(Continued from Domestic War I)
In that moment of stunned silence, Summer looks to Myles for help, but the Senior Pastor is busy typing on his phone. He seems to be sending a flurry of text messages. Then he rises and walks out of the sanctuary. Summer quickly gathers her wits and smiles broadly at the congregation.
“Church, the Bible says that the wicked run when nobody is chasing them.”
A section of the congregation laughs nervously. Summer realises that the statement could describe Myles, who has left in a hurry, so she rushes to clarify.
“I did not mention Pastor Helena. I just said what the Lord has planted in my heart, I don’t know why she reacted the way she did, spreading false allegations against me and the man of God, Pastor Myles. I hope the Lord heals her from whatever is ailing her.”
She goes ahead and reads the notices and then invites the choir to present a song as ushers collect offering. When she steps down from the pulpit, she walks out of the church and heads to the youth church. Whenever she is on MC duties in the main church, she sticks there for the whole service, but today it is the last place she wants to be.
But even as she walks away from the scene of her humiliation, Summer cannot stop herself from thinking about the possibilities of the future. Is Helena serious about finally leaving her husband? If that is the case, then Summer knows that she should not waste time: she should purposefully insert herself in Myles life. Summer grew up in poverty, but she made a promise to herself that she would not be poor as an adult. Right from the time she joined this church as a Sunday school kid, which she did without the approval of her parents, she always admired the cars that many of the church members drove. Almost all the kids in her Sunday school class were rich kids. After church they would drive out with their parents and go to various restaurants around Ruiru town for lunch. Summer would run home, where she would find boiled and salted githeri waiting for her.
Summer’s father was a drunkard who contributed nothing to the house economy. All the money he made from his carpentry jobs went to alcohol. Many are times he slept in ditches, and it is surprising that he actually got jobs. His life was a mess. Summer’s mother was a vegetable seller, and the money she made was hardly enough to feed, clothe and educate her six children. When Myles and Helena opened the church near their home, Summer decided to join. Before that, she had been attending a mabati Pentecostal church with her mother and siblings. At first, her decision put her at loggerheads with her mother, and they fought about it for months. Summer was about seven years old at the time. She was young, but she could see that the congregants of the new church were wealthy people, and she suspected that she could get help from there.
Her mother changed her opinion about the church when Pastor Myles decided to pay Summer’s school fees. Summer had shared her story with her Sunday School class, and the Sunday School teacher shared it with Helena, who passed it on to Myles. Myles was doing well financially; after emptying his and his wife’s savings to build the sanctuary, the church attracted many of the middle class residents of the Ruiru-Juja area, including some who used to attend the mother church in Juja, so the tithes and offerings were adequate.
Myles took Summer out of the local public school to a private academy. It wasn’t a prestigious school like the one his own children were attending, but it was way better than the public school she had been attending while barefoot. In appreciation, her mother joined the church, and Helena gave her a job as a cook/cleaner in the church. Unfortunately, she died two years later. Summer’s siblings scattered. Her three brothers went to the city and became street children. Her first born sister got married, and the other one, who was the third born in the family, became a house help at the age of nineteen. Their father disappeared and has never been seen again.
Myles and Helena would have taken her into their home, but her best friends’ mother insisted on taking her. Summer’s best friend was a girl called Elosy, whose mother was a widowed secondary school teacher. Summer and Elosy met in church, but they became friends when Myles took Summer to Elosy’s school. Hannah, Elosy’s mother, became a second mother to Summer, taking care of all her needs, except school fees which Myles continued to pay. Summer and Elosy went to the same High School and university. They commuted every day from Ruiru to TUK in the CBD. Summer moved out of Hannah’s house after landing the internship at church, which is around the time she started sleeping with Myles.
Summer is convinced that Myles loves her. He has told her about the mistreatment that he has suffered at the hands of his wife Helena, and she is convinced that she can do a better job at taking care of the man of God. Already, he takes dinner at her small one bedroom apartment in Juja. He has told her repeatedly that he has never been in love with any woman the way he is in love with her.
As she takes her seat in the youth church, she is already dreaming about her new title: Pastor (Mrs) Summer Kinoro.
Helena walks out of the church to her car. She and her husband usually come to church in different cars because she comes earlier than he does for the worship team prayers and final prep. Her idea is to go to her matrimonial house, pick her clothes and then head to her father’s house, where she will cool her heels until she decides what her next move will be. Since her parents are in church, she will have to find a restaurant to hang around until afternoon.
As she approaches the red Honda Civic, a beefy security guy steps between her and the car.
“I am sorry Pastor Helena, but I have been instructed to take the keys to the car.”
“Who has given you those instructions Dave?”
“Reverend Myles,” Dave replies apologetically. He opens his phone and shows her the text. It is Myles number alright, and in that text Myles threatened Dave with firing if he lets her leave the compound with the car.
“It’s okay Dave, I wouldn’t want you to lose your job on my account.”
She hands him the keys and walks away on foot. She has the house keys in her handbag, and she has some money, about three thousand shillings. She will take a taxi and go to get her clothes. But now because her clothes cannot stay in the taxi the whole day, she will have to go straight to her parent’s home and stay in the compound until they return.
Her three children are all grown up, so there isn’t a big problem there. Judah, 22, completed his degree in Computer Science earlier this year and got a job with the payment systems giant, Cellulant. He is based in Lusaka. Deborah, 20, is a third year student of finance at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
Jairus, 18, has just completed his high school studies and is set to join university in a couple of months. His father wanted him to join his sister in Manchester, but Jairus wanted to go to Edith Cowan in Australia, where his brother studied. Judah helped his younger brother apply to the university a few months ago and even helped him get a scholarship. Judah and Deborah are also scholarship students, and they aggressively sought the scholarship without the assistance of their parents. When Jairus’ scholarship was secured, Myles finally allowed his son to go to Australia. But Jairus still has two months to go before reporting at Edith Cowan, and he is currently staying with his brother in Lusaka.
Helena walks for about ten minutes before she finds a vehicle with the taxi label. She negotiates with the driver and he agrees to take her to her matrimonial house, which is a few kilometers into the interior of Ruiru, back to town and on to her father’s house in Witeithie for a thousand shillings. But when they get to her matrimonial home, the guard refuses to open the gate.
“Eliud, what is the matter? Why don’t you want me to get into my own house?”
“I am sorry Madam Helena, but Pastor Myles says that if I let you into this house then he will fire me. I have three children in school…”
“It’s okay Eliud.”
“I am so sorry madam.”
“Don’t be, Eliud. It is not your fault.”
She goes back to the taxi and gives the driver directions to her father’s house. Her parents don’t have a guard so the taxi driver graciously opens the gate and drives in. She is surprised to find both her parents there. She had expected to sit on the porch for hours waiting for them to come back from church.
“What have you done, Helena?” her father growls as soon as she steps off the taxi. Myles has already talked to them, it seems. That is why they are here. Myles must have figured that this is where she would seek solace.
“Don’t father me! How old are you?”
“47,” Helena replies without understanding what he is driving at.
“You are 47 years old and you don’t know how to respect your husband? Why would you embarrass Pastor Myles in front of his flock? What kind of example are you setting for your daughter Deborah?”
“I spoke the truth father. I did not embarrass him; he is the one who has been consistently humiliating me.”
“You are such an ingrate. That man has given you everything. What more do you want?”
“Father, please hear me out.”
“I don’t have the time, Helena. Go back and make peace with your husband. If you are having problems, then discuss them with his parents, because they became your parents they day we took dowry. You are no longer welcome here. Get out.”
Image by Pexels from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/automobile-automotive-blur-car-1845650/
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