I met my husband in my final year at York University, where I was an honors student in Interior Designing. I knew he was the one for me; as soon as our eyes met and our souls merged at the entrance to the Office of Administrations. It was love at first sight, powerful, intense and mind boggling. I just knew I had to have him, no one else would do. He approached me and we exchanged pleasantries and contacts.
Three years later, I was a globally acknowledged interior designer, with more money than kings. My husband, an architect, was wealthier than I was. We were happy and comfortable. He was my Romeo, my Akbar, my bane of existence. My whole life was spinning around a source, and that was my husband, Rowland.
Our marriage was fun. We travelled around the world and spent money without a care. We owned custom made exotic cars, hell, we even had our own line of airplanes and ships. We completed each other, but in one way. He had a secret, one which binded us together, but yet held us so far apart; it was hard to reach out to each other in the dead of the night.
This secret ate deep into my husband each day and each night like worms, taking everything, his happiness, his vigour, his me. I watched my once alpha male husband be reduced to a whining pregnant woman in the throes of childbirth. I couldn’t take it anymore, it ate at me too.
“Baby,” I break the silence in the bedroom, making eye contact with him through the vanity mirror. My voice is weak, for him.
He grunts inaudibly. I can only pick out some words “Can’t…alone…need…rest.”
I manage to hold back the tears that threaten to spill and brace up courage for this man, who is depressed. I get up and make towards his side of the king sized bed. He has a look of despair on his face as I skim my fingers through the hairs on his strong hands, he removes my hand gently and places it on the bed, then he turns away and puts off the bed lamp.
I roll to my side and snuggle into the blanket.
A few moments, I can hear sobs, deep gut wrenching sobs from the other side of the bed, and I’m torn to pieces. I have not an iota of strength, each sob, each convulsive gasp, takes my strength and I’m left numb to pick of the scrambled pieces. I slip into oblivion, tormented by dreams of my husband and our secret.
I’m woken by the loud alarm clock, I stretch and quickly mumble my morning prayers. Yawning loudly, I reach for my flip flops and stand up. Looking at the bed, I notice my husband is missing, and the bed didn’t look like it was laid upon. I’m set into panic mode immediately, with horrible thoughts running through my mind, tears running down my cheeks, “Oh baby, suicide? Has he left me? Suicide? Suicide?”
I search the house in breakneck speed and find nothing. I cry and cry, my tears wouldn’t end, my sorrows have no barriers, it flows like the River Nile.
I wake up and it’s late afternoon, I’m still lying on the living room’s floors. I rush to get my phone only to meet twenty-four missed calls from my husband’s phone.
I call back in frenzy, I’m directed to voicemail, “Hello, this is Rowland, Yohanna’s husband, boyfriend, baby, sugarbaby, you name it,” I can even hear my laughter in the background of the recordings, opening old wounds and welcoming new batches of tears, as they spill widely around me. I connect with the call and I’m talking to a stranger.
“Yes, hello,” my voice is hoarse and shaken.
“I’m sorry to break this news but your husband was involved in an accident, in the early hours of today.”
He’s not even done with the information and I’m on my knees. My husband, mine, mine. I cry and cry, curse myself and my parents, my husband.
“Madam, take it easy, he’s still alive.”
And its like the still waters calmed by Jesus in the Holy Bible. “What? Where? Oh my God.”
He gives me the hospital information and I run up the stairs to get my keys. I hit my foot against the stairs, I seethe in pain, but I don’t care, the toenail can remain on the floor.
Getting down from the car, I rush to the reception.
I’m requested to fill some damn forms. I just scribble on it and pin a dirty look on the nurse in front of me like she is missing all her teeth. She returns the favour.
“Madam, you’re bleeding. Let me help you”
I give her an impatient look and reply,
“No thanks, where’s my husband?”
She hisses, murmurs some rude words and flings her hand towards a room down the hall.
I don’t have time to reply her, and I run towards the hall endings.
I take a peek into the room to see my husband lying on a bed, wires protruding from every surface and his face in a heavy cast. I push the door that has “PULL” written over it. I’m still fighting with the door until the foul nurse helps me open it. I run to my beloved and I look upon him. The nurse exits the room and I move closer to my man. I take his hands into mine, place it above my heart, this is where he belongs, in my heart, that’s home.
He groans, I quickly drop his hands and he holds me tighter. I spin around and look at him, he urges me on.
“Hold me, this is too much for me, I need you. You’re my talisman, don’t lee-avv-ee me.” I see a stray tear slip from his eye. My heart breaks over and over for this man. He’s mine.
“Never! I cannot imagine a life without you.” I look into his eyes as I say the very words that modifies us. I gather him into my arms, careful not to hurt him. I hold him, molding him into my bosom, I give him my strength, all of it. I take nothing. I’m willing and ready to give him all, which he takes. I heal him.
We revel in this heaven’s match, knowing not what lay in ambush for the future. I am his strength.
Three months later, I’m sitting in the crook of my husband’s arms, thinking about the future. My mind goes back to the recent happenings in the few months past, I wish the accident had happened earlier. I’m woken from my oneirism by a gentle forehead kiss.
I can detect something is bothering him. I look up at him, urging him to confide in me.
“Baby, can we adopt?” He breaks the silence this time.
