DEAREST HOPE By Ozowalu

Dearest Hope,

If you’re reading this letter then it is certain that I have finally decided to tell you the real reason I left you. The past months gave me the chance to experience what it’s like to make sex the foundation of a relationship between a man and woman hoping to get married. Before anything else, I want to point out that being with you was a fantastic experience: treats from the kitchen, gifts going backand forth, building my vocabulary, and encouragement to be better. My grammar is a testimony of my contact with you.

From the first day, I liked you. Then I fell in love with you. Everything was rosy…until you said we should have sex. I couldn’t believe it…not that we aren’t humans with blood running in our veins but because we had never discussed that topic. We had never explored sexuality in our young relationship. The original plan had been to wait till we were married. I am sure you remember I told you (the first day we kissed at that wedding and you held my waist) that I was in no hurry.

Dazed! I was dazed the moment you said that. I ‘m sure you noticed because you went on to explain.

Portharcourt is a very long journey from Akure. Your job as a lecturer gave you some time while mine as a HOD in the hospital gave me none. We didn’t have enough time to ourselves and it was hurting. So you wanted us to create a bond that would be strong and so powerful to keep me in your heart always.

Very tempting! And completely against my personal beliefs and principles, but without further pressure, I accepted. It was the beginning of the end. I still remember how I sneaked into that pharmacy by the junction to buy a pack of condoms. I felt like a child who used his Sunday offering money to buy sweets.

Dear Hope, I would never blame you for such temptation. I could have stood my ground and rejected the offer of a trip to your Eden. I marveled at the idea of getting laid and promised myself to enjoy every moment of it thoroughly, but I didn’t brag about something I had no experience at. You knew this too. Sex with you was like a marathon. You had a large appetite and I lacked the strength to match that. Oh yeah! I had orgasms but sex for me was beyond the physical act of ramming in and out of your cunt. It was emotional and almost spiritual. I wanted it my way, or at least a blend of how we both liked it. But you never asked and I was too ashamed to talk. “It didn’t matter much”, I thought. You climaxed, I climaxed and that was probably all that mattered to you. It wasn’t love making but a competition where in the end you rated my performance: “Baby you didn’t go fast and hard enough. You didn’t even last long.”

Gradually, our relationship became all about sex. It became all that mattered. I started dreading your visits. I just couldn’t endure the psychological torture of your endless criticisms of my performance in bed. No harm in having a large appetite but I felt it shouldn’t be the only thing our relationship was about.

My affection for you metamorphosed…into pity. How would you handle the bombshell I would drop on the phone two weeks after your last visit? I had a lot of ideas in my head about how to break the news. I was withdrawn. You noticed but probably felt it was because you were rounding up your visit and I was already missing you. That was not true. I was intentionally avoiding contact with you…we both knew the end result of that. You fell for it though and I smiled inwardly. A very great victory! In truth, I was emotionally drained too.

Can you remember the look on my face at Lagos Park that day I saw you off, just before your bus left? I had a smile. A rueful smile; I was going to leave you in two weeks and I felt terribly empty. I kept asking myself where all the love went. I saw the tears in your eyes as you looked back, the tears of separation from the one you loved. If only you knew…perhaps you thought I was just being a man using the smile to suppress my ‘grief’ at our parting. True, may be; but not entirely true. I was being liberated! I was breathing again.

Two weeks was what I gave myself to think it through and probably see if it would work. The nearer the deadline came the more I realized it was best to let you go…for your own sake too. You needed someone of similar appetite as yours and who treasured sex more than some other things. If you’d remained with me, we may never have been happy.

So at the end of the two weeks, sitting on the concrete floor at the back of the office where some of my colleagues smoked, I called you to say it was over. My initial excuse for wanting out was that I come from a long line of traditional chief priests and that one day I may become one; and that I knew that as such you would not want to be with me (being a Christian). Albeit it sounded like a lie! I mean the chief priest thing, it is indeed true. I suspected you may brave it and still remain with me and even agree to marry me so I had to be sincere and tell you why I was leaving you…or at least part of the truth. I was emotionally exhausted, I told you. I felt nothing for you anymore but pity; a consequence of something else. At least there, you had some truth.

My heart was broken because I let you down. How? I could have refused when you first asked. We may have quarreled over it but we would’ve still been together and found a way to work it out. I really loved you, you know. But now we must both move on, Hope. I’ve got fond memories of you and I. Cooking and cleaning the house together, the day we took that long walk from the house to my office and back, your coconut rice, going to see the legislative building, and the night we went to Owena. They are, to me, the real memories. Those memories haunt me now but like you, I have moved on.

Take care, Hope and all the very best dear.

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