“Hurry!” I shout at the maid as I try to adjust my makeup
Trying to hide my bloodied and bruised eyes
I wear my red turtle necked gown, with long sleeves
To hide my scarred body
“Dinner must be perfect, no mistakes”
The thoughts keep raging “in fact, everything must be perfect”
As I sat down on the brown chair that had become my comfort zone,
Waiting for my husband to get back from work. It’s past 10pm,
My wholeness had become like the broken plates and glasses that lied on the floor
Fragile and difficult to repair
I had tried to put the pieces together with glue
I had tried to put the pieces together with glue, but they didn’t fit together
I had become a captive and hostage to his vicious anger
My once fiery soul missing in action
I had a picture of the perfect family
But how easily one can take that away from you
Easily my ability to resist was taken away
I wake up afraid to open my eyes
Afraid of what I will see
Afraid to close my eyes
Afraid of what I’ll dream
Each day had become a battle to survive and to forgive
But I found comfort in the deepest part of my soul where I’d created an illusion of safety

Suddenly, I heard a loud bang, I rush quickly to the door with trembling body and fearful eyes
As I opened, he falls into my arms, screaming “what took you so long?”
Before I knew what was happening, my spirit started to absorb his violent words
Then my body his blows,
As he continues to hit me, I scream “please don’t kill me”
I fight to take my simple life that was escaping my body back
My mind starts to yield into the past
“this is not the man I fell in love with! This is not my husband! This is not Tokunbo!”
Yes. Tokunbo had always been calm and shy.
Great sense of humour, with loving bright eyes.
He had the most amazing and charming smile that made my heart melt
It was never the perfect dream that people talked about in romantic movies and beautiful love songs
But whenever I looked into his eyes, I saw a man who loved me despite my imperfections, who takes care of me every single day, who fights to keep me, and who protects me from hurt or harm
I saw the man with the right kind of love
I saw my home
And that was why I said yes the day he proposed
But suddenly, one night, he came home reeking of alcohol
I had prepared his favorite as usual
But that was the night everything changed
My body had become pain reliever to him
Some days, I would see him collapse in tears after my body had absorbed blows,
He would ask for my forgiveness and promised never to let it happen again
I always still saw the man I fell in love with, so even though I knew all too well the terrible things he’d done, in those moments, he seemed to me like a lost, broken boy —
And I would ache for him
I loved him so much that seeing his pain felt far worse than the pain he inflicted on me. And I couldn’t walk away — not when he was hurting; not when he needed me
And so, yet again, I would forgive
I couldn’t let him go
The man I married is just hiding behind these shadows
He will come back, I know it, my Tokunbo will come back to me
I’ll be waiting, like I’ve waited ten years
Fighting, screaming and crying
After all he was doing this to shape me, to help me be better, so he said
Our little girl then walks in and cuts my thoughts short
Her eyes usually so bright and forgiving, but not this time,
Her heart is burdened watching me bleed and her father rage
Tears flow down her face, this was never the man she grew up to love
My pain had become hers
I try to offer her comfort from my dying within, but my baby girl is frightened
She screams at him to stop hurting him but the beatings only intensifies
Standing right there on the tight rope, waiting to fall, I start realizing that the stakes are too high
I try to rationalize with my mind, but it yields to the past
As he says sorry again, I remember the man I fell in love with
I can’t leave, not yet
It will happen again though, I know this.
But let me wait just a little while, he will change
I tell our daughter my thoughts “daddy is going through a tough time, but we can’t give up on him, he’ll come around; just pray for him”
Although I’m scarred, but like they say, love covereth all things.

The Migraine.

“Love is universal migraine,
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason”
– Robert Graves.

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