Gone by Theophilus Enemali

GONE


                           Theophilus Enemali


I stared into the misty air to face the reality of my life and to accept the demon of a Solomon as my husband, and then I realized that my sweet gentle soul, Robinson, was gone forever. I saw this as a failure in my wisdom, a disaster in my decision and a deep lack of  intelligence that had left me emotionally malnourished.                                                                                                                 

It was the third time in a week that Solomon had beaten me to coma. Our wedding was only three weeks old, and the supposed honeymoon seemed to be without the brightness of the moon and the sweetness of honey. I had never imagined that life would end in this beautiful rich home bereft of love.  I  had lain on the floor with rolling tears and fumes from my mouth, my blood ran through the white tiles on the floor. I jerked in a convulsive manner. Solomon had cleared my legs off the ground again but it was more disastrous this time, as my head hit the floor, which made blood gush out of my nostrils. Solomon didn’t bother about his action; he drove off to the club just a moment later. We had had a mild altercation about him clubbing every night. But I risked the worst anytime I  attempted to right what I felt was wrong in the life of my husband.                 


“Nonsense, crazy little girl, I was clubbing before you turned ten, how dare you order me to stop having fun? Oh you think you can turn me into a teddy bear that you can have permanently stuffed within the bedsheet? Rest your crazy head there, fuck ya! It’s Friday night and the hell if I do not do as I wish, see you in the morning!" He shouted and walked out snatching the keys to his two months old Ferrari from the table.


I found it difficult to believe that what was happening to me was real. The next thing I heard was  the quiet revving of a car engine and then the car driving out very fast. I moaned in utter  pain while the blood went on flowing from my head and nostrils.    

                                

After a few minutes, I  regained slight consciousness and tried to reach for my phone to call my  mother. I had concealed the unimaginable for over three weeks and I was tired of it. It was then, that I realized that my dragon of a husband had smashed my iPhone7 on the floor and had it broken. He wouldn’t feel any remorse, after all he had bought it for me on my last birthday, shortly before the wedding. This was typical of Solomon, anytime he got angry, which  often happened, the only valid venting of his anger would be by breaking glasses and flying them in the air of the sitting room, or by breaking the plates and swelling up in roar like a lion. When this happened, I would run to my room and lock my door, panting and crying. He had once flung a broken piece of glass that cut through my right arm.


When I saw that my phone had been broken, I knew that the devil in the head of Solomon had come alive that day in the fiercest force. I lay back again until I eventually gained full control of myself; I picked my little Samsung phone to call my mother. I needed someone to talk to, and my mother had always been my soothing confidante.


“Hello, hello! Mummy, good evening, can you hear me?” I said with a shaky and fainting voice.


“Hello Emili, what is wrong with you? You are not sounding fine.” my  mother inquired.


She loves to call me Emili, my native name. She hardly called me Lynda, and I have come to distance myself from the name.


“It is Solomon, Mummy I’m tired of everything, am returning home or else, they will call you soon that I am dead.”  I said in the midst of tears.


“Calm down first and tell me what happened.” My mother beckoned. She was always soft spoken and calm.


“Mummy, every argument ends in a fight. As I am talking to you right now, my body is drenched with blood from the injury on my head, Mum, I can’t take it any more.”  I  said as my voice rang louder in deepening tears.


“Just calm down, let your daddy return first. We would discuss it and call him to order. You can’t bring shame to us by packing from your husband’s house in less than just a month after the wedding.”                   

                                                                         

My mother had said in an angry manner. They had felt I was impatient in dealing with people's shortcomings. But Solomon's shortcomings were a long list of intolerable acts already.


I disconnected the call and went to the bathroom for a quick shower to  clean off the fumes and blood. Whenever my husband beat me , I would not only cry but I would also strip naked and lie on the bed, I felt clothes were constricting, so that I could feel the emptiness of my life, the hollowness and the meaninglessness, which the enticing wealth got me into. Then; like an uncontrolled emotion; I would begin to think about Robinson, my former boyfriend, who had loved me without any form of reservation. He was a perfect gentleman with a beautiful soul, that any woman who desires true love would love to have.  But one thing was wrong, just one thing, too vague for me to see. The cloudy future was bereft of a shiny light of fortune.


