An ode to the knight in shining armour: long may we have them!

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Every woman needs a knight in shining armour. In truth, that armour might be dented and bruised from many a battle, but for her, it would shine as though it were cut from the sun itself. I wanted to use this medium to praise the GOOD MEN; the men who stand in the gap; the men with the broad shoulders that carry their families on their backs. Our fathers who go the extra mile to make life work; who carry the shields and protect us from all of life’s harms. We see you, we love you, and we thank you!

What spurred this gushing, you ask? I’ll tell you. A friend told me a story last night about how she ended up being married to her husband. Get your glass of wine, get your chocolates and/or popcorn, then gather round. It’s finna be fabulous! Her story:

Quotation Marks OpenI was nineteen and fearless. I thought I knew it all and had the world at my fingertips. It was mine to do as I pleased. I was a young woman and I basked in that; the attention I got.

I knew I enjoyed sex even though it was taboo. I had lost my virginity at eighteen to a family friend. No, I didn’t love him, I was just attracted to him and enjoyed the attention. I wasn’t tricked or anything. I made my choice and I was sold on the narrative that I could and would always chose when and who I would have sex with.

That was until that fateful evening I went on a date with S. The date ended in his hostel room and we lay watching TV and cuddling until it was apparent the cuddling was moving to the next level. I said no, and he teased me, cajoled me but I still said no. That’s how the gentlemanly S disappeared and I met the steely, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer S.

I bit my lip and trembled inside, suddenly I was the little girl I had left behind again. In vain, I searched for my father, my mother as I lay there while he frantically pushed my clothes aside for access to my body.

I remember nothing after this. I chose to forget. Somehow I walk to my room, and I died that night. Four months later I accept the fact that I was pregnant. Three times I attempted an abortion but I was too much of a coward to see it through and now, every day I thank the good Lord for my cowardice.

I am home, defeated, ashamed and utterly broken. I have disappointed my parents and the pain I see in my mother and father is overwhelming. For the first time ever, I am thinking of ending it all and I get a phone call from him.

My first love. I thought we were done. I remember sitting on the floor in the dark crying and telling him to let me go because I was no good. Telling him I was used up and no one would want me. He deserved someone who had not been so sullied and he said why? What do you mean? I said “I am pregnant” and there was this deafening silence.

He asked how? And I was silent. He said, do you love him? And the tale tumbled out of me, somewhere there I heard him say “marry me” and I think “you must be crazy”. I have another mans child in me and he says “doesn’t matter, he or she will be mine, just say yes”. Truthfully I don’t remember saying yes, more like he dragged it out of me. He said Trust me, I will be by your side.

I mean what more could I ask for? I told my mother and she begged me not to do this. Don’t marry just because of this, don’t run away. Daddy did not give his blessing initially, my parents were now pleading with me not to make two mistakes. “We love you, don’t run away”.

Boy was I torn, I told mama I love him, let me take this risk. Mama talked, asked many questions and then relented. She spoke to him, told him how difficult this journey could be for a 19 year old girl and 21 year old man. To father a child that is not yours! But he stood firm. And then he had to deal with papa who asked “Why?” so many times, he sounded like a broken record. And then Papa asked how will you care for your family? My knight in shining armour laid out a plan! He already had a job and had a plan. Finally papa relented and that night granted us his blessings.

Quotation Marks CloseIn two weeks I was married, and in 8 weeks off to build a home with my husband and 6 weeks after my arrival we held our baby. It is sixteen years tomorrow since we said our vows and so much has happened but he is my ride or die and I am his. I am truly loved and eternally grateful to be loved so deeply by him.

 

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So there you have it. Far from being any of the negative names we say today; this is a bona fide knight in shining armour. Not a Yoruba Demon, an Edo Principality or even an Ibo Wizard. We have men who are willing to take up the mantle and stand by a woman.

I felt the urge to share this with you because our ears are polluted daily with news of human failings and the good that men do seldom go noticed. So I’ll say it one more time:

Here’s to our men in shining armour! May we bear them, may we raise them, may we marry them, may we cherish them, and may we always remember that there are good men out there!

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