Like characters in a passionate love story, they thought about each other a lot now that their walks had become frequent. So frequent in just a week that sometimes, “leaving was harder than sharing a bed with Kobbie” Emma would think aloud on her notepad and cancel it out immediately.
She was not to be misconstrued- she loved her husband a lot and she hoped that he would change, perhaps be less angry at her for little errors. However, she knew also that unless she was willing to take an extreme measure to eliminate the problem entirely, she was facing a lifetime of sporadic abuse from this beautiful monster.
Lizzy was healing. She knew how now that she had a friend.
Aziz knew better than dare to ask why she was so light lately, especially now that her walks into the estate were running an extension. He also noticed on very few occasions when he was home early enough that, she was always back, only a few minutes after sun down.
When she suggested that they see a professional therapist together, it had taken the strength of two angels to hold back the laughter of disbelief that instantly overpowered him. In fact he was not surprised at all that the hospital had no such professionals.
She was the most surprised she’d ever been when Nurse Mary told her there were no professionals she could talk to about trauma. Though she was never nice to her, the nurse was never rude to her, not very warm, but never rude. She suspected that she pitied her in ways she could bring herself to fathom.
What she didn’t know was that nurses talked and word had passed around from the nurse who attended to her when they came with a police report to take tests after her rape. The nurses’ break room was the gossip hub that contained files of interesting cases which were stored in the heads of the health workers and streamed out to every open colleague via the loosest tongues in Amasaman.
She only began to take the walks as a last resort, more to clear her head than enjoy the niceties of the nicer parts. That was genuinely the plan until Emma came along. In the few weeks they’d spent together, she’d learnt that Emma was married to a Kobbie whose temper was always the reason why their rendezvous was always over by the first hint of darkness. “But he’s the sweetest” Emma wrote, the day she asked her about him. “He supports me now that I’ve given up my career to stay home from work.
“Soon enough, he’ll be supporting the entire family, u noe wat I mean” she scribbled fast on her notepad and showed it to Lizzy and she smiled at what she saw. The small framed woman was her secret vault now, and she was hers too. But she still didn’t know why she wore all that make up “every frigging day” she’d think aloud on her way home. Then she’d vow to no one in particular to as her why when they met the next day. Now it’d been a week already and she still didn’t know why.
The week days passed very quickly for them, then came the weekend. As was his wont, Aziz left his wife alone at home to enjoy the company of his friends. Lizzy had the house to herself and decided it was about time she had her friend over. They only lived a few minutes apart and the walk would in no way affect her bulge. So she texted her a few lines about how nice it would be to change their venue this once. When no reply came, she put on her easy pregnant wear and headed out.
Only a few steps from Emma’s gate, a car rushed out as soon as the gates whirled open. Lizzy would have passed if the driver hadn’t slowed to look at her through his clear window glass. She guessed he was Kobbie. She walked the remaining distance to the house and easily slid between the gates right before they could close automatically. Even with her protruding belly, the act was easy to overcome.
“Tap, tap” she knocked as soon as she reached the door and wondered “does everything in this neighbourhood have to be nicer than my life?” The answer made her laugh lightly. The sound of the door unlocking made her a little nervous as she imagined the surprise on Emma’s face.
The only surprise that was registered in the moment was on her face when the door swung open.
With no make -up on, she could hardly count the bruises that were on her friend’s face now as she stood in the doorway. The fingerprints around her neck had no business being there if all she had done was sleep through her Friday night like she said she was going to when she waved goodbye just the night before. Lizzy missed the heavy make-up on Emma’s face now.
All she could afford now was the luxury of an open mouth and a bewildered look, right until the words “are you okay?” escaped slipped out of her mouth.
Still in the doorway, with bloodshot eyes that had resulted from more tantrums than tears, without her notepad, she nodded “yes” in three quick successions.
See also: CHAPTER 5: IN RINGS - RAPED BY THE DEVIL