Posted in christian

In His Love: Chapter 7

Jamez Picard on Unsplash

Three weeks later:

Gerald stepped out of his room, as Amara was coming out of the bathroom. They both stopped and stared at each other. Amara smiled, and Gerald felt warmth flood his body, from his head to his toes.

“Good morning,” He smiled back at her and continued walking to the living room. Unsure of her mood.

Amara stepped into his path, blocking him. “Good morning Gerald, off to work? Here, let me help you with your shirt.” She reached out to touch his shirt. Gerald caught both her hands with his own and put them down.Amara smiled. “I understand. You don’t want me touching or kissing you?” 

Gerald did not return the smile. “Amara. I hope you slept well. Breakfast is in the microwave. I will talk to you at noon.” He continued on his way.

“Is my weight the problem?” She asked from behind him. He turned back to her, his brows furrowing. “I checked the weighing scale in the bathroom, and I added about 4kg. Is that why you don’t want me?”

Gerald shook his head, turned, and walked away; this time hoping to leave the house as fast as possible.

“Answer me, Gerald.” She said, following him. 

He stopped at the door, not bothering to turn around. “I am not a body you can assuage your needs with. I cannot explain the depths of my feelings. You wouldn’t understand. I want to be with you, but you don’t want to trust or believe anything I say. I want to help with your struggles, Amara. Let me.”

Amara turned and walked back to her room. Gerald stood looking at the door until he heard her bedroom door close. He left the house wanting to scream or kick something. 

She had taken to teasing him, sometimes in anger and sometimes out of boredom. She was his first item of discussion in God’s presence. He kept asking the Father what he could do to help her. She confused him further by not talking. Tired of seeing her wallow in whatever was eating her up, Gerald stayed out of her way. They would start leaving the house, he decided.

***********************************************************************************

When Gerald got back at noon, an empty house greeted him. Amara didn’t tell him she was going out. He called her phone, and when she didn’t answer, he sent a message. He waited a while for her response, but nothing came. As he got up to leave the house, he hesitated at the impatient raps on his door. His eyes widened when he opened the door to the last person he expected to see.

“Oh, hello. Nma, correct?” He asked, putting forward his hand with a smile. 

Nma, dressed to murder, rushed forward in her too-tight dress to grasp, and shake his hand. “Yes, Pastor, it’s Nma.”

“I’m sorry, but Amara is not here at the moment.” Gerald said as he tried to extricate his hand from the grip.

“No, sir. I came to talk to you.” She said, holding on.

Gerald grinned as he used his other hand to remove hers. “Nma, I am not a Pastor. Please call me Gerald. Since you came for me, let us go to the church office.”

“Gerald, Pastor Josh is using the church office, and I want to talk to you about Amara, alone. Can we talk in your house?” 

Gerald wondered if she dressed up for an outing, or for him. The first option seemed scary. “Sure, come in.”He said as he moved aside for her to walk in and closed the door behind them. 

By the time he turned back to her, she had made herself comfortable, so he took the seat beside her.

“Gerald, did Amara tell you anything about her health issues?” She asked.

Gerald was quiet for a minute. “You mean, about the AIDS?”

Nma’s mouth opened a bit. She composed herself, seeing her news did not trouble Gerald. “Well, she lost all her customers, and she is a no-go for every Madam in the city. She can never work here again. Since she’s staying with you, I took it upon myself to tell you about it.” She smiled, leaning forward to show-off more of her exposed breasts. “A man like you, who is kind enough to allow a harlot into his house, should not earn such wickedness for it.”

Gerald looked down, praying for wisdom. “Nma, I presume Amara is not your friend?”

She looked away from him. “Oh, we are close. I thought you could not be aware of the situation because you are still living with her. Women are good at hiding such things. I wanted you to be informed.” She turned back to him, smiling.

Gerald nodded.

“Gerald, why are you still living with her if you know she is an AIDS carrier?”

Gerald smiled. “Nma, Amara doesn’t have AIDS.”

“Oh, is that right?” Nma asked after a long while, looking at Gerald, a pitiful look. “Did she say so?”

“Yes. Since you are close to Amara, you can help tell all her friends the good news.” Gerald said and stood. “I need to head back to the office. Thank you for coming and for looking out for me.”

Nma stood and walked close to him. “Gerald, I can do so much more for you,” she whispered. She kept her bag on the seat she had vacated and snapped the clasp of her dress from the shoulder. It fell away from her body, leaving her naked except for the matching bra and panties she wore. “I liked you from the start, and I hoped you would like me too.” 

