On Such Nights

black-woman-pencil-painting-by-shahrzad-ranji

Muina stretched and yawned. She turned towards the bedside clock, “3.15 am” she muttered shivering. She grabbed the eider down and drew it up to her cheeks; the cold that suddenly enveloped her was not just due to the air conditioner in the room or the fact that she was completely naked; it had more to do with what lay ahead. It won’t be long now she thought picking the bowl of potpourri on the bedside table; she brought it up to her nose and inhaled the heady scent of Jasmine. “This should relax me” she thought at the same time realizing it had never been able to at least not on such nights.

She heard his footsteps immediately he entered the hallway; her heartbeat increased immediately. She watched the door open noiselessly, her heart in her throat. Her eyes followed him as he entered the room. He didn’t even glance at the bed; he knew she would be there, she was always there. He opened the door of the bathroom and Muina heard the running water; she clamped a soft palm on her nostrils in readiness for the pungent smell of hand sanitizers that was bound to come seconds after. She hated the smell especially on such nights. Barok had a special brand of sanitizers; they were more pungent than any she had ever come across. When he was finally through with washing his hands, she heard him run the shower – a ritual that would take another thirty minutes.

Muina waited patiently, she hated what was about to happen but knew it couldn’t be wished away. She watched him as he walked to their bed almost forty minutes after he had gotten into the room. There were no words, none were needed. Muina knew the drill, on such nights there were certain duties required of her and she was ready. She got down from the bed and knelt on the cold marble floor, she bent double at the waist ready for what was to come. “One would think this would no longer be painful after four years of marriage” she thought shouting as she felt the first strike. It was just as best that it was painful since Barok expected her to cry out at each lash of the leather belt. He never exceeded ten lashes, never. When he stopped, she raised her head and watched him stretch his arms as far as they could go. He was done, she didn’t count the lashes but she was sure it wasn’t more than ten, “so dealing lashes of a leather thong must bring some pain to the wielder too” she thought as she watched him stretch his hand muscles.

He motioned for her to stand up; she did and moved to the bed. She lay flat on the bed. The welts on her back stung but she endured fixing her eyes on the chandelier, on such nights, she would wish the chandelier will fall and pin them both to the bed. He removed the towel around his waist and she fixed her eyes on his manhood, some days an instrument of pleasure but on such nights a harbinger of terror. She watched as he poised over her, she turned her eyes to the side as he pushed himself into her roughly. Tears sprang from her eyes, her body had gotten used to the intrusion and had ceased to bruise but that didn’t stop it from hurting. The irony of such nights was Barok preferred her silent when he was having his way with her. Fifteen minutes later when he was finally done, Muina sighed inaudibly. She was free for the night, free until the next time Barok would go out on his killing sprees – the source of his endless wealth.

When that would be she had no way of knowing but she was certain she would be made to atone for his sins again, she would once again be the object that clears his mind, the vessel that brings sleep to his eyes.

She watched him lay face down on the bed spent and ready for a deep sleep. She turned her back to him, the tears still running down her cheeks. She thought of the apologies she would receive the next morning, she would be standing, he would be kneeling, he would have tears in his eyes and hers would be dry. She will forgive him or rather she would say she did. She would watch him stand up wiping at his tears. She would then think of the small bottle of Gammalin 20 in the false bottom of her jewelry box.

She would wonder when she would finally be strong enough to use it.

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