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

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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