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The Journey After

by Tunde Oni

“Hello love, have you gotten to work, ” my hubby asked at about 8:30 a.m that Wednesday morning as per his usual practice.

”Yes darling, I have. I am just putting some finishing touches to that presentation in time for the meeting at 9:00 a.m.”

”Don’t worry Nimi, I am sure you will knock them dead simply because you are Mr. Toluwanimi Peters. The most beautiful and brilliant woman that ever worked the face of the earth”.

I could not help the bout of laughter at the level of flattery my husband has resorted to.

”Thank you, Mr. Jaiye Peters, for never seizing to inflate my already inflated ego and confidence. I love you for that. Babe, I have to go now, I will talk to you after the presentation”.

”Okay love, all the best. I love you”. I was still smiling when we eventually ended the call after a series of I love yous.

I love my husband. I love him more than anything. We got married 6 months ago and I have been doing everything to make sure I have the best home. The sex is absolutely sensational and constantly constant. I try out new food recipes every week so he is well fed, I make sure we go on date nights once a week and we have a great financial savings plan. We have a joint account where we both put 50% of our salaries for home responsibilities and individual accounts where we put the remaining 50%. Marriage simply does not get better than mine. Jaiye and I dated for just over a year before getting married and I can absolutely say it has been my best decision ever. Even our fights and disagreements are filled with love. We waited for 3 months after the wedding before we started trying for babies and I have a feeling I am finally pregnant. I am still keeping the information from Jaiye though. I need to be sure and make an elaborate plan on a surprise announcement. I totally love surprises.

Later that afternoon, when I finally got back into my office after a hectic morning with 3 meetings and dashing down to the hospital for a quick pregnancy test which took an another one hour, I finally sat down relieved with my pregnancy confirmation in my hands. I put a quick call through to my best friend, Chisom. I definitely need her ingenuity to plan a surprise for Jaiye.

”Hello sweetie”, Chisom said as soon as she picked the call.

”Guess what?”

”What?”

”I said guess, didn’t I? Anyway, I am pregnant” The shrill of the noise that attacked my sensitive ears over the phone was enough for me to take the phone off my ears for a bit.

”Chisom, calm down, will you? What’s with the noise, though? Aren’t you in the office?”

”Why won’t I shout? When I am about to be a godmother. No, I didn’t go to work, though, I told you I am on leave remember?

”Oh okay, I remember, anyway I want to plan a surprising way of breaking the news to Jaiye and since you are the ultimate planner, I am calling her royal majesty for your expertise”.

We went back and forth on different ideas and we finally decided on making a customized cake with the message and I was to take it to his office during lunch on Friday. It’s quite easy to get the cake done since Chisom is one of the top bakers in Abuja.

On Friday afternoon at about 1:30 pm, I drove into Jaiye’s office excited to see his reaction. Thank God he has a private office so I was really planning for some private kinky moments after giving him the news. I picked up the cake wrapped in a box to prevent prying eyes and walked happily into the office building. I walked passed the reception area which was currently empty and straight into the office all smiles for my husband and stopped just inside the door. I needed to process the sight I was seeing. One minute I am smiling into the office, the next minute I am seeing a woman bent over my husband with her big ass turned to me. Immediately I slammed the door close, they both jumped apart startled. Everything that happened from that moment was a reflex.

I dropped the cake on the table and dragged her by the collar of her chiffon shirt. I landed her the slap and tore her shirt wide open. Jaiye immediately dragged and pulled me. I wasn’t listening to anything. I was just screaming and shouting profanities, the likes of which I don’t ever want to remember. Jaiye dragged and pulled me all the way to my car and dropped me by the side of it. The only thing I heard was,

”Don’t you ever come back to my office again”.

I watched him walk away and I was fuming. I dialed Chisom immediately overwhelmed by the rage that was threatening to consume me. I didn’t even let her speak before ranting out the whole story. As soon as I was done, she said,

“Nimi, hold on a second, what did you see them doing exactly? were they kissing or hugging?”

”I don’t even know exactly. She was actually backing me and covering the view so I didn’t see well but the way she bent, they must have been kissing”.

