Fiction is my happy place. I immerse myself in my imagination in order to escape the daily eccentricities of life but recently, these same daily eccentricities I seek to escape threaten to drown me in its vortex. I can’t even find time to go to my happy place.
Well…I’m here now, in my happy happy place albeit very briefly.
Do enjoy this piece and have a Terrific Tuesday!!!!
Barbs sniffed, each time she wanted to talk about it, she ended up in tears which often deterred her from speaking out.
The first time she told her mother that Dave was hitting her, her mother confronted him and he had denied it smoothly. Later that day, when they were at home, he had slapped her so hard that she bled from her nose. He warned her never to take their business outside the house. She sniffed again, trying to hold back the tears for as long as she could. “He hits me. At every slightest provocation, he hits me.”
“Then stop provoking him,” her mother replied calmly, like she had just proffered the best solution.
“You don’t understand,” Barbs countered shrilly, the tears now beginning to flow slowly. “He hits me without reason. I don’t need to do anything for him to hit me. He just does.”
Her mother looked at her, like she was being unreasonable. “No man will hit his wife without reason. Dave, the same Dave I’ve known since he was a child isn’t that kind of person, only a beast would do what you just described.” She leaned forward on her chair, her fingers linked together, “Even if it’s true, it’s not enough for you to leave him. Think about your children. Besides, there’s nothing God cannot do. Take it to him in prayers and he will change your husband.”
“Mummy,” Amara interjected. “Her husband uses her as a punching bag and you think he’s going to change? This has been going on for years. For years and you think she has not been praying to God?!” she asked, her voice rising in exasperation. “This isn’t about prayers. It’s about surviving to see tomorrow.”
Her mother turned to look at her briefly, a curt dismissive look, followed by a short hiss. “You won’t understand, it’s easy for you to say because you are still single.”
Amara smiled tightly. She didn’t care, they could toss her single hood in her face as much as they wanted but she wasn’t the one with stitches on her arm.
“Barbs,” her mother continued, “You can’t leave your husband and children. Do you know what divorce does to children? Do you know what people will say? What my church people will say?” she paused to let her questions take root. “Everyone will always blame the woman. Nobody will believe he hits you without provocation. It’s Dave we are talking about here for God’s sake, she stated briskly. “As your mother, I almost find it hard to believe except that I know my daughter and she’s a very peaceful person.”
She placed a reassuring hand on Barb’s knee, “Divorce isn’t the answer. Prayer is. Pray more. Keep praying until something happens. Never never give up on your husband. Remember my aunt ND, she left her husband because he slapped her a couple of times. You know how it ended for her. Do you want to be another Aunt ND?”
Barbs shook her head, her eyes quickly filling up with tears. She didn’t want to be an Aunt ND, who had left her husband because he slapped her. He took her children from her and even when she fought him, he won. This was Nigeria, most judges had little tolerance for women who left their marriages just because their husbands slapped them. He had quickly remarried and brainwashed their children into hating her. Aunt ND never remarried. Nobody wanted used goods. She had died some years later, a bitter alcoholic, all alone in a pool of her own vomit. She had probably choked to death on it.
Nobody wanted to be Aunt ND. Barbs didn’t want to be another Aunt ND. Besides, she had no job or money. All the money was in a joint account, the cars and properties were all in his name, a mistake she hadn’t realized as one until it was too late. He kept saying he was going to change the documents to their name but he never did. When she insisted, he pounded her to delirium.
She couldn’t be another Aunt ND!
Amara stared on in disbelief, as she watched the conflict of thoughts play out on Barb’s very transparent face. It was easy to see that her mother was getting to her. “I’m single and alive,” she began vibrantly. “I’m free of all worries,” she turned to face Barb’s mother, “Did she tell you about the two miscarriages or that she’s hypertensive?” she paused at the brief look of shock on the older woman’s face. “She’s been hypertensive since last year,” she paused again, this time for emphasis. “I know we are all going to die,” she continued, “I might die tomorrow of anything but it won’t be because some beast pummeled me to death.”
Barbs burst into fresh tears, burying her face in her palms as the sobs continued to rack through her. “I’m… I don’t…I can’t…” she stuttered helplessly, wincing in pain as she unconsciously flexed her still hurting wrist. Her mother and Amara each placed a consoling hand on either side of her shoulders as she continued to sob.
“I can talk to some people to get you a job,” Amara offered, blinking back her own tears. “You are one of the smartest people I know. You will do well for yourself. But if you must survive, you have to leave him. Barbs, you have to save yourself.”
Till next time Darlings…