Now I’m looking in the mirror.
I’ve been standing here for about ten minutes; staring into the glass. I do not recognize the image in it. I’m serious.
The face; my face, it looks familiar but it cannot possibly be me. Can it?
Well, my hair is disheveled but I did just get out of bed so that’s not it.
My skin is blotchy. Well, that’s from all the comfort food I’ve been snacking on intermittently these days.
My eyes are swollen. Now I don’t know if that’s because I haven’t been sleeping well or because I’ve been crying often. Hmmm
I’m looking into my eyes now. I feel myself getting closer to what’s wrong. My eyes are dead and hollow as if behind them there is nothing. No nerves, no blood vessels, no soul. It’s like I’m looking into the eyes of a statue at Madame Tussuads.
‘I am hungry oh, what have you been doing in there since?’
That’s Kelechi. How do I introduce him to you? For he is a lot of things while being not many things at all. Simply put, he’s my boyfriend. More aptly, he’s my abusive boyfriend. Yes, I think that nicely sums it all up. We have been together 18 months which isn’t long but the thing is I honestly cannot remember life before him, when I try to think back to the days before him my head begins to ache. One thing I know though; in those days, when I would look into a mirror, I would recognize the face looking back with radiant skin and a disarming smile and beautiful, intelligent eyes.
So the abuse. I’m sure you are interested in hearing all about that. I’m sure you want to grasp the severity of it all and then judge me more than him for being a victim. Let’s delve into it then. So there’s the verbal abuse, but that’s not an issue, I’ve grown immune to it. And then there’s the physical abuse, but let’s not even discuss that either. I actually have learnt how to take a slap every now and then and also, I’ve learnt what gets him mad enough to leave a mark and I avoid it. However, the emotional abuse I have been unable to adapt to. And it is this part of it all that has hurt and continues to hurt me as much as it can because even my pain threshold these days is beyond ordinary.
‘Come, what is wrong with you?! Is this a joke? You are still in there?!!’
”Baby, I’ll be out in a minute, I don’t feel too well”
‘You had better be out in a minute! You can resume being sick after pounding my yam’
As I was saying… How do I break it down so you can maybe understand me? You can’t know what it is, but
It’s like he gives me life. It’s like he’s my source. It’s like I am a fragment of him. And so basically, me depends on him. He has the power and he know this all too well and abuse it, he does to the utmost.
It’s like he feeds off my pain and so he ensures I’m always in it. He gloats over my beauty and so he kills it. And I feel trapped. It’s not love trapping me. I know it isn’t. It’s something that has a lethal tendency. Or, maybe it is love, some demented version of it.
I sound pathetic and weak but believe me, I used to be strong; stronger than you most probably. Now I am just a frazzled shell of what I used to be, crying at the slightest thing. I feel like a cat about to be done with it’s 9th life and fully aware.
It’s not always bad. There are days when his words are sweet and the mood is light and my food is good enough and the sex almost feels like love-making. It is these days that I look forward to. And it is the hope for these good days that propel me through the bad ones. And it is these days that I hold onto when I tell myself that there is still hope and things can get better between us and that if I love him hard enough I can love him past his pain, I can love him to the point where my love will flow into him and eventually flow back to me.
I know he doesn’t love me because well love is good and kind and pure and loving. And a man who loves you won’t get into bed with you crying and proceed to snore. I know this. Yet I believe that he actually does love me. I believe that he loves me and loves me very much actually, he loves me the best he possibly can as the scum he is. How can I say that? Because sometimes what your heart believes and what your head knows are two opposite things. Besides, he needs me. He’s my baby, I can’t help it.
I love Kelechi and I am convinced that that alone is enough to save him from himself. Yes, my love is the kind that saves and restores. Let’s ignore the fact that if my love was that potent we would not be having this discussion right now. Let’s ignore that. I need to not face the truth right now. Please. Thank you. If I keep loving him and keep being good to him, one day he’ll wake up and the scales would have fallen and he too will fall to his knees in repentance and ask me to forgive him and he’ll be crying and I’ll start bawling too and it’ll be beautiful and love would have won. I would have won. This will happen, don’t laugh. Why? Because life is just like the movies where the douche realizes he’s a douche eventually. It’s a matter of perseverance.
I am determined there is some good in him that I can bring to light. But is there really any? And if there is, is it in a quantity that is worth salvaging? I cannot answer that question frankly, because I am biased. Not just because I love him, but because I am stuck with him. I am a prisoner really. I am a prisoner of my emotions and his brutality and somehow this keeps me stuck on him like scrap metal in a magnetic field.
But I should just leave? Why do I have to take it? Why do I have to stay? I can hear you asking me. So let me ask you something. If you gave your lover an organ would you be swift to break up? You would not. Is a kidney that you have two of, more important than your singular heart? He has my heart. Where am I leaving to? How will I love anyone else or be loved by anyone else without my heart? The deepest part of it all is that he took my heart and he didn’t break it, he misplaced it. It’s missing. He doesn’t know where he kept it because he doesn’t want to even remember where he did. So, I need to make him want to remember where he kept it. I need to make him remember why he loved me or why he wanted me. I need to make him remember. I need to stay with him and jog his memory so that I can walk away with my organ and with closure. Good idea, right?
Another thing is, in loving him, I have ceased to love myself. I used to be madly in love with myself but that is history. I cannot explain how it happened, but I know the self-love must have died somewhere in the middle of all the swallowing of pride and wet pillows and bloody knees. It shocked me and angered me when I realized this. That’s another thing that I feel so starkly these days: anger. Anger at myself for failing at existence, anger at him for being a bastardly bastard and anger at Providence for allowing me the misfortune of meeting this man.
Some days, I dream of killing him. And the dreams always bring me such peace and tranquility. I have toyed with different murder plots but my favorite is the scenario whereby I stab him multiple times and while he bleeds slowly to death, I explain to him that he has to die for killing me. I explain to him that I know no other way to reciprocate what he’s done to me but to physically hurt him. I explain to him that I love him. I almost did it last month, I had the knife in my hand, but then I panicked when I realized he could easily overpower me and I’d be the one bleeding out.
I’m looking in the mirror again and I’m realizing that I have nothing left to lose. He dies or I get killed, either option will bring to me more peace than I presently have. Either option ends the violent cycle. Either option means that finally I would have actively done something. I need to do something. It’s time. I think I’m finally fed up. I also think I’m finally mad. Not angry-mad, nope. Stark-raving-I-will-plead-insanity-before-the-judge mad.
‘I see you need a beating tonight!!!! Get ready for it!!’
The knife from last month is in the cabinet above me. I had put it there when I freaked out last month. He’s trying to break open the bathroom door and I am reaching for the knife. Father in heaven, however this ends, please forgive me.
(When you are in a relationship and you see the red flags of abuse or possessiveness or maltreatment, RUN. Don’t blindly believe it will get better. There is someone who will love you and treat you like royalty, don’t let someone who doesn’t stop you from having that. If you are already in an abusive relationship and you need help getting out, help is available. Make that call to Project Alert now 01-4737270, 08052004698 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)