Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - I am under grace, maid of honor, wedding, away from me like Ben Johnson, cinema, Mercy Johnson nailed it, that witch was really dealing with me, witch, Pastor, God.
I lay naked beside him, spent from a steamy encounter. My conscience would not let me be as usual. You know this is wrong; it’s a grave sin, my conscience kept haunting me. I knew he wouldn’t listen but I had to try. “James you know this is wrong, we need to stop this. It is a sin. Aren’t you afraid of God’s judgment?” “Don’t you dare preach to me!” he yelled at me. “I am a pastor, so I should be the one preaching to you and not the other way round.” That’s right, he was my pastor. How did I get here I thought to myself. “I am under grace he said to me and my grace covers you as well, so you don’t need to keep worrying about this,” he sermonized. I didn’t know grace could be sexually transmitted. James, by the way was married to a beautiful wife; and he and his wife had four lovely children.
Well, this relationship was not something I went about seeking. It all started when a friend of mine invited me to go see her pastor because of my terrible relationship experiences. Emeka was my last boyfriend. We met at the cinema. “Is this seat taken? He had asked me. I turned to see the face behind the voice. He was tall, dark and handsome. The devil must be handsome too, because that was what he turned out to be. “Yes,” I lied. I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t stand men anymore. He sat directly behind me. After the movie he approached me again. “You lied about the seat being taken,” he said. “Guilty as charged,” I replied as I walked away. He followed me closely behind. “May I know you?” He asked. “Not a chance,” I replied. “I don’t talk to strangers.” I was already outside the building. “Okay, let me at least give you a ride,” he offered. “Sorry young man, I came with my car.” I was telling the truth this time – I was young beautiful and successful. I happened to be an assistant lecturer at the University of Lagos and was already studying for my PhD at the same university. Despite all these achievements, good men eluded me (there must be a witch somewhere calling my name over a stainless pot). All the guys I had dated had acted nicely at first only to turn around and run away from me like Ben Johnson. I honestly had no idea what was chasing them and I wasn’t ready for another episode.
“Hello girlfriend, how are you doing? My friend, Maria asked. I am doing just fine I replied. “Hope you are getting ready for the big day?” She asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Don’t forget you will be accompanying me to do some shopping this weekend.” “I haven’t forgotten Maria.” That was another friend preparing for her wedding, and once again I was the maid of honor. I had been a maid of honor for three of my friends already, so Maria would make it four. All eyes were on me from family and friends, waiting for when I would announce my own wedding. Much as I liked Maria, I couldn’t help but feel jealous. She didn’t have as much as I did, but she obviously was luckier than I was.
The wedding day finally arrived. I didn’t know her husband very well, so you can imagine my surprise when the best man happened to be the guy from the cinema (tough luck). I avoided him as much as I could. Maria was looking very beautiful in her wedding gown, smiling without a care in the world and dancing in the arms of the man she loved. I was dying to have this kind of experience. It was time for a toast and her husband read to her the most beautiful poem I had ever heard. I just couldn’t stop the tears. That was when Emeka handed me his handkerchief, which I accepted. After the reception he walked up to me. “Can I have my handkerchief?” He asked. “I am so sorry, it’s a mess but don’t worry I will get you a new one.” “I don’t want a new one,” he retorted. “How about you exchange it for your phone number?” He suggested. Is this guy trying to pull the old trick on me? I pondered. “No way mister, either accept a new handkerchief or you forget it.” I was mean like cat woman (would you blame me after three heart breaks). I bid Maria farewell and drove off; thank God it was finally over.
