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the choice episode 9 & 10

*THE CHOICE*
CHAPTER 9

Sarah removed the tray she had earlier set before Femi. She packed the few grains of rice that had spilled on the table into the plate on the tray.
“Thanks for the meal,” Femi said as Sarah took the tray into the kitchen. Sarah nodded and smiled.

Sarah dropped the tray in the sink. She washed her hands and dried them with a towel. She turned around and returned to the room.
Femi was still seated at the table adjacent to the door, tapping his phone.
Sarah took her seat on the empty chair opposite Femi.

Femi looked at her. “I said ‘thanks for the meal’ but you didn’t answer,” he said.
“You’re welcome. I already answered with a smile and a nod,” Sarah said.
“Okay, thanks.”
“That reminds me, how far about what we discussed?” “We discussed many things. Which of them?”
“The part of you talking to your parents about our wedding,” Sarah said.
“I told you already that I’ve spoken with them. You were aware when I travelled home after our visit. I’ve discussed with them,” Femi said and stared back at his phone.
Sarah stared at Femi as he played with his phone.
Was Femi not troubled by the state of things? The relationship wasn’t moving forward. And he still had the mind to waste the time for quality discussion on pressing phone.

Sarah exhaled. “Femi, we need to talk.” “I’m listening to you.”
“You’re not listening. I know when you are,” Sarah said, her brow creased.
Femi dropped his phone on the table and stared at Sarah.
“Okay. Now, I’m listening.”
“Thank you. You are yet to tell me your parents’ final decision.”
Femi stared at her for a while in silence. “Sarah, my parents love you. Why would they ask their son to sleep with you if they didn’t want you to become his wife?”
Sarah shot him a questioning look. What was Femi driving at?
“Just listen to me,” Femi said. “As I was saying, they love you and want the best for us. I have spoken to them at length and now I know their reason for such a request.”
Sarah’s ears flared. She wanted to know the reason behind such a sinful tradition.
Femi continued. “Now I know they’re acting in our best interest.
So, I don’t want you to see them as enemies.”

“Why would they have us sin against God before cons£nting to our marriage? You are yet to tell me the reason,” Sarah said.
Femi shook his head. He knew Sarah would tag his parents as idolaters if he told her exactly what his mother had said. “Don’t worry
about it. There’s this fear that we might not have children in marriage. They just want to be sure we’re both fertile.”
Sarah raised her shoulders. “[email protected] them. Children are gifts from God. If we desire them, He’ll give us in the confines of marriage.”
“Mere [email protected] can’t work, Sarah. They want proof.”
Sarah flattened her l!ps. “And what’s the @ssurance that we will achieve pregnancy outside marriage?”
“Let’s try first. At least once. Then we can tell them to let us alone,” Femi said.

Sarah’s eyes widened. “What? Did you hear yourself? Are you giving in already? If we can’t stand our ground now, is it after sinning that we will?”
“Look here, dear. I’m in the mood for no argument. This is simple. We’re either in agreement or not. It’s not as if we won’t get married eventually. If I may ask, what has happened to those who had premarital se-x willingly? Nothing. Talk less of we who are being forced to do it. God won’t punish us. He knows we are willing to keep away from premarital se-x but our parents won’t let us.
Sarah eyed Femi. “Our parents or your parents?” she said.
“Are my parents not yours as well? Are you bringing in segregation already?” Femi said with a raised voice.
Sarah kept quiet.
“Anyway, this is what I have to say. Since we are not doing it for pleasure, but for a purpose, I see nothing bad about it. We’ll ask God for forgiveness afterwards,” Femi said.
“I can’t. I won’t. If you can’t have your parents waive the condition, you can’t have God waive the consequence,” Sarah said. Determination flashed in her eyes.
Femi shrugged. “No problem. I’ll disregard your attitude and give you some time to think about it. The earlier the better, so we can get things started.”
Sarah shook her head. “I don’t need no time to think about it.
My mind is made up. Let heaven fall, I won’t do it.”

