Arit was having a relaxed conversation with her boy friend, Jide in her bedroom when she heard some disturbing movements in her living room.
Alarmed it could be armed robbers, she shushed Jide and hurried to bolt the bedroom door. Before she could, however, the door flew open, revealing an angry man looking fit to murder! “My heart sank and I became afraid for my life and Jide’s,” confessed Arit. For the man who just stormed her bedroom was Moses, her married lover of 10 years with whom she had a son. Yet, when she first met Moses, her older friends were a bit sceptical about the relationship. Arit was already in her late 20s, and feared she would be left on the shelf, so she opted for second best. Over the years, she’d had her chances at love, had even been engaged to a man she later jilted because he wasn’t as educated as she was. Moses was all she wanted in a man – only he was married with children. But, he spoilt her rotten, moved her into a bigger flat and helped her get a more secured job in a consulting firm.
Her fate was sealed when she got pregnant a couple of years after they met. By which time Moses’ darker side was unfolding. “Suddenly, it seemed anything I did was wrong,” Arit had complained. “He was always criticising my food, the way I ran the house and the revealing clothes I wore. It was during this period that I got pregnant and tried to compromise – I wanted, a child very badly. Foolishly, I thought the child would change him. My lovely clothes were replaced with the frumpy ones he favoured. After I had our son, he became more controlling. If he could do this to me when we were not really married, only God knew what his wife was going through. He must have cowed her to the extent that she dared not complain about his relationship with me. I was always on my guard when I went out with him in case any man gave me unnecessary attention. Some months back, at one of my family’s dos, I ran into a childhood friend and he joked about how much crush he had on me in the past. We’d both been at school together, but he now joked it was a pity I was already taken or he would have rekindled our relationship. We all knew it was all talk but I was fearful of how Moses would react.
“Suddenly, Moses said it was about time we went and I rushed to the car with him, desperate to stop his smouldering temper before it erupted. When I got into the passenger seat, he roared off as if possessed by the devil. He’d sent the driver home and I became terrified, begging him to slow down. At my place, he shoved me into the flat then. Wham! He punched me so hard in the face that I fell on the nearest chair. ‘Cheap woman,’ he bellowed, hitting me again and again until I made a dash for the bedroom, intending to lock myself in. If the house-help heard anything, she didn’t let on. Thank goodness my son was fast asleep. Moses grabbed hold of my hair and the lovely expensive extensions I just put in it and yanked me back, punching me some more. Out of desperation, I made for the front door praying he hadn’t locked it.
“It was a relief when the door flew open and I dashed into the street. A few of the neighbours were around having drinks in front of the house, so I ran towards them. It wasn’t the first time they’d noticed Moses’ violence towards me, but it was the first time they saw blood oozing out of a gash in my cheek. The terrible truth about what they thought was my perfect ‘marriage’ was finally out for all of them to see. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. It was ugly and rotten.
“That was when I decided I should hang on to whatever shred of pride I had left. A few days later, I told him I didn’t want anything to do with him. To punish me, he refused to send our monthly allowance and to pay the rent when it was due. But, I have a good job and called his bluff. Anything was worth this peace of mind that I currently enjoyed. With time, I met Jide, a widower and we started going out.
“This was some six months after breaking off with Moses. Jide was everything my ex wasn’t. He visited with presents and took me to nice restaurants. It was at dinner in a small restaurant that I sort of sensed eyes boring into my back. I turned round and it was Moses. His face was like thunder but I ignored him. He couldn’t hurt me now, or so I thought.
“Only, a few weeks after, he’d let himself into my flat with his spare key. It never occurred to me to change the lock. Jide sprang up at the intrusion. He was in his Y-front and vest. Moses sneered at him. ‘Sit down,’ he barked. Jide did as he was told. Sitting down on the bed, he spoke to Jide as if to a child: ‘Now, when you came into this bedroom, and saw that family photograph of me and my wife and son, did you think it was for show?’ Jide kept mum, his face dead-pan. Moses went on: ‘You sit down now, drinking beer from a mug. Did Arit tell you she was a beer drinker? And if she were, would she be drinking it out of a mug?’ On and on he went until Jide had had enough. ‘Now look here…’ he cautioned. But before he got any further, Moses gave him a wack. Jide was furious. He flew at him and gave him the beating of his life,. Again, I ran into the street and, this time, two of the men in the front house came with me and broke up the fight.
“Moses now looked the worse for wear and was actually subdued. Jide had almost frog marched him to the street, punching him all the time until I showed up with the men. Moses hurried to his car, muttering he didn’t want a scandal. The coward that he was, he couldn’t handle being confronted. But he was back a few days after, wanting to see his son. I told him it was impossible. Looking at him, I hated him as passionately as I’d once loved him and he must have seen that in my eyes.
“I told him I wanted nothing to do with him ever again. As for his son, he would see the lad when he’d grown up. No man would use a child to abuse me ever again! Jide and I are an item now but I’m not rushing into anything. He understands and says there’s no pressure, that he’d wait as long as I needed. We’ve talked about marriage and having children as he has only two from his first marriage. I have no problem with that. Only, this time around, I intend to look really well before I leap…”