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BN Prose: Two Beds & a Coffee Machine by Amarachi Alisiobi




She feels herself rising into consciousness from the restless sleep she has had. Getting up as stealthily as she can manage she glances at the digital clock on the side of their bed – 4.31am. The time was right. She grabs her phone and makes sure there’s no light from it that can rouse him. Taking one step at a time, she reminds herself that she has to do this. A lot is riding on this so she takes another step towards the door and slowly opens it, praying  that the tiny creak that sounded would not give her away. She pauses until she is sure she can still hear his snores which convinces her that he is still asleep. Then she closes the door, walks into the sitting room and picks up all the broken glass and furniture in her path. Each piece she picks brings memories of the night before. The screams still resound in her head. She is careful so she does not prick her finger against the sharp pieces. She is not cleaning up for him but for the safety of her children.

Before she slept off the night before- a sleep she did not know when she fell into, and one she was grateful for, because it made the pain she made up her mind.  He would not be awake for the next three hours. Enough time to get away. She quietly goes into other room and it hurts her to realise Chika is awake. She can tell that the poor girl  has not had any sleep. Who knows what must have been going through her head, especially with the screaming the night before. As Chika tries to touch the bruise on her mother’s face, Nnenna hugs her daughter, wakes Nonso and then she carries baby while leading the way for Chika and Nonso to move along as they leave the room, leave the house, get into the car and hopefully refer to this life as the past.

She finds hope in the darkness as she makes her way down the street and onto the highway. She gets to a ditch but does not slow down. There is no time for that. Osondu might wake up and realise they are not in the house and set out to find them. She gets to the traffic light just as it turns red, yet she does not stop.She keeps moving on, wondering why she never did this a long time ago.

How did I make it through these years?

It was not an easy decision to come to. There were children to think of. She looks at them through the rear view mirror and sees baby is comfortably asleep. He has no idea what has been happening. Nonso is holding onto Chika as he drifts off. Nnenna wonders how they would ever make it through this living nightmare. But the mind is an amazing thing. All Chika thinks about is how mommy is never going to go through all that again; and all Nonso dreams about is how he would get new toys and live with Mommy and Chika and baby in another town.

Nnenna smiles as she cannot believe she had finally made this move and gotten away from him. She would be a good mother to her children. She would find a cheap hotel and lodge for a week or so. She would get a job and take good care of them. She would buy them everything they wanted. She probably would not get married again, In fact she would not get married again. Why did she even ever marry Osondu? Why again did she ever wait this long before making this decision and being this happy? She had thought of all these earlier, there were children to consider.

She thinks about the children at the backseat, watches Chika smile as she falls asleep, watches Nonso wake up with a smile while saying, ‘Mommy I’m hungry’. She remembers baby would soon be awake and she would have to get milk, and go grocery shopping because the hotel they would get to lodge in would not offer more than two beds and a coffee machine. She remembers even the cheap hotel would require a deposit before they would be allowed in. ‘Nonso dear, you would eat soon, just sleep a little more’, she says as she makes a U-turn. She knows she has to go home.

 (Inspired by Savage Garden)

Photo Credit:
Amarachi Alisiobi is a geologist by profession, a writer by interest and a co-deejay by association.

geologist cum engineer. i want to write a lot, but i hardly seem to get the inspiration. I love sleeping. I wish i could get paid for sleeping. Sleeping and watching GOT! I read all seven Harry Potter books and cried a lot while reading the last. Maybe i'm so emotional!


  1. GREAT

    October 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Go home watever for?please incase u r in a similar situation cal a friend or family member even the most distant of them and please leave with ur atm card no matter how little you have in your account balance it sure will come in handy and some cash too atleast.

  2. Dora the explorer

    October 8, 2013 at 8:54 am

    o myyy!!! NOOO do not go home!!! *sob sob*
    say NO to DV..
    Fantastic read by the way..

  3. Bleed blue

    October 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Oh…how sad…but this is the unimaginable reality abuse victims go through

    Strength must come from somewhere 🙁

  4. inosend

    October 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

    best decision is to leave an abusive marriage….no man is worth the drama and God forbid you become a statistics for women who die in the hands of an abusive spouse……agreed a lot of women stay cos of what people will say, shame and lack of financial capability but sorry your life and dignity first….

  5. yuroba babes

    October 8, 2013 at 9:30 am

    pls dont go back home.. what for??? you’ll get killed before you realize how stupid you’ve been all this while.

  6. ImaE.

    October 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

    That was a beautiful read.

  7. Queen

    October 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Amarachi nice writeup.


    October 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

    nice piece, i ‘m inspired

  9. kerry

    October 8, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Whatever you do please do not go back into an abusive marriage, if not for anything do it for the children. Don’t go back because all you see looking forward are two beds and a coffee machine, It’s just a place to start from.

  10. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    October 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Funny thing is this morning I remembered a lady whose husband used to come to her office to continue the beating he gave her at home.

    • aunty

      October 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      wow! we have many “living dead” women & men in our society, our legal system has to do something about it. Domestic violence is intolerable.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      He sounds like a complete bastard. And please don’t tell me that he was let into the building because people didn’t want to “put mouth in man & woman matter”.

