How did I get here?
When we met, I had so much fire in my belly. I was this fresh faced, bespectacled law and economics double majors student. I was the great activist. I would mount the podium at those fiery meets spitting Socrates and Machiavelli. I would raise my right fist high over my head at the end of my speeches and walk with the swag of a conqueror, the ends of my bell bottom pants gliding gracefully around my ankles. The students union president. A black panther.
We met at one of such meetings. You were the vice president of the students union of a neighbouring college. Back in those days, it was not a common feat for a woman to hold her own in a fora seen as male dominated. We were in awe of you. In your signature styled blue jeans, turtle neck sweater and beautiful blue- black Afro….I was struck. I had always been a man who was captivated more by what was between a woman’s ears than what her statistics were. I was never preoccupied by the opposite sex, not for their lack of trying or by a lack of virility. I just found social activism more of a turn on than a rump between the sheets. In retrospect, I can say honestly, I also lacked the emotional maturity to give a woman the right emotional succor that would be expected in a healthy relationship. Social activism was my woman….until I met you.
If I before I had purpose, after I met you, I became driven.
I went ahead to graduate with a first class was snagged by Ashland and Smithdt. You went ahead to Uganda for a year to teach English. I was so proud. We got married after your return. I had never been so happy.
Then, the twins arrived the fifth year of our marriage. God kept on giving. With the demands of our growing family, you stayed back home to care for the children. I was happy to take on more responsibility to make up the difference of your income. When the children were old enough to be in school full time, you faltered at getting back in the workplace. I didn’t mind. I wanted you to take your time. I did notice, though, that there was a difference in interests. I still wanted fiery discourse on social justice and economics.I wanted to discuss the details of my job that encouraged economic empowering of otherwise disadvantaged. Your conversations were peppered by the Real Housewives of ‘whatever’ and Tele Mundo. Now, I knew being the primary care givers of two babies erodes the brain cells of anybody but you…my darling were not just anybody.You were my copilot!
I bought books. I started a book club…yes, a book club to encourage the development of more cerebral material. You grew sullen and resentful of my efforts to create more opportunities to bond with you. You would start pet projects….all none increasing our economic empowerment but eroding it. I was never one given to work for the purpose of acquiescence. For me, my work gave me purpose. I loved giving law and economic advice to people. I loved watching start ups grow exponentially from my input. I loved being part of a company that gave millions of dollars in grants to people who normally would not have access to such resources. I was doing it long before I joined Ashland, remember.
While the constant networking with people of like minds have helped grow our bank account…I am growing tired. I am no longer twenty five with fire in my belly. I am a forty six years old man with smothering embers. I have no more desire to amass more wealth. My hair is thinning out, my shoulders are slumped and even though my eyesight has been corrected by laser surgery, the light in my eyes have deemed. I have encouraged you over the years to get a job, lessen the pressure on me. You whine, pout and say we can manage on one income. I am tired of being an ATM machine. I am also tired of talking about it.
The children are now in college. Thanks to scholarship and the fund I started when they were born, their future is well ensconced financially. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was advised to lessen my workload….my health is failing. And so, I have decided to do just that. Since I made partner five years ago, I have not taken a full holiday. I have informed the board I am taking all my accrued paid time off. It totals five months. I have also informed them, I intend to take a back seat. The details in ramifications to our finances are of no importance me. I will be taking off for a month. Alone.
When I return, we will re access our relationship. If you are willing to stay in this marriage, fine. I will not die while catering to a lifestyle that milks me of my wholesomeness. If you decide to leave, fine. Be warned though, I have sharpened my skills for twenty years knowing the law….you will only get what I am willing to give you. Marriage should be mutually nurturing. It serves me no purpose if I am dead.