(A well-furnished living room. Mr Taiwo Adebiyi steps out of the bedroom, dressed for work. As he walks out of the house, his wife, Arike, hurries towards him and blocks his path. She is clearly upset.)
ARIKE: What man leaves his home without having breakfast if there is no other woman waiting somewhere to serve him a hot meal? Run along. Go meet your mistress!
TAIWO: (shakes his head) You just said I should run along and you are blocking my path.
ARIKE: (flares up) So it is true? Look how eager you are to go meet her. Taiwo, is that how much you hate me? What have I done to deserve this ill treatment?
TAIWO: Don’t you ever get tired of fighting? Couldn’t you even for once think that I might be rushing to work because I need to get some unfinished tasks done? Can’t you just assume that I might send a subordinate to get me breakfast? Haven’t you heard of eateries?
ARIKE:(teary) I’m not a child. We both know what is going on here. You are having an affair! Just admit it. You prefer to stay in her place after work instead of coming home to be with your family. What responsible man does that?
TAIWO: Your useless friends have started feeding you gossips right? Maybe when you stop listening to them, we can move past these bickering and face the real issues in our marriage.
ARIKE: (wipes her tears) What does that girl have that I don’t have? Tell me!
(Two teenagers dressed in white over dark grey uniforms step out of their bedrooms. They stand aside, watching their parents quarrel)
TAIWO: Arike, I woke up excited and full of hope. I will not allow you ruin it. Get out of my way. (He pushes her aside firmly) I don’t have time for this nonsense.
ARIKE: (tears pours down her face. She blocks his path again, leaning on the entrance door for support) Why are you doing this to me? That slot you are screwing is just a little older than your daughter. A 300 level student for goodness sake? Are you not ashamed of yourself?
TAIWO: (stares at her in surprise) I see you have done your findings. You know quite well that we don’t have a marriage. We are here for the kids. Let’s maintain- (He turns to see his children standing and watching them) I have to go now.
ARIKE: (follows him out) You are a disgrace to fatherhood and to this generation! I wish I didn’t marry you. If I had known you were this kind of man, I’d never…..(her voice drowns out as she steps out of the door.)
(Tobi, Taiwo Adebiyi’s sixteen year old son and his younger sister, Tosin, walks slowly towards the living room. Tosin drops her bag on the floor and slumps on the sofa)
TOSIN: (frowns) You know, every time I see dad take Sunday school in church, I burn with anger. How dare he stand before God’s people to teach when he cannot control his sexual urges? To think that he’s been treating mum with such contempt for years and now he is having extra marital affairs? I hate him!
TOBI: (sits on the arm of the sofa beside his sister) Don’t say that Tosin. We are the light in this family. We have been praying for our parents and we will not lose faith.
TOSIN: (jumps to her feet and paces the living room) I don’t know how long I can take this! I’m tired of praying! What good has our prayers done? Dad just keeps getting worse by the day.
TOBI: (sighs) Remember three years ago when you had a constant attack with asthma?
TOSIN: (nods her head) Yeah, I accepted Christ and then trusted him to heal me and he did.
TOBI: Exactly! We can’t lose faith at this point. Can you remember what God said to us last week when we prayed?
TOSIN: He said He is working on our parents’ marriage and we should not give up.
TOBI: Tosin, God is working even if we can’t see it yet and until we see results, we’ll keep declaring peace and love in this family.
TOSIN: (folds her hand) Sometimes it’s so hard. Dad holds devotion with us every morning. The Pastor calls him to moderate services. He has served in the security unit, protocol and now heads a Sunday school class. It just makes me wonder. Why can’t my father see that he is not living out Christ’s life? Why is he so blinded to his evil ways?
TOBI: (holds his sister’s hand) We will not be moved by the religious activities he practices. We’ll keep praying for him. We’ll pray for mum too.
(The door opens and Arike comes in)
ARIKE: (angry) What kind of chit-chat are you having this morning? You are almost late for school. Com’on, get into the car.
(She slams the door. The teenagers head towards the front door.)
TOSIN: We are praying together this evening?
TOBI: Sure. When dad and mum go for the stewards meeting, we’ll have enough time to pray.
(Arike shouts their names from outside. The two teenagers hurry out of the house.)
