Josephine listened carefully as Thompson poured out the words. She was just fixed at a spot. She laughed hysterically the moment he finished talking.
“Thompson, you can never cease to make me laugh.” She said. “Was that why you said we needed to see as soon as possible? I actually thought it was something serious. You’ve found love and I’m so happy about that. I’m sincerely happy from my heart of heart. Or do you think I was expecting a proposal from you due to our friendship?” She gave a sincere smile. “How on Earth do you ever think I was expecting any proposal from you, Thompson? We are just friends and that’s all. But since you said you needed us to be far away from each other, no problem. I admit you are right on that.” She raised her hands to show that she really admitted that.
“Oh really, thank you so much for the understanding. I never thought you would take it like this.” Thompson released his fist and sat comfortably.
“Why won’t I understand? It’s a good thing to be in love. I’ve always wished you well in life and I want the best for all my friends. I’m not only close to you though; I’m close to so many brothers in our church and our friendships are well defined. It’s better we are even defining the relationship now.” Josephine replied wholeheartedly.
“Yes Phinny, it’s better now. Thanks once again for the understanding. Nothing has changed between us except the closeness. You are still my friend; you know?” He released a sinister smile.
“Of course. As a matter of fact, you are my younger brother don’t forget that. I will start treating you as one anyways.” She said sarcastically.
“Age is just a number o. I should leave now.” He stood up.
“Alright then, my regards to the sister that has just captured your heart. Even though, you didn’t tell me who she is.” Josephine took her bag and put on her shoes.
“That? You will know her later.” He replied.
“No problem. As your Lordship pleases. So what about mum’s birthday? Am I still in?” She followed him as they walk to the entrance together.
“Oh, don’t worry about that. Dad is joining me in the plan. Thank you so much.”
“You are welcome.” She said. They got to the entrance. Josephine offered him a ride home and he declined. Josephine entered and car and pulled out her shoes in annoyance. She removed her fascinator and threw it at the back seat. She rested her head on the steering for about two minutes. She held back her tears and later summoned up the courage to go home. She was just going on a very slow pace. She didn’t say any word till she got home.
She alighted from her car and walked bare footed into the house. Her parents were waiting for her in the living room. She entered and opened her mouth to greet them. She wouldn’t have done that but it was expedient for her to greet them.
“Good afternoon mum and dad.” She said briefly and walked inside without waiting for any answer.
“Will you come back here?” Revd. James clamored.
Josephine didn’t want them to know what actually happened to her. She turned at the staircase; still looking at her dad. She just sat on one of the chairs and stretcher her legs forward revealing how tired she was.
“Why did you come late to church today. Imagine, you entered the church 9:40am. A child of a minister of God for that matter. Aren’t you supposed to lay a good example for others.” Revd. James shouted at her.
“Alright. I’m sorry sir.” She stood up and was walking to her room.
“Are you alright? How dare you walk out on me? My friend, come back here.” He said angrily. She walked down quietly again and sat down.
“What’s the problem, Josephine? What’s wrong with you? Are you sick?” Her mother noticed she was unhappy.
Revered James cut in, “Look at her o, look at this woman again. What’s your problem? I’m trying to correct her; you are asking if she’s fine or not. This is what you always do when these children are to be corrected. You keep defending them. And look out their lives now, so spoilt. See, I will leave these children to you because I don’t know how you can be so daft…….”
“Hang it right there.” Revd. (Mrs.) James stood up, “Why are you ranting? No, tell me why you are ranting now. You are looking at a girl, she’s looking so sad and you can’t ask her why? You kept talking and talking. You don’t know when to be aggressive neither do you know when you are supposed to how love. You are not caring at all. Sometimes I wonder if God actually called you.”
Josephine was just shifting her gaze at each one of them as they talk.
“Maybe you will go to God and ask me if he called me or not, stupid fellow. You see, I don’t have your time at all.” He stood up and faced his wife.
“And who has your time too?” She removed her hat. “You said I’m stupid. It’s like you have never checked yourself in the mirror, you are perfect definition of what is called idiot.”
“Can you hear? Can you hear your mother?” He turned to Josephine. “Now, you listen to me. I’m taking that car away from you. You must always follow us to church as from today. That is final and nothing changes it.” He was sweating profusely.
Josephine didn’t say a word. She was just starring at them.
“Now you will go outside and say you are a father. You know sometimes I wonder how I married you? Collecting this car from her will not change anything. Don’t you reason at all?” His wife screamed at him.
“Are you talking to me like that……”
Josephine stood up, dropped the key before them and left. They became quiet as they watched her leaving their presence. She just threw herself on her bed and burst into tears.
“You see; you see your life? That’s the key. I think you can eat it now.” Revd. (Mrs.) James carried her bag, shoes and hat and left him there. He was transfixed and dumbfounded.