Monday (at work)
My phone was ringing but there was no caller ID. “Shalewa speaking,” I said when I picked up the phone. “So, that’s your lovely name.” “Who is this?” I asked. It was a male voice. “You still owe me a handkerchief,” came the reply. “Mr. man how did you get my number?” “It is Chukwuemeka…that’s my name, but I wouldn’t mind if you call me Mr. Man.” I was furious. “Let me guess, Maria gave you my number, right?” “Yes, she did and what else did she tell you?” I asked him. She also told me where you work.” “Chukwuemeka or whatever your name is…” “Call me Emeka dear.” “Get off my line!” I shouted at him. I dropped the call and dialed Maria. “I know why you called Shalewa,” Maria said before I began to bark at her. “Before you rain fire and brimstone and probably turn my honeymoon into bitter leaf moon, just give the guy a chance. He could be the one…you never can tell.” With that she hung up, just like that. I had to calm myself down. At the close of the day’s work Emeka was already waiting for me. “You don’t give up do you?” “Nope,” he replied with an annoying dose of confidence. “So, what do you want from me this time?” I asked him. “Just come with me to the cinema. I want to sit beside you. I need a friend…all the ‘lovey dovey’ at the wedding has created a gap inside of me.” “Do you promise to leave me alone after that?” “On my honor,” he replied. “Alright, but it has to be on Friday after I close from work.” “Thanks madam,” he said and left. Quite frankly, I was excited and day dreaming about Friday evening. He called regularly and I wasn’t that mean anymore.
I was wearing a red dress with gold clutch and gold sandals to match. I like to dress simply. We agreed to meet by 6.00pm and he was right on time, spotting a pair of blue jeans and fitting white T-shirt. He wasn’t looking bad at all. We left in his car. He bought us tickets to see a movie titled ‘girl of destiny and native fowl’. The movie was about a Yoruba girl and an Igbo boy who were in love, but despite numerous obstacles, they still ended up together. It was a funny movie - Mercy Johnson nailed it. “That could be us,” Emeka whispered into my ear. “But without the troubles,” he added. I laughed. He had a good sense of humor. “I really had a nice time,” I said to him when he dropped me off. “I am glad you did.” “Can we do this some other time?” He looked at me with plea in his eyes. “Okay,” I agreed. “Thank you very much,” he said before driving off.
We started going out often and he was really kind and caring towards me. Well, I was beginning to fall in love. Then, he finally took me to his house. “Meet my sister, Oyinye.” “Nice to meet you,” I said as I stretched my hand to shake hers. “You are welcome our wife. My brother Emeka has said so much about you.” “Good things I hope,” I replied. “Yes dear, good things.” Soon Emeka was seeing my family. Everybody was happy for us. Then, it was my 28th birthday and I wanted to just celebrate it with Emeka but he insisted on a few friends coming along, so I agreed. I didn’t know he had already planned with friends to surprise me. It was time to cut the birthday cake and everyone was singing…well, instead of the normal happy birthday inscription, ‘will you marry me?’ was written on the cake. I turned to look at Emeka. He was already on one knee with a ring in his hand. Of course I said yes amid tears. I couldn’t believe it.
There was no objection from his parents, so wedding preparations were on. A week to the wedding I asked Emeka to come to the house to help me with some arrangements. That was when Onyinye rushed in. Emeka started sweating. I didn’t know what was going on. “This wedding can’t hold,” Oyinye said. I was surprised…confused. Emeka didn’t say anything, so I asked her why. “I am pregnant she said. “You are pregnant, so what has that got to do with my wedding? Go and sort your problem yourself,” I said irritably. “Emeka is responsible,” she blurted out.
“No way, not my Emeka,” I said. I started shaking. I looked at him for an explanation. “I thought she was your sister?” I inquired. “It is not what you think,” the fool kept saying. “I am not his sister,” Oyinye said. “We have been dating for five years now. You were supposed to be a fling. It was because of money, and now that I am pregnant, he just can’t dump me.” I had heard enough. I chased him and his sister or girlfriend out of my house. The wedding was cancelled (that witch was really dealing with me).
