“Ama, I think it is time for me to find a wife,” Pastor Allen announced solemnly.
His secretary of six years stared at him, mouth open. She hadn’t seen this coming. Although he encouraged marriage, wedded others, and counseled those in troubled marriages, he publicly proclaimed that he had the gift of singleness. In the first few years of their knowing each other, she had badgered him about finding love. She tried to match-make him with ladies who were “pastor’s wife material” in her estimation: Women, who were modest yet gorgeous, ambitious yet submissive, out- spoken yet demure, bold but not forward, and most importantly, able to preach a storm. He laughed off her suggestions. How could he change direction just when she had reconciled herself to him remaining unmarried for life?
He did not offer more, in his characteristic reticence. She was quite used to this and took his cue. They were seated on the armchairs in his office, quite alone. He had just had a meeting with the two associate pastors who worked under him. They had left shortly before she entered to offer him lunch. She was not surprised when he declined and asked her to take a seat. All day, he had been rather morose. In public, he was warm if not out-going but in private, his shy, introspective nature came to the fore. Ama had learned to let him open up when he chose to, if he chose to. This was the secret of their closeness.
Allen lowered his head into his hands. “What do I do?”
His voice was torn. Ama could hear his self-doubt, his uncertainty, his fear of the unknown. She had never ceased to marvel that he was that unconscious of his good looks, his accomplishments as the senior pastor of a two thousand member church with branches in two university campuses and six secondary school outreaches and of the adulation of teeming fans across the world. The media department ensured that his popularity on social media did not wane. Every Sunday, they posted his ‘outfit of the day’ on instagram with a portion of his sermon. His quotes were projected on twitter and facebook on an hourly basis. The blogs and magazines were inundated with his opinion pieces. He was known to take on controversial topics and thrash them without minding whose ox was gored.
What the world did not know was that he kept himself away from the madness by filtering what he responded to through his personal assistant, Ovie. He genuinely cared little about what people thought about him. Ovie was the one who bought all his clothes, shoes and perfumes. It was he who made him look good. Allen loved to read. He would rather curl up on a couch with a book than attend a member’s event. Sometimes, they ( Ama and Ovie) were able to convince him to attend a social event, especially if hosted by a cherished brother or sister but, it was a rarity.
“Is there someone you have in mind?” Ama knew there was no one even as she asked. He would have told her or she would have noticed. At the very least, Ovie would have spilled the beans.
He looked up but did not reply. She nodded.
“What do you have in mind?”
“I never used to feel lonely, Ama. Suddenly, my house is too big, empty, cold…”
“I don’t know.”
“If I had a daughter, you would not need to say more and you know it.”
“Sure,” he scoffed. “You would have begged her to marry me.”
“This man just doesn’t know how many girls are dreaming of walking down the aisle with him!”
His phone rang but he made no move to pick it up. She let it ring out before rising to pick it from the coffee table. It began to ring again so she checked the caller ID.
“It’s Pastor Jenkins,” she said.
He shook his head so she turned off the ringer and dropped it on the table. Adjusting the hem of her black skirt, she took her seat.
“I don’t even know where to start from. I have no girlfriends, no prospects, nothing. Who will even want me?” Allen bit his lip as he spoke.
Hi, everyone. Thanks for all the messages in my absence. I was busy hunting for inspiration. Now that I finally found some, do read and tell me what you think.
And yay! I published a book and I am going to be posting an excerpt very soon. Watch this space. Cheers, Dr. N