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I CONFESS: Mother always knows best


MAVIS BECKLES

I CONFESS: Mother always knows best

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SOMETIMES YOU MUST listen to your mother, for very often she knows what is best for you, even in a relationship. But when you are young and you are in love, no one can guide you, not your head, but certainly your heart.

This has been exactly my experience and I have had to pay a terrible price for my foolishness. It has taken me a little while to get over the trauma I experienced and while I have not gone to any professional psychologist or sought counselling from a preacher or anyone else, I have been trying various ways to cope. I want to let go of the hurt and shame in my own way and get it all behind me.

My trials started about five years ago while still a tertiary student. I had lived a very sheltered life and when I started to work and study, I encountered a whole new world. I was able to start buying clothing and the things I wanted; and was even able to go on my first overseas visit to Trinidad and Tobago along with some other students.

It was an exciting time for me and opened up my eyes and my world. Still, my world was a limited one, as I knew very little. During this early stage of my studies I met a guy from overseas who was here studying as well. We started off as casual friends, but it developed into more meaningful conversations as we had two courses to do in the same subject area. Not only did we attend the same lectures, but had the same tutorials.

He was on top of the subject and soon I became part of an even smaller study group of five with him included. After studying late on evenings he would offer to drop me and another student home. It so happened that hers was the nearest stop and mine further. We started talking about things other than our studies and he soon invited me out. It was my birthday on our first date, and I was impressed.

He sent me a floral arrangement that day which adorned the house and which my mother and sisters loved and were really excited by this gesture. He picked me up by the bus stop near my home early that evening and we went out. I was never rally accustomed to my sisters, both older to bringing their boyfriends home to meet our parents. I was cautious. My mother would always drop comments about not rushing into any relationship and using her favourite term “men ain’t go buy milk if they can get it free”.

The evening went well and I enjoyed myself. It was the first time I had dined at a nice restaurant. At the end of the evening on taking me home, he kissed me. I felt good that someone was so attracted to me. At the weekend he indicated that he was very busy cleaning, washing and doing some work since he had a paper to submit. He was in his final year and wanted to maintain his good grades. On the Sunday he called and asked if I would like to come over to study and have an ice cream. I accepted and it all went well.

On our third date, he invited to a social with some other students. We attended and had a great evening. I went back to his place and soon we were enveloped in a warm passionate kiss. It started and ended faster than I imagined. I was a virgin at that stage and not exposed to anything. I simply melted under his gentleness. Over the next few weeks, I was hardly at home after classes, except that I had to get home before 11 p.m. My mother asked on more than one occasion what was happening. My response was nothing out the ordinary. She insisted that there was something different in my face and suddenly warned me not to be misled or be fooled. But the times were good and I kept my own agenda.

One weekend I was absolutely tired and went to bed early the Saturday afternoon. However, on the Sunday I rushed and did my washing, cooked and early the evening left with a girlfriend to go and do some studies. As I was going through the door my mother repeated her famous words. I was in love and her words flew over my head; I heard them but they did not apply to me.

When the college went on holiday I had saved sufficient money that I decided to go visit my boyfriend, for this is how he described himself, in his homeland as he suggested. I was excited. My mother was dejected and warned against it. I went and stayed with his brother and sister-in-law as his parents were very active Christians. He said they would not want us staying together before marriage.

When he explained I was bowled over as I saw the relationship progressing. He was nearing the end of his studies and I had one more year to go. Things started floating around in my head. I decided to take the trip even against my mother’s best advice. I wanted to see where I would be living in the future.

Well I did go, spending my first Christmas away from home. It was enjoyable. I met his parents and his siblings; his parents were well established, his siblings held their own. I was well accepted and treated. I felt obliged to give in to all his demands, so it really did not matter that I stayed with his brother and sister-in-law. I was asked to do things I never did before and readily obliged. After all, this would be my husband.

On my return home, my mother sat down with me and talked to me. She said she knew I was giving away free milk and it was bad, because when time for me to sell the milk I may find it difficult to find a buyer. She outlined her displeasure at my taking the trip and warned that there would be consequences. Yes, there were consequences as I became pregnant and he ensured I went to the doctor and aborted it.

The relationship continued for the next few months. The guy finished his studies and returned home. I went there again soon after my final exams. But the closeness and the warmth had all gone, even from his relatives. I was shown the door. I had to return home in tears. To this day the memories of that period haunt me. I often say publicly if asked  that I do not regret my actions. But deep in my heart and in my head I do. My mother was right. She knew best. I gave away the milk.

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