Femi sighed. It was obvious Sarah wouldn’t budge except he tried another method. He calmed his heart.
“My true love, please let’s just do it for my parents’ sakes. Maami promised to hasten our wedding process immediately she knows you’re pregnant. Before anyone can s£nse you’re pregnant, we are already married. Then we live happily ever after,” Femi said as gently as he could bring himself to.

“I see you’ve been bought over. I’ll keep praying as I have been doing. God has told me to be patient and not commit sin. If you won’t listen to God then I can’t listen to you,” Sarah blurted.
Femi rose to his feet. “I think I’ve done my best persuading you. If you can’t obey me now, when will you? If you can’t submit now, when will you? I think this is the point where we say our goodbyes and find better partners. I wish you best of luck,” he said and walked towards the door.
Sarah jumped to her feet and held his hand. “Femi, what does that mean? Are you breaking up with me? This is an issue we’re supposed to maintain a holy stance on until God gives us victory. But here you are, giving up on our relationship already,” she said.

“Sarah, I’m tired. How much longer do you want me to wait? I know my parents, and I can tell when they are hell-bent on something. That was why I begged you to let us do their will and go ahead with our lives. God is a loving God. He will forgive us,” Femi said.
“Dreamboat, God is our anchor. What if this is a test of our faith? Don’t let us fail this test. Please,” Sarah said, tears forming in her eyes.
“So what do you suggest we do?” Femi said.
“We have to wait until something happens in our favour.”
Femi raised his brow. “What if they insisted throughout this year?”
Tears that had formed in Sarah’s eyes dropped on her cheeks.
“We wait till next year.”

“And what if they insisted through next year?”
Sarah held Femi’s hands. “We wait till the next, and the next until your people see that we are resolute and allow us to do God’s will.”
Femi withdrew his hands. “I can’t wait that long, Sarah. I’m sorry.”
“It might not be as long as you think.”
“Just forget it. I thought you had the interest of this relationship at heart, but now I see I was wrong. Best of luck,” Femi said. He opened the door and left.
Sarah walked to her bed and crumpled on it. She sobbed. Thoughts flashed in her mind. She wasn’t sure she could survive another heartbreak. She’d had many in the past. And when Femi came, Sarah tried her best to keep him in her grip. But now, Femi would sl!p out of her f!ng£rs, except she was ready to honour his family tradition.
Sarah wept like a child. If Femi left her, where would she start? At almost thirty-four, she was losing her appeal. Many people had even counted her lucky to have someone like Femi in her life. Femi could have gone after younger, beautiful ladies, but then he chose her. Now, this tradition was pulling them apart.
Sarah buried her face in the soft pillow that decorated her mattress. She sobbed, praying that God would intervene.

*The choice*
CHAPTER 10
Sarah sat at her desk, working on a file with snail speed, her face deprived of its usual liveliness.
Jummy approached Sarah, a ledger in her grip.
“Sarah, you didn’t sign the new entries. And you are yet to complete the list of new clients,” Jummy said and dropped the ledger on Sarah’s table.
Sarah looked up at her friend. “Which new entry?” she said.

Jummy fl!pped the pages of the ledger and pointed to a page. “These. You have to sign that you worked on the files.” She turned the pages again. “And here, you have to complete this list. The number here doesn’t tally with the one in the registration folder,” Jummy said, pointing at another page of the ledger.
Sarah clumsily took a pen and signed at the end of the page.
Jummy observed. It was unusual for Sarah to append her signature to any do¢vment without proper scrutiny. And she often didn’t omit what she ought to do.
“What’s wrong with you, Sarah?” Jummy said.
Sarah shook her head. “I’m okay. Is there anything else you want me to do? I’ll complete the list as soon as you’re done using the ledger.”
“Are you sure you’re fine?”
Sarah nodded. “Yes, I am. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
Jummy took the ledger and walked away.
Sarah continued her work, her attention span greatly reduced, plaguing her work with errors.
Jummy returned to the cubicle where Sarah worked. “Hi, again,” she said and smiled.
Sarah raised her head. “What did I forget this time around?” she
said.


