Thyself

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3 - ENOUGH

**“This chapter depicts brutal physical and verbal abuse.“**

(BRIDE-TO-BE)

She blinked once. Twice. The little bit of vision in her left eye was a blur. Within minutes, it was almost completely swollen shut as the pulsating sensation served as a reminder to her of the contact his fist made with her face.

In her unaffected eye, Lydia saw that the light was still on in her bedroom. A memory of him leaving flashed through her mind while she was pretending to be unconscious. It was the only way to ensure the predator would stop his aggression. The appetite which spurred him was only heightened when she attempted to move or fight.

Kemi enjoyed tormenting his prey.

Over time, Lydia learned to let it happen so he would get his fill and leave her alone.

He never bothered to confirm if she was still alive once his raging was done. That simple act of kindness was somehow beneath him. Clearing himself of the evidence of his destructive nature, he quickly showered and changed his clothes. Once the fake version of himself had been carefully reconstructed, Kemi left.

She hoped and prayed he was gone but accepted the fact that he was probably downstairs talking to one of the many women he screwed around with. Kemi long ago made it well-known that he had no love in his heart for her. Pretending to love her was something he insisted he would never do.

He constantly reminded her that she was an insignificant part of some stupid plan.

As she lay on the floor dissecting the mess she was in with the man who hated her more and more every day, the room’s temperature grew colder than was safe for a person in her condition.

Returning from her disassociated state, she realized her body was actually ice cold.

Lydia knew for sure the air wasn’t on when she made it home. He wasn’t lying when he said he would rather kill her than let her go. The morgue that was her room was perfectly suited to help her slip into shock considering how badly she was injured.

As a licensed physician, she was sure he was doing everything in his power to make the threat become a reality.

Never had she met a more vindictive person in her life. She thought to herself as she attempted to roll over on her side.

The effort to move forced tears to rush from her eyes like a rampant stream. If she didn’t find the strength to endure the suffering required to get up, she would never make it off the floor. In order to survive, she struggled to roll from her side onto her knees. No matter how long it took, she knew she must get up.

Lydia’s body felt like a ton as slowly, yet painstakingly, she pushed herself up from the floor. The lack of speed in her movements offered her no refuge. The journey from the middle of the floor to the base of her bed was the epitome of tribulation.

Each time her knees struck the floor, molten hot lava raced through the pathway of nerves running the length of her body. Tears made it impossible for her to see clearly from her good eye as she endured her trials. Even with the uphill struggle in front of her, Lydia pressed forward.

Victimized in the most egregious manner possible, her will to live was the only thing that spurred her on.

Once she finally reached the bed, she grabbed the footboard and cried out as she dug deep to pull herself the rest of the way up. Using her hands to pull and her feet to push, with every conquered inch, she prayed to God until she made it off the floor. Had she not been successful on her first try, Lydia knew there was no way she could muster enough strength to continue.

Landing on the bed, she allowed herself to cry for as long as the tears would flow. Her medical training gave her the knowledge to conclude that a couple of her ribs were broken based on the sharp pain radiating from her left side.

Her mind feared the potential for major damage as a result of the beating and the hypothermia looming nearby. Briefly, she lay on the bed too exhausted and crippled by pain to move.

Every creak, groan, or moan of the house terrified her. If Kemi came back upstairs and took up where he left off, Lydia was convinced she most likely would die.

Deep inside, her spirit was done. Her body was too broken to continue. There was no way she could show up at work with all the new outward markings of the extensive abuse she had been enduring for quite some time.

Her heart and her head agreed it was time to leave. After the events of that evening, Lydia knew without a doubt, if she stayed with him, he would make good on his threat and kill her. This was a trial run for what she was sure would eventually lead to her death.

Getting dressed was beyond her comprehension, but she was operating from a need to survive. Her mind blocked anything else.

At first, she located a bra and panties but soon rethought the value of putting them on. Still, she managed to get her panties up. First, one foot and then the next until the task was completed. Believing the same determination would produce similar results, Lydia made an attempt to put on her bra and was cut-off instantly as pain slice through her back and ribs.

Lydia finally opted to leave the bra off. The pain from her initial attempt had already sucked the air out of her lungs. Beads of sweat collected on her top lip as her stomach flipped from the shards of unseen matter slicing beneath her skin.

Finally, with nothing more than the few things she could carry, Lydia ended it and prayed it was over for good as she walked away.


