Let me tell you a story I never told you when we were dating. Three months after being in a relationship with you, your mother called me on the side and said to me, “Young girl, Pete is my son and I love him very much but if I were your mother, I wouldn’t allow you to date my son.” I smiled sheepishly, thinking she was joking with me but she continued, “Pete is not a man a woman like you should follow. You’re young, beautiful, and look ambitious. Why would you follow someone like Pete? Just within this week, you’re the fourth woman he had entered this house with. He doesn’t respect women because he has too many of them.”
After talking for about fifteen minutes, she stared at me waiting to hear me say something. All I said was, “Thank you mom but I would do all I can to make him stop.” Your mom only smiled and said, “Don’t be a stupid child. Just walk away.”
I thought your mom didn’t like me that much that was why she was trying to push me away. If she didn’t tell those three women to walk away, why was she telling me? It only meant one thing; I was the one among the four she didn’t like, so from that day on I decided to fight until I win. I was a child, nineteen going on twenty. I didn’t know so much about love so I thought fighting to win was the only way to prove my love for you.
From that day on, I became very obsessive with you. If three other women were in your life already, it meant only one thing; You are so good that most women would like to have you for themselves.
If you could remember very well, I never wanted to be apart from you. I was always in your space, trying to push all other women away. But that didn’t work. No matter how hard I tried, you slipped away to be with other women. So one day, while you were sleeping, I picked your phone and went through all the messages, I found nothing. Smart guy. You covered your tracks before I could find out. The next thing I did was to form an alliance with your junior sister. I bought her gift and gave her money and asked her to monitor who comes in and goes out. One week later, she called to tell me you were with a lady in your room. I checked the time and it was 10:15pm.
You had messaged me and said good night. You even sent me kisses and said, “Sweet dreams,” So how could you be with someone else? I got out of bed, put on my jeans trousers, and picked a taxi to your place. I didn’t know what I was coming to do but I came nonetheless. True to what your sister said, there was a girl. I don’t know what came over me but immediately I entered your room, it was the girl I felt I should attack. I pounced on her, held her hair, and started pulling and all the while shouting, “Boyfriend snatcher.” I might have overestimated my own strength and underestimate that of the girl. Somehow, she pulled off my grip and held my neck. That was when I realize I was in trouble.
I thought you will come to my aid and fight on my behalf. I thought you would hold the girl and try to pull her away so I can get the chance to hit her where it hurt, but you picked your shirt and quietly walked away from the room. Thanks to your mom and the other tenants who came to my rescue, I wouldn’t be alive to write you this letter. By the time they were able to separate us, I’ve had a swollen upper lip and bloodshot eyes. I was bleeding from my nostrils but you were nowhere to be found. Your mom told me, “You’re one stupid girl and I would be very ashamed if I were your mother. Who in her right senses would fight over a man like Pete?” But she was kind to me. She gave me ice and cleaned the bloodstains on my face.
That was when I realized your mother loves me so much. She treated my wounds while disregarding the other lady. I waited for you to come and take me home, you never came. I called your phone on several occasions but you never picked. It was your junior sister who walked me home. I’m grateful to her. You didn’t call until the next day when you answered my call and started insulting me. Yes, I accepted my shortcomings. It was all my fault, I should have been measured in my actions but Pete, the girl beat me. She left me with bloodshot eyes and swollen lips. Didn’t you care about the hurt she caused on my face?
You insulted me. I apologized. You threatened to walk away from the relationship. I begged you to stay. You asked me to promise you things like that wouldn’t happen again. I did. I asked you to also promise me that you’ll never look at another girl and you did. I trusted you. I loved you but your mother hated me so much for sticking with you. I told her, “If there’s someone you love, you fight for him.” She said, “You’ve wasted your mother’s vagina and you should be ashamed of yourself. I thought she was being too harsh.
Things came back to normal. For a whole six months, there was nothing but pure love and bliss between us. You didn’t go where I didn’t follow. I didn’t go where you didn’t lead. My heart was joyful and my mind was at peace until that fateful night. When we heard the knock, I asked, “Are you expecting someone?” You answered, “No, it might be my mother,” so I got up to answer the door.
It wasn’t your mother but a lady. I asked her, “Are you looking for someone?” She asked, “Who are you?” That question got me triggered. “Na so it be? You come to someone’s house to ask her who she is?” It turned to exchange of words. That was when you came to the door to see who that was but we were far gone with our tempers. She threw her hand and it missed me. I threw myself on her and that was when the fight started. Again, you walked by peacefully as if we didn’t matter. You could have held me when you realized I was losing the fight but no. You walked away.
Bruised face. Broken finger. Swollen upper lips and missing eyelashes later, your mother came to my rescue. She said, “When you attack you lose. When you’re attacked you still lose. You’re not even strong so what are you doing in this relationship?” Again, your mother was my guardian angel. Again she took care of me and let the other woman go. That night she sat me down while you were away and spoke to me for about an hour. She said, “You shame your mother but I like you because of your name. My mother was Binyelum. She was my joy and everything in life. I was just like you when she died, and life was never the same again. Maybe you don’t respect yourself that much but please respect your father’s name that you bear. Respect their investments in you and respect the kind of woman you’ll become in the future and walk away. Where’s that boy you think you love? Twice he left you to your fate and you think he loves you that much? Why are kids of today this stupid?”
She walked me to the roadside and helped me got a taxi home. I wanted to call you the next day and apologize. I wanted to swear to you that it would be the last time I would ever fight. I needed to talk to you so much but I fought the urge with everything in me. Your mother’s voice kept echoing in my head, “Respect yourself, Binyelum. Respect yourself.” So I didn’t call and you didn’t call too. I called your junior sister and she told me you’re back in business. Different girls each day. I told myself, “If I died, I would have been replaced even before I got buried.”
I grew sense in my little head and decided to walk away. Anytime I had the urge to call you, I called your mom instead. We’ll talk for so long and we’ll laugh at each moment. She called me “mother” and I called her, “My old daughter.” Your mom was so clever, she never mentioned you in our conversations though I was dying to hear what was happening with you. Then one morning you called, “So you’ve become so pompous that you can’t even apologize for your own mistakes.” I responded, “I’ve become so wise to realize that I don’t have to keep fighting for someone who isn’t fighting for me.”
Your rants didn’t move me. Your name-calling didn’t make me feel guilty. Your insults only told me that I’ve been once stupid but no more. You cut the call on me as though we were fighting. Maybe you thought I would shiver and call you back but this new me knew what she shouldn’t do. A week later, you called with a voice as sober as an angel sent by God, “I regret my actions. I’m now a changed person and I swear it’s going to be only you in my life. Since you left, I’ve realized you’re the one I truly loved. Please, let’s do it again.”
When I hang up the phone, I said to myself, “My name means “Live with me,” but I don’t have to live with things that will later kill me.” I chose myself and said goodbye to whoever you’ve become. If you’re a changed person, I’m also a changed person. The only difference is that I’m better than that girl who left your place that night with a bruised face. Broken finger. Swollen upper lips and missing eyelashes.
The girl who changed,