Our second child would have been six today. Dera had always wanted a younger sister. I knew how well you craved a boy and since I never really cared about gender, I had decided to call the baby “Uche” when she was born. She would have been six today but for the sad turn of events. What started out as quite an enchanting evening for us, turned sour in a flash. You had lost your temper as always and for the first time, your hands covered the glistening evening sun. It started with droplets of blows, then it rained punches and kicks on me. You wouldn’t stop even as blood trickled down my thighs and I wailed like an African thunderstorm.
I sit back now and ask myself, was that really your first time? Was it? No. What about the times when your words cut deep in my heart like a bullet train? The times when I died a thousand times from the emotional exploitation. Times you blamed me for certain mishaps in your life. Times you made me feel like I was a burden you wished you never carried. What about the time you made me feel less and cheap because someone praised me for how smart and intelligent I was? Something you never noticed. How about the times you tried to bring me down each day with traditions, societal constructs, rules and regulations of what a woman should be and should not be?
I look back now and realized that while I was busy loving you and placing all the value and respect in us, you had found a subtle way to abuse me- one that you didn’t have to use your hands or touch me. But you tear me down each day, slowly destroying me as I became the minute remain of what was once full of life and love. These weren’t physical, it was mental. It was emotional, the type that drained the soul of all vigor and energy. And it was hard for me to show people proof of what you were doing because people don’t see this as abuse. No, they don’t. There weren’t any marks to show for it.
My husband, you were supposed to be my man-star, to love and protect me. To shield me from the dark and give me light. We were supposed to love and cherish each other. But no, you became a monster, my Arseband. You shielded the enchanting sun and left me to wriggle on the floor in agony after each lesson. You made living worse than dying. And as you began to make it physical, I began to master the art of covering those blood-stained lips with red lipsticks. When others thought I was modest in my dressing or making a fashion statement, I was simply covering the scars and marks of untold terror. You knew how to say “sorry” – the bouquet of flowers, the vacation trips, the gifts, the posh life. You knew how much I cared and loved you, and it was only a matter of time before you left some marks again.
You said you loved me, did you really or you just love how I loved you? You emptied me of my sanity because I gave you my heart. You never stopped sending flowers because you ensured there was a reason to send one. The bitter truth was you never hid this part of you from me. I had always known. I guess I just painted another picture of what you were and loved the idea unconditionally. What a mistake! And it took me a lifetime to realize the extent of the damage.
Our second child would have been six today, we would have added another member to the family, I would have gotten that promotion that was long due. But instead, I got flowers today again, as always – a large bouquet of rose flower. You were celebrating my funeral which had taken you our entire time together to plan and pull off.
Please tell Dera I love him, his graduation is in four months. He’s now a grown man. Tell him I didn’t mean to leave him this early. Maybe, if I had left you earlier, I would have realized that I could leave you, live for me and still be a good mother. Maybe I would have been there to listen to his prize-giving speech. Tell him that he can be anything he wants to be, only that he should never love his family like you did. He should never be you – an arse-band, a monster.
I must go now. The air is calm here, the sun is beautiful. So long my dearest dare.
A Wilting Sunflower.