Red Rage.

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He came home last night. He had been away for a month, leaving me and the kids without a dime. I didn’t know whether to be angry, or happy as I heard him pull into the compound. I had been thoroughly worried about him the past days, calling and texting him without response. I feared something might have happened to him. What will I have done? Where will I have gone? He would have made the trouble much bearable if he had told me where he was going in that note he stuck to the Fridge before leaving that Sunday evening… but then, it didn’t matter. He was home. I hurried to the kitchen to rustle up something for him to eat. That’s a wife’s duty after all, to cater for the husband in good and bad times.

In thirty minutes, the table was set yet he hadn’t come upstairs. I looked through the window by the dinning room to find him seated in his car in a relaxed mood, holding his phone to his ear, laughing so gaily about something only he knew. A laughter I hadn’t heard in a long while. I strained my ears to pick his voice over the generators loud hum…

Mama, iyen o ki n se problem na. Ma to pada wa, e ma wori.

Mama? I felt a tear drop from my weary eyes. He had been with his mother all this while? Yet she gave me no clue all those lonely nights I called to seek her advice? What responsible mother allows her son leave his own home, wife and kids, to suckle from her sagging breasts after every long day at work for a whole month? He had come in now, his presence dusted with whiffs of alcohol. I shook my tears back and played the nice wife… for a few seconds.

Ekaabo.’

Ekule o. Where are my kids?’ he settled in the dinning area.

I turned to the wall-clock, it was 11:00pm and he was asking where his kids were? I chose to ignore the question. If he cared, he would have been home the past days instead.

‘I made you Eba and Efo.’ I said in reply, and turned to get him some water to wash his hands with before he asked any other stupid question.

Soon after, he had finished the food and appreciated me with a loud belch and stinking fart which both happened fast, that I wasn’t sure which came first. I swallowed it all and just mused on how a man I loved and adored so much had now turned to the insensitive bastard I could only manage to harbour. The atmosphere was laden with so much hurt and anger and hunger too. I was hungry, I hadn’t had a proper meal in a long while because he didn’t leave any money and I was saving the remaining soup that I warmed that evening, for his return. I deserved some explanation, I thought, so I broke the ice.

‘Where did you go ‘Laitan?’

He stopped fiddling with his phone and spared me an accusatory look.

‘What do you mean by where did I go? Work, of course!’ he spat.

‘Olaitan, you went to work for almost a whole month, from Sunday evening up until this Friday evening. You didn’t call, you didn’t text, you didn’t reply my calls or texts, you didn’t leave any money and you know I don’t have a job to cater to myself and the kids. Olaitan, Olaitan… is this life?’

‘Don’t start o, this woman! Let me breathe please, ‘ve only just returned.’

Tears poured down my face and my empty stomach started to wail too. It was too much to take in all at once. That was what I got for worrying over and about him for a month, in his conscious absence.

‘Olaitan, you make me cry everyday and I can’t but wish you the same kind of pain you make me feel. Olaitan, I am hungry. I haven’t had a proper meal all this time, and you know I am a nursing mother. Bolu is just 2 months old, have you forgotten? Olaitan, your children missed you. They cried to sleep every night because you were nowhere close to throw them into the air after a long day. Olaitan…’ I racked in sobs, as my voice trailed off but he just sat there wearing a stone cold face after which he stood up angrily and made to get his car keys. I crawled after him, holding on to his legs.

‘Olaitan Oribogunje, you are not leaving this house without me and my children!’ I screamed a little too loud.

‘Bukunmi! Bukunmi leave my leg. Bukunmi leave me o.’ he dragged himself on, pulling my fragile frame with him but I didn’t let go still. Toke had woken up now and was staring in horror. She cried, but I didn’t know if she was mourning her lost sleep or sad for me. Either way, I shared her pain.

‘Do your worst ‘Laitan! Do your bloody worst but you’re not leaving this house without us!’ I yelled. What more pain could he possibly inflict on me? I was numbed by weariness, too tired to feel anything more. Then he started to punch me and drag me by the hair, slapping me everywhere he could lay his palms on. I screamed to the neighbours ‘hhe…elp me! Help me from this bloody bastard I call a husband! Egba miii o!!’