”Seriously Nimi, so you went to embarrass Jaiye in the office over something you aren’t even sure of and in your current state?”

”Abeg joor, he already knows he has a jealous wife, why will he be letting anybody stay in a compromising position like that”

”Nimi, you need to calm down. Just go home and wait for him and better be ready to apologize. That is how you ruined the surprise announcement with your brashness”

”Whatever, I will make it up to him. He still owes me an explanation for what happened”.

I had finally calmed down and was already feeling guilty at about 7 pm that night when I heard Jaiye’s car drive into the compound. I already planned my strategy of acting a bit angry first and apologize before bedtime. If only I would have prepared my mind for what actually happened eventually.

As soon as I opened the door and he walked into the house, there was no time to put plans in motion as he simply showered me with two hot slaps. I fell back on the sofa both from shock and pain.

”How dare you Nimi? How dare you? He began to shout…

THE JOURNEY AFTER 2

“How dare you Nimi? How dare you? He began to shout.

“Jaiye, did you just slap me? Did you just lay your hands on me?” I was still astonished

”Now listen to me, you are going to keep your mouth perfectly shut until I am done speaking. Any other word till I ask you to speak will amount to you getting the beating of your life”

I just sat down on the sofa with my mouth open. This felt like a Nollywood movie sincerely.

”Let me tell you the magnitude of what you did today because I don’t think you understand it. Our Executive Director came into the country yesterday and came to the office today after about six months absence. The main agenda of the meeting was maintaining office decorum and image and how he was looking for somebody to use as an example no matter how high up. Now he had some international investors visiting at the time you came in to display your madness and they all stood there watching while you embarrassed yourself, me, my Executive director and the whole company. Are you getting the picture?”

I sat there quietly not knowing what to say. His next slap geared me awake.

”Answer me when I am talking to you. Are you freaking getting the picture?”

”Yes Jaiye, I am,” I said shakily in the midst of my tears.

”Better, so imagine how unsurprising it was when I was called into his office a few hours later. I was given a letter of summary dismissal due to a breach of office policies without any settlement and even forfeiting my current salary. They are also going to be suing me for damages for causing them to loose a big investment deal. Can you see how you have destroyed my life?”

”Yes I can, I am sorry”.

”Did you just say you are sorry? His face was so tight and astonished and I could feel the anger coming off him in waves.

”You don’t get to apologize my darling wife. No, you don’t. By the way congratulations on the pregnancy. Isn’t that why you came over?

”Yes it was”

”Okay good. I married you just six months ago and you managed to finish my life in such a short time right?”

”Do you realize we have no savings? I put everything together to buy us this house last month and I was supposed to start saving afresh this month and now you are having a baby?”

”Jaiye I am sorry, the slaps hurt a lot but I know how angry you are and I feel bad”

”You feel bad? The slaps hurt? Oh my darling, you haven’t seen the beginning of hurt. You will feel and experience every pain I am experiencing trust me. Your one regret in life will be that you married me. That is one assurance I can give you”

Jaiye’s words have been ringing in my mind since he walked out yesterday. This was the first time he was staying out beyond 9 pm not to even mention an all night out. I have reflected so much about my actions yesterday and I still was not making any headway. Did I over react? Okay, let’s say I over reacted, has he explained what he was doing with the woman? Did my actions deserve being beaten by my husband while pregnant? Am I officially in an abusive relationship? My mind has been muddled up. I have shed so much tears, my eyes have dried up. My heart is heavy and my head aches. I finally decided to give Chisom a call. As soon as she picked up the call and I greeted her, she knew something was wrong.

”Tell me everything Nimi”.

I told her everything up on till his last words before leaving the house.

”So what do you think Chisom?”

”WOW! I can’t believe that happened. While you are pregnant? I am shocked,” she said

”But Chisom, I feel like I deserved it, I provoked him”.

”Sincerely, you did provoke him Nimi, but I can never justify beating a woman and a pregnant one for that matter”.

”So what should I do Chisom, you heard what he said. He sounded serious, not just like the words of an angry man”

”Nimi, I think you should give him space for a while, you can come stay at my place until he calms down”

”Chisom, I can’t do that. How can I abandon him when he needs me most. You know how much Jaiye has been good to me. I love him”

”You can’t help him by putting yourself in danger. He is too bitter. You need to help him from a distance. He beat you for God’s sake. He is threatening you. We don’t know how far he will go especially now that he has lost his job”.

