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Magic by Coldplay
I stood there and she cried. I didn’t know what to say and I knew apologizing was not going to be the same. It wouldn’t have felt genuine and she hated half apologies. The only source of light still in the room was that which was coming out of my laptop. The light dimmed and then after a few minutes it went dark.
The traffic lights and the beams from the neighbouring buildings now lighted the room. We were both still sobbing but standing at opposite ends of the room. I wasn’t entirely sure why I was crying. I wasn’t sure if it was because she had stumbled on my diaries or if it’s because she had now seen the depths of my pain and it had to be addressed and that scared me. It left me feeling exposed and vulnerable.
I had spent so many years building up a wall to protect me from a day like this where the pain would be visited. I couldn’t be seen as weak, I wouldn’t let anyone or any situation make me feel vulnerable again.
Her sobbing stopped briefly and I could feel her staring at me. My eyes had now adjusted to the darkness and I felt her eyes on my skin. I wasn’t sure how to approach the situation; I didn’t know what to say. I had never prepped for a situation like this and I didn’t know the right way to approach talking.
Then it happened and she started sobbing again. She got off her seat, bent down and picked up her phone and bag. She began walking towards her room door. She stopped in the middle of the living room, now she was more visible to the eye and she said amidst her sobs;
“Efia, I get it. I really do. I just never knew it was that bad. The hate inside you is crippling. I’m not even sure how you bare to look at me.”
And then she walked into her room.
I just stood there and watched her walk away. After a few minutes, I headed to the couch. Sitting down, I ran my finger over the touchpad and the laptop lit up. I clicked on one of the first videos I made. It was during my identity crisis phase. I had nappy natural hair and I tried to desperately believe that I was Jamaican, listening to a whole lot of Bob Marley and co. I was so young and broken. I still was.
I watched a few more videos before I knocked out for the night on the couch.
. . . . . . .
My whole apartment had this empty feel about it. I could feel the silence around the room. The hallways carried this empty feel in the walls. I slowly sat up and stretched out my arms in the air as I woke up the rest of my body.
I looked around the room and the headache I had reminded me of the night before. I let out a deep sigh. Scanning myself, I noticed my makeup smeared all over my arm I slept on and the couch. I got up and patted my hair down. I headed for my mom’s room.
She was religiously always awake before everyone else was and praying. Today, there were no voices coming out of the room.
I came close and leaned my ear into the door; nothing. I knocked and heard nothing so I opened the door.
The room was neat and tidy. The bed made, the tables dusted and all her stuff gone. There was a note on the table and it indicated that she was leaving to stay at a hotel and was fine with being left alone.
I was sad that she left but I was more irritated that my dad had called me a few times. I just wanted to avoid the situation like I had done majority of the time.
I decided to shelve it and put it in the back of my mind. I had other things to worry about. I walked into my kitchen and I sat there on the island of the kitchen with a concerned look on my face. I had a decision to make. Would I be able to move on from Damien or was I going to be stuck and lose a good man in Lovell?
It had been one hell of a rollercoaster ride of emotions and I just wanted stability. Damien had showed me how important he was to me by being able to stay away but in the same breath, he scared the crap out of me because of how important he was to me. Lovell seemed like the safe bet.
He was local and was proving himself to me as the days went by. I picked up my phone and dialled Lovell’s number and asked him to come over.
If we were ever going to become something, I needed to be upfront with him.
He arrived at my place about 30 minutes later. And I explained the night before and my leaving. I told him about Damien and how much I cared about him. I let him in on some of the difficulties with my mom. He just listened. And then when I was done. He sighed deeply.
He got up from where he was sitting on the couch away from me and then he sat down next to me. He held my hand and looked at my face. He said,
“Efia, you know how much I care about you. You have captivated me and I have wanted you for myself the whole time. I understand that there are things you might have experienced before I came into the picture but I arrived wanting to be everything to you. The sad thing is I was once in a similar situation where I gave myself to someone else when I was still madly in love with another and I was stuck for many years while I wanted to be with someone else. Many of us think we can replace the one we love with a good enough replica. It might work for a while but after, the heart wants what it wants. I would be fighting a lost cause if I asked you to pick me over him when you’re not ready yet. You have to make that decision by yourself. Besides from what I have seen and how he made you feel before you returned from Sydney; nobody can love you like he can. And in regards to your mom, forgive her Efia, you’ve both been through way too much already.”
