From this entry, I want to establish if the dialogue moved the plot forward, please if you spot any unnecessary dialogue, kindly point it out. Thanking you all in anticipation.
After the act guilt moved in with me, there was no breathing space in our tight enclosure. Physically I cringed, spiritually I cringed, morally I cringed and even logically I cringed. I had gone beyond the borders of reason and stepped into the land of shame- in its most humiliating form.
If I tried to perform an action contrary to guilt’s dictate, it steered me right back to the thought I was running from. The only thing guilt allowed into my mind was condemning thoughts. I couldn’t think straight, sleep was impossible, guilt held my eyelids open.
I got up from my bed, moved to the other side and tapped Adunni.
Multiple sweat buds danced on my fore head as I struggled with the words to explain what I had done, to Adunni- my loving wife of twelve years, “I have something important to tell you.”
“Go ahead and say it.” Adunni said as she moved her trim frame into our bed-side chair where I was seated.
“Please promise me you will understand.” I pleaded.
Dunni retied her iro and smiled, “Oko mi, say it first.”
“Ehm… Uche-our neighbour was here to discuss the issue of someone sleeping with his wife.” I blurted out.
“Why did he have to discuss something of that nature with you or did you see the man who slept with her?”
“No I didn’t see the man, I was the one that…”
Dunni cut me off, “Oh I get it, you were the one that told him she slept with the man.”
“No.” I replied.
But Dunni went on rambling, “You want my take, what you did is acceptable. You shouldn’t keep mum when you see something like that.”
“Dunni I’m the one that did it.”
“You already said that you told him, that woman’s own is even too much. She’ll rub foundation, brown powder, blush on that her fair face and start shaking her backside all over the place.”
Typical of Dunni she was jumping into conclusions and making it difficult for me to confess, but i was determined to get it over with. “Dunni you do not understand me, I was the one that did it.”
“Wait a minute here, are you feeling guilty that you reported her?”
Now I was sure my wife was pretending not to understand me. “I slept with her.” There I had said it.
Eyes widened, “on the same bed?”Dunni asked.
“No on our living room sofa.” I mumbled.
Dunni jumped up from where she was seating beside me and turned accusing eyes at me, “I think I’m getting this. You pastor David Adelaja slept with our neighbourswife. Yes or no?”
“Yes.” I stammered.
“Ah, egba mi!” Dunni screamed.
“Dunni please don’t shout.” I pleaded.
“I will shout. Ah, David you just had to find your own Bathsheba.” Dunni cried out.
Arms outstretched I pleaded with Dunni, “Dunni it’s not like that. Please let me explain.”
“Did you not already say you slept with her on the green sofa where we normally have our family devotion?”
My shoulders slumped; no word proceeded from my mouth.
“Did the cat get your tongue? Explain how you had amnesia and thought I was Uche’s wife.” Dunni taunted, her angry eyes flicked over me and she stormed off.
At Dunni’s exit I stood up and paced. I thought of how to get Uche off my neck, I resorted to mumbling half hearted prayers for forgiveness.
At 3a.m I was still pacing when Dunni came back into the room and sat down.
In the eerie silence I heard, “David, sit down.”
I jumped on the chair eager to please my wife.
I was supposed to attend the district meeting today, but I didn’t go, I sent Pastor Ken instead.”
Dunni interrupted, “Like the time the kings went for war but David didn’t go.”
“Uche’s wife- Chika, came crying that her husband had beaten her all through the night. She complained that she was in a loveless marriage, and she asked …”
“You to pray for her.” Dunni completed for me.
“Yes and I prayed for her. While praying, she started crying and I held her to comfort her. Then her wrap fell and …”
“Enough I don’t want to hear the gory details of your prayer session.”
“Okay, but that’s not all.”
“What else is there?”
“Uche’s husband is blackmailing me, he wants me to pay him two million naira or he’ll tell the church.”
Dunni got up and placed both her hands on her head, “David you have killed me.” Dunni screamed.