(POISON)

Icy winds whipped and swirled around her legs. An icy-cold blanket encircled her body as her teeth rattled so hard they hurt in her mouth.

No more beatings.

She was so done with all of that.

Her life wasn’t meant to go down the path it was on. Lydia glanced down at the water below as the thought hit her that no one would save her. Her mother and father were more worried about appearances and making connections. The last conversation she had with her mother assured her that she was on her own.

Acidic words spoken by her mother were unlike any caustic substance she had studied in medical school. What her mother said to her was more like a cancerous poison capable of instantly consuming every crevice of a person’s body. The problem was the poison didn’t stop on the cellular level. It went deeper. It infiltrated the soul and corrupted everything supported by life.

For months, the cancerous poison festered in her until she could no longer feel joy.

Ultimately, her mother’s words added the necessary fuel which ushered her unapologetically to the point of no return.

Lydia was tired of the abuse. She was tired of being beaten every day. She was tired of crying. She was tired of being made to feel like no one loved her. Tears flowed like a rampant flood down her cheeks as her mother’s poison rattled around rent-free in her head.


(MOTHER)

“Look, I know Kemi isn’t perfect, but what man is. His family is doing very well for themselves. You should be thankful he even considered marrying you.” Nelda Wright-Kensington explained.

“Mom, he hits me. He never shares intimacy or love with me. The only thing between us is brutality. I can’t take it anymore. I can barely do my job because of all the bruises and the pain.” Lydia pleaded with her mother for understanding.

“Liddie, I’m sorry, but you will never find another man on his financial and social level. Who else do you think will show the kind of interest he has shown in you. If you had spent half of the time your sister spent in the gym taking care of her body, your dating pool would be more flexible. You are the one who chose to be lazy. You are the one who chose to never exercise, eat right, or even try to lose the tiniest bit of weight. You are the one who acted like your life was of no concern to YOU. Didn’t it occur to you that the way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you? You have abused and mistreated your body your entire life and that is the reason a man feels it’s okay to do the same.” The older woman’s venomous tongue swiftly and with certainty sealed her daughter’s death with every single word.

As she listened to her mother’s reckless meanderings, her heartless speech forced bile to rise up from her stomach into her mouth. To say she was sick and tired of hearing her mother belittle and down rate her was an understatement.

With every demeaning speech from the woman who was supposed to love and protect her, Lydia sensed her life’s essence slowly but surely eeking itself away from her.

Disconnection and remorse settled in making it nearly impossible for her to breathe.

“Mommy, please for once in your life be on my side... please. He has been viciously raping me every night. Is that supposed to be the right thing for a man to do?” The once controlled conversation completely disintegrated.

As she sat in her car begging for her mother’s compassion and understanding, Lydia lost it. She had reached her limit and was completely done with the whole thing. In her mind, there was no Kemi and Lydia.

It was over.

She mistook the moments of silence as if her mother was hurt or concerned about the secret her daughter had just revealed.

“There is no such thing as rape between a husband and his wife.” The callous response was the low of all lows. Lydia wasn’t sure she heard her mother correctly until the older woman finished her statement.

“If you do anything to break off this engagement, I will disown you and your father will do the same. You are nowhere near the person Heaven was. If he is angry with you, it’s because he hasn’t gotten over the love he shared with your sister. She was his everything. Heaven cared about how people perceived her. She took care of herself and made sure she was beautiful and desirable. She was a curvaceously voluptuous goddess. Her demeanor was poised and elegant and she knew how to get along with anyone. Your sister was perfection. She wasn’t some burnt black, overweight, know-it-all, who never exhibited pride in herself to push away from the table long enough to lose some weight... for crying out loud.” The words cut through the last tether which bound her to the living.

Lydia’s mother had the nerve to actually blame her for the abuse she was barely surviving. She knew her mother was partial to her sister, but she never imagined a mother could actually resent her own child. Lydia stared at the rear-view mirror as she listened to the hateful words flooding her psyche.

“I always wondered why he was taking so long to marry you. I can just imagine that smart mouth of yours probably made him resent you. Stop blaming your future husband for your shortcomings and focus on becoming a wife he will be proud of. Try to make yourself more suitable for his lifestyle. I wondered why he didn’t bring you to the Gala and why he seemed irritated when your father and I ran into him. Now, I see why.” With that... the call... was over.

Lydia got the message loud and clear.

She no longer mattered to anyone.


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