Episode 05 (Last Episode).
She saw Chris step out of the plaza where his office was located and hurriedly dashed for his car. He was on a call and looked really disturbed.
“Follow him” She told the uber driver, as Chris started to drive out of the premises
They followed him as he drove through the traffic of people and vehicles, characteristic of the central business district on Fridays as Muslim faithfuls observe their Jumaat prayers.
Suddenly there was pandemonium as the sound of heavy gunshot rent the air. People were shouting and running in all directions.
Some were going flat on their stomachs – and someone was asking others to do the same.
The sound of impatient sirens faint against the heavy noise of gunshots, people opening their cars and fleeing, the scream of people frantically trying to escape – it all looked surreal to her as she looked ahead – at the place where just now, Chris’s car was speeding through.
“Chris…Chris..” she muttered
“madam, madam, oya come down let’s take cover” the uber driver was saying to her impatiently
“My husband..he…” she stammered
“Madam abeg come down” he said pleadingly this time.
He opened the car carefully and opened the passengers’ door for her. She got down slowly, placing her hands over her head as though they could shield her.
The driver snatched one of her hands and they started to run with the others, some of who had their bags and hands over their heads.
They took cover in an uncompleted building as the crisis continued. The gunshot were coming intermittently now and everyone else inside the building had different stories about what was going on.
Some said it was a gun duel between some political thugs and the police, others said it was kidnappers trying to make away with an important personality, yet others said a bank was being robbed – non was certain yet.
The building was quite crowded. It was a mix of people. There were women in colorful hijabs and Lauren saw them trying to comfort a woman who said her child was missing.
There were elderly men trying to make analysis and some had already broken into a bitter conversation on the growing insecurity in the country and the state of the nation.
Lauren stood observing with her eyes bloodshot from crying. She had her back to the wall, and standing close to her was the uber driver. He had decided to stay close to her after she attempted to run out of the building to go search for her husband.
Now she leaves to go and stand at one of the open windows of the building. All that was visible from here was a swampy plantain farm, and the back view of some buildings that housed important offices in the central business district. She wasn’t exactly sure what part of the area they were.
She brought out her phone and dialed Chris’ number again and for the umpteenth time, it rang through but he never picked. She was afraid to say the least. She couldn’t stop herself from imagining what could have gone wrong
The uber driver came and stood by her, trying to get into conversation
“Don’t worry madam. I’m very sure your husband is fine”
She looked at him. She needed to hear those words so badly, but not from someone who had been here with her since they fled. She wanted to ask him if he had heard anything or if he was just trying to comfort her. She thanked him instead, trying to acknowledge him
“But ma.. why were you trying to follow him? Why were you trying to follow your husband?”
She welcomed this question, surprised at herself for how much she was ready to speak with someone.
Ever since she started to suspect her husband, she had never broached the topic with anybody. Now she felt the strong urge to speak and let it all out – even though now it really didn’t matter to her if he was actually cheating on her with another woman
She told the uber driver about her discoveries and how she was following him because she wanted to find out what was really going on between her husband and this other woman.
The uber driver listened to her attentively, nodding intermittently. A while after she finished, he didn’t say anything and she thought he really wasn’t going to say anything because he knew nothing to say. So she resumed staring blankly into the plantain farm, until his question jarred her back
“Are you a Christian?”
“yes.. why did you ask?”
“ I don’t just mean being Christian…like a religious one. Are you born again?”
“wow.. yes.. I am. Why?”
“what about your husband?”
“Yes. I’ve known Chris for over seven years. He’s a child of God. He’s the choirmaster in our church”
“Then you must have read 2 Peters 1; 4-9″
“Well….yeah…the verse that talks about Christian virtues of patience, knowledge and all.. but why?”
“ I’ll read it again ma’am. I want to show you something”
He brought out his phone and opened a bible app and searched while Lauren looked at him amusingly, momentarily forgetting her troubles
He finished and looked up at her.
“I may not be married or know so much about the problems that people face in their marriages, but I know that when people apply these verses of scripture to their lives, they’d see results. What you and your husband needed to do was apply scriptural injunctions in these verses, then back it up with communication. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches”
Lauren shook her head reflectively.
“Thanks” she said.
“When all this is over… sit down with him and talk about it. maybe, just maybe you are wrong in your assumptions about what’s going on. Only effective communication can reveal that” He added
“But what if…what if he was really cheating on me? what am I to do then?”
“God will help your heart to understand what you need to do”
Lauren signed deeply and looked outside. What a day it had been.
It was getting dark now. What was she to do?
People were beginning to leave the building as they heard that the crisis had abated. There was relative calm now outside.
“Would you help me find my husband?” she asked the driver, who now she had developed respect for.
“Of course. Let’s go”
But just as they turned to leave the building, there was Chris!
He looked tired and totally worn out and his white kaftan was smudged with blood stain and dirt.
Lauren ran into his arms in a tight embrace. Then she saw Natalia standing by the door. She pulled out of Chris’s embrace and stepped behind him
“What do you want with my husband? Who are you?” Lauren shouted desperately.
The girl seem surprised. She stared wide eyed at Lauren. Chris stepped in between them
“What are you talking about babe..”
“who’s Natalia, Chris.. who’s she to you?”
“Natalia is my cousin sister babe..we are working on a project together.. “
“your cousin sister? How come I never knew her? How come she tells me you never mentioned me to her.. she said she never knew you’re married. How about that Chris?”
“Well..she’s just returned from the state not quite long..she was just kidding around..trying to pull your legs or something”
Lauren started to soften. Chris did not look or act as though he was lying. She still knew her man
“But how come you never told me about her? I thought..I thought”
“You thought what?” both Chris and Natalie chorused
“I thought you both were having an affair”
Chris rubbed his temples the way Lauren see him do when he was having a hard time “why would you ever think I’ll cheat on you?” he asked
“well it wasn’t my fault.. I tried to get you to talk to me about what was going on but you were never ready. I was confused and broken. Your conversations with her, the attention you were giving her.. well I decided to follow you today because I over heard your phone conversation with her yesterday. You said you were meeting with her”
“You were following me?..” then he held her hands and touched them to his chest and said;
“I love you too much to ever hurt you Lauren. You’re my wife, my life. I’m sorry for keeping things away from you. I promise to make out time for us to talk as often as possible ” then he drew her into his embrace
“Awwnnn” Natalia whispered from behind
The uber driver who all the while stood watching them with a smile coughed slightly and said they needed to leave the building because it was getting late.
They started to leave the building, Lauren and Chris leading the way with their hands in each others’ while the uber driver, a tall and muscularly built man and Natalia started to make small talk behind.
Lauren opened the door to her apartment and was greeted by shouts of “Happy birthday”
She stared blankly at strange and familiar faces. There were balloons everywhere and she could almost swear it wasn’t her apartment.
She looked back at her husband and there he was grining at her, Natalia also.
She needed no one to tell her then that this was the project they had been working on.
It all made sense now. She might not have seen Natalia before, might not have known she was Chris’ cousin, but she certainly knew that the girl was innocent of all she had thought, and she certainly knew that she was Chris’ wife.
She went to her and said “thank you Natalia”
Natalia extended her hand and said “friends?”
– The End!
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