I stared at my reflection in the mirror, my stomach was beginning to protrude, I rubbed my hands on it, and felt a tiny kick, there was deep joy in my heart, the one I had never felt before.
The news about David’s separation from Ifeoma spread like a wildfire.
The night was still young, and I had just returned with a new Sim card. I wanted to change my life, change my world and rebrand it for the holy spirit to come dwell with us forever.
By this time, I had made up my mind to sign the divorce papers and move to America with the kids.
My stomach was protruding, and I didn’t want anyone to see me, especially the church members of Hills ministries.
“I thought you said divorce is a sin?” Lizzy asked shrilly, looking aghast.
“I have gotten what I wanted.”
“Don’t say these things Ekom, You prayed for this moment, you fasted, wept to God. And now it is finally here, why do you want to just let it go all of a sudden?”
“let me be. Let’s not talk about this please. ” I said . Lizzy felt panic at the terse tone and clipped answers.
“Have you started processing visa for the kids for your trip?”
“Not a trip, I am relocating Lizzy. I am selling off this house.”
“What? Ekom how can you do a thing like that?”
“I had made up my mind Before I brought this conversation up, I had made up my mind on selling the house, and relocating. nothing can change that.”
Lizzy breathe an audible sigh of relieve and stood to leave as I heard the door bell ring.
“Are you expecting someone?” Lizzy asked.
“No, my sister went back to Ibadan yesterday.”
Teye ran from inside to the door.
“mummy someone is at the door.” my heart went down as I watched her place the stool by the door and climbed on it to reach the bolt.
“Aunty ifeoma!” she screamed. She walked in, looking pale and weak.
I stared at her in complete and utter disbelief.
“What are you doing in my house?”
She blanches her face, losing all it colors, and then snaps her gaze to Lizzy, and then Teye, who was already staring at her in amazement.
Tears poured down her face in an uncontrollable manner
“What is this? leave my house this minute, I don’t like this drama.” A scream erupts my throat.
She knelt down immediately and tried to hold my feet, but I stepped backward.
Lizzy and Teye were staring at me, looks of pure shock and amazement were plastered on their faces.
When I looked at her eyes, I saw pain and regret. I saw the life of a girl who was tired of living.
It took me few minutes to compose myself and face her.
“What do you want from me Ifeoma? What else do you want?” I asked her meanly, while she looked at me with stoned expressionless face.
“I came here to clear my mind to you, to confess and seek for your forgiveness madam.”
my heart was beating at a faster rate than ever.
“ghen, ghen! what more do you have to say? we all know you slept with pastor David.” Lizzy said and shook her head sympathetically.
“There is more.”
“don’t tell us you used juju or charms on pastor.” Lizzy asked with her eyes wide open.
“tufiakwa, I am a christian, I can’t do that.”
“if I hear! you? hmmm. what you did to your madam is what a witch can do, it’s same as using juju of course? talk please time is going.”
Ifeoma looked at me, and then Lizzy.
“I was in love with Usman when I first came here. He loved me too. He even said he was going to marry me.” She said stammering and trying to control the catarrh from running out of her nose.
“Who is Usman? this is the second time I am hearing that name.” Lizzy asked with a worried face.
“David’s Driver. David converted him from being a Muslim to a Christian, he was with us for 7years.” I replied with a serious face.
“The night we made love, I was ovulating. I was sure. I was scared, but when I realized I was doing it for the man I loved, I took off my mind.”
“wait a minute, you mean you and Usman made love in this compound?” I asked, looking amazed.
She became silent for a while, and then spoke again.
“The first day Mama Georgina saw me, she advice me to seduce pastor, so that I can be pregnant for him, that you were barren. She was going to pay me a huge sum of money and then change pastor’s mind towards you. I was desperately in need of money. My mother was dying of breast cancer. My salary was not enough.”
I felt my eyebrows pull together in a frown as she stared at me tearily and desperately.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me all what you were going through? I sent money to your family every month. even when I was in America, I never forgot. I would have created a sponsorship group to raise funds for your mother.”
Everywhere became calm.
“I am so sorry aunty. My baby died just this morning. I am happy he has gone to rest, he was usually very sick. I came here to clear my mind, so that I can live with a clear conscience. ”
She said in tears, her frantic voice sounded far away. My eyelids flutter for a few moments before I forced them open, my eyes were filled with tears.
