I lay on the bed, staring into space throughout that day. I refused to eat anything or talk. My mind was numb. I listened as my mentor spoke but I could not hear much of what he said. The horror images of Henry and Collins kept running through my mind and the tears kept flowing.
Pastor Kelvin did not say anything about his reservations towards my wedding to Henry but I could still see the former scene before my eyes. I had been excited when I took Henry to meet him but that excitement faded when I saw the way he reacted to Henry. He tried to hide it but I had known him for too long for him to pull the wool over my eyes.
‘What’s wrong, Daddy? You don’t like him?’ I asked the day after I introduced them.
‘He is a fine young man but I think you are rushing the wedding. Get to know him a little more.’
‘Dad, there is no rush here. I have known him for six months. We are mature adults and I think that is enough time to know each other.’
‘I feel within me that there are some aspects of Henry’s character he still needs to work on. Hold on and help him work through them.’
‘Henry is a great person, Dad. You admitted that yourself.’
I was not ready to listen to my mentor’s misgivings. I often listened to him but this time, I was ready to follow my heart. After all, I was the one who was going to live with Henry.
I sure lived with him and saw the consequences of my haste. Maybe my mentor sensed that my outwardly ‘clean’ Henry hid a murky secret within. I wished I had listened.
A week passed since the horror movie I watched in my matrimonial home. My mentor presented a doctor’s report which excused me from the office for two weeks. Mrs Nwosu went with me to the house when I knew Henry would be at work and I brought a few of my stuff. I was now able to stand up from bed and join in other activities, watch television and talking with my hosts and their three children, though my mind was still very far away
I was making arrangements to move my belongings out of my matrimonial home and start a new life, away from the nauseating presence of Henry. That was why I came to my mentor for succour. I was sure he would counsel me on how to move on with my life since he was sceptical about the marriage in the first place. I sat down to listen to what he told me was his final verdict on the matter. Then he spoke just five words:
‘Go back to your husband.’
My first reaction was to laugh. Not humorously. But the laughter of a child who had heard an adult speak foolishly and wanted to correct that error.
‘I am not sure I heard you correctly, Dad.’
‘I said go back to your husband.’
‘With all due respect, sir. That is not a very wise advice.’
I felt my response was rude but could not help it. How could he say such a ridiculous thing? Did he not hear what I told him? Or did I have to repeat myself? I did not blame him. After all he had a happy marriage with his wife so he had no clue what I was going through.
‘I know I was sceptical about your marriage to Henry but…………………………..’
‘I was waiting for you to remind me of that.’
‘I will not remind you. I am not blaming you for anything that happened. But I want you to go back to your husband.’
I tried to talk but he held up his hand to stop me from speaking.
‘Help him through this,’ my mentor continued speaking. ‘I have talked to him and I see a repentant soul. He had no intention of hurting you. He needs you now more than ever.’
But Daddy………………………,’ I protested and he held his hand up to halt my speech.
‘Homosexuality has become a deadly virus plaguing our world today. It is the duty of us, the church to drive it far away. And how can we do this? By loving those who are gay. If we drive them away, they would fall deeper and deeper into the mire of sin. But if we show them the love of God, we can help them to overcome this great evil.’
‘What you are asking me to do is unfair, Dad. I have always respected you but I cannot do this. Do you know what that picture of Collins and Henry in bed did to me? Do you think I can ever allow him touch me after this? No! I cannot go back to him. Never. If you want me to leave your house, I will leave but going back to him is out of the question. The moment I saw Henry intertwined with Collins, I knew my marriage or what was left of it was over.’
As I walked away from the sitting room, I heard my mentor mutter, ‘Help her lord.’
I entered my room and resumed another session of crying. I was not going back to that animal no matter what anybody said. They were not going to live with him and had no say in the matter. Absently, I picked up my IPAD and went straight to my Facebook page. I often went there each time I needed information. I subscribed to a number of sites that sent uplifting messages to me every day. The first message jumped at me:
When I came to America, being gay was not popular. Then it became accepted. Now it has become legal. I better leave before it becomes compulsory.
Despite myself, I laughed at the absurdity of it all.
The next post seemed to echo the first one.
Those of you who are practising homosexuals should know that you are perversions of God’s creation. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Eve and Evelyn.
‘That’s true.’ I nodded at the wisdom of the words
Then the next post stopped me cold.
Homosexuals and Lesbians need all the support they can get from us. If you know anyone who is in this dilemma, you have to do all you can to help that person. Pushing them away would only destroy them further. Such people need love. We have to show them love as Christians. Love conquers all.’
Could this be coincidence? How could all three posts I looked at talk about the same issue consecutively? Was God speaking to me? Asking me to do what my mentor was asking?
‘No.’ I shouted as I closed my IPAD with so much force that I thought I had broken it.
I wrestled with my conscience for the next three days as the voices sounded in my mind. I was so disturbed that I screamed out of my sleep one day:
‘God I agree!’
My mentor and wife rushed into my room, their faces bathed in worry.
‘Florence, you were screaming.’ Pastor Kelvin said.
‘Are you okay?’ His wife held me as I sobbed in her arms.
‘It’s not easy to forgive Henry for what he did. How could God ask me to do such a difficult thing?’ I muttered through my tears.
‘God will give you the grace. Just yield yourself to him.’ Mrs Nwosu consoled me.
I drove through the familiar driveway and looked with almost unseeing eyes at the scenery. Everything seemed the same. The well trimmed flowers, the brown coloured tiles at the entrance, the gazebo which housed two other cars. I stepped out of the car and walked to the front door. I hesitated briefly and almost screamed at the absurdity of it all. This was my matrimonial home for crying out loud. I had been carried over the threshold here three years ago by my loving husband. I was the happiest bride you ever saw as I walked into my new home.
How then could I be hesitating to enter the same home that excited me just three years before?
I recalled the conversation I had with my mentor just before I left the house I had stayed in for almost two weeks.
‘I don’t think I can do this, Daddy. My heart feels torn to pieces.’
‘God will give you the grace. You have to forgive him. You took vows of for better for worse. This is a ‘worse’ situation and you need to be there for him. That is what commitment is all about.’
God worked on me in an amazing way and I felt an overwhelming love for my husband again. I remembered the good times we had shared. How Henry lost his job because I was ill and he refused to leave my side. How patient he had been with me, protecting me from his family who wanted to crucify me for not having a child yet.
I turned the key slowly in the lock and walked with more hesitant steps into the living room. I stood in the centre, looking around at the marine blue curtains which matched the soft furnishings and throw pillows and wondering what to do next when he entered. Henry was clad in a singlet that showed off his huge chest and wore a pair of shorts. He looked at me as if he could not believe his eyes.
‘My wife, my angel Florence. You’re here.’
I looked at him squarely in the face for the first time since the incident. Remorse blazed out of his eyes which had sunken further into their sockets.
‘I’m so sorry, love.’ Henry dropped to his knees in front of me.
Sin is indeed a reproach. I thought to myself. I could not believe my hunk of a husband could drop on his knees before me. He was not proud and had apologised to me a number of times but he had never knelt before me.
‘Please stand up dear. It’s okay. Let’s talk.’ I said slowly, my thoughts still muddled up.
I led him to the sofa in the living room and we sat side by side. My husband could hardly look me in the eyes.
‘Tell me everything.’ I said, with a calmness that could only be divine.