THE PASTOR’S WIFE- EPISODE 10

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Mary became quiet immediately she set her eyes on Nike. She stared long and hard at her. The three women moved from the entrance towards the center of the living room. The chairs were upturned, the dining table broken, the sofa torn open with pieces of foams littered on the ground. Mary’s eyes were still fixed on Nike as she raised her head to meet her gaze.

Nike cleared her throat. ‘Mary..’

As though calling her name pushed a power button in her, she lifted a stool and hurled it at Tolani. The woman dodged and ran quickly behind Nike. Mary reached for the leg of the broken table. Nike snatched it out of her hand before she could resist.

‘Mary, please.’ Nike was on one side, holding her arm while Bose grabbed the other arm.

‘Leave me alone!’ Mary screamed. She bit Bose so hard she cried and quickly let go. She turned to do same for Nike but Nike released her arm like she would do a red hot plate.

Mary hissed and sat on the edge of the sofa. ‘He is a wicked man.’ She started, crossing her leg. ‘He slept with her. I mean, he took Iya Abeke into our bedroom and pushed me out of the room.’

She stood up and marched to where Tolani stood. Tolani withdrew but stopped when Mary stretched out her arms.

‘He cut me with knife and I saw blood. Plenty blood. Then he sucked it.’ She rushed through an entrance, mumbling incoherent words. The women followed her. There were two doors separated by a toilet and bathroom. Nike wondered where she had slept the first day she arrived. It didn’t look like any of the rooms.

Mary pushed at a door that refused to open. ‘Open this door’ she pushed again. ‘Come out stupid man.’

She returned to the living room and it was then Nike saw another door opposite the entrance they had just come out from.

That had to be where she slept. Watching her friend brought tears to her eyes. If only she had insisted and stood by her friend. This was a woman who had been her confidant back on campus. A woman who had answers to every issue troubling her roommates. How could she have turned out like this?

‘You are crying?’ Mary was moving towards Nike. The Pastor’s wife quickly wiped her tears with the back of her hands. ‘Are you hungry? Oya come and suck.’

Mary had pulled off her blouse before Nike could stop her. As she reached to unhook her bra, Tolani tried to stop her. Two slaps landed on Tolani’s face.

Nike smiled at her friend. ‘You see, I’m not crying again.’

Mary looked closely at Nike’s face. Nike giggled. Mary smiled and put on her blouse.

‘Mary, when Jesus went to the cross, he destroyed the power of the devil over our lives. Right now, in the name of Jesus, I speak to your mind. Your sound mind is restored.’

Mary was on her knees, as she lifted her hands to heaven. ‘Amen o! God punish that wicked man. If I see him, I will strangulate him until he screams.’

She stood up. ‘Every day he will beat me. He will beat me o and my children will be crying. When I finish killing him, I will go to Iya Abeke’s house and cut off her head. You see the Iyawo Pastor of Christ Redemption Church. I will cut her finger one by one.’

Nike held her friend’s cheeks. ‘Mary listen to me.’

‘Do you know Nike, our Pastor’s wife? She is a good woman.’ Nike’s heart cut to hear her friend talk about her like she was not there. ‘My husband sent men to beat her. Then he burnt the church so that Iyawo Pastor and his wife can run away.’

The sound of a child’s cry was heard from a distance. Mary stopped talking and moved to the window. She pulled the curtain aside and tried to look out. She rushed to the door.

‘My baby! My baby!’ She unlocked the door and stepped out. The crowd already gathered in front of her house ran for their dear lives as she ran towards a woman holding a little girl.

The girl saw Mary coming towards her and cried excitedly.

‘Mummy!’

The woman ran, still holding the child with Mary hard on her heels. She dropped the girl and skittered off. The little girl rushed to grab her mother’s waist.

Mary carried the girl and held her so tightly that she began to cry. Mary was also crying.

‘Mary, let’s go inside. We need to protect your daughter.’ Nike said, softly. Nike was relieved to see her husband and Segun walking towards the house with Dr Afolabi who had just stepped out of her car, tailing them.

Mary ran back into the house ‘Nobody will beat you again, you hear? I will take care of you. Will you suck breast?’

The little girl shook her head, confused. ‘I am not Oyindamola. I am big girl.’

At the mention of her second daughter’s name, she turned. ‘Oyindamola!’

But the men had grabbed her. Dr Afolabi drove an injection into her arm with a swiftness that bespoke experience. She pulled away and reached for the door. It was locked.

‘Oyindamola!’

She ran to the kitchen holding her daughter and staggered back to the living room. She tried to shake the dizziness off and had to grip the arm of a chair for support.

Mary’s eyes were losing focus as she slipped to the floor. The little girl was frightened.

As darkness set in, Mary whispered, ‘Oyindamola.’

