Home / Chronicles / IN BAD COMPANY

IN BAD COMPANY

You may feel weak, but within you is the strength to leave, within you is the strength to overcome and achieve that which you deserve. – Stories of Survivors.

*

“Ada mummy, my daughter, nne zanum, answer me now…” Mama cajoled beside her in the backseat of the car where the two women were seated.

“Yes, mama…” Adanne said with grudging reluctance.

“You need to stop sulking like a small girl, my daughter,” Mama chided, adding a smile to take the sting away from her admonishment. “You are no longer a girl. You’re a grown woman, and part of being an adult is to shoulder a lot more responsibilities and endure certain situations.”

Adanne sighed wearily, and maintained a deadpan look on the window beside her, staring resolutely at the traffic threading this way and that on the expansive thoroughfare of the Lekki expressway. She was tired of protesting her mother’s unwavering reasoning. She was resigned now.

“You have to learn to be patient,” Mama further counseled. “These things, they are not rush-rush; you don’t deal with situations like this with hot blood. You’re a grown woman now, a wife, and given some time, a mother too. Eh, nne…” Mama smiled indulgently as she lifted her hand to pat the side of Adanne’s face. “Or don’t you want me to carry my grandchildren?”

“Of course I want you to have your grandchildren,” Adanne groused, jerking her head irritably away from Mama’s touch. “But it’s just –”

“It’s just nothing,” Mama interrupted. “This is only a minor thing, nothing the two of you cannot work out.”

“Mama, he beat me,” Adanne interjected, finally turning her head around to face her mother. “He beat me. That is not a minor thing.”

“Come on, will you shettup your mouth!” Papa barked from the passenger side of the front seat, turning his head to plant a beady gaze on her. His thick brows were crocheted with displeasure over his eyes – those gimlet eyes that Adanne had come to both love and hate over the course of her twenty-seven years as his daughter.

“I say, will you shettup!” he snapped again. Then, in a mocking falsetto mimicry, he said, “That is not a minor thing!” Reverting back to his normal voice, he thundered, “What do you know, you this child!”

Adanne quailed inwardly, back from his fountaining wrath, staring miserably at him as he railed on.

“Look here, Adanne, it’s bad enough that you are my only child –”

“Now, what is that supposed to mean, Ebubedike –” Mama cut in tersely.

But Papa barreled past her interruption like a freight train, still addressing Adanne, “But you must not bring disgrace to this family, you hear me?! I will not allow it!”

“But, papa, what disgrace have I brought to this family!” Adanne flared, as some indignation sparked to life within her. “How is it disgrace when your daughter comes back home with bruises after her husband has finished battering her like she’s a punching bag. Is his lack of self control now my fault?!”

“Adanne, keep quiet and mind the way you talk to Papa,” Ndubuisi’s deep baritone scolded from the driver’s seat. Ndubuisi was her cousin, the oldest of her paternal cousins, who fancied himself one of the elders, because of his seniority. He was married, with a first child who was already in his final year in Primary School. All her other cousins were either single or married with children who were toddlers.

“Leave her!” Papa roared. “Just leave her, the disrespectful girl that she is. I’m sure that is how you disrespect your husband to provoke him to the point of…of…”

“Of what?” Adanne sneered. “You can’t even say it, can you? Papa, he beat me, when I’ve been nothing but a loving wife to him. Emenike beat me, and has been doing so for quite some time. Why won’t you people listen to me!” Her voice had become a wail, and she looked despairingly at Papa.

The man stared beadily back at her for a moment, before turning back to face the windscreen, effectively shutting out her despair.

Even after all this time, Adanne realized then, pushing a lump down her throat in a hard swallow, even after all this time, Papa could still not forgive her for being the only offspring he sired. Growing up, she’d always known Papa’s resentment, more than his affection. Even as a small child of five years, she could detect the tensions that existed between her parents when a sibling wasn’t forthcoming. At first, Mama had been blamed for her lack of further productivity. But Papa loved Mama too much to let her suffer the inculpation too much. And then, when the uncles from the village started murmuring about the possibility of her being a spirit child who had come first and locked up her mother’s fertility, Adanne soon found herself getting whisked from one spiritual home to another, where wizened ministers muttered incantations and beseeched her to be merciful to her mother. She was seven then, and absolutely bewildered by the events surrounding her.

