Not So Happily Married….Episode Thirteen

 

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No, I didn’t hear right. Boye is going to burst into laughter anytime now and spit in this liar’s face. I thought, glancing at Omoboye.

My face fell and I felt tears spring to my face at the look on her face. She looked ashamed, trapped, like she wished she could disappear.

“Is it true?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, she just darted furtive glances around the room.

Femi was sitting up, one hand was held to his bleeding lip, he looked smug, his eyes shone with mirth. The room was quiet; they must all be waiting for Boye’s response. I thought.

I looked at her too and shook my head at the way she pleaded with her eyes.

So she wants me to cover her shame and do this in private? Oh, well. I shrugged. I can do that as long as she explains. But I made a decision there and then. If it was true, then it would be the last issue we would have. I was going to walk out of the marriage.

I grabbed her hand and made for the elevator. She followed crying. Several whispers and chuckles trailed us as we walked out and at that moment I wanted to cry.

Why did I marry this woman?

I must have said it aloud because she increased the tempo of her cries.

******

This is it. Jite will divorce me. There is just no way around it. No sane man will want me after this. Yeah, this man loves me but seriously how much more can he take?

I sobbed as the elevator went up but started wailing when I heard him say “Why did I marry this woman”

He had never said that. At least I never heard him say it. Not even when we were neck deep in the abortion issue.

I wiped my tears when we entered the room. It was time to talk. I had no choice; my best kept secret was finally going to come out.

“Now start from the beginning and don’t hold anything back this time.” He said.

“Okay Jite. I promise I will tell you all.”

“Look at you. You know I really want to hate you now. I thought you were a Queen, I treated you like one, I thought you were decent.” He paused and I saw tears cascade down his cheeks.

My heart broke at his tears.  He doesn’t cry. He had told me severally that only weak men cry and that he was a real man who knew how to keep his tear ducts dry and grieve without wasting body fluids. Here he was, crying.

He sobbed for over three minutes and I engaged myself in a debate trying to decide on what to do.

Boye, move close to him, console him. Oh no. I can’t do that. This man is mad enough to slap me if I do.

Okay. Tell him you are sorry. Tell him what happened, that it wasn’t intentional and why you never told him. That won’t solve anything; it will sound like bull shit to him.

So what do you want to do? Allow him to finish crying and tell you to expect his lawyer?

No. Start crying too.

That was the option I took. Why didn’t I think of that earlier, why did I stop crying? Of course that’s the thing to do. Join him in the sobbing.

And so I started sobbing too. They were not fake tears; I was feeling real pain, pain that the nightmare was starting all over again, pain that I was making my husband hurt so bad, pain at the stories that were bound to show up in blogs and newspapers, pain that my life was totally out of my control.

My weeping got louder as images of what Femi referred to flashed across my eyes. Wounds I thought were healed reopened making my heart bleed the more.

I was licking my lips, kneading my breasts with one hand while rubbing my hair with the other. A recurring laughter resounded in my ears and when I wasn’t licking my lips, I was laughing too and then I was crying out from pleasure, sinking my fingers into his collar bone and tightening my thighs around his waist. Femi’s eyes was shuttered, his mouth open, strangled noises coming out of his mouth, and then suddenly we were both quiet, the laughter stopped, the moaning stopped, the silence was marred only by the splat splat sound of skin knocking against skin and then the sound of Femi’s cry as he came mixing with the farts that came out of me in succession. The combination was almost musical and made our lone audience to start laughing again.

“Omoboye, what is wrong with you? Are you fine?”

I heard his voice from somewhere far. I opened my eyes and felt him touching my fore head.

“Boye, what is it? What were you thinking of that made your eyes look like that?”

“I am fine.” I murmured looking into his eyes.

“You are not, you looked like you were about to pass out, like something was torturing your mind.”

“I want to forget it. I am not sure I am strong enough to talk about it yet.” I said

“You can forget about it after you have told me. I won’t let you hide whatever it is from me again.”

“What happened between you and Femi?”

“What did he do to you?”

