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
Temi woke up to find bouquets of flowers on each side of her bed, on her dresser, and on the small dining table in her bedroom. The room was fragrant and bright, as streams of light from the Sunday sun filtered in. She heaved a sigh and turned around to try to sleep again. Her eyes fell on a note by her bedside. No prizes for guessing who it was from and what it said. She wasn’t remotely curious to check it. Rather, she reached for her phone.
After unlocking it, she opened her WhatsApp to check for new messages. Several came in, but it was only one person’s chat that she was interested in. He too had sent a few messages. Michael had written:
“Hey babe, how are you?”
“I waited up to hear from you. I hope everything’s okay?”
“Something important has come up, and I’m going to have to catch a flight to the States this evening.”
“I really wish I could see you before… Can you make out time? My flight’s at 11 pm.”
“I might be gone a while… A couple of weeks. Maybe a month.”
“Linda is sick.”
“Anyway, I’ll call you before I leave. Love you.”
Temi was sad to hear that Michael had to leave for such a long stretch. She really wanted to see him. She was especially sad to hear that his daughter was ill. She hoped everything would be alright. She decided to write back:
“Hey babe, sorry I missed your messages.”
“So sorry about Linda. Hope she gets well soon.”
“No problem about your trip. I understand.”
“Can we meet at the usual spot?”
As she sent the last message, Oyinda came out of the bathroom. She closed the chat and put her phone away. She laid back in bed, looking lazily at the arrangement of roses, lilacs, tulips and hibiscus flowers that Oyinda had bought for her. It made her angry to see them, to think that he thought she could be won over by flowers! God, how pathetic! She closed her eyes.
She rather chose to think of Michael. She was going to miss him terribly. Maybe she could travel out to see him… She could do with the break, and it would be a nice chance for her to meet Linda and see him in his capacity as a father. But maybe that would be too desperate. If he wanted her to come and join him, he would have said so. She sighed.
“Hey, babe,” Oyinda said. “You up?”
Temi stirred. Oyinda touched her shoulder and she brushed his hand away.
“I think we need to talk about what happened yesterday.”
Temi sat up in bed and stretched. She threw her legs over to rise from bed. Oyinda held her hand and compelled her to stay seated.
“Temi, what’s wrong? Please talk to me… Whatever it is, we can work it out. Whatever I’ve done, I’m sorry,” Oyinda said, knowing that by saying so, he wasn’t confessing to any wrong. She actually had never caught him cheating, so it could really just be hearsay she was basing this decision on... “We can even go for counselling… Anything to fix this.”
Temi gave a low chuckle and then looked him in his eyes. “I don’t want to. I don’t love you anymore.”
A tear ran down Oyinda’s cheek. She’d seen enough of his performances not to be moved by it. “I still love you… And I’m not going to sign any papers, until we do our best to save our marriage. Remember, for better or for worse?”
Temi had to laugh. He was now quoting their vows to her? What a psychopath! “Did you forget that part about forsaking all others?” she couldn’t help but ask.
“I told you, I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
“Oh, God! You’re such a stinking liar!!! Will you stop it already?! I heard you that night. On Valentine’s Day. I heard you tell that woman that we were divorced, and I cheated on you…” At least one of those statements was now true, she thought bitterly.
Oyinda swallowed, while he tried to keep a straight face. “What? What woman? Do you mean the drunk message I sent…to you?”
Temi just looked at him, wondering what sort of an explanation he could have for that. “Yes… Except you weren’t drunk! I heard what you said.”
“Temi, you are mistaken. It’s not what you think at all.”
“I know what I heard! Why would you even say something like that?” she stood and eyed him, that old doubt creeping in. She was so sure she was right…and now, the thought that she might have been wrong was suffocating.
“Exactly! Why would I?” Oyinda protested. He couldn’t stop himself. If that was all she had to go on, he had to destroy it completely with doubt. She looked at him, perplexed now. “I can’t remember what I said, but I would never say that. I remember that I brought my phone out to send you a message, and I must have gotten distracted. I was with the guys, and they were with their wives too, so I don’t know which woman you heard me talking to. Did you actually hear a woman’s voice?”
Temi thought for a second. She could only recall hearing Oyinda’s voice, and from what she could decipher, he had been talking to a woman. If not for the fact that she’d lost all her messages when she’d switched phones last month, she’d still have the recording. But even Lola hadn’t been able to hear it clearly when she’d played it for her. She swallowed.
Temi looked at Oyinda and couldn’t read his expression. He had his guard and act on. She ground her teeth. “I don’t believe you!” He was trying to make her go crazy! Why won’t he just stop lying?!
“It’s the truth, Temi. You know I’d never do that to you.”
Temi began to pace the room. She was trying to remember information she had stored for such a time as this. She was supposed to have gathered all her facts so she could prove without a doubt that he was a cheater. But everything she thought of came back questionable. There was no solid proof. And even this audio message was being refuted. God, the man was so good at protecting himself.
“Who is Kemi?!” she suddenly blurted out. “You saved her name as ‘Kemi Couz’.”
“Kemi? Oh, she’s a client’s girlfriend… I met her one time, and she said that I reminded her of her cousin. It was like an inside joke.”
Temi was deflated. Oyinda went to her. She slapped his hand away. “Don’t touch me! I still don’t believe you.”
“I know…” He swallowed. “And I’m sorry you feel that way. That’s why we need to go for counselling…”
Temi controlled her breathing as she looked at Oyinda. Was he really serious about going for marriage counselling with her? The previous times that she’d suggested it, he’d shut it down, saying they were fine and happy.
