'Why don't you just go?!' Kemi screamed 'You always have to be right where I am, always wanting to be there. Why don't you just go?'
'Because' Marcus spoke tenderly, 'I told, you, I'm here to stay'.
'But I hurt, you. I keep on hurting you'. Kemi said. Marcus trailed his finger across his jaw following the scar that had now sealed. That was the result of Kemi's sporadic exhibitions with a knife.
' I do it deliberately, you know'. Kemi sneered. ' I do it so that you can...get out of my life!'.
Marcus looked at Kemi, he admired her slender frame. She was beautiful. Her face told a story. Her eyes full of experience of so much that she hadn't shared with him. He loved her so deeply, yet she could not comprehend the measure of his love. He held out his hand to her.
'Come'. He said. 'Come to me. I'm here for you'.
'You just don't get it do you?' Anger welled up inside her. She swatted his hand away. 'You just don't get that maybe, just maybe I want you to leave. I want you to go! And you know what Marcus? If you won't leave, then I will'.
Kemi went into her room and came back out with a bag full of her belongings. She struggled to hold the bag. She hoisted it over her shoulder and made her way to the door.
'Kemi wait'. Marcus pulled her to him. 'I don't want you to go. I know you don't want to go. Just stay'.
Kemi looked at him. Tears welled in her eyes. Pain flitted across her face as she looked deeply into his eyes. He saw a multitude of unspoken words, he felt as if her heart was in his hands. He could almost feel her heartbeat. Her eyes cried out to him, they screamed at him for help. He wiped her hair from her forehead, and held her in a tender embrace.
'Sorry, but I-I have to go'. Kemi pulled away and closed the door behind her.
Marcus sank to his knees and sobbed. He called out. He cried out. He screamed and he wailed.
Out of his pocket, he took out her diary. He hadn't meant to read it. He had found it by her bed when she had gone missing again and had to go and look for her. He had found himself flipping through the pages.
I can't do this anymore. He must know who I am, and what I stand for. I leave. I return. I leave because I seem unable to stay away. I return, because his love calls me back.
But I am tired of hurting him. I am tired of doing all the things that I wished I wouldn't do, yet he so readily accepts me back.
I look in the mirror and I see a reflection of someone who I don't know anymore. I turn and see the face of the one who shows me love, the one that I know very well, but I tend to keep away.
I run away because I am afraid. I run because I despise who I am. I run, because I do not understand this thing that he calls love, when all I have known is a love that hurts and takes because it can.
I run because I am afraid of his love. I too feel some kind of 'love'. But mine would only hurt him, so I run away.
I run, because that is all I know to do. I hide away, because hiding is better than revelation. I stray because, I am used to that.
I am used to this life, but oh, he just has to keep on coming back to get me.
Dear Diary, please help me.
Marcus had cried over the words he read. All along he thought her behaviour had been because she simply chose to be that way. But his heart grew with compassion when he realised, she didn't want to be that way.
He put on his coat and went in search for her. He would find her and reassure her that this time, this time, things would be different.
He knocked on every door of every known brothel he knew. They all turned him away, said they didn't know a Kemi. Maybe she was under alias.
He kept on. He grew tired, weary. He was miles away from home.
He knocked on another door, they let him in.
'You may have to wait a while'. the Mistress said. 'She's busy at the moment. You got your bills?'
Marcus pulled out a wad of cash. The Mistress smiled, she was pleased.
He waited. And waited. He heard a commotion upstairs. Amid all the music and cajoling, Marcus heard cries, cries for help.
He pushed past the crowd and ran upstairs. He ran to the cries. He tried the first door. A couple looked startled and tried to cover up. He ran to the next door. A man growled at the interruption and threw a glass at the door as Marcus ran.
He tried the next door.
There she was. On the floor. Blood running from her mouth. Kemi was hurt. Her paid suitor glowered over her. He smirked as he picked up a chair and smashed it over Marcus's head. Marcus fell to the floor. Dazed he stood and threw a lit candle nearby. It caught fire to the curtain, as the angry suitor flailed his arms as the flames licked his half worn clothes. Marcus picked Kemi up, held her in his arms and carried her out.
'I'm sorry'. Kemi looked at Marcus'. She had woken up, back at the house. The sunlight streamed in through the window. She squinted out of a heavily bruised eye. Marcus held a cold press to her cheek as he stroked her hair.
'I'm sorry, that I let you down again'. A tear ran down her cheek.
Marcus looked at her with tenderness in his eyes and winced as he lifted his head to kiss her tears away.
I told you, Kemi, that I am here to stay.' His voice broke. He touched her cheek. 'I don't care where you've been, I don't care about what you've done, and I don't care what you think you are or have become. I am here to stay and I will continue to come after you'.
Kemi's eyes were wide. Marcus could see the vulnerability in her eyes.
'I am not hear to hurt you Kemi, I'm not like the others you may have come across. It's simply up to you, if you feel you have the energy to entertain this goose chase'. Marcus looked at her 'And a black eye now and then. I will not let you go. Kemi, I am here to help you'.
Kemi was silent. She looked up at Marcus and slowly relaxed her hands into his. Her expression softened.
'Thank you'. She whispered. 'Thank you for being here. Thank you for a love unrelenting, thank you for having such a gentle nature. No matter what I seem to do wrong, you are always there for me'.
Marcus wiped her eyes.
'I was afraid, afraid that you wouldn't love me, couldn't love me. I just couldn't understand it. But I see now, that you have a different kind of love from which I knew. A love I never actually knew.'
Marcus held her close as Kemi rested her head on his shoulder. He reached to her bedside table and took a diamond ring. The ring he had put on her finger a year ago when he had vowed for better or for worse. The ring she had taken off time after time. He slipped the ring back onto her finger.
'This stays on for good' he said softly.
She smiled and closed her eyes and knew that she had now truly found what she had been looking for.
A love unconditional.
Inspired by Francine River's Redeeming Love and the wonderful Hosea and Gomer Bible story.