April 6, 2020

There Never Seems To Be A Good End To Domestic Violence

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I took another step backwards. My heart racing faster as Bernard advanced towards me. His face was contorted in fury and his well developed arms hung tauntly by his sides. His shoulders looked haunched as his thick chest heaved heavily. His breathing was audible enough but the frantic thud of my heartbeat muffled all the sounds around me. This was the stance he always assumed whenever he got really furious.

Ben and I had been married for over three years. We had met at the camp during our youth service days in Kogi and it had really been a clear love at first sight. He had practically swept me off my feet with his smooth talks and romantic gestures and we hadn’t dated for long before we tied the knots. He had been everything that I ever wanted in a man. Cute innocent face, good body, reserved, cool headed, very intelligent, hard working and more over very spiritual. As at the time we met, he was the youth leader and prayer coordinator of his home parish in Lagos not to talk of a very good lector. That he had come from a rich family and assured me of financial security was a plus to me.

I don’t really know which occurred after we had gotten married. It was either he changed automatically or he stopped pretending and began to show his true colors. Which were all shades of black by the way. I loved him so much to see him for what he truly was.

It turned out that Ben. My Ben was a chronic wife beater, a monster who fed and trived on my anguish and fear. The first time he had beaten me up and forced himself on my bleeding and hurting body, it had come as a surprise but then we had gotten on a heated argument and I had been the first to lash out on him with a thunderous slap. While growing up, my mother had warned me whenever I got in a fight with a boy, never to hit a man first. I had broken that rule, I partly had myself to blame afterwards or that was just me making excuses for Ben. I had hidden my scars well and told no one. Foolish me, I loved him so much, I hadn’t wanted to bring him down from the high pedestal I had set him upon.

But after losing my first pregnancy as a result of another terrible beating
I had earned effortlessly, subsequent abuses and senseless rapine had only instilled mind numbing fear on me instead of inflicting pain. Opening up had longer been a choice I could just make, It became unthinkable. My husband who I shared the same bed with had become my worst nightmare. I practically began to feel jumpy whenever he was around me. He knew I had become more of a victim than his wife. He knew he had broken my spirit and in some twisted way it made him feel more powerful. He set traps for me and like a scared mouse, I always fell.

He enjoyed to rape me than make love to me. He would cry and apologise while kissing my bloody swollen lips. He preferred to apologise to me while on the hospital bed where he had put me in the first place. He was sick and evil but I had been so weak to do anything about my predicament. He had stopped me from seeing my friends a long time ago and then recently he had limited my visits back home. He was no longer interested in church activities. He answered to no one. In fact he hadn’t even needed to try so hard. He had me exactly where he had wanted me.

He began to talk again and I was brought back to the present time. He was backing me into a corner. I had gone to see a friend but the plan had been to get back before him and fix dinner unfortunately he was home early. His voice came again, he was trying so hard not to lose control.

“I am going to ask you for the last time Brenda. Where are you coming from? And if you lie to me again I swear to God”

I knew that anything I say will be useless. He was buying time so that he could cover the distance between us. I began to search for an escape route. I pleaded with him even though I knew pity drove him mad. He was fast, he lurnched at me, driving me into the wall behind me. I yelped but he drove his knee into my abdomen, while pinning me to the wall with one strong hand around my neck. I thought my time was finally up.

He always avoided my throat but this time around he was choking me to death while hitting my stomach. I clawed frantically at his hand to no avail. His fierce, mad eyes were very determined. I felt my breath begin to leave me my eyes were almost popping out of their sockets, my hands became lifeless and began to flail at my sides. Only then did he push me away from the wall to the floor. I began to cough violently, taking in as much air as I could possibly get. My whole body was on fire but I knew he wasn’t done because I wasn’t unconscious yet. I wondered as I coughed and writhed on the floor. Was there anything left of the Ben I knew in this monster who was determined to kill me? I’ve never ever defended myself from him let alone fight back. I was too afraid of him. I was still in love with him.

He stood there, breathing heavily and waiting for me to catch my breath before the next round. I turned to stare into his eyes. These eyes were not my Ben’s. It was the monster’s. My lips were shaking when I began to speak tearfully

” Ben I’ve done nothing to you other than love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my being. I’ve vowed to always be with you, despite all odds what did I ever do to deserve all that you do to me. Will you be happy if I die? Is my death going to satisfy you?”

He seemed to be surprised. I hadn’t ever spoken him at times like that before. Surprise turned to fury and he began to reach for me again.

“So you still have the effrontery to speak to me”

He dragged me up by my hair. And I came face to face with him.

“Because of your stupidity, you lost the Ben that loved you. Right now, you just disgust me!”

He threw me to the ground again.That was probably all I needed to hear. He had beaten and crushed me but saying he didn’t love me anymore felt like he had stabbed me in the heart and twisted the knife. I was so furious. I looked murderously at him.

” I hate you too”

He wanted to grab me again but I ran. I was in pains, my legs were all wobbly but I tried to put one foot after another. I dared not turn but I knew he was in pursuit. He wasn’t running much, he just followed closely behind. Like a lion going after its prey. I didn’t know where I was headed but I had made up my mind that if I ever made it out of the house alive, I was going to hurt him so much. I was going to hurt him as much as he had hurt me.

I could hear him behind me, he was gaining distance. I headed towards the stair case and ran up but before I got to the second fleet of stairs, I slipped and fell. I watched him close the distance between us with a devilish smile plastered on his face. I sat up holding up my bruised knee. Ben’s mocking voice filled my ears

“You think you can get away from me. I’m going to kill you before you do.”

He was already on the last step and probably he was caught off guard or he had clearly underestimated my weight because when I got up with lightening speed and pushed him with all the strength I could muster, his eyes were rounded even as he tumbled all the way down the stairs. I watched in horror as the man I loved lay on the floor below. A small pool of blood had formed behind his head and thin blood flowed from his nose. His right leg was twisted in a very hurtful angle. His eyes were still staring up in horror at me but I didn’t want to come down to confirm if he was dead. When he didn’t move. I threw myself on the floor and cried my heart out. Here is the story of my life.

Many years has gone by since Ben died but I still see him each time I close my eyes. He still haunts my sleep.

There never seems to be a good end to domestic violence

A short story by

Nwaogugwu Monica

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