The feelings of success and accomplishment I experienced in my thirties didn’t last long. I had now got to my forties and I had became disillusioned with life and nothing excited me anymore. I derived limited pleasure in spending time with my two kids and my wife. They always just seemed to want and want. Requests were unending and they never seemed satisfied. Even Simone did not seem to be enough for me.
At work, I struggled to maintain a façade of having everything in control. But I was slipping. I was so distracted; I found it difficult to cover my tracks with Simone and before long my wife found out. She was livid. I could not recognise Lola. The once tame, docile, submissive Lola became a tiger. She wanted a divorce and she got the best divorce lawyer she could find. I could not persuade her to stay even after cutting things off with Simone. She left with the two kids and I was left alone in my big house. Now I was well and truly lonely.
My friends and colleagues at work tried to make me feel better by going out with me to have endless drinks but this did little to cheer me up. Nor did the strip bars we frequented. I seemed to have lost my zest for life and wondered if I was depressed. But I was reluctant to seek a therapist’s help.
I was coming out of a restaurant one evening when I saw her. It was Salewa. I would recognise her anywhere. She had become slightly rounder but still had a great figure. She was coming out of her car, a teenage daughter in tow. I nearly ran to meet her.
“Hi Salewa, it’s me Dare! Do you remember me?” She stared at me, looking slightly confused and for one heart stopping minute, I thought I had made a mistake until I saw etches of recognition spread across her features and her face broke into a smile.
“Dare! Of course I remember you!” she said with enthusiasm. “Fancy seeing you after so many years.”
I told her how happy I was to have met her and asked if she would be interested in having a meal with me along with her teenage daughter.
“I’m afraid we have to hurry away. This one”, she said pointing to her daughter, ” said she wanted some shawarma from here and that she must have it from this restaurant. Her dad and brother are waiting for us at home. “
I must have appeared crestfallen because she asked for a rain check and gave me her number. I clutched it like a drowning man clutches a lifeline.
True to her word, we did have lunch together the next day. She was sorry to hear about my divorce but was not sympathetic to my part in it.
“You need to have more meaning in your life Dare. You need to get your life in order. You can only do this successfully if you have an encounter with God.”
I shrank back when she said this. There was no judgment in her tone but as a matter of principle I did not mix with religious people. I did not know that Salewa had become religious. That meant two things for me. Salewa and I were on different wavelengths and also if she was religious and married she would not be responsive to the idea of a romantic affair with me.
I knew that I did not have the answer to what I was looking for but I was certain religion wasn’t it. So I slow ghosted her and stopped responding to her messages. We had reconnected and lost that reconnection again. I had accepted it was not meant to be.
I made half- hearted attempts to bond with my children but they did not reciprocate. I suppose my prolonged absence in their early years did not do me any favours. I indulged in the occasional affairs . I sought new and lucrative business deals. I even left my job of so many years and opened up my own law firm. I did my best to numb the pain I felt. It had become very familiar to me and I even began to welcome it. At this point in my life; it had become all I knew. I could not see things changing in the next ten years.
To be continued…