BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Copyright © Ufuomaee
The eBook is available to Patrons via books.ufuomaee.org.
Amadi could hear the sound of singing, which indicated that Erhuvwun was almost home. But what had taken her so long? Didn’t she know that he needed her in the morning? Or was she taking advantage of the new liberty he had given her by disrespecting him?
Rather than fill his heart with gladness, as it usually did, today Amadi’s heart was filled with bitterness and suspicion. Why was she singing? Why did she sound so joyful? Had she been with a man? With that coward, Akpos?! Jealous anger arose in Amadi as he waited for Erhuvwun to come close enough so he could shout, “Will you stop with that noise?! Where have you been?!”
Erhuvwun was shocked to find Amadi in such a foul mood, especially as she had been praying for him throughout her journey. She’d been lifting up the Lord in songs of worship, songs that her mother used to sing, but that she’d never really understood until now. She was so happy, knowing what God had done, knowing that she was blessed and that soon, Amadi would know the truth and worship the only true living God too. She reduced the volume of her praise as she drew closer to her husband.
“I said stop with the singing!” he bellowed.
“Amadi, but you love my singing…” she replied, perplexed.
“But who are you singing for? Huh, my dear wife? Why are you so happy when we have just lost another child?! And why are you so late this morning?!”
Erhuvwun bowed her knee in respectful greeting and apology. “I’m sorry, darling. I didn’t mean to be late. And I am happy because I have good news…”
Amadi swallowed and continued to look at his wife suspiciously. “What is this good news?”
Erhuvwun knew better than to recount her trip to see his step-mothers, when he was in such a foul mood. “Before I tell you, my love, please I ask your forgiveness…” she said, humbling herself before him, by going on her knees.
Amadi was still fuming and was suspicious of her request. What was she seeking forgiveness for? What had she done? He wanted to hear her confession first.
“I do not have time this morning for your dramatic pleas! Say what you want to say!”
“Only if my lord will forgive me… Only if you will remember that I love you and that you love me. My desire is only for you, sweet Amadi,” Erhuvwun pleaded, still on her knees. She’d learnt to deal with his foul moods by humbling herself. He never could stay angry with her whenever she did.
Amadi paced, annoyed. There was something different about her that he couldn’t place. He felt like to release her from his wrath was to fall into a trap. Frustrated, and not convinced, he said, “Arise!”
Erhuvwun remained on her knees. “You did not say “My love”, Sir…”
Amadi grunted in his rage. She was pushing his buttons. Playing with him like a toy. “I said, arise!”
Erhuvwun cried. “Why is your heart so cold, my darling? I only want to love you. I will not arise until you pardon me.”
Amadi didn’t know why today was different, but he wanted to stay angry. He even forgot that she said she had good news for him. He turned on his heels and stormed away, leaving Erhuvwun on her knees crying.
“What are you doing?!” Erhuvwun heard Amadi shout.
She was on her knees in prayer to God, petitioning for her husband and her marriage. She’d also prayed for her father, whose sickness had gotten worse, and remembered to pray for Amadi’s step-mothers and their daughters too. She quickly concluded her prayer and rose up to face her husband.
“I was praying, Sir…”
“Praying?! To whom?”
“Yahweh…” she muttered softly.
“Yah-who?” he grimaced as he said the name.
“My God, Yahweh.”
“Since when do you have a god?! We do not worship anything called Yahweh!”
“Yahweh is the Creator of all. He was my mother’s God, and now, He is my Lord and Saviour.”
“What is this rubbish you are speaking?! Where did you hear this madness? Was it that boy, Akpos?!”
Erhuvwun was shocked and looked up into Amadi’s face. He was gone like before, and in his place was a spirit that would have made her afraid, but for the Spirit that was in her. “You are not yourself, my lord. I will forgive you for that accusation, but I have had nothing to do with Akpos.”
“Hmmm… And I’m supposed to believe that, because…”
“Because it is the truth. I have always chosen you…”
“Apart from that time at the stream…”
“Will you never forget?!” Erhuvwun said, her voice raised in annoyance.
Amadi smiled. Her pretence was wearing away, he thought. They’d soon get to the truth of the matter. He ground his teeth together as he observed her regain composure and control of her emotions.
“What are you praying for? To leave me?!”
Erhuvwun shook her head furiously, even as she cried. She couldn’t understand why it was this hard to get through to Amadi. What was this spirit that had control over him? “No, I love you, Amadi!” God, I wish I knew why, but I do. Please help me get through to this man!
Amadi breathed in deeply. “We will go and see Baba Ore tonight… He will tell me what is wrong with you!”
Erhuvwun shook her head again. “My lord, I will not go.”
“You will not go where?”
“To that idol shrine, Sir. I worship a living God! It is things like this that bring a curse. Amadi, we are already blessed!”
“You are the one who is cursed, Erhuvwun. Baba Ore will deliver you from your curse! And we will have our child. A boy. I do not want to hear anything more!”
Erhuvwun began to sing softly. It was a new and strange song that came into her heart and she followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting to sing it to Amadi.
“I said stop singing!”
Erhuvwun was stunned to silence by Amadi’s unexpected slap. Her hand flew to her cheek where he’d struck her. It was then that she knew – this was war!
To be continued...
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