Lying on the bed covered with nothing but a bed sheet, I couldn’t keep myself from moaning in pain. The pain Bob had just inflicted on me was so intense. And what hurt more wasn’t the physical pain I was experiencing but seeing my son in the room, crying and holding my hand affectionately. Oh God, did he really have to witness this?
“Hey Fred,” I managed to utter. “Could you kindly step out of the room? I’d like to take a shower.”
“But mummy, I just can’t leave you like this. You’re hurt.”
I forced a smile. “Mummy will be alright after having a shower. Now please do as I say, please.”
Fred nodded his head fervently and sniffed. “You better get well soon, mummy. I just can’t stand seeing you this hurt.” and he wiped a tear, kissed my bruised cheek and scuffled out of the room.
As soon as he was gone, I dragged myself from the bed to the bathroom where I soaked myself in warm water and had to endure the stinging sensations coming from where Bob had flogged me with the electric cable.
Tears poured out my eyes as I reflected on how much my life was changing. Believe me when I say this was the first time Bob was laying a hand on me. Something was definitely amiss somewhere. He couldn’t just change from a loving and caring husband to a rude and wife battering one. But what was I to do? Stay until things got out of hand? Even if they say marriage is endurance club, for how long was I going to play chairlady of the godforsaken club?
I shook my head in disdain and thought, Alicia, you better make up your mind soon before Bob sends you to your early grave. You’re still young and have a life ahead of you. Don’t let that man ruin it for you.
When I was done bathing, I managed to drag myself back to the bedroom where I sat on my dressing cabinet and stared at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t like what I was seeing. Not the black eye nor the red cheeks, I liked nothing about what my face now looked like. Angie had really won this time. She’d gotten her revenge and I inwardly applauded her for her heartlessness.
I was done dressing when I gave Lisa a call.
“Hello,” she picked up almost immediately.
I had to force myself from breaking down. “Hi, sis.”
“To what do I owe this call, huh Alicia? You rarely call me.”
“I’m just missing you, Lisa. Would you mind dropping by my place tomorrow?”
“Alicia, are you alright?”
“Yes,” I hesitantly said. “Thought I asked you something. Why would you ask me another question in response?”
“Because tomorrow’s Sunday. Aren’t you supposed to be out on picnics or stay indoors catching up with your hubby? Isn’t that your norm?”
“Geez, Lisa! It’s fine if you don’t want to come. I shouldn’t have even bothered calling you then. I’m sorry for disturbing.”
“Alicia, please don’t be like that. You know you’re the only sibling I have so why wouldn’t I love to pay you a visit? Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll skip church tomorrow morning and come visit you, happy now?”
I smiled. “Very. And thanks. Um, my airtime’s running out, see you tomorrow. Good night.”
“Night night. And please pass my regards to my brother in-law and nephew.”
After hanging up with Lisa, I did what I rarely did. Kneel down and say a prayer. I wasn’t a religious person so it took me much effort just to come up with the appropriate words.
“Father Lord, I kneel before you this evening just to ask you to please make my husband come back to his senses. This is all I ask from you. Amen.”
I didn’t sleep that night. All I did was toss and turn and wonder if Bob was over at Angie’s nursing the wounds I’d inflicted on her earlier that day. I cried till my eyes couldn’t produce tears no more.
“Jesus Christ! Who in God’s name did this to you?”
I knew Lisa would freak out upon seeing how battered my face was.
I sighed. “Lisa, take a seat first and I’ll explain everything to you.”
Full of concern, she sat beside me. Fred showed up in the living room just as I was about to narrate what I’d been going through to my sister.
“Aunt Lisa, it’s so nice to see you here,” Fred found himself on Lisa’s laps. “What gift did you bring me?”
“Something nice,” said Lisa as she got something from her bag. She handed Fred a new spiderman costume. “I thought you’d like this.”
“Like it? I love it! Thanks, aunty.”
Feeling like Fred was intruding, I said to him, “Why don’t you go try out the costume in your room? And don’t come back until I tell you to do so.”
“Sure,” Fred seemed too ecstatic to mind. “Thanks once again, aunt Lisa.” and he was gone.
Lisa moved closer to me. “Are you going to tell me who did this to you?”
“It’s my husband.”
“You lie!” she exclaimed in disbelief.
I shook my head. “I’m afraid I’m telling the truth.”
“But the Bob I know isn’t the type to hit a woman. Alicia, what did you do to provoke him?”
“Me? Provoke him? Lisa, Bob isn’t the same man I married anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“He…….” I ended up pouring out my problems to my elder sister. Maybe she could find a way out even though she wasn’t yet married but at least she was older than I was and thus was much wiser.
Tears had formed in her eyes by the time I was done telling my tale but she managed to fight them back and abruptly stood up.
“Where are you going?”
“To get something to massage your wounds with.”
Lisa knew my house like the back of her hand so she came back fifteen minutes later with warm water in a basin and a face cloth.
