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BN Prose: Backlash by Olufunmi Abimbola



And here I was, bruised, beaten, broken. An empty shell of what I used to be. Seven years of my life gone down the drain. Seven awful years of being Mrs Aisha Carrington. As I lay on my bed in Room 6, Saint Mark’s hospital, I thought about my life and how it had all come to this. I couldn’t stop replaying in my head what the doctor had told me three days ago. How had I gotten myself to this stage?
Well there was only one person I had to blame for my present predicament and that was my husband, Dejumo Carrington. Looking around my room and seeing the flowers and gigantic get well cards, it was obvious he had resumed his ever loving husband role. But that wasn’t going to work out this time. Oh no, it wasn’t.

Dejumo my husband of seven years was a monster, an animal, a demon in human form. It hadn’t taken me long to discover this. Just some months after our marriage and his true colours had started showing. I remember our wedding just like it was yesterday. A small yet lovely one with just close relatives and friends. We met at the christening of a friend’s baby. He was all kinds of sweet, loving, caring. He seemed to know a lot about me during our first meeting like he had seen me somewhere before and had been biding his time to make a move. Falling in love with him was easy because he was the proverbial “tall, dark and handsome devil”. He was a good man and came from a good wealthy home. He treated me like I was his life force. We dated for a year before we got married. He had actually proposed six months into the courtship but I refused because I felt I needed more time to know him before rushing into marriage. My family and friends were bewildered at my refusal because they all thought that at age thirty-two, I didn’t have the advantage of being choosy. But I stood my ground saying I really didn’t know who he was and I just didn’t want to jump into a marriage I would later regret. He even offered to have me move in with him if that would allow me a keener observation into his personal life and I did. Throughout that period I knew without a doubt that he was “THE ONE” and I couldn’t wait for him to pose the question again. He was neat, didn’t smoke, he could control his alcohol intake and he went to church often. He also didn’t mind lending me a hand whenever I was in the kitchen. Even though I had my own job which paid reasonably well and we weren’t even a couple yet, he took absolute care of me; pumped money into my account regularly for my upkeep and “our home”. He was like a son to my mother, took care of her and was also paying my sister’s tuition at a private university. So when he proposed, again, six months later, I didn’t wait for him to finish his sentence before I said, ‘yes’. He was also a perfectionist in the art of love making. I usually thought of myself as the most content woman in that aspect. Like no other woman in the world had it better than I did.

My first few months as Mrs Carrington were blissful. He would send me roses and gifts at work for no absolute reason, come in and take me out to lunch. He also hired a chef to do the cooking because he said he couldn’t imagine me cooking after a long day at work. Two maids were also available. He never got tired of showing me off to his friends and colleagues any opportunity he got. I was Mrs Aisha Carrington the beautiful, contented wife of Mr. Dejumo Carrington, the only son of late Chief Carrington the wealthy oil guru. This was my life until the beatings started.

The first time it occurred was when we got back from a friend’s party. He accused me of “playing the part of the slut” in his words. I was the centre of attention and every man in the room wanted to be around me. In the process of trying to get the right words out of my mouth to defend myself at such ludicrous accusations, I felt the first sting of his belt across my cheek. I was shocked. I actually tried to walk away but he pulled me back and gave me the pummelling of my life. I couldn’t believe it. My own loving husband had just beaten me. After crying so much for hours I was able to get myself up and find my way to the guest bedroom.

Throughout, Sunday, the next day I didn’t come out except to make something to eat and I’d do that quickly hoping and praying I didn’t come across him on the way back to my hideout. He knocked on my door a few times, begging, pleading and asking for forgiveness telling me how much he loved me and how he would never hurt me again, that he didn’t know what came over him. I listened from the other side of the door and knew in my heart that I couldn’t stay mad at him for so long. I even tried to defend his actions- maybe I really did go out of line and that he had every right as my husband to be jealous but, even I had to admit he took it too far. The next day at work, he came over bearing gifts and flowers. His eyes said it all. He really was sorry. That same night he treated me to the most romantic dinner ever acting the part of the waiter and partner at the same time. As I lay in his arms that night, smiling to myself after long hours of mad passionate sex, I knew I had forgiven him.

