(Continued from Unwanted II)
Pastor Juan Makati smiles as his wife serves tea to the guests. He is relieved that Donald and his wife have reconciled. First, it boosts his ego as a mediator. Bringing two warring parties and helping them reconcile confirms to him that he is a good mediator. And the Bible says that blessed are the peacemakers…
More importantly though, is that he has vested interests in the wellbeing of Donald and Agnes as a couple. Donald is the wealthiest person in their church, and his tithes and offerings form a significant chunk of his income. If his marriage becomes destabilized, and he loses his faith, it means that Juan and his family would have to significantly readjust their lifestyle. The same would happen if Donald goes to jail. But all that is sorted now. Juan is confident that Mark will forgive his father, and that charges against Donald will be dropped.
But that is not the only reason Juan wanted Donald to patch up his differences with his wife quickly.
For a while now, Juan has known that his wife Marion and Donald have something going on, ‘something’ meaning a sexual relationship. If Donald and Marion can fool around while they are both married to other people, and while they both professing the Christian faith, Juan doesn’t want to imagine what would happen if Donald lost both of his wife and the semblance of faith that he has. Maybe he would claim Marion as his wife. Juan doesn’t like Donald as a person. In fact, he resents the man. But he is forced to tolerate the man because bills have to be paid.
Juan is an ambitious man. He dreams of being the Bishop or the Lead Pastor of a megachurch. He follows pastors of megachurches abroad, such as T.D Jakes and Joel Osteen and local celebrity pastors like Bishop Allan Kyuna and of course his idol, Pastor Pius Muiru of Maximum Miracle Centre. Juan grew up listening to Pastor Muiru’s Kuna Nuru Gizani program on radio every Saturday at 8 PM. Whenever he got an opportunity, he would watch the TV version on Sunday at 3 PM. But that was on the rare days when he got to visit a moneyed relative. His family did not have a television. They did not have electricity either, so their only source of entertainment was a radio powered by Eveready batteries.
Juan managed to school up to form four, at a day school near their home, and scored a D+. His father took him to a polytechnic and he became a carpenter. But his desire was always to be a pastor. He was active member of Rock of Ages Church, a small church in their local township. Their pastor was a retired teacher called Nehemiah. Nehemiah liked Juan very much because of the latter’s commitment to church activities. As time went on, Juan became the de facto assistant pastor. Nehemiah used his own money to take him to Bible school where he did a certificate in theology. He became his official assistant. As age caught up with Nehemiah, Juan took on more and more responsibilities.
Juan was determined to inherit the church from Nehemiah, so he made another move: he married the old man’s daughter. Marion is Nehemiah’s last born daughter, borne of his second wife. Nehemiah’s first wife had died when the pastor was in his mid-forties, and he married a much younger woman who bore him three children. When Juan married her Marion was a thirty four year old single mother of one, and was desperate for marriage. It wasn’t difficult for Juan to convince her to marry him, even though he was only twenty six years old. Nehemiah was 82 years old when they tied the knot.
The ploy worked. Shortly after the wedding, Nehemiah announced his retirement and handed over the church to Juan. Nehemiah became Pastor Emeritus, an esteemed figure in the church but without any responsibilities. There was another benefit that Juan derived from his marriage to Marion: Marion is a TSC-employed secondary school teacher, and her salary provided an anchor to his shaky finances. The church wasn’t giving much in terms of tithes offerings, and his carpentry work wasn’t giving much either. But Marion was willing to spruce him up.
She lived in the school’s staff quarters so he moved there and left his rented two roomed shack. She gave his wardrobe an overhaul and footed the bulk of their house bills. In other words, Juan’s standard of life improved. But Juan wasn’t willing to depend on his wife forever. He went on an aggressive recruitment program, holding door-to-door evangelism missions as well as open air crusade. Within a year, the church membership had doubled from fifty to a hundred.
After that first year, the increase in church membership has been slow. After ten years, the church has three hundred and fifty members and has more or less stagnated there. Some of the members are professionals: teachers, nurses, clinical officers, and business people. But most of them are not faithful in their tithing and in offerings. Donald is perhaps the only member of the congregation who is generous in giving. Donald joined the church five years ago, after getting saved in an open air crusade. He tithes faithfully, and gives offering generously. Because he is one of the local tycoons, his tithes and offerings amount to a substantial amount of money. It is this money that convinced Juan that he could finally stop carpentry and concentrate in being a full time pastor.