”But I cause it all. I cannot just abandon my marriage after six months. What will I tell our parents?

For the next few minutes, Chisom tried to convince me to leave the house temporarily. I just could not agree with that. I agreed to stay with Jaiye for better or worse. I had to stay by his side. As I sat on the bed and heard the front door slam signalling his arrival, my heart thumped. I just hope our marriage can survive this storm.

THE JOURNEY AFTER 3

It has been three months since Jaiye lost his job and I can finally say I blame myself for his misfortune. My husband has become a shell of himself. It has been 3 months of no laughter, no intimacy, and no conversations. Two weeks after his sack, the company decided not to sue him anymore so I was a little bit relieved there was no court case hanging over our heads. I guess it’s true what they say that marriage is not a bed of roses.

”So give me full gist madam, I haven’t seen you in over a month” Chisom said as we sat down to have lunch that Friday afternoon”.

”Babe, I don’t even know if there is anything to gist about. He has still refused to go out and look for job, he said I should go find him one since I cost him the last one”

”That is ridiculous. So he just stays at home and does what?”

”Eats, plays games and watches television, my dear”

”Then stop cooking and tell him there is no money”

”Very funny Chisom, that will just make things worse. I am just glad he has not beaten me again”

”You shouldn’t have to be thankful for that my dear. He should not have beaten you in the first place. So how is the pregnancy making you feel?”

”Well, I didn’t get as sick as I expected in the first trimester, just a slight loss of appetite in the beginning but it is getting better now. I am like four months gone now”

”Wait, so if he is refusing to get a job or do business, how will you take care of the baby?”

”He has refused to even acknowledge we are having a baby. Do you know he now sleeps in the guest room and he has refused to have sex with me since the incident?”

”That is serious oooo but if he is not initiating sex, why don’t you go to him. Maybe the intimacy will help him forgive you”

”I tried that Chisom, he walked me out of the room and warned me not to try it again if I don’t want another beating”

”So now he is threatening you with beating? I really think you should give him space Nimi”

”Chisom stop saying that, I already told you I am not leaving him, don’t make me stop opening up to you”

”Okay, I will lay off it. I am just worried about you”

”I still think you should try harder with the sex part though, make more efforts. Start walking around the house naked. He can only resist you for so long”.

”Okay, I will try it, anything that works. I am too strained financially though, I can’t even save well anymore. I pay all the house bills and do everything myself”.

”Just hold on a little bit longer, it will get better dear. Have you finally told your parents about the situation?”

”No I can’t do that. That will be messing up the whole situation”

Chisom and I gisted a little longer before I finally returned to work. As I walked into the house that evening, I didn’t imagine my situation could get any worse. I was totally surprised to find my mother-in-law in the living room with Jaiye watching television. They immediately stopped whatever they were discussing and I did not need a soothsayer to tell me it was about me. I immediately ran to kneel down and greet her,

”Good afternoon mom, I didn’t know you were coming ma, I would have tried to come earlier to welcome you”

”No problem Nimi, how are you? I did not know I was coming too, it was a last minute decision I took when I couldn’t take the hunger anymore”

I raised my eyebrows at that,” hunger?”

”Yes hunger, Nimi, my son has not been able to afford giving me my feeding allowance for the past three months and he informed me you made them sack him at his workplace”

”Haaaaa, mummy it was not like that. The situation is more complicated than that. I don’t derive any joy from my husband being jobless”

”Of course, I know you don’t my dear, I just decided to move in with you so it can be easier for you to feed me. Don’t you think? Or you are not happy to see me?”

”No mummy, I am very happy to see you. You are welcome to stay for as long as you want”

”Of course, I know that my dear. Now I heard my grandchild is on the way, I hope he is doing well in there” she said, touching my stomach.

I stood up from my kneeling position beside her,” yes mummy, the baby is fine, let me just go and make dinner”.

