Regina was on her way home from church. As the assistant head of ushering, she had to ensure the offering was received by the accounts department before she left. This was after standing for hours in her 6 inch heels .
Gateway Church of Christ, was where she had worshipped for 10 years. Now she was 34, a sales manager at a furniture company, living in her own 2 bedroom serviced apartment in a posh estate, and driving a posh SUV. No one could say God had not been good to her. Yes, she was single. That was due to no fault of hers.
She was slim, fair, shapely, and pretty. Herlegs had always been described as her best feature, so she wore skirts that drew attention to them, often. She had a very soothing voice and manner that instantly put people at ease. In fact, it was partly the reason for her rise at work. People parted with their money before they knew what hit them.
Regina had been in 3 relationships. The first was as an undergraduate. It lasted till they graduated and ended when her boyfriend went to UK for his masters degree. The 2nd was with a pastor whose church she was attending at the time. They got engaged and she was preparing to be the 1st lady of the church. One day, he claimed a prophet had a revelation that she would not be able to bear children for him. Despite all her pleas for him to let her go for a fertility test, he broke up with her.
She could not help but believe the revelation came because she admitted to him that she had undergone 1 abortion for her former boyfriend. If not, why did the prophet show up just 1 week after that discussion? He had told her that it didn’t count as God was a God of 2nd chances. Obviously, he, Pastor Dennis, was not a man of 2nd chances. Regina left the church in shame and joined Gateway. She threw herself into church activities, spending all her spare time in church.
Many men approached her, both at work, and in church but, she could not see herself with them. All she saw was Pastor Dennis, mocking her in her dreams. The dream was recurrent. She was wearing a bridal gown, gliding down the aisle while he stood at the altar. When she got there, he held her hand and placed a bloody package in it. It was her aborted foetus, wrapped in a plastic bag, eyes open, heart still beating, all bloody, and foul – smelling. She would scream and faint.
This dream tormented her every night but, she could not share it with anyone. How could she, when she was disgraced the 1st time she tried to come clean? She had hoped that by confessing to him, she would release the guilt and start their marriage on a clean slate. On the contrary, she was booted out.
Regina, pulled up at her estate gate. It was 10 pm. She put on her over head lights so the security men could identify her, and waved when they did. When they opened the gates, she accelerated, turning left into her own street. At home, she turned on the lights, kicked off her shoes, and sank into her sofa.
She lived alone, though a housekeeper came every morning to clean, shop for groceries, and cook her dinner. All she had to do, was take it out of the refrigerator and microwave it. Breakfast was oatmeal and fruit, while lunch was served at work.
“I hope Ima ironed my white blouse “, she thought as she rose to pour herself a drink. Turning on the TV, she tuned to the sports channel.
She was a sports enthusiast and knew more about sports than many men. It wasn’t limited to football. She watched basketball, car racing, tennis, and more. This was another reason for her success at work. Her ability to engage any man in conversation, led to her closing more deals than any other member of staff. It was her boss’s worst nightmare, the thought of losing her to a rival company. She was driving an official car, lived in a house they paid for and was given a paid vacation overseas annually. All these, were to ensure that she did not entertain the thought of resigning, or worse, starting a rival company.
Regina smiled at the thought. God had really been good to her. Lately, her mother had been on her case about getting married. She lied to her that she was in a relationship. That gave her some reprieve but, she knew soon, she would be expected to introduce him. She cringed at the thought of her father’s warnings back in the day.
“Honesty is the best policy. The more lies you tell, the more you need to tell lies to cover them up. Tell the truth and you won’t have to remember what you said”
He had made her memorise those words after canning her for some misadventure or the other in childhood. She sighed at the memory of her dad who died 2 years before in a ghastly car accident.
“The truth was no friend of hers. Honesty was not always the best policy”, she thought as she turned off the TV and headed for her room.
Falling on her bed fully clothed, she dozed off. Regina was exhausted. Dinner would have to wait for another day.
Ijeoma got home to find out that Magnus was still out. She fed the children and put them to bed. Jonah had thrown up his meal at the daycare but seemed fine when they got home. She fretted over him while he slept.
“Will Magnus have money for us to go to the hospital? I don’t want to ask him and receive insults”, she worried. She sat by his bed, touching him occasionally to be sure he was still breathing. Kevin dozed calmly beside him but Jonah thrashed about in his sleep.
“Perhaps he is hungry”, she thought.
He had eaten very little and she didn’t push as she wanted to avoid another episode of vomiting. She had given him his drugs, hoping he would tolerate them. Jonah was a healthy child but recently, seemed to be ill more often. He had even suffered a convulsion 3 months ago and had to be on admission for 2 days. The hospital bill had further driven a wedge between she and Magnus.
He accused her of not noticing his symptoms earlier. She retorted that he was a stingy goat. One of her uncles had to bail them out, as neither of them had the money to pay up. During the drive home, they openly abused each other, not minding the kids who were silent at the back, wondering what was going on.
At 11pm, she heard Magnus letting himself in with his key. She headed to the living room and saw him about to turn on the TV.
“Where are you coming from?”, she asked, standing at the door to the rooms, arms folded over her breasts.
He ignored her.
“Magnus, you reek of alcohol! Is this the will of God for us?”
“I only had a couple of glasses of red wine. You know I don’t drink”, he began to flick through the channels.
“You don’t drink but you hang out with drunkards! Look at when a responsible man is coming home! Why can’t you be a man?” she fumed.
He ignored her. When she heard the ecstatic yells of football fans from the screen, she lost it.
“Will you turn that thing off!”, she shouted.
“Come and make me”, he replied camly.
She stood before him, bosom heaving angrily.
“Why are you so selfish? You didn’t even care that Jonah is ill. The car broke down on 3rd mainland bridge again. Our rent is 2 months late and we also owe electricity bills”, she raged.
When he didn’t utter a word, she went up to him and poked a finger in his face. “Are you not…..”
Suddenly, he sprang up and pushed her away. Though she landed on the floor unhurt, her mouth was agape. He had never reacted that way before.
“You are the curse on my success! Do you know that I lost an important opportunity today? I would have been promoted and the money would have taken care of our rent and more. Wicked witch!”, he spat, standing over her angrily.
To be continued.