Since I would be publishing the sequel before the end of this week, I’ve decided to share an old work with you. Previously published on my other blog; http://ope-adedeji.blogspot.com/ & http://unilaglss.wordpress.com/
Please read and share your opinions on Marital rape.
He had just slapped her and swung her against the wall. Here we go again… Another night and he was drunk. When wasn’t he drunk? Could he go a day without hitting the bar, tapping some girl’s bottom, spending his savings on bets he didn’t win? His breath stank of alcohol, cigarettes and sweat- that no doubt were the product of gambling, a cheap motel and prostitute. The hate in his eyes danced as if listening to the rhythmic drumming of her heartbeat. His words were slurred but she could make out what he was trying to sing as he hiccupped ‘I love my–hic-bay…that’s my baby–hic, I would never do you–hic right…’ He walked towards her, a bottle of Star in his hand, staggering worse than a nervous torero, bull fighting. His shirt was opened wide exposing tiny curly hair that seemed to be plastered to his chest and a belly that looked like a baby bump in its second trimester. His look seemed to suggest something. Something that had continuously crippled her and wrecked havoc in her mind on nights like this. She hoped she was wrong. Did she hope, no, she prayed.
The children were asleep. 5 and 7 yet, there was no doubt that Lala and Simi knew what was happening. One night they had caught him in the act but unashamed, he continued while, Simi started screaming and Lala followed suit. Nursing her pain after he was done, she only went to the children’s room and rocked them back and forth, crying, singing Bob Marley’s, ‘every little thing is gonna be alright’
He dropped the bottle on the floor and started to unbuckle his belt. No this couldn’t be happening. Not again. God please listen to me. Just look at me God, look at me. She already couldn’t walk well and was in severe pain. She was afraid to see a doctor let alone step out of their house. At least she could scream without attracting nosy neighbors. She wouldn’t be the topic that fuelled idle chattering.
She thought about their once beautiful marriage letting the fear slip away for but a moment. It wasn’t exactly beautiful anyway… He was always commanding her, treating her like she was his slave and she had felt that he loved her– it was just the way he loved. The monster in him had only come out when he lost his job in the oil company and was unable to get a new one. But she had been understanding with his inadequacies. Her mother had said it was what a good wife did. “He just might have to hit you once or twice”, She had even added while slowly and effortlessly stirring a pot of stew. “Don’t scream, you don’t shout. Just go, nurse your wounds and continue being a good wife”. She had accepted the advice, she would be the broken and bruised beauty and he would be her loving beast. Once or twice my foot! Screw you mama! Screw you! She didn’t have to guess he didn’t love her now. She doubted if he had even ever loved her. He had probably just fallen in love with the naive bottle shaped girl. Her parents didn’t help matters. They had fallen in love with him once she announced he worked in an oil company. Couldn’t blame them. Couldn’t blame herself.
She ran her hands over her face, still hot from the slap and felt tears streaming down her face. It was dark and she was weak, she couldn’t stand to run away from him, at least get to their room upstairs and lock herself up in the closet. Then she felt the blood, a cold wet substance growing like wild fire around her hair. She fixed her hands into her full tangled afro hair and felt it once–she could have convinced herself it was just water. When he’d flung her aside, her scalp had hit the rough walls and probably a small tear up there she convinced herself but the pain, the peppery feeling said otherwise. Her whole body throbbed and vibrated with pain and as he came closer she found herself shivering, pleading with her weak hands, begging with her eyes.
He held his belt in his hands, twirling it in the air. He had a sardonic smile tugging at the edge of his lips. She was trying to summon her strength. Trying hard. But over the past few days, she had lost a lot of blood from belt lashes, punches and kicks. It was how her baby had died a few months ago. He had taken her to the hospital, crying pitifully and had said she rolled down the stairs. She eventually rolled down the stairs a few days after recuperating. She only rolled because he had pushed her and what had or hadn’t she done? – “you didn’t sew in the buttons of my shirt” and how was she supposed to know “you’re my wife, you’re supposed to know every freaking thing”
In the past few days, her image in the mirror was one of a woman she didn’t recognize. Swollen red sclera and dark circle under her eyes, puffy cheeks, and incessant running nose–no she didn’t recognize this woman. Didn’t want to recognize her. Simi and Lala were crying. They were constantly asking her what was wrong but she kept on replying, ‘everything is going to be okay.’ She managed to go about her duties. She managed to take care of them. She didn’t want them to think her husband; their father was a monster not that he ever showed he was otherwise.
There had been this one time when he pressed the hot iron against her stomach. Being a nurse she knew the right thing to do, the bruise wasn’t bad, but she sustained a scar. Emotionally, she was wrecked, hopelessly, hoping for help. She had known God a little. She said a prayer once or twice to him, hoping her sins wouldn’t keep him from hearing her.
But she couldn’t take it anymore. This beauty was going to fight back. She knew it was not in the bible but she muttered – heaven helps those who help themselves.
The belt landed on her skin and she screamed so loud, she realized she had forgotten she had a voice like that. Another one came before he pushed her on the floor. She was screaming. She was angry. She hated him. He was just about to rape her, spreading her legs like she was worthless, when she stood up, biting him first, using her nails to dig into his flesh angrily. She carried up his shoe and threw it at him. It was a good aim, it hit him right squarely on the head sending his bottle clattering in her direction. Volley ball in secondary school had paid off after all. He was swearing shouting, cursing her mother and her father. He was visibly too weak to stand so she, summing up all her strength, limped towards the half broken bottle. She was going to kill him. She had never felt this angry in her whole life and the energy; she had no idea where it came from. Something told her to run away, just gather the little ones and hide somewhere in the large house, he’d be too drunk to start looking for her. But everything screamed that she should kill him and end this misery. The flat screen television was screaming do it. The standing fan kept saying better for you. Her picture frame on the wall said there was nothing to worry about, end his life. Her mind just kept on saying ‘it’s a trick, don’t do it’ As if she had a chance in the first place. She was afraid. Scared to death as she listened to him cuss and curse her at the same time, holding on to his head.
