The Elder’s Daughter – Episode 27
© Jennipher Duru
Esther was hurt by what she had seen. She cried that night, cursing herself and all men. “I will never, never fall in love with any man again” she cried. Angela stood by her side and encouraged her to take heart. David called her number several times but she refused to respond. She had made up her mind not to have anything to do with any man.
The following afternoon as Esther and Angela returned from the exam room, David was waiting for them outside. “Esther, look who is here” Angela whispered, pointing to David. When Esther saw that it was David, she quickly moved and tried to avoid him. David held her hand. Esther felt ashamed because of the crowd of students. “Please leave me alone” she said quietly, trying to pretend that there was nothing wrong. “Please, I need to talk to you just for a minute. Can we just stand under that empty canteen over there?” David said. Esther sneered at David and went to the canteen. Angela waited for Esther a few meters away from the canteen. “Please, you have exactly one minute to say what you want to say” Esther said with her hand on her waist. David was looking very serious.
David: Listen Esther, I don’t even know what to say to you. You and I both know that I love you very much
Esther: You liar!
David: Please allow me to finish my sentence….. We have been friends for at least 3 years now and you should know that I have no intentions of hurting you. I am not that kind of a person. I am really sorry if you feel that I have hurt your feelings. But you have to understand that I am not a fool. You literally forced me to take you to my room last night
Esther: Oh really! I know exactly what you want to say. You think I am a prostitute, don’t you? You want to brag that I forced you
David: Will you just be patient and allow me to finish please? It’s amazing how you’ve turned out to be a very violent and harsh person. You are no longer the person I used to know or maybe I was just wrong about who you are altogether
Esther: Go ahead and insult me. If I have changed, it’s because of wicked people like you. Men who are only seeking to use innocent ladies
David: Oh mehn! I just don’t know what to say to you again…Listen, I can never use you Esther. You are not only a friend but you are like a sister to me and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. But you have to understand that you are now engaged and I can’t be hanging around a lady that has someone in her life
Esther” Oh please don’t use this as an excuse to dump me! I guess you are busy having fun with that home breaker called Betty. If only you knew who she was, you wouldn’t even have the guts to talk to me like this
David: It has nothing to do with Betty and my relationship with her does not concern you Esther. Just leave her out of this. This is between you and I and we need to sort this out in a more mature manner.
Esther: Oh so you are now defending her hun! Well then listen to me Mr. Smart guy. I don’t want to have anything to do with you from today. Don’t you ever come near me again! Even when you see me dying on the streets, don’t you dare come to my help! I hate you and every other man that thinks they can use women and dump them like garbage
David: Esther! Esther
Esther: Get your hands off me. Leave me alone and never try to contact me again. Our friendship is over and I mean over!
Esther left in fury as Angela followed her. David stood there, shaking his head “I never knew you were this kind of a person” he said to himself. Esther cursed David as she went. Angela was quiet all along. When they arrived at the hostel, Angela looked at Esther and, with a very serious look on her face, said “Esther, I think you are really exaggerating. You knew very well that David has a girlfriend but you went ahead and forced yourself in his arms. I don’t think David used you. You threw yourself to him; in fact I think you are the one that used him…..Yes! You used him and his kindness towards you and now you want to play the victim. It’s not fair. First of all, you are engaged. Secondly, you played a silly game with that so called Prince to make David jealous and now you want him to just accept you back as if nothing happened. You forget that he is also a human being. And another thing is that you have no right to accuse Betty of things you don’t know about. How sure are you that what Naomi told you about Betty is true? Those girls are liars. And even if it true, you have no right to enter her private life….Listen sweetheart, don’t think I hate you. I truly love and care about you. You are my best friend so far and I just need to be frank with you. You have really changed. Do you know that when we just first met, I used to admire you a lot? I always admired your courage, your way of living. But now, I don’t recognize you anymore Esther”
Esther sat on her bed and started crying “I don’t recognize myself either Angela. I no longer know who I am. I feel I am a stranger to myself. I feel I have nothing to live for. What should I do?” she said. Angela felt bad and gave her a hug “The only thing to do right now is to concentrate on your studies. You need to secure your future. Stop all this issue of men and relationships. When the right time for you to be in a relationship comes, it will all fall in place, no need to force things. David is not your source of hope. He is busy working hard to become someone in life and you need to do the same. What if he ends up marrying Betty? Are you going to kill yourself because of that?” she said. Esther shook her head “No. I have understood your point. I will concentrate on my studies and make sure I pass my exams to get a job.” She said. Angela smiled “That’s it! Let time tell, remember!” she said.
And so it was from that day that Esther decided to concentrate on her studies. It had been almost a month since her last discussion with David. Although not an easy thing to do, Esther tried her best to get David out of her mind. David was nowhere to be seen either. He also seemed to have moved on with his life. The mock exams were over and it was time for the students to take a 2 weeks break before taking up their final exams. Jacob had been sending messages to Esther telling her how eager he was to see her. Esther was terrified. She wished she could stay back at school and have some rest, but she also missed her mother.
