IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER+

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic


It was one of those days when it seemed everything would just go wrong.

Rev. Anthony sucked his teeth in frustration. It was obvious his much heralded and anticipated priestly ordination day was falling into pieces. Like most ill-events that threatened to blow out of control, it had started with the little things. He had woken up that morning with a fever and it was only the swift intervention of the Vocations Director that ensured he was now standing on the sacristy, feeling a bit more like himself.

As if his Chi was not yet finished with him, that same morning, he received a call from his inconsolable mother who told him that the driver who had been hired to transport his townsmen from the village to the Cathedral for the ordination mass had vanished into thin air. Now his people were making frantic efforts to ensure they meet up with their son’s ordination.

Yet, what fuelled Anthony’s growing frustration even more was the fact that his bosom friend, Rev. Chinua was still nowhere to be found, his phone switched off.

Come on Chinua, where are you?

Anthony glanced at his wrist watch again for what was the thousandth time.

9:33am

The ordination mass would begin in barely 27 minutes and judging by their Bishop’s repute for punctuality to events, the procession was certain to begin earlier.

Anthony’s face sagged with worry. All through his years of friendship with Chinua in the seminary, he had known Chinua to be intelligent – he was clearly the Bishop’s favourite and rumours that confirmation of the news of his appointment as the Secretary to the Bishop was now a mere formality- calculative and daring, but he had not thought he could risk so much. When Chinua informed him of his plans to sneak out of the Bishop’s pastoral center the previous night, Anthony had been alarmed.

“Chinua, this is plain madness” he had tried to talk sense to his unyielding friend. “It is not worth it.”

Chinua had been confident, nothing could go wrong. The plan was simple. He would spend the night with Ijeoma and then sneak back inside in the early hours of the morning before anybody discovered he had been away. Anthony gave in reluctantly.

Now he was nowhere to be found.

The frantic excitement and rush by the Laity made Anthony realize that the Bishop had arrived. He was almost panicking now and from the expression on the face of the other five deacons, standing beside him; hands folded in liturgical reverence, he knew they too were worried.

In the background, the voice of the commentator boomed.

Umunne m na Kristi, Otito diri Jeso!!

9:53am

Anthony sucked his teeth. There were moments when being the Bishop’s favourite could not save your neck.

He quickly dialled Chinua’s mobile number again, he could feel the colour in his face draining when the same voice he had heard for the past six hours spoke from the other end.

“The MTN number you are trying…”

Anthony threw his face into his hands.

Where the hell are you homeboy?

************************************************************************

When he opened his eyes, he observed his head was lying gently on her right breast, his hand placed firmly on the other breast.

In a strange way it reminded him of the biblical Jacob falling asleep on a bed of rocks which he improvised for pillows.

Only these particular rocks were much more soft and succulent. He grinned mischievously. Ijeoma’s eyes were still shut tight. But Chinua had a strange feeling that she was wide-awake. He had always jokingly told her that she was terrible at pretence.

Chinua took advantage of the opportunity to admire the beauty God had bestowed on the nubile muse who lay beside him.

You will always be mine.

Erotic images of events of the previous night played through his mind and memories of Ijeoma moaning his name all through the night flooded into his consciousness. He could already feel his formerly flaccid penis growing stiff once again.

Something was tugging at his thought but he could not yet place what exactly it was. It just did not matter.

Ijeoma’s eyes stirred, she looked at Chinua and smiled.

“For a man of God, you are quite good in bed homeboy.” She smiled, her lips recoiled sneeringly in playful mockery.

Chinua had heard those words many times for the past five years. When their affair had begun newly, he felt an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt whenever she said it. But he just shrugged it off these days.

For a Man of God…

It was then it struck him; the worrying thought which had been creeping into his consciousness.

Today was his Priestly Ordination!!!

Jesus! He screamed. He could feel the adrenaline pumping into his veins. He glanced at the huge wall clock which hung above the bed.

9:55am.

I’m dead.

Ijeoma was was now sitting upright, her eyes boring into his eyes, asking questions.

“My Priestly ordination is in three minutes…” He stopped short as the realization hit him. There was something in Ijeoma’s stone countenance that sent chills down his spine.

Wait…You knew!

“Damn you Ije.” His voice betrayed the overwhelming fear he felt. “You want to ruin my life. Why did you not wake me?”

 “Oh! Please Chinua, spare me the bullshit. Did you engrave it on my forehead that I should disturb your peaceful sleep? Perhaps it escaped your mind when you were screaming my name all through the night.”

Chinua was stiff. He could not feel his legs.

“Besides,” It was obvious she was not yet done with him. “I never invited you here tonight, you came on your accord. Perhaps you felt like catching a last day adventure with your whor…”

Chinua could bear it no longer. “Stop it Ije, you know you hurt my feelings with those words. I love you and you know it” He could sense his hands trembling. “But sometimes, things do not just work out the way we plan.”

Ijeoma was defiant. “Then marry me Chinua. If you truly love me as your claim, forget about your ordination and be with me”

Hot tears were already forming in his eyes.

“I cannot Ije. I have already gone too far to quit.” He knew it was time to leave. Perhaps he could still make the ordination. “I’m off to the cathedral.”

Ijeoma extended her hand to the drawer and drew out an envelope.

“You can leave me Chinua. Just know you are already a part of me.” She threw the envelope at him. “The doctor’s report for the apparent malaria I have been suffering revealed that I’m carrying your child.”

Time ceased for Chinua. For a passing moment, he saw that gleam of triumph flash through her eyes. “And yes I’m keeping the baby!”

Chinua slumped on the bed.

************************************************************************

The newly ordained priests in the sacristy quickly divested their robes. They shared the next few seconds in each other’s embrace.

Tears were rolling down Chinua’s eyes now. The events of the past hours was enough to break any person, but he was a conqueror.

When he recovered from his shock at Ijeoma’s house, he had hurried to the cathedral. He was confronted with bewildered faces and a priest at the altar speaking sternly on why priests must recite daily the prayer for a chaste life. Chinua had just been on his seat for a few minutes, when the Bishop sent for him. His heart almost jumped into his mouth.

I am never going to be a priest.

However, he was to meet his greatest relief of the day when all he heard from the Bishop was “After your ordination, you owe me a serious explanation for your bizarre actions today. Get out of my face.”

Here he was, after ten arduous years in the seminary. He had made his choice, there was no going back. The only thing which eluded the power of man was death. He would sort things through with Ijeoma.

He stared outside. There was a mammoth crowd outside waiting for him.

Every High Priest is chosen among mortals…

He felt a gentle tug on his back. He turned to see a girl of not more than 8 years, presenting him a rosary in her hands.

Chinua took a deep breath.

My first rite as a priest.

He pressed his hands into her palms and looking upwards like someone in a trance, he raised his hands to his forehead.

“In the name of the Father…”

 

 


Submitted: May 07, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Charles Igwe. All rights reserved.

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