The sweet burst of the first-morning sun caresses my face, as Kareen turns to kiss me good morning. It was 9 a.m. and we slept for a long time; perhaps that was our most extended sleep besides our chaotic honeymoon when we had to sleep in different rooms. Kareen is everything I had dreamt of in a woman, and our meeting was more of a coincidence.
“Kareen was going for her MBA at California State University. I was also moving to California from Alabama State University, where I had just completed my Second Master of Art. After the incident with Sims, studying was all I knew how to do. So, I got a scholarship after my first degree for my first Masters, and then I decided to go for my second Masters again. I worked briefly within Alabama State, but I thought it was time to move away to another state and give myself a chance in love. I had two reasons for moving to California; first, I wanted to explore the love option and settle down with a good woman, and second, I wanted fresh air. I had taken an online interview at a theatre academy in California as a script editor-in-chief and was employed, so everything seemed set for me. Kareen and I had a head collision at the airport as we raced into the same taxi. She was about to flag down another taxi, but I asked her about her route, and we saw that our apartments were just a street away. She was going to live off-campus with her aunt's family. Kareen got off at Chestnut Street, and I proceeded to Lombard Street. For some strange reason, as I watched Kareen get out of the taxi at her destination, I felt as if we were going to meet again...”
I smiled in response to her kiss and went into the bathroom to refresh while Kareen went into the kitchen to prepare a meal and set the table. When I returned to the room to dress up, Kareen also went into the bathroom for a shower, and we both headed downstairs for our meal. Our favorite was breakfast: scrambled eggs and toast, with a latte coffee and sour cream. As I munched into the delicious toast, Kareen giggled with the I-know-you-like-it look. (laughs...). She is indeed my dream woman.
What would have prevented me from meeting her again after she alighted at Chestnut Street!? (Laughs...)
“I settled in very quickly, and being not so much of an out person, I visited Fay Park for a colleague's wedding after about a month. Coincidentally, Kareen was one of the maids of honor as the bride was her college friend. I was thrilled to meet her again, and she was even more surprised! This time, we exchanged contact and started chatting with each other, and then we met out a few times until I proposed to her. All these happened within six months; everything just seemed to be natural for the two of us. Kareen's parents flew in from Arizona for our wedding, and my late Mama's relatives also attended from Alabama...”
I breezed out quickly after breakfast for the office; Kareen was on work leave, so she was home all day. As I drove on Lombard Street to the Theatre Academy, I could not but think about the pending issue with Sims. I had to speak with Kareena about this burden; at least she deserves that much from me. Work was a bit light that day as the Academy was going on Summer break, so I cleared my desk early and came home. I got a bunch of flowers for my wife and her favorite box of chocolate. My mind was made up to be unburdened to Kareen. She wasn't expecting me that early and was very excited to have me back from work early. I waved the flower bouquet and box of chocolate at her which made me even happier than when I came in. Lunch wasn't made, so I told her we would be eating out instead. We went to 901 Columbus Cafe and had Belvedere (egg, cheese, and turkey) with freshly squeezed orange juice.
We returned from the cafe at 4 p.m., back to the house, and Kareena sat exhausted on the sofa, about to doze off, but then I interrupted her nap and told her there was something I needed to tell her. My countenance was quite sullen, making her worried, and with mixed feelings, she asked me what the issue was. We were both happy a while ago, so she didn't understand the sudden gloomy look.
“Kareen, I...I... Baby, I was raped in college.” (I managed to say). “Raped?” (She said, with shock and bewilderment). A woman may say she was raped, but this coming from a man was not so much to be expected. I cried and started talking about the incident with Sims and how I ended up pushing him into that lake and fled to the college after that. I also told her how I thought I saw a man with the same grin as Sims the other day on the highway.
Kareen's eyes popped out in shock as I narrated the incident.
There was an awful quietness between us for about an hour. I sat on the floor and wailed; she leaned back against the rest arm of the sofa, blank.
“What if he survived?” (Kareen said). “That remains a mystery” (I responded faintly).
“It was not your fault, John. You were just a victim of the dark side acts of many universities, which are often hidden from the school authorities. Male rape cases are often swept under the carpet and considered a mere joke. Still, seeing how much impact it had on you and the psychological trauma you went through at our honeymoon, legal actions must be taken against male sexual abuse just as it is with the female victims.” (Kareen said)
I was quiet and only listened to her as she spoke lovingly.
Kareen stood up, pulled me off the floor, and said, “Your past has nothing on you, babe. You were my love, and you still are till the end of time. I love you.”
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I couldn't believe she would take it so calmly. I wept even louder, but she drew me in for a hug. She wept and reassured me of her unwavering love and trust. We held hands and prayed, asking for light in our home and peace on every side.
Sweetness and joy were constant in our home, and Kareen took in with a child. Our little girl came in the Spring season the following year.
We were truly blessed.