Thursday, 3 May 2018

CHILDLESS Episode 1-2

©Aaron Ansah-Agyeman’s

Chronicles Of The Stranger
Chronicle Title:
Episode 1
The doorbell chimes melodiously.
PASTOR FIIFI ADDO mutes the sound of the television and stands up.
He glances at the clock on the wall and sees that it is almost 11 p.m.
A bit late for visitation, but he is a pastor, and he is used to being called at odd hours of the day.
His wife, ADOMAA ADDO, pokes her head out from the bedroom.
Someone at the door, darling.
Yes, I heard it. Going to see who it is.
He walks to the main door of the Mission House and opens it.
A beautiful woman in her early thirties wearing a fetching white dress is standing nervously facing the door.
She looks very distressed, and her eyes and nose are swollen, evidence that she has been crying heavily for a long time.
The pastor is instantly filled with compassion.
He knows the woman; she is a very close friend.
Good grief, Akua! What’s the matter now? Please do come inside, my dear!
MRS. AKUA DOMPREH enters the living-room where she remains standing for some time, and then the bedroom door opens and the pastor’s wife comes out.
She takes one look at Akua, and then she moves forward and the two women hug, and Akua’s body begins to tremble as fresh tears begin to buffet her.
There, there, Akua, my daughter! It is okay, it is okay! Be calm. God is in control!
She eases Akua into one of the comfortable leather sofas.
Mrs. Addo sits beside her.
The pastor sits down on her other side.
Akua takes a huge sodden hankie from her bag and uses it to clean her face and blow her nose hard.
She looks so devastated and drained, and can barely lift her head.
What is it again, Akua? Don’t tell me it is still the issue of your bareness, please.
Akua Dompreh looks sadly at the pastor and takes a deep shuddering breath.
What else can it be, Pastor? I’ve been married for ten solid years, and I’m now entering my eleventh year! I’ve served God all my life, from the moment I learnt to walk, because I’m a pastor’s daughter! I kept myself clean for the Lord, keeping my body as a living temple to this God I serve! I never kissed a man until my wedding night! I’ve been faithful, and I’ve cast all my desires aside for the sake of the Lord! I know he did it for Hannah, and did it for Sarah! What about me? Why has the Lord shut my womb? Why can’t I have just one child to call my own?
The pastor and his wife exchange looks, and then they both smile.
Oh, Akua! How many times have I told you to stop putting your God to the test? Have you forgotten that Adomaa and I have been married for thirty years without a child of our own except the two children we adopted from the orphanage? Being barren shouldn’t separate you from the love of God, please!
But you don’t have in-laws after your neck all the time, Pastor! You and your wife are both Christians who understand each other! My father-in-law has made life a living hell for me! My husband has stopped attending church services for three years now after he became unfaithful and slept with Baaba who became pregnant and gave birth to a boy! The pressure is too much for me!
The pastor takes her hand and looks at her gently.
You’re right, my daughter. Life has been hell for you, I know. But like I always say, it is in the thickest of darkness that God always proves that He alone is the Almighty!
Yes, you’re right, my dear. There was a time, a very long time ago, when I was so bitter against the Lord for neglecting me, for not giving me a child, but my husband and his parents supported me, and prayed with me, and we found peace and joy when we adopted. In your case I know your husband and his father have been horrible! And he had the audacity to impregnate another woman! But if that Baaba woman has given birth for him, why are they still stressing you out like this?
Tears slowly come to Akua’s eyes and spill down her cheeks as her
heart thumps with sudden fear and panic.
My father-in-law says I’m useless. Now he wants Baaba and her son to move into the Boys Quarters, Pastor! At first he even said because I’m barren, I should move into the Quarters so that Baaba and her son can be in the main house, but Kwabena didn’t agree.
Oh, that is so heartless! So is Baaba coming to live in the house?
Yes, she will move in this Sunday. Kwabena’s cousin, Kuukua, is naming her daughter tomorrow, so we have to attend. Then, on Sunday after church, Baaba will move in with her son. I’m dead, Pastor! It will be the first step, I know! If that girl moves in, Kwabena will soon divorce me. I even asked him to take his son and bring him to the house, but Baaba has refused to part with her child. So they’re coming to stay!
That is so heart-breaking! I asked you to do a one-week half-day fasting and prayers, Akua. Did you do it?
(weeping silently)
I did two weeks full fasting, Pastor, living on evening liquids alone! That’s why I say God is making me go through too much, Pastor! It is too much for my soul, and I’ve even considered killing myself and ending it all!
The pastor and his wife both shout with shock, and the woman draws Akua into her arms and holds her tight as her own tears begin to flow.
No, no, no, Akua, my daughter! No! Don’t ever say that again! Suicide doesn’t solve anything! It just leads to sin which will take you straight out of God’s favour into Hell!
But I hurt so terribly, Mama! I feel all alone, rejected by my God, suffering too much! It has gone beyond my limits, Mama! What did I do to deserve this? I’ve seen women who have never set foot into a church getting babies and living a full, happy life! There are women who were prostitutes having babies and being so happy! I’ve seen women who have had tons of abortions getting babies and being happy! But me, who has spent my whole life under the feet of the Lord and preserved my virginity for my husband, I can’t even get pregnant once! And my husband has gone outside his matrimonial bed to have a child! What have I done? Why won’t God just hear my prayers and favour me with just one baby?

