She felt it would last forever; the imminent separation. She did not want to face the implication of his leaving. She did not want to address the lump in her throat. She sat silently in the back seat of the car as her father drove steadily to the airport.
She’d thought she was certain where they were headed before now. She hated, with a blend of tolerance, the inability to read Sola’s mind at certain moments. He looked on ahead, sitting at the front seat beside her father, his chin lifted, just as the radio in the car droned on.
To think she couldn’t bring herself to stop liking his personality no matter what. She wanted to cry.
She felt the unease occasioned by her defiant silence shift to wrap itself around her father but Sola will seem immune. Her father impulsively tapped the steering wheel as he began to speak again, stopping to clear his throat
” so have you heard any other news about your father?”
“No sir,” Sola replied steadily “it’s the same.”
“ God will intervene” her father said.
She gazed out the window in despair.
At the airport, her father double checked the car security before they walked down to the terminal. Sola checked in his ticket and from where she sat with her father, she saw him speaking to the lady behind the counter in his easy manner. The lady cracked a smile. Walking back to where she sat with her father, he looked at them both and nodded. “I’m set to go”
“Okay then my son. Keep in touch” her father said and patted his back in a brief hug, smiling.
This time her eyes would not be averted. She looked at him, appearing bolder than she felt. She gave a small smile. He didn’t. He stepped closer and put both his hands around her shoulders to hold them in a comforting manner. She did not want comfort, anything but comfort, as her head throbbed with the onset of an headache. His grip was firm but not hard.
” you take care of yourself. You deserve care.”.
Three months later, She was walking down her street having bought soft drinks for the visitors they were to host in the evening. For no reason at all, it came into her mind what Sola had last said to her: <i>you deserve care.</i> Inadvertently, she snorted. It had been three 'almost-relationships' in her life and she was fatigued. She was prejudiced about relationships and on a whole, world-weary but she didn't know how to help herself. Her father who knew the level of her closeness to Sola had not known how to either, but he still tried to encourage her gently. Iyanu was past words of encouragement. She wasn't sure she could even enter into any relationship successfully without a nagging fear that it would crash. She felt her own anguish and wished for a motherly advice.
The visitors they were expecting arrived in two cars. A metallic silver honda accord and a white Mercedes benz. She was in the kitchen frying the last round of plantain to go with the jollof rice when Dele, the adopted help, went to open the gate. She took a break to briefly view them from the window at the sitting room before returning to the kitchen.
Her father soon joined the three men and two women. Greetings and laughter followed.
Iyanu left the door to her room wide open once she’d served them their food and her father had introduced her as his daughter. With the door open, the visitors’ voices carried softly to where she was. The conversation after they’d eaten the food she served wielded itself from the upcoming elections to the issue of politics in the church, and then to Christian virtues. It was on this subject: Christian virtues, that they dwelt the longest.
Iyanu could guess it was the tall woman who was speaking at the moment about Elizabeth, wife of John the Baptist.
“But you see that with all our bible knowledge these days, virtues like patience seem to have taken the backseat. Some people argue that if you have faith everything comes extremely fast. Quite true, but we must know the exceptions.
That wasn’t the case for Zechariah and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was old before she conceived. ‘Stricken in age’, the bible puts it”
The woman’s tempo was going down and Iyanu, very much interested, rose from her bed where she had propped herself against the wall, using her pillow. She took her plastic chair and sat by the door to her room for better audience.
“…Heaven knew the right specifications for the woman who was to birth Jesus on earth. We were waiting for that Mary and so God kept Elizabeth childless for that purpose. Elizabeth had proven she wouldn’t disappoint him. How many could do that?
They were stricken in age but she had come to understand like the three Hebrew boys that Faith is steadfast even if the answer from heaven doesn’t seem favourable at that time. If it doesn’t come from God, I don’t want it.
“Elizabeth was to birth the forerunner of Christ, a very important role and God trusted her well enough that until Mary is ready, she’d wait on him. Until the appointed time. Until Mary hits puberty. Until she’s old enough to be engaged to Joseph, Elizabeth wouldn’t lose faith. He knew she would not stop loving him because the promise was yet to surface. It was a step-by-step leading, one not moved by time and season. The beauty of it all is that God could depend the plan of salvation on her patient shoulders.”