The Elder’s Daughter – Episode 11
© Jennipher Duru
It was Sunday already and Esther had not had the opportunity to see David because he was very busy with his exams. Esther had gone to the Dispensary about three times but he seemed to be very busy there too. She sat in her room thinking about what her dad had told her “I wonder what news my father has to announce to me! What a pity I won’t be able to go out with my friends. It was my dream!” she thought to herself as she packed her bags. She was already feeling nostalgic.
In spite of the terrible ordeal she had gone through in the hands of her roommates, she would definitely miss the place because of her two friends. She looked at the time and saw that it was already past 7pm. She thought of taking a walk around the hostel to stretch her legs a bit. As soon as she stepped out of the room, she saw David coming in her direction. Esther was excited “Hello there, I thought I could never see you” she said. David gave her a hug “Madam Esther, how are you doing? I am sorry I haven’t been able to see you ladies because of my tight schedule both a school and the Dispensary. It is exam time and we always receive a lot of students complaining of headaches and all manner of discomforts” David said.
“Oh I understand. I actually passed by the dispensary a couple of times but I could see that you were very busy” Esther replied. David took her by the hand and walked with her.
David: Esther, I met Angela last night with her father. She told me that you will not be able to make it on Tuesday as planned
Esther: Yes indeed. My father said I have to leave that very day because of the youth conference and apparently he also has important news to tell me
David: Oh what a shame! I was really looking forward to having a great time with both of you
Esther: I know! Me too.
David: Anyway, he is your father and you need to respect his decision. I will definitely miss you. Three months is quite a long period
Esther: Yes it is. So what are your plans for the holidays? Are you going back to your uncle’s house?
David: Not at all. I prefer staying with my friend. I am planning to go back to the Construction site to do some work so that I can raise money for the next semester and for my sister as well. Since my friend’s house is not far from where she is living, I will be visiting her frequently. I hope we will be able to communicate when you get home
Esther: Communicate? It’s impossible. I am sure my father will get the phone as soon as I arrive. Please don’t even try to call or send any message. You might put me in deep trouble. I might call you from the telephone center whenever I get a chance to.
David: Wow! That’s tough hein! Ok then, let’s do as you have said then.
It was Monday morning and students were all gathered outside their department halls as they waited for the results to be published. Esther’s heart was beating fast. Angela smiled “Hey, don’t be too nervous. We will make it. I know we will. We worked very hard for it” she said. Suddenly, two lecturers came out with huge papers in their hands. All the students rushed towards them. There was total disorder and so much noise. One of the lecturers shouted “Please, please calm down! Try to observe order as we stick the results on the board. If you don’t adhere to my instructions, we will go back to the office with these results”. Upon hearing this, the students maintained order and kept quiet. Once the two lecturers had finished sticking the results, every one of them ran to see. “Yes! Yes! I did it!” One female student shouted. Esther, who was quite short, forced her way through the crowd in order to get to the front. Angela wiped her glasses and forced her way through too. Esther screamed “Angela, we made it! Look at our names right here!” she said pointing to their names on the results sheet. Angela hugged her “I knew we couldn’t fail!” she said.
They managed to come out of the crowd. Some students, who had passed were jubilating while others looked so sad. They were both excited and clapped their hands in joy. “Let’s go to David’s department to see” Angela said. They both rushed to see David. On their way, they met Janet and Naomi celebrating. When Janet saw them, she celebrated even more “Let the jealous ones die of jealousy, we have made it. Let those who think they are holier than anyone be ashamed today” she said giving Naomi a high five. Esther ignored them, but Angela shouted back, pretending to be singing “Well, my dear Esther, let us celebrate our good results because they are the fruit of our labor. We aren’t like some people who need to open their legs before they can get what they want. We are clean and proud!”
Esther felt ashamed. She pinched Angela, asking her to shut up, but Angela continued “Our bodies are not for sell. Our brains function to their capacity. We are clean!” she shouted. Janet and Naomi looked at her with anger. Janet tried to go near her to cause trouble, but immediately she saw David coming, she stopped. David looked straight into her eyes. Naomi took her by the hand and asked her to leave. Esther asked “So, Mr. David, what’s the news from your side? Angela and I have passed”. David kept quiet and said softly “I didn’t make it”. “Oh no!” Esther and Angela shouted. They both felt so bad. Then David shouted “It’s a joke!!! I got you! Hahaha. I made it my friends, I made it!”
