Tuesday, September 22
Julia King’s residence
GRA, Port Harcourt
Julia stretched out her arms to hold him close but she could not reach him. His built looked like her Daniel but his face was not. She stretched her arms again to reach him but this time there was a lady standing in between them with her back to Julia. She reached for the lady’s arm to stir her around only to find Happiness laughing so loud that it jerked her from her sleep…
Wooh!! It was just a dream.
Julia drowsily looked up at her the clock hanging on her wall….it was still not dark yet.
Fortunately today was her day off and she seized the opportunity to allow herself drift into an oblivion of self pity over her obviously ending relationship and engagement to Daniel whom she had known for four years. The thought of four wasted years made her feel so old.
Julia had met Daniel after her graduation from the university. She had always been a shy and timid girl where men were concerned. When she met Daniel at a restaurant, his charm was irresistible. Although she could tell that something about him wasn’t right, maybe it was his sweet talking or his self absorption she couldn’t quite tell because he knew how to get to her heart and he sure did. Soon they became so close that she saw herself getting attached to him even more than she expected. Despite the few close male friendships she had in her university days, Daniel was her first. He was the man who introduced her to the pleasures of sex and soon her heart became so tied to him that she relied on him for her happiness.
Two years after they met, Daniel bent the knee and popped the question. It was a dream-come-true for her. To have a charming and successful man who she loved so much wanting her enough to be his wife; her joy knew no bounds. She felt like her world could never be better.
But gradually, her world began to crumble as Daniel became more like a stranger with each passing day. He paid less and less attention to her emotional needs, he became distant and openly flirted around with other girls but always ensuring her that she was the one his heart wanted.
Her mind shut back to the past two years of her relationship and she realized she had never been happy. It had been from one issue to the other with Daniel: you call too much; you didn’t call me today; why are you wearing that dress; why did you close so late from work; who was that man smiling at you at the super market. No matter how faithful and loyal she was to Daniel, it was never enough.
And then there was Happiness and other ladies who called him late at night; his colleague Anita who he was always having lunch and dinner dates with. As much as she tried to lie to herself that these issues didn’t exist in a bid to make her relationship work, they always stared her in the face.
Being sincere with herself for the first time in the past four years, Julia realized that the relationship had remained standing because of the efforts she had put in to make it work. Forgiving Daniel even when his behavior was unacceptable, apologizing even when she wasn’t wrong; always welcoming him into her arms after weeks and weeks of no contact from him. For the first time in her life, she realized she had been in a toxic relationship for four years.
Maybe it was because of the vacuum left by the absence of a father figure or the loss of her mother at a young age, she craved so much for the love of a man that when she finally found one, she refused to let him go.
She had reshaped her life to suit his taste, his needs and his desires totally forgetting what she wanted for herself.
Her self-realization made her feel even worse than the effect of a heart break could have on a person. She felt foolish and weak to have let a man run her out of her self esteem so badly.
She wondered how she could have put up with such attitude for so long. ‘Enough is enough’, she thought to herself.
She got out of the couch in which she had cried herself to sleep three hours earlier after eating up a bowl of cold spaghetti she had prepared the previous day. As she stretched herself to loosen up the muscles that had cramped up due to her long hours on the couch, the face towel she had used to mop up her tears fell from her thighs.
She could still feel the clutch at her heart that had made her cry herself to sleep. It bothered her that after the embarrassment and heart break of the previous day, she still felt something for Daniel. She took a look at her phone and saw five missed calls, all from Annette and still no call from her fiancé. Unbelievable.
“I can’t keep thinking about that bully” she said out loud as she took a look at her messy living room with a new determination to put her living room and her life in order.
Despite the mess in her living room which was due to the bowl of spaghetti left on the glass table, several cartons of emptied fruit juice thrown here and there, her face towel that was flung over to one side of the room, and some cartons of biscuit scattered on the floor, her living room still had the beautiful air of a decor done by a nice interior decorator but all from the creativity of Julia.
Her walls were a plain white with silver draperies that had little red flowers splattered here and there. At the very center of the living room, she had a simple arrangement of a three-in-one couch, a double couch and two single couches that were a very light grey colour with red and white little throw pillows of different shapes. Her center rug was mostly black but with big gray and orange patches that made the black designs pop. On the center rug laid her glass center table that had a wooden stand carved like the limbs of a bear. On the center table was a little brass plate that had a fine arrangement of scented little rocks. She had pots of flowers in every corner of her living room that made the room light up with a glow that could pull anyone out of a foul mood.