Gerald picked up her dress from the ground. He took her by the hand and dragged her to his room. He opened the door, shoved the dress at her, and pushed her in. “I’m giving you fifteen seconds before I call the women in the church. I’m waiting for you here.” He said and closed the door behind him.

Twenty seconds later, Nma walked past him and into the living room. Gerald picked her bag and handed the minute case to her. “I may not be a pastor, but I am still a man of God. Please ensure this never repeats itself. Leave.” He gestured to the door with his hand. She looked him over, smiled, and turned to go. Before she got to the door, he called her name.”Don’t come to this house again to visit your close friend or me.” 

At midnight, Gerald stopped pretending to read and turned off the side lamp near his bed. He had waited long enough; he would try to sleep. 

Amara came in at 2 am, and Gerald listened to the noise she made as she walked into her room. He gave her five minutes before he went to her door and knocked. 

Silence.

“Amara, I’m coming in. I hope you’re decent.” He waited for ten seconds and turned the door handle. The room was dark, and she giggled as he turned on the light. Her blanket moved, and he wondered why she would hide from him. He heard her whisper to herself to be quiet.

He moved to the bed, and grasping the blanket from her hand, pulled the cloth away from her face. She kept struggling, though. “Amara, can we talk? I’ll wait for you in the living room. Please dress up.” He let the blanket go and walked out. 

Gerald waited for fifteen minutes in the living room before returning to her. The door was still open, and she was snoring.

*********************************************************************************

A week later, severe sores appeared on Amara’s face. They started from her mouth, but after a day or two, moved to her chin and her jaw. She complained of weakness and fever. 

Gerald took her to the hospital when the medication she got from the pharmacy some days earlier did not seem to work. A day later, they picked up the results, and oral herpes happened. 

Stunned, Gerald moped at the doctor as he confirmed the report and asked her questions about her lifestyle. Back in the quarters, Amara was on the way to her room when Gerald decided he was done with her attitude. 

“Stop, Amara.” 

She stopped but didn’t turn around to face him. 

Gerald prayed for wisdom and patience. “From your reaction to the sores, is this your first experience with such a thing?” 

She nodded. 

“Do you think this happened because of your night out last week?”

Amara was quiet.

Gerald stepped closer to her. “Where did you go that night? What happened?”

Amara lifted her hands up and took steps away from him. “Oh, for god’s sake. I’m an adult and can do as I please, even if I am living in your house. Can’t I have some privacy? I went to get my itch scratched, since you wouldn’t oblige me.” She turned and moved close to him. “I am what I am, and I needed a man. A real man for one night, to make me whole again. I hope I have said all you wanted to hear?”

Gerald looked at her for a while, walked past her, and left the room. She followed him to his room and bristled as he locked the door.

“Come out here. What did you expect? I am a prostitute!” She hit his door. “Open this door now and listen. This is my way and my life. You played the God’s boy role perfectly, but I wanted you to touch me, hold me. I must survive. Do you understand? I have people depending on me, waiting for money to feed and go to school? So, don’t enter your room and judge me, you judge. Come out! This is the Amara you wanted to marry; this is the girl God sent you to love. Are you tired already? This conversation hasn’t started yet? Come out, now!” she shouted, kicking the door.

Gerald opened the door, advanced towards her fast and held her shoulders, forcing her away from his door. Amara stepped back in fear, but remained still, waiting. She looked like she had resigned herself to whatever he meted out to her. 

Gerald dropped his hands and shook his head. “I would never hurt you, Amara, never. All the words you shouted at me must ring true to you, but none made sense to me. This is not the first time we are dealing with the threat of disease together. I sat with you in the hospital for the HIV screen tests. I waited with you for the results, believing you couldn’t be positive.

“If you wanted a man, you should have agreed to be mine and we would have started the marriage process, but no. If there are people depending on you, come to me. I can sort you out, again and again. You are your own worst enemy and until you are clear on that, I will always be the guy by the wayside to you.” He turned and walked back into his room, locked his door again.

**********************************************************************************

The next morning, Gerald knew what he had to do. On his way to work, he went to Amara’s room and opened the door. She was sound asleep on her bed, still wearing the clothes from the day before. He went to her and laid a hand on her head. A fever lit her skin like fire, the sores taking up more space on her body. 

He knelt beside her and prayed for healing, finishing with thanksgiving. He left her room and closed the door behind him.

***********************************************************************************

When Gerald returned at noon, Amara lay sprawled on the center carpet, sound asleep. She must have been watching the television because the news was on. She littered her medicine packs all over the table. Gerald decided not to disturb her and went to the kitchen. He noted she finished the food he left, or he hoped so.

