BEFORE THE RUN
"I WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU WISH FOR AND MORE. Those you do not wish for, those you do not think you could ever have, I'll give you. I'll give you the whole world and all in it. I'll give you peace and joy if only you have faith and believe in me." A voice in my assures me.
If it was God and not just my mind as my priest would tell me during confession, then where is he? why does he remain invisible, why doesn't he show himself so I could see him and acknowledge him. So I could be sure that he was the one speaking to me and not me loosing my mind.
Why doesn't he show himself to me so I could see him and be in his presence, hug him and cry on his feet till I can cry no more. Till I expunge this pain in my heart, the deafening sorrow and grief that I felt. The anguish and torment in my bones.
Everything hurts; my life, my body, my heart, my mind, my soul_and it has been hurting for a long time after my marriage to Cletus.
He hurts me, beats me, abuses me, humiliates me. Still I continue to stay with him, I refuse to leave him for the sake of my love for him and the sake of my faith in God.
But how much more can my heart take before it explodes. Pain upon pain, upon pain until my heart explodes from too much pain. Watching my daughter cry in sadness is what kills me the most.
Watching my daughter afraid is what breaks me the most. I love my husband, but how much more can I take before all that remains is hate? How much time would it be?
I'm suppose to protect my daughter, but how can I do that when I can't even protect myself. What kind of a mother am I? A mother who watches her only child suffer and get maltreated and still do nothing about it, a failure of a mother.
It is days like today when I seat on my sofa with my hands in my eyes and tears in my eyes that I ask myself if my faith in God was truly faith or weakness or maybe even stupidity.
I keep asking myself but I get no answer or maybe I did not want to blaspheme so I kept the answers locked up in my mind and my lips dared not utter them.
When In doubt and fear, I hear this invisible person telling me it will be fine. Sometimes I am sure that it is my mind providing me with necessary comfort and it is all just deceit, just a way I've created to keep hope alive and to shut the pain out.
Then after reading the scriptures I start to think that maybe it is God speaking to me, and then again I start to doubt he would after all my sins. God must really have grown tired of forgiving me.
He must really be tired of hearing me say sorry without me showing any sign of true repentance. But I was in doubt now of everything, I didn't know what was and what was not. I didn't know anything for certain.
My feelings now wavers like the way Cletus treats me, inconsistently. Today he is the Angel, tomorrow he is the demon and the next day, the next day he is nothing at all. It is worst when he is nothing.
I hear voices in my head telling me to remain calm, to have faith that Everything will be fine. But how long can I hold on before I loose my mind? Because these voices, these voices are definitely a sign that I was losing my mind to him. To my husband.
I packed my long brown braids up and wore a net. Everything I did I did mechanically without feeling. Time passed and I remained still, waiting, hoping, praying.
I have been sitting on the sofa for more than two hours waiting for Cletus to be back from work. The bad thing was that I wasn't even feeling sleepy. My eyes did not feel heavy although my limbs were weak. I was afraid to close my eyes, the moment my eyelids close they open with the same veracity.
Fear was eating me up and I was letting it, even enjoying it.
Looking at the wall, the time was a minute past 12 in the morning. I became worried for my husband, angry and furious.
How dare him come home by this time! He will have it when he comes. This house will be on fire should he step in. I wouldn't let him go off easily today! Enough is Enough! I thought, pacing the sitting room.
Amidst my anger is fear, fear that he would end up hurting me should I dare to speak up to him or trouble him. Then there was doubt, if I could be able to speak up to him when he comes. Anxiety, that he won't even come at all. Hope, that nothing bad has actually happened to him.
I was feeling emotions upon emotions and my heart was sinking so deep. Amidst it all I was at least grateful that my daughter Ezinne was fast asleep. At least there was one thing I was thankful for, my daughter.
"I Don't know why he will come home this late, a married man with a kid is still not here by 12. Lord!." I mumbled to myself. My emotions were starting to get the better of me. I wanted to cry but tears won't even humor me. Instead I wrapped my hands around my body shivering from the cold.
The parlour was always so cold at night because of how spacious it was. I knew the room would be much more cozy but I refused to go back into the room. "He will meet me here, he will surely meet me here!" I hissed angrily, but inside me I was shaking in fear.
My legs and hands shook in anger and anxiousness while I kept talking aloud to no one in particular.
"To think that lately he started coming Home by ten and that was considered late enough, now he is still not back by 12___am! Oh lord! what am I going to do!" I sobbed, putting my head in my hands as I slumped down on one of our black Sofa's.