“Dunni please be calm, don’t hurt yourself.”
“Are our life savings up to two million naira?”
“Dunni what will I do?”
“You will look for the money, of course.”
“Dunni blackmailers never stop, if I manage to pay two million, what is the guarantee that he won’t come back for more.”
“He’ll sign an undertaking.”
“Dunni stop sounding naive.”
“I am sounding very logical or what do you want to do.”
“I will tell the church.”
“Never. I don’t want to hear a word about confessing, don’t go and disgrace me in front of the whole church. Is that clear?”Dunni asked me like a school boy.
“But I have a strong feeling that this man will come back, you should have seen the evil glint in his eyes.” I answered.
“It is you that had evil in your heart for sleeping with his wife.”Dunni retorted.
“Dunni please are you going to keep berating me. Let’s put our heads together.”
“You have let me down. Do what you think is best.” Dunni said resignedly.
My fingers were heavy the next morning as I typed the text informing the church elders of an emergency meeting.
The walls of the church pointed accusing fingers at me as I stepped in. My secretary welcomed me with a smile but all I saw was reproach. At 11a.m when all the church elders had arrived and taken their seats, I and my wife entered the board room. The elders were present, all seven of them.
Church board meetings were held four times a year so the elders were eager to know what was cooking. Mrs. Kenneth who normally took the minutes spoke up, “I noticed that there is no agenda for this meeting.”
I took the cue, sat up and cleared my throat, “there is none because I intend to preside over this meeting myself. Brethren I’ve come before you as a brother with a thorn in his flesh and I hope you show compassion as you listen to what I’ve to say.”
All eyes veered towards me, I continued, “I am guilty of adultery and I’m being blackmailed because of it. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me. In the interim I will step down as pastor.”
Immediately Pastor Ken my deputy stood up to speak without consulting the other elders. “We the elders of mercy Baptist church request you vacate from your office until further notice.”
Firebrand Mrs. Onasanya spoke up instantaneous, “Pastor Ken who are the we you are speaking for?”
Deacon Ufuoma joined in, “Pastor Ken you have not being appointed to speak for us, we will make our deliberations together.”
As Deacon James raised his voice to speak, I thought to myself the jostling had already begun, they need a shepherd and I made myself a sheep. The word disappointed dragged me from my thoughts, my wife’s head was bowed in shame, the A.C was on but I started sweating profusely.
“Deaconess Jite Omamode perched her eye glasses on her nose and stood up to speak, “our pastor is flesh, if we don’t handle this issue well some of our flock will go elsewhere to pasture, this is not a time to be judgemental, we need to be fair.”
“Please Deaconess Jite just because he made you a single mother Deaconess doesn’t mean you should support him.” Deacon Jude countered.
Deacon Ufuoma jumped to Jite’s rescue, “Deacon Jude apply tact please.” Signalling to the door he continued, “Pastor we will make our deliberations and get back to you.” I was dismissed, I looked around no one else said a word; I got up and walked out with my wife in tow.
Our next stop was the police station, the investigating officer I was assigned claimed my case was similar to a case he handled recently. He asked me a few questions and sent us on our way.
I was helping my boys with their homework, when I heard a knock on my front door- it was my I.P.O.
“Pastor, Good evening. Please see if you can identify the person in these pictures.” He said handing me three pictures with his right hand.”
“Good evening I.P.O, the person in this picture marked 1 looks like my neighbour- Uche.”
“Well if that’s your neighbour then you are a very fortunate fellow, Uche is the same person in the other pictures. That was the look he wore for his last failed operation. You see Uche and his wife make a living from blackmailing pastors, because the pastors they blackmail fear disgrace, they’ve been successful so far. The last pastor did not press charges so we let them off the hook, but if you press charges, he will face the music. I must go now so we can arrest them this night.”
I was dazed. My jaws hung open till Dunni got back home. We decided not to press charges but we were going to spend money on press releases notifying the public about Uche and his wife. As for the church, I kept my fingers crossed for their decision.