It was 5:00pm. Mabel logged in to her WhatsApp account to drop a message for Thompson about the cake. “Hi sir, good evening. This is Mabel. I’m sorry I couldn’t send the designs to you yesterday. I’m sending them to you now with their prices. You can choose anyone you like. They are all open for negotiation sir.” She sent the message to him.
Fortunately, Thompson was online. He became cheerful as he opened Mabel’s message. He quickly replied with immediate effect. “Happy Sunday my sister. No problem ma. I will download check the designs now. Thank you so much. I will get back to you as soon as possible.”
Josephine had cleaned her tears. She shook off everything Thompson said. She vented her anger on her WhatsApp status. Mabel saw the status and she could observe that something was wrong. She checked the statuses again and read word for word.
“One of the cruelest things a person can do is to awaken someone’s love without the intention of truly loving them.” The second one goes thus, “I had a lot of reasons to give up on you, but I still choose to say. You had a lot of reasons to stay, but you choose to give up.” She moved to the third one, “I’m letting go of what I can’t change. I’m not going to force myself on what it’s not worth it.” Finally, she wrote, “when someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.”
Mabel couldn’t pick everything. She was just wondering what could have happened to Josephine. She placed a call through to her.
“Hello, sister J.”
“Mabel, good afternoon. Happy Sunday.” She’s a lady full of pretense. Her voice sounded so we’ll like nothing had happened to her.
“I’m fine. Just checking on you.”
“Oh, that was so thoughtful of you Mabel. I’m grateful.”
“I hope you are fine?”
“I’m very good. Why did you ask?” Josephine asked her.
“You WhatsApp uploads. They are sounding kind of critical. So I’m calling to ask what happened? Perhaps we could talk about it ma.” Mabel said.
“Nothing at all.” She lied. “But wait, how are we going to talk about my issue together? You are funny, Mabel. I’m very good anyways.” Josephine replied.
“Alright, no problem ma. Have a nice evening.” Mabel dropped the call. She was convinced hearing Josephine’s voice that she’s fine.
Josephine felt belittled when Mabel told her she could speak to her about what’s going on in her life. “How will I tell an upcoming believer what’s happening to me, Mabel is just funny. She thought she had arrived in her mind. It’s not her fault. If not for Thompson…” She stopped talking and started crying again.
Nine days later. Thompson and Mabel had got talking so well to an extent. Thompson invited her over to a dinner at a restaurant. That evening, Mabel wore a lemon gown and silver shoe. She was looking beautiful as she packed her hair in a bun. Thompson came in his dad’s car. He wore a blue shirt and rolled the sleeves as usual. He was on a stripes colored trouser. They got to a restaurant that was recommended by Mabel.
“What will you like to eat?” He inquired.
“Anything.” She replied.
“Anything is nothing.” He said
“Hmmm, I will eat anything you eat. So you order the same thing for us.” She concluded.
Thompson ordered fried rice and chicken. He served the Mabel and himself. He also got a chilled Chivita drink for them. They started eating.
“So, how’s work so far Mabel? How are you coping?” Thompson broke the long silence.
“I’m trying. I’m enjoying it though.” She said
“That’s the most important. To enjoy it.” He consented.
“How’s work too? What do you even study in school?” She asked
“I studied Agricultural Communication and Extension.”
“Oh wow! That’s a great one. It’s a very nice course. At least, you can stand on your own with little capital. And from there, things might begin to fall in place.” Mabel replied beaming with smile.
“Yes, I have some rabbits I rear actually.” He said. “But I’m planning to start my poultry farm soon.” They were still talking when a young man on a tinted ear and stud walked along their table. He had a lighted cigarette tightly held with his lips. He came back and stayed at their table. He screamed as he saw Mabel. People’s attention was drawn to them.
The young man looked at Mabel very well and removed his cigarette, “Mabby baby, na you be this (is this you?). So it’s true. I heard you are now a Christian. I told them it’s a lie; it was just a disguise. So this is your new customer.” He pointed at Thompson, ” So you are now catching Christian brothers now. Na wa o (it’s serious). I talk ham (I said it). You that you can’t even carry over a day without having a client.
Mabel became uncomfortable, it was obvious she knew the young man. She was shaking from head to toe. She bowed her head in shame. Thompson couldn’t say a word. He felt really embarrassed. The young man continued, “How far? There’s a night party at the governor’s house today. I’d been trying to reach you all these while. Thank God you are here. But wait don’t tell me you don’t smoke and drink again.” On hearing that, Thompson was surprised. The young man continued, “Oh sorry, spiritual brother. That’s true, you can’t drink. Anyways Mabby, it’s nice seeing you after a long period of time. I will tell the other girls. Take care of yourself and enjoy your new customer.” The young man left.
