Rosita was feeling a bit happy, for the first time in two months, her prayer meeting had seen a new member. She had almost sang for joy when Anna’s husband walked into the prayer meeting at ten am this morning.
“Oh my goodness, I wasn’t expecting you.” She’d said with a smile.
“I told you that I would come and here I am.” He’d said
“Thank you so much for coming…I’ve been praying alone for so long and your presence is a relief.”
“It doesn’t matter that you’ve been praying alone, God is present in the most unusual gatherings.” He’d said
He looked around at the empty chairs she’d arranged and said.
“I see that you still set up four chairs.”
“Yes, one for myself, then Marianna, Patricia and…Anna.” She’s said.
“It’s thoughtful of you to include my late wife but she’d gone now. Things like these will only bring back painful memories.”
“I think you’re right.” She said walking over to remove the chair.
“No, please don’t. Leave it there if you feel comfortable with it.” He’d said.
“You know what?” She said to him. “I thought you’d be the hardest hit by Anna’s death. The two of you were such a close couple.”
“We were so close and I have had moments when I feel like sinking into depression but I look at my kids and draw strength. It’s not easy having to be strong in the face of the world when you are actually hurting deep inside. My kids shouldn’t suffer the loss of another parent…”
“God has been your strength.” She’d said to him.
“How have you been? How are your husband and children?”
Rosita let out a deep breath.
“My husband left me some months ago because he fell in love with his colleague. I have been raising the kids on my own.”
Anna’s husband looked shocked.
“What? That’s so sad to hear.”
“Yes it is…I have been so alone. I haven’t even told my family because I don’t want them to worry.”
“Do you know what? God never fails…it might take a while but there’s always a reason for everything. Let us pray.” He’d said.
Rosita was so happy to have someone else lead the prayer meeting and her relief was so profound that when they began to pray, tears trickled from her eyes.
Now, as she sat in her bedroom and stared at nothing in particular, she remembered that she’d seen two missed calls from Marianna yesterday. She took out her phone and called her friend.
“Hello…Rosita..” Marianna’s voice floated through. There was loud music at the background.
“What’s going on? There’s so much noise where you are.” She said.
“Yes…I am having a small party at home…I called you yesterday to ask if you’d like to come.”
Rosita felt disappointed, she thought her friend had been calling to tell her that she wanted to come back to the meeting.
“I totally understand if you can’t make it.” Marianna said quickly.
“No, I can’t…I’m sorry.” Rosita said.
There was a pause at the other end of the line.
“Rosita, I know you’re upset with me…because I haven’t been attending meetings…”
“No, far from it. I am not upset with you at all. I can’t come because I don’t have anyone to leave the children with.” Rosita said.
“What of your husband? You can leave the kids with him right?” Marianna said.
“He doesn’t live with us anymore.”
“What? How? I mean…since when?”
“Don’t worry about me Marianna, I see that things are going really well for you and I am so happy for you. God will take care of me and my children, like He always does.”
“Are you trying to make me feel guilty for not coming for our meetings? Is that why you’re speaking in such tone?”
“I am not trying to make you feel guilty, I’m just telling you how I feel.”
“Well…do you know what Rosita? You are too much of a goody too shoes. It doesn’t surprise me that your husband left you because you gave your all to that man and to your marriage.”
Rosita was hurt by her friend’s words.
“Marianna, is there something wrong? Are you angry with me?”
“Angry? I’m trying to be a good friend and you’re rubbing it in my face the fact that God’s got your back. God’s got my back too, just so you know and it doesn’t mean that He’s abandoned me because I stopped attending fellowship.”
“I am not condemning or judging you.”
“You are. Your tone, the way you sound speak volumes. Get off your high-horse lady and stop feeling you’re better than everybody else all because you decided to continue with the fellowship. God is the ultimate judge.”
“Good night Marianna…I really need to sleep now.”
“I regret ever calling you and this is the last time I’ll ever speak to you again. Good night.” Marianna spat.
Rosita hung up the phone and recalled her conversation with Marianna, what did she say that upset her friend so much? She sighed deeply and lay down to sleep.
Patricia walked into the party venue looking every inch the glamourous lady of the hour. She took pictures at the photo booth and took red carpet photos too. She was so excited as she noted the key highlights of the event. She couldn’t wait to plan hers and infuse the things she’d seen in the party.
“Where are the banners with the pictures of the couple?” A guest asked.
“I guess the planner’s assistant forgot because I heard the planner yell at her assistant, a few moments ago for forgetting to bring the banners.” Another guest said.
“Na wah ooo for naija party planning sha.” The first guest said.
Patricia made herself comfortable and began to eat the small chops she’d taken from a waiter.
The party started off with some of the bride’s friends, taking the stage and talking about the bride. They spoke about how the couple met and how they fell in love including the proposal story. The proposal story was so sweet that Patricia wished that Chuks would propose in almost the same way to her. She was all smiles as she listened to the bride’s friends in rapt attention.
“Now presenting…the future Mr and Mrs…” One the bride’s friend shouted.
Everyone stood up from their seats and clapped as the couple took the stage. Patricia flashed her teeth in a wide smile as she clapped but suddenly, her palms stopped hitting each other. Walking on to the stage with his hands looped around his fiancée’s waist was none other than Chuks. Her Chuks. She stood still as though she was glued to the spot.
The guests cheered while music played and Patricia couldn’t believe her eyes.
“No…it’s not him…he looks like Chuks…but he’s not Chuks…” She whispered to herself.
She made her way to the stage slowly and in disbelief. The guests finished clapping and sat down while Chuks and his fiancée sat on the sofa provided on stage. The MC was about to start the first game and just before he started, Patricia shouted.
Chuks jerked in shock and turned to stare at her. His fiancé was surprised to see the lady she’d met at the bridal shop, call out her fiancé’s name.
Chuks had never been a better actor, he turned to face his fiancée with a smile and gave her a staggering kiss. The guests erupted in cheers. Patricia felt like a fool. Blinded by tears, she fled the party.
Just as she left, the party planners were putting up the banners at the red carpet and at the entrance to the party venue. She saw Chuks’s smiling face on the banner as he looked at his bride to be with so much love.
She wanted to die.