After the unfortunate incident, I wrestled with telling my family and close friends but I ultimately decided to keep it to myself. I knew they would never understand. It took a few days but things got back to normal. Demola apologized and swore to never hurt me again. I apologized and swore to never provoke him. But provoke him I did; each time my job took longer than he expected, Demola would welcome me home with a slap. With time, he learnt to target places that my clothes hid.
I eventually quit my job. That day was the happiest day of my married life. I knew my problems with my husband were over; until I got home after he did on one random Friday. I had gone to visit my former work colleague turned friend who just birthed a baby. I had even sent D a text letting him know where I was. I had no idea he would return home before his usual 5 pm that day. I got home to my fuming husband and started to beg once I saw his face. The first slap didn’t hurt, even the second and third in their slow motioned glory were still unfelt. By the time he started kicking me, something he had never done, I knew I could never escape his love. No matter what I did, he would always find a way to punish me for loving him back.
By the time Demola finished his beating, I lay curled in a fetal position on our cold marble floor. I don’t know how long I remained there after the beating. My sore battered body unable to move, my mouth filled with the metallic taste of blood, my fractured mind constantly replaying the hurtful things D had said and the way he charged at me like a caged animal fighting for freedom.
I thought then about leaving him and never turning back, but how could I? I loved him and love stayed no matter what. I knew he loved me too, I knew it because he always came around. I was already asleep on the floor, still in that fetal position when I felt his arms around me. He carried me to our bedroom so delicately, like the wounded animal I was and he cleaned me with a bowl of warm water and wet cloth. Every part of me hurt but I remained mute and watched as the clear water in the bowl turned pink. When I was clean, he held me in his arms and whispered soft words to me, it was an apparition, a lie, it wasn’t him and he swore! He swore it would never happen again.
‘Baby you know what you did to deserve it’, he repeated. Except this time, I believed I did nothing to deserve such punishment. This was the first time I felt hopeless, if I didn’t know what I had done, then I had no way of preventing it from happening again. Eventually, Demola’s punishments became so frequent and unwarranted that I stopped trying to avoid them. Like a zombie, I lived for the next time he would hit me just so that he could make it up to me.