(A self-contained apartment. There is a large mattress on the floor at a far corner of the room. A table with books scattered on it stands close to the mattress. An LG flatscreen hangs on a wall over a black TV stand. Two adjoining doors are at the other end of the room. One leads to a kitchen, the other leads to the bathroom. Morenike, dressed in a short gown that reveals most of her thighs, sits on the bed, answering a call)
MORENIKE: Lara, you have to leave that guy! How can a man hit you like that and you are still there with him? You’ve aborted thrice for him yet he treats you like trash. It’s not worth it abeg. There are better guys out there like my sweet bobo. Calm, gentle and generous. You’ll find a good man someday. (Pauses) Listen, I have to go now. My guy will be here anytime from now. I have to be in my sexy self to receive him. (laughs). I’ll talk to you later
(Morenike ends the call and jumps to her feet excited.)
MORENIKE: (to herself): My sweetheart is coming! I’m so happy. (reaches into her wardrobe for a perfume. She sprays it behind her ear and on her armpits. She turns to her mattress, smiling) What a better way to relax after a day of sitting in some boring lecture room listening to those boring topics.
(There is a knock on the door. Morenike rushes to open the door. Taiwo Adebiyi enters, holding a bottle of wine)
MORENIKE: (pretends to be angry) Won’t you even hug me?
TAIWO: (gives her a quick hug) How are you?
MORENIKE: No kiss?
TAIWO: Morenike, I’m not in the mood for that now. I’ve told you that I don’t like coming to your hostel. Some of the students here attend my church. Do you want to put me in trouble?
MORENIKE: I didn’t call you to come here and be acting all gloomy. After all, I wanted to book a hotel room. You refused. You said you had to attend stewards meeting this evening. Why are you now angry?
TAIWO: I’m just tired okay? Work was hectic
MORENIKE: (smiles and moves closer to him) Then let me help you relax. I see you got us wine. We’ll get drunk a little and then we’ll get down to business.
TAIWO: Grape wine you mean? You know I don’t take alcohol. It’s not right and besides it connotes irresponsibility.
MORENIKE: (laughs) You are such an hypocrite. (Touches his shirt button)Well, should I undress you?
TAIWO: (Pushes her hand away gently) Not today. I’m almost late for workers meeting. I just came here because you insisted.
MORENIKE: (sad) It’s not fair. Just ten minutes, please.
TAIWO: (unbuttoning his shirt) Ten minutes only.
(Morenike laughs. As she pulls closer to give him a kiss, the door opens. The two lovers jump.)
TAIWO: (alarmed) Oh my God you didn’t lock the door.
(A woman in a white flowing gown enters. She is followed by two men. Morenike stares at the woman in shock. Taiwo hurriedly buttons his shirt.)
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: (puts her hand on her head.) Morenike ti pa mi o. This girl has killed me! Is this what I sent you to school to do? They said it but I did not believe them. Ah! What are you doing with this man? (looks at his ring finger) He is even married. Ah!
TAIWO: (ashamed) I have to go now.
(The two men block his path)
MAN 1: Where do you think you are going to? Useless man. Be chasing girls up and down. Oloriburuku.
MAN 2: (to Morenike’s mother) Mummy, should we beat him up? We’ll just destroy his life.
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: (walks towards him) Leave him alone. My God will pay him back. (stands in front of Taiwo) My words do not fall to the ground. What you have done to my daughter, men will do to yours.
TAIWO: (upset) Don’t bring my daughter into this!
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: So you really have a daughter. (laughs) I am a servant of the most high. A prophetess of the Almighty. Your daughter will be raped! She will be used by married men as you have done to mine.
TAIWO: (enraged) I reject it for my daughter! I didn’t use your daughter! It was consensual.
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: (laughs and makes some incoherent sounds) You messed with the wrong family, man. Right now, your daughter is groaning in pain in your living room. She may be hospitalized for a long time. That should teach you a lesson!
(Taiwo rushes out of the room. Morenike moves towards the wall shivering)
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: (pulls out a horse whip from her bag and gives it to the first man) Oya! Lock the door and give her thirty strokes!
MORENIKE: (kneels) Mummy please!
(As the whip lands on her back, Morenike’s mother and the other man prays aloud)
MORENIKE’S MOTHER: (prays aloud) Forgive her Lord. Have mercy on her soul. Don’t send her to hell. Forgive her Jesus. Oluwa o!