With the passage of more years, her parents resigned themselves to parenting just one child – a daughter. And she overcompensated for what she perceived was their loss in everything she did. She was dutiful, well-mannered and excelled in her studies. Mama was always easily impressed by her aptitude. Papa remained slightly detached. The day she made Papa beam a smile at her and call her ‘My daughter’ with an effusive tone was when she and Emenike, just then affianced, came to see her parents.

Emenike was the kind of young man every family hoped for their daughter – good looking, entitled and from an affluent background. The wealth of his family was new money; it didn’t date back several generations, but it was respectable enough to impress Papa, who could be quite elitist for a man who lived on modest means. She met Emenike during her National Youth Service term in an oil corporation, where he was a staff member, and they soon started dating each other. She quickly fell in love with him, and their relationship became such a whirlwind of passion and bliss, that when he proposed to her on their eight-month anniversary, she was bursting with her Yes. Their families approved of their union, and the nuptials sped by with an extravagance that made Adanne positive she was journeying into marital bliss thenceforth.

That belief was shaken five months later, when Emenike first struck her. She’d just had her long, lustrous hair barbered to a stylish low cut that she’d spied a female celebrity wearing on a fashion magazine. She loved the hairdo and promptly fixed an appointment with her hairdresser. She returned home in high spirits, which were dampened when her husband took umbrage with the haircut. Bristling in the face of his wrath, she snapped a rejoinder. She was still talking when his hand flashed out. And Adanne found herself thrown down against the sofa, her face stinging from the slap he’d given her.

“Don’t you ever,” he’d said then, viciously so, his eyes glittering with an expression that was alien to her, “ever talk back at me when I’m talking to you!” And then, he turned and left the room.

That singular event unlocked in Emenike the demons that had been lying, waiting out of sight, for all the time Adanne had known her husband. The assault started with the infrequent times he struck her across the face during arguments. And then, it graduated to the beatings, altercations which had him pummeling her with cold precision, knowing just where to inflict bodily harm on her, which would remain imperceptible to the unobservant eye. Adanne quickly descended into pain and misery, her body protesting from the agony each time she had to drag herself out of bed, and her heart aching for whatever she’d lost each time she glanced at the beaming couple posed on her wedding portrait.

Who were those people, she often wondered as she stared at the picture. Why were they smiling? What was their joy? And why was that joy elusive to her?

She often flirted with the thought of confessing her travails to her parents, to Mama. But when she pictured their disappointment, when she thought of the shame they would make her feel for kicking up a fuss in a seven-month-old marriage, she resisted the temptation. She didn’t even tell her friends. She simply became more adept at masking her bruises with makeup, perfected the art of plastic smiles, and prayed fervently for her husband to change.

He never did. Emenike continued beating her, determinedly seeking out even the littlest reasons to take out his demons on her. The final straw was one afternoon a week ago, when she’d gone out to shop for some foodstuff at the mall. She ran into some girlfriends, and they interrupted their errands to share some gossip and drinks. Adanne wasn’t expecting her husband home for lunch, so she didn’t mind that the gabfest ended by 1.30pm, and that she drove into her compound by 2. Her blood however ran cold when she saw Emenike’s car parked in the driveway. Panicked, she grabbed her purchases and fled into the houses, already bursting with profuse apologies even before she saw him.

The words were flying from her mouth when he descended on her, grabbing her by her neck and shoving her against the wall. Then he leaned forward until his face was inches from hers. The pupils in his bloodshot eyes were dilated, and the tendons in his neck were swelled. The look he gave her chilled her as he tightened his grip around her throat and began to squeeze her carotids shut. She struggled and tried to scream, flailing wildly with her hands as her vision began to swim.

Then, with a frantic burst of energy, she raked her fingers across his face. He shrieked from the pain, released her neck, and followed microseconds after with a backhand blow that sent Adanne flying away from him. He didn’t touch her then. He simply glared hatefully at her and walked out of the house.

That look made Adanne realize that the man she loved and married was gone. The realization galvanized her into action. She packed a small bag and fled from her home, back to her parents in Asaba.