I immediately went to my room to drop my bag and change my clothes. Things had definitely taken a turn for the worst, just when I had planned to start walking around the house naked to build intimacy with Jaiye. I was hoping Jaiye will leave the guest room and come to sleep in the room that night seeing as his mom was around but he just set his mom in the other spare bedroom directly opposite our bedroom. Jaiye’s mom had never hidden the fact that she only endured me because Jaiye loved me, now that she was around, I was indeed worried. The events of the following week proved me right that I should have indeed been worried.

THE JOURNEY AFTER 4

My contractions were finally coming at short intervals. We had been on it for some hours. The doctor just checked and said I was at 6cm and I just had to wait for a little longer to get to 10cm. Jaiye was holding my hands standing by my side and cheering me on while I twisted, turned and screamed in pain at every new wave of contraction crept up my stomach.

”Babe, are you sure you sure you don’t want an epidural? Jaiye asked with the unmistakable concern evident in his tone.

I waited for that contraction to go down before answering him.”Jaiye I am fine, that is like the 10th time you are asking me that, don’t worry, go and check on your mom outside”

”Trust me mom is fine, she is in one corner praying hard for her grandson coming out”

I laughed at that ”we don’t know the sex…hmmmmmmm” as another wave of pain gripped my insides.

I woke up startled by the sound of my alarm clock permeating the air. I quickly looked at my stomach still confused by the dream I just had. Okay so I am still 4 months pregnant and I didn’t get so lucky as to wake up and find my baby beside me. I thought of the dream again and smiled, remembering how my husband was so caring and definitely missing that part of him. The thought of my mother-in-law in the house made me stand up immediately. I had to make breakfast before leaving for work to avoid problems.

The smell of moin-moin hit my nostrils as soon as I stepped out of the room. I got into the kitchen and met mummy still wrapping them in leaves and placing them in the pot.

”Good morning mom” I said going down on my knees.

”Oh madam, you finally woke up at 6:30 am” she said with evident sarcasm

”Yes mom, I actually set the time to wake up this early so I can make you breakfast before leaving”

”I am tired of you frying me eggs almost every morning to eat bread so I decided to do something else. I know you are too busy to take the time to make moin-moin”

”No mummy, I am not too busy but the only practical time I can do that is Saturday because I have to leave for work during the week”

”Okay no problem, madam worker, after all, you are now the breadwinner, therefore, becoming the head of this home”

I remained silent because I knew that was her way of trying to edge me on and I was definitely not in the mood for confrontation.

”Mummy, do you want me to help you with anything?”

”Don’t bother madam, if you wanted to help, you won’t stand there asking if I want your help, you will simply come and help. I don’t know what kind of lessons you girls of nowadays even learn before deciding to get married”.

”Mummy, I am sorry, I didn’t mean any disrespect”. I moved closer to start wrapping some of the moin-moin with her and she snapped.

”I said leave it alone abi. Go and get ready for your almighty work and leave your dependents alone”

I immediately retreated from the kitchen and went straight to my room. I was sure Jaiye was still sleeping and would not wake up till after I have left which was his usual practice.

Later that day, I decided to call Jaiye about a new opportunity

”Hey babe, whats up? Are you okay?”

”Is that why you called? To ask if I am okay?”

”Jaiye, please take it easy, I was just asking. Anyway, my boss’s friend just left here and he was talking about a position they have vacant in their company so I told him you will call him. I have texted his number to your phone.

”What kind of job position is it?”

”I don’t know much about it but it is definitely a managerial position. I am sure it’s close to what you had before”

”You know what? I won’t be calling him”

I was shocked, I could not be hearing right. ”What do you mean you will not be calling him?”

”I decided I don’t want a job yet. Staying home and you paying the bills is actually fun since that is what you wanted”

”Do you realize we are having a baby Jaiye. Is it my salary we will still live on till then?

”Oh so you didn’t think of that when you decided to make me loose my job sweetie. That your N200,000 salary is what will sustain our whole family”.

”I can’t believe you”.

”Believe it or not”. He hung up the phone and I just sat there staring at my phone.

Later that evening, I decided to ask mummy to talk to Jaiye about the job. As soon as I raised the matter, it was obvious Jaiye had discussed with her before going out and she was waiting for me.

