I CONFESS: Afraid past may hurt future happiness
A YEAR AGO I met a man for whom I have sincere feelings and I would not like him to walk out of my life. But I fear my past indiscretions can hurt me.
I got pregnant at 17 and had an abortion, and by 19 I had had three such terminations. My mother knew of at least two of them and was very angry. Even though I pretended not to care, her words haunted me.
So, while in my teens, I left home to share a house with a man and his relatives – his brother, mother and a sister.
I had forsaken my mother and siblings in the belief that my lover and his family would have been picture perfect. Far from it. The man became abusive, with his family’s support, and I was constantly reminded that I felt that I was “great” and my family bigger up and better off. Worse was the taunt that I had education but no common sense.
The relationship broke down when I was discouraged from enrolling at the Barbados Community College (BCC), having interrupted my sixth form studies. Then my boyfriend, whom I knew had fathered a child before our relationship, disclosed that he was expecting another one – not with me. Ours was then only nine months old.
I was able to secure a job and, in an effort to help this man with his entrepreneurial pursuits, decided to co-sign a loan so he could initiate his dreams, which it seemed would have resulted in a better life for him, our child and me. The deterioration in the relationship became intolerable and I had to get out. I had to give up the job as I simply could not function and I had no place and no one to turn to but my mother.
I returned home but my brother was unforgiving – to this day her conversations with me are muted and of necessity. My sister was glad to have both me and the baby back. She encouraged me to get back into my studies, and she looked after the baby as if it was her own. During that BCC period I had no worries or cares in terms of looking after that baby.
I went on to Cave Hill – full-time as I had the full support of my mother and sister, who did not have high-paying jobs, but were self-employed risk-takers.
During my final year I developed a relationship with a guy. On completion of my studies I accepted an invitation to visit his homeland in the Eastern Caribbean. I also agreed to stay at his home. But immediately the memories of my previous encounter haunted me. He too lived at home with his siblings and his mother. His entire extended family lived in the village.
I was not happy and told him my story in full detail. He listened and offered a sympathetic ear. But two days after I returned home he informed me that, given my past, he would not feel comfortable having me as a wife. I was not morally suitable, was his comment.
I confided in my sister. She told me let go and to move on. I was accepted for post-graduate study overseas and left the island. On completion I accepted a job offer. What was supposed to have been an 18-month contract turned into a six-year assignment.
I left that province and relocated to another area with a much better job. I have bought a house and have some measure of job stability and a well remunerated position. The area to which I have moved is one with people from a different race and I have met this guy who interacts with my company on a very frequent basis. He, like me, is not from the country which I now call home. We have dated on a few occasions and his family seems to like me. While I am different in colour, I meet what they expect of their son, someone who has a good education, a good job and even a house.
I told him about my child, who is now a teenager and who I want to complete secondary education there. That time will be by May 2016. I have also been able to arrange for my mother and sister to come there as well – as the house has quite a spacious basement. They have visited me frequently in recent years and like where I live.
My fiancé has indicated he wants to take our relationship to the next level. He can afford a house on his own and we have started looking. He has met my family, including my offspring. I am excited.
I came home to Barbados two weeks ago, only to be told that there is an old debt hanging over my head. Paying it off is not a problem. What has been rather worrying is that my daughter’s father, who has not supported her since I moved out of his mother’s house, has turned up, saying he plans to take legal action against me for denying him access to the child all these years.
My bother is that he has threatened to tell my fiancé about our relationship and about the two guys he knows I had relationships with previously. I had kept these things from my sweetheart. I did not want to lose him. I must admit I do not know what to do, except to get out of this island as fast as possible, even though I know the Internet and social media can make the world so very small.