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With a loud cry of pain, I woke up on the parlor couch. Beads of sweat coated my forehead and my whole body felt warm. As I lifted my head toward the old clock hanging on the wall, I knew I was running late for school so I hurried to get ready.

I pulled on a short gray sweater dress exposing a good portion of my body. Glancing at my appearance in the full-length mirror by my bed, I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to make it presentable. Grabbing the worn out edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from my bedside, I stuffed it inside my backpack and ran out of the house.

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After a brisk 10 minute walk, I was already on campus. I walked around the wall surrounding the building until I reached the dense area full of shrubs. I slowed my pace and took every step carefully as if walking on egg shells so
not to disturb the huge figure sitting in my favourite swing. He was the new boy in school. I tiptoed over to the clearing situated next to the shrubs and sat down on the ground, hiding myself behind a tall tree.

Pushing aside a thorny branch of thicket, I saw this manly figure swaying heavily alone in the swing. He wore a blue v-neck t-shirt which fitted tightly on his body. His hair was neatly shaved. I smiled at the sight. I loved the color of his shirt and the opening in the v-neck made me stare even more.

He pulled out a book to read and I noticed we were reading the same book. I forgot everything around me and just watched him swing–his strong legs made me feel good.

I looked up again to see him running his long fingers along the lines of the book while a smile bloomed slowly on
his face. By then, I had figured out that Pride and Prejudice was his favourite book too. I could see him reacting to every part that he read. Sometimes he would frown probably at the rudeness of Mr. Darcy and sometimes he would
smile, reading the cheesy declarations of love exchanged between Elizabeth and Darcy.

It wasn’t that I’d never thought of introducing myself but I just couldn’t make myself do it. I thought of him as a perfect gentleman that would think of me funny if I had done that. I felt if I went close to him I would taint him with my pain and sorrow. I felt content just sitting there and watching him read. I believed that I could carry on with my wretched life, only if I could see him there everyday.

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I clearly remember the day I discovered this place. It was around three years ago when my stepfather was drunk and attempted to molest me again. This time I decided to run away for good. The area around the school seemed safe and I
stumbled on to my favourite swing in this quiet place.

Seeing him there on my favourite swing calmed me. Day after day, I watched him read. Soon, days transformed into weeks and later into months. I would always find him there after school and he never noticed that I was watching him. He was my inspiration for school.

Unknowingly, he had helped me to heal my emotional scars from my step father’s abuses. Everyday the pain would hurt less than the previous day and everyday I would thank him in my mind. ‘Was it love?’ I wondered. ‘Is it possible to love someone who doesn’t even know I exist?’ I really didn’t want an answer. I just wanted him to be there and nothing else.

Then tragedy struck. When I went back he wasn’t there. I waited for him till late that evening but he never came, nor the next day after that.

I tried to find him in school but never succeeded. Later a friend informed me that he had moved to England. It was like all the breath was knocked out of me and the ground beneath me had been pulled away. I wasn’t able to comprehend why my life was taking one wrong turn after the other.

That evening I went back to the clearing with a heavy heart. I stood near the plants behind which I used to hide. I didn’t go any closer to the tree or the swing. It just didn’t feel right. For me, it was a sacred place, out of my reach. I just stood there, doing nothing. My mind and heart still hung on the hope that he would come back someday and then everything would fall back in its place. That was the last time I ever went there, until now. Today, I didn’t just stand behind the big tree. I walked toward the tree looking at the swing which perfectly symbolized my condition…broken beyond repair. The place felt dead to me. It was no more the sacred place that I held in my memories.

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But look, my hopeful heart was cheered. He had come back. But he was completely different. He didn’t come to read anymore. Instead, he hung out with the popular boys of the school. His hair was wrapped in a dread lock which I despised. His genuine smile that I had missed so much over the years was now replaced with a superficial gaze.
The change bothered me beyond imagination. I felt as if someone had taken a part of my soul and replaced it with a new one that was not me.

Suddenly, a realization hit me like a strong wave. I did love him; I laughed sadly. ‘What bad timing to realize this
after I’ve already lost him,’ I thought. Feeling my legs trembling, I sat down on the swing that had kept my memories alive and rested my head on the chain that bound the swing to the poles. I allowed the tears to escape from my eyes. I had not cried for a long time but at that moment I didn’t care.

Today I am lamenting for my lost love, the love that never knew me, the love that he had wasted by changing. Or was I crying for myself because I hadn’t changed? Or because I had?


