I always dread travelling by public means, especially in the countryside.
Last Friday evening while coming from the Southern Province of Rwanda, I put on the usual armour, like a brave soul strolling through the valley of death. I entered the minibus, luckily got a seat next to a pretty woman in her mid-thirties, exchanged pleasantries and turned to my journal while she got engrossed on her Blackberry.
We took off in silence; after some kilometres, I noticed something was right, yes, right because all the buses and taxis I boarded in the past had something terribly wrong! Women chatting on top of their voices while their ignored broods screams their lungs trying to get attention, some men on the other hand always busy telling their Kigali folks, where they have reached on the journey to the land of opportunities. They would hang up only to pick up and call again announcing how now they are at the bridge or where the truck carrying goods from Tanzania fell last year or that they had reached at Nyirangarama.
Well, back to my comfortable seat, I stole a glance at my seatmate; her face was beaming with a sweet smile. I asked her about the source of her glow. “It’s that song,” she said. A song! Listening, it was the alluring voice of the late Luther Vandross singing his monster hit, “Buy me a rose.”
“That song saved my marriage,” she said, and before I asked how, she narrated the story of her eight years in marriage.
“You see,” she started, “I married a man who loved me with all his heart, body and soul!
But, the problem was, he did not know how to love me! Though he did everything he could in his capacity to make me happy, nothing ever touched my heart! He would buy me expensive gifts, heap money on my account but deep inside I remained a very unhappy woman because I needed love and affection. I needed someone I can spend quality time with; someone to call in the middle of the day and ask how I was doing, not asking whether I had everything I needed!”
I wondered why she did not tell him how she felt about the whole thing.
As if reading my mind, she slowly shook her head and said, “I tried in so many ways but he couldn’t get it! On the verge of breaking up, one day doing some shopping the only thing I had interest in, I bought a couple of CD’s including the one that saved my marriage.
When I listened to this song for the first time, I cried my heart out! I could not believe there were some other women who had issues similar to mine! I cried for myself and for other women who lived in similar conditions.”
By this time I was all ears, she wiped her tears, blew her nose before continuing!
“I listened to this song over and over again! One day my husband asked me why I loved this particular song, afraid that if he listened to it, he would get offended, I switched off and hid the CD, but I guess I acted queer for he searched for it in my absence and listened to the song, word by word!
That evening when I came home, as I inserted the key to let myself in, he answered the door. His eyes were red from crying, I thought something awful had happened! I tried to ask him what was going on but all he could whisper was, ‘I’m sorry, forgive me.’ He held me so tightly and cried like a baby, he asked me to forgive him for all things he did not do.
I wanted to know what he meant, I demanded. I listened to ‘your song’ was the response. He had listened to every single word and realized that the song referred to his behaviour. He wished he could turn back the hands of time! He wished in all the world, that he could un-do all the pain he had caused me. He promised that if I gave him one more chance, he would love me right. How is that for a change! Well, that night we cried ourselves to sleep and that was the song that turned our lives around and saved my marriage.”
Being the old conservative African man that I am, I looked away to avoid her eyes for I did not want her to see the mist in my eyes. I coughed, cleared my throat, forged a tiny smile, and asked how her marriage was fairing.
She smiled and said, “You see, that’s the problem, you men are all the same! Do I need to spell everything for you?” Indeed her smile said it all; she was a happy and contented woman. Thanks to Luther Vandross.