Love Doesn’t Punch, So Walk Away!

By Eugene Mugisha

I looked at this man as he walked away from me and felt a great emptiness wash over me. That I was associated with the pain that man had had to live through for the past three years in any way was unacceptable to me.

Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall, concept for domestic violence
Injured woman leaning sadly on wooden wall, concept for domestic violence

After he walked out of the restaurant, probably back to his motherless three-year-old daughter, I then turned back and looked at the woman who, until just a few minutes ago had presented herself as just any other girl with no big secrets.

Hadn’t it been for this strange man, I probably would never have known that she had at some point abandoned a three-month-old baby, apparently for no reason at all. I would probably never have seen this side of her, the cold heartless side that was not human.

She was good at creating impressions, because all this time, I had never seen even a single sign of this side of her. And in that instant, there was no other way for me but to walk away from it all, from her, from the life I had pictured we would have, when I still knew her to be just a beautiful, intriguing and highly interesting person.

I walked back towards the table to get my laptop bag. I saw her still seated where we had left her, as I followed the man to try and understand the strange conversation he had just had with my date. She was looking at me with a look I could not place, more of resignation than anything else.

As if she was sad that our journey had ended before it even started. I picked up my bag, looked at her one final time, and said, “bye Stella”, and turned to walk away. I heard her say in a very small voice, “bye Tim”, and it was the emotion, the hurt, the surrender in the voice, that made me turn back, even when every alarm in me screamed to me to walk away from this mess. I mean, this girl had abandoned her three-month-old baby, and just walked away from a relationship that had nothing wrong with it. She was a messed up woman, I should walk away now, and count myself lucky to have known before it was too late.

But I turned back anyway, and asked her if what that man had just told me was true. She did not deny it. She nodded her head, looking down at her hands, turning the rings on her fingers. They were several rings, a thought ran through my mind wondering if each represented a man and baby she had abandoned in her short but hurtful life.

I sat back down in my seat, and took a while before I asked her why she had done it. She took her time before she said anything, and still not looking at me, she said: “go on with your life, Tim, there is no way you will understand something like this. You will only judge me. You will never be able to trust me.”

I fully agreed with her, but I needed to hear what she had to say. So, I stayed seated. After a really long time, she finally said: “I learned something about him just after I got pregnant. He had been married before, and he used to beat and lock up his wife in the house. I could have stayed for my baby’s sake, but I was not going to live like that, no.


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