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Pastor Ilori held her hand after the service, beckoning on her to wait behind, while he at the same time tried to attend to other members that were waiting to speak with him. Talk about clergy multi-tasking. Toyin wondered perhaps, if God had revealed the shambles in her life to the man of God.
Dotun had thrown her out.
That day, after she had blurted out her secret out of misconstrued fear, Dotun had become a changed man. He had called her so many names in so little time. She couldn’t believe this was the same man she had been with for close to ten years of her life. He said she was the devil himself for making him marry her and keeping that magnitude of information from him. He called her his greatest mistake and God’s punishment for his past sins. He told her to get gone before he got back to the house but she had stayed, thinking he would calm down. She realised how serious he was when he threatened to kill her if she didn’t leave, and then, she had gone to check into a hotel. She couldn’t possibly go back to her mother’s house. How would she explain all that had happened? The only person that came to mind was her sister, but she was in the UK. She couldn’t call any friend because she couldn’t stand anyone talking about her past. She couldn’t stand the shame and the mockery.
It had been about two weeks since she moved out, and Dotun had not called to ask where she was, nor returned any of her calls or pleas. There was little or nothing Ladi, his best friend could do. Any one in his shoes would take sides with his best friend. She had tried to pray, like she advised people going through issues in their marriages or relationships, but no words seemed to flow. She tried praying in tongues but ….blank. Her mind was as heavy as weight. And that was when she decided she would go to church. That was the only place she could find some respite and help.
And so, that Sunday morning, she got out of bed, and got dressed, then called a cab. She was not in the right frame of mind to drive. A larger part of her hoped Dotun would show up in church. She needed to explain to him that she had been naïve, young and helpless. She wanted to let him know that she had tried to tell him but just did not know how or when. During the service, she sat behind with the regular congregation and not the other side where she sat with her husband, with the rest of the married couples. She kept looking out to see if he would come, but her guess was as good as truth… he would not.
She knew she needed to speak with Pastor Ilori, else, she would go crazy. She was losing her mind. She had been indoors for six days, not picking any body’s calls, and crying herself to sleep every night. Her pastor was the only one who would not judge her. That was why when he said he needed to speak with her; she knew this was a confirmation from God.
After he had spoken with about three more people, he pulled Toyin aside and they took a seat at a corner of the auditorium.
“Pastor Ilori…” she started, trying to hold back her tears.
“Toyin what is going on? I haven’t seen you or Dotun in so long. You did not show up for weekly meetings or even last Sunday’s service.” He said. She nodded. “I know sir. I’m sorry…” she stammered.
“You know the church project we are working on to build our own University? You are a month late with your pledge. And you know we have a deadline. And please tell Dotun to renew his pledge as well. People like you are the pillars of this church, and we need you to set the right examples.” He said, and then paused to pick a call. “Hello Otunba Kuteyi…”
Toyin blinked, and wiped her tears immediately. The reason he wanted to see her was because of money?!
“Pastor I have been going through some terrible domestic issues, and I really need to talk with someone.” She said, as soon as he dropped the call. He looked at her and smiled.
“It is well with you, my dear.” He said. “Do you see the essence of renewing your pledges? Give to God and He will flood your mind and life with peace. Attach this prayer request for your troubles to your seed, and watch God in divine action.” He said a small prayer, and then walked off to speak to the Adeyemis, the family who donated six air conditioners to the church last month. She was about leaving when Sister Ibukun saw her and pulled her arm in a playful manner.
“Where do you think you are running to, Toyin?” she teased. “You are running from Joyful Womens’ meeting abi.”
“Ibk I am not in the mood. I have a lot on my mind and…”
“What is the problem?”
Toyin broke down in tears and Ibukun dragged her off to the car park, into her car, where they could talk. Toyin hesitated at first, but then, gradually, let everything out.
“I said it o!” Iya Dotun shouted at the top of her voice, removing her wrapper and pacing up and down the bedroom.
“Mom, why are you running up and down like a headless chicken?” Dotun said angrily.
“Emi niyen o! (Are you talking to me?)” She replied.
“I’m sorry but I am talking about finding a solution and there you are dragging us backwards. What do I do now? I am doomed. My wife can never get pregnant.” He said, gulping his beer. “I can’t divorce her and I can’t take another wife. My marriage isn’t even a year yet!”
The older woman hissed, and then snatched the bottle of beer from her son.
“Who is asking you to take a third wife?” She said.
“The Ibo girl that has a son for you nko? You don’t have to bring her in yet though. You can wait for some time to pass, before marrying her.”
Dotun shook his head. “Mom I have cut ties with Francisca. I can’t have anything to do with her again. I don’t want to have anything to do with her anymore. I have done enough damage. Right now I just have to think of a way ahead.”
