“I think it’s too early to ask me that, Pastor.” I replied, rising to my feet. “I’m still hurt…the thought of my husband with another woman is revolting and no matter his excuse…it’s not good enough. I have a lot to figure out in my life right now and I think its best I do it without anyone looking over my shoulder.”
Pastor B nodded. “I understand you perfectly Kemi. But I’d like you both to schedule a meeting for next week. There are things you need to handle in your marriage too, so I think it’s only fair you try to work it out, especially since Mo is quite willing.”
I wanted to say something saucy but I respected Pastor B and held back.
“So, should I expect you both next week?” he asked.
I glanced at Mo and nodded slightly.
Our meeting was over. I drove home furious with everything and everyone. One bright spot though, was that Del called me and informed me that she’d been able to get me a job as one of the firm’s attorneys. A low level attorney no doubt, but still better than nothing, I thought.
The letter came with the morning mail. A short cryptic note:
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO LOSE EVERYTHING?
I read it bitterly, my heart in anguish. It was obvious my blackmailer had gotten what she wanted. I was now convinced that it had to be none other than Ruby Marshall. She was the only one who had a stake in this besides Kemi and me.
She hadn’t hesitated to deliver those pictures to Kemi when I ended our contract. She must have been going for revenge…to get back at me.
But something still nagged at the back of my mind: Why had she gone through the elaborate blackmail process? Threatening me with those notes when she could have revealed my secret outright? Or had she suddenly snapped because I’d told her I wanted nothing more to do with her?
I was tempted to pick my phone and call her and give her a good tongue lashing, but I knew it was the wrong move to make. There was no need crying over spilled milk. I’d invited my predicament on myself the moment I’d gotten entangled with her.
I could’ve fled from her then, walked away without looking back but I’d let it go far. It wasn’t anyone’s fault except mine that I was in this mess.
Everything seemed to lose meaning for me the moment Kemi made it clear she wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn’t concentrate on work and I was terrible company for anyone who wanted to hang out with me.
My mother had complained severally, probing; wanting to know why Kemi and I had fallen out. I’d kept her in the dark, refusing to talk about it with her.
I was ashamed of myself and my actions and I was taking all necessary steps to get back on the right track. I spent more time with Pastor B than before. I figured a lot of what he knows would rub off on me and maybe make me a better person.
Problem was, each time we met he kept asking me to turn my life over to God. Now that sounded scary.
The thought of abandoning the life I’d known…the one where I was free to be who I wanted and do what I wanted seemed like the worst of ideas. I mean it was okay hanging around church and stuff…but really making a decision to stay with God was a big deal for me. This is why my answer was the same each time: “I’m thinking about it, Barry.”
And indeed I was.
I’d also begun anticipating our couples’ counselling meeting every week in Pastor B’s office…it was the only chance I got to see Kemi. I had to admit these days she was looking different; alive and glowing.
The sad, tired look that hung around her since Shirley’s death was neatly fading away. There was a spring in her step, a certain lightness around her and she’d begun smiling again.
As much as I loved the change going on with her, I begun to get suspicious…and I admit, a bit jealous. Was she seeing someone else? The same question was always on the tip of my tongue to ask. I never got the courage.
I didn’t have the license to ask her such anymore. I only had to be content with our one day in a week meetings.
Last week, she’d looked extremely gorgeous in a chic black suit and silver heels. Her hair was new…I could tell. I couldn’t stop staring at her.
One thing gave me consolation though…she was still wearing her wedding band. Her fourth finger still bore the signs of our union. Good.
Several times I was tempted to pick up the phone to call her, just to hear her voice. Each time, I lost my courage as soon as soon as I heard the dial tone.
Until that day…the day I knew I would do whatever I could to get her back.
I actually summoned the courage to call and just and she picked unexpectedly on the second ring.
“Hello?” Her voice sounded sweet.
My breath caught in my throat. How come I’d never noticed what a lovely voice my wife had? It was like music to my ears.
“Hello?” She spoke again. “Listen, who’s there? I’m kind of in a hurry. So, please speak.”
I couldn’t bring my mouth to form any words. I just wanted to stay that way all day, listening to her voice. That was not to be because she hung up seconds later.
Then a plan began to form in my mind.