She arrived home late in the evening. Jacob was waiting for her at the car park. He walked boastfully as he came to meet her ‘Welcome baby girl. We missed you” he said giving her a hug. Esther gave a fake smile “Thank you” she said. Esther’s mother came running immediately she heard the car honk. She flaunted her hands as she ran towards her beloved daughter “My princess! My princess! Come into my arms!” she said. Esther ran into her mother’s arms. Elder Barnabas came out from the house smiling “Welcome back City woman” he said giving her a handshake. “Thank you sir” Esther said, stooping down a bit. Elder Barnabas turned to Jacob and put his hand on his shoulder ‘Thank you my son. God bless you” he said. “You are welcome sir. I need to be going now as I have some work to do. I will pass by tomorrow” Jacob answered. He waved at Esther and left. Esther’s mother helped her to carry her luggage to her room. Esther looked at her mother and said “So father is no longer checking my bags to see what is inside?”
Her mother laughed “No my princess. He knows that you are no longer a kid” she said. “Oh really? I am no longer a kid to have my bags checked but I am still a kid to be forced to get married?” Esther answered. Her mother was surprised to hear such a response “Esther, you have just arrived. It’s not time to stress yourself with such things. You need to rest” she said. Esther kept quiet and continued unpacking her bags. Her mother rushed to the kitchen to serve dinner for the family. However, Esther refused to eat as she said that she was tired from the journey and just needed to rest.
The following day, Esther spent time with her mother: they both went to the market and cooked lunch together. Her mother laughed as Esther narrated her stories of the big city. “I would like to go there one day. The church will be organizing a come together conference with the church headquarters in the city in a few weeks’ time. Your father will be attending and I hope he gives me the liberty to attend too” her mother said. “Oh really? Oh mom, I will personally beg father to allow you to go. By that time I will be at school. I will show you around town, well at least the little I know about it” Esther laughed. Jacob arrived with a plastic bag full of groceries. He gave it to Esther’s mother. Esther was upset within her. She wondered why her parents would easily accept gifts from him. “Esther, can we drive around town for a few minutes just to have some time alone?” Jacob asked. His mother, who was quite shy, went to find refuge in the kitchen. Esther agreed to go with him. They both entered the car and Jacob drove off. Both of them were silent in the car. Jacob seemed to be rather disturbed. It was not in his nature to be that quiet. ‘Can I ask you a question?” Esther said to break the silence. “Sure, let me just try to park my car at that corner so that we can talk because I also have things to tell you” Jacob answered.
He parked his car and with a proud smile on his face said “So, what questions do you have for me my lovely wife?” Esther felt disgusted by that name. She held her peace and said “I would like you to be honest with me. Did you ever have an affair with Naomi my ex roommate?”
Jacob opened his eyes wide “What! Are you out of your mind? How can you even accuse me of doing such a thing? Who put such an idea in your mind?” he said. “Nobody did. The day I came your hotel, I found a feminine bracelet on the floor. And when Naomi was being taken to the hospital, I saw it on her wrist” Esther said. “What happened to Naomi? Why was she taken to the hospital?” Jacob asked looking surprised.
Esther: hmm. I guess you are pretending to be innocent. Anyway Naomi passed away a few weeks ago because of failed abortion
Jacob: What! Oh my God! Why didn’t you inform me?
Esther: Well I thought you should have been aware
Jacob: Listen Esther, I don’t want to quarrel with you anymore. The only time I saw that girl was when I visited you. You warned me to stay away from them and I did just that. I am not the only person that stayed in that room. It’s a hotel for heaven’s sake and different people come in. Listen, I understand that you are trying to find a way to accuse me of evil so that you can run away from me, but it is impossible. I am a good guy and I love you. I actually asked you to come here because I wanted to apologize for what I did to you last time. Esther I admit that I was very wrong please forgive me. I have made up my mind to behave like a matured man. I want things to work out between us. I have realized my mistakes and I want to do anything possible to make you happy.
Jacob looked so sincere in his apology. He went to the point of opening his car and kneeling before Esther to show the sincerity of his words. In all this, Esther was quiet. She had made up her mind to allow time to judge the outcome of her forced relationship with Jacob. Throughout that evening, Jacob behaved quite normal and different. He did not boast about anything and seemed to be remorseful of what he had done. As Esther was about to enter the house, he held her hand and said “I love you Esther. Please believe me.” He did not wait for Esther’s answer before he left. Esther shook her head “What plan does he have this time around?” she thought to herself.
Days passed by and Jacob seemed to have changed. His behavior towards Esther was now so full of respect. However, in all this, Esther was still not convinced. She was persuaded that Jacob had a plan.
