To the girls with their hearts on their sleeves

Her eyes find him at a party; in a second, they capture hers; she’s lost in the moment… Knows nothing and everything about him.

He walks up to her, like a predator approaching the juiciest prey; she’s seen this one too many times, but in the moment, doesn’t remember the other times…

She’s at it again; laughing too loud, smiling too wide, telling too much, believing too quick, falling too fast, and staring too deep…

She doesn’t know better, doesn’t know how to love differently; if it isn’t deep, passionate and fiery, then what’s the point?

She gives too much, too quickly; her time, her smile, her heart, her secrets, her energy, her soul, her body and unfortunately, her mind…

Everyone else can see through it, can see through him… See through the flawless façade that masks his inner demons. She’s too lost in the thought that he’s all hers… she doesn’t see the first signs of the hurt and abuse that is slowly but surely approaching.

First, there is too much tension… The feistiness he once loved about her was now “Smart assed-ness”. She can’t seem to do anything right – her eggs are too salty; her coffee too bitter; her dresses too short; her phone calls too long; her friends too nosy; her job too time-consuming; everything is too wrong.

She tries to please him; learns new recipes, wears only maxis, limits calls to five minutes (even from her parents), turns off the phone altogether at 9pm, quits her job and actively avoids her friends. She desperately hopes that this will please him, but now, he wants more. He wants total control; he forces her to make more changes until finally, she no longer recognizes herself.

When there is nothing to complain about, to force her to change; he gets frustrated. Then one day, when her simple boiled eggs are too hard, he slaps her. She rationalizes the hit by telling herself that she didn’t do enough to please him. She believes that he is all she has as she’s pushed her friends and family away. She feels that she is lucky to have someone like him love someone like her… She promptly forgets her true worth.

She labors all day, one day to keep the house clean, to keep it tidy the way he likes it. She’s exhausted when he gets back home, she sets out a delicious spread, and she has worked all afternoon to prepare it. He has other plans though… He is hungry, not for food, but for flesh. He orders her into the bedroom forcefully; she tries to explain that she’s tired, having been on her feet all day. He doesn’t understand her rejection; the blood that ought to circulate in his brain has traveled down south… He wants it and will get it, however he likes. He takes it, enjoys the process of taking it and continues to take it for as long as he wants.

One day, he finds her crying. The sounds of her tears stir up something in him. Is it remorse? Is it the remainder of his conscience? He’s not sure. She says he hurts her with his words, with his actions. He comes back bearing gifts; promises that he will never do it again. He swears on his dead mother’s grave and with the names of all the gods he knows. They are in honeymoon for a week; she remembers the man she met at the party, it’s all too good to be true. He cooks her favorite meal, takes her out for a romantic dinner… She forgets too quickly, believes he’s changed and everything is back to normal.

Until one day, the devil returns.

He comes back home at 10pm to find her talking on the phone to her friend. She was telling her friend how much he had changed and how good he treats her now. She had gotten carried away and forgot to set the table for dinner. He grabs her new phone and hurls it at the wall; she looks up in surprise and expects to see her angel there. Instead, she knows that he is back. She tries to apologize quickly, but now he wants more. He blames her for bringing the devil back into him, forces her to believe that she is the cause of the abuse…

She tries to explain that she got carried away but is stopped mid-sentence by a blow only meant for your true enemy. She’s knocked down to the ground; stunned and heartbroken.

Immediately, he stoops low to touch her, shocked at what he had done. She recoils out of fear, disgust and most especially, hurt. He notices her flinch and that gets him even madder; he is blinded by the rage and blacks out. He wakes up, stares at his bloodied hands and can’t believe what he has done.

He rushes her to the closest hospital; the lie is that she slipped on some water on the ground from the top of the stairs. Everyone seems to believe. In a few weeks, she’s back home with her “angel”. A few days later, she’s back at a different hospital; with the same old lie… This cycle repeats itself over and over again… bloodied bruises one day; hospital bed the next day and flowers and jewellery the day after.

He gets better at it, knows the spots to hit to keep the abuse away from others. Knows how to control her; knows how to get turned on when she’s laying on the floor almost unconscious and knows the limit to get to before it gets “too serious” (a.k.a. death). Then one day, she’s at the market buying veggies for soup that night, when she sees a trader hawking some rat poison. She buys a number of them, but she has no rats at home – she keeps the house too clean for that.

She cooks her most delicious meal that evening; her husband’s favorite. She must do all she can to please him; she adds the right amount of seasoning and a hearty chunk of her new “secret” ingredient. She makes the bed and lights some candles for a night of ridiculous pleasure. She sits with him at the table and they both eat their fill. He notices that there’s something different about her and the meal, her eyes are dead but alive, and the food is tasty but bland. She leads him to the candle lit bedroom and has they descend into the bed; he feels the first pang of pain in his right knee; then a sudden headache. He tries to stand but suddenly feels woozy; he vomits but instead of the combo of starch and vegetable soup, there is a consistent red in his upchuck. He looks to her, suddenly realizing what was happening – the same thing was happening to her. Yet, he had never seen her look so satisfied; so truly happy.

He wants to ask why but he can’t cause his mouth is now filled with blood. She wants to tell him why, but decides not. He knows why and even if he doesn’t; he’ll eventually realize why she had to protect the world from a monster like him. If anyone wondered why she had to take her own life, they’d understand that she still felt strangely part of him. They had to go together, to continue together, not even death could do them part.

By Tomi Parker

Parker is deeply interested in telling stories about human nature and psychology. She enjoys reading books on history, psychology and philosophy. A hopeless romantic who is constantly interested in learning new things about herself. A finance professional with interest in Youth development

This was inspired by one of our book club sessions were one of our members discussed a book she was reading, Women who love too much by Robin Norwood. Thanks Parker for sharing this detailed story, you being the hopeless romantic you are!-Lee Nyenyezi

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