The room was spinning, Aye only saw colors swirling about her, first yellow then black then red then a scattered mix of the colors. She heard her children shouting for help, it was a familiar cry. A sound that she had heard countless times before this time. She couldn’t decide whether the pounding sound she was hearing was from a door knock a fist or the beating of her heart.
Aye was a small quiet woman both hard working and intelligent. She had bright eyes small lips and a small nose to match. Overall she was small. Maybe it was this frail form of hers that encouraged her husband Bayo a large and intimidating man 10 years her senior to beat her to a bloody pulp so religiously. Aye would never know.
It wasn’t always like this. Bayo had made her happy at some point. They had met in University. her friends laughed at her calling him and old man wondering why at his age he was returning to school but Aye had not found it funny, she found it admirable that he was determined to pursue knowledge at any cost and so she loved him despite the teasing. The day they met was like any other day which usually consisted of mad dashes across campus in the blazing sun dust blowing on her sweat drenched skin as she attempted to get to her next classes on time. Unfortunately for her, the way her classes were scheduled required her to be in impossibly distant places within short periods of time.
On this particular day she had managed to trip and fall face first on to the red dust laden ground, causing the dirt beneath her to rise and then fall onto her more than it had before. She had contemplated staying down because she was so embarrassed hoping that if others thought she was severely injured they may not laugh at her. She then felt a hand and then another hand firmly pull her up. She winced at the pain she felt from her fall and slowly turned her head to get a view of the strong stranger who had helped her up. He was dark with large eyes and closely cropped hair from ground level she could tell he was extremely tall with his broad shoulders and long limbs. Even with the noon day sun shining intensely into her face she could see his handsome features and the concern in his eyes, she felt a warm feeling of safety wash over her in a brief moment… but that was then. She could no longer associate Bayo with the word SAFE.
As she laid sprawled across her kitchen floor she could feel his foot make contact with her head and his voice rise above her children’s screams and the colors she saw before intensified and burned hotter than a thousand suns. She felt a wetness creeping about her skin. Blood? She wasn’t sure. He raged on beating her like a stranger in the streets.
It was not the first time.
The other times were the same He’d find fault with her and then administer the beating, it was his habit. By year two of their marriage she had lost count of the merciless attacks and had found the courage to call a family meeting. Her thoughts so disheveled that she had worn an old buba and wrappa with an old silk patterned head scarf to the long awaited meeting. She was usually well put together dresses starched and ironed meticulously shoes shined with jewelry in place, everything in complete order, the same way she had kept her home but today she was barefoot she couldn’t be bothered with shoes at this moment. Uncles, aunts parents and Bayo’s siblings all sat in a semi-circle on mismatched chairs under the hunched old Mango tree the in Bayo’s family compound a tree that had long since stopped bearing fruit much like the love in her marriage. She was fast beginning to lose courage so she decided not to waste time, she dropped to her knees she was now so tiny that her head was barely higher than any of the chairs in her midst and she began to lament and cry while reliving the torment word for word she told the stories of the senseless beatings of the 2 times she had fainted post beating and woke up later on the floor of various rooms in their four bedroom flat. As shock registered on every family members face she shared what she could remember of those incidences and then she went silent. Bayo’s face remained emotionless. The families had forgotten all manners and without letting her eldest uncle speak first they began to shout amongst themselves asking her why she had waited so long to speak of such things. She mumbled defensively that she thought things would change if only she was a better wife but they hadn’t heard her because they had moved on to admonishing Bayo for his barbaric behavior. His face remained unmoved. His family was ashamed her family was outraged but in the end they had decided that he had learned his lesson that shame would not allow him to do it again so they all sent her home advising her to salvage her marriage. She had always been extremely obedient and so she went home and that night he beat her for airing their dirty laundry in public. So she had decided that she wouldn’t ask for help again. She didn’t need any help earning more beatings she thought to herself. The next day she got up and took her child to crèche with a smile and made excuses to concerned staff that she had a severe fall the day before.
As quickly as the colors had intensified after the blows, so they cooled. She couldn’t move. He had finally stopped hitting her. She thought to herself about all the things she could do to avoid his anger next time. Suddenly her thoughts ceased and her breathing slowed her children’s screams quieted in her head, life slowly slipped from her body as she laid there on the kitchen floor soaked in her own blood. Before that moment she hadn’t realized that there would be no next time…
PS I do realize that my paragraphing skills are terible and seemingly non existent lol. If anyone is particularyly good at this please message me with advice or the actual corrections if you have time. Thank you in Advance