“Hello Shalewa, how are you coping?” My friend Bridget asked sympathetically. “I am fine,” I replied. “I am sorry to hear about your wedding being cancelled.” “It is okay dear; I will get through this.” “But do you think this is ordinary?” She asked me. “I really don’t know what to think anymore.” “I think you should see my pastor. He is a prophet…he can see things,” Bridget offered. I had run out of options, so I agreed to follow her.
After enough prayers Pastor James asked me to sit down. “Sister Shalewa, there is no witch anywhere troubling you. You just haven’t met your husband yet,” he proclaimed. I had been imagining a witch was responsible for all my troubles. “But you have to start attending my church,” he added. “Why?” I asked him. “Because you will meet your husband here.” “Okay Pastor,” I concurred. So, I started attending his church. I joined the choir. I could really sing. Pastor James would always check up on me to see how I was doing. It was nice at first until he started making advances at me. He called me one day and said he had a revelation for me and I should come and see him at a hotel. I didn’t read any meaning into it (I respected my Pastor). When I got there he started making advances at me again. “You can only get married after I break the bad luck on you,” he declared. “How?” I asked. “By having sex with you,” he replied. I couldn’t believe he just said that. He started quoting scriptures I had never heard of just to support his claims. I gave in to his demand (my mistake). That was how we started meeting secretly (obviously one time wasn’t enough to break the yoke).
I tried to avoid him but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I didn’t know who to talk to. Even if I did, no one would believe me. He would simply claim that I was trying to set him up. I was so ashamed of myself that I made up an excuse to stop ministering in the choir. My conscience wasn’t easy on me. I would pray and cry myself to sleep. In the midst of all these challenges, God still had me in mind. Around the same time, I met Ayobami. He was not that good looking but he was okay as a man in every aspect. He had seen me sing in the choir and was beginning to like me. He was God fearing and honest too. Most sisters in church had their eyes on him. He approached me and said he wanted to marry me. I was fed up already but there was something about him. He was different from the rest. I wanted to give him cold shoulders but I couldn’t. I already felt dirty, undeserving of any good man. We started courting and he needed to see the Pastor so we could start our marriage class.
Pastor James would have none of it. You belong to me, so you can’t marry him,” he said (I felt like killing him). “You already have your family you don’t need me. Please let me start mine. This was what brought me to your church in the first place. Please don’t be an obstacle to my blessing,” I begged him. “But he doesn’t love you. He is just playing with you,” he argued. “Let me be the judge of that,” I said to him. I was getting angry. Ayobami could not understand the reason for the pastor’s ill treatment towards us. He had gone ahead to cancel our marriage class claiming that he had not heard from God (maybe he meant the devil). I knew I had to open up to Ayobami. He didn’t deserve that kind of treatment.
I confessed everything to Ayobami expecting him to break up with me, but he said he just got the confirmation he needed. He said God told him that it was time for me to get out. Although he didn’t understand what I was getting out from, he was very supportive. He decided to confront the Pastor. I was eager to hear the outcome of his confrontation with Pastor James. My phone rang and I quickly answered it. “Hello, Ayomi how did it go?” I asked him impatiently. “You won’t believe what happened,” he replied. “When I got to the church there was a small crowd there. Pastor James had been badly beaten. When I asked what was wrong, I was told Pastor James got Deaconess Favor’s eighteen-year-old daughter pregnant,” he explained. “You mean Elizabeth?” I asked him. “Yes my dear.” I was frozen. Pastor James was arrested and a new pastor was sent to replace him.
Three months later
“Do you take Ayobami Emmanuel to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The Pastor asked. I stood there lost in my thought. I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. Ayobami leaned closer to me and asked “Honey, have you changed your mind?” I was brought back to reality. “Yes, I do Pastor,” I replied smiling. “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” I didn’t wait for “You may now kiss the bride.” I drew him close to myself and almost kissed the life out of him. People were laughing but I didn’t care. I had waited long enough. We now have two kids and we are still drunk on love like newlyweds. I thank God for forgiving me and giving me a new life.
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