Ever seen a woman so lovely, radiant, and dripping in diamonds? This was Anna, walking down the aisle on her wedding day, to meet her prince. As everyone gazed at her with excitement and pure joy, she wrestled within herself, although there was a plastered smile on her face, as she held on tightly to her dad, as if to say —don’t let me go, don’t make me say I do, to this monster.
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The thoughts within her went something like this: should I risk everything I know about Abel and say yes to him? Or should I follow my gut, and run out of this place? But I think he loves me, what is love sef? Is love the blows and punches I receive from him, every now and again? Or the lovely gifts he buys me, after each scuffle, saying he is sorry.
Nevertheless, she made it down the aisle and was face to face with the man; she was about to spend the rest of her life with. You see Abel and Anna were high school lovers. They started as friends and fell for each other as the years went by. But Anna noticed something about him one day: the way he reacted to his friend when he got him upset. Abel beat the guy to a pulp, while Anna was left thinking if it was going to be her next.
She tried to tread carefully, whenever she was with him. She did not want his monster to rear its ugly head, so she stroked his ego whenever she could. Then one day, they were supposed to meet up after dinner, but Anna failed to show up at the proposed time. She soon made it to where he was, and before she could open her mouth to say she was sorry, he slapped her and warned her never to keep him waiting again. Anna was in awe, and could not believe Abel would ever raise his hands on her. She burst out crying, not from the pain of the dirty slap, but from the embarrassment, that he did it in front of his friends.
Going back to her dorm room distraught, there was no opening up to her friends, not to talk of the dorm staff, about what had just transpired between her and Abel. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the only time. She became a punching bag for him, a girl who was half his size. Abel unleashed his beast on her whenever he was upset. One day she came back to the dorms, with her swollen face, and eventually told the staff what had been happening. Because she was not supposed to be in a relationship in high school, they just gave Abel a stern warning to stay away from her and told her it served her right.
Graduation soon came, and they parted ways, forever, or so they thought. Abel moved to the UK for college, while Anna remained in Nigeria. Anna dated a bunch of guys, during her time in college, but nothing serious ever panned out. One day she got an Instagram direct message request, and to her surprise, it was from Abel. It had been years since she had seen or spoken to him. He had moved back to Nigeria and wanted to catch up, and also apologize for his behavior during high school.
Anna I did not know what came over me during those times, he said to her. I am so sorry for all the pain and hurt I caused you. I am a better man now and want to do right by you. Anna was skeptical initially, but as time progressed she could see some changes in him. So they went ahead and started a relationship. This time around, they were both mature and had great careers. They spent most weekends together, enjoying each other’s company.
Then one day a text message came in from one of Anna’s exes, and Abel lost it. Why in the world is he texting you? Doesn’t he know you are in a relationship? The next time a message like that comes in, I will show you my true colors! True colors! Like she hadn’t been privy to that already. Trembling, she quickly apologized and stated that it would never repeat itself. Maybe he is just having a bad day —she consoled herself.
Another day rolled around, and this time she was in Abel’s car. They had just had an amazing time at church. While recapping the pastor’s message, a phone call came into Anna’s phone, and his car accidentally picked it up. It was a man’s voice, and before the conversation could go any further, Abel had angrily ended the call, and pushed her out of the moving car, and then drove off.
With tears in her eyes, she quickly flagged down a vehicle of a woman who had children in her car, thinking that the lady seemed harmless and would understand, and also give her a ride home. She told the woman what happened to her, and the lady was kind enough to let her in.
The Good Samaritan advised Anna to leave Abel, but she was not ready to. Her family had met him, her friends too. Not to talk of social media, how was she going to explain to the world, that they were no longer together? What about the wedding hashtag that she had come up with—#Annabel2017 even if it sounded corny. She had already seen the two of them becoming one flesh.
The lady dropped her off at Abel’s who already had flowers and an “I’m sorry” card waiting for her. He explained that he loved her so much, and couldn’t bear for any man to steal her from him. Anna agreed to take him back, only on the occasion that he would see a therapist to help with his anger and jealousy issues. He accepted. Abel then went to one session and claimed he was fixed. He never wanted to see the therapist again.
The therapist secretly pulled Anna aside one day and warned her not to continue in a relationship with him; Anna, I see you as one of my daughters, and would like for someone to advise them, if they saw them going astray. Abel is aggressive and wouldn't listen to counsel. This will pose a lot of issues in your marriage, say you guys get married. Not heeding anything the therapist said, she thanked him for his opinion and left.
The relationship continued with slaps and blows every other weekend with Anna crying to her friends, and some of them advising her to remain, stating that there wouldn’t be any better men out there. Do you know how many men beat their women? One of her friends said to her. Just pray, God will change his heart; some men change after marriage, said another.
Anna and Abel had discussed marriage multiple times; she was excited at the thought of becoming Mrs. Abel, only if he would just stop with his anger. One fateful night, Abel took Anna out on a date and popped the big question: Anna….omg yes! Yes! I will marry you; she did not even let him finish his question. As soon as she saw his posture and the ring, she was sold.
The wedding planning process revealed more fists fights between them, but the words of her friends were evident in her heart “he would change after marriage, just pray.” Pray! The one thing she had been doing since she rekindled her romance with Abel, but it was as if the heavens were shut off to her prayers. Although she felt in her spirit that she shouldn’t forge ahead with the marriage, she brushed it off and wrote it off as cold feet.
Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? —Looking at the crowd intently; thinking about the slap Abel just gave her the previous night, pondering if her unborn kids would ever forgive her for staying with a wife beater, feeling bad about all the money her father had spent on the wedding, thinking about her gut, which wouldn’t let her be— I’m sorry I can’t do this! She said to the minister and ran out of the church.
How many women find themselves in such situations as Anna but don’t have the guts to walk away, or like in Anna’s case, run? We think about the insignificant things like: what will the world say? Meanwhile, your world is just a tiny percentage of the billions of people that reside on this planet. Forget about what people will say—your future self will thank you for it, your children would applaud you for it, and most importantly, the cycle of abuse would be broken. Abuse isn’t love; love isn’t abuse. We have to love ourselves first before we can love others. We have to choose love over abuse, better over worse, when worse is abuse. Hopefully, we all learn from Anna’s story. Anna got away, but a lot of women don’t.
About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.