She turns towards him.
"Asewo (he continued), what do you call this?" Pointing to the food on the table
"It's jollof rice, fresh fish and dodo just as you like it"
"So because I like it I have to eat it morning evening and night"
Ladun made a mental note of the last time she cooked jollof rice - 4 days ago.
Leke gets up and asks "Daddy if you are not hungry I can eat the food" with a hint of defiance. He hated it when Dad gets like that.
"My boy don't worry I will eat it" said Demola turning to Leke while waving dismissly at her.
"So my boy was school today Son?", he continued
Saved by Leke's interruption Ladun slips away as Demola resumes to eat the food in front of him with relish.
Back in her bedroom Ladun reflects on the living room incident, feeling blank his voice echoed in her head Asewo, Stupid, Fool those were his current favourites. There were others Dog, Dumb, Retard, Bitch, A** H***, Slut, Good for nothing, Mad, Witch whatever suited his ego.
At least today was not a public display. The last time he had called her a "f******g Retard"right in front of the waiteress who was taking her order just because she asked for clarity on a menu item. The waitress turned bright red and quickly made an excuse to exit obviously embarrassed for her.
The 1st episode was after honeymoon when he shouted at her raining curses because she turned the fridge off and caused the flat to be smelling from rotten food. She felt deserving for wasting money he spent on the food. Nevertheless she was visibly shaken by the obscenities that came from his mouth the least of which was a moron. Things snowballed after that.
In as much as she tried to talk to him, he found a way to make her feel deserving of the abuse and their was always a big argument where she ended up with even more name calling.
Her mother in law claims she is too soft and should not take it to heart. Her own mother says the matrimonial home is a place of learning and boasts how she has stayed in her matromial home for 36yrs with her father.
So she keeps stomaching it, 9 years of constant degradation, belittling had left her an emotional wreck. She reached out for her medication.
She could not leave her marriage. As much as she hated what he was doing to her, she could not just think of life any other way, this was all she knew.
Of course there was her parent factors, their friends, the kids, what will she give as her excuse.
In all fairness he never laid his hand on her although she desperately hoped he would, it would be much easier.
Thinking out loud she said "I know he loves me and only wants what is best for me". It was common knowledge that while Demola was sharp, quick and very intelligent, Ladun admits that she on the other hand can be a bit sluggish. She sighed and resolved for the hundredth time to try even harder.
Demola the epitome of husband and father. When he is not abusing her he is sweet to all asundry, to the world he is the perfect example of a good husband and father. Just recently at a ladies lunch they had last month, Ivy had insisted that Debo (Ranti's husband) should take a leaf from Demola on how to be a responsible husband. Ranti's husband was a notorius wife beater, everyone sympathised as they saw the bruises Debo inflicted on Ranti and were all in unison that she should leave Debo.
Ladun had screamed at her friends "Help he is killing me", "I have wounds too","I am dying slowly" but no one heard because her lips refused to move. They kept chattering away oblivious of her inner turmoil. Ivy repeatedly insisted Debo should go and learn from Demola who was a role model. Holding on tightly to her Latte cup was all Ladun could do to keep from pouncing on Ivy and strangling the life out of her because every mention of her husband's name was making her shakes worse.
The shakes, they were really getting worse by the day
At that instance she heard Demola bellow out her name "Ladddduuuun, where is this Retard of a woman?" she jolted back to reality almost jumping out of her skin. Heart beating loudly, she said a little prayer and crept slowly to the living room to answer her darling husband.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction but is daily reality for some women.
Abuse takes different forms, the scars are similar.