I have half a mind to leave him and call this relationship off. But then there is the family tie that has already begun to form. I have met his parents and siblings. Well at least one of his siblings the others are abroad in Europe but I have spoken with them and seen them on social media and he has also met my Mother too. The drama and the stigma that would follow will be so unbearable for me. I shudder to think about all the outcry and drama that will definitely ensue if and when I decide to call it quits. I really need to go somewhere private and quiet to think things through. Can I really call it quits with him? He does sort of have a hold on me I’d admit.
My phone begins to buzz as I maneuver through traffic, it must be David calling me again and I know how he can get if I don’t pick his call. A quick glance at the phone however shows that it isn’t him.
It is a private number and I am curious as to who would be calling me with a blocked number, could it be David? Or one of these other crank callers who just want to disturb my peace. As soon as I pick the call it goes off. I swear furiously” I really hate it when this happens. People who call with blocked numbers should be man enough to at least say something. My head begins to throb again and I feel a bad headache coming up. As I continue to drive homeward bound my phone rings again and with exasperation I snatch it up ready to curse out the caller but then I see that the caller is Ngozi my best friend. My anger immediately evaporates as I take the call.
Hey girl’ I say sounding nothing like I feel. Hey she says in response, what’s up with you, nothing much I reply am driving, going home I say. Why this early? She asks’ I can feel the concern in her voice since she knows me too well she’s probably wondering why am not at David’s. Am just going home to sort out some things I replied wearily. You sure you’re okay she asks again. I’m fine’ I say again. Let’s hook up later today when you are free I suggested. Okay she replied. Call me”. As soon as I ended the call trepidation sets in and I know that I will have to talk to Ngozi about my problem. She won’t like it, but am on the edge right now I need some answers.
For the next two months I read and browsed the internet on domestic abuse and even researched as though I were carrying out a thesis. The last two weeks have been particularly emotional and my whole being feels as though I have been through a very dangerous roller coaster.
How do I even start with my new found awareness? Ngozi and Eunice my sister have been on my case like some deranged social workers. It was while I was confiding with Ngozi about my predicament with David, that Eunice barged in with anger demanding answers that I weakly gave in my defense. How could I have been so blind and stupid to have thought that I could change him or manage the situation? For the past two weeks I have maintained radio silence, from twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram and even WhatsApp. David has also been bombarding me with calls and emails. He even showed up at mine but my sister was there to turn him away. He started by begging and now has resorted to threats. He wants to see me and cannot understand why I am keeping away from him.
I really need to keep my distance because for one thing I do not think I have the will, nor the power to resist him. I need to fuel my resolve by remembering the pain and the hurt that he has caused me these past six months of our being together. I do however miss his passionate embraces and I physically have to quell my mounting desires anytime I think of him. I still want him more than ever but then I love my life too. If there is anything that I have learnt these two months: It is self-love. Don’t get me wrong, I love my self and that is evident enough with my posts on the various social media outlets, and I cannot help but feel that David compliments and completes me. We do look good together but that glue that holds us together is always threaten when he flies into his rage. I have also used these two months to rekindle my failed relationship with my closest friends and most especially my sister Eunice. I hadn’t realized the gnawing gap that had started welding ever since I began dating David. But then these are the signs of being in abusive relationship. My sister thoroughly opened up to me about the mind games associated in an abusive relationship. Even those little things that I often regarded as not a big deal are the kind of things that give way to being in an abusive relationship.
My friends were no longer good enough and had questionable characters which made my character questionable to David, hence my desire to please him. I didn’t notice that he was trying to ostracize me from those who would question his hold over me. Even sex with him left me wanting more. He had mastered the act of holding back from me so that I would become a slave to his passion. The only time I was fully satisfied was and after every fight when he held back nothing. Funny enough both Liz and Beth my sub consciousness have also been very silent as there has been no interaction with the social media to give room for them to make their judgments on my issues. My sister and my best friend Ngozi have been my rock and support they have been with me in my moments of weakness and moments of anguish. When I faltered in my resolve they were there to keep me going. I know that it will take much more than these two months to get over David all I can do is try and take each day at a time. But I cannot continue to hide from him, I know I cannot avoid David forever and I have come to a painful decision about him. I will have to embrace the blame game. The tables will be turned around.