    • dee.K

      October 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Ohh, I’m very sure her colleagues watched all through without stopping it because it is “none of their business”. Rubbish. You are right, he is a complete bastard.

  11. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    October 8, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Not to seem insensitive, but an old neighbor used to beat up her husband. He was 6ft 1, with the girth to carry it. She was about 5ft 11 of emasculating words and terrible hate and bitterness to make every blow find its mark.

  12. Zara

    October 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    She has to go back and plan properly bcos of the kids, it’s not as easy as you all think, with 3 or 4 kids, how will she feed them, cloth them, send them to school, give them the life they are used to, how long will she rely on family or friends. Everyone has their own problems, you don’t want to put yours on them……….She has to go back, get a job, start saving, be very patient and make plans, so when she leaves again it will be for good.

    • Dora the explorer

      October 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

      let’s hope she doesn’t kick the bucket in that process! because that sounds like eternity!

    • Mo

      October 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Yeah, if she’s still alive by then.

  13. Aibee

    October 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

    “Nonso dear, you would eat soon, just sleep a little more’, she says as she makes a U-turn. She knows she has to go home”

    This hit me. Somewhere deep within my gut. Women stay in physically and emotionally abusive marriages, not because of how a divorce would affect their children’s psyche and emotions, but because they do not have the financial cum material capacity to take care of their children by themselves. Our society isn’t exactly supportive of single mothers too. Its just a sad state of affairs.

    Lend a helping hand when you can. That single mother you are sniggering at may have made a difficult decision to do it alone. Let’s not make the pain worse for her. Be your sisters’ keeper.

    • Bleed blue

      October 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Aibee, 1 million likes! Plus one cyber hug

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Aibee, the lack of financial independence is the reason why many Nigerian women remain subjugated. This lack may have single-handedly propelled the growth of infidelity and domestic violence in relationships/marriages , because Nigerian men now understand they have something their girlfriends/wives and those external, willing sex-mates don’t have – the ability to financially stand on their own two feet.

      Being a single mother in Nigeria must be a serious hustle and I agree with you about helping out plus it doesn’t always have to be with money: offering to have the kids over, giving her books and clothes which your own kids may have outgrown but are still in great condition, dropping a bag of rice/beans at her place, offering your laundryman for a day or helping her cut her grass or getting fuel/kerosene/diesel to send her when you buy yours… all these little gestures really help the burden.

    • Mrs Yes Man

      October 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      You said it well.

  14. Deee

    October 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Very true and sad, most women stay in abusive marriages in these parts because of lack of financial independence. We have to empower our women more and stope encouraging them to put up with abuse!

  15. eniola

    October 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    ”She knows she has to go home.” Make una read well nah. The writer didn’t specify ”the home” neither did he/she write ”go back home” putting ”back” would have been an hint that it meant, back to the same home where she just ran off from. From what I can deduce from that part, it could be home to her parents or some where else she refers to as home.

    • Aibee

      October 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      If she made a U-turn then she went right back to where she came from, innit?

  16. lindarose Onyeneke

    October 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Nice one dear,gits been a while tho but ur name still rings a bell
    Good to know u are doing well. Do take care of u and stay blessed

  17. slice

    October 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    where to go if not home? if you know a place to go in Nigeria, please share. outside of family, friends and church/mosque, is there some organization you know of that helps people in this situation? someone may be reading this and wondering. heck i’m wondering

  18. Aderonke

    October 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    hmmmm beautiful piece, very deep. Thank you Amarachi. Wish I could tell her to come stay with me. Pain women go through just to keep hope alive for their kids but you do not have to die in the process. Get out before he kills you.

  19. LA BELLE

    October 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    ..Well this shows good creativity, a nice write-up obviously inspired by “savage garden’s two beds and a coffee machine”. and to think that this song was in my head all evening yesterday, so weird

  20. batiatus

    October 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm


  21. Kema

    October 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Go home no way!!!!! Beautiful write-up!

  22. dee.K

    October 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Going back could kill her. If well planned, she could steal all his money, poison the idiot and escape with her kids. Quite a number of women are in abusive relationships; wives I can still understand but it is the girlfriends that stay that make me furious. Beautiful Amarachi. Looking forward to more write ups from you.

  23. oluwadurotimi

    October 9, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Moral to d story; dnt take rash and impulsive decisions they most of d time are the wrong ones. Cant wait for part 2

  24. Faith

    October 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Loved this read. Wish for the lady’s sake she makes another u-turn before she gets home. Sad that this is the story or many Nigerian women today. I really can’t blame her but this goes to show that we need to draw more attention to the subject and create organisations that handle matters like this. Create a place they can run to. It’s a pity.

  25. honeymix

    October 10, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I really cant conclude she meant going back to that house, cos for one reason its not a home to any of them especiaally to Nnenna. A place where you are physically and mentaly abused is not a home, its just a place where you are laying your head for the meanwhile The home was not spcified here, home could also mean to eternal rest and peace(death). The writer left this piece on people’s mind to deduce wherever home may mean to Nnenna.
    But this piece scares me,is this what marriage should be. I hear of many different stories like this and am like HELL NO. Let me just dwell on the happily ever after kinda stories

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