Everyone couldn’t take their eyes away from Mabel, Thompson and the young man. Some were enjoying the drama and some didn’t love what the young man did.
My dear reader, the first thing is wanting to cry but having to hold it in because you are in public. This was exactly what happened to Mabel that day. It was an outing gone wrong, I mean totally wrong. The young man left their midst and walked away. Thompson left his food. He signaled to Mabel and picked up his car key. The latter followed him like a ram being led to the abattoir for slaughtering. She couldn’t open her mouth to say a word. Thompson entered the car and turned on the ignition. He didn’t say a word.
Mabel held back her tears. She burst silently the moment she entered the car. She bent her head in shame. Thompson became mute deliberately. Had it been he had spoken, Mabel would know how worse the condition is in his heart. Mabel brooded till they got to her apartment. Thompson just packed the car busy looking ahead of him like he was expecting a passenger on the road. Mabel wanted to say something but her brain had become blank already. She alighted and brought out her bunch of keys from the bag. Her eyes had become so red and swollen.
Thompson zoomed off as soon as she alighted. It took her few minutes to find the key to her door. Tears had clouded her eyes. She opened and flung her bag. She cried uncontrollably.
“God! Why, why is this happening to me? Why did you ask me to come and join your people when You knew You would disgrace me? I was seated at home, going about my life and I didn’t complain. Is this the way You do to Your children? Why is my past always unfolding? Every time I tried moving on; there and there my past keeps showing up. What is my gain for serving You? What is my gain? I don’t even know why Thompson called me for an outing? I don’t know. Can’t I enjoy a free life again? Can’t I enjoy what normal people enjoy again? Every day, all I ask from You is Mercy.” She threw herself to the floor and was slamming it without thinking of the injury it might cause to her hands.
“I didn’t ask You for money, I didn’t even ask for husband because I know I don’t even deserve one. Even the Mercy I’d been asking for, You refused to show me. God, I hate myself right now. What do You have me do again?” She picked up her phone and called Josephine.
Thompson was sweating profusely. “Thompson, you can’t do this. You can’t do this at all. Is this the lady I will marry? It’s impossible. How will I marry a lady who was once a drunkard and chain smoker? This is just so disgusting. How can a lady smoke and drink? No, no, no. I can’t go further into this. God, I’m so sorry but this is too much for me. Imagine that riffraff, opening his mouth and was pouring out nonsensical things. She just embarrassed me, my integrity, my manliness, everything in the mud. Why did I even listen to her in the first place? We shouldn’t have gone to that restaurant she spoke about. I just wasted my money and precious time. I couldn’t even eat the food as hungry as I am. The insult was just too much……” He kept talking till he got home.
He walked straight to his room after greeting his parents briefly. He was removing his clothes like he had been bitten by a termite.
“What happened to him? He looks weird.” Dncs. Adedara asked her husband.
“How do you want me to know? We are both seated here.” Deacon Adedara replied.
“Let me go and ask him. It’s so unusual.” She became unsettled. “Maybe they had mortality at his place of work today. Or someone provoked him. I don’t even know; it might be that……”
“Woman, you better don’t give yourself headache. Let me attend to him. Let me talk to him.” He stood up.
“Let me follow you my dear. Let’s talk to him together.” She removed her eye glasses
“I said don’t worry. I knew where he went to. He told me. So let me ask him about the outcome.” Deacon Adedara confessed.
“Hmmm, I see. So you two have been hiding so many things from me in this house.” She asked.
“Not like that my dear wife. This is man to man issue. I will surely discuss it with you later you should know that. He’s our son, not mine alone. So relax your mind. I will be right back.” He left for Thompson’s room.
“Okay o. I will be expecting the gist.”
Thompson’s door was standing ajar. He sat on his chair, shaking his legs and biting his hands. “Hello son, how far?” Deacon Adedara entered and closed the door behind him.
“Dad, can you imagine? That lady just disgraced me today.” He was boiling.
“Young man, calm down. What happened actually.”
“Dad, we were eating and one nuisance came from nowhere. He was just spitting words about Mabel. The worst part was that everything he said were the truth about her. They were the truth because she didn’t deny.”
“So what did the man said about her?”
“I thought she was only a sec worker and stripper. You can’t believe dad, she was smoking and drinking.” Thompson stood up and clapped his hands as he was talking to his father.
“So?” Dnc. Adedara asked without any iota of concern
“Daddy, you don’t understand what I’m saying. How on earth will a woman smoke and drink?”
“I wasn’t deaf. I can hear you clearly. But if you want me to talk you will have to sit first.”
Thompson sat down reluctantly still shaking his legs. Deacon Adedara sat facing him.
“So, it’s bad for a woman to smoke and drink but it’s not bad for a man right? I think that’s the point you are proving to me now. You are just so funny. You shouldn’t be surprised. I was not surprised at all. How do you ever think she won’t smoke or drink as a stripper? A normal person can never strip. She has to be abnormal with drugs. What do you expect son?” He confronted his son.
