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“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald             

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” ― Lois Lowry, The Giver             

The first sets of scenes were the happy events of my marriage and honeymoon. When they happened, it was as if it took decades but now with the benefits of hindsight as I lay on my bed, I realized the happy events did not last more than a year in totality of the sum of my memories. The unpalatable events of my marriage were more. My memories must have deceived me. However, as my last thirty years played itself in my mind’s stage, the characters I found out on the stage were that of my children, my mother-in-law, and the drudgery of keeping my home clean, taking the children to school, the music, swimming and the various other sports lessons. I also remembered our family trips to Melbourne, Dunsborough and Sydney in Mika’s first car. The various trips within Australia left not much impact on my mind’s archive. The first trip that was very vivid and which made me realize what was happening between Mika and I was the first family trip we took outside Australia. The children had finished their year 12 and our trip was to Greece. We decided against going to Macedonia and picked Greek because some of Mika’s relations and mine were there. I had an uncle, an aunt and Mika’s twins; his uncle and first cousin lived on one of the Greek Islands.

   After a week in Athens where our relations feted us and kept the children for safe-keep for a week, Mika and I left for Mika’s cousin’s exotic and romantic Greek Island. Our intention was to stay in the cousin’s house with his family but the cousin thought otherwise. He rented a well-furnished suite in the best hotel on the Island for us. The suite faced the Aegean Sea and the white sandy beach was a plus. It was best setting for a romantic nest and experiences but for me it was an eye-opener. The trip to the Island showed Mika’s reverse love for me. We had a double room attached to a well-furnished living room. We had no worries about eating and drinking; Mika’s cousin had taken care of that. Ours was to eat, sleep and make love. It did not happen that way. I became a grass widow and Mika left me untouched. Mika slept on his side of the bed through the romantic seven days period. After the second day of sleeping on my naked bed with my husband beside me, I could not take it any longer.

               Mika, what is wrong? Are you okay?

               I am okay. Why are you asking?

               Are we not on holiday? Are we not married?

What type of questions are these? We are on holidays and we are married, doesn’t the children affirm that?

               Yes, we are, but have I offended you in any way?

               You have not. Why do you feel that way?

We have been alone together for two days, now and you haven’t touched me?

This is a period for resting and I am not in the mood for anything else except rest

               Will your rest be affected by your making love to me?

The answer to my question was Mika’s silence and turning his back on me. The remaining five days at the hotel grudgingly passed away and after the week’s ‘romantic experience’, we went back home to Perth. It was that experience that jiggered and awaken my sight and brain to the empty relations I was in that I named my marriage. As if opening a dam’s sluice, memories and events flooded my mind. Circumstances, situation and incidents I had buried under the housekeeping drudgery and the processes of taking care of my children. I had been so busy playing the complete and efficient housewife that I had forgotten about my womanly needs. I remembered now that our lovemaking had not only been pedestrian but also boring. It had occurred intermittently but I had not taken note because Mika not touching me constantly had been a sort of relief to me. Keeping our big house clean without any house help or maid took a lot out of me. This then combined with the children’s schooling, my office work, cooking and taking care of the family’s bigger boy-Mika, took a lot out of me that I did not recognise. So, when Mika was shirking his marriage responsibilities, it was a great relief to me. Now, that the children had grown up and the two of us, Mika and I, had a lot of time together, my loneliness hits me like the gusty cold winds of Iceland to an African encountering snow for the first time. The sound bits were the first to fall in torrents:

I am tired. I had too much work today in the office. I am not in the mood. Please, Angela let me be. I have a slight headache. Don’t disturb me tonight. Oh! Are you now a nymphomaniac? What is it really, is it more than this sexual game? Angie, another day please. I have this very important office assignment to finish so, I’ll be coming to bed late. Just let me finish watching this television programme. Oh… why can’t you leave me alone?

Then the images followed in rapid succession.

Mika ignoring me when we went for that USA family trip. Mika’s refusal to buy any gift for me or even give me spending money on the last Europe tour we went together. Mika’s reactions when I asked him about my looks that “You don’t need any comments, at least you have so many male admirers” Mika’s grunts when we visit his brother’s restaurant and bar on Northbridge and I become vibrant in the discussions and his fights after the visits. Mika totally ignoring me and not giving compliments no matter what I wear or bought for myself as clothes or shoes. His ever increasing TV dependence syndrome and finally the wham-bam-thank-you type of lovemaking that turned me into a receptacle for his sperms only.

It was the passage of these sound bites and images that made me realize the emptiness I was carrying in my hands that I referred to as a marriage. Unluckily for me, this realization came almost thirty years late. I had become a very matured woman at the threshold of starting my grandmother duties. My first celebrated her twenty-seventh birthday when the facts stuck me that I had no marriage but a shell. It was the same period that it stuck me that the person I thought loved me really did not love me. I had just been a tool meant to take care of him, my children and my house. In these almost thirty years my needs were like recessive genes-never to come up except once in a rare time. My eyes became open and I decided to make the best use of a very bad situation. After a very agonizing deep refection, I decided to stay in the marriage and keep up the charade. I also decided to ‘male-nize’ myself by zeroing mind away from any other man touching me. I also decided to move into my daughter’s room immediately she left for her husband’s house.

Two main reasons were responsible for this decision. One, I was a virgin when Mika married me and in spite of my vibrant beautiful self, no man had touched me except Mika. Two, I was brought up in a very conservative home where faithfulness, loyalty and no divorce no matter the situation was drilled into me. I took it as my cross and the question I asked myself was,

                 Am I to get a room, become a spinster and solicit for men at the age of fifty?

So, I became a widow while my husband is still living and I resigned myself to sleeping on my naked bed while living a lie of my barren marriage. This was until I was transferred to the University campus at my place of work and I met HIM. It was the shifting of my world from its axis.

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