What The Pastor Did - a flash fiction story by Hannah Onoguwe



The young woman’s eyes fill and a smile quivers on her lips. Her husband, seated beside her on the chintz sofa, is in better control of his emotions but no less grateful. Two weeks ago they were tossing accusations and insults back and forth. A sheltered virgin in contrast to his bedrooms of experience, the adjustment was difficult. It is by no means over, but they are trying.

“Thank you so much, Pastor.”

Across the leather-topped table with its glass dish of mints, Pastors Dan and Jemima Ehizogie look at the younger couple kindly.

Dan’s voice is reassuring. “It’s all right, Mr. Okoli. What keeps a marriage going is compromise and understanding. You both must always strive to strike a balance.” In his navy blue suit, reading glasses just so and the gray-sprinkled hair fuller than is fashionable, he brings to mind one of her university professors, Jemima suddenly realizes as he continues.

“Sex is a beautiful thing, designed by God. When you and your spouse do it in love, it is the highest form of worship as He intended it to be. Each of you just has to be sensitive to the other’s needs and it will strengthen your relationship. This will enable you to keep the Bible’s command that the marriage bed should be undefiled.”

Sinking her toes into the plush carpet, Jemima adds, “Marriages like ours have lasted twenty-four years because of these same principles. And you must keep putting in the effort.” The older couple exchanges a loving smile which endears them to the Okolis. Later they will agree effusively that the Ehizogies are a true, shining example of what a Christian marriage should be.

The counseling session eventually ends. After the Okolis leave, iPad, laptop, phones and briefcase are gathered up by Afam, the diminutive PA, who will later clear up the tea tray and lock up. Jemima wishes him a good night before sliding into the back of the air-conditioned interior of the Grand Cherokee, Dan close behind her. The journey to the brick-coloured house surrounded by springy carpet grass and shaded by mango trees takes about twenty minutes. The smell of curry and garlic greets them as they enter. Marvellous, the house girl, appears flustered when she emerges, sweating, from the kitchen, tugging her blouse down over her hips.

“Welcome, sah. Welcome, ma.”

Dan grunts a reply as he makes straight for his study. Jemima places her laptop on the centre table, intending to do some work later on her forthcoming book, 21 Ways to Know Mr. Right. Number Seven: Be sure you both are compatible… or have compatible interests? Or…

“Sorry, ma,” Marvellous is saying, “the food will soon ready.”

Jemima focuses on the girl, eyes narrowing slightly on her exaggerated curves. “Did you remember to make the fruit salad?”

“Yes, ma.”

She is pensive as she makes her way to their bedroom. She takes off her jacket, leaving on the butter-coloured dress, and is easing off her shoes when her husband comes in. She watches him remove his suit jacket, cufflinks, and empty his pockets. He is perching on the edge of the bed in his boxers when he notices her stillness and raises his head to look at her.

“She’s pregnant, isn’t she.” It isn’t a question.

He winces at the look in her eye. “Jemmy-” But she steamrolls his words and grits, “Mr. Prolific, what is it with you?”

His expression contrite, he moves to stand before her, clasping her shoulders. “I’ll take care of it.”

She looks into the earnest eyes of this man who can’t control his lust for the forbidden. Not to mention his proclivity for the unusual, or the young. She once surprised him in a contorted sexual position with their neighbour’s seventeen-year-old daughter who kept gasping, “You’re the Lord’s anointed”- as per his instructions, she found out later. It was only by the grace of God- and a heavy financial settlement- that they had escaped that one without a scandal.

Over the years her feelings for him have run the gamut from love to disgust to hatred to bemusement, until all that’s left is a numbness, like ash after a fire. She has produced three children. One is in a Christian university down south and the younger two in boarding school in Abuja. Her duty done in that department, they have a ministry to run. The money they make doesn’t do any harm, either. Somehow she has joined the ranks of the Hilary’s, the Silda’s and the Gayle’s who have philandering husbands, but she’ll be damned if that becomes public knowledge.

Of course he’ll take care of it. He always does.

Her concern is why he is lax about using condoms.

She nods resignedly. “I’ll call Mama Keji for a replacement.”

-----------------

Hannah Onoguwe lives and works in Jos, Nigeria. Her short stories have been published by Adanna Literary Journal, Litro, and The Missing Slate. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to watch soppy movies and try her hand at new recipes. You can follow her on Twitter here: @HannahOnoguwe

Comments

  • Love the irony! Well done!

    Posted by Carmen on October 04, 2013
  • Beautiful piece. More please! But sha, both the pastor and wify,are very sick! What?! Imagine! Pride, hypocricy,lies,pretence, murder and all other vices are the entrails of their carricature ministry. The pharisees,saducees and all the other ‘cees in Jesus’ days,aren’t devils at all when compared to this couple. How so deeply in evil and far gone off the narrow path they’ve really gone! Ah, may God help our world! Sssmsh(hiss)!

    Posted by Essinjul on September 27, 2013
  • Very true, when it comes to relationship – men and women play by different rules and are held to different standards. A woman sleeps around she is labelled a whore, a man does the same his regarded as a ladies man.

    Posted by Jide on September 15, 2013
  • Generally, as a rule, women tend to be more forgiven than African men in cases of adultery. Men are more likely to pack their adulterous wife to her parents home and consequently end the marriage. Women on the other hand, tend to rationalize the indiscretion and remain in their homes.

    Posted by Ijaw Boy on September 08, 2013
  • All I can say is: “advanced and interesting”

    Posted by Ovuoba David Nkwuda on September 05, 2013
  • Wow…fiction with real life events…the Pastor’s wife is understanding, will the Pastor forgive his wife if he walks into their matrimonial room and finds his younger pastor and wife with his wife all nude in a threesome…?

    Posted by chris on August 30, 2013
  • Sex has led many powerful men of God astray. It is a reminder that men of God are also afflicted with the same desires as their flock.

    Posted by Flyboy on August 28, 2013
  • Well written and captivating. Couldn’t stop reading until I got to the end. Thought the would be more? But only found a brief description of the Author. I love it and I recommend it to everyone to read!!

    Posted by Chuks Isichei on August 26, 2013
  • The story is very timely and relevant – the recent sex scandal rocking COZA and the allegations Ese Walters levied against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.

    Adultery and infidelity have destroyed homes, churches and marriage. Children and other members of the family are left to pick up the pieces.

    What i find disconcerting is the fact that the wife seemed to accept it, and condole it and rationalize it.

    Pastor Dan and his wife seem to be leading double lives and are a shinning example of what wrong in many churches. The deceit, cover up, and misleading of souls is terrible.

    Posted by Concerned 9ja boy on August 26, 2013

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