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The flat Kade shared with her friend was quiet. Tari was not back from work. She was grateful for this. One look at her and Tari would have known something was wrong with her. She seemed to have this uncanny ability to fish out Kade’s secret. She was not ready for her friend’s probing just yet. She needed the space to get herself together, and to remind herself why she was still with Priye.
She peeled off her clothes and dumped them in a basket. She made her way to the bathroom. When she stood in front of the mirror, she couldn’t recognize herself. Her eyes were swollen from her tears. Tears that Priye brought to her eyes. Tears that lasted all through the journey from the church to the house. She turned one arm to the other and saw the marks of Priye’s fingers on them. Her chiffon top had done nothing to save her from Priye’s biting fingers.
She sighed. She turned the bathroom tap and realized water was running. She picked her shower cap from the hanger and stood under the shower. As the water coursed through her body, memories clouded her mind.
She went back to the day Pastor Daniel called her to his office and informed her of Priye’s proposal. It was like a dream. She’d been totally dazed when he told her of Priye’s intention towards her. He concluded by asking her to pray. She was completely consumed by her importance. Of all the sisters in the youth fellowship, Priye had chosen her. Her excitement was palpable as she shared the news with her friends. Brother Priye – handsome, eloquent, gentle and above all, God-fearing – wanted to marry her. She didn’t forget to add rich. He had a nice job with People’s bank, a nice apartment and a nice car. He donated nicely to youth projects in the church. Heaven was definitely smiling on her.
Tari hadn’t seen it that way. She raised objection from the onset. She said Priye was too perfect; way too perfect to be normal. She asked again and again why a person like him was still single at 33. He had all what he needed for his wedding and could provide a comfortable life for his family. She turned deaf ears to Tari’s concern. Okay, she hadn’t been totally deaf to all Tari had raised, but she was certain there was more to Tari’s concern.
Tari was the treasurer of the youth fellowship while Priye, the vice president. They had disagreed in time past over the affairs of the youth. They barely tolerated each other back then. It took the intervention of the youth pastor to get them back on track. So when Tari raised her concerns on Priye’s proposal, she assumed it was more of the bad blood from their past speaking up.
She moved away from the shower and took a deep breathe. Maybe if she had prayed enough about the proposal, she would have gotten the answer. But she’d been too eager to accept Priye. Honestly, who wouldn’t? Some of the ladies in the youth fellowship congratulated her when their relationship became known. She felt on top of the world.
Oh those early days with Priye were wonderful. He was so attentive, so caring and understanding. He wanted nothing but to make her happy. His first present to her was the flat she was living in with her friend Tari. When she complained of the distance of her house to her workplace, he had assured her he would take care of it. She now lived in a comfortable one bedroom flat nicely furnished for free, all thanks to Priye. The house was too big for her alone, and so she had pleaded with Tari to join her.
Kade turned off the tap when she was through. She wrapped her body in her pink towel. She dropped heavily on the bed in the room. Her mind was still filled with the past. Between his tenderness and generosity, she had fallen in love with him. Yes, she loved him hopelessly. Her emphasis being on hopeless, because she could hope for nothing in their relationship.
She massaged her skin with a mild balm. Where she applied it felt cool. She closed her eyes and imagined a peaceful relationship with Priye. How possible was it? He had promised over and over not to hurt her again, but he always did. She’d hidden his volatile temper from Tari. She couldn’t help her knowing what she was going through with Priye. At the end, it was Priye who laid her secret bare before her friend.
That was the day he slapped her right in front of Tari. The slap was given because she’d forgotten to call him back when she missed his calls earlier that fateful day. She tried to sound tough and defend herself, but it earned her a slap. He left afterwards without an apology. His actions shocked Tari to speechlessness, but when she recovered from her shock, her message was quite clear: “Leave that mad man, Kade.”
But she couldn’t.
Beating and all, she was tied to Priye. She owed him a lot. Her heart also loved him. She was also sure of his love. Why then would she leave him when they both loved each other? They were only getting to know each other better. Six months was too short to conclude on a person’s character.