THE beating never stopped

2009-11-28 09:47

THE one thing that I still want from my ex

is an apology for my mother.

When we split up, he sent me a text message apologising for

everything he had ever done to me, but it’s not enough. I have tried apologising

on his behalf, but my mother ­deserves more than that.

On many occasions I could hear her sobbing in her bedroom after he

had thrown me out of his house at midnight and I had run home to her.

She held back her tears every time she visited me in hospital after

another ­episode of depression.

After I had swallowed a packet of rat poison in my maddened love,

she rushed me to hospital, almost ­overturning her car on the manic journey.

She begged me to leave him, calling the police and ordering me to

open a case against him. But I threatened to disown her if she did anything to

hurt him. Weeks went by when I didn’ t say a word to her. I hated her then for

the mirror she held up to my sad life.

Not once through my misguided rage did she turn her back on me when

I needed her most. I would call her from his bathroom after he had hit me and

cry until my eyes burned. But I hung up as soon as she mentioned the words

“leave him”.

Ours was an intense relationship where his jealous rage would be

provoked if he thought I was talking to other men.

I was lying in yet another hospital bed when, crying and screaming

with obsession, I begged my mother to call him. She made the call and he


I was heavily sedated, but I still remember him saying

disdainfully: “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you were such a weakling.”

My mother was standing a few metres away and heard.

That was the first and the last time he visited me in hospital. He

told me to grow up and stop pulling stunts to get his attention. He left me

there and continued with his life until I went crawling back to him.

The beating never stopped. One day, while I frantically searched

for my car keys after one of our fights, I roughly moved his laptop bag too

quickly. It fell to the floor.

He flipped, telling me, “If that thing’s broken, I’m going to break

your neck.”

And then he tried.

He knocked me repeatedly on the head with his sneaker and thrashed

me with a wire hanger. Then he locked me in the cupboard and let me out only

when I promised to stop crying and screaming. He threw me on the bed and said he

wanted sex.

He helped himself to my aching body while I cried and begged him to

stop. As I walked out the door, he burst into tears, declaring his undying love

for me. I wiped his tears and promised never to leave him.

It also didn’t help that our three- year relationship was a secret.

One of his female friends told him I was a bitch who was trying to ruin his life

and career. She was certain, he told me, that he would never date someone like

me. He is a highly regarded professional who looks as if he wouldn’t harm a fly.

She hated me for what I was doing to her friend, and I hated her

for her ignorance. I felt trapped. Nobody would ever believe me about his Mr

Nice Guy persona. He ordered me to shut my big mouth about what went on in our

relationship. I obeyed and the cycle continued.

I should have left the day he turned his back on me when I found

out I was pregnant with his child. He told me how the baby would ruin his

perfect life and his future plans. He found me curled up, foetus-style, in my

bed one morning after another sleepless night, and he gave me R3 500 and a huge

slab of chocolate. “So you will do this thing,” he said.

Although my gut was screaming hell, no, I agreed.

He sat with me on a Sunday afternoon while I flushed my three-week-

old foetus down the toilet. I was in pain, and he was relieved. I went to all

the doctor’s appointments alone, feeling lonely and unloved.

When my gynaecologist asked where he was, I lied and said he was

out of the country.

I told my mother and friends I had miscarried. The shame of that

decision still haunts me.

I was obsessed with everything about him – his style, his brains –

and I thought that he would change what I thought was the one chink in his


We called it quits on a lonely road on the way from Hartbeespoort

earlier this year.

A long-planned day at a spa had gone wrong: he was upset with the

service, I was nervous about his anxiety. I told him to calm down so we could

enjoy our treat and he told me not to be disrespectful. We left the spa and

continued bickering until he forced me from the car.

“My phone’s dying. I don’t have money,” I implored, but it fell on

deaf ears. He roared off and I had to hitch a lift, scared and alone.

When I finally got to his house, I found him watering his garden

with all my belongings already packed on the couch.

The drama was finally over.

He was tired and so was I. After four hospital admissions, seven

suicide attempts, countless blows to my face and a heart that still loved him

regardless, I am glad it ended.

And I thank God for my mother, who fought more than I did to save

my life. Hopefully one day she will get that apology.

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