Gems Of Yesteryear

7. Victim Of An Abusive Love

This was one of my earliest works when the whole ‘writer’ instinct kicked in around 2010…

Akwesi looked Araba in the eye, pleading for her to let the policemen have mercy on him. As one of the cops slapped the cuffs on him, chanting the usual ‘anything you say…” stuff, he looked at her, not opening his mouth, but he was clearly begging for forgiveness.

Araba looked back at him, eyes full of disgust. In front of her stood a guy she had once loved so very deeply. Now, he was a hateful object in her eyes, an abomination to her very being. “Stop begging me, boy”, she snapped. “There’s nothing I can do for you. I guess I’ll be seeing you in court.” She gave him a hard, distasteful look, and then left the house with her cousin.

“Are you alright?” her cousin asked as they got into his car, ready to head back to her parents’ house.

She nodded. “Yeah, I am.” As the car started moving, she reflected on how this love affair with Akwesi had turned into such a nightmare.

She first met Akwesi at a bank, when they were both doing an internship. He had been a year ahead of her, and was in a private university in Kumasi, whereas she was in a private one in Accra. They had been in the same workgroup, so they bonded quite nicely. After working together for about two months, they were now very good friends. So when it was time for them to go back to school, they exchanged numbers and promised to call each other.

They more than fulfilled those promises, calling each other as often as possible. The bond that had formed between them back at the bank was growing stronger with the distance. All they did was talk about each other to their friends in their respective schools. It had become quite evident that they both had strong feelings for each other.

So when Akwesi graduated, they were both very happy, since he was returning to the capital. As he was set to do his national service, they had the opportunity to get even closer to each other.

By this time, the duo was well and truly smitten with each other, and everyone around them could see it. They were already making big plans for each other in the future; such was their love for each other. Araba had always dreamed of a guy like Akwesi, and now here was her dream turned into reality. Nothing could burst this bubble. It was oh, so magical.

Or was it?

One day, Araba went over to his place. It was a holiday, so he wasn’t at work. She came around just to keep him company, and help him in his kitchen.

As they busied themselves, talking along the way, Akwesi made a rather unsavoury comment about Muslims. Araba took offence to it, being distantly related to a Muslim household and living closely to one. She talked up her defence, and Akwesi, openly not ready to change his views, hit back. With time, it turned into a rather unpleasant argument, the two losing control. Angry voices droned on, and Akwesi was the first to receive an insult, his girlfriend calling him ‘worse than a racist swine’.

His immediate reaction was a nasty one. Holding a small pan, he threw it in Araba’s direction, the metal object striking her on the forehead.

She yelped in pain as it whacked her. She put both hands over her temple, blood already starting to flow from the cut.

Akwesi gasped. “Oh my God! Baby, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I’m sorry.” He rushed over to her, grabbing a pack of tissues, ready to mop up the blood coming out of the wound.

She looked at him, tears in her eyes. “You hurt me.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart! I just don’t know why I did it. I guess I got caught up in the heat of it. Please forgive me. This is the first and the last time this will ever happen.” He cleaned the blood from her head and moved for the first aid kit.

When Araba went back to her hostel, she told all concerned that it was a broken mirror that cut her.

Like a true lover, she had put that incident behind her, and she still loved Akwesi with all her heart.

Little did she know what was in store over the next few months.

Akwesi was a very bad-tempered man, and his throwing of the pan was just a normal reaction of what he’d do when in a foul mood, especially if he was insulted.

And it didn’t take too long for that ugly side of him to come to the fore again.

Another visit from Araba, one supposed to be a sweet surprise visit, degenerated into another big fight. The insults were more this time round, and when Akwesi felt he couldn’t hold his muscles back, he beat her up. Very badly. After which he threw her out of the house.

A stricken, bruised and crying Araba, not wanting her roommates to see her in such a condition, went to her parents’ house, aware that only the maid was around.

The maid, on seeing her condition, immediately asked what was wrong. She hesitantly told her, and resisted the urges to report to the police. The maid warned her, saying, “Think about it. Men like that never change. No matter how many times they’ll apologize, they’ll hit you again.”

Well, he called her the next day. She refused to pick his calls. He called about fifty times, all ignored by Araba. He showed up at her place later that night obviously, after realizing she wasn’t at her hostel.

He begged her, tears in his eyes, to forgive him for his actions. He said he knew he had acted out of line, and wanted to seek help to keep his bad temperament in check. She was angry and initially refused to listen to him, but after an hour and a half of his tear-streaked appeals, she gave in. hugging him, she whispered in his ear, “My love for you is greater than any bruise I could receive.”

Nearby, the maid watched them, shaking her head.

As Araba completed her stay in university, this occurrence wasn’t the last of it. And now that she had already secured her own apartment, her parents weren’t aware of it. And of course, she declined the chance to tell them.

Six months down the lane, and the picture was crystal clear: Araba was in an abusive relationship. Akwesi beat her at will, and then came back, tail in between legs, to apologize. And like an idiot, she always took him back.

