At first I hardly recognized her when I saw her at Bareass Boulevard last week and it was Java that drew my attention to her and then went right up and said hi. I could see that she was visibly surprised, but quickly regained her composure as I went up to say hello. We hadn’t seen each other since her nuptials nearly a year ago and I wondered at her absence at the usual haunts. She said that things had changed since marriage and she didn’t get out as much as she used to when she was single. Natch, we surmised! She was wearing a stylish pair of glare-glasses that covered a whole lot, but still couldn’t conceal what appeared at first glance to be the outer rim of a shiner – the blackened area giving way to a duller red-blue-grey that spread a bit beyond the lower rim of her shades. She had just finished some shopping, she said, and was on her way out, so we asked her to join us for a drink, or even lunch, if she had the time. We could see that she was hesitant, so Java quickly got into his most persuasive mode and soon we were at a table waiting for our brews and her juice.

Shooting the shit, we soon got to her life after marriage and although she tried her best to make it look like everything was just hunky-dory, she knew that she wasn’t fooling either of us. In the meantime I had also noticed some bruises on her upper arms when the three-quarter length sleeves of her top slipped up. We had been pretty close in the past, so we had no qualms about telling her that we could see that all wasn’t quite right with her situation and that she must attempt to do her best to do what she could to make the shit disappear. And then, bit by bit, she let us into the dark secrets of her marriage gone wrong.

She married this good-looking guy who had a rising career in ‘marketing’ – one of the many areas of it. He was well off and they were in comfortable surroundings, but it appeared that he was fiendishly jealous and extremely demanding, which soon metamorphosed into an abusive relationship. He beat her up. Frequently. And then he would be contrite and shower all sorts of expensive gifts to assuage his guilt and as a token of his ‘undying love’ for her. We asked why she didn’t leave him. She said she had nowhere to go, as her family objected to the marriage and had virtually disowned her. Her sister lived in the States, so that was one option, but still she was afraid that if he got even the slightest inkling that she was planning to leave him, he would get into some extreme mental state, the thought of which she feared to even contemplate. She did say that he had, in one of those infrequent moments of equanimity, agreed to seek professional advice and counseling, but they hadn’t started on that yet. She doubted they would, as she had heard his promises before and had learned to live with the fact that he was too twisted to see what he really was. He would never even consider for a moment that there was anything wrong with him, but always blamed her for catalyzing his ferocious temper – as far as he was concerned, he really loved her and it was she that was to blame – and deserved what she received.

There’s little that most folk can do in situations of spousal abuse, as we discussed sometime ago in “Till death do us part” . So we tried suggesting some actions that may alleviate, at least temporarily, some of the horror that she experienced regularly and also told her that in the event of any serious problems to give us a buzz. Java’s experience in the past with marriage problems of friends has taught him never to get too involved, in spite of the fact that one of them deserved better or was even in some sort of danger. These are sensitive matters and, as far as he is concerned, must be handled by the individuals who have chosen their paths.

And so we bade her goodbye and good luck, hoping we would meet up again in happier circumstances, finished our brews and split.

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