She pulled back the blue velvet drapes, allowing sun light to flood the parlour through the window. She sighed as she settled on one of the single sofa settee, the one across from the door. She picked up her phone and dialed his number again, it only took a few punches on her keypad to do so, since his number was the last dialed.
He picked up this time, thankfully.
“Good afternoon mum.” Jare greeted.
“Afternoon my dear. I called earlier, you didn’t pick up, why?”
“Sorry ma, I was in a meeting with my clients.”
“It’s okay, I just wanted to check on you.” She said smiling.
Adejare shook his head before saying: “Thank you then.”
“You’re welcome son and guess what?”
“I’d be coming to Lagos this weekend.”
“For what?” Dejare quizzed curtly.
Sylvia chuckled “To visit my son of course, I’ve missed him a lot.”
“Mum, it’s only three weeks since you left here. Err…” He let his voice peter out.
“Ehn eh. And so?”
“Don’t you think the stress of the journey and all would take it’s toll on you?”
Sylvia knew he was only being slimy, she knew painfully that he was only trying to make an excuse to avoid her visit.
“Well I’m not complaining.”
Jare was getting peeved already. “Mum, myself and Judith are young couples and we need our space. And err…”
Sylvia said “I beg your pardon.” not because she didn’t hear him, actually she didn’t miss a syllable of his statement, but she was giving him a priviledge to make amends.
“Mom, I mean you should stay with your husband, he needs you.”
Sylvia’s hands became weak, too weak to hold the phone to her ears. She let the phone fall on her laps, as her lips parted. She slouched from the sofa to the ground.
‘Stay with your husband, he needs you.’ echoed in her head like a song on repeat and her heart shattered. Tears prickled her eyes and soon began to spill.
How could Dejare ever have said that?
The Dejare whom she loved, cherished and was endeared to. She wept like a soggy mop as memories flowed into her mind.
Dejare was her only son, her only child. She had loved him more than anything else, he was always by her side as her a little child, and he even grew there. He was her friend and he meant the whole world to her, even when it became necessary for him to be away from home, they always communicated on phone. Their relationship waxed daily until Dejare got engaged to Judith, then it wasn’t as strong as it used to be, but it was understandable, her boy was becoming a man even though she wished he could stay as her boy. Four months ago after their wedding, they moved together to Lagos.
She was obviously happy that her son was settling down but she couldn’t suppress the sadness that gnawed at her from within, the loneliness. She had lost a huge part of you, one she cherished.
Dejare got caught up in his life -the busy, Lagos life- and the frequency of their communication dropped drastically.
After three long months, Sylvia could take it no more, She decided to pay her son a visit. She was excited and wanted it to be a surprise for Jare, so she left Ibadan for Lagos without telling him and made sure she got to his house before he returned from work.
All through the journey from Ibadan, Sylvia imagined what Jare’s expression would be when he sees her. She made up scenes in her mind and grinned at the cuteness of them, never did she expect what happened.
Dejare returned from office later that day around six, Judith and Sylvia were preparing dinner in the kitchen. Judith went to welcome her husband then Sylvia emerged from the kitchen screaming, Surprise, surprise.
“Mum?” Jare uttered in shock. His shock wasn’t the excited kind of shock, it was just shock.
“Yeah, it’s me.” Sylvia said smiling broadly, standing beneath the arch that separated the dining from the parlour.
“But we weren’t expecting you.”
Sylvia shrugged and rolled her eyes playfully as she said, “that’s why it’s a surprise.” She laughed ecstatically but it ebbed when she saw that she was the only one laughing. Dejare waited for his Mum to descend from her hill of ecstasy before he launched into a scolding spree.
“Things are not done that way Mum, I’m a married man now. You can’t just barge in on us without any prior. A phone call wouldn’t have been out of place at least, what if we had other plans?”
Sylvia’s shoulders sagged, she felt like a steaming body on which cold water was poured. She watched Dejare walk past her, his heels turned to the staircase, in utter shock, slack-jawed.
She was still sulking in her room when she heard a knock on the door, she knew it was Jare, she knew how he knocks, -he’d rap on the door five times, pausing for about three seconds between the third and fourth knock- She knew him that well. She didn’t respond, she was too upset to.
After knocking a few more times, Jare entered the room, he went flat before Sylvia as he prostrated himself, saying: I’m sorry mum.