“Why are you this apprehensive? What’s going on?” “Jummy, I’ve told you that I’m fine,” Sarah said.
“And you think I’m stupid enough to believe that?” Jummy sat
beside Sarah and patted her hair. “You didn’t even make your hair or pack it properly. And you know how natural hair looks when unkempt,” Jummy said.

“I thought I would be able to make it yesterday but I was too tired. I will fix it this weekend. If I can’t make it this weekend, I’ll cut it off and take a break,” Sarah said and scratched her brow.
Jummy widened her eyes. “What! Like seriously? You? You, Sarah, considering a haircut. This is a joke of the century.”
“I’m tired of making the hair.

The cost, and most especially the time, is exorbitant. I can no longer afford it,” Sarah said in a sad voice.
Jummy needed no other hint to know something grave had happened to Sarah. Sarah had natural, beautiful, lvstrous, and long black hair. And she had put the hair to good use in enhancing her beauty. If Sarah said she wanted a haircut now, it meant there was something forcing her to give up on her looks.

“I know you, Sarah. You can afford it. So tell me what’s going on. What’s wrong with you? Why would you do that to yourself?” Jummy said.
“I’m not doing anything to myself. I said I’m fine,” Sarah insisted.
Jummy adjusted in her seat. “You are not fine, so talk to me. You should know I won’t leave until you tell me what’s on your mind.”
“You can’t understand, Jummy.” “Try me.”
Sarah’s eyes grew misty. “What’s wrong with me is bigger than what you can imagine. I’m in deep water. I don’t know what to do.”
Jummy gently patted Sarah’s back. “Talk to me. What’s wrong?”
“I’m having issues with Femi,” Sarah said, and tears dripped from her eyes. She quickly mopped the tears with the hem of her skirt.
“Sarah, please stop crying. What issues? Tell me more about it,” Jummy said, [email protected] written on her face.
“I’ve lost Femi. He has left me.”
Jummy’s eyes widened. “What! How come? What exactly went wrong? What happened?”
Sarah hesitated and sobbed.
“You can talk to me, Sarah. And you have to stop crying. Now tell me. What happened?”
Sarah cleared her throat. “Femi’s family members want me pregnant before our wedding.”
“Are you for real?”
“Yes. It’s been over a month since they said it.” “Oh my! But you didn’t tell me about it.”
“I couldn’t. I was busy trying to find a way out,” Sarah said.
“So what have you done?”
“I’ve tried my best to convince them but they wouldn’t budge.
I’m tired. I don’t know what to do.”
“This is big. I’m not even sure of what to say. Have you talked to Pastor?”
“Yes, I have. It was really difficult thinking about it all alone. I had to tell Pastor,” Sarah said.
“So what did Pastor say?”
“Well, he encouraged me and said I shouldn’t do it. It is a sin against God.”
Jummy nodded. “That’s true. The pastor is right. But then, come to think of it. The world is running faster than you think. Some things that were big deals at a time are no longer so. So it will be improper to judge all things by an old concept. There have been drastic changes in the world, I’m sure God is aware as well,” Jummy said.
Sarah lifted her eyes to meet her friend’s eyes. “So what exactly are you saying?” Sarah said.
“I’m trying to point out the fact that sometimes cir¢vmstances determine actions. So there’s no rigid ‘how-to’ for everything,” Jummy said.
Sarah shot her friend a questioning look. “So?”
“Sarah, try to understand what I’m saying. If Femi will indeed marry you with his parents’ cons£nt, what stops you from getting pregnant? Probably Femi’s parents have fears about fertility. Prove to them that you can have a baby. And even if they want you pregnant for a different reason, you can still do what you have to in order to get your man out of their control.”
Sarah stared at Jummy in surprise as she talked. She could [email protected] believe her ears.
“Really? Are you saying I should go ahead and fornicate with Femi in order to get him to marry me?” Sarah said.
