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 THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Come on, come on, pick up! Jamie waited impatiently for his brother to pick up the phone. Jimmy finally did.
“Look, there’s something wrong with Adania!”
“What is it?!”
“I don’t know… She’s been so gloomy and depressed since I got here, and now she’s sleeping…”
“Huh? Where are you?”
“I’m at her house. She called me this afternoon and asked me to come over. She said she wanted to talk, but we never even got to that,” Jamie swallowed. He realised that he was rushing, but he wanted Jimmy to get the idea of what he was thinking. “I found an empty pack of sleeping pills by her bin.”
“And? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know… Do you think she might have overdosed?!”
“Ummm… Check her pulse.”
Jamie hastened to the lounge to check. He struggled to find a heartbeat. It was very dull. “There’s something, but it’s not normal.”
“Look, if you’re really concerned, get her to the hospital as soon as you can!”
Jamie swallowed. “Okay.” Not again!!! “Please meet me there…”
“I’m on my way.”
Jamie quickly dialled for an ambulance. He figured she’d be safer being transported that way. While they were on their way, he packed up Tommy’s things and put the boy into his stroller. He had a bad, bad feeling about this!
The ambulance didn’t come quickly and Jamie wondered if he’d made the wrong decision. Maybe he should have driven her himself instead of waiting.
When they finally did come, they checked her breathing and pulse and confirmed that it was too faint. They quickly got her into the ambulance and made a bee line to the hospital. Jamie’s brain was in overdrive as he drove behind the ambulance, thinking of all the ways he could be implicated.
He hadn’t told anyone he was going to see her. He’d practically cleaned up her house, and he’d found no suicide note. What if they didn’t believe it was suicide?! He swallowed, praying that she’d come through.
However, in the ambulance, the life-support machine began to beep, and the paramedics got frantic. They tried repeatedly to resuscitate, but had to admit that they’d lost the fight, when there was a long beep on the machine. The lead paramedic switched it off, just as they got to the hospital.
Amaka got a call from Jimmy about Adania that night. “No… No… No…!” was all she could say.
Amaka dropped the phone and cried for her sister. Why had she chosen darkness? She really thought their conversation last Saturday had helped her change her mind. Adania had been more positive when Amaka had left on Sunday morning. She would never have guessed that this would happen…
“Oh, God!!!” she cried. “Oh, Adania… Why???!” she lamented.
Flashbacks of their discussion that night played in her mind.
“I feel like such a mess…” Adania had said. “My life has no meaning…”
“Don’t say that, Adania. Your life has value. Lots of meaning… And now, you’ve got Tommy counting on you…”
Adania had sniffed. “That’s the other thing… I don’t love him…”
“Adania! You can’t stay that…”
“It’s the truth… If I can’t say the truth, then what’s the point?”
“Yes, it’s true that that’s how you feel… But feelings change. Feelings aren’t the truth. You’re just in a very bad place now, and you shouldn’t trust your feelings. One day, I know you will feel differently…”
“I guess. I wish I could have hope of that. Even the thought of tomorrow is drudgery… I’m just tired.”
“Please don’t be… I think if you can just forgive Jamie, things will begin to look up. You know, he really loves you…”
Adania had looked at Amaka then, not with hope but with unbelief. “I wish I could believe that.”
“It’s true. When you fell into a coma, it totally broke him. He blamed himself, and he was really miserable. It changed him.”
“Yes… But thank God you made it through. Thank God, Tommy survived too. You’ve been given a second chance, Adania, take it. You’ve got so much to live for, okay?”
Amaka wondered if things would have been different if she’d insisted on staying the entire weekend. She could barely believe that her sister was gone, and she’d never see nor speak to her ever again. She broke down in sobs.
Mrs Nkechi was hysterical when she learnt the news of her first child’s passing. Amaka had gone to visit her to inform her personally. The mourning mother had thrown herself on the ground, like someone suffering from an epileptic fit.