Months passed before another “pummelling incident” occurred. This time around it was because I didn’t come down from my room to welcome him as he came back from his business trip. I was shocked by the sheer stupidity of the statement coming out of my husband’s mouth and even went ahead to ask him why he was being silly. And yes he beat me up, asked for forgiveness again and I did forgive him. And on and on it went for six years, random beatings here and there for no tangible reason whatsoever. I usually had to remind myself that I was in the 21st century and I could get a divorce and move on, but NO. I held on to my marriage to him maybe hoping he would change or just out of fear and pride. I didn’t see myself going back to my single life again. This was for better or for worse and whichever way this went I was going to stick through it. I also didn’t want to give people an inkling of what was going on in my marriage. As far as everyone was concerned, mine was the perfect marriage and I wanted it to remain that way.

It would have been easier if he had a particular trend with his anger bouts. If it was just jealousy at seeing me talking to other men, fine but he got angry at anything and at odd times. The same reason he gave me a pummelling weeks ago would be the same reason he would constantly whisper in my ear that he loved me weeks later. I suggested that he went for anger management classes already expecting a punch to the face as I said it but he took it well and said he’d work on it but he never did.

On our 7th year anniversary, the final blow was dealt. We had a small party at our home for close family and friends. It was late into the night when the last of our guests left. I was tired but at the same time excited at the news I wanted to share with my husband. So as he escorted the last guest to the driveway, I rushed up the stairs with a bottle of chardonnay to await my husband and deliver the good news to him. I couldn’t sit still as I heard my husband walk up the stairs. When he came in and walked towards the dresser with his back turned to me, I couldn’t see the look on his face. As I walked over to him and laid my hand on his shoulder lovingly, I felt myself being flung across the room and my hand instinctively went to my stomach. The first thought that came into my head was “my baby”. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well. I raised myself up in time to shield myself from the force of his blow. I knew it would be futile asking him what I had done this time because it obviously wouldn’t make any sense. I continued screaming and begging him to stop as he dealt the blows. For a moment I was able to dodge some of his blows and ran from the room but not forgetting to take with me the bottle of wine I had brought up. This time around I knew I had to defend myself come what may not just for my sake but for the sake of the life growing inside me. As I managed to reach the top of the stairs I felt myself being dragged back by the hair. I began to lose consciousness, and I managed to continuously mutter the words I felt would make a difference, the words I felt would make him stop. “I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant” I repeated continuously. I wasn’t too sure whether he heard or not. But with all the final strength I could mutter, I disengaged myself from his grip and ran for the bottle at the head of the stairs hoping to hit him on the head with it and run for the life of my child and mine. But I wasn’t fast enough. As my hands touched the tip of the bottle hoping to wield it, I felt the most painful kick in my groin which sent me rolling down the stairs. The final thought that went through my head before losing consciousness was “Dejumo, I hope for your sake I don’t survive this”.

And that was how I ended up on this sick bed. The fall down the stairs had led to the loss of the baby. I was still deep in thought thinking about what the doctor had said and going over the “plans” I had already made when I heard a soft knock on the door. In walked my husband with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes. But all I saw was a demon. An animal that had almost taken my life and had succeeded in taking that of my child’s. As he rushed towards me and went down on his knees begging for forgiveness, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him because of the fate that was to befall him. I pulled him into my warm embrace and soothed him telling him it was okay while my eyes said the opposite. The reflection of the woman I saw in the window pane as I looked out wasn’t mine; it was the face of a woman who had lost all touch with the good side, all touch with reality. This was the face of a woman ready to enact revenge and put an end to all the misery once and for all. As I slipped the syringe into the back of his neck, I could feel him stiffening in my arms and I pulled him out of my embrace in time to see the look of pure unadulterated shock on his face.

I had just injected my husband with a lethal dose of “potassium chloride” which when injected into the body system becomes untraceable. One thing was for sure, he wouldn’t make it past the next hour. It had to be this way. This was my only option. A life for a life.  Getting hold of the poison had been easy. A phone call to a friend from way back who owed me a little favour had set things in motion. I even had it delivered directly to my room at the hospital.

Now I could live my empty and hollow life easy knowing that the monster that had in turn created another monster was gone………………….forever. With that thought in mind and a phizog that masked the calmness I felt inside, I opened my mouth to let out the high-pitched screams and cries that would have the hospital staff rushing to my room.

I'm a legal practitioner and an aspiring fiction writer. I'm currently residing in Lagos. I enjoy a good laugh. I'm passionate about books, music and fine art. My motto is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. My favourite author is Jeffery Deaver. Perseverance and Self-discipline are my major watchwords.

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