“Guess who I just saw in the lobby of Echo Hotel?” Debby blurted out over the phone.
“You know I’m not good at this, I can’t guess” came my curt reply
“Mark Ifidon, your very own Mark. I bumped into him a few minutes ago and he asked of you”
“Mark? Oh wow!”
“Girl, he asked for your phone number and I had to give it to him. From the way he was talking, I think he still likes you sha”
“Well, that’s his business. Besides, he is a married man and that ship sailed a long time ago”…
“Kiki, you and I know that you still gat the hots for him, so please stop living in denial”
Of course I understand what Debby was talking about. She’s my best friend and she knows how things went down between Mark and I six years ago. They say, “time heals all wounds” but they never mentioned the scars. I’m still living with the scars left by Mark.
Mark and I were friends for a long time. I can’t even remember how we transitioned from being just friends to lovers. He was the absolute love of my life but our relationship was marred by an incident that happened between his mom and I.
So on this fateful day, Mark and I were visiting his mom and she had quite a lot to do in the kitchen. As a well trained naija girl, I joined her in the kitchen and we made assorted dishes together. Mark tried to drag me out of the kitchen a few times but I didn’t oblige him because I felt it was proper to stay in the kitchen and help his mom… considering that she had so much to do. While we were busy cooking, Mark’s mom asked if I knew how to prepare pounded yam and I politely told her that I don’t do the mortar and pestle pounding because of a back injury I sustained as a child. She empathized with me as I told her about the bicycle accident that led to the injury and she even suggested that I see a chiropractor.
At the end of the day, I went to my house with two bowls of soup as her appreciation for all my hard work. Everything was fine or so I thought.
You can’t imagine how shocked I was when Mark told me that his mom didn’t think I was good wife material. I was taken aback. Everything she knew about me didn’t count just because I cannot make pounded yam? When did a girl’s ability to pound yam become the yardstick for finding a good wife?
Things were never the same after that. It was obvious that I placed more value on our relationship than he did because his attitude changed towards me. He became a totally different person. I always knew that his mom was a control freak but I never expected her to trivialise something that was nothing. I was more disappointed in Mark for taking sides with his mom and sacrificing our relationship on the altar of pounded yam. What rubbish!
He wasn’t even man enough to break up with me properly.. he could not look me in the face and tell me that it was over so I decided to make it easy for him. I walked out of the relationship and severed all ties with him. Mark did not deserve me.
He did not deserve a love like mine.
I was heartbroken. I tried to move on but it wasn’t easy. I was still nursing my heartbreak when his wedding pictures splattered all over social media. Each picture cut through my heart like a newly sharpened knife. Our break up and his wedding happened so fast. I could not believe it. Some people that knew the two of us were calling to ask what happened but I couldn’t tell them.. the words glued to the roof of my mouth. It was such a devastating time for me.
I was still painfully rummaging down memory lane when Mark’s call came in. The way he said hello and the way my name rolled on his tongue was a sad reminder of how things used to be. My heart missed a beat or two and I had to admit that I never really got over him.
We spoke for hours and he said he wanted to see me but I told him to give me time. I have missed him so much and I didn’t trust how I’d act around him so we limited our conversations to phone calls and text messages. It was always nice talking to him. One day our conversation tilted to his family and Mark opened up to me about his divorce and the death of his child. He had been through a lot and I knew that I had to see him.
We were going to have dinner that evening and I had butterflies in my stomach as I pulled up in the car park. I’m not married and I still love this guy. Yeah I’m sorry about his divorce but this is my opportunity to get my man back.
He was sitting in a corner. More handsome than I can remember. The love of my life right before me in flesh and blood. We hugged for what seemed like eternity before I took my seat beside him. Dinner was awesome as we relived memories and tried to catch up on old times. It was obvious that we still had great chemistry so I wasn’t surprised when he told me that he was still interested in making me his wife.
A part of me was excited but a voice in my head was screaming, “Run Kiki Run”.
Anyway, I had questions. I had to know why his wife left him just after losing a child. That was not normal.
So I listened in awe and with rapt attention as Mark recounted how his mother in-law wanted to come take care of his wife after she had their baby girl but his mom kicked against it, insisting that it was her right to take care of her son’s child.
His wife and mom did not agree on a lot of things and he felt his wife wasn’t being understanding and she was always making a big deal out of small things. For instance, his wife complained about the stress of going across rooms to breastfeed the baby at night because Mama insisted that the baby sleeps close to her. This was Mama’s first grandchild and her action was “normal” and he expected his wife to be understanding.
The baby continued to sleep with Mama until the unexpected happened. His wife had gone to check on the baby in the middle of the night when she discovered that Mama had rolled over the baby and suffocated her in the process. Listening to Mark speak made me think he wasn’t really normal. For someone that lost his child that way, he didn’t seem pained at all.
I could tell from his story that his wife left the marriage not just because she lost a child but because Mama was controlling and manipulative but Mark refused to see it. He continued to maintain that his mother would not deliberately kill his child and that he expected his wife to be supportive and understanding as it was a traumatic experience for his mom. I could not believe my ears. I lost count of the number of times he said his wife was not understanding and I was irritated.
Everything I felt for Mark disappeared instantly and I remembered the reason why we were not together in the first place. This guy would choose his mother over me a thousand times. I’d be foolish to forget what his mother did to me in the past and I’d be more foolish to even plan a future with him.
It’s not easy to still be single at my age but it’s not a crime either. I’d rather be single and happy than live in bondage with someone like Mark. Him and his mother deserve each other. If he continues to lose the ones he loves because of his mother, I hope he doesn’t lose his life as well.