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Sunday, November 01, 2015

'I caught my husband in bed with his mistress' (4)

  •  Now my home is in disarray!
Then, abruptly, he flung me against the wall and I slid to the floor. I must have fainted for when I woke up, I found myself on a hospital bed. A nurse, who was standing by the bed, looked relieved on seeing me awake.
"Thank God, you have regained consciousness. We have been so worried about you. Let me get the doctor," she stated, before hurrying out of the room.
 It was from the doctor I heard the horrible news, that my baby, who had arrived prematurely had died.
 "We kept him in an incubator since he was premature but it was no use. He lived for just a few hours," he said in a sad tone. I turned my face to the wall, hot tears streaming down my face, feeling too drained and weak to even cry out. 
 Just then, some of my family members came into the room, their expressions shifting from looks of joy at my regaining consciousness and sadness at my baby's death. My Dad, stepmother and my brother Mike stood round the bed, looking down at me.
 "I'm so glad you are back with us, my daughter. You are very precious to me and I can't afford to lose you," said my Dad as he took my hand in his. He looked grim when I quietly narrated what had happened with my husband that had led to my being hospitalized.
"I know it's painful to lose your baby but though the water might have spilt, the vessel is still intact; it's not broken. As for that husband of yours, just leave him to me. I know what to do to him. Don't worry about him. Your health is what matters now. So, focus on getting better and everything will be alright," he reassured me. "
 But will it, I thought glumly after they had gone to see the doctor. Will things ever be the same again between Kel and I after what had happened. I shuddered, remembering the fight at home, the crazy look in his eyes as he held my throat so tightly. What if he had strangled me to death that night? It was a miracle that I was alive but that fact brought me little joy. All I could think about was losing my baby and I blamed Kel for that.
 I heard he had been coming to the hospital all the time I was unconscious and had been so worried about me. But I did not care; I did not want to see him and I told the nurses attending to me not to allow him near my room.
 Later, I fell into a deep sleep and woke up to the sound of loud voices outside the door of my room. I could make out my husband, Kel's voice among them. He was telling the nurses to allow him in to see me as it was his right as my husband.
 "She's my wife! You can't stop me from seeing her! What kind of crazy hospital is this? I will definitely let the CMD hear about this!" he threatened.
 "Sir, we are just following instructions. It's better you go back and return when she's in a better frame of mind," the nurse told him but he was not ready to budge. Though still feeling weak and with pains, I managed to get out of the bed and made for the door. I stood there silently for a while watching the argument between Kel and the nurses.
 "What have you come to do now? Finish the 'work' you started at home?" I queried, my voice seeping with anger.
 They all turned to me then.
 "Ah, baby, how are you feeling now? Are you alright?" he asked, a worried look on his face. One of the nurses bustled up to me and stated firmly:
 "Madam, you are not strong enough to be walking around yet. Go back to bed. It's time to take your drugs. Lie down and Nurse Mary will attend to you." 
 "Just tell him to stay away from me. I don't want to see him," I said as I laid on the bed.

 About a week later, I was discharged from the hospital. Instead of heading home however, Mike drove me down to our parents' house. I did not want to go home, at least not yet. I needed space and time to recover fully both physically and mentally, before seeing my husband again. I was to remain there for the next three months despite Kel's pleading for forgiveness and for me to return home.
 He also sent his relatives to plead with my Dad and I. My father who was really angry with Kel at his behaviour, was even more against my going back to my husband, stating that if he had killed me that night of the fight, 'would they be here begging for me to return to him?'
 "I gave my daughter to your son to love and care for her, not kill her for me. I lost her mother to illness some years ago. I don't want anything to happen to her. So, warn your son! He should learn to control his temper as a man," he told them.
 After some time though, my Dad relented. By then, my anger with my husband had subsided and I was ready for a reconciliation. Truth is, I loved my husband very much and I was ready to work on my marriage to make it succeed.
 On the eve of departure for my marital home, my Dad had a long talk with me.
 "My dear daughter, as you are going back to your husband, I want you to put what has happened behind you and forge on. Marriage is not a bed of roses; anyone that says otherwise is simply lying. It's full of challenges, you just have to learn to weather them. Be patient with your husband and do not provoke him to anger that might result in violence like what happened the last time. Your husband has shown enough remorse and I believe there won't be a repeat of the last incident. Be a good and loving wife to him and he will cherish you," my father advised.

