“I will always love you,” Atembe said planting a kiss on my lips on Christmas day as we were snugged up in the couch. We had the most magical Christmas season. We exchanged gifts and made big love declarations. Then he hit the road early January. The love messages were still going and coming. The ‘I love you,’ ‘I miss you,’ went on for days. He kept saying I was the woman of his life.
Having experienced personal and difficult times in my life, I told him of my desire to go to therapy which he accepted and even playfully suggested that I be his ride along, so we could be together. I had to go back to school on 21 January but we talked and I decided to return only in September. We discussed our finances, because if I quit school, my student financial aid will be cut. He said not to worry because he earned enough for two, he would take care of me. I called the school to tell them I would only be going back in September.
The last weekend I spent with Atembe was that of 21 January. He came home but was more distant than usual. However, I did not pay too much attention to that. Every couple has its ups and downs, I thought then. He left for work on 28 January. Before walking out the door, he turned around kissed me passionately and said “I’ll miss you baby. You are indeed the woman of my life.”
“I’ll miss you too sweaty. I love you more than life,” I replied before he planted one brief kiss on my lips and dashed out the door. I stood at the door and watched him stride away. He was a beautiful sight; but somehow, I felt a slight nudge in my heart, as if all was not well. But nothing was going to spoil this moment. He waved me goodbye before taking the first bend away away from home.
Four days after his departure, he sent me an email with a hello and I replied with a smiley. I was very happy because it was almost weekend and he will be returning home. But this time, when he came home he was even more silent and spoke very little. I asked if something was bothering him and he simply said “I’m thinking.”
Panic set in. I could not help but remember the November episode, however, he had promised. I kept prying to know what was bugging him but he said we would talk over the following weekend because he had to think it through. My heart sank and the words came rushing to my mind like a flood: “no, no, you promised me, you promised, you can’t do this to me, not again…”
Four days after his departure for work the so much dreaded email arrived:
Hi Erica,
I’m sorry to have to do this by email again but I can’t face you. You did not do anything wrong. I’m just disgusted with this relationship that is leading nowhere. I have no future with you and I’m stressed when I’m having sex with you. It’s over, I’m calling it quits. And this time it’s for real. Don’t try to stop me this time, I won’t have it.
Bye now.
I replied with a simple; “so you don’t love me anymore?”
“No,” he said, “that is not the point.”
“You will come back and tell me that to my face Atembe,” I insisted and he promised to come home the next morning.
The next day he came in late because he had drank himself to stupor with his colleagues and got sick. He was reeking of alcohol and he is normally not a heavy drinker, so I was quite surprised. I tried to talk but no way, he was in no shape for a talk, so I suggested a nap for both of us and he accepted.
The phone woke me up at about 06:30 PM. His mother had just learned about our breakup and called to ask me what had happened (how facebook news flies!). Before hanging up, I told her I too was lost, never saw it coming and that Atembe was sleeping, so she could call later to ask him what was happening. I later discovered that my gutless boyfriend was pretending to be asleep to avoid having to justify himself to his parents.
He finally woke up and we got talking. I asked questions, in tears: “Why did you tell me I was the woman of your life just four days ago Atembe?
Why now? I wanted to leave in November…” still no answer.
When he opened his mouth to answer, he accused me of things I had said or done after the death of our daughter…
“Erica, when our daughter died, you said a lot of hurtful things to me. I figured it was the pain of losing…”
“Are you kidding me? I was not myself. So why did you ask me to marry you after that?”
 “Because it was important to you” he replied. Shock, silence!
I couldn’t take anymore. I stomped to my room and to my bed. He followed me, took me in his arms, to console me, and did not let go. I could only mutter a faint “I love you” (big mistake again, I know) and he answered “thank you, that’s nice.”
“Go away. Find some place to sleep.” That’s all I could manage to say before I fell asleep.
I woke up at about 2 a.m. and heard the television. No way, he can’t still be here! Well, yes, Mr Atembe slept on the couch. I turned off the TV and it woke him up; he got up and came to lie in bed with me. I must be dreaming, what was he doing?  He lay in with me and I let him do as he willed. I was probably hurting, but I still wanted him so much.
The next morning I got up before him and made coffee with a heavy heart. He got up, gave me a kiss on the forehead and asked how I was doing. I refused to cry again but tried to talk. He was not very forthcoming but I said, “Tell me you don’t love me anymore.”
“Erica, I can’t say such a thing. But it is really over this time. Don’t wait for me anymore” he managed to say before settling down with his breakfast while watching a movie.
“I understand that it is also your house, but you will have to leave.”
He looked at me, “you want me to leave right away?”
 “Yes” I said with a very heavy heart. He got up, went to the bath and took a shower, got dressed, gave me a big hug and left. I practically went crashing on the floor like a pack of cards. 

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