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John 8:7 KJV, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
He lifted Ezra from the chair and held him in his arms.
“You know he looks like you alot.” Kokoma said as she got up from her couch and went to the dining table to get a clean napkin that he could place on his shirt.
Kokoma laughed. “Isn’t it obvious? Look at his nose and ears… his eyes. He’s a spitting image of you. He just happens to have my mocha complexion.”
She walked over to Amanze and placed the napkin on his shoulder. He half expected her to pull a stunt but she didn’t linger. She told him she would get him something to drink and sauntered off to the kitchen. Amanze took that time to look around her posh apartment. Black leather settee, 40″ inch TV, expensive centre rug with a glass centre table. Everything just screamed ‘expensive!’.
Where did she get the money to afford all this? Has she found another guy willing to pay for the lifestyle she desperately wanted?
He shook his head in disgust and settled down on the seat and played with his son. He had told his grandmother about the baby but was taking his time to inform his mother. He knew she would make a big deal out of it and would love to embrace Kokoma once again as her potential daughter-in-law.
Amanze didn’t want that. He didn’t want his mother filling her head with hopes and dreams that were never going to happen.
“Here you go.” Kokoma dropped a glass of orange juice and a small plate of small chops.
“You’re welcome. Just trying to be a good hostess. So have you told your family about Ezra?”
“My grandmother is aware but I’m yet to tell my mother.”
Kokoma laughed. “Why? You think she would ask you to man-up and marry me? Give your son the right honour he deserves?” She nodded. “Yeah, I think your mum would do that.”
Ezra started fussing and crying. As if he could feel the annoyance he had for his mother. “Don’t be too sure about that. When she knows your true colours and realized what kind of woman you are… she wouldn’t even consider it.”
The smile on Kokoma’s face fell. “People change you know.”
“Yeah, people change but not all changes are for good.” Amanze tried to calm his son down but to no avail. “What’s wrong with him?”
She got up and took him from Amanze gently. “He’s hungry.” She sat back down on her seat and took care of feeding their son. He tried not to look too much but he couldn’t help it. The sight of his son looking peaceful and eating caught his heart. It was a beautiful moment.
“I told you I was sorry Amanze. What I did was wrong and all because of my pursuit for success. You know my background. You know how difficult it’s been for me and my family. There were so many bills to pay and not enough money coming in. I needed more -”
“And you got the money by being the office slut! How convenient for you. Anyhow the past is the past. Let’s leave things as they are and try to get along with each-other for the sake of our son.”
He got up and said he had to leave.
“I still love you. . .”
“That’s too bad. I’m in love with someone else.” He saw the sadness in her eyes but there was nothing he could do. He had moved on with his life. “We would talk about how often I can see Ezra. .. we should be able to set up a schedule. I want to be a part of his life and I want him to have my last name.”
Kokoma nodded. “Alright. I won’t be able to see you off.”
“It’s fine. I would see myself out.”
He touched his son’s cheek tenderly then walked out of her apartment.
She was on her lunch break, barely touching the Jollof-rice and fried meat she had bought.
Efe thought back to the conversation she had with her mother-in-law some days back. She hadn’t wavered in her decision. She decided to call her dad later in the evening to let him know before Daniel’s mother spoke to him about it. Her father may not support her decision but she knew it was probably the right thing to do considering the circumstances.
And then there was Amanze. Amanze who loved her and was willing to wait for her to sort out her issues. He was patient enough not to press her for a commitment but wanted her to know he was there whenever she needed him. Efe had to admit he was a man after her own heart. Why hadn’t she met him before the whole Daniel saga? Why couldn’t Daniel be more like him?
Pamela dropped her tray of food on the table and took a seat opposite her. “What’s up with you? You’ve been looking down these days.”
Efe shrugged and picked a spoon of rice and chucked it into her mouth. She swallowed before she said anything.
“I’m just making a lot of decisions right now. I would be fine.”
Pamela arched her eyebrow.
“What sort of decisions?”
Efe wasn’t ready to talk about it with her. She was calling her dad that evening. She knew he would not agree with her decision but there was nothing left to do. It was her life and she was tired of the stress of the past year and few months.
“I would let you know soonest. Don’t worry about it.”
Pamela looked at her for the next few seconds, like she wasn’t going to give up so easily but then she shrugged and focused on her meal.
“How’s the whole modelling thing? Any progress?”
Pamela snorted. “Not yet. I’m seeing another photographer soon to take head-shots. A friend of mine said she has someone she can show them to… it’s not big but it’s something. It’s a start.”
“That’s great news.”
“Yeah, I guess so. It’s better than nothing.”
They ate in comfortable silence. Both of them occupied with their own thoughts.
“Why do you want to be a model? I mean I never really asked you why.”
“Because I have a beautiful body. I love fashion. I love the idea of strutting down the walk way and showcasing latest fashion. You get to work with different people from different countries and travel. It’s just an exciting job.”
“But you know it has it’s disadvantages, right?”
Pamela shrugged and dug in to her meal again. “All jobs have their disadvantages dear. I’m not bothered.”
They finished with their meals and headed back to the office. As Efe approached her desk she spotted a sticky note placed on a pile of files on her desk. Her shoulders dropped. She knew she might have to spend extra hours at work today. She picked the sticky note and read it.
Get these files sorted out. Be in my office at 4.
