How I Let My Dream Die

By achiro jackine

I never got the chance to go to university. When I graduated from high school, I became a nursery school teacher, and saved money to become a fashion designer. It was around this time of my life that I met my husband. He was a charming young man, captivating, strong and handsome.

He told me not to worry. He had enough money and he said he’d let me train under the best fashion designer in our Uganda. It never happened. He kept giving me one excuse after another. When I finally had saved enough money from the allowance he gave me, he said I couldn’t use it to start the training, and that he would pay for everything when he felt the time was right. I don’t know why I kept listening to him. He never did, and over the years we were together, he convinced me to give up on my dream and made me solely rely on him. I didn’t see this as a big deal because he claimed he loved me. When we got married, I was just a housewife and he was the one taking care of the house financially.

Although I often felt unhappy, there were peaceful nice moments too, but everything changed when I gave birth to my first child. My husband grew distant. One day, I caught him cheating. He told me he did so because I gave all my attention to the baby. This was a very stupid excuse now that I think about it. The baby was ours after all, and we both shared the responsibility of care. I was very naive, and scared he’d leave me, so I forgave him. A few months after, I had the feeling he was still cheating again but I was scared to confront him because I knew I could never leave him, so I just kept quiet and acted as if I had no idea what was going on.

Things took a drastic turn after my second child. I caught him with another woman in our bed. Even though I caught him, he stayed in the room with her for two more hours before she left. When I confronted him, he told me to “just get used to it.” That was when I realized I meant nothing to him. I was just the mother of his children and that was all. After the incident, I was so angry I stopped talking to him. To punish me, he stopped giving me money.

In this period of silence, I came to understand he was in control. He was the one providing for our family financially. I didn’t have any source of income and he knew it. I have two toddlers, and I was stuck and he knew that. Deep down, I knew this was not the kind of life I want to live. He also threatened to take my children away if I tried to leave him. My situation was hopeless, he used my body anyhow he liked. Me saying no never really mattered to him, he just did whatever he wanted to do with me anytime and anywhere he wanted.

As time went by, I stopped taking care of myself, fell into depression and gained a lot of weight. I had given up on myself, and then he started calling me little fat pig. He called me dirty and useless too. He told me I was nothing without him, and while all this abuse was going on, he continued to bring women into our house and slept with them.

I had literally lost all hopes when one of the women he brought home saved my life. That day, my husband had beaten me up so badly, my whole face was swollen. He had gone to work and left his lover, Jane, in the house. She couldn’t bare seeing me in that condition. I never knew she was a police officer. She talked to me and made me realize that I could start my life afresh and that it was not too late. She convinced me to file a case against him.

The police came soon after to arrest him. I divorced him and went back home to my parents. My mother gave me her small savings. I used it to open up a small shop, and it’s generating enough income to take of my family. Right now, I am happily living with children and my mother.

14 February, 2023