Eight years ago I found her pretty and worthy to be the woman I spend the rest of my life with. We had been friends for so long it became harder for me to tell her how I felt about her. I didn’t want to change the dynamics of our friendship and I didn’t know how the texture of our relationship would be like if she said no to me. But one day, I gathered courage and went to her house to propose to her. When I met her at her doorsteps, I lost courage. Words left me so all I said was, “I came to visit you.” She asked, “What did I do to deserve this visit?” I said, “Nothing. I thought I should come and see you.”
But one day out of the blue I said it. It was a simple proposal. I said, “I love you.” She asked, “What do you mean?” I said, “I love you. I want you to be my girlfriend.” She asked, “Why do you want to change what we already have. Isn’t friendship enough for you?” I said, “Friendship is enough but I want more—a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of everything. Something like a cocktail.”
Two years later, we got married. One year after marriage, we had our first child through CS. She suffered a lot of pains for so many days but she healed. Two years later, we got our next child, also through CS. Again, she suffered for days. I told her, “Let’s this be our last child.” She said, “Just one more and we are done.” So two and half years later, we got the next child—a child we nearly lost. Not only that, I nearly lost her too. Through unseen hands that pulled the strings of their life together, they both survived miraculously.
Something about my wife changed. The way she walked changed. She had a slur in her voice which she never had. Her tummy became larger than it used to be. I looked at her and saw how much she had changed. We went through our wedding pictures one day and when she saw herself she said, “Wow, I was so beautiful.” She also saw the change in herself and unfortunately let herself go. She stopped wearing fancy clothes and stopped putting on makeup. She told me often, “I have kids to take care of so I don’t have time for myself.
She was on maternity leave when corona happened. When she was about to resume work, the company she worked for sent her a mail terminating her appointment. They said things were hard. They said they had to cut some employees off to be able to stay afloat. That night she cried all night while I lied next to her not knowing what to do or say to make her feel better. I fell asleep, woke up and she was still up thinking. The next morning, I went to work without saying anything. I came back home, greeted, and asked for food as if that was all I cared about.
One evening, I went to bed earlier but I couldn’t sleep. My eyes were fixed on our wedding photo on the bedroom wall. I thought about our beginning and thought about how sweet she was when we were barely adults walking through the sands of time and looking behind us to see our footprints. I thought about our first kiss and how it made me feel.
The bedroom door opened and she came in. She lied next to me but leaving a gap between us as though we were strangers sharing a bed. I pulled closer to her, held her from behind, and said, “I love you.” She was frozen for a second. She said, “What did you say?” I repeated, “I love you.” She turned towards me and asked, “Why are you telling me this?” I said again, “I love you, yeah.” She said, “It’s been ten years together—two years of dating and eight years of marriage. The last time you said that was when you proposed to me.” I said, “I’m sorry for not telling you that all this while but I want you to know that I love you more than the first time I said it.”
She turned away, pulled the cloth on herself, and said, “Thank you.” I wasn’t done. I dipped my head under the cloth she was using to cover herself and the next moment, we were both panting. I fell off her and slept like a baby.
Everything changed from that day. She started dressing well again. She would put on a dress and come and ask me, “How do I look?” She smiled a lot and was always eager to sit next to me and have a conversation, something we seldomly did. She bathed in the night and used fragrance before coming to bed. She even started brushing her teeth before bed, something she stopped doing long ago. Something was changed. It was like a flicker of light had gone off in her being. She stopped worrying about not getting a job and instead increased the effort for finding a job.
I began seeing her in a different light and since I didn’t want that light to go off, I said it often—always unexpectedly that I love her. She asked, “Where did you learn that from and who is advising you?” I asked, “Is it bad?” She said, “Whatever you seek with this new attitude, you’ll find it.” I said, “It’s’ already working and I’m enjoying it.”
If I knew all I had to do to cause this massive change in my wife, I would have done it earlier. I would have told her when she was struggling through the various CS. I would have told her when she miraculously pulled through after the birth of our third child. Most importantly, if I knew what I know now, that night when she lied next to me crying her eyes out because she had lost a job, I would have simply embraced her, look into her eyes and say, “I love you and I’m here for you. We’ll pull through together, just stay calm.”
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