The next morning, Abbey stomped around her room endlessly after her father left for the airport. Her mother had gone to drop him off at the airport. Abbey needed to get out of this house. She wanted to run away and leave her father’s house forever in her past, but guilt kept her living there. What if something happened to her mother once she moved out?

Hearing the front door open and close, Abbey knew her mother had returned from the airport. She left the room and started down the stairs. “Mum, where are you?” She strode through the living room. “Mum?”

Tari came down the hall. Her eyes were glassy with tears. “Hi honey.”

“Are you okay?” Abbey asked.

“Yeah, I am, dear. Can you sit with me for a little while? We need to talk.” Tari choked back a sob.

“Sure, mum.” Abbey followed her into the kitchen. Her mind swarmed with the hateful things her father had said to her mother last night. They definitely had to talk about it. Enough was enough!

“I’m so sorry, mum,” Abbey began once they were in the kitchen, “but you have to know that I saw what dad did to you last night. I was just too scared to do anything about it. I’m such a coward. I should have stopped him.”

Tari smiled sadly at her daughter. “There was very little you or I could have done. You father will do what he wants to do and no one can stop him.”

“Maybe I couldn’t do anything last night but I can do something now. When is he coming back from his business trip?”

“On Friday.” Motioning to the table, Tari said, “Let’s sit down.” She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. “I don’t know what’s come over me,” she began hesitantly. “I feel guilty, I suppose.”

“Guilty about what?”

“Your father.”

“Why would you feel guilty about him? Mum, you’ve done nothing wrong. You are the victim in all of this.”

Tari looked away. She stared blankly into space, not saying a word for a moment. The silent humming of the freezer was the only sound that could be heard in the kitchen.

“What’s going on?” Abbey finally asked in a quiet tone.

Tari’s voice was almost a whisper when she answered. “I’ve been afraid of your father for a very long time.”

“I know, mum.”

“It’s hard to believe he’s the same man I fell in love with…although, now that I think about it, he has always been dominating and controlling. I guess I was just so in love with him that I never let myself see him for who and what he truly was. All I ever wanted was to get married, have six children, and live in a big house with my perfect family. I wanted all the things I didn’t have as a child.” Tari made a slight scoffing sound. “I was so stupid to believe your father would give me all I ever wanted. Who was I kidding?”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting those things for yourself, mum.”

Turning to look at Abbey, Tari gave her a small smile. “I should have left him years ago, Abbey. I just didn’t want you to grow up without a father figure in your life, like I had to when I was growing up. Unfortunately, the longer I stayed, the harder it became.”

“It’s never too late. I’m all grown up now, mum. You can still do it.”

Tari shook her head. She got up and poured two cups of orange juice from the fridge. Needing a change of subject, she smiled and said, “Enough about me. How are things with you and Jiro?”

At first, Abbey was startled by the pairing in the question. Then she remembered she’d never told her mother about Mofe. “We broke up.”

“What?” Tari was shocked. “Really? When? You never told me. Have I been so caught up in my own mess that I have neglected you and what has been happening in your life? Oh my God, I’m so sorry, my darling.”

Abbey quickly reached for her mother’s hand and said, “It’s okay. You’ve been doing the best you can. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t know how to. It’s a long story. Let’s just say he’s not who I thought he was.”

Tari looked down at Abbey’s hand and noticed the engagement ring. “So if you and Jiro broke up, why are you still wearing his ring?”

Abbey gave a small laugh. She’d forgotten she was wearing Mofe’s ring. “It’s not Jiro’s. There’s someone else.”

Tari’s sad smile grew several inches wider and her eyes filled up again. “I feel like I have failed you as a mother. I should know these things. You didn’t have to go through all of these things alone. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay, mum, really,” Abbey said, clasping her mother’s hand in reassurance. “You had a lot on your plate and I should have helped you through it, but I turned a blind eye to it. I am as much to blame for dad getting away with abusing you as he is for being the one who beat you. I am an accessory to the violence done to you because I haven’t speak up against him. I am the one that failed you, mum. I’m so sorry.”

Tari offered Abbey yet another sad, teary smile. “I guess we both dropped the ball on this one, eh? Me more than anyone else.”

