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My name is *Chika* I will be getting married in two weeks time. I can feel you breaking into a smile, saying congratulations under your breath. I don’t want to be congratulated though; I have had one too many congratulations I don’t think I need any more.

My fiancé is a great guy, we have been together for a little over three years, we met when I was going through a rough patch in my life. Everyone has been rooting for us; it’s finally happening but I don’t feel happy or satisfied or all the feelings a woman in love should be feeling. Truth is I feel like I’m stuck on a treadmill running in the same place. I know what love is I have felt it’s depths and I know I am not in love with him at least not enough to spend the rest of my life with him.

When I met *Ebuka* I was going through a tough breakup fresh out of my previous relationship of nine years with *Aliyu*. I started dating *Aliyu* when I was seventeen, he was my first love; my first everything. He taught me all I know about love, we had a wonderful relationship I always pictured spending the rest of my life with him. 

We went to the same university, lived together for three years and we were practically joined at the hip. Aliyu was my best friend; he’s seen me at my worst, in times when I was at my lowest and he didn’t turn away, he pushed me to be a better version of myself. There’s just something about someone you can be completely yourself with flaws and all, it’s a feeling of trust and security like no other and that was what we had. The only obstacle to our relationship was our religion. He had no issues with it but my dad would rather die than see me married to a Muslim, (It’s bad enough that he is Yoruba)

Aliyu and I understood this before we started dating, we knew exactly what we were getting into, and we knew we would have to end it at some point but we got into it anyway you only live once right? In our final year, we had a huge fight; leaving school meant our little bubble was about to burst. He argued that I stand up to my dad, saying I didn’t want us enough to fight for us. He decided there was no point loving someone so much and yet feeling like crap. He said it’ll be best for us to see other people and make the most of our last year in school. I on the other hand wanted to make the most of our limited time by packing the last year with so much memories. He wasn’t having it though we broke up and came back during the break before NYSC. After our NYSC, we ended things for good.

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All these memories came flooding back when I saw him three days ago. I haven’t seen or spoken to him since the final breakuphe texted me out of the blue saying he needed to see me. We met up at a cafe, he said he learnt about my upcoming marriage and that he was happy for me, he said he was still in love with me and had not been able to get me out of his mind. He apologized saying he wouldn’t be coming to the wedding in everybody’s best interest as he wasn’t sure of what he as capable of. We sat in that café talking for hours and it felt like the past three years hadn’t happened. 

I have been dying in silence since then, just going through the motions. It’s like I’m trapped outside my body watching my life unfold. This wedding with Ebuka is definitely happening, my whole family is overflowing with Joy, Ebuka is doing his part as a dutiful fiancé but no one can see that I’m dying in silence. I’m drowning right before their eyes; my deafening screams can only be heard by me. I’m losing it and there is nothing I or anyone can do about it.

*Original names withheld

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