I want to recount my most terrible experience of life to you. It’s an indescribable experience I never thought I would have the courage to talk about. But time and, perhaps, you have changed everything.
I have realised that, of late, you have resorted to threatening to call it quits any time there is a misunderstanding. You have issued such threats four times in the last three months and I have, on each occasion, compromised my position on the issues at stake and talked you into rescinding your decision.
Serwaa, I love you so much and I cannot pretend I’ll be alright after losing you. I have suffered it once and i don’t think it is an experience I will ever wish an enemy.
I used to think that those who commit suicide or cause various degrees of harm to themselves when they are broken-hearted are idiots until I suffered it. There is nothing so painful as seeing the one you love and cherish walk out of your life. Doing that without a very reasonable excuse, to me, amounts to murder and I have vowed never to cause anyone such pain.
In my life, I have suffered serious headaches, during which it was as half a dozen sets of agbadza drummers were performing simultaneously inside my poor head. Also, on May 24, 2010 too, I had the worst stomach upset of my life. So painful was it that before I was admitted at the Mamprobi Polyclinic, I knelt by bed and prayed to God for the forgiveness of my sins. I was prepared for the ultimate.
But, Serwaa, I can say that combination of the worst headache and the worst stomach upset cannot be compared to the pain of being jilted by someone you love.
There are guys who believe that falling in love should be done with the head and not the heart. But I tend to agree with the fact that when it comes to love, the heart has a mind of its own. I will explain this shortly. I also don’t believe that one can control the amount of love he or she has for their partner. So I either taste deep or taste not.
Our elders say a wise man does not test the depth of water with both feet. But I must tell you this does not apply to relationship. At least in my case, I tested the depth of love water not only both feet, but with both hands as well.
And when she turned away, it hit me like a rocket-propelled grenade, shattering me into pieces. It was as if some invincible and invisible had stabbed my heart with a poisoned arrow and held on to it as long as the pain lasted. I only told you why I think she left but I never told you the hell I went through.
Serwaa, for some time, I thought I was going crazy. All foods assumed an awkwardly sour taste in my mouth and I saw nothing good about the world. The best music I could ever think about became noise and when I heard any love song anywhere, it was as though the world was conspiring with this lady to aggravate my pain.
There was nothing comforting in the Bible when I tried to seek solace in it. I’m not a fan of movies so when someone gave me the movie, The Secret, I hid somewhere inside the memory of my laptop even after he had told me about all the motivational stuff and the “wonderful Law of Attraction” I ought to discover from that movie.
When I got jilted, however, I went searching for it. When I found it and sat on my bed with my headphone on, I thought I forgot all my worries. But that forgetfulness lasted as long as the movie screened.
The most terrible aspect of it all was that I could not do anything without thinking about her. In the lecture room, I thought about her. When the pastor preached in church, I thought about her and when I prayed, it was her thoughts that filled my mind.
It was difficult to sleep within that period. I could neither read nor write and when I lay in bed, sleep became a luxury no matter how exhausted I was in the day. The most terrible experience was when I finally caught some sleep. I would dream about the wonderful times we had shared together and wake to a painful pang of nostalgia. And then I would begin to fight for hours to catch another sleep.
What made the experience too traumatic to bear was the thought that she would return. There was this strong feeling that she would rescind her decision but all her actions pointed to the fact that no amount of intervention would save the situation.
When it all started, her closest friend assured me that it was one of those things ladies often do. “She just wants to test you a little. I know her. She cannot do that,” she told me, even though she conceded that she also suspected that someone “mightier” was knocking at her door.
In order to console myself, I tried to focus on her negative side, but I realised that I could not manufacture any. She was very pretty and respectful. As polite as an Akwapem minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the word “please” was part of her diction. She was someone you could not fault.
And even when I managed to remind myself that there were genuine reasons she was not my “Mrs Right” the reality that the heart has a mind on its own hit me hard. In such situations, if your head tells you that she lacks this or that quality, the mind would say “she is the one I want.” Let the mind settle on the best reason why you should forget about him or her, and the heart would tell you otherwise. And the decision of the heart often prevails in such instances, at least in the short run.
Serwaa, it was terrible, especially when she would not tell me what I had done wrong and would not admit that she was considering someone else. That argument would be laid to rest some weeks later when I logged on to her Facebook page and realised that she had changed her relationship status from “Single” to “In a relationship.”
