The moon illuminated half of his face, transforming him into a creature I can only describe as an angel of vengeance-beautiful, and at the same time scary. His face was as cold and distant as that of the moon’s light. His magnificent gaze was bearing down on me, and I couldn’t help but notice how even when his beautiful face is contorted in rage-rage directed at me, even when he has blood-my blood, splattered over his white designer tees (that will be hard to get out), even when he is breathing so hard because he just finished battering my body-even at that, at his worst, he still looks perfect to me.
So, maybe he is a monster, but he is still my husband, and I love him.
Hi, my name is Rose, and I am not a victim of domestic violence. I don’t belong in your circle of discontent people crying about the dearth of their loves. Is there violence? Yes there is. Is it inflicted by my husband? Yes it is, but I don’t think of it as that.
Let me explain.
I love my husband very much, and he makes me really happy. Everything he does is for my sake, and I know it. Every time he corrects me, it’s for the betterment of our marriage, and I believe that every time he corrects me, I deserve it.
I remember this one time he came to pick me up from my place of work, and he drove us straight to the airport. Yes, I protested that I didn’t have my passport, or a luggage packed, but he said he had already covered all those, and I should not to worry at all. Our two weeks together in Abu Dhabi was the best two weeks of my life. He showered me with so much love and attention that it was almost overwhelming. He said he wanted us to spend some time together, just us- no cell phones, no pagers, just us. Boy was it magical!
So, what if my beautiful man turns into a monster when I say “no” to him? What if he takes me to hell with his fists when his dinner isn’t ready on time? What if he decides to have his way forcefully when I tell him I’m deadbeat at night from a long day at work?
It’s not like he doesn’t have a reason for his actions, he gets his down days too just like everyone. On those days it is my duty as his wife to not provoke him, to do everything I can to please him. It did say for better for worse in our marriage vows.
Now, I’m sitting in a hospital bed, yet again. I must have passed out at some point, I don’t remember. The doctor just left, shaking his head at me. He asked me how I sustained my multiple fractures-some healed, others not, as reflected by my x-ray results-and the bruises on my face. I told him I tripped and fell down the stairs.
He didn’t believe me, and I don’t care.
It’s usually a different hospital every time. My fear is that at this rate, we will run out of good hospitals in the city.
I know from experience my love will come to see me. He will apologize, and with tears in his eyes, he will admit to me how he has anger issues. He will swear to me that he will work on them for my sake, for our sake. He will sign my discharge papers, and he will stretch out his hand for me to take. Hope and fear will chase each other across his face while he waits for me to make up my mind. It’s almost as if his very existence depends on my answer.
With his hand outstretched, he will say “Let’s go home baby” while the doctors and nurses look on with disapproving looks on their judgmental faces, as if to say “No, don’t go with the monster!”
I will look away from them. They don’t know any better. He might be a monster, but he is my monster.
So, I’ll take his outstretched hand, smile at him and say “it’s about time”.
And the cycle begins again.
-Shukrah Agbaje, Instagram @yasmine_shukrah