By Adeola Nissi
“Ouch” I whimpered painfully. “Please be careful Tina” I said sharply.
“Sorry” she seemed to be trying hard to control her emotions as she tended the bloody fist marks all over my body with hot water and a clean towel. “Just try to endure the pain” she whispered sympathetically.
I winced as the hot towel hit my skin again. It felt like a great camp fire had been lit beneath my skin and everywhere was aching like hell. It still felt extremely unbelievable that Alex had actually beaten me up. He had slapped me once but even then, I never imagined that he would have the nerve to beat me to a pulp in my delicate condition. “Ow! Easy” I moaned painfully.
Tina shook her head. “Forgive me, but I really wish I could kill that husband of yours. I know he is your husband but he is a demented beast. My apologies” she grumbled angrily as she squeezed the towel aggressively.
I swallowed painfully. This is one subject I would rather avoid. “You don’t need to apologize Tina, I also wish I could kill him; my life would be a lot better… Ow…” I moaned in pain as she placed the hot towel on my swollen face.
She wiped tears I hadn’t noticed from her face. “I was so scared… especially when you passed out. We need to get you to the hospital” she said sternly.
I sighed. “How many times would I tell you that I am not going to any hospital? I am not going” I would not want to explain how and why I turned into a punching bag to any doctor. It was already embarrassing and degrading enough that Tola and Tina were the spectators of the disastrous event, adding the staff of a hospital to the list would be more than I can stomach.
“You are being too stubborn Amara. Your baby is involved here, even if you don’t care about yourself” she said angrily.
“My baby is perfectly fine, I am sure” I said.
“How can you be so sure? Your baby is part of you; if you are hurt, your baby is hurt too” she retorted.
I swallowed and endured the pain without making a sound. Tola entered the room, bringing more hot water and left in a hurry like she could not bear to see me in that condition. I exhaled audibly. For the first time, I really looked at Tina and noticed something odd. “Tina? Why do you have that swell on your head?” I asked, sitting up sharply to examine the swollen part of her head.
She brushed my hand away, avoiding my gaze. “Stop. Lay still and let me finish what I am doing. This is nothing”
I ignored her. “This does not look like nothing. What happened to your head? Did you fall?”
“Y…Yes… I slipped in the kitchen and hit my head” she murmured
I shook my head. “You are a terribly liar Tina, you can’t effectively lie to me” I said, knowing that I won’t like the answer. “What happened?” I said sharply.
“Erm…” she coughed slightly. “I tried to pull your husband away when he was… erm… beating you… and he pushed me away…”
“And you hit your head on something” I finished for her in extreme anger, bouncing off the bed within the twinkling of an eye and hiding the sharp pain that took over my wounded body.
“The wall” she stated. “But it is nothing and it would go soon. I did not ask you to stand up, you are very hurt” she murmured disapprovingly.
“How dare he?” I roared as my anger skyrocketed. “He might be able to hurt me but he has no right to disrespect my friends”
“Please don’t forget that I am under his employ” she said. “Don’t beat yourself up over nothing. He is paying me so he has the right”
“Absolutely not. He is paying you to cook for him and not bump your head against the wall. I would give him a piece of my mind. If he thinks he has put me in my place by beating me up” I laughed heartily, though it was painful. “Well, he should think again. I have already been stripped of my pride and dignity; there is nothing left to be ashamed of”
She sighed. “Well, he is not around now; thank God for that. Now, you would use your drugs and sleep, thank God the marks are not visible anymore”
“Yeah. My skin never retained marks for long, I am lucky I am not as white as that swine; Lisa.” I said gratefully.
“Yeah, if you were, your body would look like a painter’s board. Now, come and lie down, you need to rest”
“Let me see what I can do to your head first” I said alternatively.
“No! I have done that. I am not in the mood to feel that pain again, please” she grimaced.
I smiled. “And you called me a baby for feeling pains.”
I felt much better after sleeping all afternoon. The previous night and this early morning had been too much torture because the pain burned into my senses, making me cower in pain from even the slightest move; but now, I felt as good as new, even though the punch spots were still hurting.
Immediately I got down the stairs, Lisa turned from the television and bursted into laughter immediately she saw me. She laughed until she almost fell off the chair. At first, anger took over me and I felt like strangling her. But then, I quickly realized that her aim was to get me angry so I quickly composed myself, putting an indifferent smile on my face.
“Oh, my God! I never knew Alex was such a good boxer” Lisa said with shining eyes and fully displayed teeth. “Tell me slut, how was it? Oh, how I regret missing that show” she said gleefully.
“Really? You missed it? OH, that is so painful. It would have been nice to have you in attendance dear. The drama was most entertaining. Tell me, who told you about it uhn? I know the walls have ears but I am sure they don’t have mouths”. I wanted to know who told her. I knew it was definitely not Tina, she won’t do that. The only other witness would be Tola. Even though we have become friends, I still could not trust her fully.
“Oh, why? Of course, Alex himself gave me the full gist of how he put you in your place with his fist” she laughed. “So, it is only mouth you have, you don’t have action”
I looked at her as my anger started showing up again. Alex had told her. With each passing day, I always found myself wondering how Alex had been able to cover the monster in him while we were in the village. He had never given me a cause to even assume he would lift a finger against a woman, but here I am, faced with the reality of my destroyed life. “Don’t play with fire dear, you would get burnt” I said sternly, with a wicked smile. I called Tina and told her I was going for a small stroll.
I walked the length of the street until I got to a business center. I smiled at the lady there and she smiled back. “Good evening, how may I help you?”
