The Church Scandal (EPISODE 2)
Lady Valerie turned cold in the early hours of a Saturday morning. The news of her death went viral. There were crowds of people at the hospital and the family house of Bishop Cosmos Okoko. “I heard she was a powerful woman. She supported her husband to earn all that he has now.” One of the nurses at the hospital said to another. “Hmmm…She was a man in a woman‟s body. May her soul rest in peace, chai.”
The other nurse replied with a shrug. Mfon, Inibehe, and Sifon put on a sad face. They had wept bitterly the morning the doctor told them the news of their mother‟s death. Mfon‟s wife Eno, was the only one who didn’t shed a tear. She still had her makeup on, her red ruby woo lipstick had so much brightness. She didn’t care if the family were in mourning, all she did was cuddle her daughter Mimi in her arms like a teddy bear. “What are we going to do now?” Sifon asked, her eyes were already deepened in tears. Mfon and Inibehe drove to the hospital, led by some bishops and pastors, they went to take the body of Lady Valerie to the mortuary.
“That is how the Lord wants it to be. May she rest in peace.” Bishop Charisma said in a baritone voice, as the others responded in unison ” Amen.” There was sadness in the air, as even the earth wept. It rained cat and dog, like never before. A white sheet was covered from the feet to the head of Lady Valerie‟s body. She had turned stiff and cold. Inibehe wore dark glasses and wiped his eyes frequently as tears kept running out uncontrollably.
There was a loud cry on the hallway, it was a girl’s voice. “No, she can’t be dead. I spoke with her last night. She is alive. Jesus won’t let her go!” The nurses tried to console her. But she wept bitterly. Inibehe walked down the hallway to see who it was, and when he saw that it was Uduak, he tried to dodge her, but she had already seen him too.
She ran like a puppet on a string or someone at the tail end of their stamina toward Inibehe. Her long, dark hair tangled around her face, hiding her features. “You came into the country and you didn’t let your wife to be know?” She said tearily. “Is that what we should be talking about now? I lost my mom and here you’re talking about wife nonsense!” Inibehe yelled. His voice had no hope of saying one more word, it had cracked like he had a frog down his throat. He tried to walk away, Uduak sprinted toward him and held his hands. “I am sorry for your loss, she was my mother too.” But Inibehe didn’t respond.
He walked away and sat inside the car, thinking about his mother, and his girlfriend Nduke had been in his heart all along. She was his first love, and just when they were at the point of getting married after missionary school his mother came up with another story. His mother’s words repeated itself frequently in his head. He became confused. He began to weep bitterly again, but with the picture of Nduke and his mother in his imaginations. His thoughts were disrupted by the sound of the ambulance. His mother’s body was on its way to the mortuary where she will be kept for Fourteen days before burial.
Someone gripped his forearm. He realized it was being shaken hard in an attempt to get his attention. “Be a man guy! Mom is gone, you shouldn’t cry like a woman!” His brother Mfon said. Inibehe wondered if a man wasn’t created with emotions and feelings, or didn’t he have sensitive hormones in him like his sister. He wiped his eyes and wore his dark glasses again.
News of Lady Valerie’s death had reach rhapsody missionary school in London. When Nduke heard the news, she was heartbroken and thought of calling her boyfriend, then she finally did. “I am so sorry. I heard the news this evening at the chapel.” She said in a low tone. “How are you?” He asked her calmly. “I am not fine. Details of your mother’s death have been vague and wildly exaggerated as usual.” “What did you hear?” “I heard some pastors say that she’d shared a few churches to you and your siblings, and also given you and your sister a partner.” “What partner?” His heart gave a foolish lurch. “I heard she gave you a wife.” She giggled. “That’s not true.” “I know.” Nduke retorted abruptly.
Nduke was extremely attractive, and more than once Inibehe had caught a hint of sensual awareness slumbering in her serious gaze. He loved her so much, and as tempting as she was, Inibehe had never tried luring her into sexual acts. He was disciplined and principled, likewise Nduke. She was one of the most beautiful young female black pastors in London. Being an Orphan, her foster mother, Lady Irene Etiobong had wanted her to be a woman of God so that she can take over the family foster home and then be an assistant pastor at one of the rhapsody churches. So many Parents wanted their children to be pastors of a Rhapsody church, it was an honour to any family who had a child who was one. But there was something about Nduke and Inibehe, they wanted more than just being a pastor of a church.