All I heard were whistles when he broke down my door. Whistles when I cried for forgiveness. Whistles when he struck the first blow. Whistles when i lost Morisola.
The only bright memory I have of our marriage is the old wardrobe mama gave me, with a yellow “happy marrige” wallpaper neatly placed. She prayed for many children and “All the happiness in the world.” Our wedding was like attending one of Gatsby’s many parties, colourful and filled with shiny things. Bola never fails to mention how ‘privileged’ I am and she goes ahead to ask that dead question, ‘where did all the good men go?’ and I answer, mentally of course, ‘not stuck with me, that’s for sure.’
On the really bad days, I think back to my old boyfriends, the ones I felt were too poor, too skinny, too short, too this too that, and I wonder what it would have been to marry one of them. Every year I get an invite to number one or two’s union and all I see are the numbers dropping. Sometimes I secretly pray that the woman is no good, so we the exes can share sorrows and bond, then they can remain in my box of ‘controlled items’. Other times I criticise their photos, use words like ‘cheap’ and ‘overexposed’ or mock their outfits. “He’s mine and she’s mine? What a load of rubbish. I have always known this Henry was a cheapo. Mr economic, I’m glad it isn’t me. Poor girl, such an embarrassment!” Then laugh hysterically and brace myself for the fountain of bitterness stinging my eyes. I’d take their simplicity over my complicated rubble.
On the bright side, You should see our house, or more specifically, ‘fancy chateau’ on Stewart’s Crescent, it’s white, not Mr Akin’s white house which is drenched in red dust. Dele (the beast) gets the painter Mr Naira to give the walls a ‘touch up’ twice every year. The gates are jet black and spiky at the top and the fences are so high, I don’t get to see any cars zoom by. I’m not allowed to go out or visit people and if I need anything, Enoma(the maid) is the go to girl. On Sundays, we walk briskly into church, noses held high, no formalities and we breeze out like we’re being chased by demons. People must hate us, but that is no matter, they are in the dark.
Pale white walls, fan dragging its limbs lazily, lights flickering incessantly, the beast’s face hovering over me. My eyes pop open instantly and the first thing I do is clutch my belly, searching desperately for the thing I know is gone. She was just eight weeks old, a mere slope, a tiny heartbeat. I can feel the space she once occupied, all airy and empty. He is just staring. We lost her and he is just staring.
“Stop staring, stop staring! You’ve killed it, it’s gone!” I sob until my eyes threaten to fall out too. “Calm down Lola, The Lord knows best” the beast says.
“The Lord! Do not call the Lord unless you seek mercy for your sins” I spit back.
“If you hadn’t left the house against my wishes, you would not be in this position Lola.”
He gets up slowly and takes my hand in his. I feel no warmth in them. Nothing.