Somehow I was un-moving, lost in the moment, lost in my thoughts and once more I remembered, I was back to when my sister called to say she spoken to some of those she attended the interview with and they had been asked to start work I felt a great sense of relief.
At least that meant she would not be coming to live with us and I just kept encouraging her to look towards Lagos. I would always tell her that Lagos was the place to be, it was more happening and there were more job opportunities.
Maybe if she had come to live with us things may not have deteriorated to the level it did. And then again maybe not. But I was just relieved at the time that I did not have to explain Peter’s radical change to anyone as I was finding it difficult to understand it myself.
I thought the beatings would get better with time but they did not and I was so confused. I would look at myself and wonder how I got to the point of getting beaten.
But I always told myself Peter loved me and whenever he begged me after a beating I would always say to myself “see, he loves you if not why would he beg so much.” There was even one time he took a razor blade and threatened to slit his wrists if I did not forgive him.
Before then I thought only women did that, but he said he could not bear to live if I was angry with him. We ended up making love that day and I woke up in his arms. I remember being so happy thinking that everything was alright once again. I think that was the day I took in I was so happy to know I was pregnant, I thought the pregnancy would bring us closer but I was wrong.
My husband was not the least bit sympathetic to what I was going through, I often had spit in my mouth and would throw up if I inhaled any smell I did not like.
We stopped sharing the same bedroom after he beat me for pouring spit on the bed.
But I couldn’t help it, the spit had a way of gathering in my mouth if my mouth remained without food so I took to going about with a small bottle of chewable Vitamin c tablets to help with the spit. It was more difficult controlling the spit when I was asleep.
Sleeping on my own was such a great relief although I did not like it at first. But as I got used to it I began to enjoy it, the guest room became my haven a place where I could escape and have some peace. It was here I first learnt how to be at peace with myself. It was here I painfully and gradually learnt how to enjoy my own company and resign myself to the fact that the Peter I once knew was gone.
Peter would drop by on some few nights to have sex, the love had gone out of the act long ago and so I just endured it. And when he complained that I was not reacting to him that I was too quite I started to fake having an orgasm so as not to get beaten.
He usually fell asleep right after, I on the other hand was not able to fall asleep so quickly but by morning when I woke up he was usually gone and so I moved my things little by little to the guest room until I had very few belonging left in what used to be our matrimonial bedroom.
Looking back now it is just funny how things change. When we got married and moved into this house we had planned to use the guest room where I now sleep as the nursery when the babies started coming. But it seemed the babies knew or could sense that we were not at a good place and so they refused to come.
I had given up trying to have a baby when the beatings started because it seemed like I was the only one who was worried or who it was affecting.
Peter could just not be bothered, as far as he was concerned it was not his fault and so I could try all I want but he never took it serious. It made me wonder if he was seeing someone by the side, but there was no way of ever knowing seeing how downhill our relationship had gone.
So when Peter suggested that we go to bed. I felt really scared. And there was no way I was going to refuse. That was not even an option. “Let’s go to bed” in years past used to be an invitation to a renewal of vows of some sorts but I was not sure what to expect and sleeping alone for almost two years had made me immune to Peter’s charms, I just wondered what I had coming after. I wondered if it would end well or if it would end in a fight. But it had been such a beautiful night I only hoped it would end well.
And so I followed Peter to what used to be our bedroom. He had taken the pains to tidy up the room and had lit some candles. This was getting more interesting I thought. He moved to the socket by the wall and plugged in his phone, “my battery is almost dead” he said. And then he started to take off his clothes. I slowly sat down at the edge of the bed and watched while he took off his clothes. “Why are you so quite”? he asked.
“Nothing” I said. I had not been intimate with Peter for so long I felt like a stranger. And truth be told I did not know what to expect anymore.
Editors: Would this night end well? Find out in the Episode to come.