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City of Banjul
Friday, December 8, 2023

A man ain’t worth it, dear Marie

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With Rohey Samba

In the furthest reaches of rationality, where thoughts barely graze the surface of consciousness, and within the profound depths of my intuition, I find myself intimately connected to your pain. Your voice, like a haunting melody, resonates persistently in the chambers of my mind. It’s a wishful tune, a longing for change, for the power to reshape the currents of your present circumstances. How I yearn to unravel the threads of that unspeakable twist of fate that has so cruelly befallen you, like a shadow cast upon the brightest of days…

Yet, in the midst of this cruel reality, where the grotesque occurrence defies belief, it lingers as an unassailable truth. It is as if the very fabric of your existence has been woven with this tragic thread, one that denies our wishes and resists the urge to turn back the clock of time. As I stand by your bedside, witnessing your weakened state, your body battling the aftermath of its second heart attack in just two days, I am reminded of the profound fragility of life itself. It’s a scene that transcends the mere concept of suffering – it’s a poignant symphony of endurance that only those who’ve truly loved can comprehend…

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To others, it might seem like a distant tale, an inexplicable devotion that remains shrouded in their lack of understanding.

It is astonishing how just last week, the streets of Dakar, Sicap Liberté V, were bathed in the golden glow of a promising evening, concealing with utmost care the impending cruelty of fate. The sun, as if in perfect harmony with the facade of joy, dipped below the horizon, casting hues of orange and pink across the sky. You looked up and held your gaze, smiling those half smiles women who are comfortably in love with their partner smile to themselves. Little did we know that within that picturesque moment, the seeds of adversity were sown, waiting to unfold their tragic tale. Biding their time.

Bocar – a name that once held all the promise of a forever-kind-of-love, a life painted in golden brushes of affection and tender gestures. With a commanding voice that echoed like distant melodies and manners as soft as the morning breeze, yours and Bocar’s was a portrait of a love story destined for eternity. Yet, as life would have it, the realm of reality doesn’t always align with the arcs of fairytales. Who could have foreseen that the love you shared, so deep and all-encompassing, would one day crumble like the weathered ruins of a derelict shack?

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In the tapestry of your life together, you wove the threads of commitment by bearing him five children, four sons and a daughter. Youthful dreams were exchanged for the sanctity of marriage, your days and nights devoted to ensuring his happiness. Those long, intimate nights where you opened yourself wide to his desires, seeking to fulfill his needs as if they were your own. Gradually, your own aspirations took a back seat as you traded your modest ambitions for the insatiable wants, idiosyncrasies, and unfounded jealousies that colored his world.

All was offered on love’s altar, your sacrifices meant to saturate his existence with laughter, love, and boundless joy. Bocar, once a lover who showered you with gifts and attention, had once drenched you in a courtship so intense it felt as if the world itself had faded into insignificance. But alas, the cruel irony of life emerged, revealing that even those who appear to possess the most radiant hearts can harbor shadows of betrayal.

The whispers claim that within the depths of every woman’s soul lies a lingering doubt, an unspoken question that hovers in the corners of her mind about the man she joins in holy matrimony. Yet, those who utter such claims likely fail to grasp the intensity of love that courses through a woman’s veins. Love, the mysterious alchemy of emotions, shatters limitations, dissolves inhibitions, and extinguishes suspicions. It dares to dive into the abyss of reason, caring not for the treacherous depths, for all it sees is its own reflection, its essence mirrored in every facet of existence. Love only sees love.

I grasp your pain. I comprehend the ache that courses through you. For once, I, too, was ensnared in the clutches of such heartache. My love, much like yours, boundless and all-consuming, fractured into shards beneath the weight of a man in whom I had invested my body, my heart, and my very essence. Naivety dissolved into disillusionment, and I found myself pouring out my anguish like a frenzied soul, narrating tales of betrayal to anyone willing to lend an ear. Many met my pain with dismissive shrugs, unable to fathom the depths of my torment. Or perhaps unwilling to make themselves feel it. Some feigned sympathy to my face, only to clandestinely dissect and analyze my flaws as the catalyst for his departure. In the midst of this turmoil, only my mother stood as a genuine pillar of concern, holding my broken pieces with unwavering care. Devastated and shattered, I stood at a crossroads, my spirit in tatters, my heart heavy.

But even from the smoldering ruins of such heartbreak, a fierce resolve was forged, a determination I never knew I had. Like a phoenix, I soared from the ashes of my desolation, my wings carrying me ever higher, a journey I continue to traverse even to this day, dearest Marie. And by the way, he got his comeuppance. My lover did. They always do, the men and/or women who bear treacherous hearts to betray… Life has a way of paying them back their due, in kind.

My deepest wish was for you to take flight as well, fellow woman of shared tribulations. To transcend the confines of disappointment, to stride forth with your head held high and your spirit unshaken. I yearned for you to emerge from the ashes of disillusionment, leaving behind the weight of unmet expectations. In the crucible of life’s lessons, we learn that only the gullible are staggered by the capricious ways of man. The truth that unveils itself as we mature is that trust is a fragile commodity, one that extends even to ourselves with a caveat of uncertainty. Adulthood unveils this core tenet of existence: that the truth of life is woven from threads of uncertainty, that the mirage that seems so palpable can dissolve like mist upon closer inspection. Our yearning for a flawless partner meets a stark reality: perfection is but an elusive dream, and as we turn inward, we realise our own imperfections are equally undeniable. This is the unembellished truth, the tapestry of life’s intricacies and ironies. And yet, it is from these very threads that the fabric of our resilience is woven. We emerge stronger not in spite of our fractures, but because of them.

So, dear Marie, let your spirit rise above the ruins of your disillusionment. Allow your wings to unfurl as you embrace the unpredictable nature of existence. You are not alone on this journey of understanding, of coming to terms with the enigmatic path life carves. And as you navigate its twists and turns, remember that it is in the mosaic of imperfections that the beauty of life truly resides.

Your story, Bocar’s story, it speaks to the fragility and resilience of the human heart. It’s a tale where love’s boundaries are tested, its endurance questioned, yet its power to transform and transcend remains unblemished. As you stand amidst the ruins of what once was, remember that love is not solely a possession, but an experience that imprints itself onto the very core of who we are. And so, in the aftermath of shattered vows, you emerge not as a victim of love’s transient nature, but as a testament to its ineffable, enduring essence.

As the sun lowers its golden curtain upon this very day, casting its shadow not only over the physical realm but also over our perceptions of life’s capriciousness, I am reminding you that no man is worthy of evoking such depths of pain or suffering in you, my dear Marie. A man just ain’t worth it!

In this poignant realisation, I am unearthing the wisdom that while the aftermath of this heart-wrenching attack might leave you tethered to the limitations of paralysis, any outcome is preferable to the finality of death itself. Within this fragile solace, I hold fast to the knowledge that your existence, even if it were to be reduced to a mere semblance of what it once was, remains a precious gift. I, your sister-in-law, and your children most ardently, are not prepared to release our grip on your presence.

(to be cont’d)

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