I clutched his hand tighter as I fought back tears. He was such a good man with a good heart. But he was right, my heart belonged to someone else and I had to wake up to that realization.
I gave him a long hug and a peck on the cheek and sent him on his way. He asked us to be friends and I knew we’d become great friends but I had to save some relationships first.
. . . . .
I was standing in front of my mirror in my bathroom, I was thinking of everything that happened from Damien to Lovell to my mother. I needed calm in my life. I was constantly in this heightened state and it was weighing heavy on my heart. I was replaying what Lovell said about Damien and my mother. I knew he was the one. I had known it since Sydney but I tried to down play it and now here I was, wanting this man that I knew was the piece I was missing but too stubborn to fight for him.
Who cared what he had seen at dinner?
I might have been wrong but wrong on whose account?
He had been gone for months and I was supposed to not do anything with my life. It wasn’t fair.
But playing the blame game wasn’t going to help anyone. I looked over to my right on my bathroom sink and stretched for my cell phone. I picked it up and dialled *67 before dealing his number to hide my number.
It worked and he picked up.
I stayed silent for a short minute before I started talking,
“Damien, how much longer are you going to punish me for?”
I started with. He sighed because he knew I had gotten him by blocking my number. I continued,
“It’s been months and then you just show up?! And then you hide from me. You know what I’ve been through and putting me through all this is just not fair. Why are you doing this to me?”
He gathered himself and prepared his response;
“Efia, the main reason I have stayed away is for both our benefits. You are still hurt and holding on to a lot of pain from what happened years ago. I’m not saying it’s not justified but it’s hindering you from loving me the way you should. You might be fine for a while and then it creeps in again. You’re so guarded that you can’t let anyone in and you’re so hurt that you don’t see when you’re now the one hurting people you love because you’re trying to not be hurt again. Efia, I love you and I’m scheduled to leave in 2days…”
My heart melted as he said that but then he continued,
“…but I will not agree to start a serious life with you, if you haven’t at least addressed the topic with your mother. I will not allow the cycle of hurt to go into my family. It ends here. Bye Efia”
I heard the phone click. He had hung up. I hated being hung up on with a passion but this was an exception.
That was how he got when he became really emotional. I dropped the phone and looked into the mirror at myself. Something had to give.
. . . . .
I was up all night thinking about Damien and the things he said. I was battling with his ultimatum. I hated ultimatums and being asked to do things I felt I wasn’t ready to do but when was I ever going to be ready?
All night, I gathered all the letters and notes I had written about the feelings of betrayal, hurt and pain I had felt growing up and hating my mother. It took me the whole day to realize it but I knew I had to do something. I gathered all the items and put them in a box. I was taking charge of the situation for the first time.
I texted my mother the address and asked her very nicely to join me. It was late and I didn’t expect her to show up but I also felt if she was awake, she would.
I was standing on the sand around a little campfire I had made. Next to me was a box of papers and big empty bottles.
The fire was burning high and my mother arrived next to me. We didn’t exchange pleasantries. I just started talking,
“to say I was hurt by what happened years ago would be an understatement. The feelings of betrayal and pain, defined my life and relationships. I did things. I hated myself and I hated you. I experimented with my body from men to women. I searched for something to fill that void. I searched for love. I pushed people away that got too close and I broke hearts because I could. I became engrained and accustomed to being one with hurt and it consumed me. But I am tired. I need to let this go…”
I started to cry
“I need to let this all go. So here we are…”
My tears now hindering my clear communication;
“You are going to help me put all these letters and items inside these glass bottles and together we will smash them on the rocks in the fire and let them burn. I want to let go once and for all. “
My mother and I took letter after letter, I had written way too many over the years and I stuffed them inside the jars. At the end we took a safe position like 10 ft away and began to throw the jars into the fire. It would hit the rocks and spark. And the papers would catch fire and burn. It was a significant therapeutic process.