“Jite, please I want to forget.” I said, placing my hands on his shoulder. “Help me forget, love me, I need to shake these images off. Please replace them. You may walk away after that. I won’t blame you, but please help shake these images off.”

*****

“No Boye. Snap out of this. Calm down and talk to me. What happened?”

“Give me a minute”; she said rushing to the bathroom. I heard her retching and debated whether to go in and check on her.

What’s wrong with her? Guilt? No. There had been something else in her eyes, fear? Pain? Regret? shame? anguish? …. and the way tears had been cascading down her face, the way her eyes had been wide open but unseeing …..was she acting? Is she even now composing a lie to tell me? No, that can’t be. Omoboye isn’t capable of that. Or is she?

“I am ready.” She announced when she entered the room.

She sat on the bed facing me and I couldn’t help noticing how pale her face was.

No, she is not acting. I decided. She has something to tell me and it would be the truth.

******

“What I am about to tell you is something I have always liked to think was a dream. I can’t even explain how I was able to convince myself that it was; I just know I push it back into the recesses of my mind every time I think of it.”

“Boye, quit the drama and say what you have to say.” He said, I could sense he was impatient and getting irritated too.

I nodded, then yanked the blanket off the bed and covered my body with it.

“Remember Dapo?”

“Your ex boyfriend. What about him?”

“Okay. It happened when I was dating him.”

“What?

“What I am about to tell you.”

“What are you about to tell me and how does it have anything to do with Dapo?”

“I will get to that. Please Jite, just allow me to explain. The only way I can explain it is by starting from the beginning.”

“Take your time then. I am all ears.”

“It was his birthday. That was July 5, 2004. We had just made up having recently broken up as we used to do every other month. This time, it had been because he cheated on me with one of my cousins. I had been determined that I wasn’t going to have anything to do with him again but he managed to change my mind. He told me, I was his conscience and his life would be destroyed without me. I felt like his messiah and so I accepted him back.”

“It was a small party; just a few friends and colleagues. I played the role of the supportive girlfriend; ensuring the guests ate to their satisfaction and that everything went on fine. Dapo had told me he wanted Femi to cover the event. Even then, Femi was quite expensive but I managed to convince him to do it as a favor for me.”

 “I was supposed to spend the night with him so I was still there when everyone started leaving. Femi wanted to leave when the party thinned out but Dapo said no, that he wanted him to do a photo shoot for us. I was excited and even thought that perhaps he was planning to propose.”

“I was naive and stupid.” I added in a low tone. I wasn’t looking at Jite’s face despite the fact that I could feel his on mine. I didn’t want to see what I was sure would be there. Disgust.

“So?” He asked, prompting me to continue.

“So we did the photo shoot. It was fun; Dapo was at his very best, attentive and very loving. I was in high spirits too still hopeful that a proposal was in the works. After the shoot, he brought out a bottle of wine, said it was the best and that he saved it for both of us but he would however love for Femi to join us. He poured a glass for the three of us and we took the drinks.”

“I didn’t know I was drugged, I just realized that after a while Femi and I got cuddly with Dapo encouraging us. I even remember asking Dapo if he wasn’t going to be annoyed if I kissed Femi and he replied me saying. “Why would I? I would love to see that”

Although I wasn’t looking at Jite, I could feel him perspiring.

“And then I kissed Femi, the rest is still a blur or maybe it feels like that because I always prevent my mind from thinking about it, I just remember I was acting like I was drunk only it was worse than being drunk, I was not in control of me, I was wanton, pushing myself against Femi and strange thing, he was responding too.”

“Stop. Boye. Please stop. That’s enough.”

******

I couldn’t listen anymore, yet I wanted to listen.

Who did I marry?

How come she had this sort of history and I never even had a clue. How did she manage to not mention this?

I wanted to cry, she wasn’t done but my mind knew whatever she still had to to say was going to hurt me more than what she had already said. I wanted to save myself the agony but still I felt like I needed to know everything.

She looked pale, sick even. I know whatever it was that she went through must have been traumatic but I needed to hear more. She shivered occasionally despite the fact that she was covered with a blanket and yet was sweating as much as I was.