MORENIKE: (cries) Mummy!
(Taiwo Adebiyi’s living room. Tosin is on her knees praying. Tobi lays on the floor, also praying)
TOBI: In the name of Jesus, we speak life into this family. We bring to an end every contention against this family. This family is a representative of the kingdom of God on the earth.
TOSIN: Touch dad’s heart, Lord. Let his heart truly yearn after you. We bring an end to carnality in the name of Jesus. We pray that Christ takes the center place of this house. In the name of Jesus, there is a restoration of love in our family.
(The door opens. Taiwo rushes in, panting. He is shocked to see his children praying. He sighs in relief as he fixes his gaze on his daughter)
TOBI: Mr Taiwo Adebiyi, your heart is a fertile ground for the word of God. We speak against every darkness that has blinded your heart. Oh God. Restore love to this family.
TOSIN: Wherever you are right now dad, you respond to the convictions of the Spirit. If you are on the bed with that lady, your senses return back to you and you come home to where you belong. Oh we love you dad but God loves you more. It was for you Christ died. You respond this day to the love of Christ. Because I carry the life of Christ in me, I have what I say. Every power, every word spoken against this family, we break right now! This family rides on the wings of the Spirit.
(Their father sits on the edge of the chair, trembling. Arike comes in. She stares at her children with mouth opened wide.)
TOBI: Lord, your word says if we ask anything in your name, you will answer us. We come on the basis of our union with you. We declare life in this family. Darkness, be gone!
TOSIN: The light of Christ shines in this family! Glory! I see Light! I see Jesus taking the center place here!
TOBI: Our parents come to experience the love of Christ. We’ll begin to see changes in this family!
ARIKE: (sniffs): Amen.
(Tobi and Tosin stop praying. They turn to see their father sitting with his head bowed, his laptop bag on the floor beside him. Arike is on her knees weeping.)
TOBI: What happened? You are home early. No stewards meeting?
TOSIN: Dad, I didn’t hear your car pull in.
ARIKE: (raises his head) The Pastor and his associates had to be somewhere urgent. We had a short prayer meeting though. Your father didn’t show up at all. I wonder where-
TAIWO: (interrupts her) I rushed home to see my kids.
ARIKE: (wipes her tears) How long have you guys been praying for us?
TOBI: (smiles) I can’t even remember. Dad, Mum, if only you’ll yield to the Holy Spirit, our home will become Christ-centered again.
TOSIN: Tobi is right. The devil wants to steal, destroy and kill this beautiful home but Christ came to give us abundant life.
TAIWO: (shakes his head) I can’t believe my own kids are preaching Christ to me. How did I get here? (to himself) Oh God I repent.
TOBI: (whispers to his sister) I told you. God hears us.
TAIWO: (stretches his hand towards his wife) Can I have word with you in private?
(She pushes his hand away and stands up. Taiwo grabs her hand.)
ARIKE: What do you want?
TAIWO: (stands in front of his wife) I’m sorry for treating you less than the woman you are. You are a good woman and you deserve the best. Can we work things out, Arike mi?
TOSIN: (humming a song) Halleluyah. Halleluyah….
ARIKE: (gives her daughter a side grin before facing her husband) If you want to talk, meet me in the bedroom and I’m running this on my terms.
TAIWO: Yes ma’am.
(ARIKE walks into the room, while TAIWO follows behind. TAIWO stops. He walks to his daughter)
TOSIN: Dad, what is it?
TAIWO: (places his hand on his daughter. Tears trickles down his face) You will not be raped! Every plan of the devil is destroyed in your life.
TAIWO: You will marry the man God has purposed for you. Men who seek to deceive you will not be able to touch you. You grow from grace to grace.
TAIWO: Every word that is not of God spoken over your life, I break them.
TOSIN: You will not suffer the consequences of your father’s carelessness. As your father has decided to change his ways and do what’s right, you’ll step into new grounds. Only God’s plan for your life will be fulfilled.
(TAIWO walks into his bedroom)
TOBI:(puzzled)What was that about?
TOSIN: (laughs) I have absolutely no idea. What’s that our theme song again?
TOBI: (dancing from side to side) Even when I don’t see it you are working. Even when I don’t feel it you are working.
TOSIN: (joins in) You never stop, you never stop working, you never stop, you never stop working.
Have you read Dear Franca Series: I found my wife