Celebrating East African Writing!
A hug from an angel
“…our pains, our struggles, the misfortunes that we face are all tests from God, they are there to make us stronger,” Pastor Ken boomed. His sonorous voice reverberated from the massive walls of the magnificent church filling it to the brim.
‘” If we fail to rise and take up the chances amidst these challenges, our lives will never change!” He thundered. Again his words echoed over and over again and he had to pause for a moment to let the message sink. The whole congregation was alert and eating up every syllable that was spewing from his mouth. He always enjoyed the attention they accorded to him each time he touched on life and its concomitant pitfalls.
“So brothers and sisters, rise like the phoenix out of your misery! Grasp that straw of hope and say hallelujah because that’s what the lord wants,” he hoarsely added. His voice was now toned down to intensify the weight of the message.
Dr. John Ndavi was having problems holding up his eyelids. He hated these church services and considered them hypocritical. His wife however was always adamantly persuasive.
“John, we need God’s love, remember we want a child…” her sentimental exhortations delivered in a sing –song voice irritated him greatly but there was no otherwise. How did he get himself into such a messy web? The life he was living was one bubbly lie and he didn’t know when it would burst. Pressure was mounting from his parents and he had become the butt of jokes among his friends with their sick sense of humour.
“Johnny, you can’t aim right or what? Three years man!” their jokes cruelly hurt him but he always hid this behind a calm jocorous mien. At times he thought God was punishing him by denying him the most precious wish, a child. Three years into his marriage there was no sign of a pregnancy leave alone a child in his household. At first his hopes had been high and he had gladly tagged along his wife for family sermons, bible study classes and the whole caboodle.
After two years, the sight of a church now stoked a simmering fire of memories about his wedding. It had cost a fortune considering he was just a newly employed doctor then and it had really set him back financially. The ceremony was supposed to have been the dawn of a good life, a good and healthy family, an excellent love life…the list was endless. A column of bile was now rising as he took stock of his life. There was no family, no love life to talk about, nothing! The lovely lady he had married had turned into a stranger who was comfortable seeking solace in ambivalent biblical scriptures in the face of a collapsing marriage. He was a despondent man.
“It can be done, church say it can be done!” pastor ken was now saying. The resonating boom of voices shook Dr. John out of his solemn reverie and he found himself murmuring the words, how easy it sounds! He thought. The wall clock indicated that there were thirty more minutes before the service ended. His eyes started wandering in an effort to avoid the pastor. He was the same man who had consummated their wedding with song and pomp and a string of prophecies.
“…And now John Ndavi, have you accepted Jessica Njeri as your wife, be there joy or gloom…”his mind then had been foreseeing the joy that would reign in the new family, the kid, the love and when he was required to say ‘yes I do’ his new wife had had to nudge him to the present. The church had raucously cheered as they exchanged their rings. The fact that none of the pastor’s prophecies had materialised led to an indelible mark of hatred in Dr. Johns heart.
At that moment, his eye caught on to something. Could he be seeing a mirage? He was looking at a lady seated directly opposite to him in the adjacent section of the church. She is gorgeous! For a long time, he had denied his eyes the pleasure of feasting on other people’s women because it reminded him of his loveless wife. Strong emotions were now creeping inside him like a teenager who was engulfed in unbridled passion. His mind was fully removed from the holy place and was contorting all romantic escapades he could make with the elegant lady if he got a chance. How come I have never seen her?
She pondered. Pastor Ken was now lost in his thoughts and the whole congregation was to him non-existent. Her dress with its Maasai beads was shimmering in the prismatic lights of the church chandeliers creating a kind of a halo around her. When he got hold of his loving thoughts, the guilt that he could even contemplate cheating on his wife racked him. He was like a caged bird beating upon the bars just to glimpse at the blooming may flowers. However, his eyes could not let go of the elegant lady and the tension growling in him was palpable.
“…as we go home today, let’s not forget the story of Job. He suffered but out of his misery, he came to know God better, out of his utter pain, he rose to glory in the eyes of all mortals …” The sermon was coming to an end and Dr. John knew his chance of talking to the enigmatic lady might disappear. His wife was remaining behind for the Women’s Guild, what luck! He thought. He was among the first people to walk out and quickly sought a vantage point. He was in luck as the lady was walking out majestically from another door. She didn’t seem to recognize anybody and John thanked God for small mercies. He put on his shades to avoid betraying his feelings and strode across the churchyard.
“Dr. John, Dr. John,” someone was calling him and he turned only to see Mr. Mburu the chairman of the men’s Association. He was in no mood of pep talk with the grizzled men.
“Hallo Mr. Mburu, I just received a call from the hospital … I really need to rush, see you later,” he subtly dismissed the puzzled man. He moved away, half walking, half running toward the lady who was now gracefully walking towards the gate. What would he say?
This story is part of a longer short story. If you like it so far, and would like to read the rest of it, vote below.
© Chrispus Kimaru 2009
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