‘No Use’ is Abuse

He doesn’t want to eat whatever meals she prepares; the old him wouldn’t even be satisfied with just one serving. Yesterday, she made this delicious plate of yam-pottage for him. He gets home, heads straight to the dining table, ignores her greeting and her presence, and calls his eldest daughter. She responds, and he asks, “Sade, talo s’ounje yii?” [Who made this meal?] She says it was her mother. He gets up to pour it into the dog’s bowl. “Sade, make me another meal with the ingredients in that bag.” He points to the nylon bag that he arrived with. “I don’t want to be poisoned by this witch.”

Liberian Artist Ehi Obinyan

Art by Liberian Artist, Ehi Obinyan

She says “good morning”, and “good evening”, and “good night”, and the days keep going by, but he never responds. He doesn’t sleep beside her in her room like he used to; he doesn’t sleep with her. He sleeps in his own room, and it’s been 10 months. He’s an angel of evil; nice in open spaces, psychopathic behind closed doors.

It all began the day he yelled at her for taking too long in the market and she, being very stressed and upset, briefly apologized but called him a “short-man devil”. He has always been very sensitive about his height, and it really hurt him. He swore to himself to show her how much of a devil he could be.

He hasn’t really spoken with* her since then; only the children know about it. They speak to each other briefly when they have visitors or when they attend social functions together but that’s about it. She has apologized many times. She even slipped an apology/love letter under his door one night, but he tore it into shreds after a quick glance.

It’s domestic abuse, but a different kind- the kind that kills the soul. It’ll be the 11th month in 10 days; it hasn’t stopped. 

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