The question rings like a mantra in my head. I slowly release him and stare into my lover’s eyes. He has finally said the words that would put an end to this canker sore, destroying and eating up our marriage. I truly smile, for the first time in many months. I know I’ll go to the ends of the earth for this man.
I go back to my favourite position, at his manubrium. I nuzzle his chest and take a deep breathe. Mine.
I mumble into his chest, like a little child clutching his favourite toy, “Yes baby, we can.“
“Switch off the lights honey,” said Rowland from across the king-size bed we lay on.
I shudder in fear at the sound of the shrewd voice that haunts my dreams and threatens my sanity, still trembling, I reached for the bed stand and was soon enveloped in darkness.
I couldn’t sleep. I look at the wall clock and its past 2 a.m, Rowland is stretched out across the bed like a bear in heat and I’m left clutching the bedsheets for support. It’s normal. It’s better I get as much sleep I can before he wakes up. I drift off soon.
I feel a hard nudge on my upper arm and I get tense immediately, so many questions running through my mind. Is he awake? Am I in trouble? Oh my God, did I wake up late?
“Get up and get me breakfast honey,” says Rowland as he yawns and leans in for a kiss, which I give in to, lest I get him angry. He stares at me for a moment and runs his thumb over the cut above my left eye, a strange emotion hovers on his face as he continues his assessment, running his thumb across my swollen left eye, my cheek, my cut lower lip, my torn ear hole… the list is too long.
“You fell into the gutter at your friend’s place, right?” grunts Rowland a bit too calmly.
My lip is quivering, I’m scared as hell, I nod quickly.
He smiles. “That’s my baby girl.” He kisses my forehead for what seems like ages and he releases me.
I wince as I get up, he looks up suddenly and I’m immediately chastised as I limp soundlessly towards the door and into the kitchen.
As I search the kitchen drawers for pots and pans, my mind reverts six years back to when I met Rowland. He was the most handsome man on planet Earth, with a body to die for and a face that would put Mr. Universe to shame. He was everything I wanted, everything I needed, perfect in so many ways; he could cook, clean, pamper and he was filthy rich. What else could a girl ask for?
We connected on so many levels, he was my soulmate. Our relationship was like wildfire, we were inseparable and like every other couple, we got married; unluckily for me, time would tell that all I did was make grave mistake.
Few months into our marriage, Rowland started acting strangely. He would claim I was cheating on him and sometimes get into terrible mood swings that usually ended up with me thoroughly beaten and “chastised” as he called it.
I’m shocked out of my reverie by an unannounced presence in the kitchen.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” screams Rowland from the kitchen door. He strides angrily towards me as I cower backwards in fear.
“COME HERE, COME HERE RIGHT NOW.”
I limp clumsily towards him, he reaches out and grabs me.
He regards me lovingly.
“Why do you love me?” asks Rowland as he tucks in stray strands of my hair out of sight. He tightens his hold around my neck and leans in, harshly inhales my face and lower jaw slowly, he lets out a deep rugged breath and repeats his questions, emphasizing each word. “Why do you love me, angel?”
” I…I… love you… you…be… ” I jump suddenly as Rowland’s fist hits the wall beside my cheek, just a hair breath from my face. He hisses sharply and gives me a menacing look.
“First aid kit,” he orders, I run like a little child whose father returned from war to the bathroom, I run past the bathroom and stop dead, I backslide till I am in front of the mirror and I stare back at myself, my clothes hang loosely from my shoulder, my hair is a disheveled mess, why am I bleeding from my cheek? I look haunted. I’m jerked back from oblivion by the muffled grunts of Rowland in the bedroom. I’m back to his side in breakneck speed.
He snatches the box from my hands, taking few bits of my skin with him, I wince, but who cares. He regards me with distaste after he’s done treating himself and thrusts the box at me, I take it and disappear from the room, unnoticed as always. Breakfast is long forgotten now.
I can hear screams and whimpers from the nursery beside our bedroom. I rush towards the room but not before I get a glimpse of the dark scowls Rowland was sending my way, I still go, it’s my child involved…
I limp towards the crib and pick out my bundle of joy, I fondle and coo at him. He giggles and my face spreads in joy. I keep making funny faces at him, to which he laughs, and so do I.
Rowland Jnr., was adopted at the age of three months. I thought he was an angel, I still do. I remember my first meeting with him. It was beautiful, he was the one to heal my pains.
I’m tensed immediately, as I feel a presence at the door. Rowland strolls into the room angrily and lungs at me, but I dodge skillfully, whilst dropping baby Rowland into his cot. I run out of the room as fast as my legs can carry me, he chases me as fast, screaming out vile words while I’m pleading and promising heaven and earth to placate him.
I run into the kitchen and just as I’m about to shut the door. He pushes the door open and the force lands me painfully my butt. I scramble away in apprehension. He bends over, lifts me and flings me at the gas cooker.
A loud crack sound fills the kitchen as hipbone collides with hard metal. I scream out like a veteran with a sore head, landing was the worst. Rowland comes to me and lifts me effortlessly from the tiled floor. He calls me a dirty slut and drags me across the kitchen towards the living room. I let him, I have no strength to fight.
We reach the parlor. I can’t feel my legs, my waist, my face. I’m numb. I can feel Rowland tearing off my clothes, I’m nauseated. And I go.