Celebrating East African Writing!
The humid weather jolted me out of my confusion as soon as I stepped outside. That speech was merely a therapy tactic. It had to be! What woman in her right mind would live with a man who treats her that way, and not have committed murder to this day, after all this while?
“I guess we are more alike than I thought possible”, I murmured as I walked to my car.
I sped out of the parking lot towards my home, with a resolve to give my plans a little more thought. I wouldn’t want to end up with regrets, and I had promised Mrs Akintola that I shall not commit any crime before our next session.
It took me almost an hour and a half to get home due to the infamous Lagos traffic. I was drained, physically and emotionally.
Ola was not home yet, as usual, so I quietly made dinner while listening to the mellow sounds of John Legend. His music always calms me even in the most tumultuous situations. I was midway through the dinner preparations when I heard the gate open and he drove into the compound.
It was 7:30p.m. Ola was home earlier than usual.
I continued with my cooking while silently praying that he was in a good mood; that he would pretend I was not home and go about his business. It is really funny and weird how after 20 years of marriage, the one thing you would crave the most is the silence and peace you get when you’re being ignored by your “significant other”.
But, if wishes were horses…
“Adanma! Adanma! Where are you, you daughter of a nobody? Adanma!?”
My heart skipped many beats. “Yes, Ola! I am in the kitchen!”
All was not well, obviously.
“Adanma?” I could see him heading towards the sound of my voice.
“Ola! I am right here in…”
“Shut your mouth, you useless woman! Where were you this afternoon?”
“I…I went to visit a friend”, I stuttered. I had never lied to him in the past but I could not risk him knowing I’m seeing a shrink, what with marriage counsellors being a taboo in African societies. I would never want to give him the satisfaction of branding me “not woman enough” to handle the struggles of married life.
According to our society, my mother was not strong enough to stay married to the man who abused her physically and emotionally, on a daily basis. I had to break that chain at all cost.
“Liar! You are such a liar!” he yelled, advancing menacingly towards me.
I took a few steps back but couldn’t go further. My back was literally against the kitchen counter. There was nowhere else to go. He was close enough for me to smell the alcohol in his breath. He must’ve had a beer or two at lunch. His eyes were almost bulging with rage. These eyes that once gazed at me with so much love are now filled with so much hate that it sent chills down my spine. What changed?
“I am telling you the truth, Ola”, I managed. I could barely hear my own voice. I did not want the gate-man or the neighbours to hear us.
He reached for my arm, pulled me towards him and grabbed a handful of my weave. He pulled hard.
“Ola you are hurting me. Please stop pulling my hair.”
My pleas only succeeded in making him pull harder. I felt warm tears slowly trickle down my cheeks. It hurt. He did not care. I have never seen him this angry before. Oh God please make him stop.
I was pinned against the counter and couldn’t move the rest of my body no matter how hard I tried. He let go of my arm and used his hand to keep my head still so I could stare directly into his face.
“Did you think that I would never find out about your affair?” he growled.
Huh? What affair? I am at a total loss at this point. “Stop this madness Ola! I have no idea what you are talking about. Who would I have an affair with? I barely have enough time to take care of myself.”
I am usually the calm one but this accusation seems to have awoken a demon that had been sleeping for years.
I am taken back to the day my father kicked my mother out of our house and humiliated her in the presence of the entire village. However, I am more enraged by the fact that unlike my mother, I had taken no lovers. For twenty years I have remained faithful to this one man. I have given him all I have to give and this is how he repays my loyalty and faithfulness. He is the only man I have ever known in the biblical sense and he accuses me of adultery. This definitely is the last straw.
“I have to get out of here right now. I cannot stay married to this demon anymore. Forget the promise I made to Mrs Akintola a few hours ago. I am done with this beast”, I thought.
I slowly reached for the wooden knob on the drawer by my right hip and tugged slowly. Ola paid no mind to where my hands were. I opened the drawer wide enough to slip my hand inside and reached for the first sharp object I could find.
It was a medium sized kitchen knife.
By: Ndey Ngoneh Jeng
Ndey Ngoneh Jeng is a 23-year old third year law student at the University of the Gambia.
She is a feminist, writer and poet.
She also works at the Ministry of Justice of the Gambia as a legal clerk. Ndey also volunteers some of her free time to various home based non0-profit organisations such as Gambians Against Rape and Molestation (GARM), Starfish International and Fong 4 Life.
You can follow her on Twitter @YaayiBayam and her blog on http://lajaaba.wordpress.com/