Angela tried to hit David with her book but David ran away, laughing. “You scared us. You will pay for it” Angela said. David and Angela laughed so hard. David hugged them both “Congratulations my small friends I am very happy for you. Since Esther is leaving tomorrow morning, let’s celebrate a little bit today. We can go to Magic land now and spend some time there. I have to be at the dispensary in the next 3 hours” he said. The girls were excited. Suddenly, Angela ran towards someone. “Oh it’s her father” David said. She hugged him as she told him about the results. He seemed so happy. She brought him to her friends and said “Dad, meet my friend Esther, the one I have been talking to you about. As for David, I am sure you remember him. You met him a couple of days ago. Esther, please meet my dad, Dr. Vincent Makani”. Angela said. Esther and David greeted him back as he shook their hands “I am glad to meet you Esther. My daughter has been telling me about you. Congratulations on your results. Your parents must be proud of you” He said to Esther. Esther nodded her head. After talking to Angela for a while, Dr. Makani left, giving each of them a fair amount of money. They thanked him and escorted him to the parking lot, where he got into his car and left.
“Youpi! We now have enough money to even buy some things!” Angela said.
They all left at once to Magic Land park. Esther was simply mesmerized by the beauty of the place. They paid a small entrance fee and went around. Angela took photos with her phone as they played around. There was a small group of women that sold some few items. Esther bought some nice dresses for her mother, a pair of jeans for her brother and a coat for her dad. She was excited and couldn’t wait to see her mother’s reaction when she saw the dresses. “My mom will shine in these dresses at church. I want the other women to admire her” she said to herself. After having fun for a couple of hours, they went back to the Campus. David went straight to the dispensary, while Angela and Esther went back to their rooms. Before Angela could go, she paused and said “Esther, I wish you a very safe journey back home tomorrow. I am really going to miss you. I will also be going back tomorrow afternoon since I won’t have anyone to hang out with. Take care and keep in touch”. Esther hugged her and said “I will miss you too my friend. Don’t worry; the three months will finish so fast that you won’t even know. Take care of yourself too”
It was 5am and Esther was already awake. She had taken her bath and was ready to leave the room. Naomi woke up, rubbing her eyes. She looked at Esther and said “Esther, are you leaving?” Esther did not answer. Naomi stood up and approached her “Esther, I was asking if you are leaving. You don’t have to be angry forever” she said. Esther looked at her and answered “Yes, I am going back”. Naomi gave her a hug “have a safe journey my dear. We will meet after the holidays. Please bring me some fruits when coming back because I hear your region has a lot of fruits” Naomi said. Esther nodded her head and replied “Sure, no problem”. She took her bags and she left the room. There were quite a number of students that were also travelling. She arrived at the main gate and found David waiting for her. He took her bags and they boarded the car that took them to the car park. The car going to Esther’s region was almost getting full as only 3 seats were left. David entered the bus to know the state of the seats. “Oh great! There is one by the isle. That should allow you to be comfortable enough during the long journey” David said as he placed one of Esther’s small books on the seat to reserve it. “Thank you David” Esther said. David held her hand and asked her to come down with him. They stood behind the bus and David brought out something from his pocket: A tiny bracelet with David’s picture embedded on it.
David: I made this specially for you so that you will remember me during these 3 months. You have been a good friend to me and I really appreciate
Esther: Oh David! You didn’t have to. The bracelet is very beautiful. It is the first time I am receiving a gift from someone.
David: You are welcome. You deserve all the best things in life. Please take care of yourself and enjoy your holidays
Esther: Take care of yourself too, especially at the construction site.