Sincerely, Sylvia hadn’t expected her heart to melt the way it did, maybe it was because she had missed him badly, but all the ire in her just dissapeared.
“Aren’t you happy to see me?” She asked softly.
“I am, really. I sort of had a bad day at the office, I’m sorry for what happened earlier, I could’ve at least kept that for later.”
“Aww, come here.” she opened her arms and he went into her warm embrace.
There was so much to catch up on. They chattered excitedly, giggling and hyperventilating, like old times. The banter continued until Jare’s eyes caught the luggage in the closet.
“Whose loads are those?”
“Mine of course”
“Why are they so much?” Dejare asked.
“Ah, since I’d be staying for a month thereabout I thought it wise to bring enough clothes now.” She supplied.
Dejare gave a mirthless laugh and said nothing.
Sylvia only lasted five days at Jare’s before she returned to Ibadan. She had to leave, the impasse between her and Jare was creating tension in the atmosphere. The silent treatment he was giving her made the underlying trumpet, blarring, ‘Mama go!’ louder.
And now Jare told her to stay with her husband. She wept the more, as she laid on the floor.
How could Jare be so insensitive, so heartless? She felt dumped, she felt like Jare ditched her for Judith, she could feel jealousy bite the pit of her stomach and at the same time she felt the venom of Jare’s words in her heart.
“What did I ever do to deserve this, Adejare?” She asked no one in particular.
“Can I now, have my wife back?” the baritone voice cut short her introspection and startled her. She easily recognized the voice, it was Jide’s.
“Now that the distraction is out of the way, can I have your attention? Can I have my wife back?”
His words struck chords in her heart, she understood very well what he meant.
Before Sylvia conceived Jare, she had waited for long seven years. All through those years of fear and uncertainty, Jide stood by her, upholding, strengthening and encouraging her. He didn’t because of her childlessness love her any less, he was indeed all she needed in a man. He was her best friend, her companion and confidant.
The strength of their bond weakened once Jare came, all her attention moved from Jide to her son, all her love, all her affection. There were times she saw the pain in Jide’s eyes, times when she felt guilty for being unfair to her first love, but she always waved it off with an excuse. ‘Jare is a child, he needs me more than Jide does.’ she’d tell herself. And gradually, Jare rose to be all that Jide was to her, he replaced and displaced Jide in her heart.
Now that she felt heart broken for what Jare had done, she could only imagine how much she had broken her husband’s heart.
“Sylvia, I’ve waited this long to have you back, would you let me?”
‘You should stay with your husband, he needs you.’ Jare’s words sounded again in Sylvia’s mind, making more sense this time. She sobbed uncontrollably.
The realization of the fact that she had abandoned the one who loved her the most dawned on her, rousing guilt and a deep sense of unworthiness in it’s wake.
“I don’t deserve your love.” was the muffled statement she made amidst wrenching sobs.
“But I love you all the same.” came the tender response. She couldn’t believe her ears, she lifted her head slowly, flipped back the stray strands of hair that stood in the path of her vision and looked at her husband, leaning on the doorjamb. There in his eyes she saw pure, unfeigned love. Such deep, boundless love that crippled every fear in her.
Jesus has been standing at the door of your heart, knocking and waiting patiently. He deserves your love, he loves you unconditionally, the least you can do is reciprocate his love.
What’s the ‘Dejare’ standing between you and God? What’s that habit, sin, person or relationship? What has risen to take God’s place in your heart? It could even be google, your gadget or anything at all. Ponder now, is there anything/ anyone worth God’s place in your heart?
And to you believer who like Sylvia is bearing fruit, don’t let the gift take the giver’s place, remember how you used to be totally dependent on God before the gift came, remember how when everyone else deserted you for being fruitless he -God- upheld, encouraged and stood by you. Don’t ever leave your first true love, Christ.
No matter how far you feel you’ve gone, no matter how unworthy you feel, always remember that no one would ever deserve God’s love. All his asking his for you to come back.
Sylvia flipped back the strands of hair that stood in the path of her vision, there are things that would not let you see God’s love, doubt, fear, unworthiness. Please shove them aside like Sylvia did and let God’s love envelope you.
In this season of Easter we celebrate a God of love, who through love redeemed humanity by sending his only begotten son to die for us. Let the love of Christ envelope and fill your heart, give your heart to him.