~Vanguard, Nigeria. Sunday, May 15, 2016
COPING with the death of a beloved spouse, especially after years of marriage could be a nightmare. When Lola's husband of over 25 years died suddenly, she was almost suicidal. He had a stomach ache and was dead three days later. Nobody suspected he had a tumour on his liver. "Grief hit me like a boxer's fist," she'd said when a group of friends tried to console her. "He was only 58 and I'd thought we had years left together. I thank God for our three lovely children – but they're all grown now and can hardly be expected to stay at home and hold my hands .. ."
Thanks to the determination of friends, she started picking up the pieces of her life. They dragged her to parties and outings. It was at her late husband's club she ran into David. He'd been a younger friend with whom he played table tennis. "He was a quiet man, just like my husband," said Lala, "and he listened sympathetically as I poured out my heart to him. After all, he too had lost a friend. A few weeks later, I was at the club again when I met David amongst friends, celebrating his 40th birthday. We all joined in and I had a wonderful time. When he learnt I'd come in a friend's car, he insisted on taking me home. 'Your life need not be over now your husband's dead,' he told me
solemnly. 'If you like, I could look after you.'
"My jaw dropped. I was 14 years older. What sort of relationship would we have? But he urged me to think about it. I should have been more cautions and told him off.
"My husband had just died and I was lonely – and flattered I could still be attractive to a man. I loved my husband but he was gone. He was never coming back. I was still here and I had to keep on living. So, when next he invited himself in for a drink, I didn't discourage him. He came with a bottle of wine and some chicken and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed his company. In no time at all, we became lovers.
"He lived with his mum and his two sons, so we spent a lot of time at my place, with me bearing most of the expenses of our entertainment. It was nice having a man's attention again in spite of that. My husband wasn't the lovey-feely type. David was on the other hand, loving and attentive. He even helped in the house and took me places I needed to
go if he were free. I was happy. What was wrong with that? At first I was self-conscious of my older body but his strong hands and great physique made my insecurities disappear. It was exhilarating to be desired by such a young, virile man – at my age!
"We spent most of our spare time together until I realised he wanted to go everywhere with me. As we became more and more intimate, he became furious whenever I spoke to my male friends or whenever I took too long on the phone chatting to my children.
"I was so exasperated once that I told him off for being so insecured. He shoved me so hard that I landed on the sofa, my head hitting an arm of it. I was in shock. Had he really pushed me? As I struggled to get up, he helped me, apologising it was a mistake and he was sorry. I felt really embarrassed being turned into a punching bag by a man I
was older than by 14 years.
"Whenever we went out after this, he began asserting some sort of authority, ordering me to get him drinks or sit with his friends. I couldn't take much more of his bullying so I told him to sod off. A few days later, my eldest son came to the house. He said David came to his office to complain I'd used him for sex before dumping him! My face burnt with shame. I had to explain to him we were lovers and told him how I'd been treated. My son was really annoyed with me. He said David warmed his way into my affection when I was most vulnerable. I told him we were over – and I believed it. But not David. He was bent on showing our friends what really happened between us.
"In the end I thought I would give him a taste of his own medicine. I knew his dad vaguely and went to pay him a visit. By this time, almost everybody I knew had been informed of our relationship and how hot I was in bed. His dad was a very nice man who lived with his second wife. He assured me he would have a word with his son and promised he would never embarrass me again. True to his word, David left me
"At first, he insisted on coming over to personally apologise but I told him not to bother. I called his dad to thank him and let him know I didn't want David around me under any circumstance.
"I don't know who these toy boys think they are – beating up a woman just because she lowered her standard to have a relationship with you. Or maybe I was just unlucky. I know some of my friends who date younger men and they don't have horrible stories to tell. For now, I'm trying to put this nasty experience behind me. Looking back, my heart is full of regrets. Losing my husband made me afraid, lonely and desperate. But thanks to the brute, I've realised that sometimes, it's better to be on your own. "