On the day I decided to meet up with David to tell him that I couldn’t continue the relationship anymore I decided to go with my sister Eunice and face him.
The thing is: he was very receptive and accepted all I had to say calmly and even accepted his faults. I didn’t see that coming. At the very least I expected protest, resentment or even anger. His calmness unnerved me but Eunice told me that perhaps the separation did him some good and he has been able to figure a few things on his own. Suddenly Liz my subconscious came back into my life from a long hiatus smirking and cautioning. I bet he has something up his sleeve or better still has a new girlfriend who he is shagging senseless. Stop it I respond silently. I had completely forgotten about these two. But then I digress. David’s calmness and acceptance unnerved me and I decided to listen to logic from my sister. Just as we were saying our goodbyes I remembered that I had some of my stuff with him bare necessities really but I felt I needed to pick them up to make a clean break from him. I told him about them and he suggested I could come around any time I liked to pick them up. Since I was not doing anything I suggested that I could pick them that moment. For a moment I thought I saw a flicker of emotion across his handsome face. But it was just for a fleeting moment. Sure he said smiling. I didn’t think there would be any problem and I decided to go to his place after dropping off Eunice who needed to pick up her kids from her friend’s place.
We drove separately and I soon arrived at his place. Everything seemed so normal and I didn’t think that anything would happen even though Eunice had said something in the car to me about being cautious around him. David was a man of his word and I truly believed that he had accepted our break-up.
Gathering my things from the room, David assured me that he would be waiting for me in front of the house and as soon as I was done I should let him know. This further assured me that he had totally accepted my actions and was willing to let me go without any anger or resentment. By the time I was through and I called him in, he said ‘well so this is it then’ and I nodded in response. For some weird reason I started to miss him already and as though he could sense it he drew me into his arms and embraced me fiercely. I returned his hug and not long before I knew it we started to kiss and caress each other. It was as though my pent up emotions suddenly erupted with this huge cloud of desire. We began to tear at each other, groping and moaning like two fighters. I could feel him throbbing against me ready to burst while I felt hot all over. My subconscious: both Liz and Beth were shell shocked and held on to each other in amazement. I was beyond reasoning and utterly consumed by this passion. We didn’t even break for air and soon found ourselves in his bedroom. I couldn’t remember nor fathom how we got there. All I needed was him inside of me to quench my thirst for him. We fell into bed and were soon engaged in that old rhythmic ritual of copulation. There are no words to describe how I shamelessly threw away all of my inhibitions that day. As soon as it was over I knew I was doomed to this man and to myself. O.M.G! Voiced Liz, catching her breath. The funny thing was that we were both still fully dressed but disheveled. I got up and I made for the bathroom while he laid there trying to catch his breath.
Oh God’ Oh God” Oh God” I muttered to myself over and over again as I cleaned myself up. What have I done? I stay in there for a few minutes then decided that I will just have to go home. And not talk about this with him.
As I came out of the bathroom I saw him sitting on the bed pulling his zipper up. He looked up at me and said, ‘You know that there is no way am ever going to give you up right now’. Oh Lord! I gasp silently in my head; I too cannot give him up now.
What have I done? Did I not learn anything these past few months? All my resolve to leave him just vanished in a twinkle of an eye. All it took was a hug from this man whose kisses makes me quiver at the knees and renders me helpless.
I come over to sit on the bed beside him and take his hands into mine. I open his palms and kiss it. When I raise up my eyes to look into his face, I decide to be brutally honest with him. I don’t want to give you up David. I whispered ‘I have this burning love for you and…. I will kill you if you ever lay your hands on me again.
For what seemed like an eternity David is speechless and I am also shocked at myself and what I had said.
Where did that come from I wondered?
You’re not kidding are you he asked? I could see some sort of fear creeping up in his face. That expression suddenly jolted me and I realized that he was afraid of me. Ah! this guy is a coward’ I thought to myself and I gave a slow but steady smile when I responded. No am not kidding.
I release him and get up as though in control. If we are going to ever be together I will be taking the reins in this relationship.
He gave a short laugh and said what do you mean by taking the reins? Abeg come back here and let me show you what taking the reins means.
