Secret Affairs – A Story of Love And Betrayal (part 2)

2
Two days after the incidence, when I came back from the hospital, I packed my belongings and left his home. I was going home to narrate my ordeals to my parents. I was going to tell them that I wanted a divorce. Just ten minutes after I arrived at my parents’ house, Fred arrived with two of his friends, apologizing. He was on his knees. He wanted me back.
Mum was the first to sight Fred and his friends. She began to shout and curse Fred, “Come and see this stupid man who thought my daughter was a punching bag. Shameless idiot! If you don’t want to marry her again, must you kill her for me?” Mum kept raining curses on Fred and threatened to arrest him if he opened his mouth. I was not surprised at Mum’s reaction. She was such an action woman who never took any nonsense from anyone. She was full of energy and never feared anyone. I didn’t take after her; I took after Dad who was a direct opposite of Mum. Sometimes, I wondered why two of them exchanged roles. Mum behaved more manly than Dad. Mum’s voice must have attracted Dad from inside the house.
When Fred saw him coming out, he gave his friends a sign and they all knelt down wordlessly. At this time, Mum was still shouting at Fred. Dad kept quiet and merely stared at Fred. After about twenty minutes of silence, Fred opened his mouth and said, “Daddy, I am sorry”. In my heart I retorted, who is your daddy? Now you know that he is your daddy. Stupid man! I remembered the reckless way he pushed me to the floor and the meanness on his face when he was beating me with his belt. I felt like searching for a strong stick and whacking him with it, but I knew Dad won’t support that. I had been standing close to the door. My hatred for Fred seemed to have increased since setting my eyes on him in our compound. I didn’t want to do something unreasonable. I controlled myself by hissing and walking into the room.
I sat down on the bed and began to think what to do about this matter. Many ideas were coming into my head. I did not know which one to accept, but I was sure I wasn’t going to marry him again. This marriage won’t work! I could hear myself saying. I wanted to cease the opportunity of him being in our compound to slap him, since he wouldn’t have the guts to retaliate, but I changed my mind. I could still hear Mum’s voice floating all over the compound. Some neighbours began to come in to ask what was amiss. I heard Mum explaining to a woman what Fred did to her daughter and how Fred made her daughter to lose her pregnancy.
The woman screamed, “Jesus! That is already a bad sign.”
As if Mum had been empowered, she raised her voice even the more, “and this wicked idiot has the guts to beg for forgiveness”.
The woman turned to the man and asked, “Young man, why have you done this to your wife now?”
Mum did not want her to call me Fred’s wife, “she is no longer his wife”.
“Mummy, sorry, it was the devil that caused it” Fred begged again.
“Which devil? Who is your mummy? So, you still have the boldness to open that your stinky mouth? Ah, because you have not been arrested for attempting murder.”
One of Fred’s friends intervened, “Please Madam, hear Fred out first.”
“Ok, let him speak the rubbish he has to say” resigned Mum.
Fred stammered “Jane is my wife and I love him with all my heart. I can assure you that what happened was devil’s handwork. I accept all the blames, and I promise it will never happen again.”
Dad, who had been silent spoke up, “Young man, stand up”. Fred and his friends, thinking Dad wanted to order them out of the compound, began to beg again. But dad surprised everyone when he called me and said, “Get chairs for your husband and his friends.” I obeyed Dad but with great reluctance. I wanted to go back to the room, but Dad said I should sit down with them. This too was a difficult thing to do, but I did it because I didn’t want to displease Dad. I dared not! Fred tried to look at me, but I particularly avoided any form of eye contact with him. I observed him only with the side of my eye.
Dad cleared his throat and continued, “Young man” he didn’t want to call Fred by his name, maybe because of what he had done. “It is obvious that you are taking my family for granted.”
Fred shook his head and said, “No sir! I’m sorry.”
After about thirty seconds, Dad continued, “what I gave you was a wife, not a slave. But you turned my daughter into your slave. You hit her as if you were hitting a bag of sand. In less than one year of your marriage you have imprinted ugly marks all over her body.” Fred wanted to kneel down again, but Dad prevented him. “Sit down, let’s talk as men.” Dad began to speak to Fred, teaching him how to become a good husband. On his part, Fred was nodding at everything Dad said and promising it would not happen again.
Dad turned to me and said, “Jane, you must forgive your husband.” I didn’t think I heard right. I wanted Dad to repeat what he said. “If there is no offence there cannot be forgiveness. No one is perfect, you know.” I wanted to speak but Dad motioned me to be quiet.
Mum fled up immediately, “Nna anyi, why do you speak this way? How can you be so quick to forgive somebody that almost killed your daughter? This is more on the side of foolishness than Christianity.” My heart sank when Mum made that statement because she meant that Dad was being foolish.
As if Dad heard my thought, he sprang up from the chair and approached Mum, “So you mean I am foolish? Eh? Adorie, you are insulting me?”
Mum raised up her two hands remorsefully and apologized, “I didn’t mean you are foolish, I only meant that this man needed to be taught a lesson he would not forget.” By this time, Dad had gone back to his sitting position. Mum came closer to him and said, “Nna anyi, on a serious note, I think Jane should not go back to this man.”
Dad looked at her in the face, “Will you marry your daughter? Why would you prevent her from going back to her husband? This does not show love, you are only being emotional”.
Mum didn’t believe Dad, “Nna anyi, reason with me. I don’t want my daughter to go back to this wicked man. No! She shouldn’t go back to him.”
Dad frowned his face and pointed his index finger at Mum, “Woman, you have no final words on this matter, as far as I am concerned, Jane is going back now with her husband. I believe things will get better.” I was really worried about the disagreement between Mum and Dad. I didn’t like what Dad was saying, but I was scared of disobeying him. I prayed for him to change his mind.
Mum got really mad at what Dad said. She bumped up again from the chair and hit her hand on the wall of the house, “Never! Not when I am alive will Jane go back to this killer.”
Dad gave out a loud cackle, the type you do when you want to make mockery of someone, and pulled out his finger for Mum to bet with him, “Let’s see who takes the final decision”.
Dad turned to me and said, “Jane, get ready to go back with your husband.”
But Mum challenged him, “Not in this house. Jane, you are going nowhere.” Tears tickled down my cheeks. I looked at Fred, the cause of disagreement between Mum and Dad and hated him with the last drop of my blood. I was so confused. I didn’t have courage to disobey my Dad, yet I didn’t want to go back to Fred.

