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Loving again when love has ended

Our five years of marriage came to an end over three years ago. The last argument we had before the divorce, he said, “I saw the mistake with this thing(referring to our marriage) the very day we returned from our honeymoon. Everything in me said you were the wrong choice for a wife but I was only hoping that you could prove me wrong. Here we are and I’m right after all.” Honestly, that statement hit me where it hurt and I wasn’t going to let him go without responding so I told him, “I’ve dated the devil once in my life. Comparing you to the devil, he was way better and I will choose him over you at any given time.”

Both of us were hurting and we felt like letting it all out—even if we had to break the other with our words. That day, he packed some of his stuff and left. Our four-year-old daughter was crying for him to stay. She held his hands and cried, “Dady please don’t leave me here.” I thought he was going to tell her something. He only pulled away and left. It was 9:45pm. I walked to the kitchen, holding the hand of my crying daughter. We prepared some food and ate. She was still crying asking when Dad was going to come back. I told her, “He’ll come very soon, don’t cry.

Two weeks later, he brought the divorce papers and came for the rest of his belongings. That day I asked him—in fact, I pleaded with him not to try to take our daughter from me. I said, “I know you are angry and I’m angry too but let’s spare the child. I will keep her with me but you have unrestricted access to her. You can visit her anytime, take her anywhere but please bring her back when the night falls. He didn’t say anything to me but I knew him too well to notice the acceptance in his demeanor.

Soon the court granted us the divorce. Yes, the process was stressful and emotionally draining but both of us were determined to leave the marriage. I remember at the hearing, the magistrate asked me why I was leaving the marriage. I said, “That man you see standing there is very abusive. For the past five years that I’d lived with him, I’d lived in fear of his temper and the way he pounced on me over little issues. I was dying but now I’m not ready to die any longer. I need peace and I need my life back.”

That was a lie. He never abused me but you see, it’s easier to have a divorce granted when the basis is about abuse. Someone told me that so I used it. I was surprised when he didn’t contest it. He didn’t call me a liar neither did he say anything to the contrary. He was indeed ready to leave by all means.

Six months after the divorce was granted, our daughter celebrated her sixth birthday. I called him and asked what plans he had for her. I asked him, “Would you like to come for her?” He said, “It’s better we do it together for her. We owe her that much.”

I cooked the meals and he brought the cake and drinks. The kids in the vicinity came around and we celebrated the birthday. When it was time for him to leave, our daughter started crying and begging him to stay. I told him to go with her but she wouldn’t go either. He said, “I don’t have a room here so I have to go to my own room.” She said, “You can sleep here in our room.” He couldn’t leave and he couldn’t stay either. I told him, “You can stay if it wouldn’t worry you.” He said, “I’ll stay and put her to sleep so I can leave.”

I cooked and we all sat around the table and ate like we used to. We watched TV together like we used to. It didn’t feel like it used to but the whole scene had a déjà vu to it. At 9pm she was still awake. 10pm….11pm girl was still awake. Around 12am, I came from the bedroom to see him sleeping in the coach with our daughter. I left them there and went to bed.

It happened again and again. Each time he came to visit, it wasn’t easy for him to leave so he’ll stay for too long until he falls off and sleep. One day, he apologized to me; “I’m sorry if my sleeping here is causing you any inconvenience. I can’t stand to see her cry.” I responded, “I’m not bothered at all. You rented this place, remember?”

One evening a guy asked me out and I so eager to go. It had been close to two years since our divorce and I missed the feeling of being loved by someone. So this guy I met a few weeks ago and was talking to asked me out on a date and I accepted. I called my ex-husband and asked him to come for our daughter so I could go out. He couldn’t come for her because where he lived wasn’t conducive. So he rather agreed to come over and spend the night with her as I attend my program.

He was there when I dressed up and picked my bag to go. He asked, “It looks like you’re going to a very important place than you made me believe.” I asked, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Your dressing.” I said, “What about my dressing?” He said, “Oh nothing. Don’t mind me.”

His eyes kept tracking me as I moved around the house looking for something to pick. As I started heading towards the exit, his eyes kept tracking me until I finally walked out of the door. I came back very late. He was lying on the sofa He awoke when I stepped in. Maybe the sound of the locks woke him up. I greeted him and walked straight into the bedroom where I found my girl peacefully sleeping.”

The next morning when he saw me he asked, “Are you seeing someone? Not that I care, I only want to know so I know how to manage my staying around.” I chuckled and said nothing. He kept asking if there was someone in my life. Finally, I told him, “There’s this guy I’m trying to see if he’s worth it.” He nodded his head repeatedly until I asked if he was already hooked up. He said, “Naa, there’s no one. I don’t even have anyone I’m trying to see if she’s worth it.”

That day he stayed longer than he used to. He played less with the girl and talked to me throughout. When he got home, he sent me a message, “I’m home.” I didn’t know what to do with that information because he had never sent me one. I responded, “Cool.” The next morning he sent me a message again asking how his daughter was doing. I told him, “If you want to know, you can come around and see her.” The next hour, he was there. His attention wasn’t on the daughter but was on me. We talked and laughed and talked. When it was time for him to leave, I walked with him to the main street. I’d never done that.

The next day he was there. The following day, he came again. After work on Monday, he came by and spent the night with us. There was an elephant in the room but we kept ignoring it until one dawn he walked into the bedroom and called me to the hall. “Do you mind if we try it again?” He asked. I played dumb; “Try what again?” He said, “Staying around you makes me realize what I’ve missed. I want it again. We have a daughter, she needs us, don’t you think so?”

He tried to kiss me, I pushed back. “Are you sure of what you’re doing?” He came at me again and this time I kissed back. Both of us didn’t want to stop. We kept going until we were out of breath. “Let’s give it another try please.” He said. I asked him, “You mean we should get married again?” He said yes.

The next day he came with one of his bags and left it in the bedroom. A week later, he came with another bag and then another until everything he took away was brought back. My daughter looked at the bags and asked, “Is dad coming to live with us again?” I nodded my head and before I knew it, my eyes had teared up. I wiped them off before they could flow.

We are sure we want to be married again but don’t know where to start from and how to do it. We’ve been back together again for a year and still hadn’t made anything official. Neighbors and friends know we are back together though we haven’t said anything to them. What we have now doesn’t have a name but it’s so good I wish it could stay the same.

What if we get married again and the marriage tag begins to drag us down again? I asked him, “If we have to do it again, what vows are we going to say since we broke the first one?” What we are now looks and feels like the way we were when we were dating. We didn’t fight and we didn’t argue. We lived a day at a time and continued loving each other on each new day. Is love going to continue to feel this way if we go through the process again? I don’t know but he’s so sure nothing will change so I’m believing him. December, on my birthday, we’ll make everything official and begin again from where we left off.

—Eli, Ghana

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