Aisle to Freedom
I think my ability to dust several strokes of cane is what led me here.
Pardon my manners, my name is Maya Roberts and here is my story.
I really cannot remember what my mum was like. All I remember is her smile could melt a frozen heart. She passed shortly before my third birthday and that was when my life took a horrible turn around. My dad married his mistress, who by the way had always been in the picture, barely a year after my mum’s demise. Rumors even had it that she killed my mum and the way she treated me did not make me doubt. She beat me till by body got used to pain. My new life felt like I was living in hell. By the time I was seven, there was practically no house chore I could not do. I would wake up as early as 4am to clean the house and do some light cooking. By 5:30, I’d clean the car with the aid of my very tall footstool; get dressed for school and then leave the house by 7am so I could make it to school before 8am. Despite the distance, I had to trek; no wonder I slept almost all through the first three periods throughout primary school. I had to finish my assignments before going home every blessed day because if I did not, I would not have any time to do it after closing. Do not even ask about my dad, he literally behaved like I did not exist. Some of my friends said my step mother would stop being cranky when she had kids of her own so I longed and prayed for a younger one but my dad ruined the only chance I got at it. She was five months gone when they had one of their usual fights, this time; he battered her like she meant nothing to him and the rest is history.
By the age of sixteen, I gained admission into the university and I finally had my freedom or so I thought. I was on my way back to the hostel after classes one evening when this cocky looking finalist walked up to me. Not-so-tall eye candy who had a smile just like my mum’s. He introduced himself as Tony Williams, asked if I’d like to attend his club’s rave party that weekend and I politely turned him down. Fast forward about two weeks, we bumped into each other again and became acquaintances. By the end of my second year, Tony was observing his mandatory youth service and we had become really good friends and that when he asked me out. That day, his cocky self took me on a date but instead of cutting to the chase, he kept going on and on about how girls swoon over him and how impossible it was for any lady to turn big Tony down. Weird as it sounds, I found his cockiness endearing. I remember telling him point blank “I do not like short guys, and you’re not exactly Michael Jordan; so no, I won’t join your bandwagon of swooning chics” the look on his face as his jaw dropped was priceless!
We started going out shortly after and it wasn’t long before I realized Tony was passive aggressive and would never take a “no” for an answer. I always let it slide because I had come to realize that no one is perfect. I finished from school and Tony had me placed in his father’s company for my NYSC. By this time, my step mum had divorced my dad who in turn took out all his frustrations on me so when Tony suggested I moved in with him, I did not object.
The first six months were blissful. I never knew one could be so happy. But for the fact that he got mad at me and broke stuffs a few times, Tony treated me like a queen. We basically did everything together. His parents adored me. I was literally in paradise. My life was perfect until the first time Tony decided to hit me instead of breaking things as usual. His silly mistake earlier that week had cost the company a ton of money. He got home that Friday rather gloomy, obviously still brooding over the incident. I tried to pacify him to no avail. We went to bed after dinner. He tried to get freaky around 1am and when I subtly turned him down, it was like I was in bed with a total stranger. He ranted on and on about how he owned me and how much of an ingrate I was. He rubbed it in my face how other girls were dying to have him and how lucky I was to have him. When I tried to stand up just to go freshen up for him, he dragged me back and a very hot slap landed on my right cheek. He said it was rude of me to try to walk out on him while he was chastising me. He stormed out of the room and I kid you not, my hands were on that cheek till he came back at 3am. He apologized. He said he won’t always have to hit me if I did not always make him so angry. I thought he did it to correct me out of love. He promised me it would never happen again. I believed him. He came back home later that day with a trunk filled with gifts and flowers.
Has Tony Williams changed for real? Or is there more disaster to come?
Why don’t you find out yourselves next week…
WRITTEN BY DAMILOLA OLADOYINBO