He sneaked into the children’s bedroom while I was about to pray. The imagery of how he sneaked into Ifeoma’s room was now clear, but it didn’t hurt me anymore.
“Baby…..Please can I see you?” He said as his voice trailed off.
I stood up gently and followed him to the sitting room. I found myself holding my breath, I folded my hands in my lap and waited.
“i have missed you, despite all of these. I am sorry for the way mom talked to you, she is only acting of concern for me. I am her only child.”
“So you are going to marry Ifeoma after she puts to birth?” I asked in a low tone. There were sadness in my eyes.
He pulled me close and began to kiss me softly.
“I feel like we are doing this for the very first time.” I admitted softly. My voice a broken whisper as I gave him my whole body.
Now my limbs entwined with his, it was a joy unparalleled to have the freedom to slide my hands down that strong, lean back with its taut, well developed muscles and silky skin, to feel the amazing well defined mouth of his lip taste. It looked as if I was the husband snatcher, sneaking to make love to my madam’s husband in her comfort zone.
Kissing my tears away, David drove hard into my body and finally fell against me, his breathing harsh and his forehead lightly sheened with sweat. As the erotic scents from our skin mingled, it was time to go to back to reality.
I was reminded again that my home was in a mess.
“Goodnight.” David whispered and left me in the warmness of the sitting room.
The next morning which was Sunday, the morning winds were swift. It began to drizzle. David and Ifeoma had left quite early. I drove the kids quietly to church that Morning.
“Mummy, is Aunty Ifeoma going to be our new mummy?” my youngest daughter Mfon asked girlishly.
“No darling. Jesus won’t let it happen. Whatever you don’t want in your life, ask Jesus to take it away .”
“mummy, will Jesus take Aunty Ifeoma away from our house?” Teye asked.
“Yes Baby, Jesus will.” We were all basked in the feeling of calmness that over took us.
After I dropped the kids at the children’s church, I stepped into the church auditorium. Everything changed, including my seat which was right beside my husband’s seat on the podium. My heart trembled, as I saw Ifeoma rightly seated on my space.
My legs began to shake in between with the choir’s ministration.
I shook my head like a crazy woman, my bottom lip quivering, I was trying not to cry anymore.
It was obvious that I was about to push off Ifeoma from my seat, and give her the beatings of her life. But the ushers held me.
“maama calm down.” they whispered in chorus.
My distress was genuine and heartfelt.
The cool air felt heavy against my bare arms, as if they were holding onto raindrops that were reluctant to fall. It was a cold Sunday evening, I sat comfortably under the comfort of my children’s duvet, while I watched them sleep. Then I heard familiar voices in the sitting room. David and Ifeoma were back from church.
“Don’t worry, she won’t do anything to you. Take off your jacket, let’s go inside.”
David Instructed, serious faced as they entered the sitting room. Ifeoma sat quietly on the couch. Her heart skipped a bit when she saw me appear in the sitting room, immediately she sensed my watchful eyes, she became bold and confident.
“You should let me be please madam Ekom. it is not my fault that pastor wants me.” she said in a shaky tone.
“Get prepared for where God will be taking you to Ifeoma. Very soon, you will be so ashamed of yourself, God has revealed to me how such a day will be.”
“And I hope he also revealed to you that I have finally agreed to divorce you Ekom. You and your adopted kids should start packing.” David said, he didn’t look directly at my face.
I flew on the center table firmly and slapped him twice on the Face.
” You and your Adulterous lover will leave this house of my sweat for me and my Children. I toiled with you! prayed that we grow together. I carried the sands of this house on my head, which led to my first and last miscarriage!
go to hell with your divorce paper, I am God’s own woman, I detest divorce. I will be patient. Go to hell with your church! with your lover! shame on you two! ” I snapped at them, I was throwing curses at them. Tears rolled down my cheeks, I made choking sounds as I walked angrily into the Room. A film of sweat coated my entire body like a second skin.
The silence was broken only by the whir of the ceiling fan as it sliced through the still air.
David sat down and slowly lowered his head into his hands.
“Ekom, unbelievable. You mean David said these words to you?”
Pastor Felix asked. He has been David’s childhood friend since the days of theological school. He founded a big church and had a large congregation too. Pastor Felix was a mature looking man, who had grey hairs and wore round spectacles at all times. He was a learned man of God who was highly respected. He was also the president of Pastors Forum.
“How can a church as big as Hills ministries condone such sinful act from their pastor? I am so disappointed to hear this. What did Lady Georgina say about this?” He asked in a baritone voice.
My eyes were heavy, and I was trying so hard to control tears from running out again.
“it’s okay Ekom. I am really sorry. I need you to pray seriously now. You are a strong woman.” he said as he patted my back softly.
