By Naija Mum in London
Dare I say that this story reminded me of Efe and Kevwe of A Love Rekindled? I'm more convinced that love is real, and my stories really happened to some people. Read on...and if you're the first to comment, you get the COMPLETE A Love Rekindled EBook.
I like using analogies whenever I tell a story and this time will be no different.
I choose to compare my love journey – with my hubby, YL – to a rollercoaster. If you have ever been on a roller coaster ride (or seen one at an amusement park); you will know that this ride is full of twists and turns – there is THE CAUTIOUS SLOW START, followed by THE EXCITING BUILD UP (as one approaches a scary height or twist), then comes THE SICKENING DROP and then THE REASSURING STEADY COAST as the ride approaches THE WELCOME FINISH!
The Cautious Slow Start:
The first time I met YL, I was in my second year at UNIBEN. I walked into the lecture room and noticed him straightaway - because he was quite tall and handsome. I later found out that he was a friend of a friend (SO). SO was my classmate in UNIBEN and we had been friends from secondary school days.
Well, YL said that it was love at first sight for him. However, it was not the same for me. This was because I had a boyfriend at that time. Even though that relationship was already on its last legs, I still did not consider a relationship with YL because I felt he was too worldly wise and I wasn’t too sure of his intentions. I really was wary of guys in general!
I was also reluctant to go out with YL because I was concerned about gaining a ‘bad reputation’ on campus. You see, in those days, we were quite a close knit community on campus – everyone knew your business and I really did not want to be seen as jumping from one relationship to another!
Well, after a lot of ‘chasing’ – involving lots of suya, cakes, night strolls and restraurant visits - and positive feedback about YL from my good friend, SO grew to become a good (platonic) friend. In fact his gentle, supportive nature meant I began looking forward to seeing him instead of my feckless boyfriend. When I eventually I split up with my then boyfriend - a year after I first met YL, we became an item.
The exciting build up:
YL and I grew closer and closer and I can honestly say that we were one of the most loved up couples on campus. Even when we were away from each other, we thought of one another. To say we were soulmates is an understatement.
What I particularly loved about YL was that he was the first person who made me feel totally and absolutely loved. He was not afraid to show his love and this was refreshing to me. I say ‘refreshing’ because I grew up in a household where feelings were not discussed. This could be frustrating as a lot of issues were often swept under the carpet. This upbringing made me a bit reserved and independent. Indeed, I had a part-time job all through my university days and I was a bit of a tomboy – impatient when it came to emotional issues and more comfortable with male friends.
As I said, we became soul mates and remained a couple all through university. The funny thing is that YL never actually proposed, but he made it clear that our relationship was to end in marriage. From when we were in our final year, he was already making plans for our life together. However, as we approached the end of our final year, I started to get worried about whether our relationship would survive the ‘outside world’. You see, YL has always been the optimist in our relationship, while I have always been the worrier, the realist, the pragmatic one.
The first test of our relationship came when we were posted to different states for our Youth Service. Contrary to what I feared, we grew closer as we savoured out time together – whenever we got together.
Our relationship was tested again when, a year after we graduated, YL decided to leave for the UK. I was supportive of his choice but I chose to stay behind in Nigeria because I was already gainfully employed – in a well paid job. The plan was that we would keep in touch and maintain a long distance relationship. Well, that was the plan.
The sickening drop:
Unfortunately, our well-laid plans did not fall into place and I have to confess that I was to blame. Yes....not the guy this time - ME!
I cannot make excuses for this but looking back, I can see now that living alone in Lagos, with the responsibility of running a business, managing my own flat and overseeing a small workforce of people....I grew overwhelmed and lonely. This was 1992, with very few mobile phones, no emails and snail-speed communication (in the form of posted letters)
I was 21 years old at the time and I guess the weight of being the responsible girl (taking care of my younger ones, being in a steady relationship and managing a business) just got to me. Unfortunately, at the same time I was going through this internal turmoil, I was being courted by someone else – and I succumbed.
Sadly, when YL paid a visit to Nigeria after a year in the UK, I told him about this other person. Looking back, I could have lied to YL, but I could not bring myself to do so. YL was devastated and betrayed! I still recall that period as one of the worst periods in my life. I was a walking zombie because I was so torn and confused.
However, I still could not keep away from YL and I went to see him at the airport on the day he returned to the UK. We shed a lot of tears together – holding hands silently as we both pondered over the sadness of shattered shared dreams. His last words to me as he left me to board the plane.....’Just remember that I will always love you.’
I believe his plane had not even touched down in London before I realised my mistake – of letting the love of my life go! I thought about contacting him for a while but I was afraid that the mess I had created was too much to overcome.
After a lot of soul searching, I decided he was too good to let go and I contacted him – by writing a heartfelt letter in which I apologised and begged for his forgiveness.
The reassuring steady coast:
Long story short is that he did forgive me. Tentatively, we started communicating again but I knew I had to win his trust. I also knew that I was not happy without him. So, I quit my job and joined him in the UK!
Coming together again was not an easy process. We went through a long process of recriminations and trust-building. I can honestly say that it was really difficult at times but the bottom line was that we truly loved each other and we both felt we had met our soul mates.
I do believe that the success of this reconciliation process had a lot to do with the fact that both families really liked each other. Even when we went through ‘the sickening drop’, tboth fathers (his and mine) acted with the great wisdom that can only come from having gained invaluable life experience. They were both very understanding and supportive. Their only comment was to tell us ‘What is yours is yours’
I have now known YL for 23 years and we have been married for 12 years. How do I know I love him still? Because everytime I hear something funny...he is the first person I want to share it with; Whenever I am sad, he is the only one who knows what to say to me. His success is my success and vice versa. Indeed I couldn’t wish for a better partner or father to my children – because he is genuinely a nice, caring person.
I pray God grants us good health and long life so we can continue to savour life’s experiences together. My advice to others...We are all human and we are not perfect. If you find real love, move mountains to be together. Life is full of challenges and having someone beside you to lean on - and vice versa - is a blessing.
image from rollercoasterking.com