She held on to his leg to prevent him from leaving. He hated seeing her like that, but his anger was greater. “Lucy, get away from me!” Michael yelled. It only incentivised her to cry more. The friends in the other room were wondering what the commotion was about, but they were not going to get any answers from either of them.
“Please Michael, please don’t leave me,” Lucy begged the man who had just introduced her to his parents a week before.
Lucy and Michael had gotten engaged two weeks before this trip. They had gone to Nanyuki for the weekend to celebrate with Michael’s friends. After dating for two years, they felt it was time to take the relationship to the next level. Dates had been set, and they decided to visit Michael’s parents before going to Lucy’s. Michael’s parents were so excited since their son had never taken another girl home. They had loved Lucy.
Michael stormed out of the room after eventually freeing himself from Lucy’s grip. He looked like a wounded animal. When one of his friends tried to approach him, he raised his hand, motioning to stay away from him. They could see pain and anger simultaneously in his eyes. His hands were trembling. His friends had never seen him like that. He walked out of the house. Another friend went to Lucy to find out what was happening, but she just cried.
As he walked to calm down, he reflected on his relationship with Lucy, trying to figure out if he had missed the signs. Nothing came to mind. For a moment, he tried putting himself in Lucy’s position. He thought of how difficult it must have been for her to carry such a secret. He wondered if he had ever said anything insensitive or made her feel she couldn’t confide in her. Then he remembered his parents and the joy they had felt just a week earlier. Their only son was finally settling down.
Michael walked around with his thoughts for hours before returning to the house. He announced that he couldn’t stay for the rest of the weekend as planned. Lucy asked to join him on the drive back to Nairobi, which he agreed to on the condition she sat in the back seat. They drove for kilometres without uttering a word to each other. Michael dropped Lucy at her place, and Lucy tried asking for forgiveness, but he told her he wasn’t ready to have that conversation.
Two weeks later, Michael asked to meet her. He opted for somewhere private and asked her to come to his place. They had a snack in silence before finally having the long-awaited discussion.
“How are you doing?” Michael asked Lucy.
“I have been better. You?”
“Same here. I have so many questions,” said Michael.
“I’ll answer anything you need to know. I really love you, Michael,” Lucy responded.
“Were you ever going to tell me?” Michael asked with pain registering in his voice.
“I think so. I tried to tell you several times before but it never felt like the right time.”
“How about when I asked you if we could stop using protection? You could have also mentioned it while you said you were on a contraceptive.”
“What can I say, Michael? I wanted to but the words made my tongue heavy. I made sure I took my medication so that I couldn’t put you at risk,” Lucy told him.
“That wasn’t your decision to make Lucy,” Michael told her.
“I researched and I asked my health care provider about the risk of infection for you,” Lucy further explained.
“Again, Lucy, you should have given me the opportunity to decide for myself. I was going to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I feared you would react this way and end our relationship,” Lucy pleaded.
“I loved you enough to want to settle down with you. I understand how difficult it must have been but you should have had faith in us.”
“Would you have stayed if I had told you my status? Truthfully?” Lucy asked him.
“Now we’ll never know. Going along with the plans that we made for our future while withholding such important information broke every ounce of trust I had. I don’t know how to look at you and not wonder what else you are keeping from me or would hide from me in the future. I went all in with you, let you see every part of me thinking you were doing the same.”
“I know Michael and I wish you had found out differently. I am so sorry babe,” said Lucy.
Michael recounted how he never took medicine for a hangover but had a throbbing headache that morning in Nanyuki. He remembered seeing Lucy with painkillers and decided to get them from her bag instead of waiting for her to get out of the shower. That was when he accidentally found her ARVs, and when he asked her what the medication was for, she told him.
“What will tell people about the engagement?” Lucy asked.
“That it’s off.”
“For good?” Lucy asked Michael.
“I don’t know Lucy. I still love you but I don’t know if I can get over the betrayal,” said Michael as he closed the door behind her.
He reached out to her weeks later, thinking he had gotten over it. Eventually, he cut ties entirely after realizing he couldn’t trust Lucy again despite loving her.
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