Soon, I returned home and life went on as usual. The only difference was Kel, who now treated me so carefully like an egg that could break if handled roughly. He later confessed that he thought he was going to lose me when I was lying unconscious in the hospital. 
 "I couldn't sleep for days or eat. I prayed like I had never done in my life. I was so scared you might die," he stated.
 "As you can see, I'm still alive and well," I said, smiling.
 He laughed then made a solemn promise never to lay a finger on me again.
 "Never again, darling. I promise never to hit you or cause you pain," he said before drawing me close and kissing me deeply. I kissed him back, glad to be back in the arms of my man.
 That promise lasted exactly six months. Then it was back to the old Kel. He would slap or hit me whenever we had any argument. With time, he grew more controlling and dictated what I could and not do.
 I work in a government parastatal and I usually closed from work officially around 5 o'clock. But sometimes, extra work would keep me in the office an hour later. I was home late on such days and it was a bone of contention between us.
 "Why can't you be home early like other civil servants? What do you do in that office after closing? Or are you having an affair? Are you now cheating on me? Answer me!" he demanded angrily one evening on getting home later than him.
 "Kel, how can you say that? You know I will never do that! It was the traffic that made me late," I explained. But he was still furious and kept on talking about what he termed 'these so called sophisticated career city women who run around with other men and cheat on their husbands.'
 "If I ever catch you having an affair behind my back, I'll kill you with my bare hands," he warned. I kept my cool and did not say a word further to maintain the peace.

  The other woman...
 Then, I got pregnant again and this time, I was determined to keep this baby. Kel was happy at the news though later, that changed to anger when I stopped sleeping with him. I had taken the decision to keep my pregnancy safe, to avoid another miscarriage.
 "You do this all the time, denying me my rights! Of what use are you to me, anyway? Or your family? You and your crazy family are completely useless!" he raved. I ignored him and went to sleep in the spare room to avoid a quarrel and possibly another beating.
 He did not bother me about the issue for sometime and I thought he had agreed with me to cool off from sex for a while.
 Unknown to me, he had other plans. I came home one Saturday evening from a visit to my friend Trina to see my husband laughing and talking with a lady in the sitting room. I had never seen her before and wondered who she was.
 "Oh, here you are dear. This is Clarissa, a very good friend of mine. We knew each other back in America; she's in the country for a visit and she will be staying with us for a while," he stated. I greeted her then turned to my husband and motioned for him to follow me to our bedroom.
 "Kel, what is the meaning of this? How can you just bring a guest home without informing me about it?" I queried sharply.
 "So, now I have to take permission from you before inviting my friends home?" he countered.
 "That's not what I mean. You should have told me she was coming maybe yesterday so I can make preparations. It's wrong for you to simply bring her home without telling me, your wife beforehand," I replied.
 "Thank God you know your place, that you are my wife and not my mother. You have no right to question me about this issue. Instead of standing there babbling, go and get the guest room ready. She's tired after the journey and she needs to rest," he ordered. I was ready to argue with him on the matter but remembered my father's words just in time and decided to keep my cool for the sake of peace.
 That was how Clarissa came into our lives. She brought with her a new set of problems to add to the ones I was already battling with. She was the lazy type who did no house chores and expected to be served everything. Even in my condition, she never offered to help with the cleaning, cooking and other chores around the house but left everything to me. All she did all day was paint her nails and face, style her long weave and wear all kinds of skimpy and provocative clothes both at home and while going out. Then, there was her drinking and smoking habits which I found particularly irritating. 
 Kel did not see anything wrong with her smoking in the house and told me to stop complaining about it. 
 "Stop whining, woman! She's our guest. Learn to live with her, bad habits and all," he said.
  I endured, praying she would leave us soon. Then, two weeks after her unexpected arrival, I came home early from work one day as I had a bad headache. The front door was unlocked and as I stepped into the house, I could hear sounds like loud moans from the direction of our bedroom.

 I opened the door and...

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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