Douglas Amuta! The Measure of a Man!

The Blessings of God make productive, and he adds no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). Melissa read the verse from the bible and smiled, looking up to the heavens and lost in thought. I sat beside her, staring and wondering why she left me out of her imagination. My name is Jessica; call me a perfection of beauty; think of all the feminine attributes, am an embodiment of them all! I'm about to hit age 43 but still single. Meanwhile, my best friend Melissa is society's definition of an attractive lady; yet, she got married at 25.

Melinda and I met in high school many years ago and have remained good friends over the years. We spent so much time in school reading romantic novels like Mills and Boons ( M&Bs), which made us die-hard romantics. Our parents groomed and led us on the path of truth. They made us read newspapers and educative literature. Somehow, a friend got us hooked on M&Bs in grade 8. We read almost all of Barbara Cartland's books; she was the world's best-selling romance author of all time. Dame Cartland was the genesis of our hopeless romantic adventure. Parents should learn to guide their wards more on what to read and how not to get entangled in fictions that can corrupt the soul. These M&B series gave us the impression that there is a single definition of the ideal man; (Tall, handsome with broad shoulders to cry on). Even the magazines at the time added to our woes as they also had models portraying the same idea.

In no time, the models became our poster dream men; we glanced at them from time to time to remind us of our measure of a man. That was how our innocent minds got corrupted by this assumption. Unfortunately, I clung to the ideology religiously and turned every suitor who did not fit into this category down. It did not matter to me if you have all the other good qualities. Any man below six foot was a no go area. My friend Melissa, on the other hand, had a renewal of the mind after her first knockout by a six-foot-plus guy when we got to the university. She fell in love the very first day she set her eyes on him. Wow!

"I met my dream man today, she whispered in my ears; he is just like the man over there, pointing to one of the posters on the wall." Did he talk to you? I asked with so much excitement! No, but the way he looked at me, I could tell that he is interested. My heart skipped the moment I set my eyes on him, Jessica! (At this point, she was jumping & smiling all over the room). Well, you didn't talk to him, what if you don't find him again? Don't worry about it, Jessica; he will find me, she said. Somehow, they met again through a mutual friend and started a conversation that led to a relationship.

To cut a long story short, the ideal man turned out as the opposite. The drama that followed is a story for another episode. But here is a summary! I still remember that day like yesterday; Melissa came back to the house looking drained and barely managed to walk to her corner of the room. I rushed to her, wondering if a group of cult members attacked her. No! Nothing like that, dear, I will talk about it when I'm ready, she said. Then she slept off!

Subsequently, she withdrew into her shell; the lively soul could no longer talk and eat; she became a shadow of herself. One of our lecturers thought she had a terminal ailment. What is the issue with you? I asked more than a thousand times. Nothing was the only answer for the next six months. She barely talked about our Prince charming, the visits diminished. I sensed a problem, but Melissa never spoke about it. Eventually, she said " all that glitters is not gold." she had made up her mind for a break-up. However, she was still in love with him and as painful as it was, it was the best option. Melissa never got over him; this first impression led to a mental state that made her feel all men are scum!

Don't blame her, that is what happens when you get entrapped in a particular belief! You must pay a high price. Indeed, she paid dearly as she never got into another relationship for a very long time! Six years precisely. All men are scum! I don't want anyone to break my heart again, she said! But broken hearts can always mend; is that not what they say? Yet, sometimes, it is better to experience a heartbreak to prepare you for the next relationship. However, Melissa was not ready to hear that gospel. Preach to the choir, she said. That was how she became cold for years without telling me or any other person what led to this ferocious state of mind. We graduated from university two years later and got jobs in different provinces.

While Melissa was still battling with her emotional trauma, God was busy preparing a man with a compassionate soul to rescue her. He appeared like a bolt out of the blues! Not our M&B definition of a man; his height was good enough; he looked with a charming smile that could assist a hurting soul. Above all, his bag of patience was spacious enough to accommodate all manner of temper tantrums! As expected, Melissa kicked, cursed and resisted, but his spirit was disturbed, he wanted to find out why an attractive lady like Melissa was so bitter and aggressive. For beyond the secured walls of resistance, he saw an amazing woman. Above all, he loves her dearly and was ready to shoulder all sorts of scornful discomfort. I guess some people are born that way, or perhaps God prepared him for the assignment. Somehow, our new man could read into her soul. He was the only one who sensed a feeling of pain and loss in there.

That was the beginning of the solution to Melissa's long agony. He endured the insults and never backed down. After a while, Melissa accommodated him as an acquaintance; he was comfortable with it. Days turned into months and months into years; Melissa was still a hard nut to crack; she was not willing to talk about what pushed her into this unrepentant state. But as they say, time, love and tenderness can mend a broken heart. Our new man broke the jinx after four years of hanging around Melissa. We nicknamed him Mr Endeaurance. Through him, we got to the root of the matter. Melissa got into an affair with Mr six-foot against her wish, and he violated her brutally even though he knew she was a virgin! She could still hear herself screaming stop!!! I'm a virgin as my friend narrated her ordeal with tears in her eyes. Looking back now, I remember how she crawled to her corner of the room that night, remember I asked if a group of cult members attacked her? And I also remembered that I saw bloodstains on her bedsheet when she left the room for the washroom. Jesus!!! I took the stain for her monthly menstrual circle ( Me crying now), how did I miss it?

After all these years, it took a total stranger for me to put one and two together to arrive at a constructive conclusion? God, forgive me! (Still crying) That bastard! Our new friend nursed her through the healing process. Eventually, she snapped out of it. Observing his conduct, you don't need a soothsayer to tell you he genuinely loves and adore Melissa. She also fell in love with him eventually. They got married in the summer. (Jessica starring at Melissa) I watched Melissa as she read Proverbs 10:22; "the Blessings of God make productive, and he adds no sorrow with it" with a broad smile. It occurred to me that she and Douglas have been married for thirteen years and blessed with two beautiful children. My friend has been the happiest in years. Tell you what? Douglas adores her like the early morning sun. He still looks at Melissa the way he did when he first set his eyes on her in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Outward appearance can be deceitful! Mills and Boon's definition of a real man is erroneous! Douglas Amuta is our hero! He is the Measure of a Man.