“Continue, I need to hear more.”

****

“Somehow we started having sex.”

“You and who?”

“Myself and Femi. I didn’t know what I was doing; I just knew I was enjoying it. It was as if I stood and was watching my own body do those things. At that moment it felt like the only thing I ever wanted to do and not even seeing Dapo sitting on an arm chair laughing and blowing on his cigarette changed my mood. He was there throughout and even cheered us on at some point and then when Femi was done, he took over.”

“Oh my God! No.” Jite screamed standing up for the first time since he entered the room.

“Those bastards, did you report to the police? Of course, you didn’t. Why am I asking? But why Boye, why didn’t you lodge a complaint? Was it because you enjoyed it? Ehn.?”

“Ehn, was it because you enjoyed it?” He repeated shaking me with his hands. His touch was painful but that wasn’t what made me cry, I cried because I could see my marriage crumble before my eyes.

“Stop it Jite. You think I stood a chance? Do you think I even wanted to go through the trauma of letting everyone know what happened? It wasn’t until later that I even knew I had been drugged and it wasn’t just me. Femi too.”

“The next morning, Dapo sat us down and laughing at the bewildered look on our faces told us he drugged us both with Ecstasy and when I asked why, he said something that haunts me to this day.”

“You are too good for your own good Omoboye. You need to do bad from time to time. I hate your sanctimonious guts, I always have.”

That wasn’t all, he said he hated that I always made him feel so guilty for cheating on me and for not being a good boyfriend and that I always reminded him of the sacrifices I made for him and how he was my first and only.

He said:

“Boye, I needed to spoil you, At least now, you can’t say I am the only one you have slept with anymore.  I needed to make you have something on your conscience too”. He said he tried to push me into cheating too but I was too wrapped up in self righteousness to even cheat if only for revenge.”

“And then, he apologized to Femi saying he was just an unfortunate pawn. You needed to be there Jite to see the smug look on his face, to see the……”

My voice broke at that point and for the first time in six years I allowed myself to relive and mourn those moments.

****

I wanted to commit murder. Any resentment I felt towards Omoboye was gone replaced with a fierce sense of protectiveness.

“Boye, why didn’t you trust me enough to tell me?”

“How could I? I needed you to see me as me not as a victim of abuse. I needed you to love me, I wasn’t sure you would still love me if you knew all that happened. Besides the closer we got, the harder it was to tell.”

“Was Femi aware of his plans?”

“No, he was a victim like me. Dapo likes playing silly games just for the fun of it. He wanted to make me pay for always making him look like the bad guy and for leaving him so he wooed me back with the intention of punishing me.”

“I am going to kill the bastard.”

“God forbid. You won’t be a killer.”

“No, I am not a killer but he is going to die. I swear by my late father’s head. He is a dead man.”

“No, Jite please don’t say that. I have left him to God. All that matters to me right now is that you are not so angry with me anymore.”

“God, I can’t believe you went through something like this. But why will that idiot say that about you knowing what happened was not something you did in your right senses, which brings me to another question, why did you continue to work with him?”

“I really don’t know why Femi has been the way he is since we got here but I think he said what he said because he wanted to hurt me for telling you and he probably was jealous that we were still cool with each other in spite of the fact that I told you.”

“I guess.” Jite replied, shrugging.

“As to working with Femi, I didn’t really have a choice. As you know after we did the beauty magic competition in which our pieces were both chosen, one of the terms of the prize and our contract was that we had to work together whenever beauty magic had their beauty pageants/fashion shows which is every two months. So basically despite what happened I knew I was stuck with him for the five years of our contract but I could have cut ties with him after that but somehow we got past it and managed to keep up a professional relationship. He never acted inappropriately; we never even talk about it as he had been mortified about it as well.”

“But he must have been nursing some feelings for you. It’s the only explanation for what he did tonight. Anyway, I want you to enter the bathroom now and take a shower. Rest well because we will be leaving for Lagos very early tomorrow morning. There is a business I need to take care of.”

