The Silence After the Fight Before

24 May

Picture this.

You have just finished talking to your boyfriend on phone. Ok, you actually disconnected his call. He’s of a different kind. The kind that knows they are wrong but just won’t admit it. You breathe a sigh of relief. Phew!

As you sit down to take your well-prepared sumptuous meal, you notice the seconds ticking away and, surprise surprise, he wasn’t calling back. No ‘sorry’ tonight. A much needed break, you think. What with the workload you’d had since morning.

‘Bang!’ There they go again. ‘Smash!’ The clatter must be all over the place. You’ve heard it before. That’s your friend, and neighbor, fighting with the hubby. No, you admit, being beaten by the hubby. Now you are thinking, “So I get this holiday break and am supposed to spend it listening to their domestic issues? How interesting!”

It’s not like you haven’t talked to her. You’ve actually tried your best. She simply doesn’t want to let go. It’s harder starting all over again, she thinks. Every day she hopes he will change, every two days a smack lands on her face. And whenever you raise the issue, she confronts you to the point of anger.

You try to immerse yourself in the aroma of your food. But the situation next door is getting worse by the minute. They are no longer shouting, they are screaming at each other. It sounds like they are moving stuff, vigorously to be precise.

Curiosity gets the better part of you as you tip-toe towards your door. You open it and spot some neighbours further away on the corridor. A strange look they have. One that betrays an out-of-the-ordinary situation occurring. Jack Bauer. You approach your friend’s house crawling and sit down beneath the window, tuning your ears to receive the signals coming from within. It’s Armageddon inside there for sure.

“This is it!!! I will finish you!!” Say what?! Wait. Did you hear that right? He was going to do what? You could hear the neighbors say something but your mind was still stuck on ‘He was going to do what?’

A shriek is followed by a groan, and then it all goes quiet. A minute elapses. Why were they no longer fighting? What had made them stop? You rise up to peep through the curtain. The image is not clear, but you could see something. Impossible! You let out a shriek that travels fast like fire following a trail of gun powder. And no sooner had…than a mighty wave of silence engulfs the whole building.

Pin drop silence. The day your heart stood still.

Business unusual. Was it a dream? Maybe. Perhaps. Your mind draws a blank. How? How does anyone do that to their spouse? I mean, with their life? You drop like a victim thrown into the river with a 250kg block of concrete tied on your feet, as the dawn of reality descends on you like the morning sun, its rays piercing all corners of your inner most being.

Your brain is still trying to decipher, in bits per nano second, the true meaning of the situation. Everyone now is out of their houses, their daily modus operandi brought to a shattering end by a loud silence. As you look around, you notice them breathing…


Hold it. This is a picture, remember. A picture, however, that has made us look at the death of Wambui Kabiru, a former TV journalist, from the window of surprise. A picture that has made many a tongue wag with dismay at the brutality of a supposed marriage. A picture that reflects the reality that is domestic abuse in our society today.

Such is the plight that many women face, more so the married ones. For a man to raise his hand and strike a woman is cruelty. For him to take out her life is criminal. It should never reach that point, if only our society did not condone injustices on our women.

A lot needs to be addressed when we talk about women empowerment. Women need to be reminded they can say no to domestic violence and leave before it proves fatal. In the words of a friend, how long can one hold on? When should they leave an abusive relationship?

After the burial, you go back to your house, lost in the myriad of thoughts.  You are now dating. You will have to look at your man’s character and see if there are any warning signs to read. If he comes close to assaulting you once, there’s a greater possibility he will assault you again.

It’s not about the lyrics he waxes, you tell yourself. You just need to know the man you are bringing into your life. Because the last thing you would want to face is…

The silence after the fight before.

Just a thought…


Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Relationships


6 responses to “The Silence After the Fight Before

  1. just married

    May 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Hmmm….food for thought….not pointing fingers but aren’t there warning signs??? Is it a case of living in denial? Or to put it lightly since there are Mo wwonen than men…u need to hold on to ur man?? As grave as this sounds….there’s, I believe, a choice that someone made that they would excuse someone’s beastly actions,,, the warning signs were there but we just pretend to be deaf and mute.. who’s to blame??? Yet we still say there are a few good men out there ……

  2. jerri

    May 24, 2011 at 11:23 am

    wow! your writing is definately going places! i love this piece.great stuff,as usual keep it up! the sky is only a limit.

    your greatest fan.

  3. Anonymous

    May 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Great piece as usual, and even greater food for thought. Those not yet married, please look out for the signs…they are always there. Be objective and dont make excuses. Those already married, if your spouse is violent, get out. Better single and alive than married but dead

  4. muthoni

    May 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    very well put,quiet true evidently from what is going on in parts of our society.great food for thought ‘just married’..maybe I just want to hold on no matter how bad it gets just to avoid being alone.

  5. Cyra

    May 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Great piece of writing. And something that we should definitely be thinking seriously about, whether thinking about dating, dating or married…

  6. La Femme

    February 10, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    This reminds me of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Behind the Wall’. Allow me to post the lyrics.

    “Behind The Wall”

    Last night I heard the screaming
    Loud voices behind the wall
    Another sleepless night for me
    It won’t do no good to call
    The police always come late
    If they come at all

    And when they arrive
    They say they can’t interfere
    With domestic affairs
    Between a man and his wife
    And as they walk out the door
    The tears well up in her eyes

    Last night I heard the screaming
    Then a silence that chilled my soul
    I prayed that I was dreaming
    When I saw the ambulance in the road
    And the policeman said
    “I’m here to keep the peace
    Will the crowd disperse
    I think we all could use some sleep”

    That last verse always leaves me felling ‘kaodo’….


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