“You will not kill me o, this boy. You are going to go back to her, and claim your son. How else are you going to have a child? With that fig tree you call a wife?”
His iPhone rang. It was Mrs Faniyi, Toyin’s mom. He ignored the call and switched off the device. After a few minutes, Iya Dotun’s phone rang.
“Iya Toyin, good day.” She said, coldly, tying her loose Ankara wrapper.
“Good afternoon, my in-law. Please have you heard from Dotun or Toyin? They have both been ignoring my calls…” Mrs Faniyi said.
Iya Dotun let out a long hiss then started.
“Please I am not your in-law. Why should Dotun pick your calls? So that you can bewitch him the way Toyin did! So that he won’t be able to move on with his life and claim his son nor have more children! You people want to ruin my son’s life and it will not happen! My spirit will not let that happen! And to think she behaves like heaven’s number one candidate. Please, if you know what is good for you, never ever call this number again. And tell your Baba that the charm has failed oooo… whooooooooo”
Francisca opened the door and hugged her friend. Chichi walked in, looking like a mess. She could tell that she had been crying.
“Let me get you some water first. Or do you want something alcoholic to calm you down?” Francisca said.
“Water is just fine, please.” She said, taking a seat.
Francisca came back with a glass of cold water, in a small tray, and placed it on the table.
“What happened, Love?” She asked.
“It’s Niran. He obviously doesn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore.” she held the glass cup and sipped a little water.
“When last did you hear from him?”
“Since the day I confessed about Captain Taiwo. He stormed out. I called Dotun to help me plead with him but he cut the call but he is dealing with his own issues with Toyin in all of this. ” she cursed.
“Wait. What does Toyin have to do with this?”
“She saw me at Abuja with Captain Taiwo. I figured she was going to blurt about it to Dotun or Niran so I decided to just come out clean. I was going to dump Captain anyways. I called Dotun to help me beg Niran but she thought I was calling to report her to her husband, so she confessed everything to him.”
Francisca laughed. “Oh! And what did he do?”
“I don’t even really care. I just know he is devastated and confused, and they are now separated. I can’t really ask him these things. He hates me for making her do the abortion. Plus he is in shambles right now.”
Chich’s phone rang. It was Niran. She jumped with excitement to answer it in the kitchen. Francisca pondered on what she had just heard. Maybe that was why he had not called her since that night. Maybe it was because he was dealing with his marital problems, and not because he blamed her for cheating on his wife the other night. She grabbed her phone and began to send a text. She smiled as the message ticked sent.
“He wants us to talk!” Chichi said, standing by the door. “What do you think that means?”
“How did he sound? Cold or calm?” Francisca replied.
“I really don’t know. I was just so happy to hear his voice again.” She said.
Ibukun stopped by an eatery, bought some lunch for Toyin, and they both headed to the hotel where she lodged. She couldn’t believe Toyin had gone through all that. She said some prayers with her, and told her to take it easy. God was on the throne, and he would handle the situation.
“I promise you everything will be fine, Toyin. Just trust God. It is well. I hope you feel better now that you have spoken to me about it.” Ibukun said, as they arrived the hotel.
Toyin nodded, looking at her toes, trying to hold her tears.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay. And I think you should call your mom instead of staying in this hotel.”
They hugged each other goodbye, and Ibukun drove down to Sister Bisola’s house for the evening fellowship. Bisola was still getting the living room set, when Ibukun burst in.
“Wonders shall never end oooo! You won’t believe what happened today, Bisola!” Ibukun said, dropping her fake chanel bag on the floor.
“What is it?” Bisola asked eagerly.
“Wow!” Ibukun went on her knees. “God I thank you! I prefer to be unmarried at thirty two, than to be married, and get thrown out before it’s even a year!”
“Talk now. What’s going on?” Bisola reeked with anxiety.
“It’s Toyin o. Dotun threw her out because she had done an abortion in the past and now she can’t have children. Please keep this to yourself o. she told me in confidence.” Ibukun told her the rest of the story.
Bisola opened her eyes and mouth wide.
“Eeeyaa… that handsome brother Dotun. I can’t believe Toyin would even have an abortion, how much more keep this from him.”
“I can’t even believe Toyin is capable of such.” Ibukun said.
“Remember how she kept giving testimonies that she was getting married.” Bisola laughed.
“Judgement will start in the house of God. Toyin! I thought she was better than the rest of us.” Ibukun said.
“It’s five o’clock already. Please come and help me with the small chops in the kitchen so that we can start praise and worship, my sister. God will help us.” Bisola hissed, and placed the big KJV bible on the centre table.