“You’ve done nothing wrong, mum. But you really should consider leaving him.”

“That’s where you are wrong, Abbey. I’ve done something awful.”

“What are you talking about?”

Tari suddenly looked unsure. “I didn’t want to have to tell you this…”

“Whatever it is, you can tell me. I promise not to hold it against you.”

“It’s just such a hard thing for me to talk about.”

“Take your time,” Abbey said. She fought to keep her voice calm and her tone soft. Her stomach twisted into a knot. Her mother claimed to have done something awful. Images of her going to a herbalist to kill her father or make him run mad fleeted through her mind. Abbey almost wished that was the case. Still, she waited for the other woman to speak.

Tari took a sip of her juice. Then she stared down at her glass as she spoke. “About six months ago, I had to attend a fundraising dinner. Your father was supposed to come. In fact, he had been the one to insist we attend. He called me over the phone and told me he was running late at work but he would meet me there. Evidently he found more interesting things to do and someone more interesting to do it with, because he never showed up.”

She drew in a shaky breath before continuing. “I was seated beside a man I’d never met before and we got to talking throughout the night. One thing led to another and…”

“And you ended up having sex with him?” Abbey said in a half-questioning tone.

Her mother nodded slowly. “I had never cheated on your father before that night, but I was so lonely and Tunde was there to listen. I don’t know why I trusted him so completely. We connected in a way I’d never experienced before. It just felt right.”

Abbey smiled, remembering how she had felt with Mofe the very first night she had met him. “I understand perfectly, mum. Was it just that one night or did you see him again?”

Tari’s eyes remained fixed on her glass. “We became friends at first. Just friends. He was so easy to be with. I told him everything about my life with your father. I even invited him to one of the church vigils I usually go to and he’s being coming ever since. One night, we finished from the church vigil and he invited me over to his place. We made love and I left immediately after. That became our routine after every vigil, and I always made sure I get home just before your dad wakes up so he doesn’t suspect where I have been.”

That explained the dedication her mother had expended to her attendance of her church vigils, Abbey thought. And here she’d been, thinking her mother had been praying for her marriage with her father. Abbey gave a small smile, before urging, “And?”

“And I’m in love with him,” Tari said quietly.

“Does he love you back?”

“Yes, he does.”

“Is he married too?”


“Then why don’t you leave dad and be with him? You’re obviously miserable in this marriage.”

Tari heaved a small sigh. “I’ve tried, Abbey, but every time I mention divorce, your father… he gets so angry.”

“You can’t go on like this forever. One of these days, he’ll end up killing you. Staying with him isn’t going to solve anything.”

“I know.”

“Has this Tunde guy ever hit you?” Abbey asked cautiously. She’d read somewhere that abuse victims often unknowingly sought to replace one abuser with another.

“Never,” her mother said emphatically.

“Does he want to be with you?”

“Yes, he does.”

“I mean, does he want you to leave dad to be with him?”

“He does. He has wanted me to leave your father since the first day we met.”

“So do it then. Look, mum, you have nothing to feel guilty about.”

“I’ve thought about it several times, but I have just been too afraid to act on it. I know your father. I know his temper. If he found out I left him for another man…” Her voice trailed off. “I didn’t want to take that chance,” she finished.

“You think dad will hurt Tunde?” Abbey asked, understanding her mother’s worry, especially since her father had threatened Mofe’s life not so long ago.

“I’m sure he would.”

“But you can’t let him bully you into staying with him forever.”

“I have thought of killing him,” Tari said softly, more to herself than to Abbey.

Abbey inhaled sharply. Instinctively, she thought about telling her mother that she spent most of her nights dreaming of ways to kill her father too; but there was something in the way that her mother had said what she’d said that made Abbey sure that this wasn’t the right time to be giving the woman any crazy ideas. “Why would you ever want to do that?” she finally said.

“I hate your father,” Tari said in a quiet tone that did not mask the strength of the proclamation. “I hate him for everything he has put me through, for all the broken ribs I have had to live through over the years, for all the bruises I’ve had to hide behind makeup. I hate him for making me hate myself to the point where I considered taking my own life.”

Abbey stared, shocked by this revelation.

