Dear Married Woman! When you marry a man and give up everything- even the will to wake up in the morning (because you cannot think of anything half as fulfilling as being “Mrs.” this precious title you have waited and prayed for for so long) you’ll have only yourself to blame.
Seven years and four kids later, soon to deliver your own inflamed chyme, you will walk into your kitchen one fine morning and find a letter waiting for you on the kitchen table, written by your husband.
Brace up! You will need all the fried chips and omelette to help you survive this… whilst we are counting down to the day he musters the courage, let me show you what the letter may contain.
I have drafted one on his behalf.
Read and repent!
There were many delays to this final moment- your tears and the average sex we share have spared us this moment for some time; but your constant bluster of how much you have sacrificed for this marriage keeps bringing me back to this point where I need to write this letter.
Finally, we are here. Yesterday you blamed me for not allowing you pursue a career in- what was it you said- catering. I have had to listen to your whining for six-and-a-half years about the things marriage and motherhood has stolen from you. I don’t understand…did I ever stop you from pursuing your heart’s dreams? Have I not funded over three business ideas for you? Every time you get a brainwave do I not encourage you with words and finance? Have you not wrecked them all with your indolence and lack of motivation? And let’s not forget your penchant for turning your businesses into centres for idle friends and gossip. You have refused to succeed and you attempt to drag me down with you.
Every time it seems I am about to touch the sky, you pull me by the left hand and whisper into my ear:
“I hope you do not plan to pluck a star and give it to another woman? I hope you know you have me- your wife, and your young children. Do not be like Theresa’s husband who walked out of his marriage after one promotion. You know there’s a special place in hell for men like that. Wicked men! Please do not forget.”
It is exasperating, I am almost afraid to succeed at anything because it depresses you too much.
So where do I begin? We could have had this chat, probably at a 4 Star Hotel, over nice plates of macaroni cheese, stuffed jack potatoes and paprika roast chicken; but how can I tell your reaction? You may begin to cry (and with chicken stuffed in your mouth, that would be an ugly sight), start to threaten, call on God like you do all the time and tell Him to send thunder to strike me down for daring to talk about your…yes, weight (and sundry issues).
My dear, you are fat.
There is no better way to put it.
You were as thin as a rope when we first met; the only parts that were pronounced were your boobs and your buttocks, and your brain it seemed was working then.
So, you gave birth to four children. I had asked only for one. One child. But you ganged up with your in-laws and bullied me into having more. So with three more kids comes a rotund woman by my side. The car declines when you enter, there’s a scary hollow on every seat you leave behind- like a dinosaur’s footprint on beach sand. You are nine times the size you used to be.
If you ask for three extra children to perfect your status as an African woman can you not, at least, ensure you do not look like you still have them all inside of you?
When I try to bring these issues up, do you not stifle my words under the weight of your tears and pity-parties and God-strike-thunder prayers?
My dear, you are not the woman I married. All these years, if you cared, you would have done something to those arms, those thighs and stomach hanging like a panda’s.
It is not fair to me that I find myself on the floor every morning. Your mass of flesh ensures I do not stay next to you longer than 30 minutes before your sleepy frame turns and kicks me out of bed and I hit my sleepy head on the floor.
I do not want to suffer brain damage.
Is it too much to ask that I come back from work to a clean house? Why is there baby poop on the corridor, why do I always have to meet a small pond of junior’s wee-wee by the door, why are there dirty plates in the sink, why is the bed not laid, why is the toilet smelling of stale urine?
When I tell you that you do absolutely nothing with your life, you remind me you are the mother of my children.
Mad women get pregnant too, how about that? Is there still any honour in just being a mother without any skill, not even parental skills? (let’s not even talk about your wifely talents- or lack of it)
Deborah, will it kill you if you wash that damn wrapper you tie around your chest? Your embrace suffocates me in many ways- I am scared that your arms will throttle me when they go round my neck, but I think I will die first of the smell that emits from that wrapper.
What do you do with all the money I give you? Have you any savings?
You shop and shop and shop and the next minute…you are shopping still. You have to keep buying…your spending has to match the new weight you gain every week.
I know you are already crying and cursing me as you read this. I am tired of the blackmails.
You lie like a log in bed, asking that I come on top of you (as if I am your teddy bear) to ride you to satisfaction. I work hard all day just to come home and “ride you to satisfaction”.
What about me? What about my own needs- a clean house, a pretty wife, well-prepared food, good sex. Am I asking for too much?
I give you everything, Deborah. I work hard, pay the bills, keep fit (just so you can be proud to call me “baby”). I have kept to my own side of the deal. What about you?
You have hidden all of your insecurities and anxieties under the cloak of religion. You are “kabashing” all over the house and asking God to kill all the young women out there who have ever thought to take another woman’s man.
Why don’t you ask God to help you deal with those arms of yours bouncing like a new born? Shouldn’t religion cure your own headache?
I am sorry, but I am tired of living this strange life. I have decided to kill myself…
Of course not! I am not going to kill myself (for what nah?). I just want you to know that there are worst things that could possibly happen to the father of your children. What I am about to mention is not one of them-
I have found someone.
And I love her.
If you are still reading this note after that announcement, know that I will not make life hard for you. You can keep the house; my children need all the space in the world to poop and wee-wee, and you need all the space in the world not to do anything about it.
I will move out and into a rented apartment on the other side of town.
I will be happy. The divorce does not need to be messy; I will continue to provide.
And you do not need to tell your friends the truth. Just keep up with the lies that we are happy and so in love and nurturing our own independent space as confident adults.
I shall come in to pick a suitcase tomorrow morning. Please, no tantrums and manipulations. Nothing will change my mind. And remember, this is not a Martin Scorsese movie- no tragedies, please! Do not attempt to thrust a knife in my back. If you do, my ghost will stay around to tease you constantly about your weight until you go crazy…like they do in AfricaMagic.
Let us be civil.
I know you would like to know her name…it is Cecilia.
Be happy for me. And please feel free to meet any man you want.