I once read an article titled ‘Love is Pain and Pain is Love’ but I didn’t get the full understanding until the other side of what I expected as reality dawned on me.
What I initially understood about pain in love was the pain attached to a heartbreak caused by a cheating or disloyal lover in a relationship. But what happened to me made me realize that situations can arise in a relationship that lead to pain even stronger than that of a heartbreak.
My relationship with Muyiwa was my idea of the near-perfect relationship. We were like butter and cheese, and hardly did anything without each other. We were casual friends in secondary school but lost contact when we both departed for different universities. We were however opportune to meet again in Yenagoa where we both served and we just clicked from there.
It was like we had been waiting for each other to find love. Everything initially seemed too good to be true, but after our second year together I was convinced he had come to stay. He proposed and I said an emphatic YES!
We were both lucky to get jobs very early after service and thus it was natural for us to start planning for our wedding; that is not to mention the pressure we were both getting from family and friends.
Muyiwa was even more excited than me about our wedding that he began to go extra miles to prepare. He consulted a marriage counsellor and advised me to join him. I didn’t like the idea, but he convinced me that it was necessary for us in order to have a fulfilling marriage.
The counselling started well and we were both enjoying it until the counselor asked if we were aware our genotypes. I knew my genotype, but Muyiwa wasn’t sure of his. He was then advised to visit a clinic to find out.
My genotype is AS, but it never bothered me because I hardly fell sick unlike many AAs I knew. I also remembered my mum always told me that there are many AAs available, all I had to do is to pick one. Hence, I had no reason to probe Muyiwa about it, I just assumed he was fine.
I went with him with the belief that all will be well but he had worry written all over him. At the clinic, he held my hand and asked, “what will happen to us if the test says I am AS too?”
The question hit me like an iceberg. I didn’t think about all the permutations until that moment. That was when I experienced the greatest fear of my life. In a bid to remain optimistic, I quickly rebuked him from saying that and assured him that the test result will favour him. I even made allusions to his recent bout of malaria. I had read somewhere that malaria is a common sickness for AAs.
For some reason, we didn’t get the result that day so we went home. I didn’t want to entertain any negative thoughts, so I didn’t bother to talk to anyone about it; instead I carried on with the wedding plans from my end. But I realized that Muyiwa’s enthusiasm had dropped; he was not calling regularly anymore and his usual attention to details of the wedding was totally missing.
On the third day after we visited the clinic, I decided to call him to find out if the result was out, but Muyiwa’s lines were out of reach. I was baffled because I had spoken to him the night before and he didn’t mention that he would be out of reach. I kept on trying his lines till the evening and the response was the same.
I got really worried and drove to the island around 8pm to see him. On getting to his house, I met some of his neighbours in front of his apartment; one of them was locking his door. I quickly asked what was happening and got to know Muyiwa bad been rushed to the clinic. He had been found laying lifeless in his living room by a neighbour who was curious to know why he had also left his car door open.
On getting to the hospital, I was told Muyiwa was fine. He had only passed out. I was allowed to see him moments later but the Muyiwa I saw was not the one I had always known. He looked pale; like life was gone from him and was sobbing uncontrollably.
He didn’t have to say a word to me ; I knew our worst fear had been confirmed.
Our blood did not match, hence there was no wedding.
It was very hard for both of us; even harder to stop seeing ourselves as a lovers. But that experience made me realize that some pains in relationships are worse than the pain of a heartbreak.
Muyiwa had to move out of the country in order to heal quickly, and I also had to bury myself deep into my work to move on.
It’s been three years and two months; I can boldly say I have healed completely.