Tari looked into her eyes and continued. “I have felt worthless for so long, Abbey. Not even my love for God could take away my hate for Jafar, because every time I ask God to deliver me from this hell I am in, I still end up coming home to the sonofabitch. I hate your father for teaching me about life the hard way. So many years lost. So many experiences endured. The only good thing that ever came out of this marriage was you, Abbey; and he almost killed you while I was pregnant with you in my womb.”

“Oh my God,” was all Abbey could say.

“He threw me down the stairs during one of our many arguments. That fall caused me to go into labour weeks before my due date. It was a miracle you survived. After you arrived, there was so much internal bleeding from the fall and from birthing you, the doctor told me that my womb was too damaged to ever give birth again. I was much younger than you at the time.” Tari choked back the torrent of tears that suddenly threatened to fall.

In that moment, Abbey saw her mother differently for the first time in a long time. She finally understood what kind of family they were. The three of them – father, mother, and daughter – had lived their lives together yet neither of them truly understood themselves. Until now, she had never known the circumstances surrounding her birth. When she was really young, Abbey had asked her mother for a little brother or sister and she remembered her mum telling her, “You are all I will need in a child, Abbey. My one and only angel, just the way God intended.”

In that very second, a new level of hate for Jafar formed deep within Abbey.

“Do you really love this Tunde guy, mum?” she asked.


“And he loves you?” Abbey inquired again.

“Without a doubt,” Tari reiterated.

Abbey reached across the table, squeezed her mother’s hand and said, “Then leave this monster and go be with Tunde.”

Tari smiled, despite the tears filling her eyes. “What about you? I can’t leave you here alone with him.”

“I can handle him, don’t worry,” Abbey said with more confidence than she actually felt.

The ringing of a phone stole the next words from Tari’s mouth. She hesitated before reaching for her cell phone. She answered and a wide smile quickly appeared on her face. “I’ve missed you too, Tunde,” she said into the phone after listening to the speaker on the other end.

Realizing that her mother now needed some privacy, Abbey stood and left the kitchen. Her mother was having an affair. She’d never have suspected it, though it made sense. Abbey hoped her mother’s new found love would give her the courage she needed to leave her father.

Honestly, Abbey was a bit surprised her father hadn’t caught wind of the affair. Then again, he rarely paid any attention to the activities in the lives of his wife and daughter unless it suited his own purpose. Abbey knew her father wouldn’t make it easy for Tari to leave him. Knowing Jafar, he would probably threaten her with everything possible. For him, it would be more about his almighty image and his precious reputation being at stake than it being about reconnecting with his family. He wouldn’t want people to think he wasn’t the perfect husband or loving father; and he sure as hell wouldn’t want Tari to be free of his control. His words to her not so long ago echoed in her mind: “Till death do us part…that’s my favourite part of the vows.” Abbey shuddered.

Walking over to the life-sized picture of her parents on their wedding day, Abbey ran her fingers across the framed portrait. They looked so happy. At first glance, her father appeared a gentler man but when she looked more closely, she could see that coldness lurking deep in his eyes. Yes, her father would certainly forbid a divorce. The question now was how far he would go to get his way.

“Abbey, are you okay?” Tari asked from the kitchen door.

Abbey turned to meet her mother’s gaze. “Yes, mum, I am.”

“Good. Thank you for listening to me and being so mature about everything. I am going to tell your father I want a divorce when he comes back. And this time, I’m going to stand my ground.”

“Why don’t you leave now, before he gets back from his business trip?” Abbey suggested. As much as her mother seemed confident, Abbey wasn’t sure a confrontation in this house, in her father’s turf was the way to go.

“I can’t. I know your father. He will come after me.”

“Not if he doesn’t know where you are, he won’t. Besides, you can get some sort of a restraining order or something. I’m sure it’s doable.”

“He’s a lawyer, Abbey, and a good one at that. I’m sure he has ears within the legal circles. He will find out and he will fight me on that restraining order. Besides that, he would most probably bribe someone in the legal department to invalidate the restraining order and make up a good reason why it should be tossed out the window.”

Abbey walked over to her mum and held her hand. “Mum, do you honestly want a divorce?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then you need to do this right now. It doesn’t matter who dad knows. By the time he will be able to do anything about it, you will be long gone.”

