By Naide Obiang

“Pat married last weekend. Did you know?”

The phone call has finally arrived. I quickly wrapped it up and slowly sat down on the nearby sofa; gazing at the quiet space. My eyes would occasionally blink at the sound of my three-year old’s morning noise. Suddenly, the room became flooded with bittersweet memories of my dead marriage.

See, Pat never proposed. We were roommates…with benefits. I fell in love. He liked me. We concieved a child. So, the obvious “right” thing to do was to tie the knot. Only my family attended the wedding. Pat’s own never knew he married me until the day I delivered our first son. I did not mind – as long as I was married.

Back then, I convinced myself that my love for him could sustain us. Pat was the first man who touched me, and I was determined to see him be the last.

As years passed, I believed that my prayers were powerful enough to heal the pain of hanging onto the marriage. But instead, the frustration of constantly trying to make it work, heightened into rage. I hoped that another child could mend the broken glass, but it deepened the wound even further. My one-way love was simply inadequate to arouse him or to make him to love me back. In reality, our marriage lived beyond its expiration date.

We both stuck at it for our first son. Well! Perhaps for our own pride too. To be fair, Pat truly struggled in trying to be a good husband to me. As mistrust, emotional turmoil, and dull intimacy had moved into our home, I could see that his yearning for another life, without me in it, had clearly mushroomed.

Soon after I announced that we were expecting again, he decided to move to another country. I was welcome to follow along, but…at my own risks. My husband hated me more than he had ever liked me. And this, I could not ignore any longer. After ten years of keeping up with appearances, he gladly signed the divorce documents. I won full custody of both children. Then again, was it really a win?

A few months after the divorce became final, rumor had it that he was planning to marry a second time. I pretended not to care about it; after all, I was the one who filed for divorce. Yet somehow, this morning’s news was more painful than our separation; as if exposing a desperate wish for a reconciliation. I had also been praying to be the first to remarry, so I felt doubly betrayed. My ego was bleeding. I was angry. I was ashamed. Seated there, I fought to understand why God did not save my marriage. Was I really a bad person?

Thankfully, I found some comfort in reciting David’s psalms. With my face swimming in tears, I picked up the phone, this time to send a congratulatory text. An incoming message tone immediately rang back with just two words: “Thank you”- Like our ten years of marriage were as banal as those two words.

I walked to my boy still playing in the next room, looked through his eyes, and saw that all was not lost. The hour to turn the page may have come but with it, there was a chance to start over and to start right.