The first blow is always the worst; it shatters the delicate façade that you’ve been trying to preserve in your mind. The first time Demola hit me was on my 26th birthday. He had been planning a surprise party for me for months. I knew he was up to something but I didn’t know what. That day, we planned to go out for dinner. I was supposed to meet him at the venue after work. I called him a few hours before our date to tell him I was running late and to ask if we could make dinner an hour later than we planned. He sounded irritated, but he agreed. I got to the venue 30 minutes later than I’d promised. I was greeted by a uniform chorus of ‘surprise!’ Almost everyone I held dear was present, I was so happy! I hugged Demola and thanked him. I tried to explain why I was late but he brushed it off and told me to forget it. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking and dancing. We ended up being one of the last people to leave the bar.
When we got home, Demola started acting moody. I knew it was because I had kept everyone waiting. I tried to explain to him and even tried to kiss his frown away, but he wasn’t having it. All my attempts to cheer him up were met with aggressive opposition. I decided to take a shower and prepare for work the next day. With my back still turned to him, Demola hit my head.
At first, I thought it was a mistake. I turned to look at him only for him to slap my face. I was shocked! I tried to ask why, but he was so angry. His words all jumbled together as he spoke, all I could make out was ‘no respect.’ He slapped me two more times and drew my ears. I don’t know which hurt the most, my cheeks, my hot ears, my ego or my heart. Demola, my golden boy walked out on me.
I stood in shock as the tears finally started to gather and sting my eyes. I’m not sure when exactly I fell asleep while crying, but I woke to find Demola staring at me. He was kneeling beside me, his hands stroking my swollen face. I blinked several times to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. I remember that night so vividly, I remember the silent tears we both shed. I remember watching my husband watch me suffer and suffering in his own way. I remember mourning what was once pure, now forever tainted.