Excerpt From Part 1:
She lies there on the floor, where I threw her, for a few seconds before gathering herself together and limping into the room where our son is. I look away from her retreating body not wanting to see the damage that I have done. The monster is gone just as quickly as he came; a billion emotions are rolling through me but anger is no longer one of them.
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How to make household poison for grown men who batter their wives. There are no books on this extremely necessary topic. I am an avid lover and reader of books so I think I should be able to say there aren’t any. Out of the millions of ‘how to’ books that exists, none says how to kill your husband before he kills you, how to end his life before he ends yours. In their defense, there are books on how to get away from an abusive husband, how to defend yourself from a violent spouse, but this doesn’t seem to be enough sometimes.
I am lying on the floor of my living room, letting the man that had sworn to cherish and protect me turn me into his anger release prop. I am numb at this point. My mind has shut down. Through my teary eyes, my vision seems better. I can see the swirling motes of dust in the air, the light rays thrown off the pieces of glass that are scattered all over the room, the little wear at the edge of his trousers where the seams are coming undone. Note to self: you will have to fix that later. If you are still breathing.
I feel like I am floating, like I am having some OOB experience. I can just lie down here and go to sleep. I can forget the rhythmic pounding going on in my back and legs and arms and face. The first sounds of my son’s cry jolts me back into reality. Kitan. Kitan. He must be hungry and wet. How can I even think about dying when my son needs me? How to get your husband to stop killing you when your son is crying. There are no books on this either. I don’t think there are. I have to try the old fashioned method.
“Jide!!….Jiiiddeee…Jide!!!T-t-t-he b-baby is c-c-c-r-r-ying At least let me attend to him… Jide p-p-p-l-lease please just st-o-o-op-p”.
It doesn’t work. The pounding intensifies as do my tears. I weep for this man before me. This empty man that hates himself more than he thinks he hates me. And for my son who may not have a mother anymore because there are no how to books on how to get your husband to stop killing you when your son is crying. Olajide Johnson, what happened to you? But I know what happened to him. I do. He is using his legs now. I wonder how I am still conscious. There must be about a million damaged things in my body.
Kitan’s cries are getting louder and they finally do what my begging couldn’t do. He stops abruptly.
I lie there a few more seconds before standing up slowly and limping. Limping to my son’s room, his face is tear-stained his eyes are red and my breasts feel heavy. I quickly pull him out of his crib, balance him on my hip, the one that doesn’t hurt so much and begin his feeding process. He fastens hungrily to my breast and begins sucking noisily. I watch him draw sustenance from my body. I would give up my life to keep him safe. Keep him from any form of pain. Dying won’t do him any good.
How, how, did I end up here? How did I end up as the battered house wife of an angry man? Jobless, having to depend on the one that is killing me to keep me alive. Three years ago, I had it all going for me. The job, the looks and the man. Jide was perfect for me. Our differences fit like puzzle pieces. He wasn’t good and neither was I but we were good for each other. There was nothing in him that told he was riding the bus to becoming the person he is now. Just maybe, if the accident hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have arrived at this point.
He’d been in a factory accident at the industry he worked with one of the machines last year. He hadn’t been hurt but a colleague of his had been. Right place, wrong time. He had been manning the machine at that point and so they had to let him go. His friendship with alcohol began, bloomed and birthed the monster that dwells in him now. He got another job, lesser pay, more hours but it did nothing to tame the beast. When, the questions at work about the bruises on my face and body became increasingly disturbing, I quit my job and became a full house time wife. I kept hoping and praying that the Jide I married would awaken from where he was inside the body of this being who lived with me. Don’t ask me how a highly educated woman living in the 21st century could entertain such medieval thoughts. All I wanted was to be with the man I love and help him in any way I could.
Now, he wouldn’t even let me leave. Every time I attempt to he would alternate between pleas and threats both working perfectly to keep me in this hellhole. My bags are permanently packed; my passport and my son’s always ready. The hour cometh when no man expects. How to stop loving your husband. Expert advice from my mum would come in here. Sadly, she isn’t alive to bear witness to her daughter’s misfortune.
I drag myself out of my reverie. A little vial catches my eye from Kitan’s diaper bag. I pick it up and slip it into my pocket and limp my way back into the living room. Jide is still standing where I left but I ignore him. What must be done will be done. The living room is a disaster so I start with that, rearranging the upturned furniture. Each piece is a reminder. My back fell against this chair; my face hit this side of the stereo; my bloody palm prints are on the stereo. There is glass on the floor. I bend to pick the shards up and see Jide reach towards me. Is he actually trying to help? My eyes convey much of the venom that is now flowing through my veins and he steps back.
I am resolved now. I am not going to leave my husband. I haven’t done much good in my life but this much I will do. But, the pathetic little wench that let her husband pound on her died on the floor minutes ago. My son will not grow up in a house with a violent father and a weak mother. I would rather he grow up fatherless. Jide is saying something. I hear “hospital” and “injuries”. Take me to the hospital? I turn away so he doesn’t see my face and smile grimly. Hospitals aren’t just for battered women.
“I’ll go after I prepare dinner and clean up.” I answer fingering the little bottle in my pocket. You have to know how to find what you need when you need to find what you need.
“Dinner will be ready in an hour.”
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