Their reaction to her story was exactly as she predicted. They were thoroughly displeased, not with her husband, but at her. Mama tempered her vexation with some consolation, while Papa maintained his outrage. At first, they believed she’d embellished her plight, and when she revealed her contusions, they became sure she must have been a bad wife, the type that constantly provoked her husband.

It took all of a week before they were able to browbeat her into returning to Lagos. They made the trip with her, and now, as Ndubuisi steered his vehicle into the driveway of her house, she felt a peculiar darkness settle in her heart. Emenike’s car was parked in front of the porch. He was home. Her heart began to hammer as Ndubuisi turned off the ignition and everyone opened their doors. Frissons skittered over her skin, and her palms became clammy as she picked up her bag from the boot. Her steps were leaden as she led her party toward the house. Some distant, remote part of her mind was trying to send her a message, trying to communicate something of cosmic importance to her, but the hammering in her heart which was resonating in her skull was too pronounced for her to concentrate on anything else.

Emenike was seated in the living room, work papers spread out over the centre table before him. He was poring through them as they filed into the room. He barely registered surprise at their presence, and his expression was glacial as he acknowledged his in-laws. He ignored Adanne.

Everyone was settled into the plush sofas, before Papa launched his reconciliatory speech. We are very sorry, my son… Forgive Adanne… Take her back… She’s still your wife, you know… We have talked to her… she now knows her responsibilities to you… Let’s not bring shame to our families… Just be patient with her…

Adanne listened to Papa drone on, feeling her resentment smoulder within her. Then feeling a small frisson race up her spine, she turned away from her father to her husband, catching his gaze on her. His expression quickly shuttered, and he looked away.

“Papa, I’m not sure I want to take her back in this house just yet,” his voice rumbled as he addressed her father, getting to his feet as he talked.

“Ehn? Mba nu,” Papa protested. “No nau, my son. We have come all this way so you two can get back together. My son, bikonu… Just cool your temper and take your wife back. Ehn? Just forgive and forget.”

“Yes, my son,” Mama interjected. “Gbaghara, forgive, oh nna. We have spoken to her, and she’s now ready to become the wife you married. Are you not, Adanne?” Mama queried, turning a hard stare to her.

Is he ready to become the husband I married? Adanne silently fired back in the quick moment it took for the two women to stare at each other, locked in a silent battle of wills. Adanne wanted to resist. She wanted to say no. she wanted to get to her feet, scream at all of them and run from the house.

But she didn’t.

Instead, she murmured, “Yes, mama.” Rising to her feet and turning to Emenike, she said, “My husband, my darling, please forgive me.” She advanced toward him.

“Don’t come close to me, Adanne,” he said in a low growl. “I can’t deal with you right now.”

“Please, let’s just put this behind us,” she said, still walking forward. The darkness intensified in her heart, begging her to stop, to get away. But she ignored it. She couldn’t keep disappointing her parents. She had nothing without her husband. She had to stay married. “Please, my darling. We can visit a marriage counselor. We can work on changing –”

“I don’t need changing,” Emeka bit out. “You’re the one who keeps doing things that get me angry –”

“But that’s the point,” Adanne cut in. “I’ll work on my attitude, and you can work on your anger –”

“So you’re saying it’s my fault now?” he said testily.

“No, I’m saying we both have to contribute to make this marriage work –”

“Wait, is this supposed to be your idea of an apology, of asking me to take you back –”

“Emenike, you have to stop being like this –”

“And now, you’re talking back at me?!” Something snapped in his eyes, and Adanne was afforded a glimpse of the fire banking in there, before he snarled, “You bitch!”

And then, he let fly with his hand in a blow that connected with Adanne’s face with brutal force, smashing bones and sending her whirling in a rapid, macabre dance mid-air, before she crashed on the centre table with its papers. The glass top shattered under her crashing weight, and blew out into smithereens, causing her neck to crack against one of the wooden legs on her way to the ground.

Then she fell to the ground. Her body laid still, a spread-out heap on papers and glass, her head was craned at an unnatural angle, which placed her face turned toward her family. And her eyes stared sightlessly, but with a certain quiet accusation directed at their horrified faces.