”See ehn, you may be paying the bills but that does not make you the head of this house madam, Jaiye is old enough to make his own decisions”

I could not even hold the bubble of anger that burst out of me.

”He is? Because mummy from where I am standing, he is definitely acting totally irresponsible, spoilt and untrained”

I didn’t expect her to slap me instantly.

”Mummy, please I am respecting you, do not lay a finger on me again just because you have a son that cannot live up to his responsibilities. Is he the first person to lose his job? That both of you will now sit down there and expect me to feed your family”.

As she raised her hand to hit me again, I was prepared and I held her hand firmly. It was at that exact moment that Jaiye came into the house and mummy did not waste time turning to him and saying,

”Jaiye, your wife has decided to beat me after insulting my whole family”

Jaiye did not waste a single breath as he charged towards me. I remember landing on the floor before darkness took over.

THE JOURNEY AFTER 5

I took a moment to listen to the different voices speaking around me. They had no idea I was awake already and trying to gather my thoughts. I began to wonder how long I was out for since I could hear my mother’s voice in the mix. As I opened my eyes slowly, I felt so numb I wondered what kind of drug they must have given me to achieve that. At the corner of the hospital room, I could see my parents huddled together with Jaiye and his mother but I could not really pick out what they were saying. I felt my stomach, silently praying my baby was okay. I remember vividly how Jaiye had pushed me and I hit my stomach on the edge of the table. I remember every single kick he dealt me while his mother watched before I passed out. I remembered everything and I wondered how he explained it to my parents. My throat felt dry and a cough erupted from my mouth which brought all of them to my bedside immediately.

”Oh! Thank God, you are awake”. My mom exclaimed, relief evident in her voice.

”How long was I out for mom?” My voice sounded so croaky, I didn’t even recognize it.

”You have been out since yesterday darling”, my dad said. ”We got here earlier today”

”Babe, how do you feel, should I get you some water?” Jaiye inquired and I nodded. I needed to conserve my energy for my baby. He quickly went to the bedside table and got water, lifting me up to take some.

”Nimi, tell me how you feel? In fact, let us get the doctor to come and take a look, my mom said as she went out to get the doctor. I looked at Jaiye and he looked truly stressed out. I felt absolutely nothing. As soon as the doctor came in, he asked everyone to step out while he examined me.

”Everything looks good considering the circumstance. I am sure you will be glad to hear that your baby is doing okay”

”Thank you, Jesus!” I felt so much lighter immediately.

”Doctor, why did I pass out for so long, though”

”Well, you had a concussion from the fall. I must say though, Mrs. Peters, this does not strike me as a fall, I observed different marks on your body. Do you want to tell me what is going on? Do you need help?”

I could read between the lines of the questions he was asking me. I didn’t need help though. I had it all figured out.

”Doctor, I am fine, thanks for your help. When can I go home?’

”I want you to rest here today just for observation to be sure there are no other effects. You should be able to go home tomorrow so far you can promise to take it easy for the next few days”.

”Okay thanks, doctor, I will take it easy”.

As soon as he walked out, my whole family came in again. I took my time to look at Jaiye’s mom but she immediately averted her eyes. I wondered why my parents had not noticed her cold attitude.

”Dad, I don’t think Jaiye told you what really happened” I said facing my dad.

”Oh he did darling, he came home from work and met you passed out on the floor, you must have fallen down.”

”Okay and where was his mom when that happened?”

”She went to the market darling. Don’t you remember baby girl? Are you okay? Thank God the baby is okay”. My dad said sounding quite concerned.

I looked at Jaiye’s eyes. He silently pleaded with me with his eyes to just go with the story but I knew my child deserved better from me. He had crossed the line.

”Dad, Jaiye actually lied to you”

”What do you mean he lied? What happened to you?” my dad asked, anger already creeping into his voice. My dad was a no-nonsense person.

So I went ahead and relayed the story right from the beginning. I told my dad every single detail from the incident that caused him his job to this present moment. My parents sat there with shock in their eyes. You could hear a pin drop in the room. It was my mom that first broke the silence as she landed Jaiye a slap before anyone could react. My dad sat there for a long time. My mom was insulting Jaiye so much and his mother began to defend him. I was shocked at the words that came out of her mouth.

