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Chapter 13, The Arc

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Chapter 13

I locked myself in the room for days.
I couldn't deal.
Banji kept calling my line and sending text messages.
I neither picked the calls nor read the messages.
I avoided everyone as much as possible. Most people thought I was sad because Tinu got married before me.
Well, I didn't owe no one any explanation.

It was a weekend, I went to church, sang in the choir as Banji taught me.
Every sound of music, every tall and dark man reminded me of him.

I was leaving the Church premises when I saw a man standing by a car.
Looked so much like Banji's new car.
I turned to respond.
It was Banji, I wasn't wrong.
I wanted to walk away.
"Rachael, Please for once, talk to me"
I was about walking away when Tola saw us from afar.
"Egbon! What are you doing in IB?"
"I came to see your sis of course"
They exchanged greetings. Tola adored him.
I couldn't talk.

I know Banji was trying to do some damage control.
"I'd see you both at home. I need to run. Church is over, boys have to hang out"
"Tola, make sure I meet you at home" I ordered.
"Sister, follow your husband. Me too need to hustle so I can marry a fine babe. Hahahaha"
I wasn't in that kind of mood.

As soon as he left, I was left alone with BJ.
"You know I can't stand here all day"
"Rachael, can we go somewhere...?"
"Ok. Can you at least sit in my car?
I got in. I was actually tired after the service.
"Banji, I don't need an apology. I just want to know where I wronged you. Tell me why you did..."

"You didn't do nothing"
He couldn't look at me.
"Mum, Mum says I can't marry someone from a broken home"

I don't think I had been so devastated in my life.
"So, I'm not good because my parents are separated. Really?"
"I'm sorry"
I laughed so I could hold back tears.
"One more thing BJ, why didn't you tell me all the while?"
"I didn't know how to put it to you--I wanted a convenient time"

The worst thing about my breakup was I couldn't even hate him.
BJ used to say, hating someone is like carrying a burden whereas the person who offended you is allowed to walk free.
I used to tell people, its not the length of a relationship that makes you broken.
Its the quality of life chunked out from you.
My life was like a shadow. I became lean very fast.

About a week later, mum called me.
"Rachael, what is wrong with you--and don't tell me ‘nothing’!"
For the first time in a long time, I burst into tears.
"Mummy, Banji is getting married"
"Jesus Christ!"
"He can't marry me because my parents are separated…
Mummy, is it my fault?"

Mum was a typical African woman. But that day, she allowed me to cry.
She didn't say a word. She just let me cry.
Tola was at the door all the while. I didn't know.
"Sister, where was God again today?"
"Tola!" Mum screamed.

"The two most important men in my life hurt my sister.
Mummy, why didn't God tell them to stop?
I don't feel like going to church again.
I don't think I will go again till I know why God makes the people who serve Him well suffer.

Tola shut the door and walked away...



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