Alhaji was the head of butchers in our community and my father owed him a lot of money. He was always coming to our house to ask for his money but Papa could not pay.
One evening, after our dinner of cous cous, Papa called me and spoke to me in an unusually gentle voice. Please dont misunderstand me. Papa isn’t a wicked father but he isn’t a very kind man either! Papa said to me that night, “Salimot, my child, you know since your mother left us, I have been doing the job of a father and mother. And I think I have done a good job because I did my best to make sure you turned out to be the best woman you can be.” I nodded my head in anticipation. What was he going to say next?
I didn’t have to keep wondering for long. He continued, “In life, a woman needs three people, a father, a mother, and a husband. I am your father, have tried my best to be your mother, but I can not be your husband.”
Okay, now this is getting scary, I thought.! What exactly is he trying to say? As if Papa knew what was going through my mind he said
“U will marry Alhaji Danladi next week. “
Of all the bombshells I was expecting, this was certainly not on my mind!
Not Alhaji! The butcher! That old man! That man is older than my father!
In shock, I did the unthinkable! I openly disagreed with my father!
“Papa, I won’t marry him!”
The next thing I felt was the sharp slap I received. “How dare u question my authority! How dare you open that dirty mouth of yours to say you wont marry Alhaji? Walahi talahi, if you werent my only daughter, I would have shown you the side of me you don’t want to see! Like it or hate it, you will marry Alhaji next week Friday!”
And that was it! My wedding day was not all joyful and sparkling for me. I had to muster all the courage in me not to cry. I simply took solace in the fact it would soon be over and soon I found myself smiling! Soon it would all be over and my husband, however old, will take me to his house and take care of me!
Excruciating, painful, does not adequately define my first night in Alhaji’s house. He practically raped me! He demanded all sorts of strange things, even anal sex! I cried and begged for mercy but Alhaji would hear none of my pathetic whines, as he called it. After he was done, I cried to Allah, Why had he decided to put me through this suffering? Why didn’t he let me die in the fire that claimed my mothers life? I begged him to take my life but even Allah turned a deaf ear to my cries as I was still alive the next morning.
My life was a timetable of all forms of abuse. At night I was repeatedly raped, in the day I was made a slave. I soon forgot the meaning of happiness and I became gloom personified. A year and few months later, I got pregnant. It was bitter sweet for me. I wanted a child but not one fathered by a brutal man! I didn’t want my child to have any trace of brutality. I prayed for my child, I prayed that its soul remained pure.
One night, about 5 months into the pregnancy, Alhaji used me so mercilessly that I miscarried the pregnancy. I was beside myself with grief. The one and only thing I wanted in this marriage was gone because of this man’s selfishness, greed and wickedness! I hated Alhaji that day with a passionate hatred! Months later, I noticed I had minimal bladder control, I practically wet myself each time I felt the urge to urinate. I went to visit a doctor and I was diagnosed of V.V.F. I didn’t know what it meant, I just knew I was leaking and I smelled a lot. I thought the disease will reduce the way Alhaji used me but it didn’t. He continued treating me like a sex toy and I plunged further into depression.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident that occurred four years into my ill fated marriage to Alhaji Danladi. That night, I was feeling very very sick and he came to me for sex. I pleaded with him, explaining how sick I felt. Alhaji didn’t care, instead, he drew my legs apart and threatened to tie them to the bed posts if he needed to. On hearing this I lost my cool and fought him but he was too powerful. He made good his threat and tied my legs indeed. It was that night I decided to free myself from this bondage. Papa would not take me back but I had no other choice. The opportunity presented itself one afternoon Alhaji had just returned from his butchers meeting and wanted sex again! I tried to protest but he began beating me and I had no other choice but to fight back. I fought and fought but Alhaji had more advantage over me. Still I was determined not to let this old fool have his way.
I noticed his butchers knife on the table, where he had carelessly dropped it while demanding for ‘a good time.’ I picked it up in my rage and began stabbing him blindly. I had no intention of killing him. I just wanted him off me for good. His shouts attracted the neighbors but they could not enter the house because he had locked the door, as he always does whenever he wanted to teach me a lesson.
He lay on the floor, dead, and I stood over him, soaked in his blood, glad that I was finally free of him. I took the key from his pocket and opened the door to the neighbors. To say they were shocked will be the understatement of the century and soon I found myself in police custody. I was charged to court but found non guilty of first degree murder on the basis of temporary insanity! That’s a joke right? They said I was insane because I felt, and still feel no remorse whatsoever for killing my husband. They said I was insane because I was so deeply depressed that I wasn’t thinking.
If wanting my husband dead is madness, then yes, I am mad! If wanting that beast gone is insanity, I don’t want to be sane! Yes, I killed my husband but my sole regret is not killing him sooner!