“Prayer alert! Prayer alert! Women of Faith! Prayer alert!” Patricia read out softly from the mobile phone in her hands.

There was a movement in her bed and she turned to regard Chuks who was rubbing his eyes.

“Babe…come back to bed. It’s still so early in the morning.” He said.

Patricia looked at him and stared at the sheets. She had finally done it. She sighed as she regarded the room silently. Nothing had happened. Earth hadn’t disappeared and the world hasn’t ceased to exist. Last night, while she and Chuks had sex for the very first time, something had nagged her that she was making the wrong decision but of course, there was another voice telling her that she was making the right decision. Now, Chuks was going to marry her. ‘If God has refused to help me get a husband, I will get one for myself’ she thought as she tossed her phone to the side and made her way back to the bed.

“Who sent you a message?” Chuks asked.

“No one…” She murmured.

“Really? You seemed disturbed.” He said.

“Well…eerrmm…I was just bothered because the text message came in so early.” She said. “But don’t bother, it’s nothing…really.”

“I am so glad that you decided to change your mind for me.” Chuks said, caressing her cheeks tenderly with his palm.

“You know I love you so much…” She said.

“Me too…” He replied.

“So, what’s going to happen now that we are back together?” She asked.

“What’s going to happen now?” He asked.

“Yes, we’ve…we’ve made love and everything is fine between us, right?” She pressed.

“Do you know what honey, I love the way things are between us right now and I’d like us to enjoy it.”

Patricia looked at him in confusion.

“Wait…aren’t you going to end things with your girlfriend?” She asked.

“I…we…we…” He stuttered.

Patricia sat up in surprise.

“Are you saying that you’re not going to end things with her?”

“Of course I will baby but not right now…these things take time. I am not an insensitive man and I won’t like her to see me that way. I’d rather wait for the right time.”

“What other time is right than now? We have consummated our love and that’s what you’ve always wanted right? Since we’ve done it already, the best thing is that our relationship gets back on track.” She said.

“You’re right darling…you are right.” He said. “Do you know what? Let’s not argue about these things, let’s enjoy what we have together.” He said as he pulled her to him for a long kiss.

As Patricia kissed him back, she shoved the message she’d received from Rosita, away from her mind.

*******

“Prayer Alert! Prayer Alert! Women of Faith! Prayer Alert!” Marianna read aloud.

It was four am on a Friday morning and some months ago, she would have set aside her outfit for the prayer meeting with her sisters. She would have even kept her bible and prayer books in her car so as not to forget them but that wasn’t the case anymore. How could she tell Rosita that she no longer had any strength to hold on to faith? How could she tell her that she wanted to solve her problems her own way? How could she tell Rosita that she was tired of waiting on God for the fruit of the womb and that she wanted take matters into her own hands. She read the text message again and wondered what Patricia was thinking. She was sure that Patricia got the text message too and she knew that she wasn’t going to attend the meeting.

“But it won’t be fair…” Marianna said aloud. “It won’t be fair to let Rosita go to the prayer place and sit there waiting for us to show.”

Marianna hadn’t slept a wink last night as all she could think of was the baby that her childhood crush and boyfriend had held in his arms. Was Patricia right? Could the fault be from her husband? What if…? What if she tried out something just to see if she could fall pregnant? Her childhood boyfriend was holding a child in his arms and he said that the little girl was his second baby. If he could get her pregnant at fifteen, could he get her pregnant at thirty?

“God forbid! Get behind me Satan!” She said with a start, alarmed by her thoughts. “Oh God…oh good Jesus, please forgive me for my thoughts…. please…please…” She cried.

She stood up from her bed and began to pace the bedroom.

“What if? But you haven’t tried it out na…it’s not as if it’s going to hurt. Ifeanyi wants a child too or doesn’t he?” She said to herself. “Oh God! Why are these thoughts coming to my mind? Why?”

She looked at the clock on the wall, it was almost four thirty.

********

Rosita made her way into the meeting grounds, she arranged the chairs and glanced at her wristwatch. Prayer meeting started at nine thirty am in the morning but it was ten am and no one was here yet. She recalled the text messages that she’d sent to her sisters yesterday and sighed. She was in pain. Unbearable pain. Her husband had picked up some of his things and had left the house in the wee hours of the morning without saying goodbye. Even her mother in-law was shocked by his attitude.

“Do you mean he just left like that?” Her mother in-law had asked her this morning while she was making breakfast for her kids in the kitchen.

“Yes ma…I woke up to find some of his clothes, gone.” Rosita had said without a hint of self-pity or sadness.

Her mother had looked at her in confusion.

“Wait ooo…you sure say dat woman nor use jazz for am?” Her mother in-law had persisted.

“Jazz ke? Na every time pesin dey use jazz?” Rosita had spat. “He wants to be with her so, he’s gone to be with her. We have to accept it like that.”

“You shouldn’t rest ooo. You should fight.” Her mother in-law had told her.

Rosita had been angered by those words.

“Fight? Do I look like a warrior? Why do I always have to fight for him? Why can’t he fight for me?” She had fired.

“Calm down, Rosita, I’m just giving a piece of advice.”

“I’m sorry ma but that’s not the kind of advice that I want to hear.” She’d said as she’d continued preparing her children’s breakfast.

On her way to the prayer house she had pondered on many things, for instance, where will the money for the house upkeep come from? She wasn’t working and the money in her account was going to sustain them for a few months before it runs dry. She had not thought of the children’s school fees. What if her husband refused to pay their fees, what would she do? What of the electricity bills, the water bills, fuel money, cable subscription and many others, what in the world was she going to do?

Now, as she sat on the chairs and waited for her sisters to show up, tears stung her lids and made their way down her cheeks. She hadn’t wanted to cry at home because she didn’t want her children to see her cry and become worried.

“Anna! Oh Anna!” She sighed. “It’s just like you left us and the dam burst open…”

The door opened and Marianna stood at the doorway.

“Hi.” She greeted.

Rosita’s eyes were red-rimmed, she shot off her chair and rushed to hug Marianna.

“Thank you…for coming.” She whispered.

“I…I didn’t come to stay for long…I just came to tell you that I’m not going to be…errmm…active in the prayer meetings, anymore.” Marianna said.

“What? Why?” Rosita asked.

“I just need a breather.”

“A breather? From Christ? How can you need a breather from Christ when he is our Lord and saviour?” Rosita asked.

“I am going through a lot right now and …I need to be on my own for a while.” Marianna continued.

“Marianna, you can’t let the devil win this battle. The devil is fighting tooth and nail to see that we don’t stand as one but…”

“Stop saying that Rosita, you know that we’re so insignificant for the devil to try to break us apart. C’mon, there are bigger prayer meetings and churches.”

“That’s what you think but the bible says that wherever two or three are gathered, God is in their midst.”

“Well, God hasn’t been in our midst for a while now because if he has been, we wouldn’t be going through such trials…”

“But you know that as Christians, we are to be tried and persecuted.” Rosita continued.

“Rose please, stop trying to preach to me. I just came to tell you that I won’t be joining our group at least for now till I sort out everything in my head. I didn’t come to be preached to.” Marianna said.

Rosita looked at her and nodded, still with tears in her eyes.

“If ever you want to come back, the doors are wide open. I will continue running this meeting even if I am the only one here.” Rosita said.

“Good luck to you. My regards to your family.” Marianna said and turning around, she walked away.

“Thank you.” Rosita said as she watched her leave.

As soon as Marianna left, Rosita walked to the centre of the prayer room and began to sing praises, she knew that Patricia wasn’t going to show up but she was determined to continue prayers even if the heavens had shut the doors against her.

 

To be continued….

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