Isaa Sekk is the man I fell in love with. He worked in my village and was Ibrayma’s (my dad) best friend. The three of us spent all of our time together. It was an incredible time in my life.
I tried to rationalize away my feelings for him because I thought it was insane to be so attracted to a man after being in a foreign country for a couple of weeks. I thought, well maybe I am just lonely. I wasn’t really lonely. I thought, well maybe it is just an intense crush and it will go away. It didn’t. I thought, avoid this and if you still want to date there are plenty of guys in the world later. The problem is that I didn’t want to date. I didn’t want a man. I found myself attracted to nobody else. It was just Isaa. I lost my heart in a split second. Despite my efforts, I knew from the beginning that this man was different.
We started dating, modestly and quietly. Only a handful of people knew and that is what we wanted. It has been about a month now that we have been together. I was the happy with him. Insanely happy. Eventually we started talking about the future. Not too intensely because we thought we had two years. We had time. But we intended (inshallah – allah willing) to eventually get married. When I decided to go home I knew that I wanted him to follow me. We were great together. Our personalities, our sense of humor, the way we viewed life. To be honest, I am not sure he was really a Senegalese man. Obviously he was, but he was different.
I had intended to spend my last weekend in my village to say goodbye to my family and to be with Isaa. But his uncle died so he spent that weekend at his village. I was supposed to leave early on Monday morning and he wasn’t free until late Sunday night. So we planned to meet at the forage at 6 am. He set up everything so that he could leave early and be there to see me off. We were going to talk about how to claim that future we wanted together. Ibrayma unlocked the forage and let me in. He waited for Isaa with me for about an hour and then had to leave. I waited until about 10 am. I just waited. I was frustrated, but I knew I wasn’t being stood up. He had told Ibrayma that he had to be there at 6 to see me because he wanted to marry me. Isaa had been having problems with his motorcycle and he has no way to charge his phone in his village so it often runs out of batteries. Maybe he just got stuck and couldn’t call. I was really disappointed that I didn’t get to say goodbye. That I didn’t get to see him.
That afternoon I returned to Thiès. I spent the evening saying goodbye to my friends in the Peace Corps. The next morning I got the phone call. Isaa had been hit by a car on his way to the forage. They didn’t find him until a few hours later and took him to the hospital, but he didn’t get there soon enough. He died Monday night.
I don’t know how to write this to express how much it hurts. There are no words. I can’t breathe because there is a pressure on my chest. I have fits of crying where I can’t stop. It has taken me three days to be able to write anything and I only write it now so that I don’t have to go through the pain of retelling this story over and over again.
The only man I have loved like this. The only man I have ever wanted to marry. The only man I have ever considered having children with. My boyfriend, my lover, my friend…my fiancé. Isaa is gone. And for the first time I am afraid to face an absolute.