UNDER THE CANOPY
Jacob Sormani walked angrily towards her house. ”How could she have done this? ” He kept turning the question in his head. The things he had heard from the Assistant Pastor had really set his blood boiling. Even though his response had been meant to stop the issue from growing more roots, he knew the guy didn’t believe him. How could he when he had done a similar thing earlier. But that was the least of his worries. She even refused to pick his calls and after the second call not being picked, he decided to confront her. Hence he walking through a hot Sunday afternoon sun. The three-piece suit he had on made an already uncomfortable trip more difficult. He didn’t know if it was the heat from the sun that was making him sweat profusely or his rage. The walk from the junction to her house felt rather long today. He couldn’t believe that was the same route they had plied several evenings and afternoons. He felt itchy under his armpit and the itch was bent on increasing every step he took. Scratching his underarm proved impossible because of the tight suit. Trying to unbutton it too became a task. The tailor had sewn the button hole too small and had asked him not to take the suit away so he could fix the hole and the tight sleeves but he refused. He had to wear his new suit to church at all cost. It was vain but vanity was not a vice he could shirk. He was known at church for his fly and fashionable dressing which he took great pride in.
Sunday was the height of his week as it meant basking in a salad of looks at church. He took it as a personal quarrel when someone dressed better than him. He’d been greatly grieved when he overheard one of the ushers compliment a boy who was on vacation from university.
”You look stunning today. If you keep it up you might pass Brother Jake oo.”
That was the most ridiculous thing He had heard and even though the boy had acted like the compliment meant nothing to him, he was doing back-flips in his mind.
”The nerve! Who made that unattractive usher the fashion committee of the church. Mtchew.”
That was the previous Sunday and he had vowed to look his best the next. His tailor had expressed his misgivings about the style he wanted him to sew for him. The cut looked too feminine in the picture Jacob had shown him off his phone; and the loud aquamarine colour of the fabric he brought didn’t help matters. But Jacob will have none of that. He sewed it for him, pocketing his fee and stifled a laugh when he tried it on.
Jacob reached the house gasping for air. He stopped to catch his breath and compose himself before entering.
“Good afternoon ma”, he greeted the girl’s mother with all the self control he could muster.
“Afternoon. ” She sized him up as she responded. “Welcome my dear. Have a seat.” She pushed a plastic chair beside her for him. She wondered if he could sit down properly in his attire.
“Thank you ma. Please is Tess home? She didn’t come to church today so I came to find out if she was ok.”
“Your wife is fine. She was on her phone all night so she couldn’t wake up early to go to church. Let me call her for you. ”
Jacob flinched at the mention of wife. What had he done to make this woman think her daughter and he had a relationship? Or she had told her mother they were dating?
“Hi Brother Jake.” His reverie was cut short by her voice.
“Why didn’t you pick my calls?” He barked, but not as loudly as he would have liked for fear of her mother hearing him.
“My phone was on charge. ”
“Anyway, we need to talk.”
“Ok.” She answered nonchalantly.
“Why are you going round soiling my name?” He dragged her out of the house by her left arm and continued.
“I proposed to you but you didn’t agree. I’ve moved on to another person and you feel you can drag my name through mud?
“As in stop making me look like a good for nothing womanizer!” He couldn’t stand her. He wanted to slap her but he had to contain his rage.
“Is that what you’re telling yourself? Didn’t you sleep with me?”
“I slept with you once. That doesn’t mean you’re my girlfriend.”
“I thought you were wise. Funny. Even, knowing how to count doesn’t need wisdom.”
“Herh what! How about the time I came to your place after service. And the time we did it in the excursion bus when the whole youth group was halfway across the Kakum walkway? Don’t let me bring up the time you came to meet me in the mission house and your beloved girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter left to buy indomie for us? We were there alone right?”
Jacob couldn’t endure it any longer. He was dismayed and disgusted at the same time. How did he end up on this lane? And now a girl who just completed Senior High School is torturing him this way?
“I beg you to stop telling tales out of school. I need you to tell everyone, especially Grace, Pastor’s daughter that it isn’t true. I beg you in the name of God.”
“You want me to lie? ”
“Yes. Please do it for me. If you love me. They say you even have our Whatsapp chat and pictures of my penis. I thought you deleted them.”
“They’re mementos. ”
“Please delete them. Please. ”
“I’ll think about it. ”
“Don’t think: do.”