Dance with The Masquerade IV


Hello people, I’m sure some of you must have been wondering when this episode will hit your radars.  I received a mail reminding me that the story was due. Yes…it has been due for close to 48 hours. Please accept my apology. In the midst of so much to do, and PHCN doing their thing plus unstable internet connection..i hope you feel me.  You may also wanna follow me on twitter as I will be sharing lessons from this series between 9 and 9.30am on Saturday the 1st of  April using the hashtag #tpc , and of course, your contributions are welcome. Please enjoy and share.

The preacher’s voice bellowed across the hall, and his words hit hard through Michael’s conscience in the back corner of the church where he sat. He knew God heard his prayer that morning. The message on repentance and the everlasting love of God was all the reinforcement he needed to stay committed to his promise to God never to walk away from him again.

“He loves you just the way you are. Just come. Come. Tell him you’ll never go back again”, the preacher cried.

In the background, the choir sang Michael W. Smith’s song.

Draw me close to you Never let me go
I lay it all down againTo hear you say that I’m your friend
You are my desire No one else will do
Cause nothing else can take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the wayBring me back to you

You’re all I want You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want Help me know you are near 

Michael wept profusely as he walked to the altar, singing the song with quivering lips. He pleaded God to give him another opportunity to live for him. He felt ice melt in his heart, and a stone lifted off his head, as the Preacher prayed with him. This was the defining moment of his life. Now he had lived life on both ends, and he needed no soothsayer to convince him he was better living his life for God.

Ifeoma rested her back against the wall in her bed room, while Tayo breathed heavily upon her trying to undo her shirt buttons. The fingers on his right hand ran through her cleavage, and he was already working on her third button with the fingers of the right hand, when she cast an eye on the bed beside them and realized how easily any strange wind could blow her already light body on the bed. Against the dying need for hormonal relief, she pushed him with all the energy she could muster.

“Easy baby”, Tayo said as he responded with a jolt.

“Time to go home, Tayo. It’s past 7pm already”

She walked briskly across room to switch on the light. Refusing to look into his eyes she went for the door, and motioned at him to take his exit.

“We shouldn’t be doing this. Goodnight!”

Tayo pulled up his trousers, adjusted his shirt, and picked up his jacket from the rug where he threw it earlier wondering what to say to the lady that had been the object of his affection for so many months. He hated himself for being so slow. He wasted time undoing her button.

“Before you begin to say sorry, imagine today never happened”, Ifeoma quipped, as she slammed the door immediately he stepped out.

She sank to the floor crying, wondering how she could have allowed Tayo to come that close. The scent of his perfume on her clothes irked her in addition to the fact that She believed he had it all planned since she invited him for lunch.

The idea of lunch with Tayo came after Tamara, her friend advised her to make merry, and forget Michael who was obviously cheating on him. Tamara claimed her cousin, Funmbi, whose friend works beside Michael’s office on the island told her Michael was involved in an affair with his colleague at work. She believed every bit of the story after she added Tamara’s cousin on blackberry, through which she was fed with sordid details of Michael’s infidelity. She tried calling Michael severally in between the chat, but he did not pick his call. She became convinced when she searched for Tope Lawal on facebook and saw that she was friends with her Michael and they worked in the same company. Tope’s profile that Saturday morning read

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I wish you were mine”

Finally, she sent Michael a text. “It’s been three months now since we hit the rocks. Be man enough. Pick up your phone and tell me it’s over”

It was incomprehensible to her how how the events of the last thirty-six hours almost culminated in her legs opening up for Tayo, a fellow research assistant who had always asked her for a relationship. She was grateful reason overcame wetness that evening. She would never have forgiven herself, and Michael, who caused the instability of her emotions if the events turned out otherwise.

This was not how to start a relationship, she thought to herself.

“And who says it’s over with Michael?”.

She recognized the familiar voice, and stood up to walk away as if to avoid a conversation.

Having discussed on the phone with his manager about a proposed two week leave on Sunday evening, Michael turned up at work the following Monday morning spotting a tee shirt, a pair of jeans and sneakers. He could feel all eyes on him as he walked across the hallway to the Managers office. Tope’s seat was conspicuously empty, and he hoped she hadn’t resigned as a result of the Friday incident. After handing over his responsibilities, he took the lift to the basement and headed to his travel agent’s office. He didn’t mind that the only flight available for the week was a Lufthansa Airline flight with a four-hour stop over at Frankfurt. The flight was due to take off Monday evening, and arrive Heathrow airport early Tuesday morning . He thought the flight was long enough to ease his mind, and choose the right words to explain the last three months to Ifeoma. He still loved her, and paying one hundred and eighty thousand naira to give life to their dead relationship was a small price to pay, knowing well that he could not pay penance for his infidelity. Ifeoma had stopped picking his phone calls, and somehow he loved that fact; he had the opportunity to arrive at her doorstep unannounced. He hoped the effect of his sudden appearance would attenuate all the anger and pain she felt toward him.

He drove wildly through traffic, adrenaline bursting through his veins as he thought of the items to pack for his trip when he got home.

Tope stood before the mirror, staring at her herself. She admired her athletic body, but the pain that lay underneath made her weep. She could see that her eyes were pale, and hoped her greatest fear was only a figment of her imagination; pregnancy. The wall clock behind her served as a clear reminder that it was mid day on a Monday. She splashed some water on her face as if to jolt her mind back to reality.

sad-woman

It was essential she went for a test without further delay. If the pregnancy test came back positive, she wondered how she would pass across the information to Michael, if she ever did. This would be her fifth pregnancy, but the fourth abortion was her last; she made up her mind about that a long time ago. She wondered if her determination would wane if she tested positive, or if she would walk away from the hospital with plans to be a single mother. Her baby would serve a strong reminder of the pain she had suffered in the hands of men. At twenty eight, she remembers eight relationships, four pregnancies, four abortions, one suicide attempt, and a heart that once threatened to fail.

“Men are hateful and life is unfair”, she said to herself.

She picked up a stick of cigarette from the cupboard above her head, lit it, and hoped for the umpteenth time that it was her last stick.

Michael combed his way through the crowd at the depature lounge to check in. His flight was due for take-off within one hour, and he needed to calm himself enough to pray and plan carefully about his journey of confession. Pastor Keji advised him to literally report himself and be ready to bear the consequences of Ifeoma’s reaction. In his heart of hearts he knew it was the right thing to do, but he could not tell if Ifeoma was going to end the relationship as a result or not.

His phone rang; he looked at it and realized it was Tope calling. He cut the line, switched off his phone and answered the irritated customs officer interviewing him.

“I’ll be in London for less than two weeks”.

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