She picked half of the broken star bottle and was about to approach him when she heard a voice call for her.
‘Mummy?’ it was Lala.
You’re a nurse not a killer she whispered staring at the little children. She turned back abruptly, shocked to a fault. They were supposed to be asleep. They weren’t supposed to see this. What did they think of her now? They probably saw a huge monster, sweating, smelling, bruised. She dropped the bottle. The two girls ran to hug her. Despite the serenity in the air, the voices still nagged, appealed, commanded that she ended his life.
‘Go to sleep now girls’ she said clutching her robe tightly ‘mummy would be up in a bit’
they nodded, Simi taking her sister’s hand. The little one withdrew and gave her mum an extra hug. By the time, they exited to the staircase, he was standing, right at her back, she could smell him even before she turned ‘I’d kill you’ he said ‘I promise’ a whisper.
There was laughter in her head this time. Loud sarcastic laughter. The laughter became infectious. She herself began to laugh. Laugh so loud, the man halted in his steps. Then the laughter ended and she was aware of herself and her surroundings. What was happening to her? She might be losing her mind. He came forward and pushed her back angrily. She fell on the chair.
‘You can’t hit me and get away with it, who do you think you her.’ Punches and slaps across her face. Then he took off his trouser and let her scream away into the night. It was almost midnight and the air was still when she gave out her last cry of pain. She really thought she was dead but she was breathing, loud enough for that matter.
‘Didn’t you enjoy that?’ he asked, more of a statement to himself than to her. She didn’t answer. He screamed again, ‘I asked, didn’t you enjoy that’
She nodded, grimly.
‘You’re not a lizard, answer me’ He slapped her across her face
‘I did’ she said and swallowed hard.
‘Good. We should do this another time’ he said pulling up his trouser ‘now I have to go to the hospital’ he said rubbing his head. She lay still on the chair listening as a silent noise bubbled around her, rising above the din of the hooting owls, croaking frogs, barking dogs.
The silent noise in form of voices. Whispers. Leave me alone she wanted to scream but she just lay there, her eyes darting around in fear. The couch was talking to the side stool. The fan was talking to the television. The frame of her husband was talking to her own frame on the wall. She clutched tightly to her ears. They were using words like
‘dumb, kill, knife, rape, stupid, drunk, die, death’ her breathing increased. ‘Stop…Stop!!!’ She no longer took cognizance of the rapist even as he strolled away, whistling like some sort of champion. She just kept crying for mercy in her heart. She sat down on the floor for a moment, hugging her knees. Tears rushing out of her eyes.
‘Don’t lie, you want him dead’ the voice from her frame said ‘just kill him. End his life. All the better for you and your children”
‘No’ she screamed blocking her ears ‘no, no, no!!’ her scream was shrill, piercing into the cold air. She pulled her hair out, trying to separate the tangled strands from her aching scalp, panting in excitement, tears pouring out. She continued to scream and shout no wishing the evil in the air would just disappear. Abruptly she stood up, an action that shot pain throughout her whole body; from between her thighs to her throbbing head. She went into the kitchen, opened the drawer were she had her gun. She had gotten it licensed a few years back when the inflow of robbers and kidnappers in their bushy estate had been much and her husband was always on a ‘business trip’. Never had a chance to use it though. So this was the perfect time. She walked slowly up the stairs ignoring the pain coursing through her. She moved slowly as if moving with a rhythm. She stared at the mirror that hung on the wall in the lobby once, staring at the streaks of blood that had come from her, her swollen eyes, her fat cheeks, and her slender figure. Ugly. Yes, she agreed with the mirror. It was high time she did this. She went to her children’s room. Stared at the beauties that had slept holding each other. They were afraid. She was afraid too.
Then she moved on to the master bedroom. Her gun was steady in her hands. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do with the gun but her body knew just what to do. She couldn’t think it. For moments, she could only think of what her life had been. She remembered walking down the aisle. She remembered his proposal. Then she remembered when he first hit her and she had known it was time for him to die.
Staggering slowly with pain, she starred at him with hatred, slumped on the unmade bed. No, could she have ever loved this man? She doubted. All she felt, moving through her was hatred. Anger. It was a powerful feeling. A feeling she had never felt. She fired the gun at the wall and broke into another fit of laughter. ‘Dami, stay calm’ she said to herself. The voices in her head were laughing. They were telling her to do it. A tiny voice told her not to. She decided against it as she stopped laughing wondering what was happening to her
His eyes flopped open. She wasn’t sure whether it was the gun or the laughter that had woken him up. All she knew was his eyes were opened and shone against the darkness ‘What!’ he said alert not like he was drunk or groggy ‘what are you doing with the gun? Oh, you planned on killing me right?’ he said boldly, but there was a crack in his voice and she knew he was afraid of death.
She looked away the gun still thrust out, her hands shaking. She looked outside at the bright lights and the night sky. Suddenly, she felt a jolt. He seemed to have caught on the fact that she was distracted. He was trying to pull the gun from her hand; she removed her hands from the trigger and tried to pull too. He was stronger. There was a mild combat. She ended up falling on the marble floor. He stood over her. ‘You’re beginning to get a lot of guts girl’ he said and before she knew what was happening, she heard two gun shots and then saw nothing but darkness.
He didn’t seem to realize his action. He didn’t seem to realize he had just murdered his wife.
To be continued.