I was waiting. My husband left for work and my children left for school, but still I was waiting. Why was I waiting? I didn’t know. I kept waiting. I cleaned up the mess they made in the kitchen, washed up the dirty clothes and let the dog out. Still I kept waiting. I drove to the market and bought groceries and when I got back I made lunch for my children. But still I was waiting. Why was I waiting? I kept asking myself. When my children come back from school, the wait would be over, I told myself. My children got back from school, and started chatting about their day, I told them to go shower and I’ll hear it later. They did what I told them to do. Such obedient, amazing children. I love them fiercely. But I kept waiting. Why? I was infuriated with myself, why was I waiting? What was I waiting for? They ate lunch, started with their homework and I cleaned up. I was still waiting. Then I thought something was wrong with me, why did I keep waiting? I had to keep myself busy. So, I went into my garden and started tending to my plants and vegetables. I plucked off the weeds that threatened to choke the life out of the little plants. I was ruthless in weeding. After weeding, I expected peace, I was disappointed. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why was I waiting? And More importantly. what was I waiting for? I started on dinner and when dinner was ready, I called my children from the TV room. They secretly fed the dog scraps from their plates and giggled among themselves thinking I didn’t notice. But I’m a mother, and more importantly, a woman; I notice everything.

After the children had gone to bed, my husband came home smelling like another woman. He hugged me and kissed my lips, staining me with the lipstick of another woman. He asked for his dinner and I told him to go shower while I laid it out. He did as he was told. No, he wasn’t like my children. After he sat down to eat, I realized that I wasn’t waiting anymore. I knew what I had to do. I finally felt free. And that was when I exploded.

When I woke up, they told me that my husband was dead. That I murdered him, hahahaha, that I murdered him in cold blood. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, murdered him in cold blood; they said. Why am I laughing, you ask. I murdered my husband in cold blood and here I am, laughing. Shouldn’t I be worried, shouldn’t I be ashamed, shouldn’t I think of my children? You ask me that and more. But I keep laughing. And it’s funny really, that you don’t see it, you don’t see why I’m laughing.

Isn’t it obvious? I murdered him in cold blood. What do they know? What do they know about my life since I wore his ring on my finger? What do they know about murder? They didn’t know how he murdered me with his tongue, stripping away every defense I had until I was naked and pleading, stroking his ego because he was the man. And on days when his tongue couldn’t strip me naked, he used his fists.

My husband has always been healthy, very healthy, he always had an healthy appetite and sex drive. And he worked out too.

One day, he tried to get me to work out, I quit after running a kilometer. When he got back, I almost joined my ancestors. I tried so hard; so hard to pin point the exact moment when he became Bash Ali. A few months ago, when I felt new life quickening in my womb, I thought; this was it. He would retire from winning with his fists and love me again. Oh how wrong I was. Wearing a smile in my favorite lipstick, with my face contoured to perfection, I told him I was expecting, holding the stick that confirmed that I was with child. He led me to the bathroom and almost made me drown in my own urine. But he made a mistake, he should have finished me off that night, instead he mumbled how fruitless I was giving him sickly daughters instead of healthy, strong sons. Still it wasn’t enough and he pounded on me until the new life inside me turned to nothing but blood and death. Blood and my tears that fed the hate and sorrow in my heart.

They said that I waited yesterday, until I took the hot oil from the stove and poured it all over him. Yes, I watched him shriek in pain and still it wasn’t enough. It didn’t pay for all the blood and the lives of my children both dead and living. So, I hit him once with the pan, and I felt that it wasn’t near enough, and I continued to hit him and hit him and hit him until they came to take me away.

They said that I planned it, that I waited until the right moment, until he was vunerable, these men, what do they know? They didn’t know that two weeks after burying my last child, he hit me so hard I defecated on myself. As if that wasn’t enough, as if the shame wasn’t crushing me, he made me eat it. He laughed at me as I ate my shit, laughing and moving the camera closer as he jeered at me. At that moment, I knew death was the only way out. His or mine. And damned if I’d let that uncircumcised bastard raise my girls.

The men said that it wasn’t an excuse, that that wasn’t enough reason to kill a man, to kill my husband. They said I should have reported it. How could I have reported it when he was best friends with a Sergeant? Whenever she saw my black eye or bruises, she said I shouldn’t be so clumsy; didn’t I know that I was a lady and my girls were looking up to me. That even if I didn’t want to be a lady for my husband, even if I wanted to keep embarrassing him, I should think of my girls. What would they do when they got married?

Still it wasn’t enough reason; they argued. Didn’t I at least think of my girls? Did I want them to end up like me? Of course I thought of them, of course I didn’t want them to end up like me. Left to me, I’d have continued to accept the treatment, my ‘abuse’. But he said that he was going to educate them in the ways of the world, in the things that adults did to make babies.
After that, I made my decision. After that, I started waiting.
I feel no remorse, none whatsoever. I only regret that I didn’t make him suffer as much as he made me. He screamed in pain, but it still wasn’t enough. But I feel great, I have rid the world of a worm. Now, that worm is going to burn forever and ever.

I don’t know what my future holds. But I know these men will decide. Men always decide. Before my mother passed, she said it’s a man’s world, but try not to get sucked into their mediocrity. I wonder what has changed. Is it still a man’s world or did I get sucked into their mediocrity. You decide.

Shortlisted for Stage 1 ">

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Temilade Owodunni
Temilade Owodunni

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