I stand where I am. Anger is slowly beginning to creep up on me and I hiss in response, you know what? Let’s call this, what this is. We just had break up sex that’s all. I said defiantly.
Call it whatever you like, you are still my girlfriend. He said dismissively.
It is over you hear! I yell at him. Keep telling yourself that he said his tone taking a dangerous level. Look I don’t want to fight nor allow you to start beating me like you’ve always done due to some instability from your childhood! Oh no! You didn’t echoed Liz. Why did you have to say that? Cornered Beth. Oh dear me and my big mouth I think I have just crossed that line.
Are you calling me a monster? He asked in anger.
I didn’t say anything. Answer me! He shouted at me clearly angry. Look, am going to my house, I said meekly, clearly shrinking from his rage. As I made to move he grabbed my arm and dragged me to face him. You are not going anywhere until you answer me.
Leave me alone I said trying to free myself from his grip. I am not yours to be rough handled. The slap came unannounced and my head reeled back. I held my face and looked at him with rage in my eyes. You slapped me? He raised his hand again and this time I was ready for him. With all my might I raised my knee and knead him in the groin. I could feel my knee connect with his jewels and he was soon crouching in pain. Then I went into the living room where my things were and I took out my heavy hair brush and came back to hit him on the head with it.
He was still reeling from the pain in his groin when I held his head up and hissed in his face. This is just a taste of what I will do to you if you ever lay your hands on me again you sorry son of a dog.
I marched triumphantly out of his house that day and didn’t look back. As I made to open my car door, he suddenly lurched at me and knocked me unto the ground. For a while everything went black as the back of my head made contact with the ground. I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me and laid there not moving. The rain of kicks and punches that followed as I remained on the floor was intolerable. David was relentless and vicious as he pummeled me saying over and over I will kill you before you kill me’ ‘how dare you call my mother a dog”. It was the intervention of neighbors and some guys driving along the street that came to my rescue. By the time they had pulled him off me I was bleeding from the places where my skin had broken open. My sides hurt a lot and I was sure that some of my ribs were broken. I could hear a woman crying in the crowd. She sounded familiar. One of my eyes was closed shut as I tried to get a look at the woman; I suddenly felt my eyes roll back in my head as I am being lifted up in someone’s arms. Then I lose consciousness.
As I came to in the hospital Eunice and my mom are at my side. Clearly Eunice is angry but more with herself than me, I suspect. My mother is in tears and wipes them away as soon as she sees that I am awake. My left eye feels so painful and heavy it is closed shut. I try to sit up but my chest and sides hurt something fierce. I try to speak but am racked by cough.
Just then the Doctor comes in to attend to me. My sister and mother are told to leave the room as the Doctor and the nurse with him take my vital signs and check the drip attached to me. I soon drift off as the nurse gently tells me to take it easy.
The next time I open my eye I see David’s mother beside me and I stiffen. I am still unable to open my left eye so I do not attempt to try again. She sees me and starts to apologize on behalf of her son who has done this to me. I look at her with resentment and I don’t say anything. I turn my head away to show my displeasure and I just want to be left alone. Even her touch irritates me. But the most irritable of all is me. I don’t know how I could have been so stupid to have allowed this to happen to me. After two months of keeping it together I have allowed myself to become a victim yet again. My resolve is strong again and I want nothing to do with him.
Please my daughter, please forgive him’ I gasp in shock as I didn’t realize that David’s mother is still here. What more can these people want from me?
She should forgive your son abi? so that he can kill her for me? Asks my mom in a voice laced with anger I didn’t realize that my mother was in the room but then I have limited vision and I am unable to see very well. Look I don’t want that your rabidly insane son near my daughter warned my mom.
Mama Elisabeth! Let’s not quarrel over this matter; we should focus on Elisabeth getting better please. And as for my son I will deal with him. The bickering went on and on and I felt like screaming at them to shut it and get out, but I say nothing content in my misery wondering why David had not come to see me. My mood is on a roller coaster. Sometimes I feel a rush of sudden anger and sometimes I feel a sorry for myself.