”Don’t you ever touch my son again, it is only a foolish mother that will believe every lie that comes out from her child’s mouth without finding out the truth. Did your daughter tell you of how she was trying to beat me before Jaiye came and saved me from her?”

I just looked at her and shook my head at the hopelessness of the person Jaiye called a mother.

”I know my daughter very well, you, on the other hand, have always been a shameless woman. Which mother defends her son at a time like this. You are a disgrace”.

”Stop it”, my dad said firmly and looked at me.

”Baby girl, what do you want to do?”

”Dad, I have made my decision, I am filing for a divorce and custody of my child”

Jaiye tried to move close to me, ”Nimi, please don’t do this. I will change. It won’t happen again”

My dad was quick to refrain him from coming any closer.”Young man, I will advise you to leave this place this minute because as far as I am concerned, my daughter no longer has a husband. You will be served with the divorce proceedings soonest.”

Jaiye immediately went on his knees begging my dad but my dad was very firm, asking him to leave. I did not bother to look at him because I did not need anything weakening my resolve. After what seemed like hours, Jaiye finally left with his mother and I looked to my parents.

”Nimi, how could you have let it get so bad before telling us? What if he had killed you?” my mom asked.

”Mum I thought he was going to change and he was just angry because of my actions”

”When we leave here, we will deal with your stupid actions too, embarrassing your husband in public like that? Let me make arrangements, you are flying home with us”, my dad said

During the next five months, I was back in town after spending about 2 weeks with my parents. I was able to rent a one bedroom flat despite all of Chisom’s protests. She kept insisting I stay with her but I knew it was going to become a hassle especially when my baby finally arrived. My divorce with Jaiye was still not finalized. Who knew that filing for divorce in court was so complicated? It was always just signing of papers in the movies I watched but for plenty reasons, Jaiye and I ended up appearing in court airing all our dirty linen in public. My baby was due to come at any time.

As I sat down to have dinner that Sunday night, I heard a knock on the door. The only person who visited me constantly was Chisom since we lived in the same estate. I pulled the door open and the laughter froze in my mouth as I saw Jaiye standing there. How did he find my house?

THE JOURNEY AFTER 6

As soon as I recovered from the shock of seeing Jaiye at my door, I tried to shut it in his face but he was quick to put his foot in blocking my attempt.

”Relax Nimi, I just want to talk”

I looked at him, quite skeptical about his sudden attempt to have a conversation when he had avoided it for the past four months. It was obvious he could feel my hesitation because he immediately tried to persuade me.

”Seriously Nimi, Our divorce is getting finalized in about a month. We had some good times in the past, don’t I at least deserve a few minutes of your time?”

My good sense was telling me, he deserved nothing and I owed him nothing but my inquisitive self-wanted to know what he had to say so I foolishly let him in.

Jaiye took a few minutes to look around and then he came to sit on the sofa.

”You have a nice apartment here babe”

I didn’t miss the ‘babe’ in the statement and I quickly corrected him.

”I am not your babe anymore”. He laughed at that and I couldn’t help but smile at that retort.

”So how is my baby doing? And I am referring to my real baby in your stomach not you”

”Whatever, she is fine though. Getting close to the day. I am getting quite eager about it.”

”What makes you think we are having a girl. It is definitely going to be a boy trust me,” he smiled.

”In your dreams Jaiye, in your dreams”

”Okay so now that the baby is almost here and my mom is back in the village, I was hoping you will finally put an end to all this foolishness and come back home”

I sat there stunned for a moment. This definitely needed clarification. ” What foolishness exactly are you talking about Jaiye, I don’t think I understand” I said, confusion evident on my face.

”Nimi, please don’t play coy with me. You wanted to prove a point by moving out and filing for divorce, fine point taken. Can we just tell the court we have resolved our issues and continue our lives?” He said with all cockiness and confidence.

I laughed when he was finished. It was actually funny. He was so clueless it was funny.

”So you think this is a joke? You think I am trying to prove a point?”

