I take your hand. You look away, I’m almost sure, you don’t want to be here. But I want to be here and I know I’ll maybe pay for this later on. You turn to me and kiss my cheek, and whisper how you love me. I try to not to smile, but I can’t help it. Damn you and your charm.
My friends look on, I can see how jealous they are and for a moment I enjoy their envy. The song “mbakubye equalizer” plays in my head. And indeed, I have, I’m so gleeful. I remember everything they said about me.
‘She’s getting old. She looks ugly, look at her long skirts, she can never get a man.’
And to my face they commiserated with me. Smiled and cried with me.
When I met you, they were sceptical, for surely how could a man like you be interested in a pauper like myself.
I was too. I mean, look at you, and look at me.
You’re perfect, I am not.
You’re sweet, I am not.
You’re beautiful, I am not.
You’re you, and I am……me
They were right to be skeptical, beneath the roses, lie the thorns. Beneath the man lies the monster.
In public, like now, you smile and hold my hand and kiss my cheek, and whisper sweet nothings. And my friends envy me. You turn on the charm which you know I cannot resist.
But when we are alone, away from the eyes, the cameras and the lights, I am your slave, your punching bag, yours to do with as you please.
People are vicious. Society even more so. They do not know, they’ll judge you if you leave and judge you if you stay.
I watched a woman be torn to shreds for speaking about how her husband used to treat her. Of course to her face they pretend to be empathetic. The media made a whole hullabaloo over the issue. And many people denounced domestic violence as an evil. But behind closed doors, she is judged for ‘leaving a man like that.’ And they wonder, ‘where, at her age will she find someone to love her.’
I once tried to tell my mother about what you do to me behind closed doors. She looked at me and burst out laughing. She then told me to stick it out and stay in my marriage, a little beating never hurt anyone, ‘after all he provides, he comes home every night and those beatings prove that he loves you.’
Except you don’t. Love me, that is. You’re not capable of it. You take and take but you never return.
But, as you keep reminding me night after night, where will I go? Who will love me? Who will even believe me? Who will fight for me. Society will judge my decision to leave.
And the sad things is I’m not really sure I want to go. So I’ll stay, I’ll smile, I’ll take your beatings and your words and I’ll wear my make up and I’ll be your loving wife, and our friends will keep envying me. I’ll stay. Because above all else, you make me a wife.