I am @Walt_Shakes on Twitter

 


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

Check Also

NOT JUST ANOTHER HORROR STORY

The period was June, 2006 in Ibadan. My husband, Owen, was in his service year ...

49 comments

  1. Wow. Had tears in my eyes. Domestic violence is real. A friend is going through this and i have encouraged and begged her to leave, but she still insists on staying wuth the “animal” in human form. Will send her this link. Thanks Walter.

  2. Jeez *shudders…I didn’t see that coming. All these parents sef…forcing the poor girl to her death for grandchildren they’ll never see and respect they just lost. I hope they are happy now, watching their son-in-law kill their only daughter…and I hope the guilt haunts them forever.

  3. One of the reasons why one is terrified of getting married. Easy to say come out of the marriage if you are not the one there. It’s never easy.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      It’s not easy, yes. And that right there is the rationalization most victims fall back which paralyses any decision to get out. It’s not easy. Courage is not an easy virtue. But it’s a necessity.

  4. Wow. This is really sad. Now I wonder what Adanne’s parents’ reaction will be. Mtcheew.

  5. And they sent her 2her death! Unfeeling parents…now they are childless without any grandkids. #sobs# The agonies most ladies go thru…smh

  6. Well there’s a happy ending. She was a good daughter and a respectful wife till the end.

  7. You know what? I can’t deal….. I just cant!

    Thunder, Egbe, and everything evil will faya that man and her family! Nkita lacha ha anya…

    I told my Mum, any man that hits me, i’ll break his head! Its a promise!
    Imagine my neighbour beat his wife because he was at the gate, on his motorcycle, honking and she didn’t open the gate for him… MOTORCYCLE o!!!

  8. Now they can have as many grandchildren as they want…

  9. “Who were those people? Why were they smiling? What was their joy?”

    Perfect conclusion to a heart-wrenching, tragic tale….it’s sad that certain lessons have to be learnt (in this case, by Adanne’s parents the hard way. Heck, there is a reason the law provides for divorce, or better yet, judicial separation!

  10. I saw this coming. Infact, I saw worse. I saw Adanne silently preparing dinner and lacing it with a great deal of sleeping tabs. I saw Emenike in deep slumber and I also saw this nightmare end in a murder-suicide!!!
    What in the frigging blazes were her family thinking?
    I hope they get to live with that macabre picture… Idiots!!!! #ProjectRAW

  11. You beat my sister like that, we both die. Me and the beater, shikena! He doesn’t know where Mayweather is?

  12. Damn! I wonder d look on Ada’s family faces or how stunned & apologetic d husband is, chai the scenerio of wat will happen next beats me. D husband’s family pay off d weak family by saying its Ada’s fault for provokinh him or d weak family finally wakes up from their slumber & see no more Ada or grandkids. Chai chai!Ada u finally disgrace ur family by leaving them with d mess of settling ur death.

  13. This was wonderfully written!… Thanks for this

  14. Jesus! Wot a chilling story. We owe it to ourselves to get out of bad situations such as this. I watched ds happen in my household growing up. But then again with 9 kids. I don’t blame her for not leaving.
    Can you blame me for being terrified of marriage. They said once you get married, the claws come out. I’m afraid I may kill one day if ds ever happened to me…

  15. enternal Hell awaits them all.PITY

  16. Uyo …my supposedly quite city woke up one day to the chilling news of a man murdered by his brother in law. Everyone blamed the guy for stabbing his brother in law to death…everyone except the nieghbours who endured the years of this pretty lady’s wails and cries for help as she was pummelled to a pulp daily.
    In this our “mind your business era”, no one dared interfere except pray that one day Mike Tyson will meet his match which he eventually did…just that he didnt live to face us,The nieghbours,as we were anxiously waiting to see his bruised face for a change.

  17. I’m glad she died in front of her family. What sort of parents push their child-only child to her death? I hope they are haunted forever. Great read @ Sir Walt.

  18. But really I’m yet to understand what keeps women in abusive relationships. Its worse when the people who are supposed to protect you expect you to endure the abuse. Its disheartening really.
    Person wey go try am come my side, God knows I’ll poison that person.