I just needed her there with me to let go of all the hurt and pain. After the last jar, I turned awkwardly to leave not knowing what to say next. My mother quickly moved next to me and held me.
“I forgive you mama”
She rubbed my back and said
“I know baby. I know.
You are beautiful, brave and already a better woman than I ever was. I love you Efia. Thank you taking charge of your future. I wish I did.”
We stood there for a while and just listened to the waves as they hit the rocks. It was great to be there with her. I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
. . . . . .
Like I Can by Sam Smith
The whole next day, I was physically tired from all the emotions from the weekend but more still had to be done. I had to get Damien back.
He wasn’t answering his phone again. He must have thought I was trying to convince him to stay without talking to my mother.
I knew I had to go and get him. I figured his favourite hotel, the Hilton, was where he was staying. Thankfully his hotel was not too far away; only a 17-minute drive. I got into my car and drove down there.
I walked into the lobby and told them my name. I asked the lady if he was staying there. She knew who he was;
“Ma’am, he just checked out about an hour ago. He said he had a flight to catch”
she told me.
I muttered under my breath.
I stepped outside the hotel and felt the heat slap me in the face again. It was really hot.
I looked down at my Google maps to see the directions loading up. Then I glanced at the corner of my phone screen; 17% battery life.
It was the mid-afternoon and rush hour traffic was building up. I knew I had to stop and buy gas but also rush down to the airport.
45 miles away with 17% battery during rush hour, I knew I needed a miracle. There was no way that phone was going to last that long. I began driving and then I hit the freeway and the curse of the road hit; traffic.
Damien had to return his car at 5pm, and catch his flight at 7pm. And I was stuck in traffic 38 miles away with an hour plus to drive. It was 4:30pm. I was all kinds of screwed.
I tried to remember the name directions off the top of my head but it was hard, too many new roads I had never taken before. I continued to drive as I dimmed the lights on my phone and closed all the unused apps. I had been driving for about 10mins now and even without touching the phone, the battery was down to 8%.
Now I was panicking. I didn’t know where the car rental place was nor did I know what gate he was flying out of. I didn’t know how to get to the airport to begin with!
I saw a gas station over the right side of the freeway, so I exited. I ran inside the shop mart and asked out loud,
“Do you guys have any car chargers for Android phones?”
IPhone users be quiet please. Thank you.
The guy looked at me in my pensive state and pointed at the rack with all the chargers on it.
I furiously combed through them and pulled the one I needed out. I headed to the counter and threw it down. The man looked at me like I was crazy.
“Is that it?”
he asked. I nodded back.
“Debit or credit?”
he followed up. Stupid question I thought to myself.
“It doesn’t matter.”
I snapped back slightly irritated. I rushed to my car, which also needed gas. I pulled up next to the pump. I was about to get out of the car when I noticed that there was a message on the button for regular gas that said,
“Out of regular gas”
Who the fuck was ever out of regular gas?!!!
I jumped into my car and tried to find another pump. Same message on the next one, I was beginning to feel cursed. The next pump had the same message. Every fucking pump was out of regular gas!
I hopped in the car and looked at my phone, 5% battery. I was truly scared now. I could not lose Damien for good. I just needed him. I knew it.
There was no man to love me the way he loved me. I just had to let him know that I was ready to let him in the way I should have this whole time.
As I stopped at the traffic light right before the ramp onto the freeway, I opened up the charger I just bought and plugged it in. Dead.
It didn’t work!
I just paid $7.99 for this freaking charger and it didn’t work?!
I knew I was cursed. I guess I wasn’t meant to meet up with Damien.
I was not sure about what I suppose to do. I wanted to get there as fast I could. I was weaving in and out of traffic and then I noticed another gas station further down the side of the free. I exited and bolted in.
There was a guy standing in line and just chatting up the attendant. I gave him this dirty look and then he moved out of my way.
