Rotimi woke up to see Kayinsola staring at him.
“Rotimi! Thank God! Can you hear me? Are you okay?”
He looked around and saw Dr Owopetu and Deji, his friend. They were all looking somberly at him.
“Rotimi can you hear me?” the doctor asked.
“Yeah…” he tried to get up.
“Don’t get up yet,” the doctor said and pushed him back gently.
“Where am I?”
“Pastor’s office.” Deji replied. “How are you feeling?”
The truth was he felt fine, too fine. He remembered why he had passed out and knew they would be wondering about it. Had the lady recognized him, had she said anything, had anyone noticed that he had been staring at her before he passed out? “What happened?” he asked as innocently as he could.
“You passed out. You were welcoming the firsttimers and then you suddenly started coughing and you fainted. What happened?” Deji asked back.
“I can’t really remember what happened. I just know I felt something like a bone in my throat so I started coughing.”
“Your blood pressure is a little higher than normal. Please take it easy. I have to leave now, I’ve written out a prescription for you.”
“Thank you Doctor.” Kayinsola said.
“I should leave too.” Deji said, sensing that the couple needed to be alone.
“You don’t have to leave.” Kayinsola said.
“I should, Fiyin would be very hungry by now.” Fiyin was his pregnant wife.
“Okay, please give her my regards.” Deji said.
“Who is she?” Kayinsola asked as soon as the door was shut.
“Who is who?”
“The fair plump woman who was part of the firsttimers. I saw you looking at her.”
“I don’t know…”
“Rotimi! Stop lying to me! I’m tired of your lies. First it was the nightmares and now this. Something is going on and you better start talking now.”
The door opened and the pastor came in. “Rotimi, are you feeling better now?”
“Yes. Yes sir, thank you.”
“I felt something in my thro…”
“He’s lying, he saw someone.”
The pastor looked from husband to wife confused and alarmed. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing sir, I don’t know what Kayinsola is talking about.”
“He has nightmares every night and he won’t tell me what his dreams are about.”
“And she won’t tell me why she is still keeping in touch with her ex-boyfriend.” Rotimi shot back.
“What are you talking about?” Kayinsola asked. Did he know about her meeting T.J? He couldn’t know.
The pastor looked at the couple who he could have sworn were happy and realized that they both had something they didn’t want the other person to know.
“I think I need to talk to both of you separately”.
“There’s no need sir. She’s just being paranoid. I have nothing to hide.”
“I also have nothing to hide sir. I’m sleeping well at night.” Kayinsola said sourly.
The pastor smiled sadly. “Alright, when you’re ready to talk I’m here.”
The couple mumbled their thanks and walked out of the office. Outside the door they held hands and smiled at members of the congregation. Rotimi subtly scanned the faces for the woman, while Kayinsola tried not to feel embarrassed, after all her husband was every woman’s dream.
Augusta looked at the list in her hand again. Elder John Mba was the name of the fourth person on the list and he was standing ahead of her in the shoes he had bought from her husband’s boutique on credit. He was smiling and talking to the men who stood around him. Elder Mba was one of the respected members of the congregation who had a regal air about him, he was also a lawyer who was known for his sternness. He was unapproachable. Of all the people Jeffrey would give things to on credit, why did it have to be this difficult man? But she had promised that she would get her husband’s money back so she summoned up courage and walked up to him just as he was walking away from the group of men he had been talking to.
“Good afternoon sir.”
Elder Mba kept walking.
“Good afternoon sir.” She said again. Still Elder Mba didn’t respond. “Good afternoon sir!” she said a little more loudly as she came up to his side.
“Young lady what is it? Why do you feel the need to shout in my ears? Do you think I’m deaf?”
“Sorry sir, I was calling you but you didn’t …”
“What do you want?” he asked gruffly.
“It’s about the money for the things you bought from the boutique…”
“Your husband sent you to me? Could that husband of yours be any more of a wimp?” the Elder said angrily.
Augusta gasped. How dare he?
Elder Mba laughed. “So he sent you, a school cert holder…”
“I am not a school…”
“…To collect his money from me? What an insult!”
“Get out of my sight! I will pay when I’m ready. And if he is in a hurry let him go to the police.” He walked away mumbling. “A timid husband and a dumb wife. What a pair!” he scoffed.
Augusta had never in her life been so ridiculed. She watched the man go and felt the tears stinging her eyes.
Olasunbo couldn’t sleep. The man’s face kept popping up in her mind. Where had she known him? She tossed and turned. After the service she had asked about him and found out that his name was Rotimi Holder, the name didn’t ring a bell. She thought about his face again and all the places she’d been to. Was it her primary school? Church? Secondary school? No, it wasn’t her secondary school. The face was from her childhood but she couldn’t remember who he was or where she’d seen him. She made up her mind to continue attending the church. There was something about his face that she just couldn’t let go.
Kayinsola couldn’t sleep too.
Rotimi knew that fair lady and his memory of her had caused him to pass out. What had happened between them? She intended to find out. But how? She couldn’t walk up to the woman who didn’t seem to know her husband and ask what had transpired between them. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was that Rotimi had done something bad.
And so have you.
She thought about T.J and sighed. She had done something bad but it had been the best thing to do, for everyone. But would Rotimi understand?
Now that he had seen her face he was no longer afraid of the nightmares. He was more afraid of Olasunbo who could destroy his life. What could he do? The training wasn’t until the next month, and anything could happen before then. Should he approach her and tell her everything? Could she understand?
Rotimi’s heart was heavy with fear, he didn’t know what to do. He began to pray until his prayers became incoherent with his tears.
Augusta too couldn’t sleep. She was furious. How could she get her husband’s money from that man and redeem her dignity? She got up suddenly and tapped her husband.
“Hmmn…” he moaned groggily.
“Wake up!” Augusta snapped.
“What is it?” he asked rising.
“Do you know Elder Mba’s office?”
“Can you describe it?”
“Yes, but Augusta I thought I told you to forget about that man. God will judge him.”
“You will describe the place to me tomorrow.”
Jeffery was too sleepy to argue, he slid back into bed as Augusta thought about her plan.