A Love of Convenience! 15: Sunday Morning

27
1778

I eventually find my way to my bed, and I do not get up from there for the next few days. I ignore my ringing phone and only venture out of bed for urgent toilet breaks. I do not eat, I do not sleep, I don’t even think. I just lie there, the emptiness I feel lying on my chest like a boulder.

It isn’t until Wednesday, when Mia and a few friends from work somehow find a way to sweep past the doormen and bang frantically on my door, that I manage to get out of bed. I am tempted to ignore them at first, but when I overhear them making plans to get the Building Superintendent to force the door open, I reluctantly give in.

Letting them in, the girls are sympathetic over my supposed sick condition, but one look at Mia and I can tell that she has figured out what has truly happened, especially with Dili conspicuously absent. She stays after the others have left, after which I break down in her arms. She remains with me for the rest of the day, forcing me to eat my first meal in days.

“I don’t want to leave you alone.” she says, when she reluctantly has to leave at about 11pm. “I could call Todd to let him know I’ll be staying with you for a few days?”

I smile and shake my head. “I’m fine. I guess I just needed to mourn for a little bit…to get it out of my system. I’ll be at work tomorrow.”

“You know you don’t have to. I could let Pierre know you’re feeling unwell, and I’m sure you could get at least another week off.”

“I need to get out of this house.” I answer. “I can’t keep lying on my bed, crying over something I never had. I need to get busy again.”

Mia envelopes me in another hug. “I’m here for anything you need, babes. If you ever need company, I’m only a phone call away.”

I am grateful for her concern, and when I am alone in my apartment again, I almost wish I had taken her up on her offer, as the silence and emptiness hits me with strength renewed. Standing at my door, the still and quiet of the apartment taunts me almost. As I walk down the hallway, my eyes fall on Dili’s empty bedroom and it is like a fresh stab in my heart. In the living room, there is an outline on the coffee table where his laptop used to be. Sitting on the couch, I can actually still smell him there. It is the most gut wrenching paradox; having him absent but yet oh so present.

I allow my mind wander to what he could be doing at that very moment. I wonder where he and Onyeka are staying…if he is happier finally being alone with the woman he loves…if he misses me…or if he even thinks about me at all. I imagine both of them house hunting for a new apartment, and I wonder if they will decide to remain in Manhattan or move to the suburbs…or even Atlanta, like Onyeka said. I wonder if he will proceed with the divorce regardless of his permanent card not yet being ready. I wonder how soon they will get married after the divorce pulls through. A year? A few months? A couple of weeks? The same day?

As fresh tears roll down my face, I decide that I can no longer live like this. I will no longer waste any tears on him. I have to revert my heart, mind, body and soul to how they were before he blew into my life. I need to eliminate every and anything that reminds me of him.

The next day, I decide against going to the office but this time have the decency to call my boss. He is very sympathetic about my feigned illness and happily agrees to give me some days off.

But instead of continuing to lie in bed and wallow, I decide to purge my home of every trace of Okwudili Dike. I strip the sheets in both his bedroom and mine, and rather than throw them in the washing machine, I proceed to bag and trash the lot. I fish out my older sheets, even those already laundered and folded, and trash them as well. I trash towels, throw pillows, anything that could have his scent. When I am done, I proceed to attack the furniture with odour eliminating sprays, literally emptying a whole canister on the living room sofa alone. But when even after all the spraying, I can still smell his annoying signature Davidoff scent, I know I have to take desperate measures.

I call a U-Haul truck and when they arrive, I have them remove almost every stitch of furniture in my house; the sofas in the living room, Dili’s bed, my bed, even the coffee table in my living room and my dining table and chairs. Riding with the Movers down the Utility Elevator, I have no idea where they will be conveying the furniture to, but upon getting downstairs and sighting Tomas, I decide there wouldn’t be a better recipient than my dear doorman.

“All of this for me?” he exclaims. “Are you moving?”

