Mbaye: I am sorry. I’ve done everything anyone could think of…
Laila: Shhh. Don’t beat yourself up about this. It’s not a big deal. I can wait.
Mbaye: But you have been waiting. And it’s not fair to you.
Laila: Baby, we’ve talked about this. We’ll just keep trying and going through treatment until we see improvement. Be patient.
Mbaye: I don’t know how you’re so calm about this. It’s driving me insane!!
Laila: Haha I wonder why (smiles playfully). Look, I’m gonna start breakfast. Let’s get out of bed and do something with our day!
I playfully jumped off the bed and pranced into the bathroom to shower, not even giving a second thought to the conversation we just had and have had time and again. We’ve been married four years now and he has ahem, a situation. I think you know what I mean, please don’t make me spell it out. It sucks, yes, but I don’t dwell on it. I know it’s nothing he can really control and he’s getting treated. All I can do is hope and pray that there is avail at the end of this tunnel. Mbaye is a good husband and man – that’s enough for me now. On another note, he jokes that I have toys hidden in the bathroom to self-serve and that’s why I’m so calm about this haha! I guess we’ll never know!
But seriously, I never complain. He stares at me in disbelief sometimes, as if I’m going to leave him any minute, He claims I’m this “young and beautiful woman who could be dealing with a totally different scenario than this.” And maybe he’s right. But every time he bring it up, I have to remind him that that alone wasn’t why I married him. There’s so much more to it! Our vows had no mention of sex or erections so we’re not going to hold our marriage by those strings.
I finish my shower, slip into something light and head into the kitchen to make breakfast. Mbaye’s mom has been staying with us for a few months now. It was meant to be for two weeks (upside down smiley) but it is well. We love her dearly.
What I don’t love is her unsolicited commentary on our marriage. We were on great terms until I passed our one year anniversary without a pregnancy. Things turned sour at that point and I almost have to laugh at this mandatory milestone imposed on marriages. Like let’s forget for one second about the fact that her son can’t get it up (is that too mean?). How about free will? Not being ready for a child? Not wanting one just yet? I guess those don’t matter. I have learned how to handle her over the course of her time here; I refuse to let her invade my peace.
Just as I was preparing the day’s quick snapbacks for my beloved mother-in-law, I hear her come down the stairs. Let the games begin.
I was humming to music that was softly playing on my phone as I prepped veggies for my omelet.
Fatim: You know you can’t cook and listen to music at the same time; you’ll be too distracted! Please don’t burn my eggs because I woke up very hungry today.
Laila: Your cholesterol has been up lately so I actually was planning to make you some oatmeal. Good morning by the way 🙂
Fatim: Are you a doctor now?
Laila: Ah I wish. I would have diagnosed myself by now so you wouldn’t be having breakfast without at least one grandchild to sit on your lap.
She didn’t even flinch at my comment haha she walked to the living room and sat down with her prayer beads, probably wishing something very bad on me. I must admit, she’s gotten good at this banter thing. Good for her!
Mbaye: Good morning, yaye boye!
Little prince comes down and kisses his wicked mother on the cheek before coming into the kitchen to give me a kiss. I decide to draw it out teheheh!
Fatim: If you did that where you should, in the bedroom, maybe I would have had that grandchild on my lap by now.
Fatim: What? You’re the one tongue wrestling with your wife in front of me! Where is the respect?
Laila: I’m sorry, mom. We’ll hold it together.
Mbaye: Can you two just behave? Let’s have a peaceful breakfast, for once.
Laila: You’re right! Let me hurry up with it and we can maybe go out and do a little shopping later!
Fatim: Oh yeah, so you can spend all his money, is that right?
Was this the time to break the news to her that I make more money than he does or is that too petty? I decide to smile it go!
Mbaye: Breakfast was delicious, baby! Thank you!
Fatim: Thank you.
Laila: No problem, I’m glad you guys liked it! Let me clear this up and start getting ready to go!
I cleared the table and loaded up the dishwasher, which I’m sure Fatim was giving me the side-eye about. Why wouldn’t I want to stand for three times the amount of time to wash the dishes? What am I? Normal?
After straightening up the kitchen, I start heading up to my room but overhear Fatim talking to Mbaye in the living room. I generally wouldn’t have second thoughts about this but something was different about this conversation. Mbaye was talking back. I tried really hard to keep walking but something told me to stick around and listen. It was hard to hear what they were saying but I could make out a little.
Fatim: Think about it before you totally discount it. She’d understand.
Mbaye: I don’t think you realize what you’re asking me to do.
Fatim: Oh please. Don’t make it sound like it’s never been done before. You’re making me look like the bad guy.
Mbaye: That’s not it. You just don’t have the full story and you can’t put me in a situation like that. I love my wife.
Fatim: No one said you didn’t. But son, think about your future. Who will take over for you?
Mbaye: You’re missing the point. That’s not something we even talked about before getting married because it’s not a condition for us staying together.
