October 25, 2014 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
“Please, not tonight” she said, swatting his hand away.
She had a feeling her plea would fall on deaf ears as so many others had, but she owed it to herself to try.
His hands grabbed her to flick her on her back, but she again wrestled herself to her side as she repeated, “I am not feeling so well. Please, not tonight.”
Her plea was ignored yet again as he grabbed her with both hands and pinned her to the bed.
“Why are you doing this?” she implored.
“You are my wife. I paid for you, so you must give it to me whenever I want it” he responded.
“Please … please” she repeated in a refrain as he ripped her nightgown from her body. Her naked body laid bare before him for the taking. Thrashing about under him, she resorted to pleading once more, hoping to get through to him this time.
“I have not healed from last time or the time before that. Please just give me some time.”
His response was to place a palm over her mouth as he spread her legs and entered her. The first stab of the all too familiar pain razored through her body as she swallowed a muffled scream. With every withdrawal and thrust, the pain snaked through her body and her tears drowned out her screams.
His increasingly labored breathing signaled that her torment was almost over and with one puff, he rolled away from her and closed his eyes.
She must have laid there for what seemed like an eternity because her shivering body laid paralyzed on the bed. The lack of mobility gave her the opportunity to replay countless conversations she had had after each incident in her head.
“Mom, it has happened again.”
“Did you provoke him? You have to tone down your western tendencies.”
“Reverend, it has happened again.”
“This is just the devil trying to destroy your home. You must continue to fast and pray against the principalities of darkness.”
She resolved to do something different this time. The sound of his breathing forced her to gently move her legs over the edge of the bed. Her legs buckled under her as she fell to the floor in a heap. Dragging herself up to her feet, she steadied herself by leaning on the bed for support. Yanking the blood soaked sheet from the bed, she cloaked herself in it as she stumbled her way to the front door.
Rummaging for her car keys in the darkness, she heaved a sigh of relief when her palm closed over the metallic coldness. Quietly opening the door so as not to wake her sleeping husband, she slipped out and closed the door behind her.
Frantically looking back at the house through her rearview mirror, the house became smaller and smaller the further away she got until it completely disappeared from view. She didn’t know where she was headed, but after driving around in a haze, she found herself pulling up to the police station. Her car brought her here for a reason, so there was no turning back. Walking into the station, her eyes fell on the boldly displayed poster: “The Police is Your Friend.”
She reached to grab unto the hope stirring inside her. She needed a friend even if it was one she paid to protect her.
“Madam, how can we help you?” the policeman in the front desk asked.
“I want to report a rape.”
“Okay Madam. You have to fill out a police report.”
“Thank you Sir.”
“Do you know who your attacker was?” the questions continued.
“Your what?” he asked incredulously.
“My husband” she repeated, looking up to stare him directly in the eyes.
“My friend, don’t waste my time. How can you come here and accuse your husband of rape. Yeye woman.”
The glimmer of hope she had latched unto crumbled as her vision clouded with tears. She was not going to cry in this man’s presence she resolved, rapidly blinking back the tears. “I am telling you that my husband raped me. I want him arrested” she said, her voice rising.
“Watch your tone you woman. A husband cannot rape his wife, so carry your wahala and commot for here.”
A small group of officers was already converging a few feet away from the reception area. They muffled quietly among themselves and every once in awhile, one would look up at her, shake his head, and go back to the conversation.
“Go home to your husband” a voice called out from the group. The others nodded in agreement as they regarded her with pity.
“Thanks for the help” she muttered, bowing her head to leave.
“Take it easy” someone shouted to her retreating back.
She allowed the tears to engulf her as she sat enclosed in the confines of her car. Drying her eyes, she turned on the ignition and put as much distance as she could between her and the police station. She couldn’t wait to leave the humiliation she had endured behind.
As she drove away, a thought struck her, filling her with a sense of calmness. Driving purposefully, she reached the 24hour supermarket. She should be able to find some comfort today she imagined before alighting from her car. She was in and out of the store in a matter of minutes.
Quietly tiptoeing back to her sleeping husband, she took her purchase from the shopping bag and chained her husband firmly to the bed. Next, she took out the can of gasoline and drenched him in it. She sprinkled some on the mattress and the floor as well. Pulling up a chair, she memorized his features once again while waiting for the smell of gasoline to jar him awake.
Opening his eyes in alarm, he tried to yank his hands free of their prison.
“What are you doing?” he screamed as she produced the match box.
Holding his gaze, she smiled as the flame burst alive from a struck match stick.