“Just making a few changes!” is my cheery answer to him. I find this act of expunging and exfoliating ever so therapeutic and can almost see the rainbow at the end of this very dark storm.

“Wow! Thank you so much!” Tomas says, beside himself with emotion. “Camila will be over the moon!”

“Consider it a late wedding gift!” I say, smiling at him.

“You and Mr. Dili already gave us a lovely gift, Ma’am.”

At the mention of his name, my good mood evaporates like the wind.

“Were you here when he left on Sunday?” I hear myself asking.

He nods. “I helped call a cab for him and his sister.”

Ah yes. We had introduced Onyeka as Dili’s ‘sister’.

“Did he tell you where they were going?” I can’t help to probe further.

“He did ask me to recommend a good hotel.” Tomas answers, unable to hold my gaze. “I suggested a nice one in SoHo that Camila likes a lot.”

At that point, I restrain myself from asking any more questions, knowing I gain nothing from knowing where Dili and Onyeka are lodged. What use is exorcising myself of almost all my furniture if I still keep my mind fixated on him?

Returning to my apartment, I am finally hit by the impact of my impulsiveness as, save for the window drapes, is almost as stark as the day Seth and I bought it.

So I pack a small bag and head to The Hyatt, where I proceed to book a luxury room for a few days. That night, I order new furniture online and return to my apartment when they are delivered that weekend. But that night, even lying on my brand new bed in my brand new sheets…Dili’s presence is still as strong as ever.

I miserably go through the rest of that weekend, and return to the office the following Monday. Being back at work is good for me, as it finally gives me the escapism I need. I throw myself headlong into it, working till very late at night, and when I return home, I don’t even turn on the lights, desperate to keep thoughts of Dili at bay. I work weekends as well, leaving my apartment as early as 8am on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Unlike the past when my long hours away were the result of me running away from Dili, this time I am running away from my own thoughts and memories which, when I am alone, are so strong and overpowering they almost drive me crazy.

The weeks soon roll by, and on July 11, my birthday, I awake with the cold and stark reminder that I am 39 years old…only a year separating me from the grand old age of 40! I am in no mood for the office banter and festivities that accompany birthdays, especially as I know there will be jokes about it being the last year of my ‘sexy thirties’, or how I am on the cusp of middle age, so I decide to stay home instead. Thankfully, my apartment no longer feels like a haunted house, so I am able to enjoy a few hours of mindless, morning television.

Later that afternoon, I decide to take a stroll to our…my…favourite pattiserie and perhaps order a few cupcakes to binge on, if only for today. As I put on my wig, I am hit by a sudden wave of awareness, wondering why on earth I have been hiding under purchased human hair for years. In another wave of impulse, I drop the very expensive head of hair in my bin and proceed to take out my cornrows. My hair is bushy and overgrown beneath, and so I tie a scarf before leaving the house.

My first port of call is an Afro-Carribean hair salon a few blocks away, where they proceed to treat and trim my unruly natural hair, taming it into a short and manageable afro. Cupcakes forgotten, I prance around Manhattan for the first time in ever, in my own natural hair…and it feels liberating.

After wandering around aimlessly for a couple of hours, I return to my apartment and am shocked to find Seth waiting for me in the lobby, bunch of flowers in hand.

“Happy birthday, Ezi!” he exclaims happily.

I gasp in amazement. “What are you doing here? You didn’t tell me you were coming!”

“I wanted to surprise you. I’ve already been to the office and was told you didn’t come in today.”

“But you’ve never surprised me on my birthday!” I exclaim, still surprised to see him there. “I can’t believe you rode 12 hours on the train just to do this!”

“It turns out it’s only 2 hours by plane!” he teases. “Are we going to chat here, or are you going to invite me up?”

Riding up to the apartment, we chat amicably and I find myself pleased to have his company. As liberating as my afternoon activities have been, it still feels good to have someone around.

