Rains lashed onto my bare back as I scooped up her fragile frame and carried her out of the car. Perhaps, she’d passed out, she couldn’t endure the pain she’s suffered.
Perhaps, she just pretended to be asleep. Never wanted to face the reality. Never wanted to see the man who left her alone in the dark of the night.
All alone, I didn’t know how long Nnnena waited for me.
Not bothering to look at her exposed thighs hidden scantily under the shirt, I made my way to the front door of the house.
She whined under the fur blanket as I cleaned the scars and bruises with warm water.
Signs of sufferings, a brutal assault. Someone had robbed my soul, assaulted the woman I loved the most.
Shame on me.
I couldn’t protect her.
The monsters hidden underneath human skin ran out when I reached the spot where I left her.
A casual argument.
I didn’t realize when our small spat escalated into a battle of sexes. Heated rants about feminism and gender equality. She forced me to pull over in a tantrum inspired flash.
I could have stopped her, could have apologized. But, I did nothing when she got out of the car.
Instead of waiting for her to cool down, I drove away. It was an hour later I realized my mistake and took a U-turn in haste. I should have done that earlier.
She quivered inside the blanket. Her whimpers communicated the trauma she bore on her soul.
“I’m here baby,” I whispered in her ear, caressing the entangled mess of her hair.
She opened her eyes.
Tears slid down the corners of her eyes.
“I lost it. I struggled but I lost it. They were four.” Her words pierced needles in my heart, shredding my skin and exposing the bones underneath.
“Calm down sweetie. You need rest. Shall I get something for you? How about a cup of hot chocolate.”
“I need you. Promise me you’ll never leave me again even when I tell you to go away. Even when I fight with you. Promise me you’ll tackle my tantrums. Hold me in your arms when I’m angry. Kiss me when I cry.”
“I Promise sweetheart. Do I deserve an apology?” I asked in guilt as my gaze dipped toward the carpet.
She held my hands. “Have you informed the cops?”
“Not yet. Do you want to do it now or we can go tomorrow,” I replied meeting her gaze.
“Thanks,” she said, her eyes glistening.
“Thanks for what?”
“I thought you perhaps don’t want to involve the police because of your reputation of a clean guy. It could be hard for you at work. Your social life. Your friends. They will question.”
“Nothing’s more important than you. Life’s all about taking a U-turn and starting afresh. Please allow me to take that turn where I’m just a teenage boy who is deeply madly in love with a girl.”
She looked in my eyes as my grip tightened on her hand.
“I’ll get some hot chocolate for us,” I said holding back my tears.
Men don’t cry, right?