“Anjola, please open up. You can’t continue like this now,” Victoria pleaded, thumping on the door in rapid successions. She bowed her head when no reply came from the other end of the door.
“Don’t make us break this door down because we will,” Mrs. Adegbite called and Victoria looked at her. Would she really do that? Surely, Anjola wouldn’t make them go to such extremes. But considering the fact that she had locked herself in there for over seven hours without a word, Victoria could see why such a measure may have to suffice.
They continued knocking but as usual got no reply. The only thing she had said since she entered the room was, “I can’t take any more of this.” A look at the text message on her phone had revealed the great surprise and Victoria understood. Even now, after processing the news, she couldn’t comprehend how they’d proceed from this point.
She heard Iyanu crying so she left Mrs. Adegbite to attend to her. She had been sleeping downstairs so they’d left her. Victoria saw the girl sitting up, her eyes glistening with tears and her arms stretched out to Victoria.
“Mammy!” she cried.
“It’s okay dear,” she cradled the toddler and breathed in her flowery scent as she quieted. Victoria pulled back and stared at her big brown eyes. Now she knew where those came from. From the time she’d been a baby, she’d wondered where those eyes came from even though Iyanu was practically a replica of her mother. Anjola must have wondered too, though she never said so.
Now they knew.
Victoria heard Mrs. Adegbite come downstairs. They locked eyes as she walked into the room and Anjola could see almost the same look that had been there when they had heard Anjola was pregnant. It was a look of battling emotions and Victoria understood because it was how she felt.
“I wish I didn’t feel so helpless,” Mrs. Adegbite said as she sat down and reach out for Iyanu who willingly went into her arms.
“I know,” she paused. “This is all so…confusing.”
The older woman managed a smile. “Yeah.”
They sat in silence. Pastor Adegbite had travelled that afternoon for a ministers’ conference and so it was just four of them at home. Victoria searched her mind for something to say to lift the heaviness but decided silence would be better.
Not all things required words.
So with nothing left in themselves again, Mrs. Adegbite and Victoria prayed.
* * * *
Anjola frowned briefly as her stomach growled again, this time with so much ferocity. She ignored it, remaining still on her bad, her face buried in the pillows drenched with her tears. Why, just when she was starting to heal, did God have to open a fresh wound? And this time it was more raw than the last one.
She was weak and hungry but she did not feel inclined to leave her recluse. Somewhere in her mind, she remembered Iyanu but she just couldn’t bring herself to be a mother to her just then, she could not bring herself to be anything to anyone, she couldn’t bring herself to be anything but anguished.
The message Henry sent that day played again and again in her mind, tormenting her. So he had been the one all along. He had been the one and yet he had approached her to be her friend! What guts. What heartlessness. He had been the very source of her deep pain, the reason her life had been toppled. The source of her nightmares.
And then in a rush of memory, she remembered her dreams.
He had been the man on her dreams. He had been the tall man with a hat.
“Oh God!” she shrieked, knowing they would hear her, not caring if they did. Her heart was squeezing inside itself with pain. So much pain.
And anger. Oh, lots of anger. Outrage infact. It almost blinded her, almost dulled the pain a bit with its intensity.
“Anjola, please open up. You can’t do this alone. You don’t have to,” she heard Victoria’s soft voice from the other side. And not knowing why, she got up on wobbly knees and walked to the door.
“Oh, thank God!” Victoria sighed, quickly walking in as though afraid Anjola might shut the door again.
“Anjola, I’m sorry.”
She stared at her. “Why?”
Victoria motioned with her hands. “This.” She sighed. “It can’t be easy.”
Anjola said nothing.
Her friend cleared her throat. “What will you do?”
“Nothing. I’ll wait.”
“Wait? For what?”
Victoria nodded. “Time doesn’t heal, Anjola. You know that.”
“What do you mean?” She was staring at a picture of Iyanu hanging on the wall
“Time doesn’t heal wounds. Only the Lord does.”
Victoria sighed. Anjola was obviously in no mood for profound words.
“You should eat,” she said instead.
“Yeah,” Anjola answered, her eyes still fixated on the picture.
* * * *
It’s short, I know. Please that’ll have to do for today. Thanks.
Find previous episodes here