Perhaps, it was something about the way he said the “there is a business I need to take care of”. I just knew it had something to do with Dapo. I didn’t say anything, I just resolved to stay close to him and ensure he does nothing stupid.

When I came out of the bathroom, he was still sitting in the same spot, staring ahead.

“He is the one who impregnated Boladale”. I said before I could stop myself.

 “He basically used that girl too, looking back now I am thinking he might have even used Ecstacy on her too.” I added wondering why it never occurred to me before.

“Tell me what he did to her. Everything.”

When I was done, he said;

“Another reason for the bastard to die.”

PS: Should we kukuma allow Dapo to die?

photo credit:google images

What Do You See in Him Anyway

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And he took your love for granted and

He left you high and dry

But you know someday,

When you’ll wonder on what you see in him anyway

When that day arrives we’ll live on

Ocean drive

Lighthouse Family – Ocean drive

 

 

The lyrics that played in your head as you remembered him. He doesn’t come into your thought anymore and you wouldn’t even have remembered him if a friend hadn’t mentioned his name.

The name you used to love, the man you used to care for with your whole heart. The one who loved you, hurt you and then hurt you some more. Even then you used to wonder what you saw in him; there was nothing a sane girl would love about a man like him. Yet you loved him and even you couldn’t explain why. The days after you found courage to walk away; you decided that yours was the love of a victim. The more he maltreated you, the more you loved him.

He would call you names. Idiot, fool, stupid, bastard, retard ….. those were some of the nicer ones. You would cry yourself to sleep on several nights praying and asking God to change him and afterwards you would ask yourself if you were crazy to be praying that God should change a man you were not even married to.

Why don’t you just leave Folake?” You would ask yourself.

I can’t leave, I love him, and he needs me.” You would reply yourself

 

—-

 

On the few occasions when things were good, they were really good. He was the best man to be with on such days and so you would tell yourself that he is not really all that bad. You could never predict what would trigger his anger, they were that erratic. Even the things you did thinking he would be happy could make him mad. You just couldn’t be sure and so you took great care in all you do.

 

—-

 

You are a daydreamer, it’s what you love doing. You would try to imagine your future with him but the pictures were always blurred. That was unusual, your visions were almost always clear yet the visions of your future with him looked bleak, blurry and depressing.

That alone was enough reason to leave but fear won’t let you.

If I leave him, how will I cope?”

I will miss being with him.”

What if no other man comes my way?”

Where do I start from?”

I have spent several years with him already; will all that go to waste?”

What will my friends say?”

Leaving him will mean accepting failure and I am not a failure.”

A lot of people know us together already, it will be so shameful.”

Someone has to marry him anyway”

Perhaps this is the cross meant for me to carry, everyone has theirs or don’t they?”

 

—-

 

Some days he would call you and demand that you move the phone towards the television just so he could be sure it was the television he heard and not that a man was in the room with you. Other times you would have to give the phone to your sister or neighbor so he could be sure you were home. You also had to scream “I love you” each time he called otherwise he would suspect foul play.

—–

The day your liberation came, no bells rang, no doors crashed. It happened so simply you didn’t even know you just got liberated. It was during one of those periods when you and him have the fights that happened for no reason at all. The days when you would check your call history and realize you have dialed his number for up to fifty times without any response. You would ask yourself if you were still sane or crazy to have called someone that many times. On such days you would walk around with the world on your shoulders, weighing you down with every step. It would be as though your life was incomplete and all for nothing unless you heard his voice.

 

—-

Your liberator bore no resemblance to superman; he was just a man like any other yet the differences were easy to note and they slapped you in the face. He is gentle where the other was brash and harsh. He is polite where the other was offensive.

He is what the English call a gentleman and you couldn’t even believe it. He is too good to be true, you told yourself. He must be pretending, no man can be this good. Men are all the same, he is going to change once I let him into my life.

