She looked different that morning, it didn’t take too long for me to know the reason; there was a dark, and apparently very painful, circle around her left eye. Until that very day the best I know of black eye I read in novels. That was the very first time I was seeing what it meant to have a black eye. People gathered in separate clusters and discussed in hushed tones what may have accounted for Tayo’s new look. I, being an inquisitive fellow, am never satisfied with gossips neither do I like to dwell on assumptions, so I simply walked up to her and asked what happened to her eye. The answer she supplied me was one of the most ridiculous I have ever heard: I was walking in my room; it was dark so I hit my face on the wall. Seriously?! But I knew better than to press her for a more plausible explanation so I let it slide.
I later discovered that was not the first time, she had worn that look repeated times in the past, that it was now almost like her second nature. The man in the house, her boyfriend, in his diabolic wisdom had considered her the most appropriate target for his boxing practice whenever his fist gets itchy. Rather than turning to a wall or finding a punching bag somewhere he uses her as a suitable replacement.
Despite how ridiculous as this may sound I bear no grudge against the man; not every human that walks the street in neat clothes is sane, my issue lies with her. For every slight she receives a slap, for every stray word she is repaid with a punch, yet she stays. He has conveniently used her to build his biceps yet she stays. The rationality of such action beats my imagination. After all he has done, and he is still doing, she still chooses to stay and I just can’t understand why.
A distant relative, for four good times she has had reasons to move out of her matrimonial home. Her husband on the fourth instance assisted in putting her things into a bag and throwing it out for her to pick. The story of what she has had to endure is one that would surely bring tears to your eyes and grieve your heart. Four to five weeks after she is out, the man always finds his way back to seek for her forgiveness. And she always forgives, every single time, only for her to move out or get kicked out some months after.
It doesn’t require a crystal ball gazer to know the man’s true intentions towards her; that whatever he feels for her is very much far away from love. He always finds his way back when there is nothing more in the house to eat, when there is no warmth in his bed and when the daughters of the night have taken all that he has and have given him little in return. He then crawls back to her, to help him put his life back in order. And once that is achieved she is deemed unworthy to reap its benefits and she is once again kicked out. The cycle then repeats itself. Despite all of this she still chooses to forgive, and stay; and I just can’t understand why.
He returns back home after leaving her for seventeen good years, he left without a cause, without a note and without saying goodbye, just one morning and he was gone. The only thing he remembered to do was to leave behind their three children for her to raise them all alone. Temi was six months, Leke, two years, and Lola was four years old when he left.
She wept for days and then weeks after he left, she was at a loss as to what to do with the children. Should she just poison them and then herself so they could all just leave this miserable world? When she was done weeping and imagining evil she bent down to work and determined to make something of her life and that of her children. She succeeded. Lola is now a doctor and Leke a banker. And now he is back, asking not just for forgiveness but to move back into her house. She not only forgave him those long difficult seventeen years but she accepted him back into her home, and her life; and I just could not understand why.
Isn’t there a threshold? Isn’t there a limit to what she is willing to accept or live with? Why has she become so scared of walking away? Still she stays and I just can’t understand why.