When people talk about their knights, the picture that comes to one’s head is the image of Sir Lancelot, riding in his white stallion.
He has a sword in the belt of his trousers and a helmet perched on his head. His voice is laced like a man from a noble home.
He will see a group of bandits robbing a poor, young one, and he will call out to them. When they retaliate, he will unsheathe his sword and slay their throats just to save them, and when he does that, he will take them on his handsome horse to Camelot.
I grew up in a broken, abusive home. I watched when my father would hit my mother on her face when she didn’t serve him food with the right plate or when she called him by his name instead of calling him “my husband” or “my Lord”.
I would watch as she tended to her wounds. Her tears would soak up the piece of cotton that she used to attend to the wound. I grew up away from love. My parents were only focused on finding the loopholes in their marriage and failed to see their daughter who was always by the corner, watching.
I searched for love everywhere. Especially in the worst of places.
I swooned when my neighbour who was three times my age confessed he loved me. I liked it when he patted my head and kissed my forehead. He told me he loved me and would give me anything I had asked. My parents didn’t even know I existed.
One day, I knocked at his door with a wide smile on his face to show him that I aced the test he helped me with. He didn’t open it in haste like he did other days, and instead of smiling at him as he had always done, he frowned his face and pushed me away, saying he didn’t want me again.
I was rejected for the second time – was that how it worked?
Then came Deji. He was cute, funny, and smart. He showed me that the world wasn’t just in black and white, but there were other mixtures of colours. He said he loved me, and to a point, he proved it.
He showed up at my doorpost with bouquets and boxes of chocolate. He whispered the “I love you” words to me, and it felt like it was true. One day, I didn’t hear from him again. Did he forget me? Did he die? Did he reject me? That was the worst of it.
I met another man – Hassan. I thought he loved me. He wasn’t like Deji. He was calm, homely, and understanding. We were headed somewhere until we weren’t. I cried like I had never before when he first hit me. It came as a surprise.
He came immediately to save me and asked how I was feeling like he didn’t just hit me. He rushed to grab a cotton wool and dabbed it over the bruises. He whispered every day for the next ten days that he wasn’t going to ever lay his hands on me.
It happened the next day. He apologised. He hit me. It became a cycle.
I had already lost hope in love and in guys who were Dejis and Hassans. Hassan kicked me out of his life, literally, hitting me with his Jordan shoes every time I begged. He married a foreign woman; he said I couldn’t help manage his anger, and instead, I aggravated it.
Then he came, my white knight, just when I was on the verge of giving up on hope, love, and life.
Lawrence was my bandage, but I pushed him away with the anger of men like Deji and Hassan.
He came back. He always wanted to check in, know if I had eaten, and buy lunch if I had not, and for the first time, someone looked above my physical needs and was there for me emotionally. Slowly, he super glued my heart, and he came to my rescue in his kind of handsome horse. He took me to a refuge – his Camelot where I was forever safe and free.
Currently, grey hair is sprouting out of our heads, and black ones are in recession. Lawrence, for forty years, is mending my heart. His face crinkles when he sees me smile; he makes me smile. That is love. Together we’ve raised a family, not like my parents’, but a family built on love.
Every day, I will tell the story of how my white knight swooped me off my feet. He kissed away my tears and planted a smile on my face. Lawrence, oh, Lawrence, my Sir Lancelot.