What do you think of when you hear or see flowers?? Love right?? Flowers are obviously symbols of love and romance. But what happens when flowers become symbols of a battered woman in a battered marriage??
“How dare you talk to me in that manner? Who do you think you are? I’m your husband and you’re supposed to worship me”. Jerome screamed at his wife Kamara.
“C’mon Jerome we both know that your logic doesn’t make sense and sounds preposterous”, Kamara reiterated. “Are you actually saying that I’m senseless?”
“No, no that’s not what I mean baby. I didn’t mean…” But before she could finish the statement: SLAP and another slap. Kamara keeps on screaming but Jerome was having none of it. Her screams attracted the neighbors but then they were already used to it so they couldn’t interfere.
Jerome kept on beating her until Kamara’s body was giving up on her, she slipped into unconsciousness. She woke up with a banging headache and pains all over her body. She saw Jerome by her bedside in tears, looking so worried “baby, you know I didn’t mean any of it right? The doctors asked what happened and I told them you slipped down the stairs and fell. I’m really sorry baby I promise it’ll never happen again.” As tears streamed down her cheeks, she tried to get up but was met with a sharp pain in her ribs. “Jerome you always do this, you keep on hitting me over nothing, then I land in the hospital, you apologise, and it’s that way over and over. It’s an endless vicious cycle”. Kamara cried as the pain coursed through every fiber of her being.
“I know baby and that’s why I’m sorry, I promise it’ll never happen again”. Jerome kept on apologizing. They were interrupted by the doctor who cleared his throat and started “Mrs Nicholas, I see you’re finally awake. That was a pretty bad fall, huh?? Your x-ray shows here that you have a fractured rib, a fractured arm and also a fractured leg, therefore I strongly recommend that you stay in the hospital until you feel better”. “Uhm doctor, I don’t think that would be necessary, she’s already fine so maybe you could discharge her now”. Jerome countered. “Mr Nicholas, as the medical professional in this room, your wife is in a pretty bad shape I think she’d use at least 2 weeks bed rest.” The doctor argued. “And I said that she’ll rest at home, just discharge her, I’m her husband and I have a say in every aspect of her life.” Jerome was trying so hard now to keep his cool. “Alright Mr Nicholas, if you insist then I’ll get the paperwork ready, please follow me to my office”. The doctor gave in. “Baby I’ll be right back, okay”. He kissed her on the forehead and left the room with the doctor.
Tears streamed through Kamara’s face as she remembered how it all started two years ago:
It was 12:00 midnight already and Jerome was yet to come back from work, Kamara was waiting for him in the living room, tapping her legs worriedly on the floor. She couldn’t sit still, one minute she’s sitting down and the next she’s pacing around the living room. The door finally opened and Jerome sauntered into the house, Kamara fired lots of questions at him, “baby where have you been? Do you know how worried I was, waiting for you to come back, thinking that something may have happened to you?” “Are you wishing me dead or bad luck?” Jerome fired back “What! No!! I mean that it’s not safe out there and coming home this late is certainly dangerous” Kamara tried to reason with him. “You’re not my mother, so stop babying me around”. Jerome fumed. ” I’m not saying that I’m your mother, but I’m your wife for God’s sake, stop making me worried all the time.” Kamara cried. “Are you calling me useless and irresponsible??” Jerome asked. “No, no honey, I just want you to be a little more careful, the days are evil and we…”. SLAP and another slap, at first she couldn’t believe that Jerome hit her, he is such a sweet and loving husband to her. “Did you just slap me?” And another slap followed and suddenly she felt a stinging pain on the side of her cheek and her eyes felt the impact next, Jerome threw a punch at her left eye and that actually knocked her out. She woke up in the room to Jerome pacing up and down the room. She winced when she tried to get up, her eyes met with the bunch of red roses by the bedside and Jerome hurriedly came to her side sitting immediately “Baby I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to, I just had a bad day at work and I’m so sorry for taking my frustrations out on you”. He said apologetically and offering her the flowers by the bedside. “It’s okay baby, I knew it wasn’t intentional. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again okay”. Kamara said as she collected the flowers from him and put her arms around his neck hugging him. “Of course baby it won’t” Jerome said relieved.