He prepared lunch and went back to the living room to sit and pray, not eating. He finished and noticed that Amara was looking at him.

“Good afternoon. What’s the time?” She asked.

He smiled, surprised she was speaking to him. He checked his wristwatch. “1 pm. Are you still hurting from the sore?”

“Yes, thank you. Do you believe your prayers work?”

Gerald nodded. “Yes, Amara, I believe prayers work. If not for prayers, I wouldn’t be here today. God makes his power available to those who believe and trust him.”

She sighed and lay down again. “I’m happy for you.”

They remained in silence, and Gerald enjoyed the experience. He continued to speak to God in his heart about the situation at hand.

“Would you help me? With cash, I mean?” She asked, not looking at him.

He nodded. “Yeah, how much do you need?”

Amara sat up. “About two hundred thousand haras. Can you spare such an amount of money? I’ll pay you back.”

Gerald’s eyes flashed. “How would you pay me back, Amara?”

She looked down at her hands and did not respond. Gerald didn’t think she would. He moved to the carpet and sat next to her, holding her hands.

“Marry me, Amara, please. I’ll care for you and all your dependents. You won’t do such jobs anymore.” 

Amara removed her hand from his. “Gerald, your offer is tempting, but I know first-hand what women mean to men-nothing. I swore never to shackle myself to any man a long time ago. I have no safety net to fall on if your feelings change or your God asks you to move on. How will I survive?” She took his hand again. “Can’t we be friends? Good friends?”

Gerald sighed and nodded. He stood and helped her up. “I need to return to the Church. Let’s be friends for now. I’ll always be here for you, as long as God gives me breath.” He said as he turned and walked to the door. “I will transfer the money as soon as possible.” 

***********************************************************************************

At first, Gerald was oblivious. He kept doing his daily work until it was clear the staff no longer helped him out like before. First, the rude stares, the whispers behind his back came next. From church staff, women in the church, to some men he knew. They were all making efforts to ignore him. 

After a day of careful thinking, he went to Pastor Josh. 

The pastor made him sit. “Gerald, Nma brought a sexual harassment allegation against you to our attention. The Parish Council has said nothing yet, but Nma informed certain members of the parish that you tried to sleep with her in your quarters.” 

Gerald sat up and moved closer. “What do you mean, I tried to sleep with her? How? And if I may ask, how am I the last person in the Parish to hear about this?”

Pastor Josh raised an eyebrow. “Well, I was going to call you in this evening to brief you, but as you have found out yourself, it is well. Amara living with you does not help this matter. This accusation laid against you affects the whole parish. People will think I condone such things, and to be frank, this situation is not good for both of us. I must insist Amara leave your quarters and you must go home for a while until we investigate this allegation. I will talk to the Church president about this and give you feedback.”

Gerald’s eyes widened. “Pastor, are you asking me to leave? Do you believe the allegations against me?”

“Gerald, Nma is a child of God who attends this church. Prostitute or no, we must defend their rights and investigate, or people will think we are partial to our own. The situation is beyond me. I’m asking you to leave because the members of the Parish Council asked me to send you away. I will investigate the matter myself, prove you are innocent, and afterward, you can come back.”

Gerald got up, thanked the Pastor, and left the office. He went straight to his quarters, entered his room, and locked the door. On his knees, Gerald sought the Father’s face. 

His head seemed full, and his mind was unclear. Amara, Nma, Pastor Josh, and the church. He felt darkness trying to overtake him like a powerful wave. 

“Jesus!” He uttered as he laid his head on the carpet. The world was fighting against him. He asked God for help, and not knowing how to continue, he fell asleep on the floor in exhaustion and despair. 

Gerald was walking hand in hand with Amara on a lonely street. Happy and chatting as they walked, he heard a voice. “Turn around and save your beloved.”

He turned, and Nma was running towards them with a knife. She looked like she was aiming for Amara, but Gerald stood in her way. 

Nma stopped and glared at him. “Out of my way, Pastor boy. She must die.” 

Gerald shook his head. “No, she will not die. She will live to praise the Lord.”

Nma laughed. “Which God? If you don’t step away from her, I will make your life a living hell as well. Now, move.”

As Nma made to strike, a hand appeared from nowhere and slapped her hard. She hit the ground face down, and her knife fell away from her.

The voice sounded loud in Gerald’s heart.

‘Therefore, thus says the Lord: “If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them. And I will make you to these people a fortified bronze wall; And they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; For I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the Lord. “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.” 

************************************************************************************

The next day, Gerald packed his bags and asked Amara to do the same, with no explanations for her. Packing done, a waiting taxi drove them away from the parish.

One thought on “In His Love: Chapter 7

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