The Second Chance
She was not the usual churchgoer. She was focused, resilient, and above all, God fearing. You would either find her reading the scriptures to the Sunday school children. Or in the choir practice. Or still, in the youth meetings. She was bright, a force to reckon with. Almost invincible.
Then came the man — a tall, dark cute guy with hazel eyes, broad chest that made ladies turn heads. He was shy, or so we thought. Every lady yearned to hear his voice. Then it happened, really fast. During one of the sermons, the pastor called his name out to say hi to the congregants. What! He was the pastor’s son. “Praise God church. My name is Mike, and I am glad to be part of you. May God bless us all, amen?”
That deep voice, his smile, and height were the perfect combination to sweep girls off their feet. He was the ‘perfect man’ that ladies described in their chit-chats, but an introvert! It was a taboo for a lady to approach men. F**k the custom! This guy was irresistible. Ladies were dying to have him.
“My name is Joy, the youth leader in the church. It is the church’s custom that all visitors fill a membership form. So I request you to take this form and hand it over to me during the next service.”
He licked his lips and nodded with a smile as he walked away.
And as they say, the rest is history.
One, two, three, four years they were an item. A flashy wedding-dining and dancing. In these weddings, wine or anything that makes one tipsy is never discussed. It is more than an abomination. It is a grave sin that takes people to a place which is not something to write home about in the next world. Joy was riding in a fancy world. They settled down quickly- Romeo and Juliet.
Four months into the union Mike started to peel off his mask. A serpent he was, complete with scales and fangs.
It all started with name calling. Joy ignored the red flags and instead went down on her knees. Doesn’t the church teach our women that some battles are won when we go on our knees? She fasted and prayed. Joy literally cried to the Most High to fight for her. Her name was a stark contrast to its meaning. Her wealth was deteriorating really fast.
Then he hit her. An action that she had never imagined the apple of her eye could do. She called her mother-in-law. “My daughter, marriage is never easy. Just keep on praying for him. I will call Mike and talk with him.” Those were her words.
“Okay, mum. Just talk to him. We will visit you next week”. Case closed. What Joy didn’t know was that this was the beginning. Mike would soon turn her to a punch bag. Every night would be a fight night. But Mike had a way to put her into a cocoon. He would later apologise to her and blame the bottle for his wayward behaviour. He would take her out for dinner and make her feel like a queen. She was his queen. He told her.
Then one day Mike came home looking for trouble. He never took shower when he got home from home. He took the remote control and scrolled blindly through different channels. Then a call that would change the course of their love life came calling.
“Hello… Let me call you later I’m held up… Okay. Same”
He held the phone over his chest with a chuckle. The gullible Joy assumed he was talking to a client. And that is exactly what he told her when she asked. “Thank you, Jesus, for speaking to me,” she said to herself.
Two months down the line the beatings started raining again with name-calling to boot. She was four months pregnant. One night he came home drunk like it used to be every Friday night. He beat her up and locked her in the room. Then she started getting dizzy. She started bleeding. He panicked. Called an ambulance and off to the hospital.
“I’m sorry, your wife has just had a miscarriage. We will admit her until she recovers.”
‘What a loser I was married to!’ “Tomorrow pack and go to your parents!”
She wept uncontrollably, begged him to stay, but he had made up his mind.
Poor woman, she went back to her parents. Public humiliation, but only a mother knows the pain of bringing forth a soul. Her mother nursed her wounds and took her to college.
‘… it is such a thing to see young souls rotting in jail because of money laundering’, the news presenter finished the bulletin with a frown. Then there was her mother, staring at the TV with teary eyes. “What is it, mom?”
“The boy who made you lose the…”
Her mother breathed her last. A new dark chapter opened. Joy sank into an abyss, depression hugged her tight never to let her go. She soaked her pillows every night in tears. The thought of a marriage which was the exemplification of hell, coupled with the miscarriage and her mother’s demise was too heavy to bear. Every day death danced before her. She found a new darling, a bottle of booze. She reeked of sweat and booze.
But not until you are dead that you stop growing. A man came from nowhere and pulled her out of the mud and showed her how to love again.