“He is dead. If you think anyone can have you apart from me, you are highly mistaken. You are my wife and my personal whore and no one will have you as long as I live” Her Ex-husband , Kolapo Oladeji pronounced with an expressionless face after bending to check the pulse in the neck of her fiancée whose body lay lifeless on the kitchen tiles ,blood sipping out of the bullet wound in his chest. Nancy’s senses picked up the sounds in the warm kitchen as she stared at him. She heard the kettle whistling on the counter as the hot water came to boil, the smell of fresh bread that was sliced half-way on the tray and ingredients for sandwich and her tongue could almost taste the metallic scent of fresh blood in the kitchen. She opened her mouth to speak but no sound came out and her mind wondered where exactly she had gone wrong to deserve this monster in her life.
“Mum, I am tired of this marriage. He raped me every night and he doesn’t see me as a human being in this union except as an object to satisfy his weird and insatiable sex urge.” Nancy had complained to her mother over the phone some months ago, her voice husky with tears. “Nancy, you have been married for less than two years and you are already complaining about your marriage. Of course if you don’t give him what belongs to him, he will take it by force and you have no right to complain about that. Is he supposed to be begging you for his right?” Her mother had leapt to her husband’s defense as usual and she had sighed heavily. “Mum, you don’t understand. Kola is not the man you used to know before we got married and I am not even sure I know him at all. He doesn’t pray with me any longer and doesn’t talk to me either except when he wants sex. Now he has taken to hitting me when I complain. Is that the kind of life you want me to continue living?” She had said on the verge of shedding tears. “Be a submissive wife and give your husband a child. Why do you think I am still in your father’s house till now? It is because I attend to all his needs and make it my responsibility to keep my home together. Treat him like a God and worship him. That is the only way you can have peace in your matrimonial home. Do your duties without complaining. We will talk about this when you visit. Your father is here and I need to attend to him.” Her mother had said calmly. “Bye mum.” Nancy had responded in a dull voice and put an end to the call. She had leaned against the toilet wall and closed her eyes with a heavy sigh.
She wondered if this was her punishment for getting rid of an innocent life who was a result of the promiscuous lifestyle she had led during her undergraduate years. Her parent were staunch Christians and she had been raised in a disciplined and spiritually strong home. Life in school had been fun and exciting, full of illicit affairs, smoke and buzz until she had been faced with the decision of either having a child outside wed-lock and disgracing her parent who held high positions in their church or getting rid of the baby whose father she wasn’t sure of and living with the guilt forever. She had chosen the latter and it haunted her every day of her life till she met her husband.
“James, he was a perfect gentleman when we met. I told him about my past and he appeared not to be bothered by it. He said it was my past and it has nothing to do with him. He became even more loving afterwards.” She had found herself discussing about the nightmare she lived every day with her male colleague, James on a lunch break. James was single and a good-looking man. They had been good friends since she joined the company and they had been working together long before she got married. “What could have gone wrong? Did you do anything to bring out the worst part of him?” James wondered aloud as he stared at her, his lunch was left, untouched. “I asked myself that question every day since our wedding night. He didn’t touch me at all when we were dating except for the casual hugs, hand-holding when we are outside and chaste kisses on my nose, cheek or forehead. He doesn’t drink or smoke and when we hang out in the evening, it is at the movies or my home or his. My parent fell in love with him and I thought I was the luckiest woman on earth.” She paused, her gaze filled with remembered hurt. “The abrupt change in him on our wedding night still baffled me till today. He called me all sorts of despicable names that shouldn’t be mentioned in broad daylight as he tore off my night wear and raped me in every position possible. I screamed and cried my heart out. He pushed me to the floor afterwards and went to sleep. I lived that life every day, James.” Tears filled her eyes and she dabbed at it with the crumbled handkerchief in her fist. “I am so sorry for what you are going through, Nancy. I think he has either a mental or psychological problem. Why don’t you persuade him to see a psychiatric s?” James took her hand in his and held it in comfort. “The day I suggested he sees a Doctor, he accused me of calling him a crazy man and beat the hell out of me. He raped me afterwards and locked me indoor for days. That was the real reason I wasn’t in the office that period I told you I was sick and the whole office thought I just got pregnant.” She said with a weak smile. “I think it is right time you summoned your courage and ask for divorce. He will end up killing you one day if you don’t get out on time. Please do something now before it is too late.” He said pleadingly. “Funny enough he is careful not to leave physical bruises on my body when he beat or raped me. He said he doesn’t like seeing marks on my beautiful body because it belongs to him.” She murmured under her breath and looked at him. “I am surprise and glad you believe me because no one ever does. I am scared to face him, James and I am not ashamed to say that loud.” She said with a trembling voice and his heart went to her.
They become closer after that fateful lunch break and she cherished their time together. He continued persuading her to ask for divorce and she eventually summoned the courage to face her husband one evening after he finished taking his dinner.
“What did you just say, Nancy?” Kola asked coldly as he looked at her. “I said I think we need to get a divorce.” She struggled to firm her trembling voice without success. “Where did you get that idea? Divorce is not allowed in Christianity. Have you forgotten that?” He said with a smile as he got to his feet and she stepped away. “I am tired of this prison call marriage. I need my freedom. I need to breath.” She burst out desperately. “How dare you raise your voice at me?” His knuckles shot out and connected with her temple. She slide to the floor in a dead faint.
She was rushed to the hospital where she was revived and was on admission for two weeks. Her parent met James when she was on admission and her mother blamed the failure of her marriage on James’s presence in her life. They let her knew she would be disowned if she went ahead with the divorce with Kolapo but she was beyond caring at this moment. James took her to his home after she was discharged and got a lawyer on her behalf to start the divorce proceedings. It was a long and bitter legal fight and she fought the fear that her husband would turn up at any time to finish what he started. Nancy cried and celebrated the day they were finally separated legally.
James had been attracted to Nancy since the first time they met but before he could gather his courage to ask her out, she brought her wedding invitation card to the office and he had buried his feelings. He started wooing her immediately she become a free woman again and made his intentions known. At first, she was reluctant to start another relationship shortly after her divorce but he didn’t give up until she decided to give it a trial and they were soon planning their wedding.
The morning sun came through the window and poked its fingers into her eyes. She stretched luxuriously as she opened her eyes and yawned loudly. It was a week to their wedding and James had loved her throughout the night. Her body was sore and ache in certain places that made her smile dreamily into space. “James, where are you?” She called as she got out of bed, clad in only his big t-shirt and padded out of the room. She pushed open the kitchen door and the smell of blood assailed her nostrils as she entered. She was confronted with the view of her ex-husband, holding a gun as he stood over her fiancee’s body that was on the floor.
He set me free from your prison and his death will not be in vain, she promised herself, even as her body shook with bone-deep grief and her eyes refused to leave the lifeless body.