(Hello good people. Many of you have been asking whether Sanctuary Side has a WhatsApp number. The good news is that now we do. The number is 0105571156. You can send a WhatsApp message on this line if you have a query. For ease of communication and giving updates, I have formed WhatsApp group. If you are interested in joining the group, just WhatsApp me on that number and I will add you to the group).
Sarah is absentmindedly staring outside, her large, dreamy eyes gazing at the town below. She is holding a cup of hot coffee with both hands, although she is yet to sip it. She still cannot believe it. David kissed her. This whole thing feels like a dream; a dream in which she is an outsider, watching from a distance. She is in her office, on the fourteenth floor of Wisa Towers, the new office block that is towering over Shava’s skyline. At sixteen floors, Wisa Towers is easily the tallest building in Shava Town, dwarfing the erstwhile king of the town’s skyline, the ten-story Municipal House.
From the window of her office, Sarah has an excellent view of the eastern side of the town. Shava Town has been growing rapidly, and unlike most other towns in the Kenya, it is carefully planned. Rigid zoning laws were established by former Governor Sam, the county’s second governor and the owner of Hotel Shava, and have been enforced by the administrations of most successive Governors after that. The county’s third Governor, Herod, was a crook though; he allowed developers who paid him bribes to defy the zoning laws and build several buildings haphazardly. But that changed when Joyce beat him in the following election to become fourth Governor and the county’s first female Governor. During Joyce’s reign as Governor, all the illegal buildings were brought down by the County Government’s bulldozers.
The billionaire developers sued the County Government, but Governor Joyce stood unapologetically firm. She eventually prevailed in court, and the developers saw their billions go down the drain. Since then, developers have been wary of cutting backroom deals with the officials of the occasional corrupt Governor that occupies Municipal House, the County Headquarters.
Sarah knows all this because she is not only a local girl, but also because for the last six years she has been at the center of it: she is an Architect, and has had the privilege of supervising the construction of some of the new buildings in this town, including Wisa Towers. Her parents live less than three kilometers outside town. She studied at Our Lady of Mercy Messa Junior and Senior Schools, the fine primary and secondary school in Messa ran by Catholic nuns. She then headed to Shava University for her degree in Architecture. At 34, she has made a name for herself in this town as one of the finest Architects. But that is not the reason she is absentminded.
As she sips her coffee, looking down at the street below, Sarah is thinking about her boyfriend. She cannot believe that she has a boyfriend, but it is true. For a week now, she and David have been an item, and last evening he kissed her.
If you had told her a week ago that a man who is not her husband would kiss her, she would have rebuked you with tongues of angels. Romance has never been her thing; at least that is what she led herself, and others, to believe. But that is not to say she has never liked anyone. She has had a number of crushes in the past. Men who would never get to know what she felt, because outwardly, she gives away nothing. To the world, she is a stern Christian who has little time for carnality. She gives the impression that she has little time or patience for anything other than Christian service and professional work. For this reason, few men dare to approach her; and those who have dared in the past found themselves brushed aside with a motherly rebuke, irrespective of their age. None of her friends can imagine Sarah in a romantic relationship. Because all that is carnality; and Sarah, in her own words, was in love with Christ and Christ alone.
But that changed when she met David.
She has always wanted a solid, Christian husband; a deeply spiritual man who would be her priest, provider and protector. She wanted a man with zero sense of humor. Scratch that. A man with negative five hundred sense of humor would be the perfect fit. Because when you are fighting spiritual battles you cannot find time to be funny. Preferably, he would be a Pentecostal pastor with an impressive resume of fighting demons and tearing down principalities. Then they would build an altar at their home to intercede for a perishing world. Honeymoon would be spent on a Christian mission in a remote part of Turkana. That is what she wanted. But her fantasies have a different version. She should not have watched those soap operas or read those Danielle Steel and Sydney Sheldon novels as a teenager. Her mind is now carnally polluted.
But David has made her realize that she can have both what she has always wanted and what she fantasizes about.
