I pictured the laughter and sneers on the faces of my relatives if I ever decided to get a divorce. I thought of the shame I would feel writing “Miss” again against my name. The more I thought about this, the more I shuddered and I mentally prepared myself to forgive him no matter what he did to me.
He embarrassed me often in church and anywhere. He’d have fits of rage and talk carelessly and rudely to friends. He would sometimes challenge his friends to a fist fight. He’d make me feel bad for leaving him at home with the baby all week. He said he knew I was overjoyed to be away from them. So, as a form of punishment he’d make sure I didn’t get respite during the weekends. I’d have heaps of clothing to wash and he’d personally supervise my chores and make sure the baby was on my back. I never complained and he knew why. I never wanted a broken home. When night drew near, he would never let me sleep before he did. If I dozed off he’d rain abuses on me and say I didn’t care about him or show love. It was really hard keeping up with requests. He never made any attempts to get work. He said the employers were stupid and condescending, and he needed time to relax before deciding on what to do.
I noticed that his anger against me seemed to simmer when I bought him loads of chocolates, gifts and gave him money. I was nearing breaking point until I took to church with all my heart. There was no one I could share my pain with. My close friends and family had warned me not to marry him but I had not listened!
Through the favour of God, one of the parents in the school where I taught was about to start a school of her own. She approached me and offered me a job as Head Teacher. The offer was good and 3 times what I was earning. It also came with a small company car. I got home still bubbling with excitement! I got into the flat and found the usual heap of dishes in the sink and a very untidy living room. It was quiet. I thought maybe he and the baby were asleep. Nobody was in the baby room or Master bedroom. I opened the bathroom door and found him seated on the WC looking lost and puffing away at something that didn’t smell like cigarette! He didn’t blink when he saw me.
I said “What’s that in your hand?”
”Dummy, what does it look like?” Are you so daft?”, He asked
I gathered up the courage to say “that’s not good at all for you, I thought you said you did it when you were in college and that you won’t do it ever again?”
He said: “Ehen, don’t you know that you are the cause? You stress me out all the time and you depress me”. You don’t respect me or give me enough money. You have turned me into your Housemaid. I look after the baby, do housework and I wait for you to come back from work and fuck me at night!”
My mouth was opened! All I said was “”where’s the Baby?’ He laughed and said “she’s safe at my sister’s”. “She was whining without a cause and I needed peace and quiet”. My teeth clenched more and more I wished I could hit him. I left in a hurry to go get my Daughter while I heard his laughter all the way to the staircase.