Episode 2
Do not question God, girl. That will lead you to sin. But believe me, Akua, God has heard your prayers!
Has He? I’ve only had a strange dream three nights in a row!
And what did you dream about? And you say it is the same dream?
Yes, Pastor. In the dream it was raining, and I was lost in the rain. I could barely see where I was headed, and then out of the sleet of rain, a tall man appeared. He was wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a black tie. I could not see his face well. In the first dream he seemed quite young, but in the second dream he looked like an old man with very grey hair. In the third dream, the one I had yesterday, he was young but had thick black facial hair. Anyway, he appeared and held my hand and guided me through the sleet of rain to the roadside where it wasn’t raining, and he showed me the entrance to the most beautiful garden I had ever seen!
Pastor Fiifi Addo is smiling broadly from ear to ear.
(beaming with happiness)
Thank you, Lord, oh thank you Father! There is none like You! Keep calm, Akua, God has answered your prayers. Your dream means that very, very soon, God is going to send a stranger into your life, and this stranger is going to show you the way back to God, and to a beautiful beginning filled with happiness! Now get up, it is time for us to pray, Akua!
Almost an hour later, Akua Dompreh drives through the gates of their beautiful house.
The Security Man closes the front gates as Akua drives up the driveway and parks under the beautiful canopied parking space to the right of the house.
Her husband’s car is already parked.
It is quite late now, past midnight.
She sits in the car for a long time, and then she sighs and gets out.
This is the day her husband’s cousin would be naming her daughter, and they will all go to the huge family house.
Akua knows the kind of reception she is going to receive, and the kind of hard time she is going to have.
She says a quick prayer to God for bringing her home safely, and then she gets out of the car, locks it with the remote, and then she enters the beautiful house.
A huge house!
She and Kwabena had been filled with such great hopes of filling the house with screaming children and making it a beautiful home.
But that dream hasn’t materialized!
Akua is barren, evidently, and can never give birth!
Although the doctors have assured her that there is nothing wrong with her, as far as they can see, she hasn’t been able to conceive.
She has tried all methods available, used all styles but to no avail.
She has relied heavily on the love she has for God, and prayed incessantly and fasted steadily most of the ten years she has been married, but all to nought.
It seems to her God has closed her womb, and He is not listening to her.
Akua barely notices the luxurious living-room as she climbs the stairs to their bedroom.
Her husband is not in there.
She puts down her bag and goes in search of him.
She tries his study and the kitchen and the spare bedrooms.
Sometimes, more frequently nowadays, he will leave her and go and sleep in one of the other bedrooms.
He used to do that only after an argument with her, but nowadays he leaves her alone the moment he sees that she is in her menses.
This hurt her very much, especially when he explains that seeing her in her menses cruelly reminds him that they can never have children.
But he is not anywhere in the house.
She goes back to the bedroom and calls him.
The first ring goes unanswered.
She calls again, and he picks this time.
Where are you, my love? Your car is here but I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find you.
And you came in at this time?
I called you several times, love, but you didn’t pick up, and then I sent you messages on text and on WhatsApp, and even sent you an email. I went to see the pastor, my love. So where are you?
There is a long pause, and then he speaks.
In the Boys Quarters. Getting a few things set up for Baaba and my son before they come in on Sunday.
It is like an arrow right through Akua’s heart.
She feels the searing pain, brutal and unbearable, and for a moment she feels so dizzy that her legs give, and she sprawls on the bed, fighting for breath.
The phone drops from her nerveless fingers.
As she lies in bed, gasping, tears of anguish falling down her cheeks, she knows that she cannot continue like this.
She will die if this torture is not stopped.
Akua doesn’t know how long she was in that zone of pain, but finally her heart stops its mad painful spirals, and her breath steadies.
She gets off the bed groggily and walks to her dressing table.
She sits down and looks sightlessly at herself in the mirror.
The image that stares back at her is the image of a dying woman.
With a trembling hand she rummages in her handbag and takes out a set of tiny keys.
She inserts one into the lock of the top drawer on her left, and unlocks it.
She pulls the drawer open.
Nestling there on a clean nylon cloth is a gun.

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