Abiola hurriedly threw clothes into a bag. She had to get out of the house before that monster came back. Her hands shook as she hurried. She couldn’t afford to have him come back and meet her in the house. Her left eye was swollen, her face badly bruised, she couldn’t stand straight, and her side hurt like crazy. She was in pain as she moved, but she could not afford to slow down.
If anyone had told her she would be a victim of abuse in her marriage, she would have laughed in their faces. Lekan loved her. He treated her like a queen before they got married. He never raised his voice at her, let alone a hand. They had met at a mutual friend’s wedding, where they shared a table. They got talking and before the end of the day they had exchanged phone numbers. Things had moved on swiftly from there. Abiola fell head over heels in love with Lekan. He was the type of man every girl dreamed to have; tall, dark, handsome and very comfortable. He worked in one of the new generation banks as a marketer. He had it all, and Abiola was over the moon that he would look her way.
Her family was against her getting married to him, her mother begged her to give the relationship more time before she got married, but she had argued with her mother that one year courtship was enough to know each other. In the end, her parents gave their blessings. She had married Olalekan Braide one year later, and their marital bliss started. Or so she thought.
The first time Lekan raised his voice against her, she had mistakenly spilled water on the bathroom floor. She was going to get a mop to clean it up when he came in and saw the spilled water. He had yelled at her, she was sure the neighbours heard. That had been the beginning of the verbal abuse. Week after week, he found a reason to yell at her. After a while, the yelling stopped, and it seemed things were back to the way they ought to be. But it was short-lived.
She had got home late one Friday evening. She had a meeting that ran quite late in the office. She had sent Lekan a text message informing him she would be coming home late. She got home about nine that night. As soon as she opened the door, she met Lekan waiting in the sitting room. She went to him to give him a hug. He pushed her so hard, she fell on the sofa behind her.
“Where are you coming from at this time?” Lekan asked.
“I sent you a text, explaining to you that I was in a meeting that would run late.” She tried to explain. As she sat there, Lekan had drawn out his belt. Before she could get up to protect herself, he hit her. He beat her so bad that night, she could not go to work for one week.
That had been the beginning, and it got worse when he lost his job. He hit her at will and for any little thing. She had suffered three miscarriages in the two years they were married. She reported him to his family members, but all they had to say was for her to be patient. She should endure it. She should not get him angry, but they would speak with him to change his ways. So, she had endured. For two years she endured. She kept telling herself she loved him, and he loved her. He would change. As soon as he got another job, things would be better. Her mother begged her to leave, her father threatened to kill Lekan if he laid a finger on her again. Her friends thought she was crazy, staying with the man. But she stayed.
Lekan did not get another job, he began to drink. She stayed out of his way whenever he was home. But tonight, he complained the food was too cold. She had just finished preparing the food when she dished it, before calling him to the dining table. He had taken his time to come to eat. By the time he came, the food was not as hot as he wanted it. Before she knew it, he threw the plate of food at her, got up angrily and started punching her. This time he beat her like he wanted her dead. He kicked her in the stomach, and every other place he could reach. When he was done hitting her, he stormed out of the house and drove off.
Abiola left the house with a few clothes. This was not the life she dreamed of. If this meant she would be a divorcee, she was ready to be. Better to be alive and tell her story.