Unsplash: Christian Lue


And he knows he can’t possess me, and he knows he never will
There’s just this empty place inside of me that only he can fill

Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool
Loving both of you is breaking all the rules

I never personally knew Mary Mcgregor the American singer, but her song became an anthem with every woman, including myself who had ever had to make the decision of self-sacrifice to express their longings in another man’s arms. This was truly a masterpiece that resonated with the story of my life.

My marriage had crumbled by years of physical, verbal, and psychological abuse, now laid in the dust at my feet. Trampled on daily by my persecutor, my husband. It was destined for failure from the start. Arranged. Who does these things to their children?

I was told that at the age of seventeen I was too young to know what was right for me. A hell of a teacher my parents were, who couldn’t even get my upbringing right. I did not fail them, they failed me. I did not remain out of pride, or for the sake of my three children, but I was bound by honor and a code till death do us apart. And surely it would have been a prophecy. I was dying inside slowly if I had remained powerless to change my situation.

To this day, I can still hear my mother who was partly responsible for my process of socialization, and indoctrination barking at me, “I raised you better than this.” Better than what? Her marriage was a farce and so was mine.

“You have shamed our family name.” Just as she had shamed her husband’s name. But who am I to judge her? We were victims of a cycle of vicious male dominance and cruelty.

I was also too inundated with my own problems and in a perpetual state of self-apathy to put up any form of defense.

This is the same woman I watched as a child and into my teen years, abused for just daring to exist.

“Good for nothing” was a word my father lashed out at her in one of his tirades. She wasn’t capable of satisfying my father’s sole desire, a son. I saw regret glazed in his eyes. And an image to project amongst his peers.



These were more important than my mother’s inability to satisfy her husband’s ego. With no son, he had to go out and get it from his mistress. A good thing I might add if you were a man unfulfilled. What good were five daughters? None he could think of all these years.

“You have to pick up the pieces of your marital infidelity and make things right.” She coerced me. But she came to know that I was my father’s daughter. With needs to be fulfilled. But in my culture, I couldn’t do what a man does and still be a lady. Who said I wanted to be a lady? When did I ever want to be a lady? Never. Being a woman was hard enough. I had a longing and I desperately craved love.

But this is not about my mother and her conscious denial and low self-worth, that she cleverly disguised with her doctrine on integrity. For all, she cared about, was my transgression. I had committed an unpardonable sin. But she didn’t know that to err was human. I am an obedient girl and pick up the pieces of my indiscretion. Still, living with the consequences of a toxic marriage.

I wanted to tell her there was more to life, like forgiveness, and better still, love. These were a natural, divine atonement for my sins. This she denied herself under the pretext of integrity. But how could I add to her pain? Her painful pasts and scars are evident in the way she viewed everything.

For a long time, I felt sorry for my mother. But my need became greater than it could ever be contained.

Until now.

This was my life and I need to live it.

We met doing community service to the less fortunate.

I was in a loveless marriage. He was married to his vocation and religion. But we couldn’t deny the hand fate was about to deal us.

Of all the things his religion strongly disapproved of, one of them was what God has joined let no one put apart.


And that includes him and his marriage to Jesus.

The Catholic church, the moral police of our conscience, and its sanctimonious views on ethics and morality were our deterrents for a while.

It’s true that God must be obeyed.

But so is the desire for love.

Wise men say fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But how do you ignore love?

The only fires of hell we were willing to face was this. And we burned with desires.

Virtues be damned.

Do not covet your neighbor’s wife.

The lying hypocrite, Pastor Smith bellows from the pulpit.

Do not be unequally yolk.

But what did he care for our salvation? Except for the hefty donations my husband gave to him to make me into a pariah at his every Sunday service because he has to set an example for the young impressionable minds in his congregation.

We weren’t the first to break this or any of the other commandments. It was consensual and requited love. The sinner and the saint reciprocated.

Torn between two lovers, yes as I was bound by honor to remain in my marriage, though unfaithful and loveless. And I was barred by an archaic code of morality to express my desire for fear of being stigmatized.

Regrets? None.

I am now committed to doing daily penance for my vice.



Sumaya Ali [Veronica Thompson-Smith]

Nurse. Volunteer. Writer. Publish my works. Chocolate addict vernaann2@gmail.com Follow me@Twitter-valiqa_ali. Facebook@Sumaya Ali.Instagram.com/vernaannswine