The bus Conductor made a call to inform passengers that all seats were now filled. David gave a long hug to Esther. Tears began to flow from her eyes. “Oh don’t do that! I hate to see people crying” David said. He gave her a handkerchief to wipe her tears and encouraged her to stop crying. Esther and other passengers entered the bus and it took off. David smiled and waved at her. Esther waved back and as soon as the bus left the park, she cried. She was going to miss him. She couldn’t believe that she had managed to have a male friend. She looked at the bracelet and imagined her father’s fury if ever he saw it. “Where will I hide it? Because my father will definitely search my bags when I arrive” she said to herself. She decided to hide it in her bra.
The journey was very long. Esther arrived around 5:30pm. She was happy to see her city again. Nothing had changed. It was still the quiet and dusty place that she had always known. She starred at a group of girls who were carrying firewood on their heads. She could also see the famous “Professor” roaming the streets wearing only a torn short. Professor was a mad man who had been living in that city for as long as he could remember. He was a well-known university professor who had lost his senses shortly after the death of his wife. Esther smiled as she saw him writing some jargons on the wall with a piece of charcoal. The bus finally arrived at the park and passengers disembarked. Esther just heard someone shouting:
“There goes Esther! There goes Esther!” she turned back and saw that it was her brother, Daniel accompanied by his father, Elder Barnabas. Esther ran towards Daniel and hugged him “Danny, Danny! I missed you young man” she said.
Elder Barnabas stretched his hand and greeted Esther. “Welcome back Esther. How was your trip?” he said. Esther greeted him back, facing her head down and said “Thank you sir. The journey was ok by God’s grace”. “Very good! By God’s grace indeed. All praise be unto our Father in heaven. Where is your luggage?” he said. They took her bags and entered into a small old bus that went to their area. When they arrived at home, Esther’s mother saw them from the window and ran to them “Esther my daughter! How happy I am to see you. I missed you so much” She said. “I missed you too Mama” Esther said.
Esther’s mom wanted to take the luggage to Esther’s bedroom, but Elder Barnabas shouted “Where do you want to take them? Put them right in the middle of the living room. All of you should come to the living room”. They all went to the living room. Elder Barnabas put the luggage at the center and asked all of them to stand as he prayed “Father, we want to thank you for the safe arrival of our daughter Esther. We know that not everyone that takes a journey arrives safely. It has only been by your grace. We also thank you for helping her to pass her exams. Not everyone that sits for exams passes. It has only been by your grace. We ask that you will make her stay in her home memorable again. We thank you in the name of your son Jesus. Amen”. Everyone said “Amen”. Elder Barnabas then went straight to the luggage. “Esther give me the keys to open your suitcases” he said.
He opened the first suitcase nd thoroughly checked. He lifted up every item from it and put it aside, examining it thoroughly. When he had finished with the first suitcase, he opened the second one. This time around his eyes opened wide. He picked up a the coat Esther had bought for him and asked “Whose coat is this?”. Esther excitedly answered “Oh this is for you sir. I bought it for you as a souvenir. Look! I also have other items for mom and Daniel”. She brought out the clothes she had bought for her mom and brother. Elder Barnabas was silent as he looked at his wife and son celebrating. “Wow! Esther these dresses are very beautiful and they will fit me so well” Esther’s mother said. Elder Barnabas suddenly asked firmly
Elder Barnabas: Where did you get these clothes?.
Esther: From the market near the campus sir
Elder Barnabas: And may I please know where you got the money?
Esther: Er-er. I used some of the pocket money I was left with. My friend Angela’s father also gave us some money to congratulate us on our good results, so…
Elder Barnabas: Angela’s who!! Are you telling me that you have been collecting money from your friend’s father? Oh my God! I knew that sending you far from here would change you. Have you ever lacked anything since you went there? Haven’t I been cracking my head here just to make sure that you have what you need? Now you are going around receiving money from your friend’s fathers.
Esther: No sir. I didn’t ask him for any money. He gave it to us to congratu…
Elder Barnabas: And why couldn’t you refuse? Didnt I warn you not to be receiving anything from anyone?
Esther’s mother: My dear, I am sure our daughter just received it as a sign of respect. Can you imagine what the man could have thought of Esther if she refused to take the money? I mean, that’s not how to behave with elderly people.
