They smile. They cover up the wounds with foundation, lipstick and a brittle and fragile smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes. They mourn and in the midst of pain on many a night they cry out and ask God why? But in whispers, because they are sleeping with the enemy. Loving the enemy and torn between the desire to leave and the fear that if they do they will lose it all or worse, their lives as the husbands carry out the threat to kill. This was inspired by the story of “Chelele.”
I saw her lying there on the floor in my dream. She was brokenly crying for help. Desperately pleading for him to stop the blows and kicks raining down on her. Her cries growing weaker .. Weak from desperately fighting to keep the knife he was waving about menacingly from cutting her face, her hands, her body curled to protect the fragile life growing inside her. This battle had gone on far longer than the rest.
Slash! The knife sliced her right hand and in horror she watched the blood spurt. It did not register in her mind, but she knew that something was different today. Usually when he saw the blood he would stop in horror, as if shocked at what he had done. Then he would burst out crying and gather her gently into his arms and apologize over and over again. He would loving bathe her wounds and put her to bed. He would become the man she married again. But she was living with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. An angel when things were good and a demon whenever ‘they’ being the twin demons of Jealousy and Anger stirred each other up to their terrible works
Today, he did not stop. She cried out in agony. Slash! There it was again, this time the knife slashed her cheek. She tried to run out screaming, crying for anyone to help her. Hoping that this was the day someone would step in and help her fight this lonely war. The only thing was with the sense of finality we get when the time draws nigh, as she cried that he was killing her…today she knew it would be true.
But no one came. Curtains quivered. Silence fell in the neighborhood, the only sound in that eerie moonlit night was her broken now gasping sobs. It was a story the neighbors had heard many times before… They wanted to help but did not know where to start when Law became disorder and justice became personal.
She tripped on the step and fell, turned over and the last thing she saw was the flash of the knife and his murder crazed eyes as he sank it deep into her abdomen and cut it open and said “Let’s see you recover from that and disobey me again, this is the end,”
At that moment,a dark cloud covered the moon as indeed nature was acknowledging a light had been snuffed out. He let out a demonic shout of victory, pain and perverse satisfaction. It was finished for him, the evil spirits were finally appeased.
As she lay on the step watching her lifeblood ooze out of her. Her last dying thought was about her children. She brokenly wondered who would protect them now?
We read her story with shock and wondered who does that? We wonder helplessly what we could have done? Should we have listened and not just heard the lyrics and moved on?
Did she see this before she married him? The first time he slapped her or kicked her around did she convince herself she deserved it? When she realized the jealousy and suspicion was becoming an obsession, did she wonder how to get herself of the mess? Did she one day muster the courage to tell someone about a friend or a “neighbor” who was beaten terribly and asked what she should advice her to do? And said friend murmured something about stupid women who stay in abusive relationships, miserably reminding her she was one of the ‘stupid, desperate women’.
Did she tell her friend about the first beating and tell her friend she was concerned, only for her to listen and tell her she was in the wrong and she must have annoyed him. Did she tell her mother who advised her to understand the man was under a lot of pressure and she should submit to him like a good Christian wife?
How many times I wonder did she pack her favourite clothes and move home or to a friends who advised her to go back for the sake of the children? How many times did she cry to God and pray that one person may look beyond her smile and help her get through this?
The sad part is that she is not alone.
Many women are living in this darkness, praying for you and me to stop, really listen and see past their beautiful facades to the living hell their lives are at the hands of those who ‘love’ them. May God open our eyes and help us see and do something. today is the day to leave.. to walk away, to start over and to get over the fear.