FUNSCOPE

MAY – JUNE

Jan 20-Feb 18 (Aquarius)

Him: There is a balance between activities in your life but this balance might face a few hiccups as a friend or relative will test your resolve around the later part of this year. But don’t let it get to you. All in all, you’re holding your own very well!

Her: You are having some problems with focusing and staying with your schedules. Unfortunately, by the time you’re more focused, schedules between you and others might start conflicting, leading to an atmosphere of causal frustration but it won’t last.

Feb 19-March 19 (Pisces)

Him: Everything happening in your life now means that you have the luxury of taking it slow. New friendships are awash in security, and can only be diminished if you rush in with “future plans” before you’ve even thought them over. If it looks like you’re building something strong and solid, don’t stop halfway through and say “good enough.”

Her: Remember life is deceptive. All the possibilities missing in your life are because of YOU! With what you bring to the table, life could blossom into colorful career opportunities that you’d miss if you only looked at the surface.

March 20-April 19 (Aries)

Him: So why not get a jump on what life is offering? If a tricky problem arrives in your romance, workplace or finances, remember that you’ll do just fine! Like a beautiful and intricate spider web, you’re going to feel connected with others via various strands of communication.

Her: If you’re already working and satisfied with your job, you might find yourself making too big of a deal over little things. Every new expense, every out-of-the-way errand, and every difficult co-worker stands out like a sore thumb to you but remember you are stronger than your obstacles.

April 20 –May 20 (Taurus)

Him: This is going to increase your personal network. On the other hand, you could find that people who need your skills will be coming to you more often. While you definitely like to help now and again, you’re going to have to learn to say no occasionally if it severely interferes with your life.

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Her: Toward the end of the year, with a situation exerting its influence, you’ll gain a lot more perspective on how easy it is to manage challenges and come out ahead in the process.

May 21-June 21 (Gemini)

Him: In any committed relationship, feelings run deep. But on the surface this year, you might find that you and your partner are constantly busy making repairs of some kind. Whether it’s sorting out your mutual goals or just fixing up things around the house, your attention will be diverted from romance for a while. And yet, every apparently insignificant task will be a building block for a stronger union.

Her: The best part is that your physical stamina will be stronger toward the end of the year, especially when tough situations may seem permanent. You’re going to need that level of endurance, because you might have a lot to do for a while.

June 22-July 22 (Cancer)

Him: The Universe has plotted a way for you to reveal more of your inner self to your friends and family, but you’ll be getting something in return! The way you handle your interpersonal relationships with others means that difficulties within the home will be ironed out through the use of your own wisdom.

Her: The future is creating a unique aspect for business communication. After you retrograde on your past activities though, your best bet is to make casual conversation and learn all you can.

July 23-Aug 22 (Leo)

Him: The important thing to remember is every bit of information you receive will be helpful to you. Mostly this will involve how to handle or talk to difficult people, which will be worth a lot to you, both in your personal
life and your career. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Her: Very fortunately your constellations congregate and give you and your loved one a newer, fresh perspective on your romantic life. Small issues become even smaller, even insignificant, and now you’ll be able to find the strength to solve them rather than put them on the back burner

Aug 23-Sept 22 (Virgo)

Him: Who can guess when and where to broach a subject? It may have been difficult for you in times gone by, but now you and your beloved just might be able to read each other by nonverbal cues alone. The answer to every question, good and not so good, is half answered by the other person’s presence.

Her: You’re going to be in something of a quandary. You may be unsure if someone you’re seeing (or want to date) is interested in you romantically, but at the same time you can’t see this person seriously interested in anyone else.

Sept 23-Oct 22 (Libra)

Him: Still, while a lot of the responsibility may fall upon you to express your feelings more often, you can’t always guarantee that these expressions will go how you want them to.

Her: Even if you’re searching for work, your methods and ideas are apt to gain quite a bit of attention by your prospective employers. Start off with possibilities that almost leap into your lap, yet know your success depends on how well you think on your feet once the offers are made!

Oct 23-Nov 21 (Scorpio)

Him: Some of your more personal goals may take a while to achieve, but the path to solving them is strewn with solutions to questions you’d lost hope in answering. Your energy level may slide a little in periods here and there in the summer, but you’ve got enough going so that friends can carry you during those low points.

Her: If you play your cards right, you should weather a quiet period of inertia broken by occasional storms. A water trine gives you an additional boost in financial and career strength, but even with this, what you get out of it will depend on what you put into it. Give as much as you receive and you’re apt to receive one and a half times as much as what you put in!