‘Daddddyyyy! Daadddddyyyy!’ Toke’s screams tore at my heart and that seemed to strengthen me because only then did I start to fight back. I ran to the kitchen to grab a knife and threatened him with it. The neighbours had begun to knock on our door now but we were too absorbed in our own little world to care.

‘You’ll either kill me today or come back to your senses!’ I spat breathlessly, burning with red rage pent up from too many past years. He carried a chair and made to fling it at me, while I raised the knife in readiness awaiting his strike. That was when Toke made for the door in one swift movement because her eyes couldn’t take it anymore and like a flash before my very own eyes, she fell to the ground in a pool of blood.

Everything went stark quiet in that second. I dropped the knife quickly, and raced to my child. ‘Toke! Toke mi! Akanke! Toke!’ she wouldn’t respond. By then, Olaitan had already walked out of the house and started his car downstairs. Afraid, guilty, or ashamed, I couldn’t care why he left. The neighbours poured in now like flood, running here and there trying to revive her. But I knew she was gone, because the instant I held her, I knew she saved that last gaze for me, telling me to be strong. I wailed in my head, but I didn’t have the power to cry out.

That was a second or so ago.

I am too tired now. My soul retires. But before I slump to the ground I note that time has well passed.Β It is 12:00am and it is Valentines.

_
‘Mama, iyen o ki n se problem na. Ma to pada wa, e ma wori.’ – Mama, that is no problem at all. I will soon be back, don’t worry about it.

‘Egba mi o!’- Please help me!

‘Ekaabo’- Welcome

‘Ekule’- Response to welcome.

**

Β© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

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19 thoughts on “Red Rage.

  1. OMG! You didn’t just do that! You didn’t just create a pool of chaotic imaginations.

    What kinda man does that? And I’m starting to think the “mama” isn’t his mum.

    Btw, what killed the little girl? Did she fall from a stair or something?

    Too many thoughts are running through my mind! There MUST be a sequel!! More aptly, a whole series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my, couldn’t help it Heedriz. Guess I just did. Lool.

      Well, I don’t know how to define such men but I know they exist. And who knows? Maybe “mama” isn’t really mama.

      A sequel? Series? Hm. I’ll converse with the muses. Lool!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

    • Amity, you know the world is riddled with tons of unanswered questions. I wish I knew the answers myself…

      Thank you for reading and commenting Amity. I appreciate you.

      Like

  2. I have learnt over time that in short pieces like this, it’s best to leave questions unanswered. Gives the readers room to go town with their imagination.

    This was touching. Gory too, like you suggested. Been a while I read anything fiction and this story made me miss that life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? I have learnt that from great writers over time myself.

      Thanks for the inspiration Sage! And thanks for reading my bit. It’s good to have you on here. πŸ˜‰

      Like

  3. When the elephants duel
    The grasses underneath die.

    If only women learn to be less emotional in conflict resolution,
    If only women learn that walking away is sometimes the lesser of the evils,
    If only women stop defining themselves by marriage, and become independent,
    If only men would stop acting like neanderthals and savages
    If only men would learn to show their vulnerabilities and start having honest and sincere conversations with their wives and courageous enough to acknowledge their failings and shortcomings
    If only men were wise

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s true though. If she had just held back; Swallowed her pain, and anger for that night’s hunger, less damage would have been done…

    It could get really tempting to fight for what you think you deserve, but the true strength of a fighter, lies in his ability to hold back when people expect him to launch out.

    Thanks once again Topaz.

    Like

  5. I read this and I loved it! You are an exceptional writer who is able to weave her words into intricate webs and avenues. Stories like this must continue to be told until they are no longer viewed as “the norm”. Thank you for telling this story!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and enjoying Aderonke! I have so missed you on here! πŸ˜€

      Yes, totally, we must continue to speak for those women who feel too weary to voice out their pains. We need liberation from this kind of abuse! And we hope that soon, we find what we seek… release.

      Thank you once more.

      Like

    • Right? People like ‘Laitan abound in this world of today. May the good Lord spare us from the rot of such vicious kind.

      Thanks for dropping your thought Mr Moore. πŸ™‚

      Like

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