That is funny! But I can’t steal Mom, or Dad, and force them to stay together! Why do you think God doesn’t want to answer my prayer?
Well, no human being knows the answer to that question, my dear. But we Christians believe that God always does things that benefit us. Sometimes too, God sends people to help others!
Then maybe God has sent you to come and help me because Mom and Dad divorcing means they will leave apart and I can’t see them together again! How can that be good for me?
Afia leans forward suddenly, tears on her cheeks, her face shattered.
Oh, my sweet pumpkin! You’re too young to understand! I’ve told you Daddy and I will always love you, and be there for you even if we’re not living together, okay?
No, it’s not okay, Mom! Because it is hurting me too much!
The stranger takes hold of Adobea’s hands and looks earnestly at her.
THE STRANGER (gently)
Listen, my dear. Let us try this a final time, okay? Maybe you’re right, and God has sent me in answer to your prayers! Are the people over there your family?
Yes, my grandparents and uncles and aunties and pastors and friends!
Lovely! This is what I suggest then, dear. You go over there and sit with them, okay? And then I want you to pray one last time to God, okay? I will also be here with Mom and Dad, praying together. And then, if we’re lucky, our prayers will be answered!
Adobea looks at the elderly man with hope all over her face, and she nods.
Really? You believe that?
I believe that, my dear!
Alright, let’s do it!
She gets down and runs hopefully towards the little crowd of people sitting a little distance away.
You didn’t have to do that, sir! Now you have given her hope that God is answering her prayers, and she will get further hurt. I’m terribly sorry, but this divorce is going through!
The man smiles gently at her.
But you will be there for her, wouldn’t you? And at least it bought a few minutes of hope for the angel girl, and strengthened her faith in God. Who knows, maybe I’m here because she prayed to God, and I’m an answer to her prayer. Mr. Barima, why don’t you sit down with me for a while?
Takyi looks first at Afia, who still refuses to look at him, and then he looks at the elderly gentleman. For a moment he hesitates, and then he sighs and sits down. He looks at the man again, and sees compassion in the depths of those clear, beautiful eyes. For a moment, just a very brief moment,
Takyi feels a sudden rush of trust for this strange old cleaner who can exude so much confidence.
Well? Here we are.
The man leans over and pats Takyi’s shoulder.
Yes, indeed, here we are. I take it you don’t want this divorce to be granted?
Takyi sighs and rubs his forehead hard. He is once again suffused with abject misery as he looks at the gentleman.
No, I don’t. It’s all my fault though. I can’t fault her, but I’ve begged her for almost a year now. She simply won’t forgive me!
THE STRANGER (horrified, in a severe voice)
Forgive you? For beating her? My son, no woman should accept any man who beats her!
Takyi looks at him, appalled! He is suddenly taken aback, wondering for the first time if the elderly gentleman is alright upstairs.
No, no! I’ve not hit her! I’ll never hit her! She’s my angel! The man is nodding vigorously now.
Oh, okay. That’s nice. So why is she divorcing you? You have an angel of a daughter, and so I don’t think it’s because she wants children. So, your parents don’t like her?
On the contrary, sir, my parents adore her! My only brother and my two sisters love her. Actually, she is my younger sister’s best friend!
The man scratches his head and looks at the ceiling with mock confusion.
So, you don’t beat her, your folks love her, you gave her a daughter. She obviously loves you.
I love her to death, sir!
The man nods, turns and looks across the back of the seat at Afia Agyeibea.
So, lovely woman, what is it? Have you fallen in love with someone else?
Afia smiles wanly and shakes her head. Tears glisten on her lashes, but she flicks them away with a beautiful finger.
No, sir! There will never be another man! I love Takyi, and I’ll always love him! He is, and always will be, the only man for me! But he hurt me so bad! I simply can’t trust him again, ever!
It is evident that she is still hurting quite badly, and she looks helplessly at the kind-faced elderly man, who remains very silent for a while before switching his gaze to Takyi.
THE STRANGER (softly)
Another woman, isn’t it? You cheated on your wife and she caught you, didn’t she?
Takyi Barima looks haunted. For several seconds he tries to speak, but he has tears in his eyes, and his voice trembles. He takes out a huge handkerchief and dabs at his eyes, and then he pushes it back into his pocket. He licks his lips several times, and then he nods once, and fixes his eyes on the strange man who has suddenly become a source of outlet for them to pour out the bitterness in their hearts.