Nov 22-Dec 21 (Sagittarius)

Him: The good news is that you actually gain a burst of energy with the advent of fall. Life will also favor you from now onward, giving your stamina a boost. It all comes to a pleasant crux with a Grand Fire Trine involving the
one dear to you. It will be granting you a calm sense of reason to process all the information you’ve received. If you have a grand question to ask, you’ll have your grand answer.

Her: Your strength in love at the beginning is going to manifest mostly in your ability to convince others with calm, wise words, and this is going to be highlighted the most in your relationship.

Dec 22-Jan 19 (Capricorn)

Him: For you, the year may seem like it gets off to a clumsy start when it comes to romance. For instance, Venus in Capricorn squares Mars in Libra on January 16, causing even the most promising pairing to stall. But this isn’t even close to permanent.

Her: The latter half of the year is dependent on you being more of a listener. It will only reinforce your need to be open minded and a good listener, waiting for information. There’s valuable information that you need to receive from your loved one, and compassion will be the key to the doorway of deeper understanding. Keep your eyes and ears open!


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This one may start off like it’s just for the ladies but fellas I think you can find a seat in this car as well. Let’s go! Ladies have you ever been sitting with your guy all lovey-dovey, and beaming like that sexy girl who found a new boy type of romance?

Monday

My newest catch and I were out to eat at a nice restaurant, when a very attractive young lady walked past our table
right in the middle of our conversation. Whatever I was saying suddenly changed into the teacher on the Charlie Brown cartoon. His focus was on this beautifully mean, horrible lady. I just walked out of the restaurant and took a
taxi home.

Tuesday

As I sat with guilty sweaty beads all over my face in fear that he might never call me, my phone rang and the voice
at the other end spoke with the quietness of a lamb, yet the authority of a soldier. He said, “Babe, I know this is new for you, being with me is a real challenge but you’ve got to make a choice,” and he hung up.

Wednesday

Today is Wednesday and I am still thinking seriously about what he told me. I am going to share this with my girls and hear from them. I am not calling him–though everything in me is hoping he will call.

Thursday

How dare she steal his attention from me, I am the woman of his dreams! Of course, he told me that. It was her fault that I was about to get the worst nightmare in more than twelve months. I must find her.

Friday

It is true that I had some old habits I developed before and I am of the understanding that I was changing slowly but I am now going back to ground zero. She will surely see the other side of me when we ever meet.

Saturday

Whether it is beauty, or control, she can never steal my man’s attention and go on without consequences. I have laundry and grocery shopping to do but my biggest problem now is to trace her and show her the stuff I possess.

Sunday

I might talk a lot about my man but what makes my conversations grow more mature is how I value the person in the middle of it. This is mainly because that person needs nourishment. I am making that call.


Dear Aunty Mamie

Dear Aunty Mamie,

It has been about two years since my step-father tried to set my mom on fire, leaving her with burn scars on her face. Every week my little brother and I anonymously write a letter to her saying how we think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, and we put it in the mailbox and every time she receives our mail she cries. We don’t want to see her cry but we also want to express our love to her. What do we do?
-Billy PA

Dear Billy,

She is not crying. She is actually excited because someone loves her even with her scars. She looks out for those letters so please don’t stop writing her. You also can tell her to her face, dear kids.


Dear Aunty Mamie,

My best friend’s new girlfriend whom he’s had a crush on for a long time, finally admitted that she “hates” me. I still want to be friends with him but I don’t want to be an obstacle between them.
-Sam MD

Dear Sam,

The fact that she has openly admitted that she hates you is enough for you to stay away from them. The friendship can be a distant friendship but in order to make your friend happy just keep a distance.


Dear Aunty Mamie,

My ex-husband asked me to re-marry him, after being divorced for over 10 years. I am still in love with him but our children are against the idea of remarriage. We were married when I was 19, divorced five years later on and then after 10 years our hearts are back together again.
-Felicia IL

Dear Felicia,

Follow your heart. If your heart leads you to remarry your ex-husband then follow it. Your children are only angry with their daddy for leaving you in the first place but they will understand what true love means if you both show it.


Dear Aunty Mamie,

Today, I was feeling very down while heading out to a family dinner because my boyfriend had just dumped me. However, I didn’t want my family to know yet because they are all wishing that I spent the rest of my live with this guy. How do I tell them that we have broken up.
Merlyn FL

Dear Merlyn,

You have to tell your family the truth before they hear it from someone else. Let them know that your boyfriend has dumped you and they can support you in your time of distress until you can find a man to make you happy again.


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Eric Nzeribe