I smiled. “I want to make a phone call” I said.
She frowned. “I am sorry, I only sell recharge cards”
“Oh” I breathed. “What if I use your phone? I would recharge it, please” I pleaded.
She nodded and recharged the phone and gave it to me. I collected it gratefully. I had searched for the senator’s private number in the diary I found in Alex’s study and as I dialed, I hoped he was still using it. When it started ringing, I sighed happily.
“Hello” I heard the Senator’s baritone voice from the other end.
“Hello sir, this is Amara” I answered
“Oh, how are you doing daughter?” he answered instantly, seeming really interested in my welfare.
“I wish I could tell you that I am fine sir, but I am not” I allowed the pain to seep into my voice intentionally as I walked slightly away from the shop to give myself little privacy.
“What is wrong? What did Alex do this time?” he asked sternly.
Well, it is good to go straight to the point. “Well sir, ever since I met your son, I have known only pain in my life, but right now, I not only have to deal with emotional pains but physical ones also”
“What do you mean?” his voice was deadly quiet.
“Alex has decided to use his fists to show his frustration sir. He beat me up yesterday until I fell unconscious”
“He did what?” the senator roared at the other end and the sound pierced through my ear drums.
“I just decided to inform you sir because I did not sign my death warrant when I married Alex. I would not put my life and that of my son in danger. I won’t.”
“S… Son?” he gasped out.
“Yes sir, the scan revealed that I am carrying a baby boy” Affection seeped unconsciously through my voice.
There was a brief silence, and then the senator seemed to get back his composure. “Please relax. Are you feeling better? Oh! You need to see a doctor to check you out. As for Alex, leave him to me. I would handle him. Can I reach you on this line?” he ranted.
“No… No. I am calling from a business center”
“Alright. If anything happens, call me instantly. I would get you a phone right away. Should have done that”.
“Thanks a lot sir. Erm sir, there is one other thing I want to ask. I need to see my parents but I don’t know where they are now. Do you have their address sir?”
He answered in affirmative and gave me the address which I instantly put to memory.
I paid the lady and walked home. I sat with Lisa in the sitting room and a contented smile was pasted on my face. She glanced at me from time to time, apparently irritated that I was in a good mood despite all that has happened. She was busy watching a fashion show which I found irritating and I grabbed the remote and changed it to African Magic.
“How dare you? Can’t you see that I am watching a program?” she bellowed in anger.
“Heeeeyy, hush! You are disturbing my baby with your cat-like voice. Will you shut up? I want to watch a movie, if you are not ok with it, go and get some sleep”
“You must be out of your senses” she marched towards me. “Give me that remote” she yelled.
“You would better get yourself out of my sight if you don’t want to find out how good of a boxer I am. I am warning you woman, I won’t pity your condition at all” I shot at her.
She glared then stormed up the stair. I laughed and relaxed against the back rest of the chair.
After going to the market that same evening to get some things for my parents, I instantly decided that I would spend the night with them, if not days. I have missed them and I knew life would not be totally hell on earth if I stayed with then. As long as my dad behaved of course. I packed everything I bought and put them in the car before going inside to pick some necessities, like a spare cloth and other lady things.
I was just climbing down the stairs when the front door burst open and Alex stormed in. he saw me with no difficulty and stormed towards me like he would actually kill me on the spot. I stood firm with my head held high, even though I was shivering inside. “Is a tiger on your tail? Why do you look so…”
“Shut your mouth” he roared and grabbed my neck in a choking vice. “How dare you call my father to tell him trash? Do you know what you have just done? I am suspended in my own father’s company, you filthy b****” he roared.
I let my bag fall to the ground and I dig my nails into his hand until the pain forced him to let go of my neck. I coughed slightly and drew in sharp breaths. “Do you know what you have done Alex?” I returned when I gained my composure. “You had the nerve to beat me up. What did you aim to achieve uhn? You want to box my child out of me right? Or you want to put fear in me so I can cower in your presence” I laughed. “You have created a monster Alex, deal with it. If you lay a single finger on me, I would make you pay. Calling your dad is the least of what I would do to you Alex, and when I am done, you would regret knowing me”
He glared at me. “Believe me, I regret that already”
I picked up my bag and smiled coyly. “I am happy to hear that Alex, because the feeling is mutual” I walked away from him. “Goodnight Tina” I yelled.
“And where the hell are you going?” Alex barked.
I glanced slightly at him, and then continued out the door. “None of your business. You have your suspension to worry about darling”
I smiled outside the house and called the driver. I told him the address and we were out of the house and onto the road. I rubbed life back to my strangled neck and hissed in anger. I lay my head back and closed my eyes as darkness grew near. I knew my parents would be pleasantly surprised and I could not wait to see that surprise in their faces. I have missed my parents, my mother especially.
“Why won’t you listen to reason” Amara’s mum yelled in anger as she marched behind her husband into the sitting room. The argument had been going on for almost thirty minutes, yet he won’t listen. “I know my dreams Nnayi, they always come true. Let us take Amara out of that house before they kill her for me”
“Listen to me woman. Amara is married and it is her duty to remain in that house for better for worse. Just because you dreamt that Alex beat her till she fainted, you want her to leave such a wealthy family? My God! Don’t be stupid woman”
“I am not stupid, I am a mother and naturally, I am concerned about my child. Unfortunately, you are not” she said angrily.
“Why should I be? Now, Amara is nothing more than a financial means for me. We both know that she is not our daughter; why would I be bothered?” Crashing sounds made then turn and they both gasped in horror.
…to be continued