Rosita was worried, her friends and prayer partners were acting strange. Aside from Patricia’s tone over the phone yesterday, Marianna wasn’t taking any of her calls.
“Dear Lord, please….help me…help us.” She said as she wiped the center table of her sitting room clean.
Rosita and her family lived in a very spacious three bedroom flat with a store room and a laundry room. She never had to worry about paying any of the bills or contributing to anything that was money related around the house as her husband took care of everything.
Speaking of her husband, he wasn’t home yet since he left the house yesterday morning. He hadn’t even attended Anna’s wake or burial, much to her displeasure. Rosita glanced at her phone that was charging on the socket in the sitting room and sighed. She knew he was okay as he’d texted her last night telling her that he had so many deadlines to meet up with and he had to work late. She had wanted to text him back and ask if he was working late with that pretty colleague of his but she’d held herself back. She was busily wrapped up in her grief that she didn’t feel the need to ask. However, something told her that he was with that colleague of his, the one with the long Brazilian weaves.
Right from the moment Rosita spotted her husband’s new colleague at her husband’s company’s Christmas party last year, she hadn’t been comfortable. The way the woman looked at her husband sent shivers down her spine. She could tell that the Brazilian weave woman wanted her husband. She had expressed her fears to her husband but he’d shrugged it off, saying that there was really nothing to the woman’s stares. According to him, his colleague was in a very serious relationship with a big-time footballer and there was no way that she was into him. Rosita had spoken to her ‘Women of Faith’ sisters and they had told her not to put so much energy into it.
“He apologized after he’d cheated with that female barber last year or didn’t he? I saw how sincere he was and I’m sure that he won’t risk his family over a woman like that.” Late Anna had said.
“I’d like to share in your views Anna but I have a question for Rosita.” Patricia had said. “Why do you think you suddenly started being suspicious? I mean, that’s only one woman in over fifty women that share an office with him, why did you single her out?” Patricia had asked her meaningfully.
“I really don’t know but I could tell that something fishy was going on between them.” Rosita had confided.
“Do you mean that you think there’s something going on?” Marianna had asked with eyes wide.
“Yes…I could tell. There was this strong chemistry between them. When she came over to our table to say hello, I felt the heat and suddenly it was as though she was his wife and I was the nanny. She said hello to me and the kids but their eye contact lasted for more than twenty seconds.” Rosita had said.
“Twenty seconds? Were you counting?” Marianna asked.
“Let’s pray about it darling. There’s nothing God can’t solve including a cheating husband.” Anna had said, holding out her hands to her friends.
They had all joined hands together and closed their eyes in prayer.
Anna’s face flashed through Rosita’s mind again and she sighed.
“Oh God!” Rosita moaned. “Why did she have to die? I am so lost. I am actually the only one who can bring the Women of Faith sisterly meetings back but how can I? I am broken as it is.”
The doorbell rang and she quickly wiped her eyes with the back of her palms and walked up to answer the door. She pulled open the door and her mouth stood open.
“Mummy!” She exclaimed.
“Surprised to see me?” Her mother in-law said, making her way into the house.
“Yes…I mean…you didn’t call to tell us you’re coming.” Rosita said making way for her mother in-law to walk into the house.
“I like surprises so I came to surprise you and my son.”
“Welcome ma.” Rosita greeted, closing the door and walking resignedly behind her mother in-law. Rosita dreaded her mother in-law’s visits and it wasn’t because she wasn’t a good woman but because she had a flaw; her mother in-law loved to take sides with her son even if he was wrong.
“Where are my grandkids?”
“School ma…” Rosita said. “I’m going to pick them up in an hour.” She sighed in disappointment that her proposed trip to Marianna’s house would be cut short especially as MIL was at home.
“Okay dear.” Her mother in-law said, sitting on the sofa and dropping her small bag on the ground.
Rosita sighed in relief when she saw the bag, it indicated that her stay won’t be long.
“Can I get you some water?”
“No, I want to sleep for a while. When is my son getting back home?” She asked.
“I don’t know ma, he texted last night and informed me that he’ll be working late and he hasn’t come home since then.”
Her mother-in-law looked at her.
“What do you mean by he’s not been home since then?”
“I…I …know he’s working and…” Rosita trailed off.
“Why didn’t you call his phone?”
“He said he was busy working and I didn’t want to disturb.”
“I don’t want to intervene in your marriage but you should go to your husband’s office and know why he didn’t come home last night. You should make lunch for him and take it there.”
“I know I should mum, but I’m not in a good place right now.” Rosita said.
“What happened? Are you alright?”
“I just lost my best friend.”
“Which of your friends?”
“Anna…she’s gone.” Rosita said as tears stung her lids.
“Oh my God! Anna? The pretty one who made all the kids birthday cakes”
“Yes ma, the same one…” Rosita said and burst into tears. “The burial was yesterday and since then, I haven’t been thinking straight…I’m such a mess.”
“I am so sorry honey.” Her mother in-law said as she stood up to give her a hug. When she broke the hug, she looked into Rosita’s eyes and said. “Pull yourself together and face your family. I am really sorry about your friend but she’s gone and nothing can bring her back.”
