Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Oh, Lord… This is so hard. I want to change, but everybody treats me the same. Well, everyone apart from Mary and Jimmy. Thank You for them. I don’t know if I can do this without them, to be honest. But I can’t continue to rely on Mary. It’s not fair to her. Maybe it’s time I find a new fellowship. I guess I could try Jimmy’s church…
Amaka finished with the dishes and wiped down the kitchen counter. She was home alone, as her flatmate, Zainab, was doing her late shift at the radio station. She was still not used to being alone, without a lover or a boyfriend. Since her separation from Jamie, almost six months ago, she’d faced the shocking realisation that she didn’t know how to be alone.
The divorce had also helped her to discover how many real friends she had. She had soon realised that she was short on those too. She didn’t fit in with her married friends, and her single friends were afraid of having her around their men or even having her around, period. She wasn’t invited anywhere, except on dates by men. She had no good male friends either because Jamie had done a good job of chasing all of them away while they were together. It was going to be a lonely Valentine's weekend.
Amaka sighed and picked up the book she had begun reading yesterday. It was “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. She’d found it at the local Christian bookstore some time ago, while looking for something to help her grow her faith.
She’d bought some gospel music albums too. Mary had told her that her favourite artist was Yolanda Adams, so she made sure she got two of her albums. She was glad she did. She found them so relatable and encouraging, and she loved to listen to them before bed.
Amaka finished Day 1 of the book and pondered on the message shared. Her purpose in life was not about her; it was about God. Didn’t that mean everyone had the same purpose?
She understood the message that she could never find her purpose by looking inward but by looking to God and gleaning from the wisdom He had hidden in the scriptures. She was tempted to continue to Day 2, but she heeded the counsel in the book to read only one chapter a day so she could savour it.
One thing she found encouraging about the message was that it didn’t leave her thinking that she had to go find something to do to keep busy. At 32 years old, she really didn’t know what to do with her life. She didn’t think she could continue with modelling, at least not lingerie. She was actually tired of the appearance-obsessed industry.
One of the things she had changed, since she became saved, was her look. She tried not to dress so provocatively but, rather, to be modest. But no matter what she wore, it was hard to hide her figure, and she still drew as much attention, if not more than before.
Amaka prepared for bed and put on her Yolanda Adams CD. She had a quick shower and changed into her nightie. After brushing her teeth and packing her hair up, she got down on her knees to pray.
“Thank You, Lord, for saving me and for giving me a brand-new life in You. Thank You for setting me free. Please guide me in everything I do. Lead me in the way You have prepared for me.
“Lord, I feel so lonely, it hurts. I know I brought this on myself, living selfishly, and now, I have no friends. Well, except for Zainab, Mary, and Jimmy. I guess I have friends, but You know what I mean, Lord. I don’t have anyone I can really talk to or be myself with.”
Who are you?
Amaka smiled. “Good question. I don’t even know who I am. I only know who I was. And I’m embarrassed to say I miss it. I miss knowing and having confidence in who I am. Now, I just feel like I don’t know anything for sure…”
Rest in Me. Abide in Me. I am enough.
“Lord, please, help me to abide in You. Help me to grow and bear fruit. I don’t want to be like the seed that was choked by the cares of the world or the seed that sprung up too fast and withered, without having a deep root. Please, teach me to wait on You and help me to bear this time of uncertainty.”
Amaka prayed for the safe return of her flatmate, then prayed for her mother, Adania, and Jamie. She remembered to lift up Ifeanyi and Mary and their home and prayed for Jimmy and his family also. As she prayed for them all, she felt her faith increase. She felt more assured of God’s purpose. What she prayed for them was what she wanted for herself; the peace and joy of being in God’s will.
It’s Saturday morning. A day before Valentine’s Day.
“Hey, no probs. See you on Sunday,” Jimmy said, smiling to himself as he hung up the phone.
Fatima was looking at him curiously. “Who was that?”
“Amaka. She’s coming to Salvation House this Sunday.”
Fatima began shaking her head. “No, I don’t like that… Why’s she suddenly attaching herself to you?”
“It’s church, Fatima. You can’t stop people going to whatever church they like.”
“And there are like a thousand and one churches…”
“Are you serious? You’re jealous?”
Fatima swallowed. The thought of that woman anywhere near her husband was highly disturbing. She had never liked her… But then, she was Jamie’s girlfriend, then fiancée, and, finally, wife. Now, she wasn’t, and Fatima didn’t trust her for one minute.
She had watched helplessly as Jimmy and Amaka grew closer. Talking on the phone, sending messages and Bible verses… She had prayed that some other guy would come and take the woman’s attention, but she was still single, months later. Maybe she was gunning for her husband. She wouldn’t put it past her…the bitch!
“Would you blame me?”
“She’s my brother’s ex-wife. She’s like family…”
“Yes, your brother’s EX-WIFE, so she’s no longer family! And have you forgotten the lack of family values in her family? Isn’t her sister the one who’s pregnant for and living with your brother now? What if she wants revenge? Have you thought about that?”
