The water that gushed out of the shower handle diluted her tears, attenuated it, as if it had the right. The stupid liquid, splattering off her body and onto the tub and then sinking so submissively, almost pitiably, into the drain. She hated that the shower was the only place she could cry; especially now that the water was also dissing her, taunting her like they were a couple of teenage girls on a schoolyard playground.
‘Darling, we are running late.’ He said from outside the bathroom.
She got out of the tub, toweled herself and wrapped the towel around her body. Then she wore a smile – like it was make-up that one could put on and put off whenever one pleased – and left the bathroom.
‘The Lord is going to move mightily in the midst of his people today, I can feel it.’ He screamed.
‘Amen!’ She said. She had transformed. From the ball of sadness that she was, with the shower running, she had become, again, the pastor’s wife.
The streets were quiet as they drove by, as in every Sunday Morning at 5.35. ‘Are you okay, darling?’ He asked as their car jerked over a five inches high speed bump, like a child with the hiccups. Hiccup!
‘I’ll be fine,’ she said.
He pried no further, no bother.
At church, she sat at her usual seat in front of the pulpit, next to her husband’s chair, and watched him preach away about prosperity and sanctification and why everybody needed to be consecrated to stand a chance at prospering on this earth; as if he was consecrated or sanctified, as if he wasn’t committing adultery every Thursday at the Hotel that used to be the venue for their Church before they moved to their own place.
She hugged him after he concluded his sermon and came down from the pulpit; she whispered something into his ear. He smiled and went on his knees and tightly locked his eyelids and said something to someone he could only see with his eyes closed.
She waited for him after service while he met with everybody. He needed to pray with the millionaire who was always the first to sow a seed, always the first to pledge a pledge. He needed to see the choristers, too. He needed to tell them how mightily the Lord has been using them; he needed to pray for them, to pray for their heavenly voices. He needed to thank the man who gave a hefty donation to the church, he needed to tell him that he would begin to experience the things that people who give hefty donations to the church experienced all the time.
She waited. Faking smiles, hugging people, listening to them tell her how wonderful a man her husband is, how the Lord has used him to make them something from the absolute nothing that they used to be. To them, she was nothing but a mere ‘wife’ to the man, a negligible piece of ornament, she was no more important than a human appendix – a useless remnant of evolutionary comicalness.
‘I am leaving.’ She said as they drove back home; she spoke in a manner that seemed rather tepid considering the situation.
There was some music playing on the stereo, he reduced the volume and said, ‘what?’
She was looking out the window at the sky, its blueness reminded her of rainy university days, of the many other men that she had said no to because she would rather marry a good man who would be kind and loving and gentle, because she would rather marry a pastor. ‘I am leaving you; going back to my parents’.
He hit the brakes in the middle of the road. He was quiet for a long time. Horns from cars behind them blared melodically. ‘What?’ He said again.
‘I would kill you if I stay: I would poison your food and watch you die a slow, painful death. I don’t want to have to do that.’
‘Why?’ He asked, afraid of the answer that would come.
She looked at him, the calmness in her countenance had begun to give way. ‘Why? Why? You have the audacity to ask me why? Why every Thursday at 4pm, you are not in church as you pretend to be? Or why you lie so brazenly and act like you are some saint? Why? I am leaving you because I am tired of hoping that you will come back to your senses. I am tired of sitting by the screen and waiting for the end that will never come, the end of this indiscretion, this shamefulness. I am tired of you.’
He stared at her for a while and then he kicked the engine and continued to drive. ‘I am sorry. I am human. I am sorry.’
‘Me, too.’ She smiled wryly.
He tried to convince her to stay when they got home. He kept saying that he was human – as if humanity justified infidelity. As if a person charged with murder could go to court and argue that he is human. Can your humanity reduce the gravity of what you have done? What you are doing? She wanted to ask him, but talking was pointless.
Of course you are human, we all are, she thought as she entered the cab that was to take her away from what used to be their home, sheen of tears glowing in her eyes, tapes of the past playing in her memory and hopes for the future dim as can be, but humanity is not an excuse.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime