ENSNARED..

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The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. “Really?” he asked. Did God ask you not to eat of every tree in the garden?

 
The tinted lights flashed on and off like an erratic rainbow and stroboscopes juggled balls of colours with the ease of accomplished circus clowns. Bathed in the spectrum of hues and listening to Iyanya belt out “Kukere” from the speakers, I felt as out of place as a fish on a ship deck.  The question that tortured my mind was; “what am I doing in a night club“? I knew the answer. Being in the club that night, aglow with the warmth of alcohol in my system made me feel like a geyser letting off steam 
albeit temporarily.
 
And I had a lot of steam to let off!
 
…A painter by passion, my talent was almost becoming vestigial; seeing paintings in my dreams but not having the luxury of expressing them, being afraid to leave a job that paid well, even though it did not fire my passion. Initially, my main worry was how I would feed my family if I left to pursue my dreams but I managed to build a nest egg, at least by my standards. Unfortunately, my wife would not hear of resigning from my job. She was concerned about what would happen in the absence of the freebies I got from my job. She felt the sacrifices would be too much if I decided to start painting full time since it would take a while before I got my footing.Every day, I saw my dreams slipping away, down the drain of time while frustration constantly gnawed on my soul.
 
In the last few months, I had been strained to breaking point, swinging on the trapeze of life like an inexperienced acrobat. Caught in a monotonous battle of everyday living, I was perpetually exhausted and drained. I lived in the Sango Otta metropolis of Lagos, Nigeria and worked in Ajah hence, a huge part of my day was spent commuting. The pressure of deadlines and targets also had a stranglehold on me, so much that I rarely got to see my family. My Sundays were not sacrosanct anymore and the weekends I did not go to work, I slept like a drugged koala. This meant that I had not been to church, prayed or read my bible in ages. Utterly incredible since fellowship was the main tonic of my life. Furthermore, my job entailed a lot of traveling which was why I found myself in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in a nightclub. More astounding was the fact that I even nursed a can of Smirnoff (I was cajoled into drinking with the justification that the alcohol content was pretty low therefore no big deal) considering that before then, I was an absolute teetotaler.
 
Banji, my marketing partner, almost needed the help of wild horses to drag me to the club that night. He was about my best buddy which was strange because he was not reverential of Godly matters in the least. I would bet he is an atheist, though he says he is an agnostic. However, I loved his mind! The brother’s knowledge was all-embracing! He was about the only person I could discuss football, wrestling, movies, cartoons, books and superheroes forever with. I found most of my “churchy” brothers a bit stifling and boring.  Banji badgered me until I could not resist anymore, on the premise that I needed to “flex” and loosen up with the amount of pressure I was under. Since there was really nothing to do and the day had been hectic, I decided to let off some steam by doing something I wouldn’t normally do.  The resolve was that I would only go, see, and get back to my room unconquered.
 
Truth was, Banji did not even have the foggiest idea about the kind of pressure I had been under on the home front.  The Black Scorpion shelling of the Biafrans was nothing compared to the shellacking I had been getting from my wife. Nkechi would have won a gold medal for Nigeria if there was a nagging Olympics. King Solomon’s saying that it is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome woman did not come close to what I experienced.In all fairness, my wife had been a wonderful woman and I loved her with all my heart but she changed. After our first baby, we got careless and had our daughter just a year after. This coupled with my wife’s job as a branch manager in one of Nigeria’s famous banks was too much for her and she somewhat came apart at the seams. Unfortunately, we could not get a house help. Most of the ones available were in the age range of six and eight hence we refused to employ. We figured that assisting in running a household would be crushing load for such wee ones. 
 
Most disconcerting of all was the fact that I was starved. Nkechi was usually too tired and in some instances she inquired from me whether my conjugal right was food. Thing is, no woman can ever understand how primal, raw and visceral a man’s need is! It is all consuming in an incomprehensible way!
 
“Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, you shall not eat from every tree of the garden?
 
I was quaffing my fifth can when she walked in. Time froze and the world stood still. She moved with the kind of grace that made a duiker seem ponderous. Chimes of music heard only in the chambers of the heart followed sashaying steps encased in stiletto heels. Fairer than the sun, her legs reached up to heaven. Hair was low and tinted with ginger; a gold dress that seemed to have come with her into the world adorned her body. The tattoo of a butterfly poised for flight clung to her left deltoid, a gold chain hugged her left ankle and her fingernails were manicured to kingdom come. A mole decorated her upper lip; her contacts were a smoky mix of sapphire and emerald (the depths of the sea and the life of the forest) and her golden earrings were large hoops of delight. With all that 
gold, I wondered if she was Midas daughter come to life in our age.
 
She sat beside me and ordered some vodka which she tossed down with aplomb and asked for a refill. I took a closer look at her. She was a blend of Kate Winslet’s intensity, Cate Blanchett’s gaiety, Cameron Diaz’s bewitching dimpled smile and spoke with the clipped accent Funlola Aofiyebi used in “Figurine”. Unconsciously, I swallowed and the particles of my blood raced like heated electrons.
 
She made small conversation with some of the people there about the current happenings in the world. I was not a sapiosexual but intelligence in a beautiful woman was something that got me any day.
 
Normally, I would have minded my business or stopped at the admiration level but I guess the amount of beer I had consumed made me light headed and gutsy.
 
I got up with my drink and struck up conversation.
 
“Hello? Udoh is the name”, I said, stretching out my hand.
 
She gave me a quizzical look and accepted my hand reluctantly.
 
