By Gideon Odiase
“It is only when you have won your war you can go for peace keeping mission. The battle within” – Odiase Gideon
She sat at the back seat, in the very last row of the new-generation church. It was one of those churches that had started to gain rave and momentum due to the incredible testimonies it recorded in its many crusades organized in several states across the country. It was a very large auditorium that could probably contain all the Aba market women, if they decided to attend a service for whatever reason. The crest of the church was boldly sculpted on the standing wall behind the altar; it was visible, even from the entrance door. It was the focal point and somewhat, a spiritual monument of the very beautiful and majestic cream-coloured auditorium. Pastor Dash preached that Sunday, having being given a rare opportunity by the Senior Pastor. He was among the teeming ministers cum pastors in the church, all under the auspices of the Senior Pastor. Among them all, he was the most loved. His very jovial character made him a favourite of the aged and the youths loved his jocular demonstrations which were anticking at times, but nobody saw a rough ball of hair in them.
Elizabeth could barely look up, let alone look at him as he spoke on the pulpit. He dished out the sermon with so much passion, aplomb and character, which had a few ‘admitted’ members on their feet, clapping and hailing him from within the congregation. She held on to her already bulged belly; she was seven months pregnant. Dressed in an uncharacteristic manner that provoked rebuke from familiar faces that saw her but couldn’t recognize her. All they saw was a nineteen year old girl who had committed immorality and had gotten pregnant in the process. It was really disheartening for her to see that she was already being judged by people who barely knew her and even more by people who did, before she could even get a seat in the last row. No one cared to listen to her part of the story; for all they knew, she had ‘spoilt’ her life and was about to spoil something even greater.
About a year ago, Elizabeth was a white sheep, perhaps the whitest in the band of choristers who led the church in song ministrations. She was a very important member of the choir and was easily the joker card and ace in the Choir Master’s pack of cards, especially when he needed something special, something different in the praise and worship section of the service. She easily became an Abel in a den of Cains, who accused her of using her beauty to charm and her body to seduce the coordinator to favour her above the rest choristers, but in this was a truthful lie; she was beautiful and charming but never seduced him or anyone, she didn’t have to. Her voice was the best by a mile and she always found a way of stirring up the spirits of worshippers through her deep songs.
“Sister Lizzy, you did very well today. You must keep working on your voice and the manuscript I gave you for next week Sunday. It is a classical Sunday, so I need you to be at the top of your game, ehhn?” “Yes, Choir master”, Elizabeth replied, after being briefed by the coordinator after the service as is the norm. “Come on Lizzy, you know you can call me Kola. Please, I prefer that. And stop the sir… sir, everywhere sir, just be free with me.” He said in an attempt to dissemble the bricks of formality that stood between his position as the choir coordinator and expressing his feelings for her. “Okay Kola, I’ll be taking my leave now, see you on Friday for the rehearsal.” “Wait… please… wuuu… wait. I need to tell you something. See, Lizzy, I have always…
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