I remember the pain in her eyes more than anything else.
Then I remembered the pains I went through when my husband left me for her.
I imagined her in bed with David, I imagined him kissing her and making love to her.
I thought to myself, what if the baby was his, what if the baby wasn’t SS genotype? What if?
Then she wouldn’t have been here kneeling right in front of me. She wouldn’t have been preparing for the wedding, happily preparing to marry David. Bitter resentment crawled inside of me, making my anger boil.
Part of me wanted to just beat her up, scream obscenities at her, and send her out of the house. Then the other part wanted to forgive her and let her go. Then my heart reminded me that God rewrote my story, it was up to me to make it beautiful.
When I finally tried to recollect myself, breaking away from the hurtful thoughts that I had been in. I took a good look at Ifeoma, my fist literarily clenched.
“You can go now, I have forgiven you.” A strangles sob escaped my mouth.
There was this new countenance that suddenly appeared on her face. She rose immediately and hugged me. Lizzy stared at us like she was about to cry. While Teye had slept off on the couch long ago.
“you are a good woman” Lizzy whispered, almost in tears.
It began to rumble softly.
“I have to go now madam. Usman is waiting for me.” She said in a light tone.”
“You saw him?” I asked, looking amazed.
” yes, I found him.” She said, almost whispering.
We both left each other’s arms as she walked into the rain. The moment I opened the door, a gust of cold wind heralds in and nips at my cheeks. Rain splattered into the house, so I quickly shut the door.
“It is well. I suspected Georgina was right behind all of this.”
“I suspected too. But I don’t still blame her. David was never man enough to have his own choice and say no to his mother. he always did what she wanted.”
I said, sitting carefully on the couch.
“mummyyyyy.” Teye cried out, her tiny voice rumbled. Lizzy cuddled her a bit and carried her in her arms, waiting for the rain to stop so that she can go back home.
“I need food!” I cried out, sitting upright. My heart pounded endlessly as if I just finished a race, and the breathing was hard.
I shivered at the external coldness, but I was warm inside. Lizzy rushed to the kitchen to make dinner, I then realized that I was really pregnant.
Red glowing eyes stared back at me, and I tried to see clearly who it was. Metal claws closed over my forearm tightly, and I whimpered. Then I noticed he looked like David, the man with the red eye had his height and shape of his head. Then the strange being suddenly turned into my mother inlaw. The fear finally began to set in as my heart pumped.
“Ekomobong!” Her deep voice rumbled and echoed at the same time.
I woke up immediately sitting upright in shock, it was a dream. The bed was soft under me, but the covers were thickly hot. I was sweating through my pyjamas shirt. I looked at the other bed, Teye was sleeping peacefully wrapped in her pink mickey mouse duvet. My heart eased a bit, I kept repeating in my head that it was only a nightmare.
“Mummy are you okay?” Mfon asked, her voice was soft and tender, I held her into my arms.
“”yes, I am fine my love.” I said as I pulled her under the sheet and covered her up.
The feeling that overcame me was wondrous and terrifying.
I wanted to stay underneath the sheet, I wanted to sleep through the entire time, but when I checked the time, it was almost 6AM. I woke up hastily to pray, then made breakfast of fried plantain and eggs for the kids. when I heard the door bell ring my heart skipped, I wasn’t expecting anyone.
I didn’t hear the sound of any car horn or anyone knock at the gate. How did this person pass through the gate?
I tiptoed towards the window to see who it was, I slid the curtain a bit and my heart trembled at the mere sight of people I saw. Should I say they were in thirty, forty or fifty?
I thought they were arm robbers sent by Georgina to come attack me and the kids. I wanted to dial the police, but my instincts wasn’t sure.
Then I saw pastor Jerry, Pastor Ephraim, Akintola and the rest of them whom David mentored.
“What do y’all want?” I asked in a loud Tone, but boldly.
“Good morning maama.” they all greeted in Unison. There was a murmur. Pastor Jerry stood out from the crowd.
“Mamaa please pastor sent us to you.” Jerry said softly.
“I am ready for the divorce now, he doesn’t need to send the whole church to come beg me for a divorce.”
They began to murmur.
“No ma, he is asking for your forgiveness.” They all knelt in unison. But my heart became hardened. I gently closed the curtains and walked back slowly to the kitchen.
“Forgive?” I repeated in a panic whisper, a tear falling down my cheek.