“The gathering of the Olympians is not complete tonight” I continued, settling into a seat opposite her.
 
At this she burst out laughing, “You are funny, no one has ever called me a goddess before”.
 
“There is always a first time……….”
“Name is Pearl”, she said.
 
“Hmm, considering your natural iridescence, your parents were right on the money. I can also 
almost wager the world is your oyster seeing how cosmopolitan you are.”
 
“Well, I have traveled a bit”, she said, reeling out some of the countries she had been to.
 
“Just a bit?” I queried. I can see modesty sits well on you like that beautiful gown that clothes you.”
 
So our banter continued. We were on an intellectual court where we played with balls of words, she was Rafael Nadal and I was Roger Federer.
 
We discussed the intricacies of “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”. She was the only person I had met in recent times who had read M.M Kaye’s “The Far Pavilions”.
 
By this time, the alarm bells in my head were blaring more loudly than Spider-man in the presence of danger but I was enjoying myself too much and too tipsy to pay heed.
 
“I have to leave, she finally said. Thanks for everything.”
 
“I am the honoured one. I have not had such a roaring time in a long time. Let me have the pleasure of seeing you off.”
 
I saw her off to her car having it in mind to say bye, without collecting her number and ultimately mark her off as a pleasant memory on an unusual day.
 
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…
She got into her glistening BMW sports car and shut her door.  As I leaned over to say bye for the last time she drew me close and kissed me. The kiss was an ocean of flavours, honey, strawberry, vanilla and more exotic ones. I drowned! The citrus fragrance of her perfume swept me into an imaginary orange orchard dappled with generously scattered golden coins of sunlight.
“Why don’t you come know ma place?” she inquired.
Like I was in a trance, I opened her passenger door. As I entered, I saw Banji give me thumbs up sign, followed with a wink, his eyes filled with mocking mirth.
With a regret filled heart, I knew I would never be able to preach to my friend again but somehow I was past caring. I got in and she drove away with maniacal speed, the car screeching like an agonized demon.
 
I had crossed the Rubicon!!!
 
Our story had continued from that day on. I could not deliver myself from that body of carnality. Deep within I knew it was wrong but I enjoyed it too much to let go, coupled with the fact that she was the nicest person I ever met and was extremely sweet and sensitive. When I was with her, my stress level was considerably decreased.I became an expert at telling lies, conjuring up fictitious meetings that made me travel to Abuja.
 
 
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman…                                  

 

        
“I am pregnant!” She announced.
 
The words were grenade shrapnel that shattered the core of my being.
 
I could not ask her how because it would be superfluous. The first day I went to her house,I did not use any kind of caution since I was not the type that played around I did not go about with condoms and for some reason she was careless too.
 
“Udoh, did you hear me at all?”
 
I suddenly felt very tired. “Yes, I did. Sit down, please. We need to talk”.
 
I quietly explained to her that I would have to tell my wife but I was ready to take the baby and offer her all the support I could.
 
Her transformation was wrathful. It was like seeing Beauty become the Beast. She threw a hellish tantrum, broke up her T.V set and other valuable glassware. Her vituperation could not be captured by these pages because they would have burned. Pearl called me all kind of names, said she thought I would marry her since Nkechi did not make me happy and that I should go back to my miserable frigid wife.
 
Trembling, I fled the room.
 
“Because you ate from the tree, that I commanded you not to eat from, ‘the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful, you’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way, Planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.”
 
The Heavens decanted tears! It rained and poured hard.
 
The black livery of the mourners made mockery of the merriment of numerous multi-coloured umbrellas. The sobs and weeping of the throng around me was a sure sign that I was in hell.
 
The coffin had already been lowered into the freshly dug grave and it was time for me to shovel sand into the pit.
 
As I handled the shovel, I spiraled into the darkness of the past. I still see the way my wife collapsed when I told her the news. A fall she would never wake up from. Autopsy revealed, she had a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, since our first child she had been hypertensive and was placed on drugs. She was not medication compliant even though I spoke until I was blue in the face. The shock of the news raised her blood pressure terribly and she bled into the brain.
 
The whole drama affected my work and my Key Performance Indicator so much that when my company laid off staff, I was affected.
 
Now I have no job, no wife and two kids to cater for  My case is worse than ever now!
 
And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam……
 
As I visit the cemetery today, the scoured wasteland of my heart condensed into tears that pour in similitude to the falling rain and drip into the sand.
 
I ask God for forgiveness once again like I have done a trillion 
times since my downfall. A squall out of nowhere blows through the trees of the cemetery and in the soughing of the wind,i hear the whispers of grace. His voice says the days ahead will be dark, hard and long but nothing would ever separate me from His love…..
 
But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself”© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere
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17 thoughts on “ENSNARED..

  1. This is lovely and creative.You are an example of a good writer Lake Alder talked about. God’s grace & mercy gave us many second chances compare to the days of old testament.The blood of Jesus pave the way.

    Like

  2. First time reader, but am hooked. Good prose,good exhortation. God bless u. Will appreciate addition to ur mail list, Thank you

    Like

  3. Wowzer! This is an absolute wow piece packed full of real life practical lessons! You really did well to fully encapsulate probable events that can lead to being in this kinda situation, with the appropriate scriptural backings too! How supposedly ‘harmless’ habits can in an instance turn ‘lethal’ and pretty devastating! The way that seemeth right unto man, leads only to destruction! This sizzling masterpiece captured the full essence of that all important, golden scripture!

    I am awestruck Doc, this piece is a charmer in all its entirety! Its just flawless! More ink to thy pen and grace multiplied! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

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