“Is anything the matter? Tell me ‘Motola, I’m your best friend”, she pleaded.

“It’s nothing really. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chucks and I know he loves me too but there’s this uneasiness I feel each time I think about a forever with him and..and… “It’s alright sweetie, ‘Tito cuts in. I guess it’s normal to feel this way, spending the rest of one’s life with a stranger is no joke. Okay, I’m sure you know I don’t mean stranger as in ‘stranger’ because I know you two have been together for three good years now. What I mean is that it’s never going to be all easy living with someone from a different background, it probably might be rough in the beginning but with true love and some work then it’s going to be worth it but I hope you aren’t feeling this way because of what I’ve been through or because of all the divorce cases you’ve handled? 

“Probably”, I muttered.

“Whatever it is sweetie, Chucks is like the best man I’ve seen around and his actions shows how much he loves and adores you, so relax honey, you really will be fine”. She said convincingly.

“Sure, I replied, drawing out the lines on my left palm with the right index finger, exactly what I do whenever I feel nervous or worried.

“Anyway, just came to check on you, really should be on my way, I’ve got a wedding to plan lady! No need to see me off, go keep ‘hubby’ company, I winked.

“If you insist oo”. ‘Tito replied, clapping and laughing at the same time.

“Wow, maybe Dapo is really a changed person, I smiled, now realizing how happy ‘Tito genuinely is.

“Now you’re mine, all mine” Chucks whispered, kissing my neck tenderly, caressing my left arm with his huge right hand while holding my waist firmly with the other hand.

“All of me, you can have all of me” I moaned gently, looking longingly into his  dreamy eyes. It’s finally our wedding night and even though I’m as exhausted as I could ever be, I’m so not ready to resist his touch tonight. We’ve both waited three years for this night, three good years just to make this night magical and memorable and that, exactly, was how the night went.

The following morning, we left the five star hotel we lodged in for the new well furnished apartment we’ll be spending the rest of our lives together, forever! Forever?! Wow! Just the thought alone makes me shiver. What if I’m not going to make a good wife and mother? So many ‘what ifs’ started coming to mind but I quickly dismiss the evil thoughts. I’m a good person and I’m going to make a very good wife and mother, I assured myself.

“Why do you do that all the time?”

“Do what all the time?

“Why do you apply that white thing on your face every night? Can’t you see it stains the bedsheets, making it all dirty and smelly? Hubby raged.

“Wow, I’m really sorry, never knew you have a problem with that” I replied, a bit taken aback

“Well, I do and I also have a problem with that ‘net’ thing you cover your hair with every night, better you leave your hair and sleep like that than have that thing on your head, he said in a stern voice. 

Speechless, I just slipped under the duvet wondering what’s happening tonight and why he has never mentioned any of these since the past two years we’ve been living together. 

“I’m pretty sure I’m still talking to you” he said angrily

“What’s the issue here? Why are you trying to pick up a fight? Did anyone offend you from work today? I asked calmly. “I already said I’m sorry, ma binu oko mi, I pleaded gently.

“Is this how you were raised? Is this how you used to behave when your father is talking to you? Hubby fumed.

I was shocked. Partly because I’ve never seen Chucks act or talk like this before and partly because he actually just referred to my very own father! I mean my father, of blessed memory, of whom I don’t ever joke with. Determined not to exchange words with him, I reached for the door, I can as well just sleep peacefully in the guest room tonight, I told myself.

“Where do you think you are going? How dare you walk out on me? Hubby charged, grabbing my left arm tightly with his right hand, his fingers digging deep into my soft skin, inflicting so much pain as he does.

“Stop, please, I beg of you, please let me go, you are hurting me, I cried, scared of the rage in his eyes. 

“Now I see why you can’t have a child. If you don’t respect me, the small god you see everyday, how can you respect the invisible God? And if you don’t respect Him, how do you ever expect him to answer you and give you a child? Chucks scorned.

I broke down in tears. Those were the most painful words I’ve ever heard in my life. I’ve heard people talk about my childlessness after two years of marriage but nothing compares to the hurt I feel right now hearing my own husband call me barren! This just breaks my entire being.

“Why are you doing this? Why are you hurting me this way?”

“Because you need to be taught a lesson” he said, releasing his grip then angrily stormed out of the room.

I honestly can’t tell how Chucks and I got to this level. We’ve been fine till that morning or so I thought. Even though we’ve had few misunderstandings like normal couples do, I honestly can’t pinpoint exactly what led to that particular outburst. I couldn’t sleep that night, cried my eyes out, wondering what’s becoming of my marriage. I woke up late the following morning which thankfully fell on a Saturday, looked everywhere but couldn’t find Chucks anywhere around the house, tried calling him but both lines were off. I tried calling his sister who lives in the same city with us and the three friends he usually hangs out with but none of them has seen him as at 3pm. I became worried and scared, Chucks is never someone to just go like that without letting me know his whereabouts. About 10:05pm later that night and he strolled in casually!

“Welcome, where have you been all day? You got me worried. I asked, showing concerned.

“Where do you think? He snapped

“You must be very hungry, let me quickly warm your food” I replied walking down to the kitchen while ignoring his sarcastic response. 

