That morning, my husband David came to pick me at the airport. He was dry faced and tensed, very unusual.
Other times, David would be so excited to come pick me, he would kiss me and hug me passionately, but now, everything became different.
“You kept me waiting for hours in there.”
I said, gazing angrily at him.
“Don’t tell me it’s traffic honey, today is Saturday.”
“I am sorry, I had to pick the kids from summer lessons, and then rush to church to counsel a few couples.”He said soothingly.
“you now prepare the kids for school, What happened to Ifeoma? she is the kids nanny.”
“And you are the Kids mom!” He Screamed suddenly.
“you’ve been away from your family for 5months Ekom, the kids don’t even talk about you anymore.” David deliberately slowed his breathing in a bid to calm himself down.
I was silent for a while.
my lips quivered, but David ignored that he saw tears glistening in my eyes.
Catching his eyes as he tried to look at me, I sensed a shiver of unease go through him.
He was right, I was away from my family for four months or more, I had women’s conference and hundreds of women to mentor in Houston. It was a moment I didn’t want to miss.
Then I broke the silence; “what of Ifeoma?”
David looked uncertain. “she fell ill, so I asked her to go see Doctor Dennis.”
We were both quiet until we got home.
I sat on my bed now, I slipped off my slippers and sank my feet into rug and decided to keep them sunk in so that my toes would feel cushioned. So that a part of me would feel safe.
“Mummy!” my daughter screamed, breathing deeply.
She smuggled into my arms and I grabbed her tight to myself.
“where is your sister?” I whispered into her ears.
“she is sleeping.”
Not long I heard tiny foots running along the corridor that led to my room. “mummy, mummy…” She jumped on me and kissed me on my cheeks, leaving me in the sweet comfort of motherhood.
They looked so healthy and chubby.
“what has aunty Ifeoma and Daddy been feeding you with?”
“Golden morn and banana porridge!” they chorused shrilly.
“Mummy, Church people said that you are no longer daddy’s wife.” My first daughter Teye said, her eyes became sad. Deep and sad.
“Aunty Ifeoma Now sleeps in daddy’s room.” Mfon the youngest said.
My heart jumped, I knew at that moment, that there were stories In their eyes that I was yet to know.
I was still devastated with the thoughts of Ifeoma and my husband David. After I watched the kids sleep, I strolled into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea.
Just after I poured the milk in a mug, I felt someone was in the kitchen too. I looked back, quickly surprised.
“Welcome madam.” She said, almost stuttering.
I slowly poured the hot water from the flask into the mug, stirred it a bit and sipped.
Then I noticed a protruded stomach, she had tried to cover it with her handbag.
“Are you pregnant Ifeoma? you look it.” I asked in a soft tone.
Her expression was in earnest. “Yes madam, didn’t pastor tell you? I am pregnant for him, we are expecting a child.”
Her voice had a tremor in it, even though her face was bold and firm.
Her words were like the score of a sharpened blade across my heart. I sensed the wound gape open even before she’d finished speaking.
“You were sleeping with my husband while I was away?”
“I am sorry madam, I think pastor is in the best place to answer that question. it was an agreement.”
She said calmly and walked out of the kitchen, making a flappy sound with her shoes.
I stood there for moments like a mannequin, the tea cup in my hands, and then my eyes right at the door.
The sound of my ringing tone, brought me back from the shock I had.
“Yes Lizzy.” I responded with a sigh of relieve.
“Thank God I have been able to reach you, I have been dialing your American lines but not going through.” she sounded a bit terrified.
“well, I am back in Nigeria now. I came in this morning. Is everything fine?”
“Not at all, pastor brought your girl for maternity scan at my clinic last weekend. What’s that her name again?”
“Iyaaa, Ifeoma. I was shocked to see her all over him like they were lovers. What is happening?”
Tears rolled down my eyes as Lizzy went on talking about things that went on while I was away. Something flared deep in my eyes, but my lips remained sealed.
I was stricken silent, but the thud of my heartbeat sounded like cannon fire in my ears.
I wanted to talk to David. When I knew he was home I decided to go to our bedroom.
“May I come in?” My expression inscrutable, I walked into the room when I noticed that someone was having a bath, without waiting for a reply.
Then I saw David on the bed, he was almost half naked, partly covered with the duvet.
