(I first wrote this story in March 2018. I have modified it slightly so that I can open it up and expand it into a novella)
Aaron is sitting, alone, at the balcony of Flena Restaurant, a newly established eatery along Kimathi Street, Nairobi. He has a nice view of the Nation Centre twin tower. His mug of coffee has gone cold, untouched. It is 6.30 pm, and the evening rush hour is at the peak. Aaron decided to come here and sit out the traffic while reading and taking coffee. But he is distracted. He has not turned a page since he opened the book half an hour ago. He is thinking about her.
He contemplates calling her but stops himself midway and places his phone back on the table; he doesn’t want to disturb her. Today is Tuesday, so she is having a session with the Apostle in his office. Aaron watches the pounding rain as though it is his first time to see the sky leaking. The seats on the outer row of the Flena Restaurant balcony have been abandoned because of the rain. Even those on the row that he is occupying have been mostly abandoned, but Aaron stays put. He does not feel like going to the crowded room inside. His mind is focused on only one subject.
Aaron and Julia met at the University of Nairobi. Aaron had just joined the Christian Union in a bid to abandon his wayward ways. He hadn’t really gotten saved, but he was trying to reconcile with God. It took only the first Sunday for Aaron to fall for her. She is beautiful, her round face resting gracefully on a long neck which in turn gives way to a shapely body. Her easy smile made her inquisitive eyes dance with mischief, as her mouth revealed a well aligned set of very white teeth. That day she was leading worship in the Christian Union service, and her voice seemed to float above them, drowning their inferior croaking.
Aaron had wondered that day whether Satan was on a personal mission to destroy him. He was sure he would sleep with her, unless God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit intervened in a joint effort. He had seduced Christians before; more radical Christians than Christian Union members. He had successfully seduced female members of the fiery Nyanza Evangelistic Team (NET). He had even slept with a married woman from the Repentance and Holiness Ministries. Most Christian and Muslim women were easy for him. They only needed the right amount of patience and affirmation. Yet he had gone to church to try and change his ways. But Julia’s sheer beauty was threatening to send him back to the world of sin.
In the following weeks, he crept into her personal space stealthily. He knew his reputation as a womanizer preceded him, so women, especially religious women, kept him at bay. But he was a master at the game. He knew the buttons to press. He became vulnerable with Julia. Vulnerability worked with almost every woman he had seduced before. He opened up to her with such sincerity that he himself was no longer sure whether the demon of lust was still in charge or God the Trinity had intervened and rescued the girl by saving his wretched soul.
But time proved that lust was still dominant in him. When she was comfortable around him, the seduction game began. But she proved to be more formidable than he imagined. She successfully resisted him, perhaps the first woman to do so. The more she resisted him, the more intrigued he got. Until he realised that he was in love. Never in his life had he harbored such feelings for a woman. Any woman. Julia took it upon herself to teach him the ways of the Lord. In the second semester of his third year, he committed his life to Christ. The burdens of his past seemed to have been lifted off, except one: Julia. He still loved her.
Their friendship flourished after he gave his life to Christ. He gathered courage during his last semester to ask her to be his girlfriend. It actually surprised him that after he got born again he was afraid of asking her to be his girlfriend, yet he had spent months before trying to sleep with her. To his delight, she accepted. They have been dating for three years now. Aaron has taken his faith seriously, to the delight of Julia. And now, three years after campus, Aaron feels ready to get married. He proposed marriage to her in December last year and naturally, she accepted.
But there is a problem; Julia has been acting strangely since January. She has been dodging all discussions relating to marriage. Aaron doesn’t believe in staying engaged for years. He wanted to get married to her by late this year. After all they have been dating for three years, and they both have stable jobs. There is no reason why they should wait.
Julia’s strange behavior started when a mutual friend took them to a prayer meeting one Wednesday. It was held in one of the old buildings in downtown Nairobi. The meeting was hosted by a certain Apostle Mutuku. In that meeting, the Apostle exorcised demons, set captives free, healed the sick and prophesied. It was a high drama meeting.
Aaron did not like it and vowed never to return. Even though he abandoned church as a teenager, he was brought up a Presbyterian, where everything is done in a calm and composed manner. After leaving campus and the Christian Union, he joined PCEA St. Andrews Church in Nairobi. Julia is a Pentecostal, but she has never been a fire and brimstone Pentecostal. She fellowships at CITAM, a Pentecostal Church that Aaron finds acceptable. If Julia refuses to join PCEA after their wedding, Aaron is ready to join her at CITAM.
But Julia is no longer going to CITAM. She was wowed by Apostle Mutuku. She felt that she had found the right spiritual covering (her words). That evening, she tried to get him (Aaron) go for exorcism because of his past sexual activities. He refused, and they argued bitterly, their first bitter fight in three years. She started attending the Wednesday meetings regularly after that meeting, and after some time she started attending Sunday services there. One day, she told Aaron that he needed to book an appointment with the Apostle so that the apostle could exorcise the spirits of his (Aaron’s) past lovers. Aaron refused again, and they had another bitter fight.