”Of course, why else will you do all these unnecessary dramas as if I would actually let you raise my child without me”

”Jaiye, get this straight, just in case you have been confused. I am never coming back to you. I loved you and was content trying to deal with our issues but constant violence is where I draw the line. I will never subject my child to growing up around such bitterness”

”Point of correction, it’s our child and not yours. Secondly, there was no constant violence. I only hit you maybe three times…”

”Please stop spewing rubbish Jaiye, you only hit me three times and that makes it okay?”

”It’s not about it being okay. You caused it on every occasion I beat you. You cost me my job and you insulted and beat my mother”.

”Jaiye I did not beat your mother and please enough of this costing your job thing. You know what, I am actually glad it happened because it brought out your hidden flaws”

”You are happy it happened?” I could see the anger brimming in his eyes and I immediately got up and started to shift back.

”You are happy you destroyed a perfectly good life for me? You are happy you turned me into this person I have become? This person I totally hate? You are happy?”

”Jaiye, please leave my house. I think you have overstayed your welcome. We will see in court”

I kept moving back as he advanced towards me, I took a quick look around searching for my phone so I could call for help. I knew there was no escaping the violence as he came. As I made a move to grab my phone from the table, he had anticipated my move and beat me to it, throwing it to the wall. I stared in shock as it shattered to pieces. I resorted to begging him.

”Jaiye please, I am carrying your baby. please just leave”

”So now you know that is my baby? Now that I think about it, are you sure that baby is mine? All those late nights at work, is that baby actually mine? I am thinking maybe that is why you found it so easy to destroy my life and then leave me, you want to go and marry your baby daddy right?”

”Jaiye, listen to yourself, you know I didn’t cheat on you”

”Now I am a liar? You are a life destroyer Nimi and this world is better without you in it”

”When did you get so bitter Jaiye, why? What happened?”

”You happened my dear Nimi” he said as my head swerved to the right from the effect of the slap he just gave me. I held my big stomach trying to console my baby that it was okay even though I didn’t feel so sure. He pushed me so hard, I hit my back on the wall and fell to the floor. I tried my best to cushion my fall to save my baby. The next kick was direct to my belly and that was when the real fear crept in. As he came towards me, I felt the tears roll down my face. I began to scream.

”HELP….. SOMEBODY HELP MEEEEEEEEE”.

He grabbed me by the neck, choking me hard. I desperately tried to pull his fingers off my neck but his hold was so strong. He was looking straight into my eyes while killing me. I decided not to struggle anymore. There was no saving grace for me. As I felt the life inside of me slowly give way, my only regret was the child inside of me who never got to experience life. His eyes held no emotions, just plain cold and deadly. I eventually closed my eyes and welcomed the darkness that welcomed me.

THE JOURNEY AFTER 7

I woke up with a start and the way my head ached with no remorse made me shut my eyes immediately. I gave myself a few minutes for my head to calm down before opening my eyes again. The hospital room was empty and that made me wonder how long I was out for. Then it all started coming back to me gradually, everything that happened to me before I must have gone unconscious. I remembered my baby and quickly lifted the sheets to check but my stomach had gone down. I saw the incision scar from when they must have brought my baby out and I immediately got up to go check my baby but the pain in my head and wave of dizziness made me lay back down. Is my baby alive? Or did Jaiye actually take it all from me? I saw the bedside bell and rang for the nurses.

A few Seconds later, two nurses came into my room quite happy to see me conscious.

”Madam, we thank God you are finally awake, the doctor is on his way to check on you”, the first nurse said quite kindheartedly.

” Thanks, nurse, please where is my baby and how long was I out for?”

Before she could answer, the door opened and the doctor came in, to my utmost shock it was Taiwo, my long time family friend. I could not even dwell on the shock of seeing him again after about 5 years, I just needed information about my baby.

”Taiwo? Please, can somebody tell me how my baby is? I want to know what happened please?”

”Nimi, you need to calm down first, let me check you to make sure you are okay”.

As he continued with his check up, I was getting more nervous. I snapped at him when he asked how many fingers I was seeing and other stupid questions about my date of birth and my mother’s name. I finally got upset.

”Where the hell is my child? I shouted, totally frustrated.

