Chigozie’s pain can be classified as ‘stories that touch’.
The gentle call of the ticking clock drowned in the storm that made her damaged face glisten under the fluorescent light. I could not recognize her anymore. I could not recognize the woman whose loud cries were void of defence and whose tears trickled like timid drops of fear.
My right hand threw itself at her with a strange force as the belt landed against her temple. It left her skin with a tiny portion of her flesh sticking to its edges so that her blood poured down her cheeks, mixing with her tears.
“Chigozie, please stop,” she pleaded. Her plea splashed against my defiance as my right hand rose again like giant tides ready to consume her.
The moon made the sky into a bowl of silver-blue clouds and stars gathered to sing nostalgic songs. It was familiar – the language I was now speaking. Every stroke of pain my wife felt on her skin wore a portal to similar pain I felt.
This time, I was not the one holding the belt. My father was. His bald head covered in sweat, as he uttered strange words about how beating makes one better – words that now effortlessly tumbled out of my lips into my wife’s inattentive ears. I was the one pleading, just like she is doing now.
My father loved me and wanted me to be better, just like I love her and want her to be better. The ticking clock called out to me but I was too blind to listen. I live in the past where belt wounds were adorned like art.