One late afternoon, after the maid, sent by her parents to bring her some items, saw her in bad shape, evidently undone by another bout of Akwesi’s rage, decided enough was enough.

She called Leslie, Araba’s closest cousin, and told him all that the poor girl had been going through.

Leslie immediately went to Araba’s house, and upon seeing her state, decided it was time for the law to step in.

As usual, she objected to it. “Les, please don’t bring the police into this. It’s just a little misunderstanding.”

Leslie looked at her in disbelief. “Little? Araba, this sicko is laying his hands on you at will, and you call this little? Naa told me this isn’t the first time she’s seen you like this. How can you be in a relationship like this, and dismiss this brutal treatment as little?”

“Les, he’s seeking help. When he gets like that, he always regrets his actions. Besides, I do say silly things that’ll provoke him to beat me. It’s not like he’ll kill me, anyway. He loves me too much.”

Leslie shook her head. “Girl, are you certain the beatings haven’t gotten to your head? If he truly loved you like he claimed he did, he’d never hit you. Even Uncle Dan and Auntie Pat don’t beat you anymore. Nothing you do gives him any authority to be doing this. And don’t deceive yourself, girl. If he does this to you, what stops him from killing you one of these days? Look, I’m calling the cops. I’m not going to stand for this anymore.”

Araba held his arm. “Leslie, don’t do it. It’s not necessary.”

The look in her eyes, hard as brimstone, said it all. She truly didn’t need this interference.

Leslie let his guard down, but as he left her place, he decided to find out where Akwesi lived, so he could keep tabs on him. Araba may have been blinded by love, but there was no way he was going to let this disturbed guy continue to hurt her.

So Araba continued to dwell in her foolhardy state of love, still crazy for the violent Akwesi. She was convinced that despite his uncontrollable and ferocious attacks, he’d never go as far as to cause real damage.

Well, one Sunday, that changed.

She had promised to get him credit the previous night, but it escaped her mind totally as she went to his place late afternoon.

He wasn’t pleased at all, and made her aware of it. She apologized, but he continued to make a fuss about it, which got to her, and after some more complaining, she snapped, “Will you keep quiet? Ah, simple credit too, you are talking plenty like a kid? Grow up! I forgot. End of story.”

Akwesi turned to her. “How dare you call me immature. Stupid idiot!” ending that insult with a heavy slap.

She fell to the ground, holding her cheek. Yet again, he was at it. Why can’t I watch my big mouth, she moaned to herself. The regret was going to get bigger, though.

The ‘immature’ remark had apparently gotten to Akwesi big time. He was seething with a red-hot wrath, and he didn’t seem to care about what he did right now. Venting his spleen on his girlfriend was the thing he looked set to do. He grabbed a glass vase and flung it on her. She screamed as it broke on her.

“I swear, I’m gonna kill you for this!” he declared through clenched teeth. He reached for a big plank of wood, ready to smash her head in.

She sprung to her feet, crying for help, and ran towards the front door, trying to escape. Unfortunately, she tripped over a stool and hit her head. She lay there, groaning in pain and looking in terror as the man who claimed to love her strode towards her, plank in head, ready to hit her with it.

“Now next time, you’ll never call me immature,” Akwesi growled. He raised the plank…

… And two policemen kicked the door down, guns cocked.

He dropped the plank.

Leslie walked in from behind the policemen. “Well, well, well. What do we have here? A loving boyfriend ready to murder his one and only sweetheart in cold blood, only to tell her corpse afterwards he didn’t mean to. Officers, this is the sick, twisted bastard who’s been hitting my cousin like a dog.”

As they apprehended him, Leslie led Araba out into his car. Just as they started moving, Araba said, “Wait! I forgot something!” she jumped out of the car, and went through the crowd to meet Akwesi, who was being led to the police car. He stopped when he saw her, and Araba signalled to the policemen to wait.

“Araba, I’m sorry. I swear to God, it wasn’t me. It was all the work of the devil. Please, I’m begging you-“

Akwesi was silenced. By a hefty punch from Araba. He turned his head, and felt the blood trickling from his lower lip.

“Sorry my ass. How many times did I hear that? How many times did you swear never to hit me? Millions of times, but you always did. You’re a sick f***. I don’t know why I stayed with you, but now I know better. I hope you rot in hell and get roasted by the devil, you spineless asshole.” She turned to go, but briefly stopped. “And once again, grow up and stop blaming the devil for your actions. As far as I’m concerned, you’re worse than him.” She walked away, the people around applauding her actions. Such a twisted human being deserved his plight.

She got back into the car. “Leslie, how did you know I’d be there? And how did you get the police around so quickly and at such a good time?”

Leslie looked at her and said, “I kept tabs on you two. You said I shouldn’t interfere, but I wasn’t going to let that guy kill you. You know why? Because I love you. Real love. Not what that demon professed.”

Araba, bruised but relieved, smiled at him. “Thank you, my sweet. I was a fool in love. People warned me, but I refused to listen. But you’ve saved me. I guess I’m wiser now. I’ll never be such an idiot in the game of love. Ever again.”

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