When I was posted to Edo State for the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), I had to stay with the Okon’s family. The husband was young and friendly, he loved the idea of young ones like us around. He would call us out of our rooms to eat and drink with him but I was the shy type, I would rather stay inside than mingle with them. There was one issue, he used to beat his wife; Cynthia.
Okon was the sweetest of all the men that Cynthia ever met, he was caring, nice and very honest when they dated. He was working in one big establishment in Akwa Ibom back then and money wasn’t his problem. Cynthia was in tears when she narrated the story to me back then, I could sense the pain and regret in her voice. She said the marriage was the talk of the town, he spent more than the budget and her parents were impressed. They were happy for her until months after the wedding, he lost the job and things changed.
“How were you able to build this house we live in?” I asked her that day. She smiled and continued the story.
“I had to source for money from friends and close family members and we chose Benin City to come and start all over. We used the money to build this place and lived on tenant fee since he has refused to look for another job.” She narrated.
Well, she was right. There were many nights we had to knock hard on their door whenever he beat his wife and she screamed so hard. He would hesitate to open the door and the next day, he would act like nothing happened. Some of the guys wanted to leave because it eventually became a usual thing and it affected their sleep.
One particular night, the story changed. We heard a loud scream from Cynthia followed by plead of help from Okon. I was so curious and came out of my room, the other guys came out too. “Why is Okon pleading?” This was the question on my mind, we knocked hard on the door and it opened. The scene was strange, Cynthia held Okon’s balls tightly under his wrapper and he tip-toed to handle the pain he was going through. He looked at us like he saw his Messiahs.
“What is happening here?” One of us asked.
Okon wanted to speak and his wife squeezed his balls hard, he quickly stopped. I could see the desperation on her face. She explained all the beatings she had endured and this night, she swore not to take it anymore. We tried to persuade her to release his balls but she didn’t. Eventually, he pleaded and promised to never lay his hands on her anymore. Well, it really worked. Till I passed out, he stopped beating her and they found a peaceful way to settle their differences.