Barbs mother jerked up, her face twisting in anger. “Why are you so bent on getting her to leave her husband?” she fumed, her eyes narrowed as she glared at Amara. “Do you need a partner in your miserable single life?” she sneered.
Barbs uncovered her face. “Mummy,” she said, as a warning. “That was unnecessarily mean.” She turned to Amara, “I’m sorry.”
Amara sniffed, shrugging noncommittally. “It’s okay. For the records, I don’t need a partner; neither do I live a miserable single life. I care about my friend and I’d rather have her alive and happy. But you are too concerned about what people will think.” She rose up to her full impressive 6 feet height, grabbed her purse from the table and the blazers she had slung across the chair. “I’m leaving now.” She bent to kiss Barb’s forehead, “Please be well.” Planting a perfunctory smile on her face, she turned to the older woman, “Bye Mum.”
Children from broken homes were seen as troubled because misinformed people always assumed that the effort of only one parent was never enough, forgetting cases in which one parent died. Was there any difference between a child that lost one parent to death and another that lost one to divorce? Truly in some cases, children from broken homes had the tendency to act out, but then even children from complete homes could still exhibit tumultuous behavior.
Barbs didn’t want her children to grow up dysfunctional, neither did she want to be another Aunt ND, but here she was, lying on the cold bathroom floor, spitting out blood tinged saliva and wondering what the hell she had done wrong. She had obeyed her mother and stayed put. She had fasted and prayed, mid-night prayers took over her night sleep. After she watched War room, her faith in God was re-affirmed. It was just a movie but she knew, she felt in her heart that the movie was the testimony of some woman somewhere. She believed that God could do it for her. She had turned an empty room into her war room, far from her husband thunderous footsteps. But then, one fateful evening, her husband who almost never went to that room found her war room. He tore down all the prayers and bible scriptures she put up on the wall. The he added 2 slaps for good measure.
After that, she began to carry her war room around. It was in her heart. She prayed without ceasing, her clothes began to hang from her body from the nonstop fasting, her knees became blackened from kneeling.
But Dave didn’t change. He got worse.
When the disciples told Jesus that Lazarus was sick, Jesus replied that the sickness was not for death, but was for the glorification of God. Her case was looking different, the marriage seemed tilted towards death, the vows, those seemingly empty words ‘till death do us part’ began to seem real. So real, with every slap or blow or kick, the words seemed more real. Her marriage seemed tilted towards death, her own death. It wasn’t a passing test. God wasn’t testing her faith. What manner of test lasts for 8 years?
That evening, after setting out his dinner, she had dressed up for church. He had walked into the room while she was dressing and stood by the door, watching.
“Where to?” he asked.
She looked at him through the dressing mirror and smiled, even though her heart was beginning to pound in fear. “Church.”
He didn’t return her smile. “What’s happening in church?”
“We are ending the 21 day fast today.”
He folded his arms across his chest. “You are not going.”
She turned around to face him. “Dave…”
“You are not going anywhere,” he said firmly. “Call your lover and tell him that you are not coming.”
She gasped in shock. “What lover…Dave please not this evening. Please,” she pleaded softly. She picked up her scarf to tie her hair and he dragged it from her, flinging it beyond her reach.
“Are you deaf!” he thundered. “You are not going anywhere.”
At first he was yelling, and then he began to kick and slap her. “Whoring slut,” he yelled with each kick and each blow he delivered. Like whore and slut didn’t have the same meaning. He hit her mercilessly, lashing out with fist, leg, kicking her like she was a dog.
All she had wanted to do was attend a church program to conclude her 21 day fast. As she lay on the cold cold floor, she wondered if her children would remember her if she died.
The eldest, a boy was just 7 years, the second was just 5, another boy and the last was a girl, just 2. If she died, they’d probably forget her in a few years. She could imagine their faces, saddened by the thought that they wouldn’t see Mummy again even though they wouldn’t understand why. They were all so little and precious. Dave mostly beat her behind closed doors. If their children were there, he would drag her to a room, any room and close the doors, then pummel her for as long as he felt like.
She was going to die if she stayed. She knew she would die. But she couldn’t leave. She couldn’t become another Aunt ND who was now a by-word in the family. She was going to die, she realized as she opened her mind to the numbness that was creeping into her marrow.
And this is the long awaited end!
Please don’t forget to drop your thoughts and comments.
Do have a flawless weekend ahead.