With whom? I nearly stiffened in front of my laptop and my fingers went numb on the keyboard. In those moments, harder I tried to keep away from her Facebook page, I found myself perpetually glued to her page, watching her beautiful pictures, reading compliments and soaking in the pain.
The only sensible thing I was able to do was to get out of Facebook for close to one year. I also prayed fervently about it, asking God to help me overcome the pain. Initially, it was “God, if she is truly the right person, let her rescind her decision.” Then when it was abundantly evident that I was losing my mind, I asked God to take away the pain from my heart. In one of such prayer sessions at the Karikari Park near Dansoman Last Stop, I had a breakthrough.
I heaved heavily in the middle of the prayer and the poisoned arrow lost its grip and I felt some relief in my heart. Even though I was still hurt, that perpetual doom and gloom that weighed heavily against me was somewhat gone. And I was on my way to recovery.
Serwaa, it was a terrible experience. Really terrible! And for a moment, I thought I would not be able to love someone so deeply again. But that was until I met you. The heart, indeed, has a mind of its own when it comes to issues of love.
For two reasons, I think men suffer more than men, all other things being equal. In such situations, shedding tears helps to shed the unbearable weight of grief. But we guys try to hold it because we trust ourselves. Guys also think we are too strong to seek help. So we suffer silently.
I think it’s something we should feel free to talk about and share experience without any sense of shame. After all it happens to everyone: virgins and “players”; sages and idiots, saints and sinners, rich and poor.
'Shipwreck’, as a friend calls it, happens to everyone. I even think we should feel free and let our bosses at work know when we are in such situations. I can’t just imagine what would have happened if I was a cashier in the bank within that period or a medical doctor performing a delicate surgery.
So why do I have to recount this horrible experience to you? I guess that’s what may be going through your mind, Serwaa. I just want you to know that I’m confronted with another such experience. I have invested a lot, psychologically and emotionally, into this relationship and cannot afford to lose you.
This does not, however, give you the permission to torment me. Broken hearts don’t remain broken forever, especially when it is not the fault of the victim. I have realised that the feeling of hollowness and inferiority complex that leaves you thinking you’re worthless is just temporary. Time heals.
Besides, when people look down on me, I resolve to make them regret their actions. I work hard and excel so that one day, they will realise they made a terrible mistake. So I don’t get discouraged by anything or anybody.
Serwaa, I have tried to be as honest and transparent with you as possible. I have told you how hurt and devastated I would be should you walk out of my life. But I emerged from my first experience tougher than before.
Our wise elders say hunger which has hopes for its satisfaction does not kill. If I had the faintest idea that I could one day stay without thinking that such lady ever came into my life, my pain then would have been much less than the one I endured.
It is said that the testicles of a wise man is not trampled upon twice. But it is not exactly so with love. Being jilted twice does not make me a fool. It makes me wiser. And tougher.
And with the past experience behind me, I know that whatever pain you leave in your wake will not last forever. And the knowledge that someone who loves and values me will by all means come my way, will see me through the hell you will leave behind. Hunger which has hope for its satisfaction does not kill.
Serwaa, I will surely overcome whatever trauma you cause me, but the custodians of fate have a mischievous way of turning situations around. And I know you may only live to regret your action. From today onwards, I don’t want you to keep threatening me with break up. That alone does not give me a stable mind and I don’t think it is doing our relationship any good.
I cannot pretend that I won’t be hurt after losing you. But my world will not end after you have walked away. And this is what you and I must understand as we soldier on towards marriage. Have you not heard the lyrics in one of Alibaba Foster’s hit tracks? “There are countless towns in the world so one should not endure prolonged shame and disgrace in only one.” In relationships, it’s difficult to migrate because of the thought that you would never get anyone as good as the one leaving you. But in most cases, a better option awaits you.
Serwaa, I’m sorry if I sound a bit too harsh, but this that is where you have pushed me to. When you’re forced to lie flat on your back, there’s nowhere you can look except upward.
Remember, however, that I still love you and will not do anything to hurt you. I cherish you so much that I have concluded you’re the best partner I could ever have. And that’s how I want you to understand this relationship. On this understanding shall we build our marriage and the gates of divorce shall not prevail against it. I remain yours truly, Manasseh.
The writer, Manasseh Azure Awuni, is a Senior Broadcast Journalist at Joy FM.