I bought the charger and got into the car. I wasn’t sure why my battery life was going so fast but it was now down to 4%. I was now scared and ready to lose it. I opened the second charger I had bought and plugged it in. My phone buzzed to acknowledge the boost of power but then it didn’t charge. Fuck!
I got back on the road and got stuck in traffic. I was on the brink. I kept thinking about Damien. His touch, his smile, his voice, the way he walked, I kept thinking about the way he snored and denied it when he was awake or left his mouth open when he slept. I was in love with that man and I had to get him back.
The battery was at 3% when I pulled into the third gas station. Another charger bought, same effect. I guess something was wrong with the phone. But I had bought three different brands of chargers and not a single one had worked. I was losing all hope. It was now 4:52pm. There was no way; I was going to make it in time I thought.
In a brief moment of clarity, I thought to ask the attendant inside the gas station for verbal directions in case my phone finally died. In hindsight, I probably should have just written out the Google directions but who really thinks about that under pressure?
The man was kind enough to give me directions
“….when you get to the Galleria exit, there will be 3 roads. One to the left 610 N, one to the right 610 S and then one curved road that goes under the ramp. Make sure you take that one and go for about 12 lights and then make a right on to Telephone road. It will lead you to the car rental place”
I thanked the man as I bolted out of the store as I heard him yell out,
The phone was now at 2%. I was following his directions and marvelling at the craze all this had put me through. I was carefully watching my route and trying to not forget the directions the man had given me. I was now staring the Galleria exit in front of me. I remember him repeating that I not turn a certain way, I was trying to pay attention and I got closer and began to prepare to make that turn but I saw no one going down that road. There was also an airport sign, to the right. I had to make a split second decision, go with the man or the city planners that knew to put that sign there.
Like many, I ignored the great directions I had gotten so far and turned right. And turned straight onto the ramp. A large truck obstructed the view of the freeway and then the truck moved out of my way. I looked down the backed up freeway and right there, the tears began to flow. It was already 5:04pm.
I was never going to make it, I thought to myself. Damien was always on time. He always planned ahead. There was no way he was going to be late. And one of the traits that attracted me to me him initially was now something that was making me sad.
I was now crying hard. I pulled over to the side of the freeway and began to think. How could I get to the airport and at least try to stop him from leaving?
My mind was racing, my battery was dying and my friend Vicki wasn’t answering. I wanted to call Lovell but how would I call the man I was turning down to drive me to win the man I was leaving him for. It would be cruel.
And then, it clicked!
I knew someone staying in the area.
I dialled the number and it began to ring and I swear it felt like it was ringing forever. I was now thinking to myself I was sure I was never meant to see happiness. I just couldn’t explain it. The one place I had found happiness, I had managed to push away. My fears of loneliness and emptiness seemed to be actualizing. I just couldn’t catch a break and then I heard a voice,
I sat up and looked focused and said,
She stopped. She sounded taken aback by what I had just called her. I had not called her that in a long time. Years even.
“Efia baby, what’s wrong?”
I could hear the concern in her. I would normally have played tough but I couldn’t. I just let it all out,
“Maa. I’ve lost him. I’ve lost the man I love because I couldn’t forgive. I couldn’t see the great benefits of the love he showed me because I was so blinded by the hate that consumed my heart. Now he is gone mom. He is gone. Damien is gone mother. I lost him. I tried to make it down to the airport but I couldn’t. He’s gone mom. He’s….”
I started sobbing as I heard the phone beep to remind me I had critically low battery.
“It’s okay my love, where are you now? Let me come and meet you”
I told her where I was right before the phone disconnected. And then all I had to do was wait. Wait patiently while the man I loved was about to hop on a plane to the other end of the world. The thought of not seeing him gave me shivers.
It was just crazy how my mother was the only one to answer.
She showed up like 10 minutes later and I left my car on the side of the road and jumped into hers. I directed her to head for the airport. I couldn’t contain her driving. I just felt nobody except myself could go as fast as I wanted to.
