The wind is blowing in my hair as I drive. The windows are down and the air conditioning is off. The bridge is empty as I drive, which is strange. The road is never this free. The sound of my little daughter in the backseat pulls me back to reality. I look back at her face and a smile sneaks up on me through the tears that have been streaming down my face.
My name is Yetunde. And I’m running for my life.
I wonder how it all went to hell. How everything nosed-dived into the pit I live in now. Everything was near perfect as far as I could tell. I had everything I wanted and more. I had a whole lot of things all the other girls wanted. I always felt the envious looks when I walked past. And I didn’t care. I was in my own perfect little fairytale. Oblivious to the fact that all it was was a happy never after.
It all started that one day. T – My best friend – and I were walking to the cafeteria. We were in our 400 level – final year – and we’d had the most gruesome day and we just wanted to get some food, eat and go back to our hall.
Of course to get to the cafeteria we had to pass the basket ball court. We were walking hand in hand to support each other. But I remember supporting the skinny twig with my won frame. Out of someone’s hand flew a ball and it bounced until I finally rolled its way to the front of us girls.
Someone was coming from the court to pick up their ball so I thought to pick it up and throw it towards whoever was coming. And I bent to pick up and I looked up right into the eyes of the man who would be my husband.
I had met a lot of guys in school but I don’t really remember meeting him before then. He was tall, with dark chocolate skin, wavy dark hair I wanted to run my hands through, arms that bulged from where he stood, a barrel chest that strained to free themselves from his somewhat tight basketball jersey and he was sporting a beard. I thought to myself man not boy.
I looked up into his eyes and I saw something and I knew I wanted him. We stood there for a few moments just staring into each other’s eyes. It felt like no time passed. T just walked off beside me to get food. She swore she told me something about leaving because she was hungry but I swore I didn’t hear a thing. He said of that day that someone had to wrestle the ball out of his hand because he had seen the woman he wanted to marry and he never wanted to stop looking. What girl doesn’t want to hear words like that?
If I didn’t know better I would have said it was true love. I saw something in his eyes that day but I was lost in the moment. Who wouldn’t be?
I spent the rest of the evening talking to him. I never wanted to leave. I had never felt that way with anyone before. I forgot about the hunger and the tiredness till after I left him to return to my hall. Then it hit me hard. God bless T, she had bought food for me. I wonder where I would be without her.
As soon as some of the peppered rice had gone down my throat, T set the room ablaze asking questions. I told her some of the things I had gleaned in the short time we had talked. He was in his final year too. 500 level mechanical engineering. He was 3 years older because he started school a little late. He was adopted. He had lost his parents when he was young in an accident I couldn’t bear to bring myself to ask about.
T said I was lucky. I had meet this totally hot guy and connected with him in just a few hours. People do that in months. Years maybe. We were inseparable over our final year in school. We did everything together and we did it in sync like it was natural. T had to make some space I was happy. Service year came along and we pulled all the strings we could so we could serve in the same state. And we pulled the right strings. He would drive over to my house each morning to pick me for work and drop me back home in the evening.
My mother gave her blessings immediately, my brothers just wanted my happiness and what they saw gave them conviction but my father was reluctant to give his blessings. He wouldn’t say what his reasons were but after hours and days of intervening by the entire family he finally did; saying I no longer belonged to him but to my husband now.
We got married 5 years after we meet. 4 years after leaving school. The ceremony was wonderful. My father spared no expense. I was his only daughter. And it didn’t help that my husband came from a wealthy family with an inheritance from his birth parents.
It was the events of the night after, which forever changed me. I had been looking forward to the night after like every new virgin bride. I had never experience anything of that nature. Blame it on lack of opportunity and me waiting for “The One” and I was married to him now. I snuck out early with T in tow to go “freshen up” for my new husband. She helped me pick out a sexy little number and left me to wait on my husband.
He wasn’t long behind. He had this dark look as he walked towards me. I could feel butterflies in my stomach as he got nearer. He was finally in front of me and our lips met in an explosive fiery kiss. He led us to the bed and ripped the little thing I was wearing. His eyes grew darker and he pushed me down on the bed. I felt his weight upon me holding me still and then he fingers closing in around my throat, choking me. And the next thing I remember was the searing pain as he pummeled me. I passed out from the intensity of what I went through in the short time. As soon as he realized I was up he was ready to go again despite my tears. The pain was beyond me and I passed out again.
I couldn’t walk the next morning. He told me that I had better get used to it. It continued nights after. The instrument of punishment varied and I would be subject to various things prodding me inside and out. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, who would believe me? Except T of course.
I got pregnant after enduring three months of my own personal hell. He stopped all his “punishments” and became doting as he was before. He would take care of all my needs. And treat me his precious baby once again. I began to see light at the end of my tunnel. Till last night, six months after I had delivered our baby daughter he came home with those same look in his eyes.
I did the one thing T had been saying I should do – run. I packed out things and here we are on the road running for my life. I made a quick stop at T’s place to say quick goodbyes and headed out back as fast as I came in.
I was making my way to the airport. I was leaving and never looking back. Some distance to the airport I spotted a car that was as familiar to me as my left hand – my husband’s! He was moving closer in his bid to catch me and take me back with him. I had sworn that I was never going back. I pushed down on the accelerator pushing the car faster, running from what would soon be my past.
I didn’t see it soon enough. There was construction work going on and one of the workers was in the glare of my headlights. I swerved and the car somersaulted. I knew I was going to die. It was an expected end. I’m just glad I gave T and the baby time to get away.