He would lose his temper, more than he would like to believe actually. Almost every argument they had would most certainly end with a knuckle or a slap to Niki’s face. She would drop in tears depending on how severe the beating was. In some cases she’d hit back with her own small hands on his chest and scrape his face, but doing that would motivate him to hit her more. He couldn’t bring himself to see her cry on the floor so he’d storm out of the house, slam the door on his way out. 

Later, after he’s done with whatever he went out for–a drink, a smoke or just to think outside– he would return and beg her for forgiveness. Guilt would make him do things that’ll leave her convinced that he’s indeed sorry. Do the dishes, the massages, anything that showed remorse. 

After the tears have dried away and the pain is gone, Niki would grant Rashid that forgiveness because she loves him. She’s the man he married. She’s Mrs. Ali for a reason.

One evening she was wrapping a bandage on Rashid’s hand. “Honey,” she said, and in her tone it was evident that she wasn’t all too eager to say what she wanted to say next. 

“Yes, baby?” He looked at her, then winced a bit. 

“Sorry,” she said, wrapped his hand more careful, the same hand that used to beat her.

“I think you need to go see someone.” 

“Someone?” His face changed. 

“Rashid, you need to go see someone. A professional. I think you have anger issues ,” when she said the last two words she felt how ridiculous she must’ve sounded to him. Ridiculous but true. She knew. Reason why his right hand had been bleeding, reason why she fixed him up and bandaged him now was because he punched the nearby kitchen wall after his lawyer David Mews, announced to him that he’s being sued by Joshua Smith for defamation of character. 

“Okay I hit the wall, so what?” He asked defensively. 

“That’s not normal.”

“So you saying I’m not normal.”

“Don’t put words into my mouth. Don’t. You have anger issues. Don’t you see the pattern?” She asked. “Every time things don’t go your way you lose your temper. Look at your hand now. “

“This is nothing,” he grunted out. 

But she followed him, showing no sign of relenting. “What about the slander against Joshua Smith? He’s suing you now. Is that also nothing?” 

She now had him at a point of speechlessnes. “Cat got your tongue?” She knew if she said that there’d be his quick hand on her cheek, so she halted her own tongue. 

“The car scrape incident with that Jamaican fellow, that other fight in the club–” she would’ve went on and on on his past incidents caused by his outbursts of rage if he didn’t retort back. 

“Is that what are we going to do now? You’ll keep reminding me of all that past shit.”

“I’m just…I want you to notice all the symptoms. You can’t control your temper. You need to go see someone,” Nikiwe said. 

Rashid only smiled in disbelief. How many times was he told to go see someone whenever he did something unconventional? Punching a wall to express anger doesn’t count as an unconventional act. He’d lose control over his temper like most people sometimes, but that doesn’t have to mean he’s got anger issues. Or does he? Either way, Rashid still smiled in disbelief, but if he were to admit it himself, hearing his wife tell him to go see someone wasn’t all that surprising. His own mom would probably tell him the same thing too if she were to know why he’s hand was tied in a bandage. 

They said he should go see someone because he’d see someone–sometimes people– who weren’t there. He’d hear things nobody else was hearing. Nikiwe would hear him talking and laughing in the room, when she’d enter the same room she’d find him alone. And that issue with Joshua Smith was just a social media disagreement about football. How it escalated to their personal lives–more like Joshua’s personal life–was when Rashid began making mock posts against Joshua Smith and he’s recently dead wife, also mocking his fashion sense. Now it was this: Rashid’s own lawyer presenting him with a lawsuit from Joshua for defamation of character. Of course David Mews, the lawyer explained it but it never mattered; Rashid’s knuckles broke on the wall. 

“You can’t carry on like this, baby,” Nikiwe said. “I’m sure Dr. Kroentz will be able to help with this issue as well.”

Dr. Kroentz. That name again. “You want to add another case on her again, no thanks. Besides I don’t appreciate seeing that woman all day. She already sucks a lot of money from us as it is now,” Rashid said. 

“But babe, aren’t you afraid of what you’ll do the next time you lose it. Why can’t you just–” 

“Niki, I said no,” he screamed a bit, she winced with her hands across her face. Surprisingly, the slap she expected didn’t come. “You a ticking time bomb, Rashid,” she said. “Can’t you see yourse–” a blow to her belly, she was on her knees before she knew it. He put on his blue and brown jacket, and left her there coughing, as he went out the door, slamming it as usual. He was shaking his bandaged hand, the hand he hit her with. Nikiwe coughed, glad that she only got a stomach punch this time around. 

Don’t stay quiet! If you know someone who may be going through similar abuse, whether physical or sexual, report it immediately. If you see the signs then follow them up. You never know…