I close my eyes and drift off to a merciful sleep amidst their bickering. The next time I open my eyes a man is gently shaking me and I am able to open both eyes this time around. It is the doctor and I am suddenly uncomfortable with the way he is looking at me. It is a though this man is peering into my soul and I feel so shy and exposed. He has kind eyes I thought to myself. As he administer drugs and checks me over. He tries to make conversation by telling me his name which I immediately forget, all I can think about is how I want to tell him everything. We soon get talking and I find myself breaking down and crying. He pats me on the shoulder and tells me not to cry. The moment is awkward and all I can do is to feel miserable again. As soon as he leaves I reflect again over all that has happened and I decide once and for all to make a clean break. Ngozi my best friend is unable to come because she is out of town but has been calling me every day mostly cursing David. During lunch time at the hospital Eunice comes over with my nieces and nephew and they cheer me up a bit. Not long after their departure I get another visitor. It is David and a friend of his and he is full of apologies again. As soon as I see him I start to cry and make a fuss. The doctor walks in and asks them to leave.
David has no choice but to go. The kind doctor looks at me with pity in his eyes and tells me to take thing easy. As he makes to leave I blurt out ‘Doctor what do you think I should do?
He turns back and says ‘the right thing.
Upon my discharge from the hospital, a meeting is taking place in my house and David and his mother are present. They are full of apologies and want to make peace.
Even in the mist of all my family members and his present I still feel like David has a huge hold on me and my emotions are all over the place. Conflicting emotions scatter around in my head. David still wants me and my Mother and Sister are vehemently against it. The real question here is what do I want? Do I still want him? Even after the humiliation of being brutally beaten in public? What if he eventually kills me?
David is full of promises to change and mostly to receive church counselling as their pastor who also accompanies them has stressed out.
Somehow I don’t think that counselling is going to change anything. The problem with David is so deeply rooted it will probably take exorcism to cure him. But then that is no longer my problem. The period in the hospital and Doctor Ben’s advice rings true in my head. I need to do the right thing. Doctor Ben and I have been in constant communication ever since I was discharged and his soothing voice over the phone is gradually beginning to flourish over doctor – patient – relations. I value his opinions as he gives me courage to face my foes and weaknesses. David is beginning to look small and insignificant in my eyes but his presence still commands that feeling of awe and longing for him. I will admit I don’t know why I still want David physically, may be it is because I am a little shallow and ephemeral or could it all be just plain old infatuation. I think that there is more to life than all these emotional and physical battering. In the mist of all that’s going on around me I raise up my hand and they gradually quiet down.
They are all looking at me to speak.
I forgive you David. I say. The pastor in the room shouts “Praise the Lord.’ David’s mother is beaming and David is standing up. I raise my hand again and say I have not finished. As much as you have had a hold over me, I have broken it. The smile on their faces vanishes immediately as I utter those words. I cannot be yours anymore as I need to do the right thing. I want to be free of you. I love you but I am letting you go. So please accept this as my total break up with you. It is over between us. And with that I storm away into my room. Eunice followed me and holds me saying am glad you did the right thing.
I do not wait to hear what they have to say again as I lie on my bed and close my eyes.
One year later I am standing here with the love of my life and I commit myself without fear or anxiety to him and to God. As I take these few steps down the altar. I know that I have made the right decision. I have no regrets and feel no fear knowing that I have made the right decision. Before me stands a man who completes me and fills me with so much love and adoration. My scars and my weaknesses are ever before me but he has remained with me. Kissing through my tears and urging me on. He has made me whole. We have both being on this emotional roller coaster ride and have both emerged as victors in this journey called love. I know and I believe that this man who I am spending the rest of my life is a strong man ready to face any obstacle ahead. He has grown through it all and I know that our love will endure forever. As I look into his face I can only see the wanting in there and with him I know that all my battles are over. As he comes into my full view I see him mouth those magical three words ‘I love you. And I believe him. I have cause to laugh again and again. I am thoroughly blessed with him.
You might be wondering who my knight in shining armor is. Yes my 21st century knight in armor. Who has saved me from myself and my path of destruction. It has been a long road to trust another human being and open up my heart, body and soul to this person without fear from the shackles of pain. I have found someone who loves and respects me and I am not afraid to be myself with this person. Being thirty and married at thirty isn’t so bad after all. I am an overcomer as I have been able to understand the true meaning of love and respect. As I walk down the aisle with Ben taking our selfie in the process, I know that my journey to self-healing and true love has just begun.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.