Early one afternoon, Esther was in the kitchen with her mother, preparing lunch. It was a very hot afternoon. Esther stood in front of the stove as she prepared stew. Suddenly, she put her hand on her forehead. She slowly moved a step away from the stove. Her mother looked at her “Esther, what is it?” she asked. Esther was feeling dizzy. She dropped the spoon from her hand and knelt down. Her mother shouted “Elder! Help!” Elder Barnabas heard the noise and came rushing to the kitchen. “What is going on?” he asked. Esther was still on her knees, her head facing down “I am feeling dizzy” she said. Her mother tried to help her get on her feet, but all of a sudden, she started vomiting. Her mother hurried to get a bucket and placed it on the ground as Esther threw up. Elder Barnabas stood there looking at Esther. He took a container of water from the fridge and put some water in a glass “Try to drink this water. I am sure it’s fatigue and the heat. The journey was long. And I also don’t trust the food in the city. They just cook rubbish.” he said. Esther continued vomiting. When she had finished, she looked so weak. “Let’s put her in the car and take her to the clinic” Elder said. Esther shook her head “I am alright sir. I’ll be alright” he said. Elder Barnabas did not take no for an answer. He held her hand and took her to the car. Esther’s mother looked troubled. She looked at Esther as she tied her wrapper and sat at the back of the car with her.
They arrived at the hospital and rushed to the Doctor’s hospital. Elder Barnabas was the first to enter the room. The mother gently explained to the doctor what had happened. The nurse took some blood samples, did some checkups and asked them to wait. After about thirty minutes, she came back holding a piece of paper in her hand. “Are you the parents?” she asked. Elder Barnabas answered loudly “Yes. I am Elder Barnabas and this is my wife. This is our daughter Esther. She is actually studying to be a Doctor in the capital city….Esther I hope you are observing how your fellow colleagues are working because you will be doing the same job soon” he said, smiling. Esther kept looking at the nurse. “Well Elder, your daughter is 6 weeks pregnant” the nurse said.
Elder Barnabas stood up from his chair. He removed his hat from his head and screamed “What! What did you just say? Pre-what?” Esther’s mother was shaking. Esther didn’t know what to do. The nurse repeated the same thing. Elder Barnabas looked at Esther and said ‘What have you done?” He took Esther by the collar of her dress and pushed her out of the office. The nurse shouted “Elder, please take it easy before you hurt her” He pushed her to the car and opened the door. Esther’s mother was confused. They all entered the car and Elder Barnabas drove as fast as he could. There was total silence in the car, except for Esther’s sobs. When they arrived home, Esther ran inside the house. Elder Barnabas ran after her with all his strength. He grabbed her from behind and kicked her legs. Esther fell down at the entrance of the living room. She cried and her mother shouted “Esther! Please sir, have mercy.” She tried to hold Elder Barnabas’ hand, but he pushed her. Elder locked the door that gave way to the bedrooms and sat down on a chair, breathing deeply “This wedding needs to be carried out now. How could Jacob do this? Why couldn’t he wait? I should have listened to him when he asked for permission to marry her last year. I need to call him now” he said. Esther shouted “Jacob is not responsible for this pregnancy!”
Elder Barnabas and the wife stood up. “What did you say?” he said. Esther cried “I said he is not responsible for this pregnancy. It’s another man from school.” Esther’s mother sat down on the floor with her hands on her head. Elder Barnabas moved to and fro, trying to calm himself down. He pulled Esther’s hair and pushed her to the wall. Esther fell down again. Esther’s mother held her husband from his back, but he turned to her and gave her a slap. Esther screamed “Mummy!” She stood up and shouted as loud as she could “Leave my mother alone you old man! I hate you with all my strength! I hate you! You forced me to marry a man that I do not love!” Elder Barnabas could not believe his ears. He went towards Esther and pushed her against the wall again. Esther stood there and shouted “Beat me all you want! In fact if you want, you can kill me. I am not worthy to live. I am a worthless human being. Please kill me so that I can rest!”
Elder Barnabas went to her bedroom and came back with two of her suitcases. He threw them before Esther and shouted “Get out of my house! Don’t ever come back here again! Get out!” Esther wiped her tears and took the suitcases. Her mother cried and knelt on her knees “Please sir, do not do this I beg you.” Elder Barnabas pushed her and said “If you want to go with her, please go ahead. Just know that by stepping your foot out of this house, you are putting an end to our marriage”
Esther looked at her mom and said “Mom, please stay. I am old enough to take care of myself.” Upon hearing this, Elder Barnabas threw a plastic cup on Esther. She swerved her head and took the suitcases and left. Her younger brother watched all this in astonishment. Esther carried the suitcases, with her dress torn by her father when he pushed her. She wiped her tears and started walking to nowhere. She could hear her mother weeping and crying.
To be continued