“Dad, I can’t do this. I can’t stay with such a woman as that. How am I sure she has not slept with my friends?” Thompson asked.
“That means you need to check your life too. If you are still moving with friends who are into these things, then I’m afraid.” His dad answered.
“But daddy, you don’t even understand me.”
“I do. But what I want to let you know is that nobody is worthy of God’s love. He just loved us unconditionally. Or do you think you are worthy of His love? See Christ first loved us before we love Him. Anything that thinks of the past is not love anymore. Do you know you’ve been calling her a stripper, smoker and all sort of names since morning? Thompson why? That’s too harsh. If you are angry, did you even know what she will be passing through right now? She was embarrassed too. I know the person would have mentioned her name and everything about her which might not even include you. Now, do you even think about her womanhood being humiliated with that act? Thompson, you will never know how damaged someone is until you try to love them. Love is felt most when it’s genuine. What did you tell her when you left the place?”
Thompson was feeling guilty already, “nothing. I didn’t tell her anything because the scenario really spoilt my day.”
“Hmmm, that action is another trauma for her. I hope you know that? She didn’t know what you are thinking about her. She didn’t know what’s going on through your mind. Love is not selfish. You have parents to talk to and we will comfort you. In fact, I’m doing that right now. But Mabel does not. Her parents don’t even know what it means to be saved. She’s battling with many things already. The only person close to her is Josephine. Do you think Josephine will be happy to hear that you two went out on a dinner? In short, nobody will comfort her except God. What was she doing when you parted ways?” He put another question forward to him
“She was crying. She was just crying and crying.” Thompson replied quietly.
“And Thompson, you didn’t leave her any comforting words, that’s selfishness. I’m not even talking about marriage now but Thompson if anyone is in distress, you should comfort as a believer. This generation has lost that. Everybody only think about themselves. You felt bad, accepted but she felt worse if not worst. Thompson, if you want to get married, have a wife and become a father, you should learn to accommodate some excesses. Whether it’s Mabel or not, let’s talk about you now my dear. Accommodate excesses and don’t be selfish.”
“I’m sorry sir.
Josephine rushed down to Mabel’s apartment. She was so scared at the way she talked on the phone. She knocked and Mabel opened for her.
“Mabel, what happened? Are you alright? Were you beaten?” Josephine kept asking questions.
“No.” She explained in details everything that happened.
“And who was the man that said such words.”
“It’s Dominus.” (DEAR READER, YOU WILL GET TO KNOW DOMINUS IN OUR NEXT E-BOOK COMING SOON TITLED ‘IN C.O.M.A’.)
“Dominus? That guy you spoke to me about?”
“Yes.” Mabel was shedding tears.
“It’s alright. Please, don’t cry. God is not a wicked God and He has reasons for everything. He wanted You to learn from this.” Josephine embraced her, helped her to clean all her tears and gave her water to drink.
“I don’t even know what is going on in Bro. Thompson’s mind. I think I should call him and apologize.” Mabel suggested.
“Call him? You don’t need to. If he’s a good person, he should call you. You don’t beg for unnecessary attention from anybody. And see, whatever goes on in his mind I left for him to digest. You need to forget that and move on. All these so-called brothers, they are not caring at all neither do they have feelings. You should be alright first, then we will talk about Thompson.” Josephine got her some snacks from her fridge.
“I don’t have appetite ma. I don’t feel like eating anything.”
“No, you must take something.” Josephine hesitated.
Mabel kept checking her phone and felt like she should call Thompson. Josephine snatched the phone from her and forced her to eat. She prayed for her and ministered strength to her.
“Don’t worry. I will sleep here tonight. I will sleep with you. I don’t want you to harm yourself with deep thoughts. I will leave tomorrow morning. At least, that will allow you to take Dominus away from your heart. For now, I don’t want you to use this phone. No calls, no text. Don’t start posting anything on your status and page. People’s comments will just trigger the negative feelings. I’d realized that if you need someone to talk to, it should be God, brethren and not abstract people online. Some of them just talk outside the scriptures, they are facing worse. Is that ok?” Josephine consoled her.
“No problem, thank you ma.”
Thompson’s text popped up on Mabel’s phone. Josephine opened the text and read to herself hiding it from Mabel. “Hello Mabel, I’m sorry I didn’t say anything the other time. I was only thinking of you. Don’t mind that guy, he’s just a devil. Please, don’t allow anything to weigh you down. Be joyful in the Lord. I’m praying for you. Bye, from Thompson.”
Josephine deleted the message instantly and blocked Thompson’s number from calling or texting.
Dear reader, what can you say about Josephine’s act?
Published By: Ifeoluwa ORISAKAHUNSI