“Please don’t heap sins on my head, madam. That’s not exactly what I’m saying. Fornication isn’t even the term for this. It’s not as if you guys are not ready to get married. See, the world has evolved, my dear. I’m not encouraging you to sin but think about it. Will you just throw away your relationship with Femi like that? Will you rather go back to the state of waiting on God for a man to approach you? You know what you went through before Femi showed up in your life. Have you thought about all of that? My dear, I’m just saying all these out of my deep love and concern for you,” Jummy said.
Sarah sighed. She hated bringing her experiences to mind. She wanted nothing to do with the past no longer. She had been jilted enough in the past. Perhaps Jummy was right.
Jummy searched Sarah’s eyes. “What do you intend doing?” she
said.
“As I earlier said, I’ve spoken with our pastor. And he said I
mustn’t try it,” Sarah said.
“Hear yourself, Sarah. Is the pastor supposed to say ‘Go ahead, daughter, get pregnant before your wedding’? Wouldn’t you tell the world which particular pastor said what thereafter? It’s just like expecting a teacher to tell his student to play when an examination is fast approaching. It’s not as if the student wouldn’t play, but the teacher wouldn’t want to be quoted. The Bible says, “Wisdom brings success.” Be wise, Sarah. I repeat, be wise,” Jummy said and adjusted in her seat.
Sarah heaved a sigh. Her head ached. Not only because she had been having trouble sleeping for days now, but also because her mind was unsettled. Thoughts weighed her down.
“I don’t want to lose Femi. I really don’t want to. I’m no longer sure of what to do,” Sarah said and dropped her hands on her thighs.
“You can begin by listening to me. You just can’t lose your relationship with Femi like that. You guys have been courting for how many months now? Probably a year, or one and a half. Or should I just say two years? Whichever applies, it’s not worth discarding like a piece of trash. And I see Femi no longer supports your fanaticism.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? I’m not a fanatic, Jummy. And I didn’t expect that from you.”
“Are you angry? I’m only saying Femi wouldn’t support your insistence. Maybe I was wrong. Femi agrees with your views, right?”
Sarah paused. She knew Femi no longer agreed with her. It was obvious. He hadn’t called her in a week and over now. And each time she tried to reach him, he didn’t respond. She couldn’t lie.
“No. I was hoping he would understand. But he didn’t. Maybe, I should just give up on him,” Sarah said.
“You can’t give up on him. Not after all you’ve been through. He loves you and you love him too. You can’t allow his family to come in between you two. Give them what they want and they will leave you two alone. Remember you’re no longer a kid. Time waits for nobody.”
“God has time and season in His hands.”
“All right, I agree with you. But I know you’re no longer a child. Many ladies get pregnant before wedding everywhere now. And that didn’t exclude the long-skirt-wearing, tongue-blasting, no-makeup- wearing, religious sisters. Some sisters don’t even bother about getting wedded at all. They just move in with brothers and start having children. As in, you can’t count how many people do it. That seems to be the norm now. So stop being rigid,” Jummy said.
Sarah shook her head. “Even if that is the norm, should we conform to that as God’s children? 2 Timothy 2:19 says ‘Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “‘The Lord knows
those who are His,”’ and, “‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”’ How can I do such a thing and sin against God just because I don’t want to lose a man who might not stay with me forever? I’ll rather stand with God and trust Him. He has told me to be patient. I prefer to be patient.”
“All right. No problem. If that’s what you want, so be it. But you need not be morose and apathetic to your job.”
Sarah nodded. “Alright. Thank you. I appreciate your concern.”
Jummy rose to her feet. “You would listen to me if truly you appreciated my concern,” she said and walked away.
Sarah rested her head on the table and wept. She needed strength from God now, more than ever before.

To be continued..

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