He is everything she needs in a man, and more. She met him at her new church several months ago. She set her eyes on him on the very first day she fellowshipped at Messiah’s Tabernacle. David was leading worship that day. Sarah was carried away by his physique, his voice and the way he prayed. As he led the congregation in worship that day, he exuded the confidence and seriousness of a seasoned spiritual warrior. The sermonette he gave right before he started leading songs indicated that he is a man soaked in the Word. He spoke prophetically into their lives, before he started leading slow songs. He punctuated the songs with sessions of prayer, which he artfully guided into a series of spiritual crescendos and decrescendos. David made the worship leaders at Sarah’s former church, Conqueror Jesus the King International Ministries (CJKIM), look like jokers. She knew right there and then that he was the one.
As she got to know him, she discovered another quality about him too: he is funny. But he is funny in a spiritual way, if there is such a thing. When not on the altar, David is a charming man, smiling easily and telling Abrahamic jokes. That sounds about right, even if Sarah has no idea how her mind came about the phrase; Abrahamic jokes. David speaks, jokes and even laughs in Christianese. The more Sarah got to know him, the more she fell in love with him.
Unfortunately, she was not the only woman who had her eyes trained on him. As she came to discover, many of the young women in the youth group wanted him. Being the newbie in the church, she knew she stood no chance. There is a one particular girl, Judy, who is always around him, and behaves as though they are dating. While David doesn’t introduce her as his girlfriend, he doesn’t deny it when people jokingly suggest that she is.
Sarah was getting used to the impossibility of having David when he asked her out last week. He took her out to dinner on Saturday then asked to be his girlfriend on the same night. She quickly accepted, not wanting to lose him. She wanted to clear the air on the question of Judy, but she was afraid that she would come off as being insecure. So she let it slide.
In any case he is the one who took her out and asked her to be his girlfriend. He could have asked Judy if he so wished. But he didn’t. That can only mean that it is she, Sarah, that he loves.
On Sunday, hours after asking her to be his girlfriend, David avoided talking to Sarah in public. He chose to hang out with Judy instead. That stung Sarah. She wished she had put her foot down on the Judy issue the previous evening. When they talked on phone on Sunday evening, Sarah asked why he had snubbed her, but she avoided mentioning Judy. He explained that he doesn’t want people to start hyping their relationship before they get to know each other well. That did not make sense to Sarah: why would he be comfortable hanging out with another woman but not his girlfriend?
But to be fair, David doesn’t flirt in the traditional sense of the word; if he did, she wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. All his relationships with women seem to be above board: no lewd jokes, no physical contact except handshakes (he doesn’t hug women) and he doesn’t like being alone with a woman in his car. And the truth is, she doesn’t want to be put under the spotlight. Being the girlfriend of the youth leader who also happens to be the most eligible bachelor in her new church will definitely put her in the spotlight. Yet she has this feeling that Judy is closer to her new boyfriend than she is. But that is not even the problem per se. The problem is that David seems content to let things stay as they are.
David must have noticed her discomfort, which is probably why he took her out for dinner yester night. And as he escorted her to her car after the dinner, he held her in his arms and kissed her. That had surprised her, coming as it was from the Man of God who doesn’t even hug women. But she quickly caught on and allowed herself to soak in his physical attention. And now she wants to be held again. She wants to be kissed again. She is thinking about the Man of God’s strong arms and juicy lips as she stares dreamily at the street below.
She silently wonders whether she is a hypocrite. Everyone believes that she is super holy: girl who holds breakfast briefing sessions with God the Father, power lunches with Christ the Son and social dinners with the Holy Spirit. They believe that she has no time to think about earthly matters.
But then it is the Man of God himself who kissed her first. He has to know what he is doing. Surely he can’t let things escalate into sin. She knows that if the situation is left to her, with all these carnal feelings that are now controlling her, her lust will lead them both to hell. Maybe they should get married quickly so that they can consummate their love without guilt.
But even as she dreams about a lifetime with her prince, there is one thought that is stubbornly sticking to the back of her mind: Judy’s apparent relationship to David.
Image by Dellon Thomas from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/smiling-woman-african-american-woman-4654734/
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