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Marriage is Not a Bed of Roses It Needs Love & Compromise to be Successful
Nothing Can Break a Strong Bond of Love
Cyril Sullivan woke up by six o’clock in the morning. Agatha was already awake by five thirty and was cleaning up the kitchen. She had spent the night with Cyril because of their plan to visit Cyril’s parents in the village. When she was through with her cleaning, she made coffee and brought a cup to Cyril in bed.
Good God, he is handsome, she thought as she took another considering survey of his face.
“I want you to pack a few things we’ll need in the village,” Cyril said as he took the coffee from her.
As he took the first sip, Agatha suddenly said: “Cyril, I don’t want to go with you.”
“Why? We agreed I’ll take you to the village today, so you can meet my parents?”
“Yes, I know. But I’ve changed my mind.”
She was worrying about something and he was determined to find out what it was. “You can talk to me,” Cyril implored. “I love you, remember? We shouldn’t have any secret between us.”
She would’ve loved to inform him of her daughter, but there seemed no chance for that now. Things were happening too fast. She couldn’t go to the village, where she stays with her mother. The sheer embarrassment of that was almost unthinkable. Having a teenage daughter was a problem she refused to acknowledge before now. She believed she was better off living her life as though the tragedy never happened. Now she realized that you’re never truly free of the past.
“Tell me what’s bothering you, Agatha. Let’s talk it over.” She had all the time in the world, before midnight to express her feeling.
Agatha sighed. No. she couldn’t share this with anyone, not even Cyril –not yet, at least, even though keeping it from him was the hardest thing she’d ever done. Like so many other times in her life, she’d reached a cross road.
Could she tell Cyril of her baby? Should she keep quiet and go on pretending she didn’t exist? If Cyril was told, how would he react to the news?
Continuing that light and slow stroking, he said, “You can talk to me, babe. I’m here for you. You can tell me anything.”
Still Agatha didn’t speak, she only hunched her shoulders and curled into a ball, Cyril felt more helpless than ever. By the time the first soft sounds of crying came, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer. He encountered no resistance, either then or when he began to rock her, holding her tightly while she cried.
“What is it, darl…?” Cyril whispered. “You can tell me.”
She’d hurt many people. Disappointed many, but always survived the guilt, knowing their hurt and disappointment would fade. She had survived many occasions by avoiding the issue and letting it simmer beneath the surface. The method never resolved anything, but at least it kept the peace.
“It’s awful,” Agatha sobbed.
“Nothing can be so awful between us.”
“You’ll hate me. You’ll be so disappointed.”
“Love is about accepting weaknesses along with strengths; the good and the bad. It’s about forgiving mistakes.”
She hiccupped. Cyril reached for his handkerchief and pressed it into her hand. Agatha was silent, but she made no move to free herself from Cyril’s hold. Rather she clung to him.
Cyril had never felt the responsibility for another person that he felt for Agatha. His relationship with Maryann had been one of two people leading very different lives, coming together for pleasure then parting.
With Agatha it was different. She was a wonderful lover but vulnerable in ways Maryann had never been. He liked it when she smiled at him, when she leaned against him for the pleasure of the closeness or raised her face for a kiss. He felt more of a man with her than he’d ever felt, and that made him want to do everything to protect her.
“I’ve had lovers. God knows I’ve had lovers, but they never gave me anything more than physical satisfaction. You give me more, Agatha. You fill up my mind.”
“I can’t carry this around all by myself anymore. I’m tired, Cyril. I’m sick of pretending. I need to level with you about something that happened to me long time ago. When I was young and stupid.”
“What happened?” Cyril asked anxiously.
“I was impregnated by a rapist, when I was fifteen. I have a daughter living with my mother in the village.”
He couldn’t seem to comprehend what she was telling him. He stared at her with a look of astonishment on his face. He tightened his grip on her. She’d a child and she never mentioned it all this while until now he was ready to introduce her to his parents as his fiancé? He used to believe he and Agatha were equally committed to their relationship. Now, he realized that from the start, it had been lopsided. He gave a hundred percent; she held things back.
“Please tell me more.”
“Her name is Lydia and she is eight.” She opened her purse and brought out the picture of a beautiful young girl smiling into the camera. He stared at the photograph. The girl was like Agatha’s clone.
Somehow, Cyril dredged up his voice. “And you never mentioned it to me all these years? I can’t believe you kept this from me for three years,” he challenged. “You knew you had a child and kept it to yourself.”
She stared at him, frightened by his sudden outburst. She looked so mystified by the question. It was something difficult to tell. I wasn’t proud of what happened. I didn’t want you to know I’d had a child before.”
“Why did you not commit abortion?”
“We are Catholics and it is forbidden. My mother encouraged me to have the baby. I was in the secondary school then. After I delivered the baby, my mother took charge and I went to complete my secondary school education before proceeding to the university.”
“This is shocking.”
She moved toward Cyril, but he moved away.
“You don’t make a lifelong commitment to someone while holding back such a thing. You’d had a child before. I deserve to know.”
“I agree. I’m sorry. But why would I sabotage my chances with you. I love you dearly; I was scared of losing you.”
Suddenly, he couldn’t look at her anymore. The sight of her took him apart. Only moments earlier, he was ready to introduce her to his parent as his fiancé. Now he wasn’t sure of what to do.
He stood and walked to the door. He had his hand on the doorknob when she said, “Cyril, wait please. Don’t walk away from me. I can’t live without you, don’t abandon me now,” she wept.
He turned back to her. “You should have trusted me with the truth.” For a long moment they faced each other. Cyril looked stiffly unapproachable and Agatha stricken with remorse. Sitting downcast, she realized that keeping things from the person you love could not be done without cost. It felt as if a giant hand was squeezing her heart.
The discovery about her past stirred up a storm of doubt and confusion in Cyril. She’d had a child for heaven’s sake, and she never mentioned it. What else was she hiding? How much did he really know about the woman he loved, he pondered.
“Please came and sit down, let’s talk this over.”
All he wanted to do was to get away from her, to find some private place where he could think about the bomb that had been dropped into his lap and figure out what to do about it but he went and sat down.
“Listen, we’ve had many laughs. You’re a great guy and you’ve been good to me. I admire you for what you have done for me. I love you with my whole heart. But it was wrong to keep this from you. I should have told you the truth instead of hiding it. I wish I had,” she said, her eyes dark with contrition. Despite all her efforts, tears escaped and trailed down her cheeks. “Armed robbers invaded our house that fateful night, stole all we had, killed my father and raped me. That was how we left Lagos to our village. My mother found out three months later that I was pregnant. She encouraged me to have the baby because as Catholics it was against our faith to commit abortion.”
The sadness in her voice made him forget his irritation. The tears in her eyes nearly took him apart. He became annoyed with himself. What happened was not really Agatha’s fault. She was only a victim. Cyril’s anger died as quickly as it had flared.
He smiled at her gently, and then closed his arms around her. “It’s going to be all right, sweetheart,” he promised in a husky whisper. “We can fight and disagree but nothing ever breaks our strong bond of love,” he said.
She embraced him with tenderness and gratitude for forgiving her, and in the aftermath of passion, she held him close and refused to let him go. He grabbed her again, loving the feel of her in his arms. As he held her, he became more and more convinced that they were meant for each other.
“Clean up and get packed, I’m taking you to my parent. I want to continue with my plan of marrying you.”