“Look, there’s this couples retreat happening next week, which is being organised by Danny’s church. He invited us and I really think it would do us good. And then, when we get back, we can do more counselling… Baby, please. The thought of losing you is driving me crazy! Please, you have to believe me when I say I love you… It hurts that you don’t trust me, but I’m going to do all I can to make you trust me again… Please… Let’s try… For the kids.”
That about did it. Temi let out her tears freely as she cried. For her kids. She would try a little longer, for them. Oyinda drew her into his arms and embraced her, tears running down his face too. So close. So, so close.
Promise was seated on the toilet, looking at the calendar she’d hung on the wall across from it. She was overdue for her period. She wiped herself and flushed the toilet, then washed her hands, before going to study it some more. Her 28-day cycle ran like clockwork and she was three days overdue.
She tipped her head to the side, as a smile began to tug at her lips. No, she wouldn’t get excited just yet. She’d have to get a pregnancy test. But she’d heard that they are not so accurate until several days after a missed period.
Hmmm… She was desperate to know as soon as possible. A few more days, right now, sounded like a couple more years of waiting… But she’d have to put it to the back of her mind.
She exited the bathroom. Her husband was seated on their bed, fully dressed in a smart native outfit and waiting patiently. They’d agreed to join the fellowship that now met at their hotel every Sunday. It was a youthful group of Believers, who were passionate about rediscovering the scriptures for themselves and living by its standards. Ope and Promise found them refreshing, and they had been invited to offer elderly assistance to the young pastors who led the initiative simply called L.I.F.E (Living Intentionally for Eternity).
Promise slipped on her dress that had been ironed by her maid and hung on her closet door. After tidying her hair, touching up her lipstick and spraying on some perfume, she was ready to go. Ope rose up, carried her purse and presented it to her, as she slipped into her heels.
“You’re looking especially radiant today, my lady…”
Promise beamed. She looked into his eyes, wondering if he could see something she couldn’t. She’d come to know that her husband had a special prophetic gift, but he did well to normalise his abilities. “Thank you, my king.”
Ope kissed her cheek, not wanting to smudge her make-up. “Alright, let’s go.”
As they left their home for the hotel, he asked, “Where would you like to go for lunch today?”
Though they owned their own restaurant, within their hotel, they still loved to dine at other places. It was good for them to discover new cuisine and new styles too, so that they could develop their own menu options and offer competitive prices. Even still, they had their favourite places that they loved to frequent, due to the ambiance, the quality of service and catering.
“It’s been a while we went to Southern Sun,” Promise replied.
Ope nodded. Yes, he could go for that. He always enjoyed their Sunday brunches. “Sounds good,” he smiled. “Are we eating for two?” he added, his eyes never leaving the road.
Promise turned to him and gaped. Does he know?! She gulped. “I don’t know… I’m late with my period. And I’m very hungry too.”
Ope beamed at his wife and slid his hand over to hold hers. She smiled back at him, feeling an assurance wash over her. She wouldn’t doubt but believe. They rode on in companionable silence.
Nomnso and Kemi arrive at L.I.F.E when the fellowship is singing songs of worship and praise. They find a place to settle, and spot Kemi’s sister and her husband across the room. They both offer a slight wave, before sitting down. When Promise had told Kemi about the fellowship three weeks ago, she had been keen to try it out. They hadn’t gone to another church since. They both found the atmosphere and the fellowship to be just what they needed right now to grow in Christ.
“How’s everyone doing today?” the lead pastor addressed the fellowship, who sat around in a circular pattern, denoting equality between every member.
A number of people nodded, a few responded with “Fine” or “Good”. Still, a couple were silent. There were those who were new among them, who didn’t quite know how to interact with the group yet, but in time, they would know if the fellowship was a right fit for them.
“I hope we all came ready to share our hearts and our burdens; to give and to receive love and grace from the Body of Christ,” he continued. “I have something God has put on my heart to share, but I hope that at least one or two of you, also have a message to share with us today. This is fellowship, and this is how we build each other up to holiness.”
The group nodded and smiled. Someone put up their hand to speak.
“You are free to speak, Sister,” another pastor answered her.
“Thank you, Brother Ike. Good morning, Brethren.”
“Good morning, Sister.”
“The past few months were really hard for me. I’d been praying to God about a need for a long time, and I had cause to be expectant. I was listening to His direction and trying to sincerely obey, but somehow, things seemed to get worse. And for a long time, I thought it was because there was something I wasn’t doing right or maybe I hadn’t heard God correctly on the issue. And I let doubt in. I stopped trusting in my ability to hear God…or should I say, His ability to speak to me in a way that I can understand. And I found myself really struggling and lonely, wondering about my faith.
“But, after last week’s message, where Brother Nnamdi talked about how our faith has to remain as pure as a child’s faith, such that even when things aren’t working out, we still trust the word God gave us, so that by our faith in the unseen, and not what we see, we will receive the promise, I went back to God and repented of my unbelief. And you know, I can hear Him clearer now. And I have returned to abiding in the calling He gave me…and this week has just been so different. I just want to encourage you all to never doubt God’s call and ability to lead you, even when you are not able to see where you are going.” The young lady sighed.
The lead pastor smiled at her. “Thanks, Sister Nkem. I’m glad you got something from what I shared last week. God bless you for sharing your lesson with us. I hope others are encouraged to keep trusting in God.”
She smiled and responded to her neighbour, who shook her hand and thanked her for her message. Someone else said they had something on their heart to share. And so it continued.
After a few people shared what was on their hearts, and Brother Nnamdi shared the message he’d prepared to share, they closed with prayers and songs. The fellowship continued with informal discussions and snacks. The lead pastors stayed back for those who had questions or needed support from the fellowship.
Promise and Ope were happy to see Nomnso and Kemi and invited them to join them at Southern Sun for some lunch. They were pleased to accept.
To be continued...
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