My mother was driving really fast. Weaving through the now slowly moving traffic. It was now past six. I was worried he would go beyond security and that would be the end of it.
Funny how life works that my mother who I hated the most was now the one driving me to keep hold of the happiest thing in my life.
She got us there and it was 6:27pm.
I jumped out of the car and ran to the security checkpoint by the airline he was flying with. I scanned the lines and I couldn’t find him.
I couldn’t believe that I had gotten this close after everything; it truly wasn’t meant to be. And then I looked up one more time and there he was!
He had been taking off his shoes to go through the airport scanner.
My heart jumped!
I yelled out loud.
He looked backwards as if he looked in my direction but I wasn’t tall enough and even if he was looking for the voice, my 5’5 frame would have made it impossible for him to see me through the crowd.
He heard that one and stopped. Everyone in the line stopped and looked at me. I looked crazy but my brother always said,
“Love would make people do irrational and illogical things for its sake.”
Here I was in the airport making a nuisance out of myself. I could see him now facing my direction with me still hidden.
“I let hate, pain and fear, consume me. It dictated my life for the longest time. I wanted to love but I didn’t know how. And then you came along and showed me what love was about. Patient when you needed to be firm when I need a strong hand. You are everything to me Damien Brown. I would not be here embarrassing myself in front of all these people if I didn’t think it was you that I wanted and needed. Please don’t get on that plane. I need you here with me.”
I was crying and I bowed my head as I finished talking. Everyone seemed to turn and now look at him. It was like they were telling him to make his move. He took off his jewellery and placed it in the bin and he did the craziest thing. He walked through the scanner, got scanned and put all his items on! And just like that, he disappeared towards the gates for the flights.
I was so confused. I was broken.
Why would he leave?
How could he leave me?
I came here for him. I came to get him. After all I went through to get here. He still left?!
I was for sure crushed.
I turned around and headed towards the waiting arms of my mother. It had taken over a decade to arrive here but she was here. I needed her and she was right here.
I could not have believed she would be the one to hold me now. I slumped into her arms and began sobbing. She was tearing up too.
She held me close and ran her hand down the back of my head and neck. It was soothing and it was what I needed as people thought we were a mother and daughter weeping the departure of a loved one.
She was holding me close and then her crying began to stop. I could feel a change in her hold on me.
And she slowly let me go… I didn’t want to be let go off.
She pulled back and I looked at her with confusion. I was about to speak when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. I didn’t turn around,
“The power of forgiveness and newness can never be quantified. You let go of hurt and pain. You faced your fear and conquered it. Will there be days when those feelings will come back? Yes.
But you are one tough cookie and I know you’ll be strong. You are brave, beautiful and you have a good heart. I am sorry for leaving. I should have stayed and held your hand but I am here now and I want you to know I love you and I want to be with you. You truly deserve all the love and happiness this world can give.”
Damien’s voice closed out. I turned around and looked up to his eyes. I smacked on his chest as he pulled me closer. He held me tight. This man was the one I loved. He saw me when I was weak and broken. He stood for me.
“You came back Damien”
“Leaving would have been my greatest regret ever. I promise to never leave again”
I looked at my mom now standing to my side. She nodded. I smiled.
He squeezed me tighter. It felt right.
It was perfect.
“We go through various emotions in life. Some leave glowing impacts on our lives and some cut deep and scar badly. The stories are different. Our methods are different. The pain is different but our end goal should be the same; forgiveness and peace. Even though I created this story from head to toe, there are relatable lessons I hope people picked up. You might be in a cycle of hurt right now; hurting others for the way others hurt you. Break the cycle and aim for peace.
You might know someone who is broken and recovering from hurt, if you love them, never rush them. You can never quantify their pain. Just love as hard as you can and be patient. Let your unconditional love do the talking.
You might have that one call or text you need to send. DO IT!
You deserve to be happy, to be free. You deserve peace. Take the wheel on your feelings. Control your own cycle of emotions. Don’t remain a victim to hurt and hate.
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Lookout for New Series starting next week.
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