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Secret Affairs – A Story of Love and betrayal

1
I felt the presence of a real trouble when my husband hit me a night after our wedding. An argument had ensued between us and I seemed to be having an upper hand. The next thing he did was to punch me on the face. Few minutes later, I looked at my face at the mirror and a red swelling stared back at me. Fred said it was a mistake; that he didn’t mean to hit me. I believed him but did not want that mistake to occur again. I didn’t tell anyone about it. When some of my friends asked what happened to my face, I lied that I fell down in the bathroom. I was advised to be careful the next time I entered the bathroom.
I avoided all occasions of argument. I made Fred believe all he was saying was correct, even when they weren’t. In about one month later, I received another beating from Fred. The reason for this one was that I queried him for throwing away the food I served him. I just couldn’t imagine why Fred should lift up the dinner served in two ceramic dishes and smashed them on the floor. It was bizarre! I asked him why he did that, and the response I got was a three rounds of a dirty slap that left his fingers printed on my cheeks. I must confess that a star jumped out from my eyes when the second slap landed on my cheek and by the time the third one came, I was already sitting down on a cushioned chair. I felt the pain and shock of this beating for days. He came back after two days to apologize to me. But I wanted to know why he gave me such a beating. He said it was anger that caused it; that someone had provoked him outside – that when he came back, he was expecting to eat some kind of swallow, but felt disappointed when it was rice he saw in the dish. His explanation did not make sense to me. I thought of his explanation and compared it to the harshness he melted on me; there was no resemblance at all. What kind of husband is this? I thought of divorcing him, but remembered what the priest said during his sermon on the day of our wedding, “Once married, there is no going back on it… for better for worse… what God has joined together, let no one put asunder.” For some time, I imagined whether it was God that really joined us together. It didn’t seem so. God couldn’t join me to such a wicked, heartless husband.
I had asked the Lord for a kind and God-fearing man. The first time Fred talked to me, he didn’t look an inch a wicked person. He seemed absolved in love and gentleness. His eyes were like those of a dove; he had seemed he couldn’t hurt an ant. The picture I had of him during that period of dating was that of a perfect man. I was everything to him, or so it seemed. We didn’t date for a long time – just three weeks – because I was sure he was the one. But when he started exhibiting some of these inhumane tendencies, I began to make comparisons. There were two possibilities that came to my mind: either he was pretending or he has changed. The distance between the husband Fred and the lover he used to be was too large. I was shy to tell people that my marriage was not working, not even my parents. I lived in fear. I hated violence. My father wasn’t harsh to us; I can’t remember him hitting any of us, yet we complied to his principles. The more I thought of these things, the more strange Fred became and the more I struggled to retain the love I had for him.
I thought Fred would change, but instead he became worse. It was not only that he was a difficult person, but he began to come back late in the night in less than five months of our marriage. I didn’t suspect that he was going out with any girl, even though I was tempted to do so. I was more concerned about his security. Anything could happen to him if he continued that way. Night is dangerous. I didn’t want anything to happen to him. I turned into a watchwoman for him. This happened on a frequent basis and I endured it. He seemed comfortable doing that, because he never made an attempt to come back early. One night, Fred pushed things too far that I had to speak up. I had been waiting for him in the sitting room – as he usually made me to do- so that I could open the door for him. I lay on the cushioned chair hoping to open the door for him when he knocks. At that time, I was already three months pregnant. I must have slept off. I felt the biting of a mosquito and sprang up. I looked at the time, it was already 1.30 am. I feared Fred must have come back and knocked and I did not know. So, I opened the door and looked around outside, but there was no sign of someone. I picked up my phone and called him. It was a woman’s voice that responded. I thought it was a wrong number but I looked at it again, it was Fred’s number. A lot of ideas were whirling into my head. I dialed Fred’s number again to be sure I heard correctly. It was the same feminine voice I heard and she warned me never to dial the number, that I was disturbing her. Then I held my peace and waited for Fred to return. I didn’t sleep again. I was thinking every thought in the world.
I heard a knock on the door and knew Fred was back. When I looked at the time, it was 3.07 am. I pulled away the bolt and opened the door. My first reaction was a nonchalant silence. I just didn’t know how to begin and what to tell him first, but I knew I must tell him something. He had taken me for granted for too long. I needed to prove to him that I was not a fool. I allowed him to change his clothes before I asked him, “Fred, I need nothing but the truth. Please tell me where you’re coming from?” he kept quiet and lay down on the bed as if he was not the one I was talking to. “Fred, I said, where are you coming from?” I shook him. Fred stood up. I thought he was going to kneel down and apologize or take his time to explain things to me. But to my greatest surprise, he pulled his belt from the hanger and began to beat me. He didn’t care where the belt was hitting me. I felt biting pains all over my body. He pushed me and I hit my head on the door knob. Blood came down from the sides of my face. I was more confused. What did I do wrong? For asking him where he went to or for marrying him? At that instance, I decided that the marriage was over. “To hell with this marriage! I want a divorce.” When I got to the hospital, the doctor informed me that I had lost my three months pregnancy.