I had always been too voluptuous for my age. At 16, people thought I was in my 20’s, therefore it wasn’t uncommon to find older men looking my way and making advances at me. When I made the decision to be his girlfriend, some of my close friends were disappointed. They claimed he was too ‘small’ to handle my goods, that my 45-inch hips deserved the attention of someone older than a 19-year-old. Despite their negative remarks and sentiments, my heart had settled on Yoofi and nothing would change that fact. That’s what I thought at the time.
Yoofi was a good person by many standards. I am not saying he was perfect, he was flawed just like me but we were great together. He was as young as I was and older than me by just 3 months. He was patient, loving, charming and most importantly good-looking to seal the deal. Although he was not as financially independent as I would have wanted him to be, I could not fault him because like me he was a student and we both relied on our parents for our every need.
Our relationship began during our second year in the university and we remained together for a little over 4 years. Our graduation was one of the highlights of our relationship. We both graduated with a first class degree and our families were excited about or respective successes. His parents liked me from the day he introduced me to them as his girlfriend. I didn’t have to worm my way into their hearts due to the fact that they had already made room for me. My mother was a bit hesitant at the beginning but she eventually warmed up to him and the idea of us being in a relationship.
My mother married my father a few months shy of her 24th birthday and by the age of 27, she already had 2 children, My elder brother and I. That influenced my decision to settle down early in life. In addition to this, she made it a point to constantly tell me that women were better off marrying early because the longer it took for them to settle down, the harder it would be to find a good man. I guess that philosophy was drummed into her head by society and of course she passed on the information to her only daughter.
In view of this, I informed Yoofi of my plans to settle down as soon as we could save up enough money. We were in love with each other and he wanted to start a life with me so that fact never bothered him. We started with our national service and I was posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while he worked with a bank. We both hoped that our respective employers would keep us on so that we could start planning for our future together. A year down the line, I got retained while Yoofi was not fortunate enough at his place of work. Even then, we were still hopeful that he would find a job soon enough.
During his unemployment phase, I still kept talking about us getting married latest by the time I turn 25. My plans would have been more realistic if we were both gainfully employed but as fate would have it, that was far from the case. I noticed that Yoofi eventually stopped discussing the issue of marriage and anytime I brought it up, he would try to change the topic. I got scared and started to think that maybe he was losing interest in our relationship, that maybe he didn’t see himself having a future with me. This led to a number of arguments which we always managed to resolve.
He remained unemployed for 6 months and during that time, 4 of my friends got married. With each wedding, my desire to get married increased and it made me resent Yoofi for his joblessness, something that was no fault of his. My mom worsened the issue by pressurizing me to get married soon. Anytime my dad complained that she was being too aggressive about my marriage, she always replied by telling him that he was a man so he wouldn’t understand. She would pass comments like “your friends are getting married and making their parents grandparents, when will you do likewise”,
“you are not growing any younger, you should be living in your husband’s house by now”
I prayed, I fasted and even tried to help him find a job yet, all my efforts were in vain. While working with the ministry of foreign affairs, I came into contact with a number of people and many were the men who made advances at me yet, there was one in particular I seemed drawn to. The more I fought with Yoofi, the closer I got to my new admirer. He was 8 years older than me and a wealthy self-made businessman. He would shower me with gifts, take me out on dates and tell me that he was ready to marry me if only I would say ‘yes’ to him.
It seemed ironic to me that although I deeply loved Yoofi, another man possessed the qualities he lacked at the moment when I needed it the most. Harold, the man who was dangling marriage in my face dropped me off at home one day after work and my mother upon seeing him invited him to come inside. She launched a full-blown inquisition, asking him all sorts of questions that made me feel embarrassed. After he left, my mother suggested that it would be better if I considered settling down with him given that he seemed capable and ready to be my husband. She didn’t care about the fact that I had a boyfriend. On the contrary, she admonished me to end that childish relationship and get serious with Harold.
I will spare you the rest of the details and jump to the part where I ended things with Yoofi. It had been 10 months of unemployment with no hope in sight. In as much as I loved him, I couldn’t sit around twiddling my thumbs and relying on hope. I broke his heart and in the process, I broke mine as well because I still loved him. Back then, I thought getting married at an early to someone you didn’t truly love was better than marrying at a later age to the love of your life. My friends, mother and other members of my family thought likewise so it was easy to buy into that misperception.
My dream of getting married at 25 came to pass- the wedding took place on my 25th birthday. It was glamorous and classy, just the way I had imagined it would be. The church auditorium was packed, the decor was breathtaking and most importantly I looked exquisite in my ball gown. Harold was a good man and he genuinely loved me. Although I did not love him as much as I loved Yoofi, I knew it was only a matter of time before my love for him would grow and I was willing to wait till that happened.
3 years down the line, I had 2 kids and within that time, Yoofi got employed with an international auditing firm. His pay was so good that he could afford a 2 bedroom apartment in cantonments and drove a Honda CR-V. A few months after the birth of my second child, I heard he was getting married.I don’t know why, but I attended the wedding ceremony. I sat far back where few people could see me and I watched him grin from cheek to cheek as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. I felt a stabbing pain in my chest and I had to take a couple of deep breaths to calm down. I felt as though I had cheated myself by allowing impatience to rob me of the love of my life.
My marriage to Harold had been good so far. He was a loving husband and an amazing father. He did everything to make me happy yet that was not enough. Deep down, I knew my heart would always belong to Yoofi regardless of who he was married to. My eyes glistened as I heard him exchange his vows and I imagined myself in the bride’s shoes.She was fortunate to have him and that day, I felt like a remorseful idiot for letting him go. I could have had it all with him if I was not so keen on getting married by 25. Now I had what I wanted yet, it wasn’t with him and that made all the difference.
PS: I know it has been months since I published a story and we can blame that on my creative genes going on a break. Feels good to be back to story telling and hopefully, there will be more to come so stay tuned.