“I don’t love him. Let me tell you that man treat me like nothing. He never hit me, but the things that man tell me! And he gives me nothing. Sometimes I does feel is better he hit me,” she said with pain etched on her face.
“I still not sure why this man married me because is not like he ever treat me like a loving wife or anything. I not shame to tell you, is years we together and is like we never have a good day,” she continued.
She is a woman in her 50s and she has been married for over 15 years. I see her almost every day and from saying hello we moved towards conversing. At times, I am anxious to leave but she would be talking and often about her relationship.
Because of the type of stories I write and this column, I have spoken to many persons, mainly women, and they have shared various experiences with me. I have tried not to judge people because I have not walked in their footsteps, nor do I have their experiences, so I am not sure what I would have done were I in those positions. But after listening to her over time I could not help but ask why she is still with this man.
To me it makes no sense; they have no children together and according to her, he does not support her financially.
So, one day during our conversation I asked her just that.
“Girl, you would not understand,” she said and paused, appearing to search for the right words.
“You ever hear about ‘can’t help’?” she asked, and I shook my head in the affirmative.
“Well is something like that I deh in. I really can’t afford a place of me own right now and I really don’t want to have to go back by me family and beg lodging. So is he house and I does stay there but I don’t do nothing for him. I just there. Imagine this man don’t even want to help do nothing in the morning. He get car and I does have to catch bus most times,” she said.
“And sometimes if you hear how this man does cuss me out. Is sometimes like he can’t talk to me without using bad words. He see me and he like me and I really didn’t living anywhere good so I fall for it since he had he own house and so but if I did really think about it I wouldn’t go into to it just so. Is shortly after we get marry because I is a Christian, and it was no sex before marriage,” she shared.
I asked her if she planned on remaining with him forever, since the vow she took before God and man said ‘till death do us part’.
“Girl I planning me escape. I could leave him but right now I can’t just up and go without getting something proper… so I saving me lil money. Is not plenty but I saving and I guh leave him. I can’t live in misery for the rest of me life. It ain’t get no happiness and I not even feeling good.
“Sometimes I does feel so sick and I can’t stay home and lie down because this man would torment me, so I does have to come out whether rain or sun and be out here because there is no peace in that house, no peace,” she said.
I nodded as she spoke. Like many people I was sure she just wanted me to listen.
“The other morning, he come to me as if he wanted to have sex and I had to ask he if he mad. I don’t give he nothing. How can I have sex with a man who always telling me something hurtful and don’t do nothing good for me?” she asked, but I knew she wanted no answer.
I asked her if she cooks and cleans in the house.
“Sometimes, yes. I can’t stay in a nasty house. But I does sleep downstairs and he upstairs. He don’t provide nothing to cook so I does hardly cook. Look, even on the road this man does cuss me up and embarrass me. People right around here know how this man does treat me and I does feel so shame sometimes but wah I guh do?
“On Sunday I does spend whole day in church because I don’t want to be home with him. The man can’t read and write, and I does have to sign all he documents and so for he and sometimes as soon as I done sign something is a cussing. Sometimes I just don’t able.
“But I will leave him, right now is just the grace of God keeping me and I know He would find a way for me. If I had better family, I woulda leave already but that is life sometimes. But I working on it girl, I working on it…” she said.
We remained in silence for a while because she was attending to her business and at that point I wanted to take the opportunity to leave because I knew if I passed the following day we would talk again. I must admit that sometimes I choose not to pass in her vicinity if I am in a hurry.
As I walked away from her that day, I could not help but think about the many women and men who are in desperate situations and have no one to talk to. So many people have issues and all they need is a listening ear at times.
I read recently that Deputy British High Commissioner to Guyana Ray Davidson, who is a mental health specialist, said that more ordinary people in Guyana can get involved in the fight against suicide if they just reach out to people and start a conversation.
I would add if they just listen. We are so busy taking care of our business that we don’t have time to listen. People don’t want to be judged and at times they don’t even need advice, they just need an ear.
Of course, if the situation is dire, the listener must be prepared to point the person in the right direction for assistance or even take them to get same. But for the most part, all we need to do is stop and listen.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, access help from the Inter-Agency Suicide Prevention Helpline through:
Telephone: 223-0818, 223-0009 and 223-0001
Mobile: 600-7896 or 623-4444
BBM: 2BE55649 or 2BE56020
WhatsApp: 600-7896 or 623-4444
Facebook: Guyana Inter-agency Suicide Prevention Helpline