The first night I went home with Jeremy I knew it was the start of something different. Different, good or bad, I wasn't quite sure, but different nonetheless. You see all my life I'd been disappointed by one person or the other. It seemed others I'd loved in the past either ran away, died or just left me in the lurch. I really wasn't sure my heart could take it, take another heartbreak, another loss, yet another disappointment. So I was wary. I had come to a point where i'd become almost numb. To shield myself from heartbreak I built a wall around my heart so that I would never feel the way I felt after he left, after Bruno left. Bruno; strong, dependable, loyal, attentive, funny, caring... and a looker too. Bruno... Just like that he was gone. Poof! Is it any wonder I chose to shield myself from more pain?
Yet, everyone who saw Jeremy swore that things would be different, that he would be different, that he was perfect for me, that he would make me happy... How wrong they all were.
Living with Jeremy was like being married to an extremely unstable man, you never knew what to expect. On some days Jeremy was patient with me, in tune with my feelings and emotions, kind and attentive. On other days Jeremy would ignore me totally, look at me and stare right through me like I was a glass wall. On such days nothing I did would change him, and trust me, I tried. I'd give him back rubs, give him a manicure, sing him praises... I'd put all my sweat and effort into cooking his favourite meals; poundo and egusi, but the minute I placed it before him, he would just sniff and look away, bored and uninterested. This killed me each time. Just like my name, Ikechi, I've always been a strong woman but Jeremy broke me down.
On days like these I would beg, cry, scream and plead, just to get some love, or a reaction, any reaction at all. But in the end I'd find myself drained with my throat raw, alone in a corner, as though I meant nothing. I was nothing.
I'd always sworn I would never stay in an abusive relationship. Yet I did. Before I met Jeremy emotional abuse was a myth. I sneered at people who said it was even more painful than physical abuse, they must be silly, those ones. But now I knew. Jeremy knew how to play the game so well, he was the master of mind games. He controlled me, particularly by being extremely unpredictable so I never knew his next move, so that I was always kept on my toes. I learnt the real meaning of walking on eggshells. Some nights when I'd get home and find him in his chair, looking at me with that unreadable blank stare, I would try to kiss him and he would snarl at me. Yet in the morning I'd be awoken to slobbering kisses from Jeremy, all loving and sincere. To be honest it was exhausting, but very exciting. Yes, Jeremy was a master of games, he kept me frightened, yet spellbound. I was always eager to know what would happen next.
However weeks ago, I knew I'd had it with that twisted relationship. I decided it wasn't by force to be in a relationship. Yes, companionship is great but when it drains you, physically and emotionally, then you know it's time to go. That was the decision I came to that evening when I got back late from work. Even before I got home my heart began to beat so fast, I could hear the throbbing in my ears. I was almost too frightened to approach the door because on nights that I got home late, before I had a chance to explain why I couldn't be home to make dinner sooner, Jeremy would pounce on me like the mad dog that he was. On that night I stood at the door, stalling, thinking, praying, that Jeremy would be in a good mood, or better yet, asleep. Lord knew I'd had a tough day at work, my new boss hated my guts and made a mockery of everything I did, my car suddenly needed a ton of repairs and my team had cost the company one of its biggest clients.
So I waited at the door, frazzled and frayed. At that point, just one mean look from Jeremy might have completely crumbled me to my knees. With a sigh of resignation I quietly turned the key and walked in, I might as well face the inevitable. But... As though he sensed my pain and vulnerability, Jeremy saw me and bounded up to me, his eyes glistening and his tail wagging happily as he jumped up and down and licked my tearful face. "Down boy! Down my darling Jeremy", I giggled happily, grateful to my terrier for that rare show of affection. It was moments like this that made it all worth it.
photo source: www.pixshark.com
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