“I’m scared.”

“I know you are. But this is your chance. He’s not here now, so he can’t hurt you. He’s away. This is the time for you to take control and do something about what you want. Or at least, begin the process.”

“You are right.”

“Of course I’m right. Now let’s go pack all your stuff. I’ll even help you get that restraining order today.”

Tari hesitated. “I can’t believe I’m terrified of the same man I once loved with all my heart.”

“He’s not the same man, mum,” Abbey said. “Not anymore.”

Tari looked at her daughter for one intense moment and said, “My darling, I don’t know what happened between you and Jiro. But hear this. Never tolerate less than what you are worth with anyone, especially with any man.”

“I won’t, mum,” Abbey promised.

“I mean it, Abbey. Never let any man take advantage of you or undermine your value, not even once, no matter what the reason.”

Abbey nodded resolutely.

Thereafter, the two women went upstairs. They worked together in packing Tari’s things.

Midway through their task, Tari stopped. There was a look of worry on her face. “What happens on Friday when your father arrives at the airport?” she said. “He’ll be expecting me to pick him up from the airport. If I leave him hanging, he’ll be embarrassed and that will only add to his fury.”

Abbey thought for a moment before replying. “I’ll pick him up.”

“Abbey, no. I don’t want you in the middle of this.”

“I’ve always been in the middle of all of it, mum. And I can take care of myself. Don’t worry.”

“I can’t help worrying, Abbey. Your father is dangerous.”

“I’ll be fine,” Abbey reassured. “I’ll quickly drop him off at home, make up some excuse about why I need to leave immediately, and get out.”

Tari sat down on the edge of the bed. “You are so brave, Abbey. I couldn’t have asked for a better child.”

Abbey sat beside her. “You’re pretty awesome yourself, mum. I learned how to be brave from you.”

They hugged momentarily, before Abbey said, “So it’s settled. I’ll pick dad up. Maybe you should write him a note and leave it on the bed. He’ll find it after I drop him off.”

“Are you sure?”


“I don’t want you here alone with him when he finds the letter, Abbey. It could be disastrous.”

Abbey smirked. “I won’t even come inside the house. Now please call Tunde and tell him to come pick you up. Maybe we can even pick up some food and wine to celebrate your eventual freedom. I know a great place.”

Tari smiled through her tears. “That sounds wonderful.”


Sitting in his chair, Jiro wasn’t able to concentrate on work any longer. He needed an answer from Andrew, and soon. The man had managed to avoid giving him a yes or a no regarding the trip to his parent’s house for the coming weekend. Initially, Jiro had thought to starve Andrew of sex as a way of getting him to agree, but from the looks of it, they were both suffering from the decision. Itching to speak with Andrew again for the hundredth time that day, he finally gave up and picked up his Blackberry to send him a message on BBM.

‘Hey papi,’ the message read. ‘Still waiting on your answer regarding whether you’re accompanying me to my parents’ place this coming weekend for their anniversary or not. Please say yes. I promise to make it worth your while.’

In his own office, Andrew sighed as he read the message that pinged into his phone moments ago. This issue of going to his parents’ place again, he thought. He’d actually decided that morning to accept Jiro’s invitation. He’d deliberated for so long for a way to turn him down, but knowing he’d hurt his feelings with any declination had made up his mind for him.

He typed his response. ‘I would love to, dear. Just know that I’m doing this because you mean the world to me. That said, you owe me big-time!’

Jiro’s reply came back seconds later. ‘Indeed I do. Get ready to collect in full.’

Andrew chuckled.

On his own end, Jiro was beaming.

Finally, he thought. He couldn’t wait to meet up with Andrew later. The sex drought he had initiated was driving him mad. And now, what better way to celebrate their impending weekend together than by getting together with their clothes off? He looked at his wristwatch, willing closing time to come faster.


Her mother was gone. Whisking her away in the driver’s seat of his car was Tunde. Abbey had liked the man at once, especially when she observed him with her mother.

It was thirty minutes after they left that the door bell rang. Thinking about whether they’d forgotten something, she called out, “Who’s there?”

There was no response, even though she was positive her voice had carried.

