It was the morning after my wedding night and there I was pacing up and down the balcony of our honeymoon suite. I could feel my pointed nose twitching. My heart pounding. I was losing my mind. Why did he do this? How could he? No! No! No! This can’t be happening to me, I said to myself in gentle little sobs. My eyes had been watery all morning and it was the morning after my wedding night. Wasn’t I supposed to still be in bed savouring the moment; enjoying the sweet cuddle of my day-old husband on the same bed, thrusting his lips and tongue into mine and mine into his and doing all the things that newly weds do on honeymoon? But here I was. There was no honey in the moon. Nothing left except rage.
Too many things kept running through my mind at the same time. He was a nice man before our wedding, sweet and reasonable. He was a gentleman. He was my world, but that world is crashing right before my eyes and I don’t really know what to do
I still had my ring on. The 20 carat white gold with a 14 carat diamond, cut in an oval shape sitting gracefully in the middle was still on my finger.
I was surprised it was still there. It was custom made by my father-in-law, who was a goldsmith. It made my friends green with envy.
Only days ago, I wanted it on with the speed of light, but now it is a symbol of rage. I want it off and he is all to blame for it. How could he? I thought I knew him too well but not anymore. Can I be safe around him? I asked myself over and over again.
As I kept pondering on what to say or do to possibly end the one-day marriage, I also thought of what to do with the many gifts we received. Almost all of them were yet to be opened and had been sent to the house we would have called home.
A couple of days back, I thought of how lovely it would be to be, sitting together and unwrapping them. We even had thank you notes specially designed and these would have been sent out to the many guests who helped to make our dream wedding a reality.
They will be disappointed though, to find out that the new seed of marriage they helped to plant might not bear the desired fruits after all.
How about the many pictures from the wedding our friends had posted on Facebook and Instagram? How will the many friends and family members who were tagged in these posts feel when they learn that it’s all over? It was a charade after all they may think. My initial thought was to delete the pictures immediately, but “what will be my response when they ask why”, I asked myself. Since there was no concrete answer yet, I trashed the thought.
There were also text messages from my very close friends seeking to know how my first night went.
Adjoa in a WhatsApp message asked “was it painful or bittersweet,” with an excited emoticon at the end.
One from Yaa sought to know if it was as magical as hers was the first time. “Did you lose yourself in the moment. If you didn’t, then, it wasn’t magical after all. But no worries love, it’ll happen,” she assured.
It was Pam’s text that got me even more angry. While I do not blame her for anything that happened the night before I couldn’t also shrug off this thought about Pam taking a tiny part of the blame for turning my wedding night and marriage into a dirge. “Did my special concoction work? And oh, is he…you know what I mean…endowed and powerful as all African men should be?” Pam asked in the text message. “Yes it worked perfectly.. stupid! And oo he is a superman. That’s what you wanted to know right?” I said to myself with a rage never seen before. I threw the phone at the wall and watched it break into pieces and threw myself on a bed in the guest room, buried my face under the pillow and drenched it with tears.
I kept crying. In my moment of darkness and loneliness everything kept flashing back over and over again.
It took two years to plan this wedding. My husband – then fiancé – and I, wanted a simple but exquisite wedding. We didn’t want it all over the place so we took our time, planned every step. From the food, chairs, colour, cake even the car I would ride into the venue of the wedding was carefully chosen. We hired a good planner and step by step we, together with my mother and soon-to-be mother in law, made sure no stone was left unturned.
And it turned out to be one of the most memorable times of my life. So much so that if even this marriage ended, the memories of my wedding – from the engagement through to the white wedding- will not be easily forgotten.
My mother-in-law to be, whose only child I was marrying could not have enough of it all. At a point I felt bad for the planner. The poor woman had not met any woman as troublesome, demanding and a sucker for perfection as Auntie Julie, as she loves to be called.
When she couldn’t take it anymore, the planner called my fiancé and demanded that his mother be ‘caged’ otherwise, he’d have to make a choice between the two of them. Of course that was impossible, but my mother-in-law had the reprimand of her life. One that was enough to keep her somewhat measured throughout the entire process.
Those were very interesting times. But truth be told it was her constant interjections and quest for perfection laced with my mother’s chorus about “it is my daughter’s wedding oo, you better not mess it up for her” that made the wedding a successful one.
I am certain that the about 300 guests who attended the wedding will talk about it for a very long time. No wonder the pictures and videos circulating on social media continue to receive likes hours after the wedding.
I smiled as I reminisced on these developments and instantly, I missed my mother-in-law. An amazing woman she is, but I don’t want to think about how she’ll feel when the news about an iminent divorce reaches her.
But well, let me not lose track.
It all happened on the night of our wedding. After all the fun, eating and dancing, the pictures, selfies and the excitement, something that still beats my understanding happened.
I woke up the next morning with body ache – that’s understandable considering the amount of dancing and fun I had – but it’s the swelling of my private part and the throbbing pain I was feeling at that area that caused me to panic.
