How did we get here?
How does one go from ‘You are my life’ to a point of indifference?
Try as I could, I couldn’t see the point where everything went to hell. Was it between getting my Masters and juggling two kids and work? I dunno. I don’t even know when he began coming home late from work or even when he stopped eating my meals. I was Rip van Winkle, it felt like I had been asleep for so long only to wake up and find that everything had gone to hell. I brought it up to him, and though it felt like we were two different people who were just cohabiting, we agreed on one thing, we needed to sort it out, fast.
We began to see Dr Dede, a therapist, his brother swears by him. He says, ‘Any relationship that Dr Dede can’t help is gone.’
I think seeing a marriage counselor/therapist is cliché, something white movies are made of. My mother said to me, ‘You don’t go to outsiders to fix your marriage, you fix it yourself.’ But this was before I got married, before I knew that two people who loved themselves so much could suddenly and for no reason drift apart.
This is what Dr Dede said, ‘You don’t have any problems. You’ve just allowed life to take so much of your time. You exert so much energy trying to be the perfect parents, the perfect employers and you forget to be there for each other. Most couples do this; they stop being lovers and just become two strangers existing alongside each other. With time, the more vulnerable ones find their attentions wandering.’ ‘A second honeymoon’, he said. ‘You need to rediscover yourself. Go back to being the people you both fell in love with, not Mr and Mrs Jesse.’
We agreed on Paris.
Paris is different during Christmas. The snow made everything white, beautiful and sparkling. Christmas dressings and appealing window displays were springing up around the city, trees lining the Champs-Elysses were swatted with myriads of Christmas lights and at night time, the Eiffel tower lit up the skyline with its shimmering lights. Everyone was covered in layers and layers of clothing just to keep warm.
We spent our days exploring. At first, we were two strangers getting along with each other. But Paris began to weave its spell around us and slowly, that ice chasm between us began to thaw. There were days spent exploring Paris like two teenagers, laughing, giggling and loving, nights spent in fevered excitement.
We ushered in the New Year on a boat floating down the Seine. The boat was called ‘Belle’, and it looked exactly like its name, Beautiful. It was decorated with so many lights that from afar it looked like a moving constellation. There were lots of champagne and chocolate and lots of finger food going around. Some musicians played by the corner of the float adding more life to the festivities. All around were revelers bundled up in layers of clothing to keep warm, some dancing to the music or just simply standing and nursing their drinks.
We weren’t doing any of that, we stood, wrapped around each other, a clock struck somewhere signifying midnight and fireworks began to go off - it was a New Year. He smiled at me and whispered, ‘Bonne Anne, mon Perle.’ His tongue flickered lightly over my ear lobe and I burst into a fit of giggles. Lifting me into the air, he twirled me around playfully, while I screeched with delight, then he put me down and we turned to watch the fireworks displays. The night sky was lit up with different colors especially in the direction of the Champ-Elysees and the Eiffel tower. Some of the revelers on the float had also brought fireworks and as they lit those, the air was filled with different sounds and light…
‘You are my life,’ he whispered.
It felt good hearing those words after so long. It turned out that Dr Dede was right. What we needed was some time off, away from it all. It didn’t matten’t matter where we spent the time off, what mattered was that we found ourselves, reconnect. To go back to the beginning when we were lovers first.
‘You are my life,’ I replied.