The doorbell rang again. Feeling mildly irritated, she stalked over to the door and pulled it open. The persons she saw standing on the threshold caused her to stiffen. Her expression tightened from irritation to mounting anger.

“What do you want?” she hissed.

“Abbey, please, we need to talk…” Edirin said.

Bukunmi stood beside her, eyeing Abbey too.

“I have nothing to say to you,” Abbey spat.

“It’s important,” Bukunmi interjected.

Abbey opened her mouth to tell the two of them off, when a tear suddenly began tracking its way down Edirin’s cheek. The sight startled Abbey. In all the years they’d been friends, she had never seen Edirin cry. She remained still a moment, wishing she could hate Edirin. But after her mother’s revelations about her father’s true nature, Abbey couldn’t bring herself to remain mad at Edirin.

Bukunmi motioned towards her car, which was parked in front of the house. “Please Abbey, just hear her out. Let’s go someplace… anywhere you’d like to go. And you two can talk.”

Abbey gave a reluctant nod of acquiescence. Minutes later, the three women were in Bukunmi’s car and Bukunmi was steering toward a nearby restaurant. They picked a table in a quiet corner and ordered drinks from the menu. They waited in silence until the waitress served them and left.

Needing to have the first word, Abbey said to Edirin, “I know this mess isn’t entirely your fault. That doesn’t mean that I could ever forgive you though.”

“I am so sorry,” Edirin said. “This whole thing with your father just sort of happened. I honestly fell in love with Jafar. He told me he loved me too. He said we were meant to be together.”

“He’s a lying bastard,” Abbey said. “He was just using you.”

Edirin choked back a sob. “I know that now. I always felt guilty about never telling you and your mother about it, and I wanted to several times. But he kept promising me that it would all work out.”

“I don’t want to hear this,” Abbey said, lifting a hand to stall Edirin’s frankness. “I can’t. Not right now.” Without touching her drink, she started to get up.

Bukunmi grabbed her hand. “Wait,” she said. “It’s really important that you listen to the rest.”

“You don’t know him like I do,” Abbey said to the two women. “There’s no point continuing this conversation. You’d never understand.”

“I’m pregnant,” Edirin said flatly.

Abbey stilled, and then gradually sank back into her seat.

Bukunmi pursed her lips. “I told you you’d want to hear the rest.”

Abbey faced Edirin. “Yes, indeed. Well, Edirin, you now have my attention.”

Written by The Controvert

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  1. ambivalentone
    November 14, 07:33 Reply

    Some women and their penchant for adamantly staying in houses where they are abused tho. I will never understand it. It these kinda women who have over time and down centuries encouraged men to think they are God’s special gift to the human race. Seriously, concepts of ‘honour’ and ‘submissive’ and ‘help meet’ have made this patriachal system thrive globally. And some women tho…aswear its not only religious houses that brain-wash. They have been so conditioned to ‘suffering in silence in matrimony’, they will help brainwash their fellow women. I don’t envy feminists and the Women’s Lib their work at all

    • Pink Panther
      November 14, 07:35 Reply

      It is still most surprising to me when I see that the fiercest opposition feminism experiences is not often the male chauvinist but also women. Women who have been conditioned to see themselves as the footstool of the man, whether in good times or bad.

  2. Delle
    November 14, 10:51 Reply

    It takes a lot of guts to watch your mum get raped by your dad and not do a single thing. I can’t imagine that happening to me. That Jafar man though, he is so strategically wicked. So wicked you don’t even know how to break him!

    After the scenario of Abbey, Andrew and Jiroh, I really wanted to hate on Abbey but with all these delicate circumstances surrounding her, urrgh, I find myself getting attracted to this character.

    I love this series Controvert, pls don’t tell me Jafar killed Tunde…that would just be too much for my fragile heart to bear. Keep it up dear!

    • Jamie
      November 14, 12:19 Reply

      Aww… Cute comment though… I reason with you!!

  3. Wealth
    November 14, 11:39 Reply

    Wow great write-up,I love it.

  4. Richard Moore
    November 14, 13:24 Reply

    Daaaaaaaaammn! He good. Freaking good. You also have my attention, Controvert.

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