Matthew and I met on the roadside. It was 6.13 pm—I remember distinctly because I had just gotten off work and wanted to catch a TV program at six-thirty. I was waiting for my Bolt ride to arrive when I saw him, Matthew, standing a few feet away on the curb. He had a white shirt on, rolled up at the sleeves and a loosely-tied paisley tie. Suitcase in hand and hopping from one foot to the other, he looked how I felt. We both couldn’t wait to get to our homes. A car finally pulls up—his—but in my haste, I made for the door handle just as he did and our eyes met. The butterflies in my stomach yawned with disinterestedness and realising I was in the wrong, pulled my hand away and apologised. He gave a patronising smile and asked what area I was headed. Now, two things made me answer that. One, he looked harmless enough. Two, my app just showed that my ride was still some ten minutes away—an eternity in my present condition—and I secretly hoped he would invite me to share his if he happened to be going my way. Call it luck or anything but we lived ten minutes away from each other and sure enough, he invited me to join him and we were soon on our way.
The courtship, the proposal and a silver-white wedding.
Matthew isn’t the kind of guy I thought I’d end up with but he said all the right words in that car and made the funniest jokes on the subsequent dates we had. He switched smoothly between seriousness and goofiness. What he lacked in looks, he made up for in personality and after seven months of an unbelievably beautiful relationship, he got down on one knee. A month later, we were married and then, everything changed. Poco a poco.
When we returned from the honeymoon, we threw ourselves back into our work, trying to pick up the two-week slack. I like to think that’s why I chalked it up to stress in those first days—the quiet nights and rocky mornings that aren’t reminiscent of newlyweds; the coldness that flashed in his eyes when they met me and the distance I felt when we made love. Countless times, I tried to reach him and talk but “everything was always okay”. I had never quite gotten comfortable living with him—he never gave us that chance—and now, I wasn’t sure how to be around him.
In the time I have had to think, it was strange how smoothly our pre-wedding relationship had gone; strange how I missed the humongous red flag of a man who was just too perfect; stranger still was the man who was snoring gently beside me—my husband, about whom I realised I truly knew little.