Short Story: Silent Nights

The harmattan this year came with an excruciating silence.

Not just the normal silence and whispers that come with it, but the silence that has finally descended on my life after so many years of assaults in the hands of Abdul. I felt my life crumble right before my face. I cry these days till I can no longer feel my eyes, but the tears bring more torment, a constant reminder of what I’ve lost. Sometimes I think its Karma, but I begged for forgiveness from Abba before he died. He accepted my children as his Grandchildren and even made sure I was at his bedside when he died. Nana Aisha, my good friend constantly reminded me of how much having faith could conquer anything, but how far was this faith going to take me, I was on the verge of losing my sanity. I could not even think of walking out of all this madness, I couldn’t fathom the idea of my children being raised by a single mother or even leaving them with Abdul and his new wife. The most annoying part was that I don’t even know where the issues ascended from, all I knew was that our love became staid, he just ceased being the man I married. It was more like I was a thorn in his flesh, that part of him; he was dying to get rid of. The more I thought of my freedom, the more sadness enveloped my very soul, I defiled my very self and family to be with Abdul. I went against my very own Abba, a man that had been more of a best friend than a father to me. He wanted me to be an independent woman, strong-willed, and completely not eclipsed under any man’s complete control.

I married Abdul against the wishes of my family, no one liked him.

“I will rather die than see you marry that arrogant and bloody bastard”
My father said in his stern voice. But their dislike for Abdul fell on deaf ears, I was bent on marrying him above all things. Factually, he was a bastard; no one knew who his father was. But I have always argued that there were no bastard children, rather we had bastard parents. I saw no reason why children should account for the sin they knew nothing about. He was actually arrogant to a certain extent, but my love for him blinded me from realizing that. I pleaded with people that Abba respect to help intercede on my behalf, but Abba refused. My mum who had always been a strong advocator of mine deserted me completely and told me this path I was treading was going to destroy me. The Wedding Fatiha held on a sunny Friday afternoon at the palace of Etsu Nupe. No one from my family attended the wedding, my father forbade any family member from attending. A day that ought to be one of my happiest was devoured by sadness. I felt all alone, but in that aloneness, I resolved to move on, I choose my husband over family.

The first six years of marriage to Abdul were the best days of my life. He was more than everything I wished for. We had two kids; Amir and Aneesa. My world revolved completely around him and those kids. I didn’t reach out to my family again. I was upset that every one of them would just close me out this way. Things started to fall apart when news about Abdul’s philandering lifestyle got to me through an anonymous text message. I tried to ignore it, but after a week I could not hold it down any longer. I think asking Abdul was the biggest mistake I made.

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“When did you start moving around town in search of cheap gossip?” he shouted.

I tried showing him my phone to see the text message that was sent to me, he took the phone and smashed it on the wall. I looked sharply at him and said “This is utterly unreasonable and irrational”, the next thing I felt was his hands going up and a hot slap landed on my face. I jumped on him and started hitting me, he overpowered and gave me the beating of my life. He left that day and I didn’t see him for a week. He no longer veiled his sexual escapades. I tried to avoid him as much as possible, every little conversation or argument led to one fight or beating. I had nobody to turn to, I didn’t have any close friend and no family member to approach. He married a second wife without telling me. I only knew about the wedding when on a Saturday evening, cars parked outside our house and were honking. People were singing and the bride came into the house, I felt my heart beat faster and everything turning around really fast. I collapsed that day and I was rushed to the hospital. I was dumped in the hospital by Abdul. The doctor said I had hypertension and I had to stop worrying about things.

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I tried showing him my phone to see the text message that was sent to me, he took the phone and smashed it on the wall.

The coming of a second wife in Abdul’s house doubled my suffering. Abdul started calling me a witch, his second wife avoided me like a plague. He stopped playing with our kids. I begged him and pleaded.
“Abdul, I can stand everything you say and do to me, but it would break my heart to see you treat these children like this.”, I said to him while kneeling down and crying. But it was as if my begging infuriated him the more. He stood up, stared at me for long, and finally said, “Amina, I don’t love you. You are a thorn in my flesh.” He left and banged the door.

I wept that night like I have never wept before. It wasn’t the first time he was saying the things he said that day, but his confirmation tore my heart into shreds. That same night I received a call from my mother, saying my Abba was critically sick and he wanted to see me Abba died the next day, he forgave me and said he held nothing against. He apologized for leaving me all those years and making everyone desert me. I felt a certain loss and peace that day. Abba could never be replaced in my life, this void he created was a deep loss. But I was happy that I made peace with him that day. I was still in mourning in Abba’s house when Abdul sent the driver with a letter to me. I was scared to open it. I entered the toilet and sat down on the water closet.

24th July, 2015

Dear Amina,
I hope this meets you well. Sorry about your father, I could not come to pay my respects because there is no point doing that for a man that hated me. Amina I think we should end everything. I am tired of pretending, this marriage has become cold and I am freeing you from it. I would prefer you to stay in your father’s house and not come to my house again, I will send down every of your property in my house. I would deposit the sum of 2 million in your account. I will continue to take care of my kids, but they would be with you. I am also giving you my house in Tahir’s estate. I don’t have anything against you and I hope this would not make you have anything against me too.


I read the letter over and over again, I cried and cried. In that sadness, I resolved that I was going to move on. I was never going to beg him to reconsider his decision and never again would I allow any man into my life to treat me this way again. My life would be about my children, just them.

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