"A married man was not yet home by this time. My own husband. I never imagined in my life that this would ever be the case. Why are you doing this to me Cletus? What wrong have I committed? What! You must tell me today oh! you must!"
I was in utter pain and confusion when the doorbell began to ring. Immediately I heard the sound of the bell my heart jumped and stopped. I didn't wait to pull myself together. I didn't bother thinking or organizing myself.
I flung up from the Sofa and rushed to open the door, only to be met by a drunk Cletus who was resting on the wall for support.
We stayed alone in a small duplex and I could not be more grateful that at least we had a place to stay and we had privacy. It would have been terrible for me, for us, if we had any neighbors. What will Cletus be telling them with this behavior of his? Our marriage would definitely have been a laughing stock to all the neighbours and we would have been the sole object of all their gossips.
"Cletus you are drunk!" I shouted, closing my nose. He wreaked of alcohol. I stood by the door watching him with tear stained eyes, as he struggled to stand on his feet.
He looked at me menacingly and yelled."Eh_he! what is it again? won't I come in before you start your madness. Please stop shouting my name!"
Shifting himself from the wall he staggered a little before he was able to maintain his balance. He eyed me with a disgusted look on his face and before I could even think of what to say to him he pushed me away from the door and went inside.
I followed him inside closing the door behind me. "Oh God! what have I Done to deserve this Lord, what? Please lord tell me?" I sobbed. He ignored me and slumped on the couch taking off his suit. He placed his legs on the middle table, sighing.
His eyes were still open, he was looking at me with such hatred as if he was contemplating killing me.
My own Cletus, now a drunkard. What did I ever do to deserve this!
I could see different lipstick stains on his shirt, not just one or two but three different stains. Pink, red and purple. He has been with three women and later he wants me to open my legs for him? It won't happen.
"Cletus what is this? so this is how low you've stooped? You left with a white shirt but returned with a rainbow coloured shirt." I asked, pointing at the stains on his shirt.
"Now you sleep with three different women and carry the evidence of it home like a trophy. Cletus! So you now sleep with prostitutes like you don't have a wife!" I exclaimed, tears fell recklessly down my cheeks."What have I done to you? what? Is it that I am no longer good enough for you or that I am no longer sexy. Tell me! This is not what you promised me when you proposed to me. This is not! I have done everything to keep fit for you. Everything! And this is how you repay me?! By fucking other women?!"
"So you haven't stopped sleeping around abi? God! What do you want me to do for you again!" I shouted, hitting my hands on my chest dramatically. "Have I not done enough? have I not given enough for you? Cletus! have I not loved you enough? I left my Father, my mother, everyone I knew and loved just to be with you and this is what I get in return, infidelity, Cletus why?" I sobbed tugging at his shirt. "Tell me why? You must answer me today oh, you must!"
He stood up and pushed me away from him in one swift movement. He made to go to our room like he always does anytime he comes home late and I challenge him, but he is not ignoring me this night, not this night. I must get answers. I was prepared for him today.
"You lie Cletus you aren't going no where?" I shouted holding him back. My small hands firm on the collar of his shirt.
I was so ready for him this night. "You must give me an answer! Ah ah! This is too much! You are not ignoring me today."
He stopped on his tracks and turned around to look at me with a burning anger in his eyes. I was afraid now m, but I didn't show it. I needed answers and I needed them now. I've had enough, this is enough, this must stop. He is not going to scare me into silence this night.
I can't take it anymore I can't live in fear of my husband, not anymore. He abuses me and still cheats on me. I can't do it. I cried. Soon he was going to kill me if I did not speak up.
"Miracle leave me alone now or you will regret ever laying that your filthy hands on me." He roared in my face. But I stood my ground even though my hands were shaking and my heartbeat wild. "I repeat Leave me be now, or you will suffer the repercussions Miracle. Do not test me today I am not in the mood."