It was at this moment that Chisom walked in and she was carrying my baby in her hands. The relief and joy I felt at that instant were beyond description. I ignored my pounding head and immediately sat up refusing to pay attention to the nurse’s protests. Chisom did not waste a second and immediately placed him in my hands. He looked so perfect and I did not even notice the tears until the first one dropped on him. The joy that such perfection could come out of my marriage with Jaiye was overwhelming.

”Nimi, you were in coma for 2 weeks. I am so sorry I was not there to stop Jaiye, if I had known, I would have insisted you stayed with me”, Chisom said.

”You can’t blame yourself for Jaiye’s mistakes. I am just grateful my child came out alive”

”Nimi, we had to do an emergency caesarean section when you came in because your water had broke. Your baby was able to survive at 32 weeks without being put in an incubator because he was actually big. He was weighing 2.1kg. You also suffered some head trauma which is what led to the coma and you had some cuts and abrasions to your neck. We will keep you here for a few days more just to make sure you are okay before releasing you to go home with your baby”.

”Okay thanks Taiwo, I am really glad I had somebody familiar around to take care of me. See you going all serious on me now. The doctor” I laughed as I made jest of him. Taiwo and I were quite close growing up and he got married about 3 years before me.”

As soon as Taiwo and the nurses left, Chisom sat down and gave me more information.

”Thank God I came in at the right time. Jaiye actually left you in the house there without calling for help. The police actually caught him the next day, he made no effort to run. It was like he had given up on life you know. He looked so resigned. He has being charged for attempted murder and the good news is that the Judge was informed of the new developments and situation and he formally dissolved the marriage. You, my dear, are a divorced woman”.

I thought I was going to be happy but I just broke down crying. I did not feel any relief that Jaiye was going to court or that I am not divorced. I felt so sad at how things turned out. I never imagined that Jaiye and I would have this kind of ending. He was such a good guy and we were genuinely happy at some point.

”Chisom, do you think I did this to Jaiye? Did I actually destroy his life?”

”Nimi, you can’t blame yourself for what is happening to Jaiye, he actually tried to kill you. He just had so much bitterness inside of him that he could not let go and you can’t blame yourself for that”.

I just kept staring at my son as he slept and started bombarding Chisom on how he had been eating. He still did not feel like mine yet as I held him.

SIX MONTHS LATER

The only way I had gotten through the last six months was with the help of Taiwo and Chisom. I finally found out Taiwo lost his wife during childbirth a year after their marriage so his experience with his daughter was really helpful. I never thought I would end up being a single mother. Jaiye’s matter was still in court and I was due to go to court to give testimony at the next court date. As I sat across from Taiwo that Friday evening after just putting my son, Remi to bed, I already knew what was coming,

”Nimi, I know you have been through so much already, but I really want to be more than friends. I have been a widower for 5 years now and this is the first time I actually feel like I can move on. I know it’s going to be hard for you to trust…”

I cut him short immediately deciding to put him out of his dilemma.

”Taiwo, I don’t have trust issues. I know that not every man is like Jaiye and I will eventually open up but it has just been six months. You have had five years to deal with your pain, I have just had six months. It’s too soon seriously.

”Okay Nimi, I will wait for you. Whenever you are ready.

”No Taiwo, I don’t want you to wait for me. What if I am never ready? Remi is my priority right now, I am not sure”.

”Nimi, I will wait”

I did not bother arguing with Taiwo anymore. One thing was sure, I was not ready for another relationship at the moment. As I looked at Taiwo I just wondered what the future holds…

Written by Tunde Oni (Mrs.)

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5 comments

Oyin March 1, 2017 - 3:21 pm

So touching. Ma’am please is that all?

Reply
yasmin aiyari March 1, 2017 - 6:39 pm

there is always a ray of light at the end of the tunnel

Reply
IG March 2, 2017 - 1:13 am

Can’t imagine myself awake till past 2am reading this. So touching.

Reply
Gift Eleng March 2, 2017 - 11:16 am

So touching

Reply
RMB March 3, 2017 - 10:57 am

It’s really touching. There is more to marriage than the first love and ceremony. May God help us, amen.

Reply

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