You didn’t know that eyes could lie. You had read so many harlequin mills and boon and you believed that eyes were the windows to the soul. So, when on your way home from work that day, he had driven slowly along-side you, trying to get your attention and when you finally looked his way, he had looked at you in that way; that way that made you feel fluid in your ears, that way that made it seem like there was no one else but both of you in the room, you fell for him.
You were so focused on his eyes, on the shiny blackness of his beards, on the hardness of his belly and the coffee of his skin, that, you refused to notice that he smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, that he was aggressive, that his incessant need to know where you were wasn’t love but a kind of possessiveness that left you with a parched throat. You refused to let yourself notice that when he said “I love you” at the end of your phone conversations, he said it hurriedly, as if he didn’t want to hear himself say it.
And so, when he slapped you, that late night in November, you didn’t permit yourself to be shocked, you waited for his apology, and when it came, you looked into his eyes, brimmed with tears and you forgave him. You forgave him because, “human beings make mistakes, because, nobody is perfect, because, to err is human and to forgive is divine”.
When Odira, your childhood friend – the one who had made you extra sweet tea after your father died – had showed you the text messages filled with inappropriate pictures he sent to her after the party, – in which you had introduced them – you had shouted at Odira and told her she was jealous and left her house in blind rage.
When you went through his phone, on one of the days that you weren’t wholly intoxicated by his eyes, you saw that Odira wasn’t the only person he sent those pictures to. You didn’t allow yourself to be angry, you told yourself that at least he came back to you every night and that was all that mattered.
And so, after one year of being with him, of arranging your life around the particles that made him, when he suggested rather than ask that you marry him, you kept looking at those eyes. You didn’t listen when your mum said she didn’t like him, when your gut said it didn’t like him. You married him. On the day of your wedding, you danced and danced, you had gotten the man of everybody’s dreams.
It was after he had punched out the second baby from your womb, after he stopped saying I love you; even hurriedly. After the girls from his phone began to materialize in your house; in your bedroom. When he stopped coming back to you every night, and you couldn’t recognise the flaps that had become your belly or the face that stared back at you from the mirror, that you realised that he had lying eyes.
You knew that if you didn’t leave, you would die, you would bang your head on the kitchen counter until your neck snapped.
But after you packed your bags and went to the door, you realised that you didn’t want to go, you didn’t want to bear the looks you would get from those who said you both looked perfect together. So, you unpacked your bags and sat in the living room until he came home.
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