I don’t exactly recall how I ended up in bed, but I do remember being carried off the dancing floor by my husband. I wasn’t intoxicated – well, I don’t remember taking in any alcohol – but I recall I took a drink from Pam.
Yes, Pam. Her so-called concoction. A drink, she claims everyone testified to when they had it on their wedding night.
“This is something special for you,” Pam said when I joined her and our two other friends at their table during the wedding dinner.
“It is a special something something. Don’t ask me what it’s made of, just say thank you later,” she grinned as she poured the contents of the little bottle into my drink.
Yaa – the cautious one among us – expressed disapproval. “Pam, don’t give her that…”
“Oh please madam goody goody, don’t give us a sermon. Plus, this isn’t harmful Adjoa had it on her wedding night, she didn’t die did she,” Pam interrupted.
“Hahaha, guys…guys relax,” Adjoa burst into laughter as she attempted to defend Pam. “See, I had this on my wedding night and nothing happened to me. It’s still one of the most memorable moments of my life. I loved every moment of it.”
“So babes,” she got up and took a seat by me, “this will only make the whole process worthwhile and believe me, you will never forget this day,” she added.
With that, I placed an assuring hand on Yaa and said “I’ll be fine. You’re too careful, learn to live a little.” I gave her a hug and took a sip of the drink I had no idea from what it was made.
“It’s sweet,” I said, but what exactly is it? Sugar and water”, I asked.
Pam burst out into laughter. “Do you know what makes coca-cola what it is, but you drink it regardless, right? Just have fun love, today is your day and we’re all here to make it unforgettable.”
So I gulped down the remains of my drink and we got to the dance floor.
That’s the only moment I could recall vividly.
But as it turned out, I felt unconscious and had to be carried to bed by my husband. According to my him, he was forced to carry me off the dance floor with my friends because I was acting quite unusual but I fell unconscious before he could get me to the bedroom.
Luckily, a medical doctor friend of ours who was at the wedding was called in and he allayed fears of it being anything dangerous. He said I’d probably just had too much alcohol and that I should be fine by morning.
He said when he questioned what I had taken, I replied, but he didn’t understand what I meant by “something sweet.” So he undressed me and put me to bed and while he narrated what happened afterwards, my jaw dropped.
My husband said, although I had passed out, he could not resist the temptation to have me. He said he had waited for the moment for too long to let it go.
“So, I had sex with you while you were unconscious.”
I gaped in awe at the thought that my husband still had the urge to sleep with me in the state that I was.
“Babe, you know this is the night we’ve been waiting for and I simply couldn’t wait,” he pleaded when he noticed the shock on my face.
After a long pause, not knowing how to respond to the news that has caused me to suddenly lose my voice, I cleared my throat and asked “you mean, you couldn’t wait for me to wake up.
“How could you? I was unconscious. Technically dead and you went ahead to have sex with me? Even if you didn’t mind having sex to a corpse, it didn’t also occur to you that you were raping me? This is rape, you’ve raped me. I can’t believe you…”, then the tears started flowing…which I hated, I just could not believe what had happened.
Shockingly, he didn’t understand why I was, in his words, “overreacting.” For him, because we were married, he had the right to my body and found my reaction surprising.
“You cannot say that I have raped you, we are married, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with having you. I don’t need your consent.”
When I heard those words,I felt as though every neuron in my brain had gone for a break, shutting down my entire system and for a moment I thought the sky had gone dark.
While the things he said shocked me, it was his lack of understanding of the issue.The fact that no matter how married we are, he needs my consent before sex.
And that my privacy had been invaded and my body violated and mutilated.
I found it totally unacceptable that he didn’t see anything wrong with what he had done and actually thought I was overreacting. That is what got me to the balcony and later into the guest room.
And to make matters worse, My mother thought I was being too dramatic over what was really a non-issue.
When I called her to inform her about what had happened, she thought I was just being too full of myself.
“I have told you to stop this your feminism or whatever you people call it nowadays. The actual world is different from what you people want it to be.
“He’s your husband and should have access to you anytime he feels like it. You cannot stop him. So shut up, go cook something for your husband to eat and stop whining,” my mother said.
I froze on the phone. For some seconds I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Eventually, I managed a “thank you” and ended the call and was shattered all the more.
For some reason, my mother decided to call my mother-in-law, who immediately called to check if I was okay. She brought a tinge of sanity into my miserable day-old marriage and was even willing to get me a psychologist.
“If it was me he did that to, I’d have walked away the very moment I found out. That is totally unacceptable. Take heart, I will speak to him,” she assured before ending the call.
I think her reprimand worked. Later that evening, my husband apologised for his actions and promised not to ever repeat it. He also pleaded with me not to call for an end to the marriage because if I did, his world will come crashing.
But wasn’t mine crashed already? I felt my husband had no regard for my feelings at the time he undertook the act, because if he did, there was no way he’d have done that. I have nothing left for him but rage and a nice mother-in-law who I could not afford to disappoint.
I’m torn between leaving him and accepting his apology or staying and not trusting him..What should I do?