 

—–

You really wanted to try, at that stage the visions of your future with your boyfriend was finally clear. You could see the future and it was filled with sadness, despair, domestic violence and infidelity. You sat yourself down and asked if you had the strength for such a future, you told yourself you didn’t and willed yourself to leave. Yet you were so weak, too weak to let go. Like a dangerous habit or addiction, he was under your skin and it would take serious intervention to get him out. Finally you sought God, you asked him to help. You gave him two options; it was easier that way for you.

You said God;

If it is your will that I should have an unhappy future, then let me marry this man but if there is another man out there that could make it all right, that could bring me happiness, that could show me what it means to be loved and cherished then lord please bring him speedily.

After that prayer you relaxed and you began to realize that you could do without him after all, you stopped calling and it was painless. You discover a day could go by without you thinking of him. You started spending more time with the gentleman. You realize this was home, where you were meant to be, where your happiness lay and so you relaxed and allowed him to show you what love really is.

 

—–

The brute came back with a force, the moment he noticed you had gotten over your addiction, the moment he noticed you were happy and he wasn’t the reason. He couldn’t live with the fact that he was no longer important. He came back a seemingly changed man desperate to persuade you he could be good. He reminded you that the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. You told him to go to hell that what would you be doing with the devil when you could be with an angel. He cried and pleaded. He told you he couldn’t live without you, he said his world will end but you didn’t listen, you were unmoved.

You couldn’t recognize yourself. You never thought a day would come that his presence would become irritating, that his voice would mean nothing, that his tears would have no effect. You were over him and it was massive. You felt like someone who suddenly discovered Indomie after feeding on earthworms for years. He noticed and he was scared, the fear brought back the monster and he started to attack and threaten you. You laughed when you saw his real self reappear. Whatever did I see in this brute anyway you thought telling him to get lost and never come back.

It was easy to forget him, your gentleman made that possible. He erased all the hurt with his love, his attention. He treats you like a precious gem and loves you completely and sincerely. In a short while you forgot he existed and the few times you remember him now, you feel nothing, no pain, no regret just praise to God for delivering you.

And here is your song:

 

O ti mumi gbagbe oooo, ibanuje igba kan

You have made me forget the sorrows I once lived with

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

 

 

 

Foot note:

He  or she is abusive? Or is it that it just doesn’t feel right? Leave now and forget all your fears and insecurities. Don’t get married to someone who abuses you verbally, psychologically or physically just because you think you can’t get someone better. Yes there is a man or woman out there waiting to love you, waiting to show you who a real man or woman is. He or she  is out there but they may never find you unless you let go of the brute. You deserve better, you deserve happiness; do not let the enemy tell you otherwise.

Just bring God in, let him intervene. Trust me you can’t do it alone.

My Wounds May Never Heal II

In case you missed the first part, please check here https://toyinfabs.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/my-wounds-may-never-heal/

 

despair

I had been sitting in the living room watching Atilola take her afternoon meal when I heard Jimi’s voice.
“Where is that fool? ehn, where is that imbecile I call a wife? Seni get here now before I come there to drag you.”
I moved to the edge of my seat, my heart thumping with dread. I was confused, wondering what it was that I had done. I didn’t want any fight especially not when Atilola was awake. I knew I had to do whatever it takes to make him calm down. I said a quick prayer asking God for wisdom to deal with the situation.
I walked to the bedroom reciting the bible passage I had read that morning under my breath. I had been going through the books of proverbs looking for verses that could help me cope with my situation.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger”
That was the verse that had jumped at me immediately I opened Proverbs that morning. I took it as a divine revelation and was determined to put it into practice that afternoon.
“Baby, I’m here” I said immediately I entered the room.
“Do you want me to get you something?”
“Don’t baby me, do you understand? Don’t you baby me.”
I sighed softly, of course the soft words thing wouldn’t work with Jimi, but I was still determined to try.
“Jimi, I’m sorry for whatever it is that I have done, you know I hate to stress you.”

“Don’t you dare patronise me Seni, Don’t even bother because it’s not going to work.”

“Do you know you are just a good for nothing idiot and a big bellied one at that”, he said casting a distasteful look at my caesarean section induced big belly.