His eyes were beginning to clear, the alcohol was wearing off fast. He was no longer struggling to maintain balance on his feet and this scared me more.The truth was alcohol never really did much to him. I realized this while we were still dating. It took a lot for him to get drunk and very little for him to get out of his drunken state.Even though I was scared now I still honored my resolve as tears continued to flow down my cheeks."I am not letting you go. You must answer me today. Tell me what I've done oh, tell me!" I yelled tightening my grip on his shirt."You don't want to let me go ba! Let me warn you now Miracle, If I should touch you, you will not live to tell the story. Leave me alone now you slut!"He pushed me away with so much force I nearly hit my head on the wall. But that was not what hurt me the most, it was his words that cut me deep.I stood still so
I woke up on the couch and was surprise to see that I wasn't carried to the room by my husband.I didn't think Cletus could actually have the heart to leave me to sleep in the parlour with all the mosquitoes he knew were in it, but I was proven wrong again. It's like I never knew him. He was not the man I married.Luckily for me I didn't wake up too late to prepare breakfast.I looked up at the wall clock to see that it was just five o'clock in the morning meaning that there was enough time for me to make rice and stew for breakfast so that my husband could eat before going to work and possibly take some with him.There was also enough time to get my daughter ready for school.First of all, I had to start with a prayer for the day. Now every morning when I wake up I made sure to thank God for another day and every night before my daughter sleeps I pray with her.Funny enou
By the look on her face I could tell She wasn't asking me a question, she was informing me of a fact. I didn't see concern but worry, worry for me.She looked just like me, a little version of me.I used to be slim before but after I gave birth to her I put on some weight but I wasn't fat, just plump and round. My breast were fuller now and my waist rounder.I had stretch marks on my legs hands and stomach and Cletus didn't like it at all.Because of him I have tried my best to remove them using homemade methods but nothing I did worked.Cletus never gave me money even to go to market, he does that himself. So I was too broke to buy any cream to help wipe them out.
I took the flat plate in front of him and hurriedly dished out his food taking from the big plate in the middle of the glass dining table.I placed it in front of him before taking my sit. The stew was on the rice and I made sure to give him the biggest meat in the food.The dining table became so quiet and so tensed that one could drown in it.Ezinne seemed to have immediately lost her appetite. She was no longer eating as fast as she was before, she looked like she was about to cry and it saddened me.I held her hands reassuringly while I watched as Cletus put a spoon of rice in his mouth with anger written all over his face. "What is this?" He scowled. He pushed the food away from him like it was poison."Daddy it is rice and stew___" Ezinne replied smiling."Did I ask you a question you disrespectful brat. I don't blame you. I Blam
"Who said the beautiful ones are not yet Born eh? Not when I am seeing one in front of me right now." Gozie teased, taking both my hands."Turn around for me baby girl, show me what your mother gave you. Their father!" She shouted excitedly. She held my hands while I reluctantly turned around just to make her smile. "Girl I'm turned on let's go fuck. Look at that big ass, that boobs. Who are you? Where did you come from you sexy goddess! I need you for the night baby."I laughed hard, throwing my head backwards. " Ewwww! Free me jor, girl I'm in no mood for your jokes, I'm a married woman now remember." I said flaunting my ring finger on her face. She sighed and sat down, her mood suddenly became sour."Please do not remind me of that tragedy." She hissed.
She suddenly looked thinner than she was, and her brown skin looked pale. I ran my hands through my hair hating that I was the cause of her being so upset.She took a huge gulp from her glass and hissed. "You need to think rationally Miracle, think with your head not your heart""We battle not against flesh and blood But against principalities and power against the___""Fuck all that trash. If there is any principality then He is the principality and power. Have you not given enough for him eh? have you not? You left your family for him, friends, job. You have given your life even your body for him yet he doesn't appreciate it. Who is the principality now? who is the devil.? Answer me Miracle, who is?" She hissed.
I was walking home now. I loved walking a lot for so many reasons including that, First it helped me clear my mind and secondly it was good exercise. My mind was always preoccupied while I walked. Sometimes it could be so bad that I would take no notice of anything happening around me. This was one of those times. I was so deep in thought that I didn't notice that a car was following me.I was about to cross when the car stopped at the side walk, just in front of me. A man clad in a blue suit came out. The car was a black Lamborghini and with the way the man was dressed I could tell that either he was filthy rich or his boss was filthy rich as most drivers in Nigeria sometimes posed as their boss's so as to attract ladies who easily get carrie
"Mum are you ok now?" my daughter asked, her sleepy eyes were almost shutting down.She was a smart girl and I loved it but in times like this her being smart made things more difficult for me."Yes princess, mummy is more than OK, Daddy apologized to mummy for his rude behavior on Tuesday and mummy has forgiven him. Mummy and Daddy are so happy together now." I lied.I wasn't a very good actress but I was a good liar. Marrying Cletus thought me that you need to learn how to think of a lie in less than a second as your life may or may not depend on it.I tickled her but she didn't laugh. She sat up on the bed and pecked me then she proceeded to give me a Bear hug . "Mummy is an Angel." She said stressing the word Angel, laying emphasis on it. I