  19. Now I want to know how pleased Adanne’s father will be, how wonderful her mother would feel knowing she martyred her daughter and how they would die with family members to bury them without offspring. Finally, how Emenike will be prosecuted for life for manslaughter because the hate Adanne’s parent failed to see through their daughters eye, will give them sleepless night till eternity. This is similar to the banker’s case Arowolo prosecuted in Lagos, where people called them a wonderful couple and husband butchered his wife on his birthday while she was to prepare correct rice and chicken for husband.

    We need to remove the plank from our eyes, just for the sake of survival. Somethings pre-1980 can be worked out, but since 2000 there is no point cellotaping situations if couples will remain human and alive separated.

  20. odinma o odinma…As ADa is dead now, they can all just get back into their car and drive back home. she only died which is of a natural cause abi? she no bring disgrace, abi did she?

    These things happen!!!!!!!

    women need to start knowing how they want to be treated and work towrds bringing something into the marriage so that when you happen to come out of this kind of Ada family, you can stand alone.

    i am tired.

  21. Ii told my husband while we were dating, that saying ‘I will beat…’ Is an offence on its own with dire consequences. If I say I wasn’t scared of marriage, even though my dad NEVER beat my Mum, I’d be lying, so, I made it clear from d very begining. I will break your head when u’re not looking, and plead ‘provocation’. Mmadu ga-anwudi oh! Mtcheeew! And to think a mother that carried a baby for 9months, we through the hell we go through to birth a child will not tie wrapper on her waist and go for last fight when she hears that someone hit her baby!! Jeez Louis!! Some people are unfit to bear thae title ‘parents’, I swear down!! I don’t even know if I’m angry or sad or furious about this story! Mtcheeew! Once again!

  22. Shakes is back.

    Moral lessons:

    1. In courtship, 1 year aint enough to truely know a person (not to mention 8 months)

    2. never endure an abusive relationship. Its your life… Live it or lose it.

  23. This is highly thought provoking.

  24. This is the height biko……this our culture sef….once a lady is of marriageable age and is still single society frowns at her…..i am very scared of marriage cos once you’re in,the man feels he paid, he can do and undo bikoni…..it ain’t gonna happen…..anything that will make a man raise his hands the first time,nothing will stop him again…..yes we ladies can be annoying at times but it is not an excuse at all…..God help us all

    • shakespeareanwalter

      That’s the reasoning that oftentimes fosters domestic violence – the idea that the man paid for the woman. And really, why won’t he think that? When you consider how astronomically expensive these wedding proceedings can get.

  25. There is no excuse whatsoever to hit a woman,no matter how annoying she is or how much she deserves it. A lot of women out there are suffering silently and have mastered the art of covering bruises with make up.They need to know that there is a way out of that kind of world not out of this world in death from one’s lover.This is so sad. So so sad.

  26. That is how the devil pushed Ada to her death…like the culprits will say in their defense “it is the work of the devil”

  27. I’m soo sad…my dad can’t watch someone beat up his daughter and not react o. Me sef can’t watch someone beat my sister, I ll just tell my lawyer to get ready and do my own back. When I was younger my mom got police to beat up and lock up a relative’s husband for beating her black and blue. My hubby no go fit try am na…e know the end before the beginning

  28. You have got to be fucking kidding me!!!!!!

  29. Let d foolish parents light a barbecue fire & roast the daughter they just killed. Cos in my opinion, they killed her. @ least, if dey don’t get grand kids from her, they get to enjoy d meat. That’s how people allow appearances get the better of them. Akpamus. Mcheew.

  30. I will now go and listen to music, and watch tv, and convince myself that there are happy people out there, that this is all fiction, that no one suffers this.

  31. They haven’t given birth to the man that wants to think of beating me. In fact, before you hit me, if you throw stuff in anger, fight even your fellow man, threaten people at the slightest provocation, we can’t marry. I dont need you to hit me first, before I think you’re violent.

  32. Shit!!!! This thing just gave me goosebumps I mean what the hell. And that was supposed the way to be a good wife. women had better begin to stand up for their rights oh! Me personally can never tolerate such. my mum told me of the tale of a distant relative whose husband beat her until she died and I was like so what did you all the relatives do about it??

  33. I’ll like to follow up write-up on your platform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *