Paula reaches out to her childhood friend and “besto” Mami and leaves a voice note“ Hi Mami, I know it’s been a while since we caught up, can we do lunch at 1 pm at the mall on Saturday? Sis, I need your wise counsel as always and indeed, right now, I need it more than ever before. See you on Saturday…Love Paula”. She is torn by indecision and needs to share her confusion but first, some background about Paula.
Paula is a Medical Practitioner with a thriving practice in the metropolis. At 54, she is the proud mother of two young adults the second of whom graduated recently. She is in an unhealthy marriage with Chuma who persists in abusing her emotionally. Paula considered exiting the marriage a couple of times but resisted the urge to do so on the basis of societal opinion and pressure.
On Saturday, Paula meets up with Mami at their favorite spot in the mall and settles down to tell her story.
“ Hey, Sis, maybe if you had accompanied me to Nonso’s grad six months ago, I wouldn’t be in the predicament I find myself in now”. She continues “On that day, I had parked in the parking lot of the University and headed toward the auditorium when I remembered that Nonso’s congratulatory card and gift were in the car, so I turned back abruptly only to bump into a stately-looking gentleman who was also hurrying towards the auditorium. After a quick exchange of apologies, we introduced ourselves and he volunteered to accompany me to the car to retrieve the forgotten items. Needless to say, we returned to the auditorium in each other’s company and sat out the entire ceremony in engrossing conversation. Our conversation revealed that my new acquaintance- Bernard, is a widowed Endocrinologist with three children, the last of whom was graduating in the same set as Nonso. We share mutual interests and by the end of the ceremony, it was clear to us both, that we enjoyed each other’s company. We exchanged complimentary cards and I made a mental note to limit the level of our interaction because I felt some attraction to him which I intuitively knew was mutual. Afterall. I am a married woman now.
However, two months on, while attending to a patient who requires an Endocrinologist, Bernard readily came to mind since, during that period, we had exchanged short telephone conversations. I referred the patient and agreed to meet to discuss the patient’s treatment regimen in Bernard’s office at his instance. Since then, I have spoken to him almost on a daily basis and had a few lunch dates. Mami, Bernard is such a gentleman, I look forward to our conversations and honestly, he treats me like a queen, and makes me feel special. I feel completely at peace with him and loved. The best thing about it is he professes his love for me and he is so transparent. What we feel is mature love and understanding”.
Mami interjects saying “Slow down Paula. I have a couple of questions –
- It is clear to me you have been swept off your feet but are you certain he feels the same about you?
- Does Chuma know about this …friend?
- What do you think the boys will say or feel?
- What are Buba’s expectations regarding the relationship?
- Have you truly evaluated your feelings for Chuma and have you given your relationship your all”?
Paula responds with a deep sigh and says ”Trust me, sis, I am caught in a web because my relationship with Chuma is routine. He is recalcitrant and my life with him is bland and void of emotions. My feelings for him are dead and I live a dreary life. Bernard on the other hand excites me and I have tested him and believe his love to be true. However, my upbringing prevents me from getting more involved with Bernard unless I am divorced. The question is should I follow my heart and leave the known for the unknown? Will such a move negatively impact the children? I hope not because they had over the years, criticized their father’s treatment of me. Don’t I deserve some happiness”?
Mami responds by letting out a deep breath…” Whoa, Paula, this sure was unexpected and I am short of words. I will pray for God’s wisdom to guide my utterance and hope to advise by our next meeting on Saturday. Now, smile and let’s order our lunch. God makes everything right in his own time”.
If you were Mami, what would you advise Paula to do in the circumstances? Please send your responses in to assist Mami with her advice.