The day you leave Chisom is a quiet Tuesday afternoon. It is not as difficult as you had thought. You had expected to feel some aching pain in your heart, but as you move around the house, packing your luggage of 3 years, it is all peace and quiet, and all you can hear are the sounds of your own breathing and footsteps.
When you go to the dining room to pick up your pack of gum, you stare at the dining table as you remember that this is where it had happened, that first beating, three years ago, but still fresh in your mind. The two of you had been having an argument about having his mother over for the holidays. You made a comment about him being tied to his mother’s apron strings, and-when he slapped you and then hit you with you with multiple sets of blows. You had been too shocked to respond, too shocked to feel the pain.
Later, you had called your mother, but you were hardly done talking when she asked you to stop, saying “all that man has done for you is help you, take care of you and your siblings. Paying their school fees. Show him a little gratitude and learn to control that loose tongue of yours. Stop acting like a mad woman.”
You had also gone to see Rev Mrs. You were so naive. As soon as you stepped into her office, looked around and saw the cheap furniture and atrociously mismatched curtains, you knew you had made a mistake. Then Rev Mrs proceeded to tell you that things would get better, this was just your first year of marriage, this was a merely a trial that would have you stronger at the end of it. That in fact, Reverend himself had a temper o, but she had learnt her place as a woman, learnt the things to say and most importantly, learnt how to endure.
So you became one of those women, who covered up their bruises with makeup and well crafted tales. You had ready made stories for anyone who cared enough to ask why your face was a bit swollen, why your arms were bruised.
The cab driver you hired, Mr Audu (or Yusuf or Saheed, you are not sure which), honks from outside, breaking into your thoughts.
You go into the bedroom, to the bedside drawer, and pick up your purse of make up, as your eye catches the packet of your ‘Classic Beauty Foundation’, the tool you used the mornings after Chisom’s beatings surpassed the usual. The only thing left on the drawer now is a Bible. You leave the Bible, as a symbol of Chisom’s repentance, because like they say, nothing is impossible with the Lord.
You go to the living room to take one last look, and sit on the couch you had been sitting on 3 weeks ago, when you saw the text on his phone, from a contact named Tati: “Tonight I want you to take me in the ass. Tatiana.” A befitting name, you had thought. Tatiana. The brazen tone of the text didn’t surprise you, after all this was Abuja, a city that smelled of sex, money and desperation.
You had been surprised though that Chisom would cheat. He held himself to certain standards, he believed he was a man of principle. You would have sworn that he was many things, a businessman, a wife beater but not a cheater.
So as your ultimate act of judgement, you take his passport and visa papers, and tear them into huge chunks. You chuckle lightly as you imagine the horror on his face when he finds them. Goodluck on that business trip to China. You save one page of his passport, and with your index finger coated with Classic Foundation, paint some words on it. Before you place the papers on the couch, you read out the word you have written: “Tati.”
As you walk out the door, you give yourself a satisfactory smile for a job well done.
Perhaps you are mad after all.