“Great.” What time would she have to talk to her father now?
“Do you know what it feels like being separate from God?” She looked away from him. “I do. I’ve been there before and it was awful. His Word says; Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
“You know I used to think God couldnt hear people who didn’t believe in Him. All who are in sin. I didn’t know the Scripture was referring to Christians; us in the fold of faith. God hears when unbelivers call to Him, but not us believers when we have sinned. You know why? Because we know better. We know right from wrong but still we sin against Him.”
She looked at him then. “You get what I mean?”
Daniel nodded. He had never thought about it that way.
Efe was his wife, irrespective of the hurts and pains she may have put him through. God still wanted him to love her and care for her.
“Christ loves us as much as He loves Himself, and if you love yourself you wouldn’t wish yourself harm, pain, sorrow. That’s how much God loves me. That’s how much He loves you brother Daniel.”
Daniel closed his eyes as he felt tears rush there. “I know God loves me, but I don’t know if I can love the way He does.”
Mitchell smiled. “It’s simple. Imitate Him. Be willling to practice His Love in moments when love looks undeserving and impossible. That’s how we all should do it.”
Daniel recalled how much he hurt Efe in moments when he could have chosen to show her love.
“It’s a somewhat funny thought, but do you think Christ can ever breakup with His bride – the church? Can you ever imagine that happening? He says He would never leave nor forsake us and nothing can separate us from His Love for us.”
“But the only thing that can separate us from Him is sin.”
She looked at him then with a light in her eyes he wished he had. “Now you’re getting it.”
There was a comfortable silence between them and he watched as people came in and out of the fast-food restaurant they had come to.
“I can’t judge you or Efe – though it would be so easy to that and want to take sides and put the blame on one person. But I can’t. Only God knows all. You would have to think it through and pray to God to make the right decision.”
His phone rang at that moment. At first he was going to ignore the call but he turned his phone over and his heart did flip-flops.
Efe was calling him.
He raised his finger for Mitchell to give him a minute and picked his call.
“Hi Efe. How are you? That’s good to hear. Ulunma is fine. Okay? Now?” He looked at Mitchell and frowned. “Alright, so when did you come to such a conclusion? Fine. If that’s what you want. Talk to you later.”
He dropped his phone back on the table. “Guess the decision has been made.”
“What did she say?”
He laughed. “She wants a divorce.”
“And how do you feel?”
Daniel sighed. “Honestly? I don’t know.”
“Yes, Kobina I would be back on Sunday. I check in on the office once in a while and I’m told it’s all running smoothly despite my absence.” She laughed. “Thanks for the compliment. Oh… okay I would see to those cases immediately I get back. Alright then. Take care.”
She ended the call and tossed her phone on the kitchen counter. The feeling she had felt earlier still there. She couldnt shake the feeling that something bad was coming. She prayed about it briefly then kept it aside. She had been preparing dinner when Kobina, her partner at the company, called to check in. She couldn’t wait to resume work and get back to reviewing accounts. She also couldn’t wait to get back to Korede.
She smiled to herself as she chopped tomatoes and onions. The church he had directed her to had been wonderful. She had missed being in the presence ofGod with other Christians. The worship had been awesome and the Word was excellent. She loved how the pastor took time in teaching about living like Jesus in a world filled with distractions and obscenities. How as Christians they shouldn’t compromise with the world and fall prey to their ways. It made the burden to pray for Zainab and Audrey more heavy on her. Her friends needed to know what peace and joy they could have in being with Christ.
Zainab’s wedding was here already and still she hadn’t said anything to I.K about her issues with Sonia. She kept praying and praying and asking God what she should do. Would it be okay for her to stand up for her friend when her marriage was based on lies?
“Babes what are you cooking? It smells delicious!” Audrey walked into the kitchen and took the lid off the pot. “Wow this looks good. What’s for dinner?”
“Spaghetti and meatballs with mixed vegetables.”
“Gosh your husband will enjoy o!”
“I hope so. Who knows? Maybe he would be a chef of a restaurant and wouldn’t want me cooking.”
Audrey eyed her. “Maybe he’s white then. ‘Cause I can’t imagine any African man saying that.”
“Saying what?” Zainab asked when she walked into the kitchen.
Audrey related what they had said and Zainab agreed with her. “He would probably be white. I.K loves fresh food. He can’t stand eating food cooked a day before, says it disrupts his digestive system.”
“Na so. So how do you manage?”
Zainab shrugged and stole a slice of tomato and popped it into her mouth before Adesewa couldn’t complain. “I just have someone cook and deliver fresh meals to me whenever he comes over.”
Adesewa gave her a weary look. “That wouldn’t be so convenient by the time you guys get married. You should take up cooking classes.”
“Oh please. It’s too stressful. I.K isn’t hard to please. He can eat swallows and rice and noodles…”
“But what about the soup and stew?” Audrey asked cheekily. “Can you cook them?”
Zainab waved her hand as if swatting a fly. “You ladies should leave me Abeg. If I need help in would just call Ade and ask her how to do things. Besides, I.K can cook. He’s not marrying me based on my cooking skills.”
Audrey shook her head while Adesewa busied herself with getting dinner ready.
“My father is coming in tomorrow for the wedding. He would stay in a hotel. I.K would be here soon. I’ll go and freshen up.”
The feeling came back again… heavier this time. All Adesewa could do was pray and pray hard.