But of course it did happen again and for the next two years.
***End of flashback***
Kamara walked through the door into the house as Jerome led her into the room. “Welcome home baby, is there anything you need just let me know oh and I uhh got this for you”. Jerome said offering her a bunch of red roses. She took them as he led her upstairs into the room. “Baby I promise you that it’ll never happen again, you know I love you so much please”. Kamara said nothing but went upstairs quietly with his support.
One week later and she was recuperating fine, Jerome kept on showering her with flowers and expensive gifts and declaring his undying love, she heard a knock on the door as she went to open the door, it was her friend Kate. “Hi darling, I’m so glad to see you, you know each time I called your phone, Jerome always picked and said you were resting and didn’t want to be disturbed. I became so worried and decided to come check up on you”. Kate said. “Well good afternoon to you too, and I’m so glad you’re here, I’ve been feeling so lonely, come in”. As Kate stepped into the house, the first thing she noticed was the endless supply of roses.”Wow this place looks like a rose garden, are you thinking of starting a flower shop?” Kate questioned as she sat down. “Haha very funny, Jerome got those for me” Kate answered. “And let me guess, he hit you again right? That was why he kept on taking my calls so I wouldn’t suspect”. Kate asked. “Well, he said he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again, look he’s making up for his actions and he’s on the road to change, he hasn’t hit me in one week” Kamara said happily. Kate shook her head and looked at her friend pitifully “Mara, a leopard never changes it’s spots, old habits die hard, look at yourself, you’re a shadow of your former self, you are so beautiful and you used to glow. Your face was so radiant, your eyes twinkled and your lips seemed to be smiling all the time even when you actually weren’t smiling, it isn’t your birthday or anything special but you got flowers, flowers are supposed to be romantic and you’re supposed to be happy that you got them but no, they’re a constant reminder of your wounds”. Kate reasoned out. Kamara shook her head vigorously, “no Kate, I signed up for this, for better for worse remember, in the good times and the bad ones right”. “Mara I was there, I was your maid of honor, for better or worse, yes, but the officiating minister didn’t ask him to beat you and he certainly didn’t ask you to stay in an abusive marriage. When are you going to leave?? Or are you going to stay until he finally kills you?” Kate cried. Kamara said “I love Jerome and I’m not leaving him, he’ll change, he’ll change for me now if you have nothing else to talk about, I’m tired and I need to rest”. Kate got the message and picked up her bag, and walked towards the door, just before she opened it she turned to her and said “I hope you see my point one of these days” and with that she left.
Jerome came back and he still got flowers for her, they were relaxing in the living room, watching TV when Kamara told him of Kate’s visit his eyes darkened dangerously and he told her never to be friends with Kate again. Kamara decided to call it a night and went upstairs. As she laid down on the bed, and closed her eyes to sleep, she felt the bed dip due to someone else’s weight. She knew it was Jerome, he leaned and started kissing her neck, caressing her thighs, she knew what he wanted but she moved away from him, he came closer again and tried to kiss her again she moved away and said “Baby, stop I’m not in the mood”. “What now, I mean I’m in the mood and by the way I’m your husband so it’s your duty”. Jerome countered. “I know but as you can see I’m still recovering and I still feel slight pains all over my body, please I suggest that you wait…”. She wasn’t able to finish it before his palm met her face with a slap. “I’m your husband bitch and you have to do as I say, do you understand?”. “Yes” Kamara whimpered.
She woke up in the morning and saw a bunch of flowers by the bedside and a note that read “I’m sorry baby, I went overboard, let me make it up to you, get ready by 08:00pm we’re going out”.