She sighed as she sat next to me. “This is gonna sting but just be strong, for your son.” and she began massaging me. She was halfway through when she said, “Why don’t you just divorce him?”
“I love him, Lisa. And I’m also looking out for my son whom I wouldn’t like to grow up in a broken home.”
“From what you’ve just told me,” said Lisa defiantly. “This home is breaking. Let’s call a spade a spade, Alicia. Bob has changed and doesn’t need you no more. Actions speak louder than words and his speak volumes.”
“Lubona’s for the idea that I divorce Bob,” I said. “But I just can’t bring myself to picture my life without him in it.”
Lisa paused. “You know Lubona and I don’t agree much on things but I think we’re right. Alicia, the problem is that you think of Bob as a god.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do. You literally worship him. How do you expect him to treat you? Besides, he’s not the only fish in the sea so you better make up your mind real quick before you end up dead.”
I was about to retort when I heard the gate open and a car drive in. “Speak of the devil,” I muttered.
Lisa resumed her massaging and Bob found us at it when he walked in.
“Hey, mulamu,” Lisa greeted him.
Bob merely clicked his tongue and walked out on us.
The sun was high and the temperature above 30 degrees celcius. I was in the boutique and the air in it was cool thanks to the aircon. My face no longer had bruises as I’d covered the last traces with make up. It had been three weeks since Bob had beaten me black and blue and I still couldn’t bring myself to sign the divorce papers despite Lisa insisting I sign them already and move on with my life without Bob in it.
“I think it’s going to rain this evening,” said a customer.
I smiled as I ushered her to the shoe rack. “With this heat, I wouldn’t be surprised. And we do really need that rain.”
“Indeed we do.”
I felt someone tap my shoulder and I turned just to come face to face with Angie. Just like me, she no longer had bruises on her face.
“Hi, Alicia. Would you people happen to have maternity outfits in stock?”
Before I could reply, she went on to say, “You’re a mother, right? Geez, was pregnancy as tough on you as it is on me? Oh, what I’m I even ranting about? So I’m two months pregnant and so excited because this is my first child. Bob’s excited too. It’s because of the excitement that I’m out shopping in spite of me being only 8 weeks pregnant. Aren’t you happy for me, huh Alicia?”
I felt my windpipes tighten. I couldn’t breath. It was like Angie’s words had s—-d all the air around. Like seriously, was she carrying my husband’s child or she was just here to mock me into frustration so that maybe I could beat the shit out of her once again? Well, I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction.
“Hi, Angie,” I flashed her a broad smile. “How does it feel to fall pregnant out of wedlock?” I made sure I was loud. Everyone around was now staring at us and I could see Angie’s face flush with embarrassment.
“I am happy for you but sad for your baby who’s going to be referred to as a bastard.”
“Whatever,” Angie snapped, handing me some papers. “Bob’s going to marry me soon. If you don’t divorce him, he’s marrying me nonetheless and then moving in with me. I convinced him to do so so you better sign the d–n divorce papers and save yourself the embarrassment. Alicia, just how desperate are you ai? Clinging to a man who wants nothing to do with you? You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Once Angie was out of the boutique, I stole a glance at the papers she’d handed me. They proved she was indeed pregnant.
I stood on the spot as I replayed her words in my mind. She was right, just how desperate was I? Was I willing to allow Bob marry another wife without divorcing me first? And what would I gain from sticking to him for this long, insults? It was at that moment that I made up my mind.
My palms were sweaty. I was pacing back and forth in my bedroom waiting for Bob to finally show up so that I could tell him to hand me the divorce papers. I was done being humiliated!
I glanced at the wall clock, 21:57 hrs. Was he even going to show up?
It was past 11 PM when he finally did and thank God I was still awake.
No sooner had Bob stepped into the room than I said, “There’s something I-”
I was cut short when he forcefully took me into his arms and locked his lips with mine. I wanted to push him off me but my feelings for him betrayed me.
He was skimming through my natural hair and my hands were wrapped round his neck.
“Bob,” I said in between the French kiss. “What are you doing?”
“Is it a crime for me to make my wife mine?” he replied in a husky tone. “Ssshhh. Don’t ruin the moment.”
Bob was kissing me so passionately that I felt my knees buckle. He took my lingerie off using his teeth. He then locked the door and pushed me to the bed where he began running his tongue on parts of my body that set it on fiery passion. It was my turn to undress him and I skillfully did so.
I gasped as we merged bodies. How long had it been since we had last made love? 5 months? 4 maybe? That didn’t matter. What mattered was that Bob and I were now rolling in bed, as man and wife. And oh boy did it feel so right.
We lay spent cuddled in each other’s arms and a fast asleep Bob was breathing sofly. I watched his handsome face and couldn’t believe what had just happened. I pinched myself to make certain I wasn’t dreaming nor hallucinating. It was real.
Did this mean our marriage was finally going to work? Heaven knows I so wanted it to do so! And what about Angie’s pregnancy?
Oh my, I just shut my brain and slept like a baby. The Angie drama could sort itself out the following day.