It’s Your Turn
It was already past midnight and the Bishop had not returned. He stepped out an hour ago to speak with Rev. Ebuka. Temilade was too scared to sleep. She wanted to know the situation of things before she slept. The last time she disagreed with the Bishop and went to bed in his absence, she woke up drenched at 1:20am. In a bid to wake her up, Pastor Tade sprinkled water on the bed until it got soaked. After a series of arguments, name calling and subtle fights, she retired to the living room to get some rest but that didn’t work either. The Bishop turned over the sofa and the wooden stools until Temilade was willing to listen to him. That was few minutes before the Muslim 5am morning prayer call. There was no time for the Lady Rev. to sleep. She prepared and left the house for the office at 7am. The story today had to be different, she thought. There was no need to try saving what she had with Pastor Tade for he made it clear that she had no future with him. She only wanted to speak with Rev. Ebuka. She wanted to know how Pastor Tade felt before their phone conversation ended. His mood would determine her reaction when he returned. As the phone ran, she waited patiently, praying that Mama Can Do, his wife, wouldn’t pick the call.
Mama Can Do? Yes! That’s the name sister Suzzy and sister Belinda, the assistant Pastoral Care lead, gave her after their ordeal with her. Just for the records, her name is Ini, so they should call her Mama Ini and that was what they called her until she visited The Word Makes and Breaks Cathedral for a Minster’s Conference in 2016. That day, the Pastoral Care team walked to her, welcoming her to the church and extended a hand of respect to help carry her bag but she snatched it out of their hands, retorted with some-not-welcoming-smile, ‘I can carry it myself!’ and walked past them in a flash. That was not just it. The ushers directed her to sit just behind Rev. Ebuka since all the chairs on the first row, where the Reverend sat, was taken. She insisted she was going to sit on the same row her husband sat and was trying to move one of the chairs from the second row to the first. Again, Sis Suzzy and Belinda rushed to help her with the chair. She rejected their offer. ‘I can carry the chair myself!’ she insisted. Temilade had to intervene. She gave up her chair and asked Mama Ini to take her place. As the service progressed, Sister Suzzy served ministers with bottled water and drinks. Trying to unwrap Mama Ini’s bottle, she stretched out her hand as a sign that she was not interested but Sister Suzzy, who was seriously trying to do her job or maybe pushing a bit further, got yet another response. This time around, it was a bit more stern, ‘Sister, I can do it myself, la!’ and that was it, they named her Mama ‘Can Do,’ period!
Even though Temilade discouraged them from calling her that, she thought deep down that she deserved it. Mama Ini was a very ‘some-way’ woman. She was super protective of her position as a Pastor’s Wife and as the music director of Heaven’s Gate Assembly. Its a mystery how some women with very interesting attitudes end up with the best of men sometimes. As the phone rang, Temilade prayed the Reverend picked. She had had quite a number of ordeals with Mama Can Do and she couldn’t manage another again.
‘Nwanyi Oma!’ Rev. Ebuka called from the other end of the phone. Temilade smiled upon hearing his voice. He made her very happy every time they spoke. He had called her Nwanyi Oma once too many times, that she knew what it meant, ‘Beautiful Woman!’
‘Good evening, sir,’ she responded and was about apologizing for the late call but he interrupted as usual. For Rev. Ebuka, Temilade could call him up at anytime.
‘The only Beautiful Mama!’ he hailed. ‘The only powerful mama who can love too much!’ Now Temilade was laughing. ‘My one and only sister!’ He paused and laughed with her. ‘Nwanyi Oma 1 of Bishop Tade! How was service today and how was the party you people went for? Unu no n’erigwo na Facebook.’ Apart from the in-between, ‘fine’ that Temilade managed to mutter while Rev. Ebuka spoke, he didn’t allow her much time to talk. Usually, he clouded her with lots of praises and positive affirmations before he allowed her to speak. He knew she only had complaints to make whenever she called in the dead of the night. His trick was to calm her angry, hurting nerves down before she spoke and he did that, always.
He told her that the Bishop was sorry for all the things he said, that she shouldn’t be grieved at them and that they were mere empty threats. It didn’t sound convincing. He knew Temilade was not convinced but he went on with his sermon. After a while, he asked Temilade when next she was going to the hospital for her regular checkup. He wanted to change the subject. Her silence said it all; she was not interested. Rev. Ebuka knew she was tired of it all. For it was he who knew best how it felt to be in the wilderness; a place of intensified temptation and spiritual attack, where the flesh cries for relief and and heaven is silent. He asked her to go to bed. He promised to come check up on her the next morning. He prayed for her and that was when she broke down in tears.
‘Nwanyi Oma, stop crying. Your testimony would be groundbreaking…’ Temilade did not allow him to finish.
‘How much longer?’ she asked weeping on the phone like a child. ‘Lord, when?’ she asked again.
‘It won’t be long, Omalalicha dia! It won’t be long. You would laugh in the end. Don’t cry again and go to bed…’ There was a sound downstairs and Temilade could hear the Bishop speaking in his dialect. It was with a female voice on the phone. The call was on hands-free and she could tell it was Aunty Abey, his mother’s sister, who lived in the UK. The Aunty Abey that supports Pastor Tade’s every move.
They spoke in their dialect but some words were in English so Temilade could understand that they were conversing about her. She bid the Reverend goodbye and pretended to be fast asleep before the Bishop got upstairs. As she laid down, her phone beeped. It was a WhatsApp message from the Reverend. It was a link to Facebook and it read, Pastor Faith Bankole, HOW I BATTLED INFERTILITY! That was when Pastor Tade walked into the room.
‘She never sleep, she still dey press phone o,’ he laughed and announced to Aunty Abey, at the other end of the phone. Was he not sorry?
To be continued…
Take this chance!
It’s your turn now.
Imagine you had an opportunity to speak with any of the characters, (Temilade, Pastor Tade, Mama Can Do, Rev. Ebuka, Sister Suzzy or Belinda) what’s that one thing you would love to tell them?
I look forward to reading your comments.