She began to speak in her native dialect, calling on God, accusing Him and cursing Jamie and his entire family. She continued to swear revenge and curse like a mad woman, while Amaka and her maid did all they could to prevent the old woman from causing harm to herself and others.
Amaka found out, when she called Jamie, that Tommy was with him. He said he would be able to cope with him and actually needed Tommy to be with him. She asked for Jamie’s account of what happened again, and it all sounded so vague.
However, unlike her mother, Amaka believed him when he said that it had been suicide, because she’d seen Adania just days before and had known her state of mind. She didn’t blame Jamie as much as she blamed herself for not getting her sister the professional help she needed.
Mary prepared a scrumptious three-course meal for the dinner party she was hosting tonight at her home. She’d decided to invite Rebecca, who was available and interested in the set-up. They were expecting their guests to arrive from 7 pm, and Mary was making good time. When she heard the doorbell at 7:05 pm, she set her timer and put the treacle tart she’d prepared into the pre-heated oven. It would be ready just in time for dessert.
She peeled off her dressing gown, which protected the fuchsia pink, sheath dress she’d chosen for the occasion. Kicking off her bathroom slippers and slipping on her short-heeled slippers, she went to answer the door. Lanre met her and wowed.
“Mary, you look so stunning!” he said, taking her in an embrace.
Mary curtsied. “Thank you!” she beamed. “Welcome…”
Ifeanyi came down just as they were entering the main house. “Hey, Lanre! Glad you could make it.”
“Thanks for the invite. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!” The men embraced and patted each other fondly on their backs.
“Come, let’s chat,” Ifeanyi said.
“Something smells delicious,” Lanre marvelled, as he followed Ifeanyi to settle down in the lounge.
Mary took that as her cue to check on the meal. It was ready. As she was setting the table with the different dishes she’d prepared, the doorbell rang. Ifeanyi went to get it.
Rebecca looked dazzling in a maroon, three-quarter sleeve, three-quarter length, bodycon dress. Ifeanyi hadn’t really noticed what a stunner she was until he opened the door to her. He was sure Lanre would be just as, if not more, blown away.
“Hey Becky! Looking good,” he greeted.
Becky beamed. “Thanks!”
Lanre waited until they entered the lounge before rising to meet his date. The smile that spread across his face at seeing Rebecca was enough to ease Ifeanyi’s mind. Lanre went towards her and extended his hand.
“You must be Rebecca…” he greeted, his eyes steady on her cute face.
“And you must be Lanre,” Becky replied.
“Charmed to meet you,” he said, taking her hand and placing a kiss on it.
Mary came out of the kitchen and observed the couple. They looked well-matched. She smiled.
“Welcome, Becky! Dinner’s served.”
The treacle tart was ready before the party completed the main course; seafood jollof rice with chicken steaks. Mary got up to serve the dessert into bowls. She topped it up with a scoop of ice cream and placed them on a tray.
“I think we can enjoy our desserts in the lounge,” Ifeanyi suggested.
“Sounds great,” Lanre agreed.
“Can I help you with anything?” Becky asked Mary.
“No, I’m good,” she replied.
Becky joined the men in the lounge and took her place on the sofa next to Lanre. She thought he was very handsome, charming, and smart. So far, it was looking like a good set-up. She smiled and muttered “Thanks” to Mary, as she collected her dessert.
Ifeanyi invited Mary to sit next to him when she’d served everyone. She did and felt slightly uncomfortable when he gave her a kiss on her neck. Sure, they were at home. And PDA was their thing. But she just felt it might make the singles in their company feel uncomfortable, because they couldn’t exchange such kisses. She blushed and turned to him. With her eyes, she communicated her objection. He just grinned.
Lanre hadn’t missed the exchange between husband and wife. He also hadn’t missed the point Ifeanyi sought to make with this arrangement. He was just glad that Rebecca seemed like someone he’d like to get to know. He turned his attention to her, while the lovebirds communicated in their secret language.
“So, you’re a doctor… I hear the pay here is atrocious compared to your counterparts abroad.”
