For Better, For Worse, Dies...
Walking on my toes, silently, from the bedroom into the kitchen; I cut into the big loaf of bread with the sharpest knife on the cabinet long before you wake. I want no sounds heard; this silence is my power and warm bed. Your food is served- ready to be dipped into when you awake. My mind doesn’t want the bother of words that hold no water, have bad taste and stink like a soiled bed wetter’s mattress. No words, just like it was yesterday.
I walk on my toes to the room, lie down beside you and pretend to sleep when I feel your weight move off the bed. You glance at me- idiot, I curse inside. What is left of me but the poundings of anger, neglect and disgrace? Two deaths and promises that fell into the thin air of nothingness. I stood by you when you had nothing, now too much money has stuffed your stomach with pride. Your lies, cheating and insults have shaved all hopes of new beginnings like the drums of bleakness beating in an average Nigerians heart.
I have resigned to fate, I will be the maid you never let me have, the whore that opens her legs as easily as you roll your roll-on under your arms, and a fashionista that smiles as we take the perfect picture. I am the first lady that feels like the last. My death acceptance is my Nigerian norm.
Tell me, where does a Governor’s wife run when her husband is the law of the land? She dies to the travails of living without rules and laws, yet baptised in political lies and unrestrained power.
My almost first child felt the stripes, blood, and wounds before he fell to his death. Beatings he misunderstood during formation in my womb. That moment reminded me of sightseeing the sun boiling the skins and burning the flesh of people waiting for a rickety bus to bus them to their destinations. Lives pushed to the wall yet carving spaces to live like termites.
Baby two had complications, and while the doctors’ mouth drooled of how abnormal my situation was- I sat still, settling stupidly, shielding the enemy. Don’t stare with surprise- when has your lips dripped to stand against injustice and your stance remained unchanged when the brown envelope was laid bare before your hungry teeth. We all remain silent to the wicked of power the enemy. In that still, stupid silence, change is dead. In lackadaisical acceptance, courage to fight fails even the fattest men.
My prayer is to survive my daily woes. Thoughts of self-accomplishment or exploring beautiful landscapes are as far as the heavens are from the earth. These conditions have built the embers of my mind to survive. I survived the harshness of the sun when I was peddling in the village to garner funds for my schooling and daily needs. I lived through the nights Papa beat Mama after he got drunk. I endured by sitting with knees kissing my chest, an arms- as armour against the sounds of ‘hey, you wan kill me.’ I outlived the groaning of my stomach for food and the dizziness of unhealthy living.
But tonight, I didn’t survive your hands choking me till my grave was fully dug.
“Chike, I can’t breathe, abeg stop, pleas….ee.” I said, but you won’t listen.
‘You have no right, nne, I can bring whomever I want to this house.’
For better, for worse, dies. A mistress is taking my home from me, yet I am to be quiet.
‘Who are you to talk?’ You asked, with disgust shining through your eyes.
I was taught at Sunday school that we were all precious, purposeful persons.
Your hands get tighter, tighter and tighter till I become numb.
This was published as "Loneliness is a Warm Bed" on Naijastories by Sally Ashimi. You can check out the other work on her portfolio here.
Change begins when we decide to voice our opinions against the enemy. Silence is synonymous with consent. Do not keep silent in the face of injustice; let your voice be heard.