This is the reason why, while Juan knows that Donald had been sleeping with Marion, he didn’t dare say a thing. It is also the reason why he strove so hard to reconcile Agnes to her husband. If Donald was to leave Agnes and decides that he wants Marion, that will be a financial hit on Juan, not once but twice. He would be forced to go back hustling for carpentry gigs, and probably move back to a rented shack.
And that is the last thing he wants.
“I have missed you babe,” Donald tells Agnes as they get into his car. Agnes has a car, a Toyota Corolla that Donald bought for her four years ago. But when she left his house, she left it there. Agnes is surprised that she has already started thinking about that house as ‘his’ not ‘theirs’. That is how much she has disconnected from him in the past few days. But after the session with the pastor, most of the hard feelings that she has been harboring against him are now gone, but they have now been replaced by worry.
“Me too,” Agnes says softly. That is not entirely true. She has not had good thoughts about him in the last few days. Her thoughts have been consumed by worries about her son, and every time she thought about Mark, her hatred for Donald would double. But now, after their reconciliation, she is longing to be held in his arms. But while the hatred she held in her heart is largely gone now, she knows that there are still complications on the path to their reconciliation.
Convincing Joy to go back home with her will probably be the easy part. Joy is a timid girl who doesn’t like controversy. But Mark is another question altogether. While he has always been an obedient boy, Agnes has always know that he is very independent minded. His teachers noticed that too, and that word keeps coming up in his school reports. And a few days ago he proved that he could be defiant as well. Agnes know that their conversation might not go well
Then there is Pamela.
Agnes appreciates that her mother has been fighting for her for the last few days, and she doesn’t want to sound grateful. But she, Agnes, is the one who is married to Donald, and so she knows when he is truly sorry. She has decided to go back to her matrimonial home, and Pamela should respect that. Agnes knows that her mother means well. And that I why she is dreading the moment she will have to face her mother and tell her that she is going back to Donald.
She wishes there is a way she could skip the part where she has to talk to her mother and son. As she is nervously thinking about this, Donald releases one hand from the steering wheel and strokes her thigh. She is wearing trousers but the gesture sends electricity through her body all the same.
Such gestures of affection and sexual desire have not happened between them in a long time. In fact, Agnes cannot remember the last time Donald hugged her, held her hand or even kissed her. It has been years. Yes, they do have sex. But it is always Donald turning her in bed, with the lights off, removing his clothes and hers and doing his thing hurriedly. For years now it has always been about him, with little consideration about her feelings. To Agnes, sex has become a chore.
But to be touched tenderly like that means something different. When she looks at him, he is smiling boyishly. It is a look she last saw in their first year of marriage.
“I have missed you,” he says with a dreamy look in his eyes. The he turns away and focusses on the road.
When they get to the house, he parks the car and gets out. He opens the door for her and then holds her by the waist as he leads her to the house. He only releases her briefly to open the house. Once they are inside, he holds her closely and kisses her tenderly on the lips while stroking her hair.
As they take their tea and eggs, Agnes cannot believe this. She has never felt so loved. Donald has just made love to her tenderly, in a way he has not done for years. Then he insisted that they shower together, and then he fried these eggs for her. The tea was already in the flask; he must have prepared it before he went to the pastor’s house.
“I am a changed man,” he now tells her. “I want to do what is right for you and the children. I want to treat you the way you deserve.”
“Thanks babe. I need to go now. I need to go and talk to mum and Joy.”
“I wish I could come with you so that I can tell them how sorry I am.”
“It’s okay babe. I will make mum understand, and you can tell Joy yourself when we come back.”
“What time will you come?”
“Perhaps in the afternoon, after I have seen Mark in hospital.”
“Why don’t you come here for lunch? I will cook. Then we can go to the hospital together. I want to apologize to Mark personally.”
“Okay babe,” Agnes says. She kisses him lightly on the lips, picks her car keys where she had left them on the TV stand and floats out of the house.
Donald sighs as he watches Agnes drive out of the compound. It has taken a lot of effort to put up that show. He no longer has any feelings for this woman. Younger women are much more fun, with the only exception being Marion, the pastor’s wife. That woman is a temptress per excellence and ever since he started making love to her three years ago he can’t bring himself to stop. He has even wondered how life would be if she was the one he is married to instead of Agnes.
But Donald knows that treating Agnes like a queen the easiest and cheapest way for him to avoid jail. He knows he will have to continue with the show for a few weeks for her benefit and for the children. He has to convince that stupid boy to forgive him and drop the charges.
All this is about avoiding jail, and avoiding paying defense lawyers who don’t come cheap.
Image by Whitfieldink from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/man-paris-traffic-france-people-2379025/
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