It is always said that love is pain and must be fought for. Most times, we must fight for love because it is sweet. However, my love story was more bitter than sweet. All roses have thorns and I found my thorn was more than the rose petals I saw. It was a beautiful morning. I woke up to the pleasant smell of home-cooked food. He cooked, and even though it did look MasterChef worthy, it was great to know he did. The thought of him having to wake up earlier than me just to put it together was a delight. But beyond this beautiful memory, there is nothing about that relationship I would love to remember.
When I saw him enter the room, I thought my angel had come. From that beautiful smile on his face to his sweaty bare chest muscles to the thoughts that crossed my mind of all the things that we had done the night before, I felt that being his woman was indeed pleasurable. I must say it was all rosy with no red flags. I am sure that in itself should have been my glaring red flag, but I just threw that aside. We spoke of the future while I ate. It was dreamingly as though time and tide were our servants. Everything around us stood still as we spoke. That very evening, the warmth of his hands around me and my gaze at the ceiling as shivers shot down my spine were warnings, I did not receive.
The Morning After
“Who is he?” was the question I woke up to the following morning. The cold monstrous tone of the question drove sleep out of my sight. “Who is whom?” I asked to receive clarity. Unfortunately, my answer was a trigger for more anger to rush through his veins. He fumed. His breathing increased pace. My guy could easily have passed for a Japanese manga character who had grown red from anger and was about to transform into a beast far more fearsome than the Hulk. He turned my phone towards me and I saw a notification. Staring intently, it was an appreciation message which had a kissing and red heart emoji at its end. Before I could lift my head, lightning struck across my eyes; my world had ended. The searing pain across my cheeks took ages to register as though saving the moment in the annals of time.
I was startled and unable to speak. Just then, the words of my late mother came back to me so vividly that I felt she was there with me “Once he hits you or abuses you in any way, run!”. No one had ever hurt me this way. I had it online and seen it too many times to want to remain. Strength gathered in my legs, I stood taking the phone from him and walked out of the room. I heard sounds, a voice, and some words but none made sense to me nor registered. All my body was doing was escaping imminent death. At that moment in my head, I knew I was done with him. I was done with this thorn with rose petals; but it was farther from the end than I thought.
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That evening, I received a call from a strange number. I felt he was the one, but I felt inclined to listen to what the caller had to say, as I could not ascertain who it was. Fortunately, he was not the one, but it was linked to him. As the emergency contact person, I had been called because he was involved in an accident. I found it hard to believe because he hardly drove after 6 pm since his vision at night was not clear enough. I received all the necessary details and hailed a cab to the hospital. Upon reaching the hospital, I received news that he was out of surgery and was recovering in his ward.
The news hit a soft spot for me. One would wonder why I would want anything to do with a woman-beater who cannot control his animalistic nature, but I could not bear to watch this one die. I peeped through the door of the long ward and saw him writhing slowly in his bed. I do not know what he was trying to reach, but he seemed to be struggling to get to it. Whatever it was may have been precious for him to contort his body in any painful position to reach. Immediately, I rushed to his aid when I noticed he was about to fall. What I found was shockingly beautiful! It was a bracelet I bought for him with my name engraved on it.
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Our eyes met and our history merged. He saw the care and affection I had for him, and I saw how much he needed me to be around him. Our fingers touched and it was as if nothing happened before. I felt my heart softening and myself forgiving him. I sat on his bed gazing into his eyes; and no words were spoken. Days later, I found myself in his arms again, nursing him and making sure he was all right. My resolve to let him go had dissolved slowly into the bed. I remembered why I chose him and why he was the only one who made me feel the way I wanted to. Life was back to what it used to be, but with more tender-loving care than before.
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The bliss of the current height of satisfaction disappeared early one afternoon. The issue was similar – a text from my company driver thanking me for helping him out. He mistook this help because the driver attached a smiley emoji with a red heart to it. A part of me felt rather odd and felt myself in multiple places at the same time. It all came crashing down one more time and I did not have enough time to process it because I was already on the floor recovering from the searing lightning strike slap across my cheeks. He demanded answers I did not have and locked me in when I refused to give in.
This series of toxified actions and emotions continued. I left home, but he still followed me. Every time, he claimed he owned me. “Your body is mine!” he said. He wanted me all to himself and no one else. I changed my location and yet he followed once again, making sure I knew he was around. I never felt safe again until I travelled out of the region and stayed for a while. With that, he resorted to finding my number from those close to me and stalking my social media pages.
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When it rains, it pours
I had not braced myself for this flood. I had my fair share of a toxic ex and I would never trade this feeling or anything else. No woman deserves to be treated this way, yet many relationships like these exist. He stalked me wherever I went. I found him lurking around my office complex a couple of times during lunch. After alerting the security people about him, he moved his station to the next building. He was determined to meet me alone; and I always made sure I was not alone at any time.
Until one early evening, I was getting home from work and I met him in front of the gate to the house with a smirk on his face. Charlie, I froze. I froze for many reasons and varying factors. I wanted the moment in this movie of life to skip a number of minutes, just a few.
“You cannot run away from me. If I cannot have you, no one else should.” with that, he took my phone from me and crashed it on the ground. “That should stop them from reaching you in a while. See you when I see you”, he emphasized before leaning in to whisper that I was his. I could not sleep after he left. I did not know what to do, but this was a blessing in disguise. He broke the phone so I knew I could start everything anew. Many felt our story did not make sense because he always returned apologizing for hitting me or verbally abusing me, but to me, it does not matter. Whatever the number of apologies may be, it still was not enough to fully accept him in my life. Slowly, I had lost everything I felt towards him; only pity was left.