“Did I tell you that? Did I say I’m hungry? He asked, staggering towards me while seriously reeking of alcohol

“I.. I… I stammered, not finding the right words to say

“So you called everyone to inform them I was missing right? He asked, more like a rhetorical question, pinning me to the sink, his huge frame overshadowing my 5’4 feet petite self at the same time using his hands to push the plate and cutlery rack to the floor, shattering the plates in the process, my heart beating faster at the deafening sound of the shattered plates and scattered cutleries. He then picked a piece from the broken plates and said to me, the next time you try this rubbish with me, the next time you go about declaring to the whole world that I’ve gone missing, I’ll gladly decorate your body with this broken piece and no one will question me about it, he said then staggers out, hitting his head on the kitchen door frame in the process. 

Too shocked for words and with tears streaming down my face, I sat on the kitchen floor, wishing it was all just a bad dream and wishing I know how we got to this point in the first place.

Things grew worse from there, Chucks became a monster, a terror that I lived in fear of, assaulting me physically every chance he gets, traumatizing me emotionally and forcing his way on me almost every night while uttering his favourite words “I know this will never yield any seed, I can as well make it as painful as it can be for you”.

For four good years, I endured this ‘all around’ abuse. My mum kept asking what the problem was, why I was growing leaner by the day but I couldn’t bring myself together to tell her. ‘Tito said I’ve become a shadow of myself but I couldn’t even face her to let her know what I’ve being going through. Chucks is probably acting this way because we don’t have a child yet, as soon as I give him a child I know he’ll be back to the Chucks I married, I kept telling myself.

By the way, ‘Tito is doing great, Dapo really turned around and he’s been treating her like the queen she is. As for me, I can’t possibly let anyone know what’s going on in my marriage, no room for third party. I’m going to make this work, I’m going to give it whatever it takes, my marriage is going to be just like old times, very soon.

“Hello beautiful! I got some pretty roses for my beauty queen” Hubby came in smiling, holding a bunch of roses.

“Hi!” I replied, surprised to see him. He’s left home for two weeks now without letting me know his whereabouts.

“That’s too cold, aren’t you happy to see me? He said, planting a kiss on my forehead

“I am, but what’s the occasion? I questioned him, actually surprised at his sudden good manners.

“Do I need one to get my queen some flowers? Anyway, how could you have easily forgotten our wedding anniversary? I married you exactly five years ago today baby! He said, sounding so elated

“Oh, really? I totally forgot” I scoffed

“Well, why would you ever forget such a significant date? He asked, pulling me gently into his arms

“Wow, if only everyday could be like this, I said, tears streaming down my face

“What do you mean by that? Haven’t I been good enough for you? He retorted, countenance changing

“No, no, I mean tonight is…

“Oh, so you’ve been seeing other men? I thought as much. Is that why you resist me every night? Is that? He screamed, punching me all over, my face, tummy, just about anywhere and everywhere his hands could get to.

I begged, cried, screamed, pleaded but all fell on deaf ears. I decided to pretend like I passed out when I realize blood was already streaming down my private part. That was when he stopped the beating, shook me many times while shouting my name before quickly picking up his car keys, dashed out the door making sure it’s properly locked behind him and hurriedly drove out. I managed to reach my phone to call ‘Tito despite the unbearable pain I was having, she rushed down and took me to the hospital at that very odd hour of around 1am.

“You are very lucky not to have lost the babies”

“Babies? What babies? I asked the doctor

“Oh, you aren’t aware? Well, the scan we carried out shows you have two little ones inside of you, congrats! Said the doctor.

I was very happy but sad at the same time. This is the great news I’ve been waiting for, for good five years but the news is coming the same night I made up my mind to leave Chucks for good. 

It’s been two weeks and no one has heard from Chucks since that last incident, not even his employees. He probably traveled out of town, probably somewhere thinking I was dead already. After my discharge, I went home to move my stuffs out. ‘Tito and Dapo were kind enough to give out the boys quarter to me, pending the time I’m able to rent an apartment of my own. ‘Tito was really shocked when I told her the whole story and also disappointed I didn’t trust her enough to confide in her. 

“I couldn’t face you ‘Tito, I never knew this could happen to me. I’ve always felt this only happen to women who are less educated, not pretty enough or unemployed and basically depend on their husbands for everything” I confessed, guilt written all over my face. 

“Well, even at that, nobody deserves to suffer, don’t you think? She said and I nodded. “And the truth is, none of that matters, she continued, a man who has the tendency to be abusive will surely be, no matter how amazing the woman is, she said calmly. I nodded again, tears flowing freely. I’m very sorry, I really am, I managed to say, sobbing uncontrollably.

I sent messages to Chucks to let him know I’ve moved on for good and should be expecting the divorce papers anytime soon. I kept the pregnancy a secret from him though and he only got to know when he saw me with a bulging tummy during the court procession. He tried to apologize and woo me back but I’m stronger and already made up my mind not to allow his sweet words get to me. I’ll never allow any man treat me like that, ever again! 

I was able to get an apartment of my own, very very far from where Chucks and I used to live. Few months later, I was delivered of a beautiful set of twins, a boy and a girl. God just wiped my tears, He gave me double for my shame, why won’t I ever be grateful to him? And what else am I looking for? My babies are my world!

    ‘Motola.