There seemed to be no easy path forward for Robinson to give me the desired rich future. So when I got a job as a marketer in a radio station in Lagos, I had to work hard to impress my boss by turning out good number of adverts and public service announcements. That was how I met Solomon, my husband. Who had spent almost ten years in America as a drug kingpin and had returned to Lagos to start a cement factory called ‘Gidi Cement.' He bought  two blocs of oil wells in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.  He had told me he made his money through drugs, but that he had turned a new leaf. Solomon had money and what money could buy, and he was simply irresistible to those that needed what he had.   

                                                                             

Robinson was in Abuja, trying to find his feet and his bearing into the future. He was just a barber, since he could not get a decent job after graduation. A poor profile that I was trying to escape from. He was determined and hopeful that someday, he would make it big, how soon, he wouldn’t know. He had been an underground gospel singer, performing for free at gospel concerts and crusades. But his talent seemed not to be fired up to gain popular attention yet.


When Solomon came my way, I was quick to behold the glints and glamour of his enormous wealth. And my world and that of  Robinson became as wide as the distance between Oshodi and Lekki without a Third Mainland Bridge. We went from an unnecessary argument to an accusation that made me accuse him to be too attention seeking, which of course, he was not. He was just a warm lover with a tender heart. And like a fading flower, our love for each other waned and faded, but Robinson hoped to pick the sliced pieces of his soul up and mend his torn heart. That was four months ago, just two months after I had met Solomon.  I felt sorry for him but I couldn't help it then.

                                                                                  

I lay on the bed and cried my eyes out. Robinson had never beaten me, no matter the argument and now I wished I could turn back the hands of time. I thought of several way of how to get out of my situation, from the least dreadful to the most dangerous such as suicide. My parents were bent on having me continue with the marriage no matter what, not because they were hopeful that Solomon would change for good, but they wouldn’t love to stop the flow of his milk of human kindness. There was something very spectacular about Solomon, he was very generous, he gives out, and hates to see people going through pain. But when he got angry, the demons in him would come alive from the abyss of hell. My father in particular wouldn’t let me walk out of the marriage because he believed that women must learn to tolerate and compromise. I thought for a long time and cried all through, until I finally slept. It wasn’t quite long after then that I heard the loud voice of my husband who had just returned from the night club at 4: 30am, towards the early hours of dawn.              

                         

“Hullo! Hey, would you come and open this damn door  before I knock it down?” He shouted.


“Hey, Lynda, why would you lock the owner of his house outside? Open this damn door now or…”


He had ordered with a drunken voice and with near breathlessness. And the banging of the iron door, jolted me off the bed. I dashed out of my room in fear to open the door but I found my husband sitting on the ground, drunk and tired, this had always be the situation each time he went for clubbing. He would return in a differently unattractive manner, smelling of cigarettes, alcohol, and dried sweat that had been emitted from a near non-stop dance at the club.


Idoko, his closest friend and the manager of his cement factory was a clubber as well, but one thing separated them. Idoko would never beat his wife who never let a quarrel pass her by. Now,  I wished I never made this choice. I could perfectly remember that rainy Tuesday afternoon, when I visited his company, prospecting for adverts from Solomon's Business Venture. I couldn't tell what actually attracted me beside his wealth. It was not his American accent that even moved me, I couldn't tell if it was the tip that was way larger than the services that tripped me. But I knew I saw a light that seemed aflame with a candle of love in his eyes. If only I knew it wasn't a real light of love, I could have made a  happier choice.


I looked at him lying in disgust and shame on the ground in the lobby of our house, I had to help him anyway to his room. This had been an awful recurring event every other night with perhaps a skip of two days in a week.                                                                                                        

When my father called me the following morning, to confirm what had happened, my anguished seemed to double up to a deep depression and frustration when he put all the blames on me.


“He goes to club every time? Is that a problem? Is he not providing all the needs at home?” My father inquired.


“Daddy you will not understand, he gets angry unnecessarily and beats me up.” I said in pain and wished he had seen my injuries.


