By Emmanuel Chukwujekwu:
Chimsimdi “my God said I should not die” (or my favorite meaning, “my God said I should stay”) was the name I gave her when we had been together for sixteen months – the longest others before her had stayed. My previous relationships had all ended in tears, but Chimsimdi was destined for me – to stay with me till the end; I just knew it.
I did everything to make sure she stayed with me till the end. I quit my risky but promising career in the Army, I moved to Lagos even though I couldn’t stand the noise and overcrowdedness, I took over my uncle’s massive company even though I detested board meetings. I did everything to make her stay, believe me.
And she stayed. My Chimsimdi stayed till the end. I told you I knew she would stay with me till the end (a man in love always knows these things). She stayed long enough for me to get her a new Lexus SUV and a diamond engagement ring, long enough for me to take her to the altar, long enough for us to celebrate our second wedding anniversary, long enough for her to shatter my heart into a thousand tiny pieces. She stayed.
The first time I held her in my arms, she was well-rounded, beautiful, dark, warm, full of energy and life. The last time I held her in my arms she was well-rounded, beautiful, pale, cold, stiff, breathless. She stayed until staying became too painful. I cooed and begged her to come back, to talk to me. I cried and pleaded, asking her to forgive me. I prayed that she would be raised like Lazarus.
I had come back home from a two-week business trip to find the door unlocked. And my Chimsimdi was sitting in our living room waiting for me fully dressed, sipping wine with all her belongings packed into suitcases around her. She pointed to some papers – divorce papers – on the glass table beside her and asked me to sign them. She said she was leaving me for some senator who was waiting to pick her up at the airport. Unbeknownst to me, she had been seeing him for the past five months.
I was in shock at first, then I became livid. I was so furious that I was breathing steam. But my Chimsimdi was adamant. She was indeed leaving me. My anger couldn’t change that. So I began to beg and plead. But my Chimismdi’s mind was made up. She began carrying her suitcases ready to leave. So, I saw no use in begging and pleading. I decided to do what my forefathers did to unfaithful wives like this. But unlike my forefathers who did it to let out their anger and display their masculine superiority, I did it for Chimsimdi to remember that I was her husband. To remind her that her husband was a disciplinarian and had zero tolerance for her misdeeds should she try to do something this stupid again.
I slapped her. I slapped her so hard I heard her neck crack. But slaps were not enough for wives like Chimsimdi. They never learn their lesson except you gave them a scar. So, I took the bottle of wine she was drinking from and smashed it on her head. That was when she fell backward, shattering the glass table. Her eyes were still wide open but she was dead to the world. I was in shock. I knelt slowly and held her in my arms. I wept. My Chimsimdi did stay with me. She stayed with me to the very end.
Hours later the police officers confined me to an interrogation room after the doctors diagnosed me with a psychological disorder – attributing it to my experience fighting insurgency in the Northeast. Me, psychologically ill? They’re the ones that are mad. What do they know about my state of mind? Do they know how much I thought of my Chimsimdi? How much I loved her? How much I had sacrificed for her? The morons in black suits, my so-called lawyers, asked me to comply with the doctors in court and say (or lie) that I was suffering from PTSD so that the Judge would be lenient on me in his verdict.
PTSD? What does that even mean?
Emmanuel Vater Writes…