Jimmy shook his head. Fatima can be so paranoid sometimes. “Fatima, believe me, she’s changed.”
“I don’t care! Let her go and change somewhere else. I don’t like this…this thing that is going on between you two. It makes me uncomfortable. Please, set her free to find her own husband.”
Jimmy couldn’t help but chuckle. He pulled his wife close to him. “Wow! I never knew you were so jealous. Don’t worry, babe. There’s nothing going on, and nothing will go on. She just needs a friend right now. You know, she has lost everything.” Jimmy rubbed Fatima's arms to soothe her.
“I honestly don’t care. I’m not trying to be mean, but she got what she deserved! I don’t want to lose everything too,” Fatima said, getting emotional. She looked up at him with pleading, teary eyes. “Please, Jimmy. I don’t trust her.”
“Okay,” he said and nodded.
Fatima let out a sigh. It was hard to tell if it was out of exasperation or of relief. “Thank you.” She pecked his lips and returned to the kitchen.
Jimmy sat down, saddened by Fatima’s reaction. He understood her perspective, but he also knew everybody deserved a second chance. However, he knew that he couldn’t take his chances and keep a relationship going with Amaka.
Now that Fatima had expressed her disagreement, he would feel like he was cheating to hang around Amaka, and things would never be the same between them. He was sad because she had made something innocent look bad. But maybe it was for the best…
He had to admit that he did find Amaka attractive. And it really wasn’t worth the risk. Besides, it wasn’t just Fatima that would be hurt if he cheated with Amaka. Jamie would certainly kill him!
Jamie stood in the doorway, checking out his maid, who was on her knees scrubbing the shower room. Her rounded behind was covered in tight, pink leggings, while her white t-shirt was tied on her belly, exposing a little flesh.
He had been observing his house-help for a few days now. She started with them about a month ago, as they needed a replacement for the previous one, who had lost a relative and said she had to return to her village. This one was different. She often moved and dressed provocatively, and he was beginning to think she was sending him a message. He coughed to get her attention.
She turned, apparently surprised to find him watching her. “Sorry, sir.” She got up, wondering if he wanted to use the bathroom.
Jamie held her gaze and let his sly grin rise. “It’s okay. Continue. I just wanted to say keep up the good work…”
She smiled sweetly at him. “Thank you, sir.”
She bent down again to attend to her scrubbing. Jamie whistled as he walked away. Sometime soon, he would have to tap that!
Oh, I was so stupid! Why did I do it? Why?
He doesn’t love me. He never loved me. I have never been so miserable in my life! For three months, he has not touched me! Oh God! And I know he’s sleeping with other women. I knew that was the kind of man he was, yet, I was so desperate for a man, so desperate for him, that I didn’t care that he was my sister’s husband! And look at the hell I am in…
Jesus, forgive me! He won’t even let me sleep in the master bedroom. He said, “it is for his wife!” Who the hell am I? He said he would marry me; he said he loved me. And here I am, wasting away for him… Oh, how I wish I had never gotten pregnant. How I wish I had never given in to him. Jesus, please, forgive me!
Adania cried, as she did most days. She pitied her miserable existence in Jamie’s home. As soon as he had thrown her sister out of his house, she knew she was going to regret her decision.
She hadn’t wanted to believe it before. She’d hoped that her sister would come around. She knew Amaka already knew that her husband was a philanderer. At least, the two of them could have satisfied his appetite.
But watching him that day broke her heart. He was a broken man. Amaka’s rejection had broken him. It was Amaka he loved. And look what he had done to her. Adania had feared for herself and her child that day.
To her surprise, he didn’t lash out at her. Rather, he very nearly ignored her presence in his home. She was the one constantly pleading with him to give her some attention, to go to bed with her, to talk to her… He entertained her for a while. Then three months ago, he just stopped. He told her that she was fat, and he didn’t find her attractive anymore.
“I’m pregnant, Jamie…” she had protested.
“Same difference…” he had muttered before shutting the door to his bedroom in her face.
In those three months, all Adania had to keep her mind sane was her work and preparing for the baby’s arrival. She busied herself with preparing a nursery and baby-proofing their home. She attended her antenatal classes and read all the books on motherhood. She also did exercises and watched her diet closely so that once the baby was born, she could regain her figure quickly.
She also attended church, even though she felt like a devil in church. She would not give up the faith she professed, believing that none was beyond redemption. Not even her husband, or fiancé, or partner. She didn’t even know what to call him.
She got cold and judgmental looks from those who happened to know who she was. Following Amaka’s divorce from Jamie, the gossips got to work spreading all the truths and untruths they could about Adania’s living situation with him. What nobody knew, though they speculated, was how miserable she was, and she was going to keep it that way. That was between her, God, and Jamie.
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.canva.com