Hidden Pains, A Short Story By Ephraim Ndubisi Orji
Duni hides her pain well, but you can see it in those fleeting moments when she thinks no one is watching her. It flickers in her eyes like a dying lightbulb and vanishes, just as quickly.
Sometimes you see it in her smile, too tight and too spread apart to be from the heart, and if you watch her hands closely, you will see them tremble nervously when her husband is close.
You can tell she is a woman used to silent suffering. An agony that tears her from within but keeps her from screaming. Maybe it is the shame of being seen as a ‘bad wife’ unable to successfully live with a man or it is pure love for him but Duni has refused to speak up. She has refused to let the world know that Tony is a beast hidden beneath dark smooth skin, toned muscles, and perfect beards. That underneath those expensive suits, Rolex wristwatches, and clean accent, the man is but a creature born of steaming hate.
His hate is visible under the darkened blisters on Duni’s skin. It is in the concealed purple that surrounds her eyes. It is there in the throbbing between her legs from when he thrusts too hard. Her breasts too bear witness to this hate. They are bruised and are beginning to look like an angry child gnawed on them.
Through her pain Duni has learned to laugh like a woman, courtesy like an obedient little doll, and serve Tony’s loud friends as though they were her gods and her, their meaningless worshiper.
After all, a woman is to be submissive. Was it not what Mother said? Was it not?
So she submits. She lets him shower her with his version of love. Love that breaks her skin in many places and makes her bleed. She embraces his venom with the meekness of a sheep — but then again sheep fight back when they see the slaughter knife.
This is the life of Duni.
Then the day comes when Tony comes home with the strange smell of another woman on him. Duni does not miss this smell even though he tries to hide it under the fresh smell of his own overused cologne. This, Duni will not take.
Today is Thursday and Tony’s corpse has been discovered by their nosy neighbors. But Duni is nowhere to be found.
About The Author
Ephraim Ndubisi Orji is an enthusiastic reader and writer whose work has been featured at Eboquills. When he is not stocking his phone with too many ebooks, or writing, he is busy singing in church and looking for the next writer celebrity to stalk on Instagram. He is a child of God and a student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka studying a combination of Economics/Psychology. He hopes to gain global recognition as he pens down the many worlds writhing within his skull.
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