Julia booked the appointment anyway, and went alone; she explained to the Apostle all about her fiancé’s past and interceded for his deliverance. The pastor asked her to be seeing him every Tuesday so that they could pray for Aaron’s rebellious spirit to be broken. That widened the rift between her and Aaron. Aaron feared that Apostle Mutuku would convince Julia to leave him and find a spirit filled brother from his ministry. In spite of everything, he still loves her and does not want to lose her.
“Excuse me sir,” a waitress breaks his reverie. “A table has become vacant inside. You can go in now.”
Aaron considers her. She is a beautiful woman, and he suddenly realizes she is the kind of woman he would have wanted to sleep with in his previous life. She is well endowed physically, and has an innocently seductive smile. But Aaron is done chasing women. Even he isn’t sure whether it is because he got saved, or it is because he fell in love with Julia. It is probably a combination of both.
“Thank you Dorcas,” he says, reading her name from the name tag. “But I want to stay here and watch the rain for a while.”
“You are weird,” she says laughing.
“You are drenched in rain and you are still insisting you want to watch the rain?”
Aaron feels his jacket. It is true. One side is soaked. His trouser is soaked on the same side too. Yet he did not feel the rain getting to him. He flashes Dorcas a smile as he stands up.
“You are right. I am weird. Where is the vacant table?”
She guides him to a vacant table towards the back of the restaurant.
“I will warm your coffee, if you don’t mind.”
“That is okay. Thank you Dorcas.”
After Dorcas disappears, Aaron finds himself watching the other diners. Most of them are young people like himself: young professional types. Most are in groups, probably colleagues or friends sitting out traffic like he is doing. Some are couples, young lovers expressing eternal love that will probably not exceed a few months. With a tinge of guilt, Aaron realizes that he is jealous that other people are in love while his own relationship is crumbling.
He sees them at about the same time Dorcas approaches with his coffee, which is now steaming.
“Are you okay?” Dorcas asks.
“Do you know the people who are entering the restaurant now?”
“That is Apostle Mutuku.” Her voice has dropped to a whisper.
Of course he knew who the man was, the same way he knows who the girl is. He just wanted someone else to confirm it, in case his eyes are lying to him.
“And the girl?”
“I think her name is Julia. Or Juliet. I can’t be sure. I just heard it once from the other waiters here. You know the way gossip works.”
“So she has been here before?”
“Yes, he has brought her here a few times before. Why are you so interested?”
She is watching him carefully. Aaron glances across the room. Mutuku and Julia have not found a place to sit; they have not looked really. They have headed straight to the stairs.
“Is there more sitting space upstairs?”
Dorcas glances at Julia and Mutuku as they disappear inside and shakes her head.
“You are going to get me in trouble. Good evening sir.”
Aaron grabs her hand, stopping her from leaving.
“Please Dorcas, I need to know.”
“Why? Who are you? Are you a cop?”
With his free hand, he extracts his wallet and removes a passport photo of Julia.
“That woman is my fiancée. We are supposed to get married this year, but she started behaving strangely when she joined that man’s church. So I need to know where they are going.”
Even without being told, Aaron already knows the answer. But he is hoping that Dorcas will prove him wrong and tell him that there is a fellowship going on upstairs.
“Listen sir. We never had this discussion, okay?”
“Forget you have a fiancée. She is the Apostle’s woman now, at least until he gets tired of her. They are going to a room upstairs, where he is going to “cleanse her womb” with his “holy seed”. Maybe his seed will germinate in her womb, maybe not. But don’t even think of following them, if you love your life. The Apostle is not a man to mess with. I don’t know your name, but I will feel bad if I hear from the news that your mutilated body has been found in Burnt Forest. Have a good evening sir.”
Dorcas quickly walks away, leaving a shaken Aaron behind.
Image by Himsan from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/prayer-hands-church-light-2544994/
To purchase any of the books in our e-bookstore (including the latest one, Another Woman’s Husband, you can follow either one of two main ways:
- MPESA Automated Digital Payment Method. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay by inserting your number on the space provided then clicking ‘confirm’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
- Pay Via Till Number. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay via the Buy Goods Till Number provided. Once you get the message from MPESA, insert the MPESA code on the space provided then click ‘Validate Code’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
If you are completely unable to use the above two methods, you can still purchase your copy manually. The only disadvantage of this method is that you will have to wait for a few hours before you get your copy. But eventually it will come.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an email to email@example.com (or DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook) stating your MPESA name. Use the name of the book as the subject of your email. If you send a DM to Sanctuary Side on Facebook, kindly also include your email address. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an SMS/WhatsApp message to 0105571156 stating your MPESA name and the name of the book you wish to purchase. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
Remember you can always DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to 0105571156 if you have a query or feedback.
See you all on Friday.