Tunde sat with his head in his hands. Tears rolled down his cheeks and splatter on the carpeted floor, leaving wet spots between his bare feet. His mind was in upheaval. Regrets enfolded him. He scrambled to his feet rubbing his bruised knuckles. A clutter of blood-stains on his forearm sent a shivering sensation down his spine. The blood was not his.
Damped-eye, he padded to the direction of the quiet sobs. Stepping into the adjoining room his gaze fell on the half-naked figure curled in fetal posture on the big mahogany bed. It seemed lifeless save for the infrequent soft sobs and rhythmic heaving of firm naked breasts.
“Enitan!” Tunde’s voice was remorseful and strangely husky but soft. “Please, stop crying.” He trudged closer and reached for her hand. Taking it in his he pressed it against his wet cheek. “I am sorry!” He whispered amidst gentle sobs.
Enitan remained motionless.
He was barely six years old when he returned one day from school and found his mother on the floor almost unconscious. Her breathing was shallow and there was blood dripping from a gaping cut on her lower lip. She could hardly speak.
Swiftly, he raised an alarm, shouting for help. Some neighbors hurried to the scene and timely rushed her to the hospital. That was how he discovered for the first time that his mother was a punching bag to her husband, his own father.
Tunde cried and kissed his wife’s hand trying in his own ways to undo the pain he’d inflicted. Soon he was stroking her hair and neck. Yet Enitan remained curled up. A few muffled sighs escaped her bruised lips but she didn’t flinch.
“I don’t know what came over me,” he was saying and wiping his face with the back of his hand when his tear-filled eyes caught sight of a pool of blood on the bed.
Abruptly he lurched to his feet and turned his wife around. “Enitan!” He called at the top of his voice. Her eyes were lifeless and her face as pale as paper. There was more blood on the bed. It had soaked her bum shorts.
“Enitan!” Tunde called shaking her vigorously. She didn’t even shiver nor blink. She just laid there gazing into the distance. He felt for a pulse. It was faint. Quickly, he wrapped the bedspread around her limp frame, gathered her into his arms and made for the front door.
“What have I done,” he sighed heavily with despair as he quickly sat behind the wheel with his wife lying motionless at the backseat. Driving like a lunatic Tunde rushed his wife to the nearby hospital. Their family hospital!
Minutes later, he was pacing frantically up and down the corridor as the medical staff battled to save his wife, stopping occasionally when the door to the E.R. opens, hoping it was the doctor with some good news. But every time it turned out to be a nurse dashing to get one thing or the other. The waiting was the longest ever in Tunde’s life.
At last, the doctor strolled out; beads of perspiration dotted his brow. And he was wearing a sullen look. “Mr. Akintade. We did our best!” The doctor then lowered his face. “But your wife…”
Suddenly, Tunde felt the whole place begin to spin. He staggered. Then he felt strong arms on his shoulders. “Take it easy, Mr. Akintade!” He heard the doctor’s voice from a distance. Then suddenly everything went dark.
Tunde stood between his arguing parents, shielding his mother from his dad’s punching jabs with his tall lanky frame as the two exchanged angry words. Already there was blood on his shirt. His mother had a gash on her left brow. And the blood was dripping down her cheek.
“Stop it dad!” He yelled but his voice was just a mere whisper. He was barely eleven. He’d not yet attained puberty. Although as tall as his dad his voice was yet to break.
In contrast, his dad’s husky voice vibrated through the entire neighborhood. “Yetunde, I will kill you today!”
“Do your worst, you good for nothing drunkard!” Tunde’s mom replied sharply. “You can’t even be a man!” She hurled another insult at her angry husband.
In a furious rage Tunde’s dad flung himself at Tunde causing him to lose his balance and stagger back a step. His father then swiftly swung a blow around Tunde’s shoulder aiming for his wife. Yetunde saw it coming and ducked. The punch swirled, missing its intended target.
Instantaneously, Tunde lay sprawled on the carpeted floor. He never saw it coming. He didn’t even know what hit him. He just opened his eyes and found himself in the hospital. With a broken nose, a nagging headache and a big cut on his forehead, the doctor said he was lucky!
And that was the last time his parents ever fought. Unfortunately it was also the last time they ever lived together as husband and wife!
According to his mom, she stayed married to her abusive husband for Tunde’s sake. And ironically it’s for the same reason she eventually divorced him!
Tunde awakened hours later. It took him a while before he recalled where he was and why he was on a hospital bed. He noticed a drip connected to his left arm. Slowly, his memories returned. Tears began to fill his eyes and drip down his face!
Sitting up, he held his head in his hands and sobbed bitterly! “My worst nightmare has come true!” He stuttered in distraught. “I have become like my dad!”
He was inconsolably overwhelmed with guilt, grief and gloom. “Please, forgive me Jane!” He said aloud.
“I forgive you Tunde!” It was his wife’s voice, soft, somber and distant. Tunde quickly raised his eyes to the ceiling. “It’s that you Jane?”
“Of course, it’s me. I am right here!” Jane was sitting on the bed behind him, donning a light blue hospital gown.
Realizing the voice came from somewhere behind him, Tunde swivel his head round. Immediately his eyes fell on her he jumped out of the bed, hurled himself at her and threw his arms around her, almost knocking her over.
“I’m terribly sorry!” He whispered, burying his face in her shoulder.
Jane held her husband in a tight embrace. Though she knew about his parents she’s never seen him this broken down and emotional. And being the first time he’d raised his hands on her she was sure it was the last time. All her pent-up anger dissipated almost immediately.
“I thought I had lost you.” Tunde stammered with trembling voice. Pausing to catch his breath he swallowed hard and went on. “The doctor said you…”
Jane cut him short. Cupping his face with her palms, Jane impulsively covered his mouth with hers; kissing him passionately.
When their lips unlocked she took his hands in hers. “Honey! I just came from the scan room.” She smiled softly as she placed his hands below her belly button. “We are pregnant dear! And it’s twins!”
Suffused with happiness Tunde dropped to his knees, grinning from ear to ear. Five years they’ve been waiting, longing and hoping for this. Five years of childless marriage and now twins! And he almost destroyed it.
Hot tears filled his eyes. Blinking delightedly, he spilled the tears down his happy face and planted numerous kisses on his wife’s belly. “I love you guys! And I love your mum, madly! And…” He paused and slowly raised his face, locking gaze with Jane.
“And I promise never to lay a finger on her ever again!”
“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones!” -William Shakespeare.
Destinies don’t just happen. We make them happen!
Say ‘NO’ to domestic violence!