Chronicles Of The Stranger
——————————————- AARON ANSAH-AGYEMAN CHILDLESS ==========================
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 day! 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 a 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?
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 am 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 church getting babies and living a full, happy life! I’ve seen 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?