‘Gbemisola, come.’ Nike leaned to pull the girl away. Mary watched as Nike hugged the girl close. Her shoulders slumped.

‘Finally.’ Bose sighed.

‘We need to get her to the clinic right away ‘

Segun covered his nose. ‘What’s smelling in here?’

Bose sniffed. ‘Oh my God, what’s that smell?’

They all rushed out of the house with the men carrying Mary to the car.

‘It’s so horrible. How did we not perceive that when we first entered?’ Tolani spat on the floor and kicked sand over the squirt of saliva.

‘Someone is dead in there.’ Dr Afolabi stated as she walked to the car. The women froze.

‘We’ll come back to check it after we drop off Mary at the clinic.’

Dr Afolabi faced the two men. ‘Don’t worry sirs, I can handle this. I’ll get enough help at the clinic.’

When she had driven off, the Pastor and his friend returned to the house. Nike stood with her friends wondering whether to go in or wait till the men returned with their findings.

‘I want to get out of here.’ Nike said.

‘Me too.’ Bose whispered.

‘Maybe we should go to the clinic or go to the church and pray.’

‘Wait, I heard one of the women saying Iya Abeke has been brought from the herbalist’s home. She is getting worse. I think we should see her.

‘Where is my mummy?’

It was then Nike remembered she was still holding Mary’s daughter.

They dropped Gbemisola off with Clara at the NCCF family house before heading for Iya Abeke’s house.

The pathway they took snaked through a thick bush, it was silent except for the chirping of birds and two old men -one with a shiny bald scalp, the other with a torn trouser- who were chatting on their way back from their farms.

‘That’s the house.’ Tolani pointed at a beautiful bungalow that stood in a large expanse of land. It was painted green and the surrounding looked neat and sparkling. Nike was surprised at how quiet the place was. She had expected to find  a large crowd. No soul was in view.

‘Folake was the queenbee in my secondary school days.’

Nike shifted her gaze from the house to Tolani. ‘You mean Iya Abeke?’

Tolani nodded. ‘We were in the same room for two years. Those boys fought over her. You should have seen her back then. She was really pretty and knew how to whine her waist. She was the best dancer in town. I remember Folake talked about sex every time and we all sat after prep to listen to her. She had a thing for married men and would jump the fence several times to meet them.’

‘I have never met her husband before. He lives here with her?’ Nike asked.

Bose responded. ‘Her husband left her few weeks after they got married.’

‘Who then is Abeke’s father?’

They were gradually getting close to the house. ‘We don’t know.’

An old man with a walking stick came out to the veranda of the house. He was followed by a young woman with a baby strapped to her back. The woman carried a potty and rushed past the man to the back of the house.

E ka ro sir.’ Nike greeted the old man who was now stretched out on a locally made recliner, his hands behind his head of gray stubbles.

The man raised his head and it was only then they realized he was blind. The woman was back this time with a dry rag.

‘You can’t enter now. Please wait till I clean her up.’ She entered the house and after some minutes dashed out with the rag soaked in urine. She left the rag under a mango tree beside the house and washed her hands in a bowl in front of the veranda.

‘I am hungry o.’ the old man said, turning his face towards the young woman.

‘Baba, but  you just ate eko and akara’

‘I say I am hungry!’ the man frowned, searching for his walking stick. Bose reached into her bag and brought out apples.

‘Baba take.’ He stretched out his hands and she dropped three apples in the callused hollow of his palm. His mouth went to work immediately. The woman led them through the living room to a bedroom that stank of urine and feces.

Iya Abeke was sprawled out on the floor. Tears stung Nike’s eyes as she stared at the woman who couldn’t walk.

‘Folake, some people have come to see you.’ The young woman  turned to the visitors. ‘If you see the crowd that came here this morning. News can fly in this town o. Where are they now? They’ve all disappeared and left me with her. She is my sister so what can I do? I called my elder brother in Lagos. He said he was busy and would call me back.  I called my other brother, he didn’t pick his call. My husband needs my attention. My father too. I just wish mum was alive.’ She continued to whine until her baby began to cry. She exhaled slowly and stepped out of the room.

Nike knelt beside the helpless woman. ‘Iya Abeke, we are here to pray for you. We believe the power that raised Christ from the dead can heal you completely. Will you surrender yourself to Christ as your Lord and Saviour?’

‘Yes.’ Tears dropped to the floor and formed a small stream beside Iya Abeke’s face. She nodded her head. Nike’s heart bled for her as she led her in a prayer of salvation.

After the prayers, the woman smiled at Nike. ‘Thank you.’ Nike motioned for her friends to join her.

They knelt with the Pastor’s wife and placed their hands on Iya Abeke’s limp body. ‘In the name of Jesus, receive your healing. The power of the Lord is on you now. You are healed in the name of Jesus.’

‘Amen’. They chorused. They stood up.

