************************ “Tick, Tock, Tick Tock” – The clock on the wall talked.
I got up from the floor, pacing slowly, my clothes drenched in wet red, walls bleeding, Time barely crawling when I heard something clatter on the floor.
I didn’t turn around to look, my image on the bedroom mirror lured me… I smiled and then a thought occurred ;
“I have to clean this up, Ayo always hated red, he used to say it was a slut colour, I remembered when I wore the red dress for the kids school party and he shouted at me to go wear something less slutty” I walked towards the mirror, admiring my body, my hands drawing smooth lines up my hips, slightly stroking my pudenda before grabbing the mount of flesh on my chest, I threw my head back, reveling in the warmth, the wet red had. The words spoken by that stranger at the mall replaying in my head as I touched myself – “You are beautiful”
Its been such a long time, I heard that.
I giggled, walked in to the bathroom and grabbed a bucket, bleach and a mop. I went downstairs and turned on the stereo, letting the music serenade me as I cleaned the house. I gently removed the sheets from the bed, rolling him to the floor as I put on clean white sheets, Ayo always loved white sheets. “The time is 3pm” – the clock tocked, this time I looked at it…
I hurried my cleaning, took a warm shower and went to the kitchen to make lunch. The children will be back soon. “Hello, who’s at home” – I heard my mother in law shout from the living room and i rushed out, mama always hated to be kept waiting. “Good Afternoon mama” – I said, my knees kissing the floor in typical yoruba fashion.
She hissed at me “I picked up my grandchildren from school on my way here, is their food ready? – she said in her usual aggressive manner. My children gave me their bags and walked to the dining table requesting their food. ” Aunty Ada, I want indomie” – Kola said, my daughter shook her head in unison. “but I already made rice” – I said but no-one was listening. My mother in law hissed again waving at me to go into the kitchen and make what the children wanted.
I walked into the kitchen and began boiling the water for the noodles when I heard her scream… “haaaaaaaa, oh my God, oh my God, Haaa mo ti ku, Ayo, Ayo”
I didn’t flinch, I continued making the noodles, I could hear her calling the police but it was 4pm and the children must have their lunch before 4pm, Ayo always demanded it.
“you evil witch, you killed my son” – she kept screaming as she walked down the stairs.
I sat on one of the chairs, taking in every facet of my children, I loved them very much but I didn’t have any chance to tell them.
My mother in law sobbed softly and I could hear the police sirens as they entered the house. “That’s her, that’s the evil witch that killed my son” – she screamed, pointing at me. I didn’t look at her or the men that stood beside her. My children were the only important thing to me. “would they ever know that I am their mother, would they grow to someday love me, would they understand why today happened, have I ruined their lives?” “Madam, please calm down” – one man said to my mother in law. “I warned Ayo not to marry this witch but he wouldn’t listen” – She continued, I was unmoved, she had always been loud, at least now she had a good reason to be.
My gateman Mohammed walked towards the dining table and took my kids away
Another man in plain clothes sat near me, i knew him, he was the one my mother reported to, the last time, Ayo put me in a coma. “Ada, did you kill your husband” – he asked, as he sat on a chair near me. “No, I didn’t, he ran into my knife, he ran into my knife ten times” – I said, my face baring all my innocence.
I was arrested and taken to court. My mother wailed when she saw me, my brother hugged me, his pain seeping through his pores, the tears dropping down the side of his face as he stared at me.
Ayo finally ruined my daughter – I heard my mother say as I stood in the docket.
In court, the prosecution called me a cold hearted killer, my mother in law told everyone how her son cared for and loved me and everytime they asked me if I killed him, I said
“No, he ran into my knife, he ran into it ten times”
My defense lawyer told the court that I was mentally ill and tried to show that I was sexually, physically and psychologically abused but no-one believed him because there were no official reports filed during the periods of abuse. The prosecution asked why i didn’t divorce him if he was so abusive, they called it the tricks of a cold hearted murderer.
The court finally appointed a psychologist to talk to me and on the 8th day of trial, I was put on the stand while the court approved psychologist asked me questions. “So Ada, why did you kill your Husband” – She asked. “I didn’t, he ran into the knife” – I said. “Liarrr” – my mother in law screamed.
“order, order in court, the judge shouted. “ok,, but you were holding the knife” – she asked when order was restored. “Yes I was, but he said, I was never good at anything and that there was no way I was going to do anything to him, so i sat back and let him run into my knife 10 times, like he said I wasn’t good at anything” – I replied. “Did your husband beat you?” – She asked. “shhhh” – I said, putting my finger across my mouth, my eyes scanning the room to make sure no-one heard her before continuing, we are not supposed to talk about that, I deserved that, I always wear slutty clothes when going to the market and sometimes I don’t clean the house properly or make lunch on time, please don’t bring that up again or I will never see my children ” – I ended and then I turned to the judge. “madam, please ask her not to bring it up again, Ayo will take my kids away, please” “ok Ada” – The psychologist said
“ok Ada” – The psychologist said…. “tell us why did you clean the room after stabbing your husband 11 times and killing him” – She asked….. “ohhh I had to, everywhere was messy and filled with red blood. Ayo doesn’t like red, I was afraid he would beat me again, the last time, he broke my skull, I still have severe pains, see…” – I said, turning around and parting my hair so she could see the scar. ” but shhhhh, you can’t tell anyone or I’ll never see my kids again – I concluded…… “Ada, Ayo is dead, you killed ayo your husband! Do you know this–she asked…. “Noooo, no, no, no, no, he’s not dead, he’s alive, in here… – I said pointing and hitting my head as I continued yelling “he’s alive in here!!!” The guards rushed at me, while Marilyn the court psychologist injected me with a sedative.
This happened 12 years ago, I have been under Marilyn’s care in the psych ward of the state prison and today I met my children for the first time in 12 years. They did understand and they love me and felt sorry they were unable to do anything to help me and my daughter called me Mum and she gave me a card that read “You are beautiful”, same words that triggered me to kill my husband 12 years ago.
In a mall, 12 years ago, A stranger reminded me who I was, I was not a slave, a play thing, dummy, maid or slut or any of the names Ayo called me right before he gave me bruises or caved my head in. I AM BEAUTIFUL.