Her Reckoning

Her Reckoning


          Stella was tired of everything; she just wished that she could end it all. She hadn’t known marriage was going to be like hers. Her husband Tony had looked into her eyes and swore he saw forever. He had relentlessly pursued her till she caved at the strength of his love. He had even shed tears on their wedding day just at the sight of her. To him, she was an angel walking the earth and despite how cliché it sounded, he made her believe that she really was an angel. She hadn’t believed that perfection like him could fall in love with her and for that reason alone, she had ignored the warning signs.

          Her marriage however was not like the happily ever after she had pictured rather it was a story of marital agony. The abuse had started quietly, just a slap here, an insult there, which she had all attributed to the stress of his job till it had escalated to full blown violence. It was like her husband only found joy when he was beating her. Tony would come back angry and depressed but as soon as he landed the first slap on her, his mood would automatically change. He immediately became the charming guy that she had married. He would animatedly converse with her while beating the crap out of her and the worst was that he made it a two sided conversation. Tony expected her to answer the question he asked while he beat her up. He would ask about her day, tell her about his own all the while testing out his strength on her. After he had exhausted himself from beating her up, he would then forcefully have his way with her. The beating usually emanated from various reasons all of which sounded unreasonable at first, till she eventually started believing that she deserved it. She would cook and Tony would either complain that the food was too hot or too cold, the food was salty or lacked salt. He told her she was his property and therefore to be used for any purpose that he wanted whether it was to be his punching bag or to be his sex slave, it didn’t matter what.

           He was a master of his game and he played it with due diligence. He never hit her face to the extent that it couldn’t be properly masked with make-up and the marks he made on her arms and legs, she simply explained away as accidents. The fact that she was born a klutz also helped lend credence to her story about mysterious doors hitting her and falling down dark stairs. Stella was so ashamed of the woman she had become, so silent and scared that she had stopped associating with her friends. She was tired of the invasive looks and pitying glances anytime she whipped her head around at the sound of an opening door. Her dreams were not left out either, a place of solace for her, where she could find and did find peace had turned into nightmarish visions of her husband ending her life through various means.

           When Tony’s abuse had first started, she had ignored it and when she could no longer ignore it, she had tried speaking to her parents. Rather than the help she expected from them, rather than the courage boost she believed she would get, her mother had told her in no uncertain words that she was the cause of it. Her mother had told her that it was her fault she got beaten. She had told her “smile more, cook his favourite meals, never talk back, meet his demands in bed” and he will never beat you. Her mother had reminded her that Tony was a good catch who had taken her family out of obscurity and she would be a fool to ever think of leaving him which she had believed. She had reminded her that their culture did not permit a woman to leave her matrimonial home and she had best remain there. Stella had taken her mother’s advice and done everything she told her, yet the beatings didn’t stop. Tony had gradually shattered her esteem and self-worth till at last she was left as nothing. Death was the only option she had left and after three years of domestic abuse, it was one she was finally willing to take. She was going to end her life and put a stop to it all, but not before she ended Tony’s.

               Whoever said, that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” probably had Stella in mind on that particular day. She had taken her husband’s beating without any complaint even going as far as meeting him at the door so that he could get the beating over with and yet he suspected nothing. She had prepared his favourite meal and subjected herself, a willing slave to satisfy his sexual cravings. After he had finished with her, he had fallen asleep with a satisfied smile on his face and that was when she had done what a furious woman would do, a woman who had endured years of beating and had come to the end of her rope. She tied up her husband with a very strong rope and her husband the heavy sleeper never stirred. Stella channelled all her anger and with the anger of three years like it was yesterday, she beat her husband with the pestle he had used on her one too many times all the while screaming in fury. She had started with his legs so he could look at her face in realisation that his time was up. She hit him till she could only see a pulpy mess in place of what she knew as Tony and even his tears and pleas had not stopped her. Stella then proceeded to burn down her prison that her husband had called house and as she walked away from her flaming house in tears, she thought to herself, “Her death would come,just not now”.

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