By OLUWATOYIN ‘Betterdays’ Ibrahim
Some days after her fifteenth birthday, on her way back from school, thirsty and hungry as usual. Elatedly, she thought of branching at her street sister’s apartment – few meters away from school – to see if she could get something befitting to meet her stomach’s need. She was taken aback by the simple altercation between Arinola, her street sister, and her fiance which later on as she eavesdropped by the door, metamorphosed into real beating and throwing around that left her street sister weeping and sobbing.
Prior to that day, Arinola, her street sister, an upright lady in her early thirties, once told her the kind of man her fiance was when she first met him. She enumerated quite a bogus features of him that could only be simultaneously attributed to an animal, a wild one to the core. Jumoke could aptly remember she asked why Arinola chose to have an affair with such a man and her response was “He promised to change.”
Sitting down alone one day at a park, she was lost in thought and then came to her mind, some memories of her growing up days. She remembered her father and her elder brother used to gang up to teach her mom lessons about obedience. And she remembered the day they taught her for the last time, at this point she woke up to reality. At first she felt lucky at age twenty-two that David had come along and rescued her from that house by asking her hand in marriage.
But less than a month after the rescue, David had started knocking her around and swearing at her the same way her father had done to her mother. Sometimes, when his madness came visiting, he would grab her arm and twist it to the point of wanting to break the bones. Aside or after pouncing on her heavily, rather than feel remorse, he will throw at her demeaning looks that is capable of scaring life out of her. This – domestic violence – has been her ordeal since the inception of the union.
In her early twenties, Arinola was a stunning dark lady with a shinning white set of teeth that graced her entire mouth wide and most times intimidates the not-so-beautiful ones with her extraordinary splendiferousness. But ever since she got married to David, a fellow from nowhere to be precise, she has been living like a walking corpse. David’s threats made her shiver, and she’d lived with him for a year now. He had even broke her arm the first month he brought her home.
She never told him she was pregnant, because she didn’t know it either. She only thought she was getting fat. He, too, had not noticed his wife, Arinola, is pregnant. And the day the baby fell out as she reached up to swat a horsefly off the icebox, she could hardly believe that messy looking thing came out of her. When she saw it was a baby, a boy, she imagined in a few years that two Bennetts would be blackening her eyes and beating her with belts and pushing her into furniture. What could she do now?
On a solitary morning, when perhaps all should have gone out except for the full house wives and or the jobless fellows, Arinola took the shovel from the shed and dug a hole as quickly as she could in her flustered state. She laid the little thing unceremoniously at the bottom of the hole and started shoveling sand on it. She heard a faint whimper from what she was covering with earth and just for the span of a heartbeat, felt the urge to grab the thing and clean it off and stick its mouth to her gland as usual. But she ignored that urge and continued to refill the hole.
As the second, third and fourth shovels full of earth were covering the thing, the whimper seemed to get louder, so she shoveled all the more furiously to stifle the noise. Finally, sweating and panting, she heaved a sigh of relief that the thing was gone, out of her sight and completely out of her life. Not a trace of its existence would follow her back to the house. To her, she was safe now because she has not only severe the connection between herself and her tormentor, but also have saved the next female from being a victim of such treatment just like herself.
As she was approaching the house, after a long walk that could also be regarded as celebration of her freedom, she saw a police cruiser with a flashing light and a bunch of men. She saw four fierce-looking detectives sniffing around. She knew that her secret had been discovered. She began to think how they found out that the baby wasn’t really dead when she buried it. They had come to arrest her and she would go to jail. “Mrs. Arinola, according to Mrs. Cynthia, you were pregnant and gave birth to a baby. Mrs. Cynthia’s pigs were in your yard today, and they dug up what looks like the corpse of a baby,” said one of the detectives.
Without being probed, she admitted to intentionally murdering the baby because she thought the little baby boy will be just like his father, David. She claimed that sooner than later she would be feasted upon by the two males just like her father and brother had done to her mother. She hated this so much. She wished God would wash the entire world of domestic violence. She prayed that thunder strike dead all domestic violent men on earth. She had known what her fate will be; ending her life in jail. Jail to her is a safe haven, for as long as it is nowhere within the reach of David.
Dear young ladies, do not condone, endure or persevere domestic violence. Never assume a man will change. Don’t endanger your life by suffering in silence.