Fatim: And I’m not asking you to separate from her. But you need to take a second wife. You’re the only son I have and I don’t want to see your legacy wither away under the guise of this wild love you guys have going on. There’s more to life!
Mbaye: I’m not doing that.
Fatim: So you’re going to pick this woman over your whole family? Over your own mother?
Mbaye: It’s not like that.
Fatim: Then what is it like? Because I’m not sure I understand why it’s so worth it to you.
Mbaye: I’m the problem. I always have been.
Mbaye: Four years of marriage and I’ve never been able to perform my duties as a husband. And you just waltz up in here telling me to betray the woman that’s been with me through all of that and not once complained! You don’t have that right!!
He was yelling at this point. I felt a tear drop on my chest – shit! I didn’t even realize I was still listening, I was so immersed in my own translation of the situation. At first, I couldn’t make out if that’s what Fatim really wanted but that confirmed it. And that set my tears free. I knew she wasn’t my biggest fan but really?!
Mbaye: I want you to respect my marriage and respect my wife. I did not want to have this conversation with you but you pushed me. Now please, respect our boundaries.
I tried to run up the stairs before Mbaye could reach me. I would be mortified if he found me listening to his conversation, even though it was about ME!
I run up the stairs and heard footsteps behind me. I’d been caught. I sat on the bed, waiting for Mbaye to come in and chastise me about eavesdropping. To my surprise, it was Fatim at the door. My heart shrunk.
Fatim: I am so ashamed.
I didn’t speak. I mean, what was I supposed to say. I still had remnants of tears in my eyes so she for sure knew I heard everything.
Fatim: I’ve been too hard on you and it isn’t fair. I had no idea what you guys were battling and I blindly took my son’s side without understanding.
I was still quiet. What did this woman want me to say?
Fatim: Listen, you probably hate me right now but I hope you can understand where I was coming from.
That statement set me off. This woman was actually trying to justify her behavior. I thought this was an apology.
Laila: Actually, mother, no I don’t. What gives you the right to invade our privacy like that? And not only that, to insult me and my marriage for your own selfish desires? You don’t get to decide who has a kid and when!
Fatim: Yes, I know and I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention to insult you.
Laila: You think you’re the only one who wants to see us have kids? What about us? You don’t think that’s something we’ve prayed for time and again? You already have your own life and kids, stay out of mine.
Fatim: I know you’re upset.
Laila: That’s an understatement. I just don’t know what it is that I’ve ever done to you to make you treat me the way you do. Now your relationship with your son is yours alone – I won’t impose there. But you need to respect me! I’m not doing the back and forth with you anymore.
Fatim: I agree, I’m sorry.
I walk over to the door and open it.
Laila: I would like to be alone. Please.
I had had enough of this constant pair of eyes judging my every move.
Fatim: I want us to keep talking. I want to fix this, it’s not too late.
Laila: I’ve been called every name in the book because you and your family didn’t have proof of my “innocence.” Nobody respects me because you think I OWE you something. All the while, I’ve been to every hospital and every appointment with your son to find out what’s wrong with him. I don’t really care what you want at the moment. What I want is for you to leave my room.
Mbaye walked in as I said that and I felt a rush of emotions over me. Tears started streaming down my face again.
Mbaye: Laila, calm down. Mom, can you please give us a moment.
Fatim slowly walked out, feeling defeated.
Mbaye: Baby, I know how you feel right now. And I’m sorry you had to hear those things from my mother. It’s not the first time she’s brought it up but I want you to know that I would never do that to you. You’ve shown me so much grace and patience that all I can think about, every single day, is how to put a smile on your face. I would never betray you. Please believe me.
Laila: It’s just so hurtful.
Mbaye: I know but I want you to know that you have a husband who loves you, respects you, and cherishes you. And it’s not because you’ve been with me every step of the way through this condition. It’s because we have history together. Before this even came into the picture, we built something beautiful together and I have chosen to dedicate my life to making you happy. Don’t ever forget that.
Laila: I haven’t forgotten. And I know that. But she needs to understand the meaning of boundaries.
Mbaye: I will take care of that. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. I promise. Now, can you please cheer up so we can go shopping?
Laila: Is she coming?
Mbaye: Don’t be petty.
I would gladly leave her in this house by herself while I spend the day with my man. But since I’m in the business of not holding grudges, I let it go and decided to move forward, especially since my baby stood up for me the way he did. At least now she knows that the solution to our childless problems was not adding another woman into the mix. It never will be. It definitely was a good feeling for her to finally know, even if it had to be at the expense of poor Mbaye and the total unveiling of his condition. Needless to say, the afternoon shopping trip was very awkward. She even tried to collaborate with me on “fixing Mbaye.” Haha this woman never gives up. I am glad she instilled that same drive in Mbaye though because he’s determined to get himself treated. Almost as determined to find that stash of sex toys I apparently have hidden in our bathroom 😉