“And that is because you talk too much, he is a man, let him be!” My father added in a near thunder.


Solomon had bought a car for him just a week ago, and everything seemed right to him and not even the blood that gushed out of my head as a result of the beating was wrong.


I looked into the nothingness of the air and the meaninglessness of my life in this caged rich home that gave me nothing but sorrow that seemed to take all my energy away. The terrible feeling of men being always right even in the midst of their disgusting attitudes rendered my world too narrow, too bottled up and I couldn't understand why I should be on the compromising side. I was not surprised at my father’s response. Years ago, he had beaten my mother because she had complained of his extra marital affairs with a widow that was just some three hundred yards away from our apartment.


I honestly wished I could journey into my past to change my present and my future. I didn’t tell Robinson of my wedding, I had earlier blocked him from every social media. Two days to my wedding, I sat close to  Solomon,my husband to explain to him all my relationship status with all my six-hundred and twenty Facebook friends. And anybody whose relationship to me was not clear and understandable was either unfriended or blocked instantly on the orders of Solomon. Robinson was the first to be blocked because I had told him about Robinson.              


“First name on your facebook friend, Abubakar Dimgba, who is he to you?” Solomon inquired.                                                                                


“My university friend.” I replied.


“Just block him, keep scrolling and keep blocking all males except the one you can convince me of your relationship with.”  He ordered.                                                                                       

That was how he ordered the blocking and unfriending of many of my friends on all social media. Solomon was possessive. The kind of possession which took away my humanity and femininity.                                                                    

I felt I was in the loneliest zone of luxury, which never  appealed to me anymore. I had a lot to store in and I couldn't tell if I would be fed up or filled to the brim or when my patience would grow weak. It was not even Solomon's huge body and his bad breath I needed to deal with alone, nor his animalistic body movement that drove away all feelings in bed during intercourse. He was too quick, too uninteresting and every feeling was more laborious than sensual.  It was not just how irritable the consummation of our marriage was to me, which seemed too uninteresting for any pleasure. I had to endure also the battery, the beating and the pain all my life. It continued intermittently till I got pregnant. The first months of my pregnancy was the time I could remember that Solomon was human. He started caring more, understanding more, staying more at home. But in the seventh week, he got angry again because dinner was served late. He forgot about my condition and had me beaten once more. I cried my eyes out and I started thinking of leaving to a faraway place more seriously than ever. Maybe not just leaving or relocating, perhaps I could  transit to another state of life. I was thinking of how to think and what to think.


The beating was heavy and merciless that I noticed an unusual flow of blood from my thighs later that night, and that was how my seven weeks pregnancy vanished. Every sad moment would make me remember Robinson, who would never have been so inhuman to do all the evil things that Solomon was making me to go through.                                                                                                

I turned on the TV one Sunday morning and saw Robinson performing live in an African Gospel Music Fiesta in South Africa. I had listened to many of his songs, and I loved them. It was not just that I loved the songs alone, but the songs comforted me in my accepted affliction of painful marriage to Solomon. I wished I could hear the jokes of Robinson, again. I wished I could read all his love poems for me. I wished we could play together again, hang out, play-fight, talk about every interesting issue, ride the horse on the beach, follow him to the studio to produce some beats and feel loved. Even some few occasions, I had visited him in his barber’s shop with boys talking and laughing and cracking jokes that I loved. I wish I could breathe the air of freedom again.


Robinson was a songwriter and singer but every once in a while he wrote great poems for me. And I loved them a lot. I thought about the happy memories of fun, the love shared and given, the sincerity of his love and his too much care that almost astounded me and made me felt super special. But these are mere memories now. I stared into the misty air to face the reality of my life and to accept the demon of a Solomon as my husband, and then I realized that my sweet gentle soul; Robinson; was gone forever.

Theophilus Enemali

MEET THE WRITER

Theophilus Enemali holds a degree in English Language and Literature. He is the author of the novel entitled HOMESICK IN PARADISE. He is currently a post graduate student of Applied Linguistics and English Language Studies. He hails from Ibaji, Kogi State, Nigeria.