A letter to my abuser
I love my children more than I hate you. That’s why the knife I was holding in my hands that afternoon continued to chop vegetables instead of your heart as you said the most contemptible things. I knew you were mean and abusive, but I had no idea your reign of terror could escalate to near-death experiences, until we were forced to live in the same house for all of 168 hours of the week. That morning, however, as you tightened your grip around my neck and my life flashed before my eyes I knew something had to give. You may have thought no one would care for people like me during lockdown but you were wrong. There are.
While most families are appreciating each other more during this pandemic, ours deteriorated to irreparable damage. My hatred for you grew with every brow. I know you hate me too, and that’s fine I just wish you didn’t express your hatred in front of our children. I heard you explain to one of them:
“Daddy why did you hit mummy’s face?”
“I’m so sorry son, I didn’t mean to. She made me so angry I couldn’t help it. But it won’t happen again.”
He didn’t look satisfied with your answer, so for the next few days, he basically lived under my skirt. I suppose he assumed if he stayed close to me he’d protect me or you wouldn’t lash out. Do you ever wonder what messages you were passing to your sons? Do you ever wonder how their young brains interpreted some of the things you said to me in front of them? Do you ever wonder how your sons would react if someone made them angry? Do you ever think you were a good male role model for them?
Before the lockdown, I hardly saw you and that was ok and better. Our house was full of laughter – mine and the children, but then you’d come home and a cloud of sadness would descend. We walked on eggshells whenever you were around. For me that meant unwanted sex on a body you despised so much. There was no lovemaking. Afterwards, you’d roll over to your side and fall asleep instantly. I can’t tell you how many times I lay there feeling defiled, disrespected and most of all disgusted. Other times I would wonder how much force would be needed to plunge a knife into your heart. However, your death would not mean my freedom; it would mean my and our boys death sentences. Sometimes I prayed to God to take you naturally, that way I would be rid of you without guilt. But the thought of my children’s sadness made me pray for your safety.
The other day you shouted, “I need to get out of this fucking house”. It frightened us. Several hours later, you came back drunk as a skunk. Where did you go since all the pubs are closed? Did you go to her house? If you did, why didn’t you stay there? Luckily for me that night you didn’t want sex. I suppose you were too drunk for your parts to function properly. You snored heavily that night too. I didn’t sleep a wink. I kill you over and over in my mind.
It’s hard to imagine I once loved you. It’s even harder to imagine you once loved me. You unloved me first, and then made sure I unloved you too. What happened? When did it all change? I suppose it all started when nothing I said was clever or funny and you said so explicitly without a care in the world. Nothing I did was pleasing to you. When you spoke to me (at me) it was in a very flat affect and disinterest, therefore I changed my behaviours and myself in the hope I might do something pleasing, but nothing worked. If anything I made things worse because you developed a whole new vocabulary to degrade and demean me. It was then I started resenting you, but I stayed to keep our family together and in the hope that the man I married would return to me.
They say a global pandemic can bring a fractured family together and I hoped this pandemic would do that for us. I was wrong. Before the lockdown, your morning routine involved a shower, a cup of coffee and out the door. Now the only thing going for you is online meetings twice a day and working on your laptop. You created a whole new rule and routine – where I was banned from our bedroom between 9 and 3. You forget I too have a job. The children’s responsibility was left to me and only me. You behaved like you were the only important person in our home. You should know you are a parent first and everything else is secondary.
I know you miss your girlfriend, I miss her too. She did most of the heavy lifting in the conjugal department. When she came into our lives things improved a bit – it was like you found a new hobby. You enjoyed weekends away with her and because you felt guilty, you were attentive to us during the week. When I found out about her I wasn’t angry I was sad. I knew, instinctively, it was the beginning of the end.
I am sorry your girlfriend refused to be locked down with you and you had no choice but to come home. I am sorry she didn’t want a full-time husband, she valued her independence a bit too much.
I am more sorry that I have taken refuge, and I have taken our children. You now have the house to yourself – no more ugly nagging wife, no more screaming uncontrollable children. You can watch whatever you want now. After the lockdown, I will arrange divorce papers for you to sign. I don’t want anything. I just want me and my freedom.
You might be wondering how ‘a stupid dumb fuck bitch’ managed to pull this off in lockdown, but I am stronger than you think. I am resourceful. I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful. I am everything I was before I met you and your abuse just made me stronger.
Yours, No more
This article was first published by Estar – writer at Things I hear
Estar is Kenyan-British (KenBrit) writer with several years of experience in writing and editing. Her current online magazine, Things I hear, has been live for four years. Things I hear is all about stories – stories that not only question some cultural practices but raise awareness of societal issues that might not be obvious to all and that might cause more harm than good and debunk myths around mental health issues. The stories are told through the experiences of real people (creative non-fiction), or fictional characters with real issues to enhance self-awareness and development.
Other than writing, Estar enjoys being a mother to a wonderful daughter.
Things I hear disclaimer: Most of the stories are fictional: (other than the one to one interviews).
All the issues are real. Any semblance to real life is not intentional.