I will never know just how long I spent sitting by the window that Saturday morning after she left. Bosola and I had been best friends right from our first day at the University of Lagos. People had called us twin sisters then because of how we did everything together. Some had even said we looked alike. I loved her like my own sister but that afternoon I wasn’t sure if I should be grateful for the information she came to give me or hate her.
I guess a part of me always knew Jimi was wrong for me and that part had never stopped berating me for marrying him. I had thought he was too smooth even when we were dating. Back then his message inbox was always empty, I had been suspicious about that; I thought it was impossible for anyone not to receive messages at all but I never accused him, not even when I perceived another woman’s perfume on him, I was always ready to make excuses for him, I was totally prepared to see only the best in him.
Jimi and I met at a friend’s introduction ceremony. The bride was my friend while the groom was his. We had been introduced by Bode my friend’s fiancée. I was struck by his muscular build and his handsome features. He had later asked me out on a date which I had wasted no time in accepting. Jimi had gone on to woo me for over two months acting like a perfect gentleman. I knew from the beginning that I was going to date him but I wanted to make him chase me. I was really prepared to settle down, so consciously or unconsciously I had been on the lookout for any eligible bachelor that came my way. Jimi had seemed to be the perfect candidate especially when he kept telling me how he was tired of being a bachelor and wanted to settle down.
The relationship had been okay except for the times when I had suspected that he was dating other girls, but I never got any concrete evidence and so I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Jimi had a hot temper which I had thought was particularly cute. I even used to tease him about it calling him a Volcano. Perhaps I didn’t see the anger issues as a problem because I was never a direct object of his explosive anger. The only time I came close to feeling the anger was when I spent a weekend at his parent’s place.
We were home alone with the houseboy that afternoon and I had been taking a nap. I can’t remember what the boy did again, but I remember his screams woke me up and getting to the sitting room, I saw Jimi beating the boy with the buckle edge of his belt.
The whole room was in complete disorder with chairs and tables upturned, the window closest to the door was already missing five louvers, I shuddered at the thought of what Jimi must have done to the boy seeing as his white shirt was stained with blood.
Jimi leave this boy alone! What in God’s name can he have done to warrant all this I screamed moving close to collect the belt from his hand but he swung the belt around as if to hit me with it and that made me withdraw. I kept begging him to stop, but he never listened. The boy was shouting begging him in the name of all the deities he could think of but Jimi kept beating him. He went as far as breaking one of the dining chairs on the boy’s legs. He didn’t stop until I went to the next house to call the neighbors who then came to restrain him.
That event shook me badly especially when his mum came back and told me that we should continue to pray for him, she said he had been like taht for as long as she could remember. Jimi later apologized to me assuring me it was never going to happen again.
I believed him then, but now after three years of marriage, I knew better.
The first time Jimi hit me was during the second year of our marriage Atilola our daughter was only six months old then. I had to work late that day and had called Jimi to explain that I was going to be late, I even asked my boss to speak with him so he could understand better. The baby was with me in the office as I had to pick her by 7.00pm at the day care centre. Although Jimi had suggested we take a house help I was scared he might start sleeping with her, I could have taken a male help but I was also scared he might abuse my baby sexually. A lot of strange stories were making the rounds about things house helps do to their employer’s children, and so my daughter was with me in the office that night. I had to be there as we had a major crisis that day and I was the only IT expert around. We did not get home until 11.00pm that night and my husband was there in the sitting room waiting for us. On my way home, I had been imagining getting a warm hug from my husband and an offer to rub my feet so as to ease the tension in my body.
Jimi had opened the door without saying a word and did not even respond to my greeting. He only snatched Atilola from my hand checking her whole body as if expecting to find something, he then carried her inside. I sat on the first setee I saw, totally worn out from the day’s stress.
He came back into the room after tucking Atilola in and at the next thing that came out of his mouth both shocked and horrified me.
‘’You whore! Do you have to take my daughter along when you want to go on dates with your men friends?”
I had opened my mouth to say something but the next thing I felt was his palm colliding with my cheek, I saw stars immediately.
“Jimi”, I shouted making an effort to explain only for him to slap me again. I raised my hands to shield my face but he held them both in a firm grip, I looked at his eyelids and saw madness in them. A terrible fear enveloped me and I wondered if it was going to be my last day on earth, the look in his eyes spelt murder, he kept on screaming obscene words at me even as he held my hand in the tight grip.
“You are a slut, a foolish and crazy woman who sleeps with her bosses.”
I opened my mouth in protest and he gave me a head butt immediately causing me to crumple unto the floor.
He left me there and went inside, I spent the night there weeping profusely at the nightmare that my life had become. That night served as my baptism into domestic abuse. But by the third beating, I decided to start fighting back. I made sure that by the time our fights ended; as I am treating my bruises, he is also treating the teeth marks and finger welts on his body.
Bosola’s words echoed in my mind
“Seni, you have to do something fast!”
It’s not really worth it or is it I mused. The marriage was basically dead as it is and I should actually feel indifferent about Bosola’s information.
So why am I feeling hurt? Could it be I still have feelings for him? I wondered
My mind went back to the day I made what I had called my irrevocable decision
………to be continued