‘Let’s help her up.’ Nike was already raising Iya Abeke’s hand.

Nike’s friends stared at each other, not making a move.

‘Are you going to help me or you want to stay there in unbelief?’

They finally helped to pull Folake to her feet. Her feet wobbled.
‘Iya Abeke, stand. You are healed.’ Bose said. She tried to stand but her knees gave way. Nike held her knees.

‘Iya Abeke, You are healed in Jesus name. Stand!’

She tried again but fell flat on the floor.

‘Jesus, Have mercy on me!’ Iya Abeke screamed in Yoruba.

As they lifted her again, her right leg made a crack sound. It held firmly on the ground. She stared, eyes wide at Nike before her other foot touched the ground. She moved backward, shocked, She could move her hands. Tolani covered her hand with her mouth. Nike was speechless. Bose jumped, shouting Halleluyah.

The young woman with the child rushed in. She was stunned beyond words to find her sister on her feet.  Folake ran out of the house, almost naked. Tolani grabbed a wrapper from the bed and and wrapped it around her. She was crying as she ran out of the house.

Nike’s knees couldn’t hold her anymore. She sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the place where Iya Abeke had been, helpless.

What just happened? Nike shook her head, still in shock.

‘This God!’ Bose began to dance. Tolani joined her as they began to sing.

He’s a miracle working God.

He’s a miracle working God

He’s the Alpha and omega,

He’s a miracle working God.

‘I have never seen anything like this in my life.’ the Pastor’s wife clapped.

Only one prayer stayed on Nike’s mind.

Lord, if you can do this miracle for Iya Abeke, You can give me a child.

The old man was still fast asleep when they left the veranda for the bush pathway they had taken. They had barely reached the turning that led to the express when  a crowd of people led by Iya Abeke approached them in high spirits.

‘Iyawa Pastor! Iyawo Pastor!’ They chanted. Nike stopped. Immediately, a scripture flashed across her mind.

...They lifted up their voices saying, the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men. Barnabas and Paul when they heard it ran among the people crying out…

Nike didn’t know when she took off and ran towards the people shouting, ‘Wait!’

The dancing stopped. When Nike saw that she had their attention, she moved backwards and stood in front of them

‘I didn’t do this. Jesus did. Jesus healed Iya Abeke. Say Jesus!’ They responded. She made them say the name again. Tolani broke into a song.

Jesu mi seun seun, Olorun mi seun seun

Jesu mi seun seun, olorun mi seun seun

Mo bere mole mo gbega, mo gbe Jesu mi ge ge

Owomi loke yaya, mo ka leluya repete.

That day, they danced and moved from one street to the other. Nike was soaked in sweat by the time she returned home an hour later.

The following Sunday, the children church was packed full. Many had to sit on the floor and some found a place at the windows.

Three weeks had passed and gradually, Mary’s depression began to lift. The women from Nike’s church took shifts on staying by her side every night. There was no day that Mary was left alone in the hospital. They would read the bible to her and even though she couldn’t talk much, she listened.

‘Mary, how are you feeling?’ Nike asked, as she settled beside Mary’s bed.

Mary nodded. ‘Where is my husband? Has he come to check up on me yet?’

Nike stared at her friend like her eyes had suddenly become ears. How could Mary be asking for a man who almost killed her?

When the men had forced one of the bedroom doors open, they had found a decaying young man on the floor. Joshua had been buried immediately but they had decided to wait until Mary got out of the hospital before they broke the news.

‘No, he hasn’t.’

‘That’s rather surprising. He loved to appear as the perfect husband.’ Mary laughed. ‘I loved him Nike.’

Nike squeezed her friend’s shoulders. ‘I know. But you deserve better. You don’t deserve him at all.’

Mary sighed. ‘I got what I deserved Nike. He needs me by his side.’ she shifted her gaze to the wall. ‘Sometimes, he cries and says he wants to be the best husband for me. I know he loves me too. Without me, Nike, he will not survive.’

‘But this man cheated on you right in your presence. He beat you and cut your body with knife. How could you think you deserve a horrible person like that.’

Mary smiled. ‘You don’t know Joshua. I’m the only one who understands him. There is a spirit that drives him to do all that. The real Joshua is wonderful and loving.

Nike opened her mouth but no words came out. Would she ever be able to understand her friend?

‘I have never seen my father before. He left my mum after I was born. I grew up with my step father who was a herbalist. he rarely stayed at home and whenever he came around, he would shout and beat us and our mother. But my mother was strong for him. She stood by him. He would brag to his friends about how he would never have survived without her. He began to change later and stopped beating her. I’ve been praying for him and I’ll keep praying for him.’

Nike had so many questions to ask but decided not to push. As far as she was concerned, Mary was not ready.

‘You need to rest Mary. Let me see Dr Afolabi. I’ll be back.’

