(STEPPING INTO MAGGIE’S SHOE)
© Opeyemi Ojerinde Akintunde
“So where are you at?” Gabriel asked me over the phone.
“My Cab is Just driving into the car lot” I answered.
“Finally, I get to meet my sugarrrrr… I am in Room 218” he said with a bubble of excitement.
“Ok! See you soon, I just hope you don’t get disappointed when you see me” I said to myself unsure of what was going to happen soon. I paid my taxi fare and hoped the taxi man did not recognize me because I had my shades on and a purple wig to hide my identity.
I walked into the very beautiful reception and asked for a room for three nights. The plan Gabriel and I had, was to book different rooms so as to avoid anyone who might know us suspect us. I was the one who insisted on that.
Fortunately, I was given 219, just opposite Gabriel’s room. He called me immediately I got the room and was excited when I told him my room number. I noticed one of the receptionist was trying to check out my face properly, but he somehow lost interest when I gave him a wrong name.
I walked up the stairs, instead of using the elevator as it gave me time to breathe. The voice kept asking…
“Do you love me?”
“God you know I love you, but I love me too, and I also want to be happy, just let me have this fun once and afterwards forgive me… I have had two heartbreaks in less than a year, Julius made a mockery out of me, Apostle also took me for a fool and is using my challenge against me. So dear Lord, I am human and I want to be happy…
Please let me have this comfort, please!”
By this time I was already walking close to 219, I was hoping I would not see GABRIEL yet, but my hope was dashed as Gabriel opened his door as I stood in front of my door to open it.
My back was to his door when he opened his door, I couldn’t bear to turn and see his expression knowing his secret admirer was the wife of his Pastor.
“I knew it was you, my heart did not deceive me, thank you for coming!” Gabriel said, but instead of turning to see his face, I rushed into my room and shut the door behind me…
I started crying… I had made a mess of myself. He knew I was the one all along. Definitely, I had been fooling myself. My phone rang and on checking the screen he was the one calling. I ended the call.
He called me using the hotel intercom, I refused picking up…
Finally, I heard him knocking at my door. I knew I had to open up to avoid unnecessary attention.
I opened the door and stepped back with my head bowed in shame…
“I am sorry, for bringing you into all these, I am really ashamed of myself, I have just been unhappy of late and a lot of things have been happening to me, so I just wanted some happiness for myself… I am really sorry” I said with sincere tears flowing…
“My heart always told me you were the one, hey…” he moved closer to me but I stepped back. He understood I didn’t want him close to me, so he stopped making attempts to come close to me…
“OK. I will stay far away, if that’s what you want, but would you at least listen to me?”
“Huh huh” I said nodding in the affirmative as I still couldn’t look up at him.
“The first day I ever set my eyes on you in church was about two years ago, I had come for a brief holiday. I was just in town for a week; it was my Grandpa’s burial. I had attended service on Sunday. You sat down in front of me in church and throughout the service I couldn’t concentrate. I wanted to speak to you after service, but I felt it wasn’t necessary, because I wasn’t ready for a steady relationship at that time. I silently hoped I was going to see you again when I came back after completing my degree. It was that same Sunday I got to know your name was Happy.”
For the first time, I looked up and saw his genuine eyes…
“So it came to me as a disheartening news when I returned from school and I found out you were the new wife of the Apostle, I cried for days, because what I feel for you is very strong, Happy.”
“And out of the blues, two months ago, a strange lady started sending me messages, at first I didn’t want to give a response until, a little voice told me in my head it was you, I followed my instincts and I started responding to the chats.”
“Most times in church, I lose it, I often have to go the gents to get some water on my face, because of how beautiful you look.”
The day I eventually got my suspicions right was when I asked you after service one day, what you wore to church and you told me exactly what you had on… so Happy, I always knew you were the one, and I don’t see you as a bad person… I am ready to marry you if you divorce the pastor. We could go start a new life together outside the country…I couldn’t say a word, as all I kept asking God were questions…
“God… Why did you let me enter Pastor Maggie’s shoe when there was still an available unworn shoe?” I cried and cried, till I had no strength in me, by this time Gabriel was sitting on the bed with me, wrapping his arms around me in comfort.
I narrated almost everything about my past including what Julius did to me, but omitting the part of his mother being one of my husband’s mistress. I just told him Apostle had only made love to me once since we got married. I didn’t tell him the reason. I just told him, Apostle didn’t love me…
“Happy, do you want to stay unhappy all your life?”
“Then come out of this cage and be with me. I have never had a girlfriend all my life, all through my life I have been focusing on my career. That didn’t give me time for dating, and the first lady that really touched a special place in my heart is you…”
“Gabriel, our Christian faith doesn’t support divorce, this is not the same as the fake marriage I had with Julius, Apostle paid my dowry, we did our church wedding and court marriage. Besides, we have become one flesh by virtue of consummating our marriage on our wedding night!”
“But the advanced world ought not to dictate our way of life but the scriptures.”
“Happy, look me in the eye, and tell me I should leave here” he said and I couldn’t because even the mere hug I was getting from him was enough warmth for my cold soul…
“Stay with me for a while please” I said and we both laid on the bed, as he wrapped me in the comfort of his arms…This was what I had missed for months… Julius didn’t give, Apostle also failed me but Gabriel was making me talk to God in my heart…
“God! Julius was an undersized shoe I forced myself into, I got out of it in pains; Apostle’s shoe was oversized, I have been unable to fit myself into but God of Israel, Gabriel would have been my perfect size, if I had not gotten married to Apostle… God can you rewind all that has happened and make all these a dream?”
To be continued!
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