“Perhaps. But we need doctors here, don’t we?”
Hmmm… She has a good heart too, he thought to himself. “Yes, we certainly do!”
The news of Adania’s death was in the papers by Saturday morning. The police were hesitant to call it a suicide, amid the lack of evidence. They stated that there would be an autopsy performed and an investigation into the circumstances of her death. Funeral plans were already underway and close family and friends would be notified of the dates. The Nkechi family intended to bury their daughter as soon as possible and according to the Igbo custom.
Mary and Ifeanyi were sad to hear the news. It was among the things they talked about when Chuka and Ijeoma brought their boys over for the play date at their house. They were all especially sad to learn that she was actually a new mother too, and wondered about the little boy who was now motherless. Ifeanyi called both Amaka and Jamie to express his condolences.
“How are you holding up, Mary?” Ijeoma asked. They were sitting out in the garden drinking juice, while the men watched football inside.
Mary tried on a smile. “I’m fine, dear. God is still God.”
Ijeoma reached out and touched her arm. “And He never gives us more than we can bear. You must be very strong, Mary. I hope you know you are an inspiration to me.”
Mary cheered up and held her friend’s hand. “Thanks, Ijeoma.” She sighed. “I believe God knows what He is doing, and I choose to trust Him. It’s not always easy.”
Ijeoma nodded. “There’s no other way...”
They both looked on and pondered on this life; the challenges and the joys. Any day now could be their last, but in all His judgements, God was just. In that they could trust and rest.
That Sunday, Oyinda and Temi went to church together. Oyinda was particularly keen to attend, as he felt he needed to know more about the Faith he’d accepted last week, and he was also longing to hear a word from God concerning his marriage. Temi was being very cordial with him, and they were more like housemates now than husband and wife.
Temi was still battling her feelings of anger and resentment towards Oyinda. Even though she’d rededicated her life to Christ just last Sunday, she was already feeling so distant from Him again. She knew that it was because she was still double-minded about Michael. But she was stuck on how to change. She hoped the message today would shed light on her situation.
The pastor was preaching about the importance of discipline in the lives of Believers. He talked about how, as disciples of Jesus, they were supposed to live exemplary lives characterised by disciplines they have imbibed. He named some common disciplines that every Christian ought to engage in on a daily basis; notably prayer, praise, thanksgiving, charity, ministry, service, and accountability, amongst others.
“But there’s one key discipline that is often forgotten, overlooked or disregarded. Even though Jesus said it is very fundamental to our salvation…to the point that we could LOSE our salvation by neglecting to practice this discipline…” the pastor said.
At this point, the congregation listened in anticipation, wondering what discipline could be so crucial to their salvation, yet so neglected.
“It is forgiveness. Forgiveness was one of the first disciplines Jesus taught His disciples the importance of. He even said that if while presenting an offering to God, we remember that our brother has ill feelings towards us, we should rise up and go and be reconciled before returning to offer our gift. And He said that, even if the same brother or sister offends us 490 times in one day, we ought to forgive them that many times. In one day. That is how important the discipline of forgiveness is to believers.
“Because unforgiveness is like a poison. In fact, it is a curse. It deceives the one who harbours it and imprisons them to their anger and pain, so that they cannot heal, but only continue to deteriorate. Unforgiveness, like waste that isn’t disposed of, attracts all sorts of parasites into your life that will never be satisfied until every single thing is consumed and corrupted. Every day, every hour, every minute; be sure to clean up your heart with forgiveness.”
The pastor went on to say more, but Temi was still thinking about what he’d said about forgiveness. Why did it seem so hard to do? She thought she’d forgiven Oyinda last week when he repented and God revealed His will to her. But the moment he did something wrong, even though it was a mistake he’d made prior, which she’d only just learnt about, it all seemed too big to let go of. How deep did her bitterness towards Oyinda go?
She cried silently and wiped her tears, muttering, “Please help me to forgive him, Lord. Please help me! I don’t want to be angry anymore. Please heal me!”
To be continued...
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