…”

But he was not in the wrong. Or, he could have been if only emotions and empathy are passed for weakness.

He started with having suspicions. And, each time he had them, he told himself to be watchful that paranoia – that evil which ruins relationships –was not the thing driving the suspicions. So, for phone calls rejected and passed off as “this person and flashing” he looked away. For weekends of a phone going off then getting itself miraculously fixed by Monday, he also shrugged the thought that something was wrong with her – or the whole relationship.

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Once when he tried to raise the suspicions, he was clobbered into silence, with tact. It was not outright dismissal, not the typical anger that a wayward partner likes to throw. It was a trap: a seemingly compassionate view of his outlook, then a lecture on how people ruin relationships with “too much thinking”.

That sermon was effectively signed off, and sealed, with promises of forever amid the hypnosis of flesh melting into each other’s arms – that tactic with a near full percentage success.

And, that is what hurts. But, of course, not the most.

“She could have chosen to keep quiet, do anything, but she chose to lie. Can you believe that?”

Of course, I believe that. I have seen, and witnessed, terrible things in this life to not believe anything. In a world where fathers can kill their own children, not under the blinding rage of anger even if that is unforgivable, what is left to not believe? If anything would be left to not believe then surely, and certainly, it would not be lies from a partner.

Now, there is this thing about lies: they catch up with the peddler. Like campaign promises, they once come glaring right in the face of the owner. For her, or maybe just both – actually all – of them, they came crashing.

It was not the way they unravel for most. Otherwise, I would have hesitated to call their catching up with the owner ‘crashing’. These ones came crashing, like a tsunami sweeping into opulent hotels in exotic beaches.

“It was the other guy who called me and told me what had been going on. She was there with me…”

I try to imagine it: a lazy Sunday after Church. Two people discussing about the future. Say, the number of children they will have. And the names they will give them. Then, in exchange of smiles the phone rings. New number. You hesitate to answer but the partner encourages you to pick it. When you do, a husky voice at the other end saying: “boss, we drink from the same well…”

He says it was not really like that but also it was like that in that it was disturbing.

He confronted her after that call, asking about that gentleman and she did not even try to deny. She accepted knowing him, fully, but “now she was done with him.”

“Apparently, that was the reason he had called. He felt cheated.”

Because it is a man’s world in many ways than one, boys would say that any man who discovers that should leave with his head held high before hitting the bottle for three months to get over that nasty piece of human.

But, love is an emotion. It is not as predictable life whose ending is always obvious. He decided to give her another chance.

“I told her I wanted a full disclosure of why she did that and also I wanted a commitment from her that she would not do that again…”

She refused to play along. She actually refused to engage him in any conversation. She zoned off, shut herself in and asked to be excused, that she needed to clear her head.

It was that going off to clear her head that ended everything. Most likely, the only thing that was filling her head was the relationship with him. It was through a text. On WhatsApp. Not even an actual respectable text message worth some airtime.

She said she did not want to hurt him, did not know how to say it better, but the relationship just had stopped “being that” for her.

And, no, she did not ask out. She announced she was out and had been out for quite some time.

That text turned the tables. He became frantic. He called her but she declined the calls, I think with a middle finger or a toe. He started texting but the messages were either deleted right away or landed in another number for there was no response.

“I begged her, man, despite that she wronged me. Apologised. Wept. And did everything imaginable but she still went, man.”

That thing people are popularising these days about tiredness; that people just get tired, as in just getting tired, just being tired such that nothing can move them. It had happened with her: she was just tired of him.

And, she went away, to a new person. For a few months. Before the phone calls started.

“You know that joke that African boyfriends are like African Presidents; the next one is always bad than the previous one?”

I say I do. He says it ended up true in her life. No, he did not welcome her. He just gave her a room small enough for crying.

“Thereafter, I would go and celebrate.”

He still does it: celebrating her misery. Turn the other cheek? That is just in that good book.

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