by Kenn Omollo
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth… He will come again to judge the living and the dead…
Frank peered through the crevices of the old wooden door, of the dusty neglected room where the middle aged woman declaimed the apostle’s creed in pious devotion. She was on her knees.
Palms open as if asking for divinity or maybe, for a considerable amount of the Holy Spirit to help vent her hunger on a demon she disdained.
Her eyes were glued to the cracks on the walls streaming sunlight into this seedy home, in diffracts.
She went on and on with words. Praying. Mumbling mysteries in between litanies of Hail Mary’s, Glory(s) and Hail Holy queen incantations.
It was so damn evident that she grumbled about her pain to her maker. It was true. It was her. Lily. Like Lily of the valley of the shadow of death.
If someone mentioned to her that there would come a day when she would go down on her knees and weep and wet her face with copious tears and plead for redemption; she would have laughed
the beast out of her chest.
She would have hurled insults at the person who dared say such shit to her face; and the God he served.
She would have questioned what that God was doing when she lost her mother, an infant - young and vulnerable to be exposed to a vile life. An insidious life of the slum she still knew as home.
She would have questioned why that God did not show her mercy, why He did not point her to the direction to her earthly father.
The man who ought to have raised her in the ways of the church, belief and to show her the traditions of Eucharist.
She grew up a pagan. A non believer. An infidel of spiritualism. A heathen.
She said belief was for the pupa – that one day it would become a butterfly and jump with wings so bright and luscious, in celebration of its elusive achievement.
Like Jezebel, she considered herself bad shit – inclined far, far on the paynim end of the prism.
But here she was. Today. Praying.
‘Father! He said, ‘Everything is possible for you, take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I would have it.’(Mk 14:36).
Her face was more puffy and distraught than it had been before she came here with her husband.
She fiddled with a rosary in her fingers.
When did she become Catholic? She too could not tell!
… That dejected face is a face that Frank had never seen – it bore woebegone and despondence – each word she uttered came out cracking with emotions.
Lord do not put me up to test. She lunged forward and cried.
And when these words came out of her mouth, Frank pushed the door open. Slightly.
To creaks and squeal and grind but Lilly in her little faith kept going… Going deep beyond the clouds and the white shiny light where her son’s spirits she felt rested.
Give me the strength to do your will
Frank sunk into his knees too… by her side… and in unison they said, “Lord, give us the grace to persevere and be faithful to the end.
” This part came out as a chorus of words said trillions of times but still sounding new and untarnished as a newborn’ heart.
This was a tough time for both of them. It was tougher than getting the pass to a nirvana that they were seeking.
It was tougher than the Lord taking away that heavy chalice that He had already trusted them with.
As soon as they said the last word to that long monotonous prayer, Amen. Their hands slipped into each other.
Lily turned and rubbed Frank’s hand with her other palm. She looked at his face. An elusive smile curved her lips, widening it further into a sadly genuine smile.
“Oh my dear Lily. We are not at fault on this. We didn’t choose destruction. We did not choose that you miscarried 20 weeks into your pregnancy. It was God’s will.
Don’t beat your head on the wall in blame. Stay positive. Believe. Maybe we should not blame him. Maybe we should hail him. In fact we should honor and bless his name.
Everything happens as He wills.”
She slipped her hands off the entanglement with ragging fury.
How could Frank coax her to hailing God for taking their children? Didn’t he have a heart anymore?
What solace did he find in kneeling by her side and telling her to honor a God who took her twins away and now was on the verge of wrecking her marriage? She sobbed uncontrollably.
Why did they have to die?
She did not understand.
She abhor Him. She’d felt the fear of death assuage when she was buried in prayers but now, now that she was sober of it all, every depressing feeling came back. That bout of calm was gone.
Her fury was back.
She remembered why she knelt to pray to God.
It all came back to her.
She did it because it was be the best thing to do for the souls of her departed kids.
If she had known that there was an icing to the café, she would not have endured the pressing grit of gravel and shingles underneath her knees.
“Lily, God gives and takes. Please, let it go. He will give you others. In abundance. Let’s figure out how we ended here and how we will live afterwards. It is important.”
Mhhh! I see, you have given up on our love… It’s fine. You have taken your father’s side.
So that is it. She shook her head
Lilly does not belong?
She can’t hold a womb for 9 months? Yea?
She wouldn’t give your family an heir, a son, right? I see your plot. It wasn’t God who took my sons. You are murderers. You killed them. Your father did. You killed them.
She threw herself to the ground…
Frank shouted. We can’t do this every time you feel like dropping your pugnacious temper on someone. We can’t continue doing this… This ends now.
His earlier grim and taciturn face turned with bewilderment. We have to go our separate ways. He said.
I’ll see to it that we get the best counseling when you are ready.
For now, we can’t sleep on the same bed. Not as husband and wife and not as the best of friends.
The fervor she had once felt in his arms tickled her heart – the inebriating way.
Their marriage was ending, ending a cataclysmic failure – by virtue of an earthly father they now learnt to be sharing.
She’d found him.
She'd searched for him all her life. And now that she knew who he was, she wasn’t happy. The truth bristled cold air in her body. In an unkind way.
She was confused.
All her marital life she pussyfooted around and now that he set her free, she couldn’t trudge a foot.
We have to live by the truth. You are the daughter of my father! He said. Our love can’t be. He strut away.