Esi had been confused, then annoyed and finally hurt by the call. She turned to look at her wardrobe and the empty suitcase she had pushed on top of it. She didn’t need anyone telling her what to do. She walked to the wardrobe and began jumping in a bid to pull down the large suitcase. After a while, it came crashing to the floor with a loud sound. Esi picked it up and put it on her bed. She opened it, pulled her wardrobe open and began throwing her clothes into the suitcase.
‘I can’t do this anymore. He disrespects me, his mother disrespects me. I am a woman of some worth…No matter how small…I won’t do this anymore.’ she muttered to herself.
Midway through packing the suitcase, she remembered she had to take Kojo along and went into his room to find some clothes for him too. She gently pushed his door and was shocked by the site of her son on his knees, hands clapped and tears falling down his cheeks. Esi tip-toed closer to hear what he was saying.
‘All monsters have good sides. Make daddy’s good side more than his bad side so mummy will stop crying. I love mummy. When mummy is sad then I become sad too. Make mummy happy again Jesus. Amen.’
Esi grabbed her son and pulled him to her. His prayer had caused her eyes to well up with tears. She carried him onto her lap and hugged him tightly.
‘I love you Kojo.’ Esi whispered to her son and cried harder. The little boy’s prayer was hers. After she and Jake had married, her relationship with God had fallen into the ditch. She was no longer active in church and barely prayed or read her Bible till she stepped into the church. Esi felt God had left her to suffer the consequences of fornication and had decided accept it but her son’s sincere prayer had broken down the wall of doubt. What if God could cause her husband’s heart to turn around? What if she could experience great joy in her happiness rather than pain. She placed her son on his bed and walked back to the room to call her mother. She needed help.
‘What happened to your face?!’ Esi’s mother asked in shock after she had opened the door for her daughter.
Esi answered with a wearied smile and spoke to her son;
‘Go and play in the room Kojo. Try not to turn the room upside down.’
Kojo nodded and hopped to his grandmother’s room. He loved coming here.
Esi broke down and wept loudly. Her mother quickly held her and led her to the couch.
‘He’s cheating mummy. He beats me. He rapes me….I ..I can’t continue…I am tired.’ Esi managed to say.
‘Tired of what? What happened to your face? Did you fall?…’ Esi’s mother tried touching her face but she turned away and sniffed.
‘I want a divorce.’ Esi stated blatantly.
Her mother froze and frowned.
‘No! You are not getting a divorce! Your father and I had enough ridicule to deal with when your belly began protruding just three months after your marriage to Jake. We can’t bear this too!’
‘Maa! Do you want me to die in that marriage?!’ Esi clutched her mum’s knee.
‘You will live through it…You won’t die. You won’t die! The number of the days of your life shall the Lord God fulfil! I refuse any spirit of death and…’ Esi’s mother began to pray.
‘Maa, prayer won’t stop this…Prayer won’t work!’
‘Shut up! Prayer always works! Prayer changes things! Tell me…When last did you pray?’ her mother demanded.
Esi remained quiet and looked at her mum’s face.
‘You will pray, you will fast, you will be fine. You cannot divorce the pastor’s son!’ Her mother commanded.
Esi realised she had made a mistake by coming home. Her mother was more concerned about saving her own face and that of their pastor than her own daughter.
‘Let’s me get my first aid box and see if I can help with your face.’ Her mother made an attempt to get up but Esi restrained her.
‘Don’t worry about it…I want to take my leave now.’ Esi stood up from the couch.
Her mother looked at her in disapproval, pointed her finger at her and said;
‘You will come to church tomorrow with your husband. You will come together and you would wear enough makeup to hide that nasty scar on your face. Do you hear me?’
‘Yes Maa…’ Esi nodded and walked towards her mother’s room to take her son.
Esi knelt beside the bed with her face buried in her palms. She had wanted to pray but the tears were never ending. All she had muttered repeatedly from the moment she had gone on her knees was;
‘Help me, Jesus.’
She had had to bandage her wrist after returning home as the pain from earlier that afternoon had caused it to swell. She heard the bedroom door bang but remained still.
‘Hypocrite. God doesn’t listen to the prayers of those.’ He husband sneered and walked to the bathroom.
‘Hypocrites have a special place in hell you know.’ Jake shouted from the bathroom as he peed.
‘You spread lies, fornicate, sleep with your boss for promotions and you think God will answer the prayer of a backslidden hypocrite like yourself. I think I am far better.’ Jake fell onto the bed and stretched.
Esi’s heart beat loudly and she swallowed hard. She got of her knees, wore her slippers and walked towards her door.
‘The truth hurts. I guess you can’t stand being called your real name.’ Jake teased.
Esi ignored her husband and walked out of the room. She had wanted to bang the door too but remembered she might wake Kojo up. She proceeded to the dark hall and sat on the couch. Though her voice was parched, she sang her pain;
I need thee every hour
Most gracious God
No tender heart like thine
Can peace surpass
I need thee
O I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O bless me now my saviour
I come to thee.
‘Father help me…I feel imprisoned! I need you! Save me! Forgive me! I beg you! Take my life so I can have some peace or else give me peace!’
Esi cried out and laid prostrate on the carpet.
Esi felt a soft jab to her side. She had fallen asleep on the carpet and it was morning.
‘We need to go to church, get up and go get ready. And get the boy ready too.’ Jake spat at her.
Esi sat up and replied;
‘He is our son….Our son.’ pointing to Jake and back at herself.
‘I am in no mood to fight with you. It’s a Sunday.Just get ready so we can leave.’
Esi picked herself up from the carpet and walked to the room, ignoring Jake.
To be continued…