I was brought up in a very simple and basic background. The one thing I am thankful for is a public education system and an enlightenment where books and libraries were concerned from a very tender age thus enabling us to open up our minds to the outside world.
Growing up in my home was one that is norm for many Africans: my father was abusive towards my step mother.. constantly and as regularly as his craving would strike. It was not normal to see my father and his wife exchange a smile. A quick slap and thoughtless words were the order of the day.
Fast forward to end of high school and I graduated on a regular grade which would be considered high in most western countries. Before I could have my end of school exams I already had gotten a job at a paint shop in sales and administration thus making me independent enough to move to a house which we shared with friends of like minds and status. As I prepared to start college, which I was going to have to pay through my very new job, I also started going out. Music and a good meal especially after pay day could not be missed all factors included. It was while I was working and living independently that I met my first boyfriend: Kim, let's call him. I knew it was love at first sight, in my naivete, the moment my eyes landed on him and his red Toyota Celica one bright morning as I went in search of Chicken soup to kill my hangover of the previous night. He was tall, lanky.. a man of few words which had me intrigued to a T. Luckily, or so I thought, he knew a common friend and it was not long before we were introduced. Thus started a very steamy relationship. He taught me what it was to kiss a man. And everything else you can imagine. He would give marks as I was fresh out of green land. For 6 years we had what I would call a relationship but looking back now.. it was anything but. He would show up if and when it pleased it and also disappear without a word if and when it pleased him. When he would come back I would run to him in pure glee and without asking questions for fear of chasing him away.. or making him angry. Yes, I was a quick learner and having my father as a role model made sure my ways were set from childhood.
Year 7 saw us start to do things a bit different. "Kim" started to get more prosperous, business wise. He changed house and moved to a mansion. He had more money to spend unlike the man I first met who while he did not have much did not have this excess. Holidays became flight to Zanzibar. Yes.. he taught me what it was to live the best life possible. But with this life also came another side of him that I didnt know. A night we had gone out turned out to be nothing ordinary. While my instincts had always warned me that he was a tightly coiled rope, nothing prepared me for this shocker. We went out as norm.. he bought all the drinks and meals and finally it was time to go home. We went to his house which was still ordinary.. Once there, he disappeared downstairs and I was wondering "what is he doing downstairs at this time"? Came back up a short while later and there was weird sweet smell about him which I recognized as "weed". I didn't open my mouth to ask if he had been smoking. He roughly asked me to remove my clothes. When I responded that I was feeling too intoxicated to have sex and if we could wait till the next morning when we were sober everything turned on me. I suddenly felt a fist on my face.. shortly followed by blows and kicks.. like he was fighting a fellow man. You can imagine at first it was a shocker! I had known this man for 7 years and never once had he threatened even to slap me. He rained on me with the intention of killing me while holding my mouth so I do not scream. I could not understand where this was coming from let along why he had turned like this. I bit his arm and started screaming like mad! Throwing my legs in an effort to escape.. in vain. He went at it until finally I knew "this is it". This is what my stepmother had been going through for years. And other women I knew of.. this reaction could have been triggered by nothing or next to nothing. Our friend who was with us in the house is the one who rescued me.. came and held him and I ran to the sitting room bleeding with teeth missing and hardly seeing from all the ministered blows to my face.
You see.. I used to say that a man cannot hit me. I thought that even while being independent a man would not dare hit me as I stayed quiet. I was wrong. I was terrified for my life.. it literally flashed before my eyes. In shock I wondered if I had missed something. If I had done something to trigger it. Was it the weed, as he later claimed? That one episode put me off men. Yes.. I am still single at 44 and cannot trust a singe man. This will not change.