Little Charles’ mouth slipped off Emanuella Ede’s nipples to reveal the shinning slimy wetness of his saliva, as she gently removed his head from his feeding position. He had been asleep for over thirty minutes since after feeding to satisfaction. He had first taken custard before drinking his milk to top it up.
She placed him gently on the baby bed neatly spread out and dressed on her own bed. Then she opened his umbrella net and covered him with it. The rain had seized falling for a while and the mosquitoes were coming back. No way was she going to allow them feed off her little boo.
Emmy was tired. But she still needed to do a lot before retiring for the night. She had to wash little Charles’ used clothes, prepare her dinner and still go through her record keeping for the day’s transactions.
Ever since she got back home from her mini supermarket, which she managed with the help of two sales personnel, a security guard and a cleaner, she hadn’t really rested. She had to bathe little Charles first, feed him and put him to bed. Finally, she had succeeded with Charles. She only had to eat, bathe, and then face her record keeping before retiring for the night.
She got into the kitchen and had only made her semovita and warmed a little egusi soup from the refrigerator when the door bell rang.
She stopped what she was doing and frowned, wondering who her visitor could be, and at 8:30pm? Her heart beat doubled and different thoughts raced through her mind. None was pleasant.
Ever since she ran away from the home of her abusive husband, she had told no one, except her immediate family, where she was staying. She was careful who she communicated with because she was sure if her husband found her, he wouldn’t only forcefully take her son away, he would beat her up again and probably kill her this time.
She met Alex Obaze, her husband, on Facebook. Their social media encounter soon became a whirlwind romance. Emmy practically drooled over Alex’s pictures and when he called her, his baritone had strong effect on her senses, leaving goose bumps on her exposed skin.
The day they finally met one on one, the love between the duo was already deep. He was a fine man. Tall, ebony; just the way she liked her men. If not that she knew his profession, she could have passed him off as a wrestler, considering his physical attributes. She was not so tall; about 5ft plus. She was not so much on the slim side, but she wasn’t on the fat side either. What she didn’t make up for in facial beauty, she made up for with extra curves and brains.
She was an accountant with an insurance firm in Benin City. Alex worked in an oil company in Delta State. They were both doing well for themselves.
The couple dated for six months. Within that period though, she noticed several things she wasn’t comfortable with. Alex was only a gentle man when it suited him, or when he wanted to get between her legs. Every other time he was on her case. He controlled who she talked with, who she visited and who visited her, what she wore and even went as far as wanting to dominate her thoughts. Every resistance was met with quarrelling and insults. She would have protested, but she was already love blind and he would say sweet words to cool her down after every quarrel.
Little did she know that he was only holding back his fists, until after they were sadly married.
During their courtship days, she remembered how he kept talking about his ungrateful ex girlfriends. He complained bitterly that after all he did for them, they still left him. Of course, she now knew why they left. He was abusive, both physically and emotionally. He only told his sorry tale to extract sympathy from her and also get her to want to try to make up for his years of suffering. Little did she know she was digging her own grave.
All efforts to get her family and his to help her was futile. Alex’s family said they had been talking to him about his bad attitude towards women, but he wouldn’t listen. Her own family were in constant quarrels with him, warning and threatening that if their daughter died, he would pay the price.
But she didn’t want to die. She wanted a divorce. Alex refused. And to ensure her family do not see her again or try to take her from him, he moved away from Warri to Abuja. And then he stopped her from working. She was only allowed to go where he wanted. Example, the market.
Their marriage was only five months old, but she was sure before the sixth month, if nothing was done, Alex would eventually succeed in killing her.
All the while, Emanuella had a friend; a male friend from back in her days at the University of Benin. After school, he left the country for good, but they kept communicating. His name was Frank Eduje.
On two occasions during their young days at Uni, Frank had asked Emmy out. He even wanted her for a wife after school. But she refused. She had wanted him only as a friend and since there was nothing he could do to change her mind, he accepted her offer.
Fast forward to almost 10 years later, she was talking to him on the phone almost everyday; telling him all there was to tell and secretly, regretting she never said yes to a man who after all these years, still cared a whole lot about her. Just as she had gone on to marry Alex, Frank had also married. But they were both very unlucky with their choices of life partners.
Marrying Alex didn’t stop Emmy from communicating with Frank, secretly. He was her comfort, as every time he called, she cried to him about all she was going through. He asked her to run away from the house. But she was scared to, as she had no personal cash to support herself, no work and she was in a land she knew little about. After more pressure from Frank, she agreed to do as told, but then, she discovered she was already with child.
“Being with child hasn’t stopped him from beating you up. Why are you still in his house?” Frank would ask her.
“How do I raise a child by myself?” She would ask back. “My parents earn just enough to care for themselves. I’m no longer working, thanks to my crazy husband.”
“What if I say I’ll support you?” He sounded serious.
“I can’t put my burden and that of my unborn baby’s on you.” She protested.
“But I insist. Please. Please Emmy. You can’t go on like this?” He begged. “If not for me or for you, do it for the child you’re carrying.”
That was it. She gave in.
To be continued…