“Guy, are you even listening to me?” Femi sounded irritated, but I only barely registered his irritation as I continued to follow her with my eyes.
“I’m sorry, bro. Don’t mind me, enh. Let me go get us more drinks, okay?” I said hurriedly, forcing a smile.
“You know I won’t say no to that. You know what I like, don’t you?” Femi said smiling, his chirped tooth showing. Of course I knew he couldn’t say no to a drink, but the real reason I offered to get him one is because she was at the bar.
I have never had trouble talking to girls. Granted, I didn’t do it a lot, but not from lack of what to say. But she’s not just a girl. She’s something you whisper in your prayers at the dead of night because you don’t want people hearing you pray for something so outrageous. She’s something whispered, because her kind are not even supposed to walk earth. I knew all these just from seeing her walk in, and never had I been surer of anything.
“Do guys randomly walk up to you to ask if you fell from heaven because you look like an angel?” I blurted out before I had time to fully process my words. Slowly, she turned her head towards me, a half smile on her full, red lips. If I wasn’t distracted by her eyes, I probably would have been staring unabashedly at her lips. But as it turned out, her eyes were the source of that force I had felt and I couldn’t hold her gaze for long before I looked away. God, I was shaking all over!
“As a matter of fact, they do! What is up with that?” I saw the humor dancing in those eyes and it was at that point I dove off the cliff and started falling.
“You have to forgive them; they must have mistaken you for an angel is all.”
“And you don’t?” she raised one brow mockingly and I smiled lazily.
“I think angels pay obeisance to you.” I said matter-of-factly, and I did a mental dance when I saw her blush. I could tell that I had caught her off guard, and that she wasn’t used to blushing.
“Would you mind If I bought you a drink?” she asked and I smiled brightly.
“And that’s how I met her.” I say to the therapist, blinking slowly as I came out of the memory. It doesn’t matter that things went badly, that day still remains one of my favorite ever.
“That’s some story.” He said, his voice softer around the edges. Sappy romantic, then. “How did you go from there to…here?” he asked.
“I’m not entirely sure myself…” I begin, then changed my mind. I said I’d tell him the truth, so I might just as well get it over with. “Okay, that’s not true.” I let out a shaky breath and started again.
“We had a great time together. She was everything I ever wanted in a woman, and then more. I was in constant awe of her. Everyone that met her was, honestly. She was all my prayers answered, she was my home and as much as possible, I was everything she needed me to be.”
“What went wrong?” The therapist asks after a few minutes of silence from my end. He was almost at the edge of his seat. Literally.
“You know how they say no one is perfect, and when you find someone you like, there is usually something you don’t like about them and you have to decide if that thing is a deal breaker or not?”
“On our fifth month anniversary, I found that part of her.”
We went on a ship cruise for our anniversary and it was magical for a while. While we were having dinner, the waitress had tripped and spilled water all over her and she lost it. She had the right to be angry, you see and I wouldn’t have had a problem with her being angry. But she wasn’t angry. What I witnessed was pure, undiluted white rage, the kind I had never seen before. She started yelling and cussing the waitress out and I had to apologize to the poor, shaky waitress and send her away.
“I don’t want to eat again, I’m going back to our cabin.” She announced and walked away, brushing me badly as she passed. I was too experiencing a range of emotions- surprise and anger being the prominent one. If I had known then that fear would be a wise addition to the cocktail, I would have added a healthy amount. But I didn’t know better, so I followed my woman.
“How dare you take her side?” she yelled the moment I closed the door behind me.
“What? Babe what are you…” before I could go anywhere with that, I felt more than saw something sail my way and I ducked instinctively. I was fast, but what she threw still hit the top of my head. Only when I heard the ‘thump’ sound did I turn around to see what she had thrown.
“You threw your shoe at me?” I asked her incredulously.
“You deserve it! You were practically begging for it when you took her side.”
She continued yelling at me, but I stopped hearing her words as I thought about how something so beautiful could transform into this creature in front of me. I was more confused than surprised or angry.
“She had a bad temper?” the therapist asked.
I shook my head sadly. “No, that’s not it. Sure she had a bad temper, but it wasn’t just that. It’s something much worse.”
“How did you move on from that first incidence?”
“Well, I walked out after that to catch my breath and make sense of things. She came looking for me, and I could tell that she had been crying- she hardly ever cried.”
“Babe, I’m sorry I acted like a jerk. I have no idea what came over me. I would never forget myself if I had hurt you, please forgive me.” She said when she found me. She was still wearing her ruined dress, her makeup had smeared badly and she looked like shit.
“I’m sorry, I really am. I get like that sometimes, shit. I’ve been working on it and I’m sorry you had to see that side of me. It will never happen again, I promise.” She burst into tears and I pulled her into a hug. I hated to see her cry, even then.
“You forgave her?”
“Of course I did. It was a hard discovery, but I found more things to love in her that more than made up for her temper, and she told me she was working on it, so it was only logical.”
“How did we end up here, then?”
“Well, she didn’t stop, and I didn’t let go when I should have. I guess that when you love someone, you kind of just want to stick with it. Through thick and thin.” I shrug nonchalantly and he regarded me with a sad smile.
“No. Not if there is the possibility of them putting you in harm’s way.”
I shrug again and continue. “It got much worse from there. Some days, she would flip out and I’ll end up with a split lip from her head butting me and on one particular day, she chopped off my finger.” His eyes went instinctively to my hands, and when he noticed the stump where my left middle finger should have been, his eyes went wide.
“Surely you ended things after that.”
“You would think so.” I said drily.
“To everyone else, we were the perfect couple, and for the most part, we were. I retrospect, however, I don’t think that’s why I stayed.” Admitting this part had to be the hardest thing so far. Not even admitting to the fact that I murdered my girlfriend was this difficult. I paused, took a deep breath and tried again.
“I stayed because I didn’t know how to tell my friends and family that I couldn’t be with her because her temper scares and she hurts me. I told a friend once, jokingly and quickly learned that you don’t tell people that a woman physically abuses you. You just don’t. How then do I tell my mother, who was so deeply in love with my girlfriend that I broke up with her because she might look like a miracle, but she really is a monster? How could I have told anyone that, uh? Tell me?”
It took him a while to realize that it wasn’t a rhetorical question. I really wanted to know.
“In this part of the world, it’s a rather difficult thing to do. I agree.” He said finally.
“In any part of the world. Anyway, losing my finger wasn’t the worst thing she did to me.” I announce grandly.
The poor man shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “It wasn’t?”
“Oh, no. She poisoned me one time, out of spite. I vomited so much blood I started to think that’s all I was made of- blood. Surviving that is the second miracle God granted me.”
“First, you need to stop calling her a miracle, and secondly, why did you forgive that?” his eyes were wild and terrified…for me.
To be continued….
Score- Cherry Wine, Hozier.
Image Credit: Playbuzz