Love and pain, which is stronger? Loss and longing, which one beats the other? Today, it’s just me and these walls, silence and the ticking of clock mum gifted me on my wedding, she said her own mother gave it to her.
It is after serving Michael his breakfast, attending to the kids and sending them off to school, washing plates, cooking lunch, picking the kids from school, cooking dinner, giving Mike his daily dose of sex and watching him snore to oblivion that my life begins. It was as though I existed in a more transient world from the one, he lived in. I no longer knew who I was, what dreams I had or what I wanted to become before I met him.
But I remember what our life was before the marriage, I was fresh out of school, with a First-class Degree in Business Management, interning at Ronak Limited where he was Head of Operations. He said his first attraction to me was the presentation on ‘Gender Parity in Business’, he said he liked how eloquent I was, how my dress was “struggling to hide my curves”, he said I was not like the other girls, it made me feel special. Whenever he walked into a room, he took charge of it, his presence enveloped the room, his voice steady and strong occupied everything. He’d buy me lunch on most days and send me surprise hampers during weekends. Soon we started having dates, first it was a museum, then a movie, then more movies, then we started making out in his car and I started spending weekends at his place. It was the kind of love you read about in novels, I was pampered, swimming in tender care and affection. He proposed to me during a boat cruise on my birthday, three months after I completed my internship with Ronak. I thought it was too early to get married but he said he didn’t know why we had to wait much longer and I was so in love with him, I was willing to give everything to spend my life with him.
I went back to Kogi and told my parents I had someone who wanted to marry me. Mum was excited, dad quite unsure but the first day she set her eyes on Michael, when he greeted them for the first time, I saw from mum’s face that she didn’t like him, the excitement had waned off. However, after a lot of meetings between the families and a lot of disagreements, they agreed for us to get married and we fixed our wedding day, got married and I moved permanently to Abuja with Michael.
No day passes by without me wishing I listened to that voice inside telling me to wait, or to dad’s caution; “there’s something not right about him, hold on a little while.”
Every day, I sit on this desk trying to make sense of all that has happened, now that the blind fold has been lifted, now that reality has hit me like a cold stone. He promised to help me secure a fulltime position at Ronak or other partner organizations as soon as we got married, but days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and now two kids later, I can’t even have access to my husband’s computer. I live in the shadows, away from his business partners and his family, and banned from social media. I stare at our daughters’ pictures and then back at him, snoring. I remember mum’s last words to me as I drove her to the airport, the second and also the last time she visited after our second child “You married beneath your values, I hope you fix this.”
I desperately wanted my life back but it meant leaving my children behind. What do I do?
I pick my phone and text Bukola, she has always been an advocate of me leaving Mike.
“I want to run away from this forever.”
“Elim Nail Bar, after you pick the kids, let’s talk. Don’t forget to delete. XO”
I delete it soon as I’m done. Michael suddenly wakes up “Why are you on your phone by this time of the night and why aren’t you sleeping?”
“Just can’t sleep” I smiled, “Playing some games”. He beckoned for me to come to bed and join him, I did.
Soon, he was rubbing his erected penis against my bum and squeezing my breasts. I resisted but he held on to me tightly “I’m tired Michael, I don’t wanna do this.”
“Stop talking” he moaned and squeezed harder.
I felt anger wash over me and began to cry.
This has to end.