Dr Afolabi was punching numbers on a calculator and scribbling some figures into a notepad when she heard a knock. She quickly put aside the notepad and raised her head. Nike entered.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you Doc. I just wanted to find out about Mary’s health. How is she doing?’

Dr Afolabi nodded. ‘She is responding well. Although, she still has to undergo therapy and we don’t offer those services here.’

‘I’ve sent for Eunice. She is already on her way here. We’ll be transferring Mary to Ife tomorrow.’

‘That’s great.’ She responded. It was clear she wanted Nike to leave so she could return to what she was doing.

Nike stood up to go. ‘Don’t you have a first name? Afolabi seems like your surname.’

The doctor hesitated, wondering whether to tell the truth or forge a lie. ‘Doctor’ was what she was called and she was cool with it. Nobody ever asked for her first name.

‘Cynthia.’ she smiled, staring at the door as if to say, ‘can you please leave?’

Nike got the message. Whatever made this woman uncomfortable around people, she wanted to get to the root of it. Dr Afolabi was an active member of her church but never had a friend. She was a loner and guests were not welcomed into her house, not even the Pastor or his wife.

As Nike approach the door, an elderly woman entered, followed by two boys in their early teens. One of the boys was a replica of the doctor.

‘Hey mum!’ They rushed to hug her. Nike stared at the doctor, eyes wide.

Dr Afolabi was married? What other secrets did this woman keep?

Nike entered the ward to find Eunice sitting on the chair beside the bed. After they exchanged pleasantries, Eunice faced Nike.

‘Please help me convince Mary to come with us. I was just telling her that we plan on picking her up tomorrow.’

Nike sat beside Mary and held her hands. ‘Mary, you can’t stay in this hospital forever. You need to be back on your feet as soon as possible.’

‘But I’m okay. I don’t need to go anywhere.’

‘No you are not. You need to talk about how you feel, get all the things you have bottled up out of your head. Did I tell you that you woke up at midnight screaming and crying.’

Mary frowned. ‘I did?’

Nike nodded. ‘Yes. Listen, Eunice has specialists who will help you handle this.’

‘What about my children?’

“They are safe with Bose. I was with them yesterday and they were busy with toys and playing with her kids. I’ll bring them to Ile-Ife every weekend to see you.’

Mary grabbed Nike’s hand. ‘Please don’t let my husband get to them. I don’t want to ever see that man again.’

Nike was confused. Few minutes ago, Mary had spoken so highly about this man and here she was saying the opposite.

Nike stared into her friend’s eyes. ‘Your husband will never be able to touch them. Never.’

Mary sighed. ‘Okay, I agree. But after two months I’ll be back.’

Outside, Nike hugged her Eunice and thanked her for helping Mary get back on her feet.

‘Helping these women give me joy. That’s what I want to die doing.’ Eunice smiled.

As they walk towards a red Toyota Camry, Eunice brought her up to speed about the new developments in her NGO.

‘You won’t believe this. UNICEF representatives visited my office. I took them round to see the women and girls we were helping and they were greatly impressed. We are up for a grant.’ Eunice jumped excitedly. ‘I’ll be travelling to Abuja next week to finalize the details.’

Nike hugged Eunice again. ‘I’m so happy to hear this. This is just the beginning of the great grounds that would open for you.’

Eunice giggled. ‘I can’t wait to finish the constructions on our new site. It will be a dream come true. By the way, don’t forget the skill acquisition training you plan to give my girls for this quarter.’

‘How can I forget. I’m looking forward to the training. Those women will be amazed at the things they can do with their hands.’

Eunice touched Nike’s cheeks. ‘It’s a blessing collaborating with you.’

That evening, Nike stood in the kitchen running over the plans in her head. The Pastor’s Conference in Lagos was in two weeks. She would sneak out on one of the days and rush to Peniel Clinic to see Feranmi. She would have the Nexplanon removed from her arm so she could get pregnant. She knew her Doctor friend would argue and kick against her decision. Iya Abeke’s miraculous intervention would be her case in point. Feranmi would have no choice but to agree. She would give this a shot. To hell with the doctor’s report.

‘What are you thinking about.’

Nike turned to find her husband at the door holding a basket of coconuts. She collected the basket from him.

‘Where did you get these?’

‘One of the members brought it to the church this morning. Fresh from the farm.’

Nike pulled him to the kitchen table and opened a big pot full of pieces of chicken. ‘Baba Tale brought this for us.’

David rubbed his hands together and tickled his wife. Nike laughed and kissed him lightly on his lips.

‘What do you say to a dinner of coconut rice and chicken soup.’

David danced and raised his hands. ‘oshey!’

*******

EPISODE 11 comes up next.

About the author

Ife Grace

I am a faith blogger with a passion to contribute my quota to the body of Christ. I am also the author of two books: The Reunion and Spring.

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