Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Mark Wignall | Honey, how could you do this to me?

Published:Sunday | July 31, 2022 | 12:07 AM

If Benny and Sylvia knew what they were getting into at that marriage ceremony they went through more than 30 years ago they would have made the most honest and pragmatic vow that love-struck young people could make. It would go exactly like this...

If Benny and Sylvia knew what they were getting into at that marriage ceremony they went through more than 30 years ago they would have made the most honest and pragmatic vow that love-struck young people could make.

It would go exactly like this: “To retard your life is not at this time on my list of priorities.” Benny was through the moon. His wife Sylvia was floating in a little bit of heaven.

Benny was a civil engineer and he owned a small company in the building sector. He employed draughtsmen and bright trainees from the technical colleges. He met Sylvia there. Then they were happily married.

Unlike most married couples they rigidly planned for three children. Like clockwork their daughters were born, each just a little shy of 15 months difference.

Benny was no wastrel, but he was excessively generous to his wife. To him that was his oxygen.

A year after the last daughter was born his wife told him that she had a burning desire to see her sister living in Brooklyn.

He dropped her at the airport, kissed her then he drove home.

The terribly sad story of Benny and Sylvia begins when Benny realises seven years later that his wife has given up on his presence.

One Saturday morning close to midday I visited a farm store in the Kingston 19 area. There was a bar at the back section. As I entered the bar I saw Benny. His head was comfortably positioned on the hard surface. I wanted to respect anything that was troubling him so I remained quiet.

He lifted his head and signalled that he wanted to talk to me. “If I don’t talk I will go mad,” he said.

After he straightened up he told me that his wife had abandoned the children and had mentally devastated him.

“I was a good provider. I never physically or mentally abused her. If she had another man I didn’t sense it.”

Benny raised his three daughters and saw them through topping their classes in university.

“I drink for a reason,” he said, “I am seeking an answer and nothing is coming. I have refused to travel to where she is and confront her. Maybe I am scared,” he said.

He raised his daughters alone and I am amazed he retained his sanity.


Banjo was quiet and reserved and cared little for extended conversations. But he was magically happy. The main object of his happiness was his wife. She had been like him in the coed high school they attended. Shy and very reserved.

Banjo was no shark like the rest of his friends especially his best friend, Frankie. Banjo actually believed that love required that a man ought to change his bad ways into those pleasing to the main woman in his life. His wife.

Roll the tape five years. Banjo has one child with his wife. That child has brought about a wave of talk that the child bares little resemblance to his father. It is also an embarrassment that his best friend Frankie appears to be the child’s father.

But all of that matters quite little to Banjo who still considers himself lucky. As Banjo went for lunch one day one side of his head felt like it was being violently ripped from the rest of his head. He told his boss he was going home.

He still had the fingers of one hand firmly spaced out as he entered his bedroom and saw them – his wife and Frankie.

And this is where I personally enter the picture. It is the early 1980s and my marriage is at the latter stage of it totally falling apart.

My wife has left the home and is living with her parents. She has the two children.

I know nothing about Banjo. All that matters to me is the utter confusion and sleepless nights I have cast myself into and, I can’t escape it.

I visit my wife’s parents. This car is parked at the gate and I am deeply troubled because I have seen it before. With some guy driving and my wife and sisters in it. Weeks ago I had confronted my wife. “So, who di $#! is this guy?”

“Well,” she said using all of her bodily moves to emphasise the point. “You don’t own me and I can do whatever I want. That said, nothing is happening between me and Banjo.”

The week after I visit her parents house again. The car is at the gate. Again. I am at boiling point.

Banjo is seated on the verandah. I start to make mad, unbearable sounds. I rush to the back of the yard, grab hold of a cement block and rush back through the narrow side passage to the front of the house. Less than one minute later the rear glass of Banjo’s car is smashed in. After that I rush towards him and he bolts to the front door where all of my wife’s sisters lock him in. I was then in my early 30s.

And that is when my wife explained the bigger story around Banjo. She and my sisters were trying to keep him in the right direction of sanity while I was firmly embracing my insane tendencies.


The days and nights of 2020 and beyond are those mapped out in stressful moments.

So is it at all possible for the young to glide effortlessly into the path of love and for you who have been there before and is in the need of a rekindling.

Murders and kidnapping and violent gun activity are the realities of our lives. How can it therefore be a long-term situation given to most of us that can make it possible for young people to walk free and experience the liberation someone like me dared to feel in the dawn of 1962. Can most of us identify and embrace any hint of a new light drifting towards us.

Mark Wignall is a political and public affairs analyst. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and mawigsr@gmail.com