“I love your hair!” Seth says, as I open the apartment door. “I’m glad you finally decided to ditch your weaves.”

Seth had always said how much he preferred my natural hair to my wigs, but I’d never taken him seriously, thinking he knew just as little about black women and our hair preferences as I did about his Jewish beliefs. Since I had no intention of learning about the latter, I ensured he also didn’t encroach on the former.

“Thanks!” I say, smiling from ear to ear. “It feels so good not to have that weight on my head…literally.”

“You changed the furniture?” he remarks as he walks into the living room, and I remember that we’d purchased the former set together when we’d just moved into the place.

“Yeah.” I answer. “I kind of wanted a change.”

He nods in understanding. “Mia told me that you and your husband broke up. I’m sorry to hear that.”

I shrug, trying to appear non-challant, unwilling to be dragged into any conversation about my fake husband and fake marriage.

“Actually, I’m not sorry.” he suddenly says. “In fact, I’m downright pleased. When Mia told me, I got on a plane almost immediately.”

“You mean this isn’t just you surprising me on my birthday?” I ask, my brow raised.

“It is.” He answers. “But it’s also me trying to fix one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life. Losing you was my worst mistake, Ezi. My life has no meaning without you.”

“Seth, we’ve been over for four years…” I mutter, not quite knowing what to say.

“Four of the worst years of my life!” he says, taking my hands. “I love you, Ezi. I want to be with you forever. Come back with me. Come back to Durham with me!”

I stare at him and realize I’m not scandalized or flabbergasted by his request. Instead the idea actually takes root in my mind, the idea of a change of environment not sounding bad at all.

And then I make the most spontaneous of decisions ever.

“Okay.” is all I answer.

His eyes light up in what I realize is shock, as he clearly didn’t expect me to agree so easily. “Yes, you’ll come to Durham?”

“Yes, I will!” I answer, even more sure of my decision. “I could maybe even take a course. I’ve always wanted to study more of Creative Writing.”

“I could even get you a Teaching Assistant position!” he exclaims, his shock becoming excitement. “Oh my goodness, Ezi! Are you serious?”

Nodding at him, I can feel the same lightness I felt after cutting my hair that afternoon. The thought of leaving town and starting my life somewhere new seems to me like the logical way to move on from the Dili fiasco.

Seth and I spend the rest of the evening talking about our plans, and that night, lying in his arms on my bed, even though it is not as earth shattering as it was with Dili, it feels comfortable and familiar. And I realize that is just what I need.

He spends another day with me before leaving for Durham, and we agree that I will join him at the end of the month. The hardest part is giving my notice at work, where my bosses engage me in a series of back-to-back meetings trying to make me change my mind, and even offering to double whatever I have been offered elsewhere. When I am able to convince them that I am not leaving for a rival firm but Grad School, they offer me a sabbatical leave, which is good enough for me.

The rest of the time passes in a whirlwind, with several farewell lunches and drinking sessions with different groups of friends. But as bitter-sweet as saying goodbye is, I realize I am excited about starting a brand new life. I pack up my designer clothes and send them to storage, and replace them with more conservative clothing better appropriate for my new life in the academia. But one thing I refuse to give up is my apartment. I refuse to even let it out and decide to just lock it up and consider it my Manhattan getaway for whenever I’ll need it.

On my last night, as I prepare to write my final article for the Manhattan Buzz, I look around at my suitcases, all packed and ready for my morning flight to Durham, North Carolina, and it feels bitter sweet. I know I will miss my lovely apartment and my wonderful Manhattan life. But the time has come for me to make a change in my life.

 

For my song for the day, I decide on the same one I used for my very first article, Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning.

