“I STILL LOVE TONYE” (6) SHORT STORY
The last episode of our story saw Tonye acknowledging that she had misbehaved and crying her eyes out. Unfortunately, she was unable to reach Obinna to tender her apology. One wonders why Obinna did not answer her knocks on his door. Tonye recalled how angry he was and wondered if he would forgive her. This episode offers us some clues to these puzzles. Enjoy!
“I STILL LOVE TONYE” (6)
After Titi left Obinna’s room with the jollof rice he asked her to send to Tonye, he hurriedly changed and left for a worship event he had been invited to in a church in town. An upcoming a capella trio called Bethesda, after the pool where the Lord Jesus healed a paralytic, had been invited. Miracles took place under their anointed singing. Obinna saw a man with swollen legs, caused by a kidney infection, healed; a staff of the university who had been paralysed from a stroke recovered the use of her limbs and lots of other clear manifestations of divine power. It was such an awesome experience and he wished Tonye were there.
He told himself that line of thought didn’t mean anything, but his mind kept going back to Tonye throughout the service. He wished things were different between them. How could they move from harmony to acrimony in such a short time? One minute Tonye was cuddling him, the next minute they were exchanging bitter accusations. He wondered if there was anything he could have done differently. But after much reflection, he did not see how he could be blamed for their present estrangement.
When the hosting pastor came to give his closing remarks and make the altar call for salvation, Obinna went over to the smaller and parallel half-wall building that served as the Children’s Department of the church. It had less people inside and he went to one of the back benches to talk to God about the blowup between he and Tonye. Unknown to him, Tonye was also deep in prayer, having called on him and received no response.
Obinna prayed that God should forgive him in every way he had made mistakes in his relationship with Tonye. He admitted that he had received calming words from God like, “Just be patient” and “All things work together for good …” while Tonye was away. He, however, complained that from the time she arrived, all Tonye had done was aggravate him and make him feel he had made a terrible mistake in proposing to her.
He reviewed their relationship pre and post his unexpected proposal of marriage. He remembered the almost tangible connection to her he had felt that day he proposed and when she came to his room earlier today. He had no doubt that his move to ask for Tonye’s hand in marriage had been inspired, but he was afraid that today’s events were just a taste of the disagreements he and she would have in future. He, therefore, told God he was handing Tonye over to him to deal with. He had no intention of discipling an unwilling soul.
And much as he still loved her, he wanted to maintain his distance and call off the engagement. If Tonye wished to marry Boma, he wanted her to be free to do so. If she felt her current lifestyle was okay, he didn’t want to argue with her about it. He only wanted peaceful relations with her and everyone else, just as the Bible demanded. No more talk of marriage, no ties to each other.
By the time he reached this point in his prayer, the service was over. He wasn’t sure what God’s response to his demands was but he joined the crowds spilling out of the church premises and sought transportation back to the lodge. He felt some inner peace as he jostled with other commuters for a taxi and thanked God for it even though he didn’t know what it meant with regard to he and Tonye. The tricycle taxi he joined dropped him at the beginning of his street about 9:45 p.m. It had been a long day. He would finally eat and go to sleep. He hoped that the next day would be more serene than that Saturday had been.
Tonye stirred due to the buzzing of a mosquito near her ear. She slapped her cheek instinctively in a bid to kill the fly. It escaped and came round again. Tonye cursed and sat up. She was surprised to see that the time was almost 11 p.m.. She had drifted off during her tear-soaked prayers due to exhaustion. She must have slept for several hours. Her plan had been to try Obinna’s door again around 8 p.m. Her earlier attempt in the late afternoon had yielded no response. But thanks to her dozing, it was too late to go to him.
Still, she was determined to contact him that night. She tried his line. Unfortunately, it was switched off. As she was wondering how else to reach him, the pangs in her stomach caught her attention. She had been ignoring them while she prayed. She wondered if the food Obinna sent her was still fresh. She thanked God he had put it in a warmer. The food was not only warm, it was very tasty and too much. She scooped out what she needed and transferred the rest into a plastic bowl for refrigeration.
After eating, she remembered that she and Obinna were friends on Facebook. She wanted to pour out her heart to him via a private message (PM) but a look at his account was not encouraging. His last post was a few months’ old. She knew he hated WhatsApp (considered it too obtrusive). She decided to go back to sleep and see him the next morning.
But try as she might, sleep refused to come. So at 2 a.m., a weary and anxious Tonye left her room to knock on Obinna’s door. At first, Obinna didn’t know that the knock that woke him up from sleep was on his door. But as the sound continued and got louder, he got up and was surprised to see Tonye through the peephole. What is she up to this time? And why knock on my door at such an improper hour? Although he didn’t know exactly what time it was, he figured it must be the wee hours of the morning. He decided to answer the door before she woke up the whole lodge.
Thankfully, he was wearing pajamas and a pullover because of the cold weather and Tonye’s shapely body was draped in a floral patterned dressing gown. The moment he opened the door, Tonye, whose face seemed red and puffy (apparently from long weeping), sank to her knees.
“Obi, I beg you in the name of God to forgive me. You can flog me or punish me anyway you like, but don’t push me away.”
Obinna was speechless. Then they were both startled by some hand clapping from the direction of the lounge. Apparently, they had an audience. Some guys who were watching a movie in the lounge had been alerted by the persistent knocking and had been looking through the windows to see what would follow. How embarrassing, Obinna thought. He hadn’t meant to let Tonye into his room. He had just intended to find out what she wanted. But with the unwanted audience, he grabbed her hands and pulled her up. The claps intensified and then turned into cheers and roars as he drew Tonye into his room.
“Lord, have mercy! This is not how I planned to live my life,” Obinna silently prayed.
-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2018
Hi! Do stay for a chat.
Obinna is saying one thing in his prayer while his heart is saying something else. When your heart and your head are moving in opposite directions, which do you follow?
Some people feel prayer is not complete unless we hear clearly from God on our petition. Do you agree?
Do you hear from God? If yes, through what means do you hear from him?
Are you easily accessible to those who want to reach you or are you often incommunicado? If yes, why?
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