‘You don’t get it, do you?’, Olanma says and walks out of The Peachy Tea Cafe where she had met up with Obiora. As the cafe’s door closes behind her, she exhales so loudly that the fat pigeon happily pecking away at breadcrumbs thrown by an elderly Asian lady, who’s seated sleepily on one of the city’s benches a few feet away, flies away in a startle. She’s finally done it. She’s finally said goodbye. Two syllables and she was free. Free to savour the grace of God in peace. Free to enjoy this new relationship emptied of guilt and most importantly, free from the constant mock-a-thon that her friendship with Obiora had degenerated to.
She had reached her breaking point after leaving the comment ‘Praise be to God! Congratulations, my darling’ on Biola’s Instagram post announcing the successful delivery of her twin boys. It was no news that their celebrity mutual friend, Biola and her husband, Akanbi, had been trying to have a kid for 8 years. It was also no news that they had finally taken a leap of faith and tried IVF, which took on their first try. What she wasn’t expecting was Obiora’s public reply to her comment ‘You mean praise be to the doctors, right? You lot keep thanking an imaginary being for something he has no hand in. Wake up!’. His comment seemed to open a cage of atheist trolls who came at her so hard she had to log out of her Instagram page.
Obiora’s atheism was loud. She heard and saw it everyday. It was not enough that he made snide remarks to her when she attended bible study every Wednesday or teased her when she captioned her Sunday service pictures with bible verses or when he hushed her up when she had an opinion about anything sinister or perverted. Oh no, that wasn’t enough.
She was still trying to recover from the last remark he had made out loud at Gavin’s soiree. A raunchy conversation had started about sexual positions and she had politely opted out and had made to walk away when Obiora had said ‘Oh please. Don’t act all holy now. I have first hand experience about how you get down under the sheets. These born again Christians are the most experienced, I tell ya’ and guffawed with all the guests at her expense.
Yes, she had been sexually adventurous but in reigniting her relationship with God, she had turned her back to the world and yearned for something more fulfilling to her soul. But Obiora was bent on not seeing that happen.
‘It’s really bizarre that you are this way honestly’, Olanma had said to him while they sipped their coffee in the cafe.
‘What way, honey?’, Obiora had said with a smirk.
‘Please don’t call me honey’, Olanma had said with a frown. ‘To think you were once a fire-burning Christian and I envied you for your passion. How would you have felt if someone like the new you had criticized the old you on a daily?’
‘I would thank them for opening my eyes to the truth. I would shake their hands for waking me up from la la land’, he said nonchalantly and took a bite of his cheese scone.
Olanma sighed and closed her eyes for a few seconds. ‘I have never said this to you but I don’t think you ever understood what Christianity is all about. Now I know your past faith was superficial. Yes, your father hurt and shamed your family by sleeping with young boys. Yes, your mother died of a broken heart when he committed suicide from the shame of it all. Yes, the church your family called home was absent when you needed them but that doesn’t take away from God. It never has and it never will. I am not perfect. I have never claimed to be perfect but I am doing my best confident in the grace and love of God. Have you ever pondered on the reason behind your obsessive fight with Christians? If you truly believe that God is a figment of man’s imagination, why pay Him so much attention? Why make yourself available for every religious argument? Why hover like a hawk on people’s innocent comments thanking God? Yes, I am referring to your comment on Instagram. You have hurt me for the last time, Obiora. I am sorry but I cannot continue to be friends with you at this time. Please understand that I do not do this out of malice but it’s necessary for my spiritual growth. I’ll continue to keep you in my prayers.’
As she stood up to leave, Obiora who was too stunned to speak closed his mouth which had been hanging open and then finally reopened it and said ‘So as a so-called Christian, this is the way to treat a person? To toss them to the side because they have a different belief?’
‘You just don’t get it, do you?’ were the last words Olanma spoke before leaving and exhaling.
(Picture by: Lusine on Pinterest)