Frank looked more charming than ever, he wore a pair of double denim jacket jeans with a polka dotted black and white inner shirt. I remember I made that pick for him when we went shopping sometime ago; my love for polka dotted dresses was unequaled. Frank knew how to do ‘effizy’ with a matching muffler anytime he wore denim and this one he has on now is everything in the word ‘classy’.
My eye caught his new pair of black men’s suede boots, I guessed it was the Clarks’ original men’s desert suede boots he once told me about…awww they were gorgeous. The scent of his designer perfume sang to the butterflies that lay still in my stomach and they quickly rose up, flapping their wings in adoration and leaving me with goose bumps and mouth wide open. I wasn’t surprised he still had that effect on me. I have always adored Frank from the very first day I met him and longed for a life time of ‘happily ever after’ with him.
My awe of how handsome he looked was soon submerged by the hurt and pain he had caused me. The memory came back suddenly, leaving me with a sad feeling of love masked with bitterness and rage. How could one look like an angel, yet act like the devil? I managed to force a smile.
“Neighbour, welcome to Church, I am happy to be seated near you this Sunday morning”. He repeated what the Pastor asked us to say squeezing my hand gently.
I shook him rather quickly, muttering something I can barely recall and we both took our seats. He sat down calmly and adjusted the pair of goggles he had on. Was he really happy to be sitting near me or was I the only one about to go nuts at such unprecedented sight? He appeared relaxed and composed as though he didn’t even notice it was me. I wondered if he recognized me. The service continued in the usual manner, though I could neither keep my mind still nor keep my head up. I didn’t pick a thing the pastor said except the rhyme he kept repeating throughout the sermon.
“God is able to conquer your trouble and give you marbles for all your rubbles”.
Almost everyone one in church must have written it down as he kept singing it over and over again. I was still trying to really understand what it meant when Frank stood up to leave at the end of the sermon. I assumed he stepped out to take a call or something, but he didn’t come back. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I kept straining my neck to see if he was standing outside but he was nowhere in sight. Though I was more comfortable with his absence, I was worried that he didn’t even say a word to me.
Just then, a young lady, one of the ushers tapped me from behind.
“Sister, please someone asked me to give you this”. She said, handing me a small piece of paper.
I was about to open it when I stopped to ask:
“A young man outside.”
I was getting nervous as I opened it and read the note:
“Nnenna, it’s good to see you again after a long while. I kept my tabs on you and found you here. Am glad you took care of the mess properly and you are doing fine. I will see you soon, we need to talk.”
I simply folded it and fought back the tears.
We said the grace at the end of the service and it was followed as usual by the Lord’s Prayer; I rushed through the lines but got stuck towards the end.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us.”
The words stayed in my mouth and clogged my throat, I could hardly breathe.
How can I forgive when they haven’t even asked for forgiveness? When they don’t even care about what they did and how it hurt me?
I have been tending and feeding my hurt and it kept growing bigger, it made a lot of sense to hold them in the prison of my mind and keep them locked there forever. I was really having a hard time letting go. Not Bro David, not Frank. Not after what they had done, not after the pain, hurt and shame.
Worse still, Frank has come back now to mock me and bring up dead wounds that were beginning to heal. How could he? How could he dare to scorn me and hope to get away with it? He must have thought I was a fool. How could he just show up like this and act like nothing happened between us? I was thinking he would at least say he was sorry, but he only came to mock me and rip off the layers of my healing wounds. He was really taking me for granted and I needed to prove to him that I am no longer the cheap, naïve and needy girl he used to know. It was time to retaliate and make him pay dearly; at this point I cared less what the Lord’s Prayer said.
* * *
I was surprised to be seeing my mum’s call on a Monday morning. She usually called me on weekends and we chatted about all the events of the week. But she didn’t call last weekend and now I really feared something bad had happened, I quickly answered the call.
“Nne di m” as she fondly called me. Nne dim means my husband’s mother, it was my native name.
“Yes Mummy, good morning ma”
“How are you doing my daughter?”
“Am fine ma. How are you and everyone at home?”
“We are all good. We are really missing you o. Sorry I didn’t call during the weekend as usual, I was very busy. You know Ekene and Dera went back to school yesterday so I was shopping and preparing them for the new term.”
“No problem ma. I miss you guys too but am fine. So they have gone now? It’s good so that you can rest small. How is Daddy?”
“He is fine o, He is here.” “My Love, your mother is greeting you”, she said to my dad. I was named after my Dad’s mother so they were fond of calling me his mother.
“Nne m, my Daddy shouted from the background. We don’t hear from you again, how have you been?” He said as my mum handed him the phone.
“Daddy, am fine. Good morning sir. I was just asking about you. Hope you are ok?”
“Yes o, ofuma nu, very well. Your mum is taking good care of me. What about you?”
“Daddy am very fine, don’t worry about me, am doing great.”
My talk with my dad was always brief as we didn’t have much to talk about, it was rather cold and formal. He would ask me about work and how I was coping, and I would simply reply that all was well. In a matter of seconds, I was back with my mum.
“Nne, there is something I want to tell you. I have been having this feeling that all is not very well with you. Is there any problem?”
“No ma. I am very fine”
“Idikwa sure, are you sure? Yesterday, I had a bad dream about you, I saw you struggling with a lot of baggage that kept you at one spot. You were carrying so much and you were also trying to walk but they were so heavy that you couldn’t move, and gradually they were about to fall on you and crush you. When I woke up, I began praying for you and I felt led to tell you to yield yourself to God, let go of any loads you are carrying because God wants to use you. Do you have any idea what those loads may be?”
“No ma”. I didn’t want my mum probing into my life and finding out things I have hidden so well all the while. I was already afraid she would use her spiritual gift to discern what was going on.
“I will pray about it more to get more clarification”.
“Ok my dear, I will keep praying for you my daughter. You are a vessel in God’s hands and the devil will not stop your destiny. God will use you mightily.”
“Amen. Thank you mummy”
“You are blessed my daughter. Have a beautiful week.”
“You too ma.”