Some were born strikingly beautiful, those were the type of girls that could wake up from sleep and video chat straightaway knowing they would still look perfect. That wasn’t Nkem, she worked hard to be pretty. Foundation, concealer, powder and to top it off almost always a nude lipstick. She wanted to give the air of ‘ just light make up' .
Nkem wasn’t approached often by guys she considered cute -the tall, dark and handsome guys. Her friends dated the hot guys, she didnt want to fall their hand with an any how looking dude. It was like a fairy-tale when Dike approached her, she didn’t hear much of what he said. Her eyes were busy sizing him up, the wide expanse of his chest, his beautiful smile, the height on him. She could already imagine his hands all over her. “were you born on a Sunday? “ that was the worst pick up line she ever heard, he was lucky he was such a meal.Without hesitation she gave him her number when he asked.
A few dates and it was a done deal, they were an item. Dike was more than a cute guy, he came from money as well, “what more could a girl want” Nkem thought. She did agree Dike was a little off, she didn’t like the way he pulled her when she talked a bit longer than usual with a boy or when he went through her phone checking who was hitting on her. He said he wanted to own her, to be all she needed, she thought it was cute a man like Dike wanted her, just Her.
Her friends showed concern when
She came to school with a black eye hidden behind dark shades. They could tell it was Dike at work.
She showed them the beautiful bracelet he bought for her assuring them he wasn’t really as bad as they thought. They pushed and pushed till she began to avoid them, Dike already said they were not good for her, gently they drifted apart.
All she had was Dike, he picked outfits he thought would suit her, put her on a diet so she doesn’t get out of shape and begin to disgust him.
She loved him, and besides the occasional slaps and keen protectiveness, he was good to her. She hardly had any need to call home because he took care of all her needs.
Dike asked her to marry him and she said yes. Months after the graduated, he was already a ‘man’. He had a well furnished apartment, a range rover sport and a well sitted account. The perks of being from a wealthy home. She took in not long after the wedding, Dike told her he didn’t want her getting stressed and hurting their baby, there was no need to get a job.
Chika was born, her birth gave rise to a treacherous routine. The baby was 6 months old, Nkem wanted to get a job, she tried to discuss this with Dike who didn’t want to hear it. He surprised her with the volt of beating he gave her. It continued that way-just a slap on Monday, a kick on Wednesday, flying punches on Friday. “He is not a bad person” Nkem would insist, “it’s stress from his job”. Nkem continued to say this to herself and all who cared to listen till it became her truth. She lived this truth till the day she went mad.
All days were the same to Nkem, being a housewife didn’t give one a broad schedule, all she had to do was clean, cook,look after Chika and satisfy Dike.
She woke up every morning hoping her mouth stuck to the right words and her body the right actions, lest Dike correct her in love. He wanted the best for her, she knew this. Hitting her was the only way he knew to convey his corrections in love.
Back in their university days, she looked forward to the occasional slaps that meant she was getting a pricey gift and a fairytale night as an apology.It was different now, the slaps were not occasional and no apology came with it. She had run out of stories to tell Mama obinna, owner of the supermarket down the road where she got their supplies of the scars she bore. Countless times it was the step, she slipped and fell. “Get footwears with better grip” mama obinna advised.
Nkem slept for hours after taking a dose of the pain killer that numbed her pain. She woke up to a pitch black room, felt her hands on the bed for Dike, he was absent. With lots of staggering she found her way to the door, opening it as noiselessly as possible. She was heading to the room down the hall. Chika’s room.
She hesitated at the door unaware of what lay behind it. Chika was only six, the once vivacious child had become withdrawn. Nkem felt she was being bullied by her classmates, some kids can be mean. She opened the door, he was bent over their baby. He didnt hear the door open, Becky froze at what she saw.
He had a belt in one hand and the other hand rustled between closing Chika’s mouth and pushing her night gown to her chest. He turned when he heard her shout Dike and released chika from his grip, she jumped out of the bed and ran to Nkem , holding her so tight like her existence depended on it. Nkem wriggled free of Chika and moved with the strides of a lion into her kitchen, picking the sharpest knife.
There was no sign of Dike in Chika’s room, only chika by the corner with her head on her slightly raised knees shaking. Nkem was on a monster hunt, she found him in the sitting room looking defeated and small. He pleaded with her, blaming the devil and promising to make it up to them.
It was too late there was blood in her eyes .She drove the knife right through his heart over and over again till his body lost all the fight within.