The Woman I have Always Been
I make music in places I never knew existed. My whole body is an orchestra. You see Liberty was my very first lover. I have never had anyone else to compare him to. What I do know now is that the brother has skills but they are totally wasted on me.
He probably makes other women scream with pleasure. He’s just not a perfect fit for me anymore. What I am acutely aware of today is that every woman has a right to a musical body – mine is singing and I love it. This awareness is a new thing for me. I was not always so in sync with my body. I never really listened to my body – actually I don’t think I was ever consciously aware of my body beyond the portions I had to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
After the birth of two sons, Brando and Germaine and that of my daughters, Sarah and Beauty, I thought the feeling of restlessness would subside. For eight years all I felt was a sense of something missing – like I was living someone else’s life. I thought I was happy and utterly in love with Liberty but one day it just hit me that I was still with him because the two of us had just become a habit – we were just going through the motions of happily ever after. We were both reluctant to let go of the brief period of happiness we had shared. Friends and family were always on hand to assure me that I was happily married and that there was nothing else out there that I needed. But no matter how hard I tried to believe them I had a sense of something missing an incompleteness that I could not describe and never felt anyone would understand. The electric current I felt the first two months after we started dating just dissipated and of course, everyone told me that, that is what happens to love when it settles down. In fact, now that I look back I do not think the electric current was even remotely there. It is possible it was a figment of my fertile imagination – something I picked from some of those rubbish romantic novels I read when I was a teenager.
Friends said I was feeling restless because my love for Liberty was settling down. Hell, who has ever heard of love settling down? I guess it’s what most women tell themselves to stop them from going mad when they realise but refuse to accept that love has died or that it was never really there. I love Liberty but only as a woman loves her best male friend. Sometimes I get up at night and just stare at his sleeping form. I feel no passion for him and I count my blessings that he seems to have lost any interest in touching me let alone making love to me. So he lies on his side of the bed and I hug my own side of the bed lovingly and lie awake most nights longing for my lover.
I don’t even care if he sleeps around anymore. It simply doesn’t rock my boat if he cheats on me. In the first few years of our marriage, his infidelity drove me insane and almost broke my heart. Then I woke up one day and just didn’t care anymore and cringed every time he tried to coax me into making love. I realised I didn’t love Liberty anymore and didn’t even want to kiss him. I even developed a dislike for his natural body odour – to think that, that very smell used to make me wet my panties?
After five years we just stopped pretending to want to make love with each other. He found his release elsewhere and I focused on my work and raising the children. On a trip to Europe, a friend got me interested in a vibrator and I bought one but never broke it in until after a whole year later. I stopped feeling guilty about self-pleasuring and started masturbating in the shower and took to putting my vibrator to good use. I discovered that if you have a handheld showerhead with just the right pressure and you know how to use it to reach an orgasm you might never need a man again. It is a lonely emotional route but provides the only physical satisfaction that one so badly needs every once in a while. I learnt to make love to myself and kept myself sexually sane. I missed being touched, being kissed passionately and spending the nights held in someone’s arms. I learnt to make do. I stopped pining for an impossible love and hoping that maybe one day I would feel a stirring in my loins when my husband touched me. I stopped wishing for more out of my relationship with Liberty. I gave up on us and accepted that I had fallen out of love.
I find it strange that as women we always assume and in most cases rightly so, that if our men go off us they get the physical loving from other women, but our men never seem to think that women who are deprived of home sex will look for it from other sources. It seems men think at some point women become asexual beings. They never expect us to go off and get it somewhere else, which might explain why some of them are so shocked when they discover that some married women also have secret sexual lives.
For three years after Liberty and I had given up all the pretence of interest in each other outside of raising the kids and paying the bills, I faithfully had a relationship with myself and occasionally my vibrator and the showerhead. I was unfulfilled but masturbation eased the tension and kept me sexually sane. I knew many women at work who were having extra-marital relationships but it never occurred to me that I could get sexual gratification from another man. There were plenty of offers but it seemed I was completely off men.
So you can imagine what a tailspin my heart went into when I met someone who was to change my life forever. If I thought when I met Liberty that I had fallen in love, this time I believed I was drowning in love. I was swept away by mindless waves of passion and to this day I still feel overwhelmed. It is true that there is a lucky small world population that is destined to find that undying love – the kind of love that is all consuming and makes you feel warm and safe – the kind of love that moves your whole body and touches everything that you do – the kind of love that turns even your sexual life into a book of amazement.
When I least expected I fell in love and just kept on falling and the hole is so deep I am still falling. This is not the senseless teenage euphoria but something so real sometimes it feels unsettlingly scary. I never thought I would ever cheat on my husband or look at another man again and the truth is I have never looked at another man again. What I have now is so special and yet so wrong. I don’t think it is wrong but many people around me think it is unforgivable.
It would be simpler if my sleepless nights were the result of an illicit relationship with a man. There is this searing yet tender feeling I have now because of my lover. I know I should leave Liberty, tell him the truth and try and get out of this marriage as peacefully as possible but I just don’t have the courage. So every night for the past year I have slept next to this man who sexually disgusts me and asked myself why I am still here. I desperately want to leave but I am scared and also think Liberty will not let me take the children.
Liberty is a good man but I know if I leave him he will use the children to punish me. Men are funny creatures. Even when a man no longer wants you he never wants to see you happy with someone else. I think deep down some men hope that your life becomes a monotonous rollercoaster, full of tears, despair and that no man ever looks at you again.
I know with time Liberty would probably forgive me if I left him for another man but leaving him for a woman would just about kill him. His ego would take a major knock. Only two days ago he jokingly remarked that I was glowing as if I had taken a lover. I almost choked on my oatmeal porridge. I am worried because he has also started noticing every little change in me. I have started having Brazilian waxes, my teeth whitened, pedicures and manicures and all this has not escaped his attention. The only thing suspicious I haven’t started doing is taking my mobile phone to the loo or to walk out when it rings so I can speak in private. This is only because I have another number he is not aware of and my lover and I exchange messages through that number. I keep that particular phone hidden and on silent.
You are probably thinking I am very good at keeping secrets. I was not always that good. It came with a lot of practice. My first big secret was my masturbating in the shower. I hid that very well from Liberty, and by the time I graduated to the vibrator I had started thinking of myself as something of an expert. The trick was to simply stop sharing a bath or shower with Liberty and also to slot my vibrator time during those hours he would be away from home. I became something of a savant in time management because of my “new secret” life.