Chapter 1- The conversation
“I feel like God has forgotten me.”
She didn’t expect her friend to answer immediately so the silence that came after her statement was not at all a surprise to her. She moved away from the window and walked to towards the piano that was no longer playing as her friend’s fingers were now frozen over the keys. She hated to burden her with all of this but she honestly had no one else who really understood what was going on at that moment. Short of calling Jonathan, this was her only option. She wasn’t surprised either when Ruth turned to her with a heavy sigh.
“Too much, ”Jess asked biting her nails whilst watching her friend.
“Have you talked to J about this?” Ruth asked, obviously reluctant to speak about the topic.
Jess sighed and turned away from her friend shaking her head. She would have talked to Jonathan if they weren’t at the retreat. She wondered for a moment why she had thought of volunteering for the youth camp was such a good idea.
I didn’t volunteer, she thought. Someone did it for me.
“Then maybe you could consider talking to Simon about it?”
Jess just rolled her eyes and did not even bother turning around to face her friend.
“He is your fiance, you are getting married to him as soon as he, and everyone else, can get you to set the date. You need to be open about some of these things with him. You cannot start a marriage with this lie hanging over your head, that is no way to start a marriage.”
Jess knew somewhere deep inside that Ruth was right, she didn’t want to acknowledge it though. That was a whole can of worms she did not want to have to deal with.
“ I can’t tell him, Ruth, you know why. This is one secret that I will take to my grave if I can somehow find a way to convince my little girl that she doesn’t need to know who her father is, or how she came to be born. It is in everyone’s best interest that I keep quiet about it all.”
“It’s killing you inside though, and you are delusional if you think that you can stop Amari from asking questions. That girl may only be six right now but she is already relentless with the questions. She wants to know who her father is and as she grows older, the questions will just increase. She is too smart for you to think that she will just let it go. And honestly, I suspect she has made her own decision who he is already anyway,” Ruth added running her hand through her long braids before she settled on playing with one of them in between her fingers.
The silence that followed those word was almost suffocating as Jess went back to her nail-biting as she wasn’t sure how to respond to that statement. She knew that Ruth was right, Amari already seemed to have her decision on who her father was and Jess was scared that it was probably because she hadn’t been careful enough.
“She doesn’t love me anymore, or at least she doesn’t love me the same as she used to,” she finally responded.
“I see it in her eyes, it’s like whatever little respect she had for me is slowly disappearing. She is embarrassed to have me as her mother now.”
“Jess, don’t be silly, that little girl loves you more than anyone else in the world. Maybe right now she is just confused by everything around her and I suspect that someone somewhere has been talking and whispering things around her, or to their children who in turn come back to her and she is finding out things that she should not even know right now. She just has some questions she wants answers to,” Ruth responded.
Jessica heard the scrapping of the chair on the floor and knew that her friend was coming to her. She appreciated the comfort even as she acknowledged that she was probably depending on the worst person she could have depended on in such a situation.
“What am I going to do? I can’t tell her the truth Ruth,” Jess said turning to the other woman who was now standing by her side.
“Honestly I don’t know. I know you will have to tell her something but I am not sure what. I do feel like she could benefit from knowing who her father is though, she deserves to, so does he. I understand you not wanting to open that ‘can of worms’ but really, try looking at it from her point of view. If he is such a good guy as you claim, he will not turn her away.”
Everything that Ruth was saying was true but it really didn’t help her in coming up with a decision on what to do. How do you tell a six-year-old what had happened to her?
“What are you most scared of?”
The questions startled her out her thoughts and she turned around to face her friend who was now leaning on the wall beside her.
“What are you most scared of? Telling Amari or its something else?” she asked again.
“Of course it’s telling her, what else could it be? I mean sure, I am also worried about ruining her father’s life, but it’s my little girl I am most worried about.”
“Are you sure?” Ruth asked.
“Of course I am sure,” Jess replied and frowned at her friend even as she felt the heartbeat increase a little.
She was sure, there could be no other reason and Ruth was just asking silly questions. Right?
Jess huffed and turned away from her friend. It looks like she was starting to doubt herself due to Ruth’s words. There wasn’t any reason to doubt though and she was better off concentrating on how to fix everything instead of looking deeper into all of this. She had enough problems as it was without doubting herself and questioning her motives.
“Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what I am scared of. The church can never find out that I actually know who my baby daddy is, or that the act wasn’t consensual. The whole church would go crazy and descend on me. I don’t want any attention on me or my children.”
“No Ruth, I can’t say anything right now. It’s just not the right time, in fact, I don’t think there ever will be a right time,” she added. “I don’t know what to do though. I know what I don’t want to do, what I can’t do, but I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, I can’t help you there. At the end of the day, it’s your choice anyway and we already have opposing views on the situation. Sorry girl but you are on your own on this one. You are surrounding yourself with too many lies and what’s worse is we are all caught in your lies. I am not comfortable with all this lying and scheming Jess, you know that. I need to work on me right now and I believe that the Word says you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. You need to just come forward with the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Jess knew that those words had actually been meant for something else much more important and life-changing than her web of lies but she wasn’t sure how to explain such a thing to Ruth. But the truth was, she was lying to everyone, and lying was wrong. A thought came unbidden to her mind and Jess turned quickly to face Ruth, hitting her head on the wall by mistake. She ignores that pain however and focused pleading eyes at her friend. Ruth wouldn’t tell on her, would she?
“Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. I am not going to tell anyone. At the end of the day, it is not my story to tell, it’s yours. No matter how much I do not like this, I am not going to say anything,” she said grimly not at all pleased with what she was saying.
Jess threw herself at her friend and hugged her. She felt immense relief and regret at the same time. Her friend was probably going through immense mental torture right now but because of her, she was willing to keep quiet. It didn’t escape her notice that she was causing her friend to sin. She was causing her very sin-conscious friend to sin.
Was it any wonder that God was punishing her at that moment with the whole situation? It wasn’t just her own self that she was dragging down with all the lies and secrets. She was bringing her friend down with her too and because of Ruth’s love for her, she wasn’t giving up on her or telling on her. She would have to find a way to fix everything and not let it affect her friend, she should have never said anything to her, to begin with.
For a moment she wondered how different things would have been if she had just told the truth from the get-go, or if she had gotten rid…Jess shook her head quickly as if to shake off the thought that was slipping into her mind. There was no point in thinking such things and she could never do such a thing to her babies. She could never have gotten rid of the pregnancy and what she needed to get rid of now were the thoughts going through her mind.
Saying something would not have been a good thing either. What good would it have done for anyone to know what had happened? It would have just caused more trouble than she could ever be able to deal with. Even worse, she could have been asked to get rid of her pregnancy. Sometimes she thought that the only reason they made her keep the baby was as a punishment for her to remember what they considered her stupidity. If they had known the truth what would they have done?
Jess shook her head again and told herself that it didn’t matter now, there was no point thinking such thoughts. If she had been thinking clearly she would have just taken the morning after pill to stop herself from getting pregnant. She hadn’t however, and it had taken her a long time to go back to the hospital after she had run away without waiting for her results when she first went in.
Not that any of it mattered now anyway, she did not regret having her babies. This was just a difficult situation for her to navigate. What she was going to do to convince her daughter to let everything go so that things could get back to normal?
“You know what I will do, I will pray for you and you need to pray too. Otherwise, right now we have to go back to our duties. The camp is not over yet and I am pretty sure that our break time is over. I really don’t want to have to get in trouble with the supervisor so let go.”
Jess watched her friend walk towards the door and sighed knowing that she was right. They had to get back to their duties but at the moment Jess wasn’t sure she could concentrate on something other the thoughts going through her head. She had to though, it was service time and to her, it meant even more because she had a lot to atone for. And after she got home, she would have even more lies and deceptions to atone for. The way her life was going, her whole future was filled with that abundant need for service as she looked forward to a future filled with lies and deception.
Her thoughts turned to her brother-in-law as she left the room. He was the one she lived with, she had lived with him since her parents kicked her out of their house when she turned up pregnant. He was the one taking care of the children whilst she was at camp. In fact, he took care of them and her all the time and she knew that he hadn’t missed the tension between her and Amari.
He would be extremely worried about her right now and she had to get everything under control before he started asking questions. He always knew when she was lying and would not stop himself from asking questions this time. This time he would pursue everything and not keep quiet. Her time was running out. If she couldn’t diffuse this situation, then all hell was going to break loose.
She had to get things back under control before all hell broke loose.
God help her.