As We Pray

Fiction

So I have come here before you, it has been a while since I was in church, the last time I was here was on my wedding day. You and I know why I have stayed away- Chuka. I have come here in spite of my unbelief these days, in spite of the fact that I have denounced Christianity

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Dear Lord,

I never believed that I’ll find love again. Not after you took him.

Chuka was my world, my friend and lover, we were just in our early twenties when he died. We had planned to spend our lives together, chosen a city to live, christened our unborn babies, drawn up a family budget, chosen schools for our kids, argued about parenting patterns.

We had made promises to love each other, to stand together no matter what, to never bail out, even if someone messes up. We had planned a wedding, one year ahead, gotten used to each other’s smell, started a business together…..and then you took him.

I was crushed, my soul was heavy with grief. I was confused, I was angry. I was broken hearted. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. Those months were the most difficult to breath. I hardly lived, I barely made it from day to day, counting down to the day you will take me too, so I can be reunited with him. I had no future without him, or so I thought. I would be in a vehicle and jinxing it to run into a mountain or an oil tanker. I would be walking on the street and hope that a reckless driver would run me down….it didn’t make sense to be alive, without having anyone to share my life with.

Eight months later I met Shola. Not that I met him for the first time, no, he’s been there all the while, even when my Chuu was still alive. My heart first met him eight months after I lost Chuu. I was clouded with mixed feelings, I felt attraction, I felt guilt, I felt confusion, I felt pain. Yeah, it was painful to even like someone again. It also made me feel guilty, like I was cheating on Chuu. I stopped hearing Chuu’s made-up voices in my head, he stopped talking to me, I stopped seeing his ghosts. But I felt his anger, his disappointment and his presence. I felt like he was unhappy with me, for loving another, for breaking our promise to love each other forever, although he broke it first.

It was difficult to love Shola, and it was painful too. After Chuu’s death, after experiencing the deep-cut pain of loosing a loved one, I decided to never love any person or thing that much, so that when I lose them, it wouldn’t feel as painful. But Shola, he was fighting my fences and wining, for each block he broke, a piece of my heart shattered. And when I finally caved in unconsciously and unwillingly, when the power of love knocked down all my defenses and melted my heart, I mourned each day.

It wasn’t that I was unhappy, no, the problem was actually the happiness. I was too happy, I grew more and more emotionally invested in the relationship. I fell in love.

And so I mourned. I mourned him for every minute I couldn’t reach him on his cell, I mourned him every time he caught a flu or caught malaria, every time he complained of being tired, I got reminded about how Chuu had been tired that morning- the day he died. I lived in fear, that the second man I have ever loved would die one day too, and leave me heart broken again.

When he asked me to marry him, I had only one condition- that he always pay attention to his health and take care of his body. We laughed about it, but I was serious. Marriage didn’t make my fears vanish. No they didn’t. But his accident last year, the ghastly accident in which he was the only survival, it shook me, it scared me to a point no one has ever gotten. But it also did something good for me, it made me lose my fears. It made me stop mourning. I can’t explain why or how, but I know I got to the elastic point of my fear and it all vanished.

This man Shola, he has a strong hold on me. First he convinced me to marry him, now he has convinced me to have children as well. I have been afraid of love for a long time now, I avoid emotional attachments to people or things because I do not want to have to mourn them, I don’t think I can survive anymore blows from life. I had promised myself to not have children, to not love any child. But this restless kid kicking inside my womb, he has a strong hold on me too- just like his father. No matter how much I try to not get attached to the baby in my womb, I find myself falling helplessly in love with him. I have grown more attached to him than anyone ever in my life and he makes me very happy- too happy to be precise.

Lord, I have a history of being afraid of happiness- with his father. Those fears I used to have- the ones I thought I was over- they have started returning. But I do not want to mourn this one, no. I will not mourn my unborn baby, not before or after birth.

So I have come here before you, it has been a while since I was in church, the last time I was here was on my wedding day. You and I know why I have stayed away- Chuka. I have come here in spite of my unbelief these days, in spite of the fact that I have denounced Christianity, in spite of my dislike of Your ways. I am here Lord, and I’m here for one reason.

My baby. Please Lord, not this one. Do not take him away from me. You owe me this, after all you have put me through, please let him live, let him succeed, let him laugh, let his dreams come through. Do not take him in his prime, grant him a successful and long life. Let him grow old. If it ever comes to it, if you need someone to die, please take my life instead. But these boys in my life- Shola and our Son- let them live.

How do I know the baby is a ‘he’? I can feel it in his kicks, I can feel the passion, the zest for life, I can feel it. It’s the same passion Chuka had. We will call him Chukwuka, maybe he will be the one to lead me back to you again.

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