TRAPPED by Maame Akua Koduah

He made me feel beautiful

I believed it was love at first sight

His first glance at me took my breath away

I could not believe that he would even deign to look at me

And yet there he stood

A smile tugging at the corners of his mouth

As he moved with an effortless grace toward me

Our first few weeks together were utter bliss

Tears of happiness constantly streamed down my face

And then it all changed one day

 

Darling, welcome home I said

My arms were opened wide to hug him

An embrace which became

A stinging sensation to my face

Surely this was a mistake

I blinked once, then twice

Willing it to be just a dream

Till I felt another stinging sensation to my face

My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets

I stood, utterly dumbfounded and shocked

Was this the same person who had pledged his undying love to me?

He seemed genuinely contrite

Apologizing with honey-dripping words

Bawling like a day old toddler

And prostrating at my feet

His hands entwined around my legs

Like vines on a branch

I forgive you I said with a smile

Believing that nothing else could mar

Our happiness and joy

But this was not to be

 

Drinking became his compatriot

Calling out to him morning, noon and night

First in whispers which soon progressed to shouts

With smoking emerging immediately after

As an evil twin

Darling, I tried reasoning with him

It’s not good for your health

I felt the atmosphere in the room visibly change

He got up- all of his 6 foot 3 self

And walked toward me quickly

All former traces of gracefulness gone out of his limbs

I was hefted above like a paper doll

My lungs were crashed

I saw my life flash before my eyes

Tears of rage and shame clouded my vision

I crumpled like a rag onto the floor

The crack of my bones audibly loud

Pain shooting through every part of my being

Groaning was a luxury I could not afford at the moment

So scared and tongue-tied was I

Seconds seemed to merge into minutes

Until I finally heard rather than saw him

Moving toward me

And then I was lifted ever so gently like china

Laid on the bed and treated like a queen

His apologies flowing freely

Gushing like a never ending stream

Overlapping its shores and boundaries into my dreams

 

He loved me, he said the next day

And yet I was battered and bruised by his hand that very afternoon

A hand I had at first never imagined capable of such violence

A hand that was almost as familiar to me

As the flowers I had nursed tenderly and lovingly in the garden

Each day found me retreating into a safe place within myself

I was trapped in my own flesh

So unlike my former self on the outside

With teeth broken, a bleeding nose

A broken leg, a fractured hip

Or some other distortion to my body

With each passing day

Red rustiness and white saltiness

Merging into a Red sea

 

Enough is enough I told myself

I had received one too many blows at his hands

I had been trapped in this relationship for far too long

My thoughts trapped in my mind

Like a prisoner under 24 hour surveillance

For fear of saying a wrong word

And being punished by my ‘lover’

I had been trapped by his sickeningly sweet words of love to me

Bursting forth from his mouth after I had taken a beating

Trapped by his incessant apologies and tears

As he asked for mercy for his hurtful and hateful acts

I had been trapped in pain for far too long

A veteran who had fought no war

I had been trapped in all forms of costumes

Wigs, sunglasses, makeup, long-sleeved clothes

To hide my scars of what I had believed was love

Trapped inside his home as if I were a wild beast

To keep prying eyes from seeing me

 

My bags were packed

Done in the dead of the night

Like a thief on a mission

I picked up the key to my liberty

The hinges of the door creaking

Beckoning me into the sunshine

I hobbled out as quickly as I could

Trapped I had been and now set free

Like a bird who had been let out of its cage

I would spread my wings

And fly far away into the golden sunlight