“I will smash her skull for this.” He fumes.
“How dare she?” “Who the hell does she think she is?”
He paces back and forth in the living room, he sits down, taps his foot impatiently on the hardwood floor, looks at his watch, gets up, paces some more and without warning drives his fist into their wedding picture on the wall, all the while picturing his wife’s face bursting open on impact. The rage he feels consumes him, he is restless, he is anticipating her return home.
She pulls into the driveway, turns off the engine, gets out and leans against the car momentarily. The events of that morning replays vividly in her mind. Her scrolling through his phone, seeing explicit messages from yet another Skank he constantly parades in front of her with no regards for her dignity or self worth whatsoever, and on a whim sending the Skank a message. A text she was sure would see her whipping out her makeup prowess to cover yet another black eye. She was dreading the moment, which is why she was standing outside her own home with no inclination to go inside.
She sighs inaudibly and walks towards the house, the house she now shares with a stranger. No sooner has she opened the door when she feels the impact of his fist connecting with her face and that is all the confirmation she needs of his betrayal, a betrayal she has experienced with all her major senses. She has seen the lip stick stains on his shirt, smelt the strange perfumes on his clothes, tasted the other women in his non-committal kisses, felt his impersonal touch on her skin and finally, she has seen the lies in his eyes even before he told them.
She curls up against the wall where the force of the blow has landed her and as more blows follow, she retreats into her mind recalling memories from the time when all was sweet and rosy, a time when she could have sworn with all her being that the monster she now shared a home with would never lay a finger on her.
They had met at an ice cream shop, one of those chance meetings you only read about or watched in the movies. She had been contemplating on a coffee flavoured yoghurt when this nicely dressed young man with a velvety baritone intruded. He had said, “Why not go for the real deal, don’t cheat yourself out of a worthy experience with a less than ideal substitute.”
That statement and of course the need to listen to that voice drone on and on had led to what counted as a first date at Barney’s where she had had the best cup of cappuccino she could ever remember and the most scintillating conversation between two adults of the opposite sex. Their love story became the thing friends talked about when they got together, everyone wanted to have what they had. A sentiment that made her ignore the way his fist balled up at his sides that day at the cinema when the lady in the short yellow gown mistakenly stepped on his feet, or could it be when he said “why is he even wasting his words, he should just communicate with his fists” when they watched that scene in the movie “Blue” where the young man was trying to talk to his lady even as she was being unreasonable.
Still, on that bright September morning, she wore a dazzling smile and spoke those vows with all her heart. Then the changes began. It was subtle at first, with him trying to shush her when she had an opinion about something, or speaking over her when they were hanging out with friends. She was stunned the first time he’d hit her. They’d been arguing about a female colleague that was extra clingy and before she could finish saying “If you had any regard for me, you would set her in her place,” the slap had already found it’s intended mark. That night he came home with a bunch of white roses full of apologies. With time, the apologies became nonexistent, the beating became regular and the women tripled. She became a prisoner in her own home, the lie, “I tripped while climbing the stairs” rolled off her tongue more easily and if she ever went for a make-up workshop, she would have been the star student.
The man who had had a large duvet delivered at her doorstep because she complained of a cold night, the one who made her warm soup when she was sick, the one who remembered her birthdays and went above and beyond to make it special was gone and left a wife beating, egotistical womaniser and a chauvinistic bastard in his place.
The anguish she feels within as the memories play out like a snapshot in her mind brings a new wave of tears. She lies there and weeps uncontrollably at what she has lost, the happy times that were no longer to be, the feeble woman she’d become, part of a statistic-I, Nkechi Daniels, a double board certified paediatric surgeon is being physically abused by the man who swore to protect me.
She hears the door slam behind him as he leaves to presumably be with the skank as she has taken to calling them. She stands up and stumbles to the bedroom, blindly throwing clothes, perfumes and other items into suitcases. She’s rummaging through the last closet when her fingers curls around a brown envelope addressed to her. She unfolds the paper and these words jump out at her:
Encase me in your warmth that I may remain
Ever lucid soaking up this moment like a sponge
Your heart beats beneath me to a melodious refrain
Dragging me to endless depths but yet I plunge
The morning light blinds me as I take a whiff of you
In the wake of our escapade I feel reborn
As always I am yearning for what can ever be true
My beautiful rose laced with a bit of thorn
Fate has been unkind or I have been greedy
Holding on to you through these lives as I have done
Anchoring myself to you undoubtedly
Seeking relentlessly for a fleeting chance to not be one
A time when the elements will smile on me draws near
When destiny will shake my hand and hope will frown
so I sit still and envision this future without fear
of failing because I know in time I will don the crown
She cries for the second time that day as the words come alive once again.
She remembers the first time she’d read them. The morning after he’d shown her that two souls were able to share a level of intimacy only propagated in works of art. That night, they’d not only made love, they’d made beautiful music. She remembers him coming home not knowing how she felt about the poem, but when she’d stepped up to him and showed him how much she’d appreciated it with just her lips, he’d been so elated that he’d picked her up and spun her around right there in the living and proceeded to give her an encore of the previous night.
She folds the paper neatly and puts it back in the envelope then she goes ahead and unpacks the suitcases. She goes to the kitchen and prepares her favourite dish, pours herself a glass of wine and keeps watch until she hears his keys turn in the lock. Their eyes meet across the room, his, empty, hers still seeking to understand. She stands up and as she walks past him, his hands snake out and grabs her arm,
“Don’t you ever dare interfere in my business again, the next time you do, I would be giving a heartfelt oration at your funeral.” He hisses.
She feels a new kind of dread wash over her. And as swiftly as he’d grabbed her, he let her go and she almost loses her balance but catches herself at the last minute and walks off to bedroom. She lies in bed hoping for sleep, the one moment she gets a semblance of normalcy, but this night, sleep eludes her, so she contents herself with lying there until she feels his side of the bed sink and not long after, his snores. She tosses and turns, afraid she might wake him. She opens her eyes and looks at his sleeping form, he looks so peaceful, almost childlike-how can someone who metes out such evil sleep so peacefully, she wonders.
She gets out of bed and silently pads to the kitchen to get a glass of water. She puts off the light and turns to leave, but the light from the neighbour’s patio causes the steak knife to gleam in the dark. A small smile tugs at the corners of her lips. She grabs the knife and walks back to the bedroom. The look of surprise that gives way to horror when his eyes fleetingly catches her sitting astride him as the knife plunges into his chest again and again and again gave her a rush she couldn’t identify. As her eyes drifts from the not-so-peaceful look on his face to the bloodied knife in her hand, she doesn’t think about the gravity of her actions, rather she’s thinking, no woman should be capable of this much violence, but then again what was that saying?, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!.
PS: This does not advocate murder in any way……
Poem written by: SPX
Story by: Nduka Zuchie