“I am holding a pastor’s meeting for this reason by tomorrow.” He said authoritatively.
My nerves bit with frustration and tension. I was so ashamed that my marriage was going to be discussed the next day at pastor’s forum.
Abigail stared at me right in the face, as I narrated all that has been happening to me.
She is my immediate younger Sister, who is a stunt feminist and very independent.
“Sis, Why did you tell him that you will be patient? you should have granted the divorce and become free.” Abigail clucked and sighed loudly.
“I am people’s mentor and role model. A lot of young women in the church look up to me. I have to live a life worth emulating. what will people say if I get divorce and still stand on the church podium to preach marriage and love?” I asked looking at her like I demanded a pity.
“This is what you women always say. last week in Ibadan, a lady called Modupe was brutally beaten by her husband, she died.” Her voice got a bit emotional as she continued.
“she didn’t tell anyone of what she was going through. She thought things were going to change. she thought that one day Jesus was gonna come down and rescue her, or stop her husband from beating her. ”
“David has never beaten me.” I cut in.
“what difference does it make? it’s same story. Instead of filing for a divorce you think he is going to leave that girl and come back to you, while he is still under the manipulations of that witch called his mother! give me one reason why you think things will change positively?”
“because I have a God who is bigger than all my problems. He will sort this out. I don’t know how he is gonna do it, but he will.”
“For how long? Don’t forget that you are my only sister. Since mama and papa died, I haven’t recovered. please walk away sis. I don’t want to lose you.”
For just a moment, I saw such an unfettered emotions in my sister’s eyes, she was almost at the verge of tears and then immediately gets back to herself when she heard the kids scream her name.
“Aunty Abigail!” The both of them jumped on her like puppies as she pegged them on their foreheads excitedly.
“Aunty Abigail, mommy and daddy are fighting.” Mfon said shrilly.
“Daddy has a new mummy. and Grandma said we are adopted children.” Teye said Innocently.
Perhaps it was then that I began to feel submerged in hazy nostalgia. A feeling that never left me.
“Aunty Abigail, what is adoption?”
“Adoption means to be given birth to my darling. ” Abigail replied in a shaky tone. Her countenance changed as she cuddled the kids gradually.
Moments later, David stormed the house with few of the choir boys and young pastors in church, none of them greeted my sister nor I.
We watched them remove boxes and shoes from the bedroom, while David held Ifeoma’s luggage in his arms like a baby.
My chest grew tight with trepidation.
I remembered our vows,
I remembered the way he held my hands and said to me that ours will be for better for worse.
I remembered the way he preached, the way he talked about God, the way I stood and nodded in support of my husband.
I remembered the last time we made love.
I remembered his cold dark eyes, how he glanced at me, and kissed me so passionately.
For twelve years, I loved him wholeheartedly, prayed with him, and prayed for him.
I remembered my sweat, the evangelism, how I convinced people to join the church so we could make a large congregation.
These thoughts made a shiver run down my spine. I became sick instantly, as Abigail, the kids and I watched him break our wedding frame. He ordered the boys to burn them into ashes.
“David you are a bastard! man of God my foot! years back, you almost died when my sister refused to marry you. Now look, the devil has knocked your head again!” Abigail screamed.
But David acted like non of us existed. His eyes were hardened. The cool breeze that kissed my soft skin brought me back to reality.
“My lawyer is going to bring part of the money in our family account to you. I am no more interested in this marriage.” David said huskily as he tried to wipe the sweat on his forehead, he said these words so lightly like it meant nothing.
“You will regret this! you will suffer! my God will punish you!” Abigail’s comment instigated a train of thought that instantly perturbed him.
“I am a man of God.” he retorted.
“You are a man of doom! Your greedy mother made you a pastor so that her husband’s ministry won’t be controlled by strangers. You should have been a Monkey!” Abigail’s voice raised, as the kids laughed in unison.
He stared sternly at me and the kids for another ten seconds, sighed and walked away.
“Mummy, where is Daddy going?”
“To hell! he won’t ever come back. ” Abigail replied with a frowned face.
“Where is hell aunty Abigail?” Teye asked.
But Abigail didn’t respond. She walked gently and sat right beside me. Cuddling me like a baby.
“all will be well adiaha eka.” she said, almost whispering.
Five months passed, and all I did was fast and pray that God turns things around for my good.
Bitter resentment crawled inside of me, making my anger boil as it seemed as if God wasn’t listening.
The next day was a program in church organized by International pastors wives the themed was tagged “when women pray.”
“You should go mummy. I will take care of Teye” my first daughter Said as if she was a grown woman already.
I tickled her armpit in a funny way and she laughed, a hearty girlish laugh that showed her gap tooth.
“Mummy do me too.” Teye said, lifting her two small hands up.
I stared at the two of them excitedly in amazement.