As she got ready, Jerome was already waiting in the living room and when she came down, he looked awestruck and said “wow, you’re definitely the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and I’ll be the envy of most men in the restaurant, there’s just something missing”, he placed an expensive diamond necklace around her neck and gave her another bunch of roses he got for she kissed her forehead. “Thank you, they’re beautiful”. Kamara said. “But not as beautiful as you are”. Jerome said and she blushed. “Shall we?” Jerome asked as he held out his elbow. “We shall” Kate said as she took his elbow.
At the restaurant, Kate went in first, because Jerome needed to find a parking space first because the parking lot was full. She was sitting on their table alone when someone walked up to her “hello beautiful, can I sit?” A guy said to her as he stood across the table. “Uhm hi, good evening, and no you can’t sit there, my husband is supposed to sit there”. Kate said visibly uncomfortable because she knew Jerome would come in any second. “Woah you’re married, but you look so young, I’d mistaken you for a single girl”. The guy exclaimed. “Thank you but you really need to leave now, my husband is on his way right now” Kamara said. “Wow chill I’d like to meet this husband of yours, you seem afraid of him, oh I’m Scott by the way” the guy said extending his hands for a handshake. “I’m Kamara, nice to meet you” Kamara said stretching out her hand to meet his own hand. “A beautiful name for a beautiful lady”. Scott said still holding her hand and immediately, Jerome entered the restaurant and spotted Kamara with his eyes, his eyes darkened dangerously, Kamara spotted him and removed her hands immediately from Scott’s hand. Jerome walked over and placed his hands on Kamara’s shoulder and introduced himself to Scott “hi I’m Jerome Nicholas, her husband”. Scott said “I’m Scott Evan, I thought she was joking about having a husband”. “Well if you had taken a closer look at her fingers then you’d see her wedding ring”. Jerome reiterated. “I’m so sorry man, have a nice time, Kamara I’ll see you around yeah?” Scott said and hurried off
All through dinner, Jerome was livid and Kamara was uncomfortable, and during the drive home, the atmosphere was so tense and thick. When they got home, as Kamara was entering the house, she had already gotten to the living room, when she heard “who was that man at the restaurant tonight?” She jumped when she heard Jerome’s voice behind her. “He said his name was Scott but I don’t know him, he mistook me for a single lady and was trying to hit on me.” She explained. “And as the slut you are, you kept on encouraging him, smiling at him. YOU WERE SEDUCING HIM!!!” Jerome screamed. “I wasn’t doing anything like that, I was only being nice and trying to explain to him that I’m married.” Kamara tried to explain. “Am I not enough for you?? Tell me, am I not?? If I hadn’t come in, you would have followed him home. You wanted to sleep with him.” Jerome continued screaming, and tackled her to the ground and straddled her, he unbuckled his belt. At first, Kamara thought he was going hit her with the belt, but he had already done that before. It seemed like Jerome always found new ways and methods to hit her until he was satisfied. Her heart was already pounding in fear, but when she looked down, she saw that he had already unzipped his trousers, “so he was the reason why you moved away last night, huh?” Jerome asked as he pulled down his trousers and pulled up her gown and brought down her underwear, “what are you doing? Please don’t do this, I beg you.” Kamara pleaded as she cried so hard her shoulders shaking.
“So that guy was the reason huh? Now watch what I’ll do to you and after I’m done with you, I’ll find him and kill him slowly” Jerome said as he thrust into her forcefully, painfully. Kamara screamed and cried while pleading for Jerome to stop while he kept on slapping and hitting her while still thrusting into her. When he was done, he got up and left her on the floor to lick her wounds. She laid there and cried until she felt her tear gland dry up. She reached for her purse, she reached into the purse and and took her phone scrolled through her contact lists and dialled a number “Hello, Kate please I need your help…”
She walked into Kate’s house as she led her into the apartment, Kamara couldn’t possibly believe that Jerome could do that to her that was the last straw, she knew that she couldn’t do it anymore. “Kate, I’m tired of this marriage, I’m filing for a divorce. Please tell me the procedures”. Kamara said. Kate looked at her in shock and disbelief “are you sure, Mara? Think this through.” Kate said “I’ve never been sure, what he did tonight made me finalize my decision, I’m tired of covering his tracks all the time and defending him.” Kamara concurred. “Sure I’ll give you the contacts of one of my friends at the firm, you know I can’t undertake the case.” She said. “Thank you very much for everything and I’m sorry that I spoke to you in the manner that I did the other time you visited.” Kamara apologised. “No worries, Mara, you’ll always be my friend, I’m so happy you’re moving on with your life, you deserve so much better in life. Meanwhile you can sleep in the guest room, tomorrow we’ll go the firm.” Kate said.
