Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)
By Folakemi Emem-Akpan
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It is true that I had a problem. My therapist called it a commitment phobia. Me, I called it common sense. After I tell you my story, you be the judge of whether it makes sense or not.
True, I have been in and out of three relationships this year alone, and was involved with seven different men last year. But is it my fault that each and every one of these men start off like a nice guy, metamorphoses into my father half way through?
You see, my father used to be a nice guy. My mother was only sixteen when they met and he was already in his thirties by then. One thing led to another and there was me. His nice guy attitude vanished in an instant. He stuck around till I was three, beat the living daylights out of my mum every now and then. By the time she was twenty-one, she looked like she was fifty.
He finally left. Mum took solace in dry gin. I raised myself.
Then I repeated Mum’s mistake.
Mike was twenty-four. I was fifteen. He was reserved to the point of shyness, loved nothing more than to cuddle up with me. We were soul mates for that brief year. Then I got pregnant. Of course I was not ready to be like mum. I found a doctor whose license had been revoked in a legal battle I will not understand in a thousand years and left my baby behind in a trash can. Later, I mentioned it to Mike that there had been a baby briefly. He slapped me hard, and the assault surprised yet did not surprise me.
“You’re a fool.” He told me.
But that did not stop him from staying. Over the next two years, we lived together as my father and Mum had. He hit me for every and no reason, but was always careful to do so in places that would not show manhandling.
Even if my face had been full of bruises, Mum wouldn’t have noticed. She was perpetually in alcohol-heaven.
When a truck ran Mike over, I knew I was supposed to be sad. Yet I was relieved. It seemed like a ten ton truck had been lifted from my shoulders. I was free.
Never again would I make the mistake of staying with one man for too long.
Thus started my serial dating.
But there was an emptiness somewhere above my chest. My doctor could find no medical reason, wrote me a prescription for painkillers anyway, and sent me to a therapist. During my first visit, we talked about my childhood and there was a glow in the shrink’s eyes that he’d uncovered the source of my problems.
Over the next ten sessions, we covered enormous grounds. My alcoholic mother, my assaulting father, my soft-speaking but brutal Mike, and all the men and relationships thereafter. I unburdened myself passionately, waited forever for the emptiness in my heart to subside.
It did not.
That is, until I ran into Phillips, an ex-boyfriend. Our affair had lasted less than three weeks, as he had been in as much a hurry to move on to someone else as I was.
But Phillips was changed. There was a softness about him, a warmth that seemed to call out to me. And he didn’t even try to grope me while we were talking.
I went with him to his new church, met Jesus, was hooked.
Now, that’s my story but it doesn’t come to a conclusive end until I tell you that I have not had a date in three months. That doesn’t sound so good, but it is a good thing for me. My heart doesn’t ache as much. I don’t have an urge to go in and out of relationships. I’m just fine as I am.
I love dating Jesus. He doesn’t beat me, doesn’t say he loves me while he has one foot out of the door.
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