Have you ever felt so hurt you couldn’t cry? Unshed tears are the most painful of all.
I met Kensington when I was twenty years old, five months later, we got engaged. Ours was not love at first sight but on the day we got the liberty to really look at each other, there was a spark, a connection- in that moment, it was definite that our lives were going to be intertwined forever, at least that’s what Kessy thought. My experience was a little different; a sudden dawn of realization on how extremely beautiful my acquaintance was.
When Kensington began to make advances, it was during the same period that my heart had begun to flutter. It all happened so fast. He had walked past me and Nikki in the park, she had pinched me and exclaimed “Is that the Kessy you go to volunteer with? He’s really handsome!” I had replied with “I know right, I never ever thought to look at him that way but the boy is fine!
I left her right there and made to catch up with him, calling out his name as I ran. When he turned around to look at me, it was with squinted eyes and slightly upturned lips. There was something so intense about his eyes, the way they remained calm while they attempted to bore into my soul, like they were searching for something. I brushed my hair past my face and smiled at him. “I just wanted to say hi and ask you if you would be at the shelter today. He replied in the affirmative so I nodded my head and made back for Nikki. As I walked away from him, I heard him say “We should totally go to the store together after the shift, you know, to get something for the kids”. I bobbed my head up and down in approval and added a spring to my step.
Nikki’s face was a mess once I caught up with her; she had the perfect explanation for what had just happened. Kensington liked me and asking to go to the store together was just a ploy to spend some time with me. That same night, unable to sleep, I tossed and turned until I found myself lost in a world where Kensington had stolen my heart.
Our relationship had always been a funny one, we called it a situationship. In the early stages, it was short precious moments of hey, how are you? You look nice, and a roving stare that undressed you as quickly as you put clothes on. As we grew closer, it became more relaxed, natural but somewhat rocky; there were days when we couldn’t keep off each other and others when someone got pushed away. In the fifth month of our situationship, Kessy proposed. It came as quite a surprise to me majorly because the week earlier, we had fought, about an ex that was suddenly reappearing. We had given each other the silent treatment, none of us wanting to speak to the other first, the proud people that we were. Six days after the fight, Kessy showed up at my house. My previous anger vanished at the sight of him. I had missed him so much and all I could think of was jumping into his arms and laying on his chest, it always felt safe. I did, and then, we kissed, a kiss dictated not by physical longing but by a rush of emotion that paralyzed my entire body. Every sense of insecurity had suddenly flown out of the window every mistrust gone, I knew now I wanted to be with this guy. As if he could read my thoughts, Kessy raised his head mid kiss, lifted my chin and then popped the question, “Will you marry me?”
It’s funny how one can put off being in an actual relationship for fear of failure but commit to a marriage immediately. That’s what we did. I told Kessy I saw a future with him. In my dreams, there was beautiful house in the suburbs, two cars and a pretty baby girl that looked just like him. Kessy loved her with all his heart, he would leave work early just to be with her, throw her repeatedly in the air while they played, ignore my screams for safety and plant a kiss on my forehead when I grew frantic.
Our period of engagement was a sweet one thanks to Kensington’s loving and supportive nature. He would comfort me when I was sad or scared, offer to help selflessly, give his advice and push for my progress. I found myself relaxing more, not thinking or bothering, not having a care in the world. Maybe that was a silly move because, the day Kensington decided to leave, I definitely did not see it coming.
It was on the morning of our wedding ceremony. I had walked down the aisle looking as beautiful as an angel. Even Kessy said so to me the minute I got to his side on the altar. We both exchanged smiles and in my heart all I could think of was finally becoming this man’s wife. The priest started the ceremony and then got to the part where he had to ask if there was anyone here who had a reason for us both not to be joined in holy matrimony. No one raised a hand and I found myself heaving a sigh of relief until I saw Kessy’s hand shoot up. The murmur in the congregation was not enough to drown my cries of confusion. It was then, Kessy drew me close and whispered “I’m so sorry, I want to marry you so badly but I think I may still be in love with Mary. Walking away now is the smart thing to do, I don’t want you to get invested in our marriage, start a family and get hurt later”. He turned around and walked out of the church to the surprise of everyone, to the surprise of Mary who was sitting somewhere on the back pew.
The thing you need to know about Mary is that she was Kessy’s first love and mother of his 5 year old son. They had started out in high school and stayed together for six more years before they finally ended things. When Kessy and I had started out, I had always known that there was the possibility of leftover emotions as is always with this kind of breakups, but I trusted that with time it would fizzle out. Once when I had battled conflicting emotions myself, a wise woman told me “There would always be someone tucked away in a corner of your heart. You have the choice to leave them locked away there and enjoy what’s new or let them out and mess up what’s new. Falling in love may not be a conscious choice but deciding to move on is”. When Kessy started showering me with all the love and attention I had always wanted, I thought that was what had happened.
As I watched Kessy walk out the church, I stood trying to fully understand what he had just told me. Was he leaving me for her, was he trying to clear his head or was he forgoing us both for a fresh start. I clutched my dress and fell to the ground, oblivious to the sympathy swirling all around me. What is a dream? The beautiful house in the suburbs was the first to disappear, then the cars, then the pretty baby girl, then my loud warnings got silenced and finally Kensington left. As I sat crouched on the ground, head in hand, determined not to cry for the sake of the life only I knew was growing inside of me, I heard his voice repeat over and over. “I’m sorry, but I’m just trying to do what’s best, I don’t want you to get invested in our marriage, start a family and get hurt later”. Well, isn’t it just a little too late to say sorry.