He stared at me, slightly muzzy headed after being woken abruptly.
“We have to talk.” I said, almost whispering.
“I know.” he said.
“Who is in the bathroom?”
“oh, it’s Ifeoma.”
“Ifeoma now uses our bathroom?” I looked at David and suddenly wished the look in his eyes meant guilt and shame.
“Yes. She is having my baby.”
“I am aware David. But why have you taken yourself so down?”
“I am a human being Ekom!” He said huskily, raising his voice.
“So I am what? Am I not a human being too? I went to America with the church’s name, with the family name. I went there to make a name for us! To get Hills of grace ministries a branch in Houston takes so many churches years, but I used my charisma, and did that in few months…..”
“What I mean is…..” He faltered. But my heart was going wild.
“let me finish!” I screamed!
Just after a pause, Ifeoma came out of the bathroom, she had my towel tied around her.
“Who gave you my towel?” I asked meanly.
“I did.” David replied.
“Ifeoma, why were you sleeping with my husband while I was away? You were paid to take care of the kids, and clean the house.” The look I gave, and my voice tone practically froze the blood in her veins.
I walked steps by steps towards her, dragged the towel off her body, leaving her naked.
“Aunty please….” she whimpered.
“Did you remember all the good things I did for you and your family while you were having sex with my husband! did you?” I held her neck forcefully while David ran and held me backward.
They both sensed the tension in the room and ran out.
Slowly I let out the breath I was holding.
leaning back on the luxurious upholstery, I let a smile steal my lips like the sun peeping from behind the cloud. God was watching, and I needed to talk to him.
My mother inlaw visited.
I didn’t know why she came home that evening, but I had a feeling David might have told her that I was back from America.
After my father inlaw died some years ago, she took over the twelve branches of Hills of grace ministries. She accused every pastor In each branch for killing her husband, and arrested everyone of them.
Hills of grace ministry used to be Church of Jesus ministries, but she and her only son David (my husband) had the church changed with new pastors and members.
Georgina being a boss lady wanted everything to be done in her own way at all times.
The church members referred to her as the queen mother. She was bossy, overruling, and very authoritative.
“I heard you were back Ekom.” Her voice sounded slightly rough as though some unexpected emotions had partially locked her throat.
“Yes mom.” I replied softly.
“I came here for a lot of reasons. Number one; the congregation of Hills ministries is tired of you. I am tired of you, my son is tired of you!” She said meanly in British accent.
“My husband never said that.”
“Does he need to say it? I am telling my son’s mind. He has been married to you for 12 years without a child of your own! we do not need adopted strange kids to come inherit my late husband’s sweat! He needs children, I need grandchildren. My son is not Abraham in the bible! He is David Okoye, he is my son. not the son of Terah!”
Her stern Visage hardly invited my confidence, but I was used to that.
“Those kids are my adopted kids, those girls you see? my husband and i agreed to adopt them together. they are our children. “
“Go born yours! it’s either you gave birth to them or you didn’t! you are barren!
leave Ifeoma to have my grand child in this house, in peace! After that I will join them together in holy matrimony after she has put to birth.”
My heartbeat slowed inside my chest. As I turned to David who was momentarily stuck dumb.
“I am still married to my husband. we married in church. He is a man of God.”
“David in the bible was a man of God, Solomon was a man of God. All these men were married to countless women. A man is entitled to as many wives as he wants. If you don’t agree, you can sign this.” She handed a paper to me, I knew what it was. But I didn’t touch it, I didn’t get it from her.
“I won’t sign for a divorce!” I said angrily as tears moistened my eyes.
“When you’re tired Ekom, you will sign and leave my son’s life!”
“it’s okay mom.” David said soothingly.
“She is my wife. She has the right to counter this. I know what I want. the church shouldn’t hear about this yet .” he said and stood to walk away.
Georgina flew from her seat and started to shout, her voice was unsteady.
“You know nothing! I warned you against marrying a Calaber woman, but you didn’t listen. you must do as I say! marry ifeoma and let go of this demon!”
“Don’t talk to Ekom that way mom, she is still my wife!” David screamed!
The kids ran and hugged me so tight, they were so scared.
It was after Georgina left that I felt chilled by fear. it was the worse moment of my life.
That night I prayed that God should change things around for my good. That night, David came to my bed, while the kids were asleep.
to be continued…