Sunday Morning (Maroon 5) – July 30, 2016

Sunday morning, rain is falling
Steal some covers, share some skin
Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable
You twist to fit the mold that I am in
But things just get so crazy, living life gets hard to do
And I would gladly hit the road, get up and go if I knew
That someday it would lead me back to you
That someday it would lead me back to you

That may be all I need
In darkness, she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning
And I never want to leave

Fingers trace your every outline
Paint a picture with my hands
Back and forth we sway like branches in a storm
Change the weather, still together when it ends

That may be all I need
In darkness, she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning
And I never want to leave

And so, my friends, we have come full circle! With this song, we said ‘Hello’, and now we have to say ‘Adieu’. I remember the day I wrote my first article, I was missing my ex-fiancé, and hoping for something that would lead me back to him. Well, today, four years and a broken marriage later, the ex-fiance is no longer an ex. He’s no longer a fiancé either…just a boyfriend for now, but yes, life has led me back to him.

But today, my friends, he is not the reason for this song. This song, I dedicate to all of you my wonderful readers. You have been amazing, and I hope that life does lead us back to each other, even as I trade my Manhattan stilletos for loafers and moccasins in Durham, North Carolina.

I will still be documenting my musical journey of life, but this time on my own personal blog, www.thesoundtrackofmylife.com. Stop over if you can.

Peace…and Love!

Ezi.

I sit back in my chair when I am done writing, allowing the wave of nostalgia cover me. But even through the nostalgia…through the bitter sweetness of it all…as I listen to the lyrics of the song as it begins playing a new cycle, my mind keeps wandering to the one person it shouldn’t.

Sunday morning, rain is falling
Steal some covers, share some skin
Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable
You twist to fit the mold that I am in
But things just get so crazy, living life gets hard to do
And I would gladly hit the road, get up and go if I knew
That someday it would lead me back to you
That someday it would lead me back to you

That may be all I need
In darkness, she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on Sunday morning
And I never want to leave

Immediately, I physically shake my head vigorously, forcefully ridding my mind of any thoughts or memories of Dili. Come tomorrow, my life begins anew…in a new town, with new experiences and opportunities…and with a man who actually wants to be with me.

And that is what I really should be fixated on.

 

 

 

Catch up on Ezioma’s story here:

  1. A Love of Convenience! 1: Handbags & Gladrags
  2. A Love of Convenience! 2: There she goes
  3. A Love of Convenience! 3: The day will surely come
  4. A Love of Convenience! 4: Russian Farmer’s Song
  5. A Love of Convenience! 5: Moonlighting Strangers
  6. A Love of Convenience! 6: Knocks me off my feet
  7. A Love of Convenience! 7: A simple kind of life
  8. A Love of Convenience! 8: I can’t help it
  9. A Love of Convenience! 9: Edge of desire
  10. A Love of Convenience! 10: The Fear
  11. A Love of Convenience! 11: Ordinary People
  12. A Love of Convenience! 12: Me and Mrs. Jones
  13. A Love of Convenience! 13: You could be happy
  14. A Love of Convenience! 14: Linger

 

1+

27 COMMENTS

  1. Am not surprised that I don’t feel any form of empathy for Ezi, cos i see no reason you should cry over someone who wasnt in love with you in the first place. Dili was only being possessive of you, and a lot of time we ladies mistake that for love,( I once did that) he could have chosen you over Onyeka if he actually loved you. The fèeling wasnt mutual. I only hope you find true love. Even if Dili comes back sef, it’ll feel like being a second fiddle. Abeg, you’ve come too far for that.Wish you much lover though

  2. A new chapter but hints of the previous one still haunts this with the divorce still hanging, and this gives me the shivers cos I just have this feeling that the divorce wouldn’t be as smooth and issue free as we’d expect….

  3. Ezi is pregnant as she dey so. Once that is confirmed… Dili is going no where.
    The marriage thing could have been easier with a white and pay off…. But two naija people… Shey you see joke Ni? But men sha… She helped you, you did shukushuku… Fine.. But as it is now, Dili you just used Ezi all through.
    This Seth thing is the wrongest idea though.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here