"I am sorry, Nkem", you said. Your voice was quivering, your legs were shaking, your heart was beating fast.
"You are always sorry. When will you stop being sorry", he said, his eyes darting about looking for something to shove. When he is angry, he shoves things to scare you. You can swear you see his eyes sparkle when you fidget because you think he will hit you. He never hits you, not physically though. But he hits your heart, hard and deep.
You know his next step. He will walk into the room and pack his cloth in his green bag. You bought that green bag for him. You don't know if he knows how much you hate the bag now, how his threats of leaving you with the green bag made you despise the green bag. You know he will wait for you to beg him. For you to cry till your eyes are red and puffy. Then he will stay, grudgingly, and put up with you, and manage you, and wait till you do something as little as serve his meal a minute late. Or as grave as smiling.
When it started, you used to do the dangerous. You used to laugh on the phone with your best friend Gift. Then you stopped talking to Gift because the calls made him angry. The sound and the way your body vibrates when you laugh hurts him. You know because after the call he will accuse you of talking to another man even when he fully knows how impossible it is that another man would call you. At least he says it often; that no man except him can be with you.
The smell from your chunk of fat, the excess hairs on your legs and back, the way you grunt when you laugh, your round fat neck. He is the only one in the world that can manage you. He has told you so often that you believe it. Even at that, you are not blind. You see yourself and you are sure no man will want to have anything to do with you except him. So you spend every waking minute of your life being sorry for not being a better wife to him. You try. You try so hard. You try to lose weight, to look pretty, to stop grunting like a pig. And when you begin to shed fat, he tells you to stop trying to be who you are not. You can never and will never be pretty. You then fall right back into the hole you thought you had crawled out from with your bleeding heart in your hands.
You cry everyday. Sometimes you fake it to satisfy his need to be sure you are in pain. Because after the tears, grunts, and howling he swells with pride and happiness. He feels that he has conquered you again and when he is happy you are happy.
You have to compensate when you go out with him which rarely happens. People stare at the both of you with pity. Two different kind of pity. They pity him - the athletic handsome young man married to a fat ugly woman. And they pity you for everything - for being fat, for the defeated look on your face, for being so fucking pathetic.
You remember the day the girl at the supermarket with her fake lashes and hairy body, asked if he would like to buy a pair of undies for his wife. She brought out the tinniest pair of G-strings and said "Oh, I don't think this will suit you", then she brought out a pant that was so large it could fit three of you.
She was mocking you, and he knew it, yet he laughed. His laughter shocked you. His laughter tore you apart, limb by limb. His laughter blended your heart into a puree. And you stood there like a fool, staring at the calculator on the table, tears building like boiling water in your eyes.
"She isn't my wife", he responded and walked away, still laughing.
You couldn't look at the girl. You just followed him back to the car, and he said, "You see how you embarrass me?".
He is a monster.
He is a sadist.
He is your husband.