This story is by Fatimah Nyamekye and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Looking determined, Katie ransacked their bedroom wardrobes, like her life depended on it. She looked miserable, her face was covered with her curly dark hair, and the white tank top she wore was soaked in cold sweat.
Not sure how she felt, Katie sobbed as she scattered papers all over the desk. How she was blinded all these years, was a mystery. All the lies and deceit, he must’ve been darn good at covering his tracks.
She had gotten home earlier than usual that day, and this time, she wasn’t going to rest until she found the evidence she was looking for. Katie was a reputed lawyer, one of the best in town. She specialized in marriage and divorce cases and she never lost a case. Her unwavering passion for her career was a rare one.
Katie was no doubt a strong woman, she always stood for justice, no matter the cost. Most of her clients were women who were unfairly mistreated by their husbands. Katie never stopped until she made sure that those men were properly dealt with by the law.
She grew up in a home where she witnessed abuse at first hand from her father. Her hatred for men grew more and more each and every passing day of her young life.
At age fourteen, Katie’s mother had eventually died from the trauma of constantly being beaten by her husband. No one believed her, when Katie mentioned it was her father that pushed her mother down the stairs.
After all, Mr. Ampong, as many called him, was a gentleman. There was no way he could do such a thing and of course, they believed the little girl’s story had come from a troubled mind.
The trauma of losing her mother was unbearable, from then, Katie had channeled her anger into becoming a lawyer, to fight for women rights. She never fancied the idea of getting married, until she met Alfred Koppler, the love of her life. He managed to wipe away every shred of hate in Katie. Because of him, Katie believed not all men were like her father.
They were married five years now and she was never happier. Alfred worked as a businessman, very rich and comfortable.
She ransacked the clothes in his closet, part of her hoped to find nothing. She took deep breaths as she went through the many documents in his drawers. She didn’t know exactly what she was looking for. If she could just find anything, just anything that would prove her right. Frustrated, she tossed and turned things haphazardly and paused to sob, every minute she got.
People had warned her about him in the past, but she didn’t listen, all the signs were there from the beginning, yet, she failed to see them. All because she was blinded by love, she wanted to believe he wasn’t that kind of a man. She had even cut ties with Anita, her lifelong best friend, only because Anita cared enough to tell her the truth about her husband.
She refused to see the signs until earlier that day, when she saw things for herself.
She was in the middle of a business meeting, at a restaurant, where she had met up with a new client. Also, where she caught her husband in the act. Katie froze, she could hardly believe her eyes, she was simply in shock. She had walked out of her meeting without uttering a word. Though Alfred hadn’t seen her, she had seen enough to know that he was exactly what she thought he wasn’t.
Hours passed and Katie had thoroughly searched every crease of their bedroom, still, she found nothing. She had gone through every document, yet still, nothing significant. All her efforts ended up being a waste of time.
She stood in the middle of the room, looking around, confused.
Surely, she must’ve missed something. She pulled her hair back, eyes wide open, trying to think of her next move. Time was running out; he was going to be home in a matter of minutes. She realized the mess she had made. The white rug on the floor was full of papers and clothes. The bed was a mess. She bit her lips in disappointment, she was good at finding evidence, it was her job.
She began to think, maybe she had it all wrong, maybe it wasn’t what she thought it was. She was now willing to wait until he got back. She held her head to try to calm her nerves, wiping her tears, she decided it probably wasn’t as bad as she saw. She lifted the large curtains to let some light inside the room. When she decided to clean up the mess she had made, Katie suddenly had a hunch. She realized she hadn’t checked one place all that while.
She forgot to check under the mattress. She paused for a while to think, and decided she wasn’t going to find anything there anyway. Still, the perfectionist in her wouldn’t rest until she knew she had been thorough as possible.
Somehow, she was glad she found nothing so far, so she avoided the thought of checking under the mattress. More so, she convinced herself that the mattress was probably too heavy for her to lift.
As she went on cleaning, she took periodic glances at the mattress. She couldn’t seem to dismiss the thought, so she finally decided to do it. After fidgeting around with her hand, she pulled out a large brown envelope. To Katie’s surprise, she saw just the documents she expected to find.
She wanted to find proof so bad, but then, she wished she hadn’t.
The room suddenly felt bigger than usual. The pain was so much, she could hardly sit still. She never knew she could feel pain like that in so many parts of her body. Like every nerve in her body was screaming for help. She slowly crawled out of the bed and reached out for the corner of the room. She wrapped herself up, arms hugging her knees, her head buried between them and for the first time since she could remember, Katie wept like a child.
She had never experienced such heartbreak before. She cried buckets, she could hardly recognize herself. Katie felt numb after crying for so long, she sat at the corner of the room, waiting for him to return. All these years, she never believed she would find herself in such a situation. She never suspected him because she never thought he was capable of doing such a thing.
When Alfred walked in, she looked him in the eye and it was then she saw the real monster in him. It was there all along; she just couldn’t see it before.
She threw the documents she had found at him, when he looked at her with puppy eyes, like he didn’t understand her strange behavior. It was then that Alfred realized he had been caught.
She had seen the marriage certificate between him and the other woman.
He couldn’t lie his way out this time, so he did something she had least expected, he giggled hysterically.
“I’m surprised you’re now finding this out after all these years”, he said.
He obviously spoke without a shred of remorse. Katie was shocked at his words; tears fell from her eyes as she watched her husband walk away nonchalantly.
“How dare you. I thought you loved me”, were all the words she said.
Many thoughts run through her mind but for some reason, she couldn’t find the words. She pulled his shirt as he ignored her by looking away.
“Love? Did you just say, love?” He asked.
“What kind of a woman after five years of marriage cannot bear a single child. Not even a miscarriage from you. I never loved you, I only married you because I thought you could give me kids, but I was wrong. After just one year I was married to Grace, she gave me a set of twins. She is currently pregnant with another.” He said, without any regards for her feelings.
Realizing they had kids together, Katie wept even harder. “So, it was true what they said,” she thought. She had chosen not to believe them, until earlier that day, when she witnessed things herself, her husband with another woman.
Katie wasn’t thinking, when out of hurt, she slapped him, and that was the death of her. He beat her up mercilessly and warned her not to lay her hands on him that way again. As she lay on the floor, helpless and in pain, she suddenly felt like she was in a déjà vu. Memories of her father hitting her mother, flooded her mind all over again. She then realized, that sadly all this time, she had married a worse version of her father.