Kamara walked into the house that she once used to call home, she was with the divorce notice from the court. Kate asked her to rest at home and allow the divorce notice be served to him by her lawyer, but she refused saying she wants to give it to him herself and also get some of her things and also to get closure. She saw Jerome lying on the floor, clutching her picture with tears streaming down his face as she cried. He saw her and scrambled to his feet, ran to her “baby I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean any of what happened last night, I was so angry I took my frustrations out on you, where have you been? I’ve been so worried about you. Wait here I’ll be right back.” He said as he scrambled upstairs not giving her a chance to speak. He came back down this time with a bouquet of flowers and handed it to her Kamara took the flowers and threw them on the floor and said “I’m not here for flowers I’ve had enough of them, I’m just here to give you these.” As she reached into her handbag and gave him the papers she watched as she read them and saw his facial expressions change from time to time ” di-divorce? But why??” He stuttered. “What do you mean why Jerome? You hit me at will and when you please even when I did nothing. I lost three pregnancies because of you”. Kamara screamed. “What the hell? How dare you serve me a notice of divorce??” Jerome screamed back at her. “Look I don’t have time for this just sign them, my lawyer would be coming to take them back by tomorrow.” Kamara shrugged without care or emotions as she made to walk away.”No you come back here bitch I’m still talking, who do you think you are? I’m your husband, I married you with my money, I practically bought you with my money, you said for better for worse and now you’re giving up.” Jerome screamed as he pulled her back by the hand and slapped her, she fell to the ground because of the blinding pain, he matched her tummy as she kept screaming in pain, punching her and hitting her until she passed out.
“I’m sorry Mr Nicholas, but she lost so much blood by the time you brought her here, I’m sorry she couldn’t make it.” The doctor told Jerome. Tears coursed down his cheeks as he stared at the doctor. Kate rushed to the hospital as soon as she got Jerome’s call, “Jerome where is she?” She asked as Jerome cried hard “you’ve killed her, what did she ever do to you? All she wanted was for you to be a good husband and her best friend, she refused to leave you because she was hoping and praying to God for you to change.” Kate said as she cried hard just as the morgue attendants came and took away Kamara’s body to deposit into the mortuary.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we are made from dust and to dust we must return, our sister Kamara has gone to be with the Lord.” The officiating priest said as he conducted the funeral ceremony for Kamara, the funeral ceremony consists only of close family and friends. It was a solemn moment for everybody as tears streaming down everyone’s cheeks. “Now it’s time to deposit the body into ground.” The priest said as the coffin bearers came and took the coffin and lowered it into the grave as the priest gave the shovel to Jerome to throw in the first sand, which he did and after that, the grave was covered with sand and her name was engraved onto the tiles of the grave
When everyone had left, leaving only Jerome by the graveside. He knelt there and placed the bouquet of roses on the grave and said “hey baby I’m here, I’m truly sorry for what happened, I didn’t mean for any of these to happen, I was supposed to be a loving husband to you but I let my anger, jealousy and pride get in the way of our relationship, hell we didn’t even have kids because I kept beating them out of you.” He cried “but I promise to be better, I’ll do better for you, I didn’t realize that it’ll take your death for me to mend my ways. I love you baby, always and forever.” He said as he kissed her name plate and walked away.
Her name plate read
“In Loving Memory of
19th March 1989 – 27th April 2021
May her soul rest in Perfect peace