Upon hearing this from his wife, Elder Barnabas kept quiet. He breathed deeply and continued searching her suitcase. He brought out the phone and put it in his pocket. When he was through, he looked at Esther and said “Anyway thank you for the items you bought for us. Next time, don’t collect anything from people you don’t know. You are welcome. Go and freshen up and eat your food”.
Esther felt relieved. Her mother hugged her once again and helped her to take the luggage to her room. “You are welcome my daughter. Go and have your bath and meet me in the living room so that you can tell me all about your experience at the campus. Your food is also ready” Esther’s mother said and closed the door behind her. Esther locked the door and carefully removed the bracelet from her bra. She looked at it and smiled as she remembered David. “Oh David, I miss you already” she said to herself. She hid the bracelet on top of her wardrobe under her suitcases and went to take a bath.
“The place is so big mom. Everyone seems to be busy doing one thing or the other. What I liked most was the big buildings, like skyscrapers. They are simply magical!” Esther said as she narrated city life to her mom while eating. Her mom, who was listening attentively, asked “What about older women like me? What do most of them do? Are they housewives like me?”. Esther smiled “Not really mom. Most of them work in offices” she answered.
Elder Barnabas was fixing the bulb in the kitchen. Unknown to them, he had been listening to their conversation. He shouted from the kitchen “That is the main reason why children from the city have no manners and are not well brought up. This is because their mothers are busy looking for money and doing unworthy things. At a certain age in life, a woman is supposed to be at home, taking care of her family, not running about with skimpy skirts like kangaroos”.
Esther and her mom looked at each other and laughed quietly. “Your father is a real character!” She said to Esther.
The following morning, Elder Barnabas asked Esther to come to the living room as he had an important discussion to hold with her. Esther finished washing the plates and went to sit down. Her mother was also present while Daniel had gone to school.
Elder Barnabas: Esther. I know that you have just enrolled in university and you are probably concentrating on your studies, which is a very wise thing to do. However, you have to understand that it is always a good thing to plan ahead. It is obviously good for a lady to be educated. Many people in both our community and at church admire the way I have brought you up. But you have to know that the glory of a woman is not just in the education she acquires, but also her capacity to have and keep a home. No matter how beautiful a woman is, if she is not married, her beauty is in vain. My prayer for you has always been to see you get married with dignity because of the position I occupy in my community at large. Last week, I was approached by a wonderful family from our church asking for your hand in marriage.
Esther’s heart was beating fast. She didn’t know what to say. She looked at her mom but her mom looked down. Elder Barnabas continued
Elder Barnabas: I am sure you know Elder Timothy’s son, Jacob. By the grace of God, they have seen you to be a good lady fit to be their son’s wife. Jacob is a very good young man. His commitment to the church is commendable. He graduated from university two years ago and he is now working as a Branch Manager for our region at one of the biggest banks. I have personally given them my approval because I know he will make a good husband.
Esther was shaking. She gathered her courage and asked
Esther: So does this mean that I will put an end to my studies?
Elder Barnabas: Not at all! Jacob will wait for you until you are in your third year. You will just be his fiancee until that particular time. He told me that at the end of the third year, you will have the possibility of finding a job in one of our clinics here. Then once you are married, it will be up to your husband to decide whether to send you back to school or not. So this is what I had to tell you. Jacob will be coming home tomorrow morning to see you. Make sure you receive him well. I am very proud of you Esther. You have, by your good behavior, managed to attract a good man to marry you. He recently bought a very nice car.
Esther didn’t know what to say. Her mother looked at her trying to see her reaction, but Esther kept quiet. Elder Barnabas spoke, while stretching his legs “Woman, bring me my Bible bag. I should be going to church now to prepare for tomorrow’s conference”. Esther’s mother nodded her head and stood up. Esther also went to her bedroom. She sat on her bed and breathed deeply. Her mind was filled with thoughts. She didn’t know what to do with the news given to her by her father. She knew Jacob, but they had never talked before. The only thing she knew about him was that he seemed to like a certain girl from the church. “That guy looks so proud!” She thought to herself
To be continued