Rosita looked at her mother in law and nodded tearfully.
Marianna was so tired, she hadn’t slept a wink last night as all she thought of was the fact that Anna was no more. She stepped out of her bathroom wrapped in her robe and walked up to her full length mirror and stared at her reflection.
“You look a sight, Marianne.” She said to herself.
There was a knock at her door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, Cynthia.” Her husband’s twenty year old cousin said.
The girl opened the door and walked into the bedroom.
“Your friend is here to see you.” She said.
“My friend?” Marianna asked.
The door opened and Patricia walked in.
“It’s me.” Patricia said.
Marianna looked at Patricia and was broken, she looked so lost. She rushed over to hug her friend and they both cried in each other’s arms.
“I feel so empty. Anna was everything to me…she was my friend, sister, support system. I feel like I’m lost without her. I’m sorry for coming here to burden you with my problems even though I know you have problems of your own but…” Patricia cried.
Cynthia left the room and the two women sat on the bed and sobbed.
“You’re not alone, I feel the same way.” Marianna said. “Have you spoken to Rosita? How is she holding up?”
“I spoke with her yesterday. Can you imagine that she’s trying to organize a prayer meeting for this Friday? I told her that I’m not up to it.” Patricia said. When Marianna didn’t say anything, she continued. “Look at us, Marianna. We have lost the most important person in our sisterhood and at an early age too. Have you met us? We are prayerful, God-loving and so kind to people but look at what happened to us. From nowhere, Anna was taken away.”
Marianna nodded as tears fell from her eyes.
“You know what? I felt the same way but I didn’t want to voice out my thoughts. I felt that I’d be offending God by saying the things on my mind.”
“Upset God? God just upset us! I am not trying to make myself the center of the whole thing but why? Why did He have to take our friend, Anna? Tell me, what happens to her family now that she’s gone? Her husband will definitely mourn her for a while and move on to another woman. Anna’s kids might be neglected by their future step-mother. How can God take their mother away from them?” Patricia sobbed.
“Life is not fair. It’s like a game and we are tossed at the center of it, some win and some lose and it seems like it doesn’t matter whom you serve.” Marianna said resignedly.
Patricia looked at Marianna and said.
“You understand right? I knew you’d understand me unlike that holier than thou Rosita. Her home is falling apart and she’s trying to help fix us. Can you imagine her calling me for a meeting? What are we going to talk about? She should just face it, she can’t take Anna’s spot, no matter how hard she tries.”
Marianna reached out to rub Patricia’s back affectionately.
“At least, she tried to reach out to us. I saw her missed calls yesterday and this morning but I haven’t been in the best of moods.” Marianna said. “My period came last night and I’ve been so devastated. I thought that this would be it. I thought I’d finally get pregnant this time. We saw the doctor three weeks ago and he prescribed drugs and we planned it all. I feel so disappointed.”
Patricia looked at Marianna and sighed.
“I’m sorry about that…” She started.
“Everyone feels it’s my fault. My in-laws, my family, my friends…everyone…I feel so helpless. The doctor says there’s nothing wrong with me and…and…” Marianna began to cry.
“If there’s nothing wrong with you, could it be from your husband?”
“I really don’t know…all the while we’ve been going through fertility treatments, I have been the one subjecting myself to different types of treatments. He, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be bothered.”
“What of IVF? I was thinking of suggesting it to you guys.”
“He doesn’t want us to try that, at least not yet.” Marianna said.
“But…everyone is looking at you for answers. You are the one that’s being burdened with all of this.”
“Yes, I am and just when I thought I could deal with it, my best friend dies. I have prayed, fasted and gone for different revivals for a miracle but nothing seems to be working. Nothing!”
“What if…” Patricia started then stopped.
“What if what?”
“Never mind, I really don’t know why the thought popped in my head but never mind.”
“You can’t tell me something and say never mind. What is it?” Marianna asked.
“What if the fault isn’t from you? Do you remember you told us the story of that pregnancy you had when you were fifteen and which miscarried on its own?”
“That was a long time ago, before I gave my life to Christ.”
“That’s not the point I’m trying to make.” Patricia stressed. “You can actually get pregnant but maybe not by Ifeanyi.”
Marianna looked at Patricia, she didn’t know what to say.
Rosita alighted from her car with the lunch flask in her hands, her children were at the back seat of the car.
“I’ll be right back darlings, I just have to drop some food for daddy.” She said.
They weren’t listening, they were both busy playing games with their tabs. She waved at the security guards and pointed in the direction of the car which was still on as if to say that her kids were inside and they nodded. She walked into the office and walked up to the reception and smiled at her.
“Hello dear…” She greeted.
“Madam, it’s so good to see you. It’s been so long.” The receptionist said with a smile.
“Yes it has been. Do you know if my husband is in his office? I need to quickly drop some food for him.”
The receptionist looked at her, she was puzzled.
“He didn’t tell you?” She asked.
“Tell me what?” Rosita asked.
“Your husband is on his annual leave and it was effective yesterday.”
Rosita stared at the receptionist and the box of food in her hands, she felt like a big fool.
To be continued…..