I swallowed hard, hurt at his reference to my stomach. I felt annoyed that he would say such a thing especially since he was aware of my efforts to lose the belly fat.

He pulled a bag from inside my closet and spilled the contents on the bed.
“Look at these” He said, pointing a finger at the clothes now scattered on the bed.
“Seni, I am going to kill you this afternoon” he added, clenching his teeth and drawing his trouser belt.
I panicked more worried about the fact that Atilola could walk in at any time than about the beating I was about to receive.

Several thoughts flashed through my mind in split seconds, I backed towards the door of the room even as Jimi moved menacingly towards me, holding the belt in readiness to strike. I thought of rushing to the living room, grabbing my daughter and running for dear life but knew the chances of doing that was too narrow.

As if Jimi guessed my thoughts, he dragged me from beside the door and pushed me further into the room. My eyes misted and I started pleading with him, asking him to allow me to explain. He ignored my pleas and holding both my hands with one of his hands dealt the first whip of the belt to my back.

“Stupid woman”, he shouted sprinkling spittle on my body, “you had the guts to go shopping for yourself after telling me you had no money to borrow me”.

You selfish moron”, he said raising the belt yet again and hitting me on the thighs. He let go of my hands and pushed me on the bed, I curled up on the bed trying as much as I could to shield my head and face with my arms. I wanted to scream and shout about how much I hated him but I didn’t want Atilola to hear my screams.

I resolved to endure it until Jimi got tired and so I tried to focus on counting the blows. The tears ran profusely down my face and I lay there whimpering determined not to cry out and not to beg him.

“I won’t stop till I kill you today” he said making my heart skip a beat and weakening my resolve to not fight back. I however decided to wait till the twentieth before taking any further action. He was on the thirteenth lash when I heard Atilola’s screams.

“Daddy leave my mummy, stop beating my mummy”, she cried hitting him with her tiny hands. I sat up to look at my daughter and the fourteenth blow landed on the right side of my face.

I ignored the blinding pain, shocked that he seemed unaffected by Atilola’s actions and completely shattered that my daughter was having that sort of traumatic experience at her age. I stood up suddenly and made for the door, but he raised his leg and managed to trip me. He drew me up, slapped me repeatedly and pushed me against the only window in the room. All the while Atilola kept wailing screaming “leave her, “leave her”.
He pinned my arms to the burglary proof window, I cringed at the thought of what was coming, I knew the next thing was going to be a head butt, my cranium should have shattered based on the number of head butts I had received since the first time he hit me. I made a split second decision and ripped out the iron curtain tie-back beside my right palm, I raised it quietly, my teeth clenched and jabbed the sharp end into his side in the split second before the head butt landed. He went down immediately holding his side and groaning in pains.

I did not stop to check the extent of his injuries but rushed out of the room with my daughter, picked the keys from the hallway and drove off to my Mom’s place. I however called my mother-in-law while in the car and advised her to get an ambulance to the house. I switched my phone off immediately after the call and decided there and then never to go back to the house. This decision, I told myself was irrevocable.

******

All that was six months before Bosola brought the news of Jimi’s latest plans. I thought of her words again and the urgency with which she had said it. She wanted me to do something fast. There was something about her words that irritated me to no end because it seemed to suggest that I fight to get Jimi back. I had no desire to do that. All I wanted was my freedom. I hadn’t set a foot in our matrimonial home since the day I stabbed him, although we had spoken on phone for a number of times after he left the hospital. I was always the one to call and it was for just one reason, I needed him to sign the divorce papers, I wanted my freedom more than anything else but Jimi had refused saying emphatically that I was his and would never belong to any other man as long as he lives.

I shuddered as I always did whenever I remember the statement. As indifferent as I wanted to feel about what Bosola told me, the news did bring with it a ray of hope and what could be my only chance. If I played my cards well, I could get my freedom soon I thought finally leaving the window and reaching out for my mobile phone. I needed to call Jimi and we were going to have a long and hopefully fruitful discussion.

…….to be continued on Wednesday 09/01/2012

My Wounds May Never Heal

WOMAN

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

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