Getting down from the trotro, Boahemaa blinked back the tears that threatened to force their way out, as she made her way to the church right in front of her.
Mission Anglican Church.
Following the events of the past week, she was no longer allowed to set foot in the Vanderpuye house. Glori’s parents were still quite mad at her for the misbehaviour at the one-week celebration. But they had also gotten to know a bit. The fact that she had cheered her friend on while she and the man of the Dawson household engaged in steamy flings. That obviously made her even more unpopular. It didn’t look like she, or Rawda possibly, would be permitted to attend the funeral.
So as she walked toward the church, her heart was filled with grief and guilt.
Inasmuch as she was convinced Rawda’s confrontation was unwise, ill-timed and very inappropriate, she couldn’t deny the fact that she did feel bad about not calling Glori to order. They both knew it was wrong for her to find herself in such a situation, yet their love for able-bodied men somehow became an excuse.
In hindsight, Boahemaa could see how foolish they had been. A six-pack and bulging biceps was never an excuse to do the wrong thing. Never.
If only she had told Glori not to do it. If only she had advised her to spurn the advances of that Dawson man. Maybe she might have listened. Obviously, Glori hadn’t wanted the kind of verbal lashing Rawda would deliver. But maybe if her fellow macho-loving friend had told her creeping about with the husband of your boss was a terrible idea, she’d have listened.
Or would she?
This question would never be answered, obviously. But that wasn’t why she was there.
As she entered the church, her aim was for the altar. Walking briskly towards it, her restraint on her emotions grew weaker as her face scrunched up. Throwing herself on it, the tears began to flow.
“God, I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Forgive me for everything that I’ve done, Lord!” she pleaded, face down. “I’ve messed up so badly, and I regret it. I’ve failed as a friend, and now I’ve lost a sister so dear. Please, Lord, forgive me. Please!”
For the next fifteen minutes, she remained sprawled on the floor, her tears sinking into the carpet as she cried out to God for mercy. With time, words turned to nothing but cries.
As her strength wound down and her loud cries reduced in intensity, she heard footsteps move toward her.
Then a hand gently touched her on the shoulder.
She lifted her head to see a priest, crouched to her level, a kind, gentle look on his face.
“My daughter, what’s wrong?”
“And now it’s just… every time I remember how I was happily cheering her while she was telling me how they were having sex that Saturday, I just feel so… terrible. I feel like the worst friend on earth. I feel like the biggest disappointment on the planet…” Boahemaa confessed, looking down as she told the story.
Father Bondzie, who was seated next to her on the altar, had listened silently. He certainly had not expected to meet somebody else directly affected by the accident. Such a tiny world we live in, he had thought to himself as she had narrated the events to him.
“I wish to God I had a time travel machine or something. I swear, the first thing I’ll do is go back to the day she first told me about that fling and warn her like crazy. Even if I’ll have to slap her, I’ll do it. I’d do anything to have my friend back, I really would,” she continued, sniffing and wiping her eyes as she spoke. “I made a terrible mistake, Father, and I dunno if I’ll ever get over this. I really don’t.”
Father Bondzie laid a hand on her shoulder. “Listen, Miss Boahemaa,” he began gently, “I can only imagine how terrible you feel. Considering what this led to, I know there’s a heavy load of guilt on you. But listen to me, punishing yourself won’t accomplish anything. Yes, you erred by urging your friend on, and you might feel bad about it now, but you can’t let that rule your life. Don’t allow it.”
Boahemaa continued to wipe her eyes as she listened to him.
“You’ve sought for forgiveness from God, and I want you to know that He has forgiven you. This is not a sin that He deems unpardonable. And if God has forgiven you, why continue to hold it against yourself? I know at this point, the wounds are still fresh and the memories will continue to replay in your mind’s eye. By all means, go through the grieving process; it’s natural and necessary. But don’t let your heart remain in bondage to guilt. You’ll never be free if you do.”
Boahemaa sniffed. “But Father, will I ever be free? All I ever think about is how I could have saved her from this fate. I just can’t shake it off, it’s just…”
Father Bondzie’s gentle grip tightened a bit on her shoulder. “Boahemaa, take it easy. The wounds are still fresh, so that’s how it feels. You just need to go through the grieving process for now. And please, you need a support system that will help you through this tough period. You cannot go through this on your own; it’s too heavy a load.”
Wiping her eyes, she nodded. “Yeah, that’s true.”
“Don’t you have any friends you can seek help from at this point in time?”
She began to think.
Well, there’s Beatrice. There’s Jean. There’s Ama Serwaa. Rawda… no, forget her. I don’t need that judgmental girl around me. After calling me an ashawo. Idiot.
She then nodded. “Yeah, I have some friends I can lean on.”
“Good, good. Look to them for support. With what you’re going through, it’s only appropriate they hold you up. Now listen to me. Once again, don’t continue to hold this against yourself. Refusing to forgive yourself will not get you anywhere beneficial; all that assures is you remaining in a cell for the rest of your life. Weep, cry, mourn your friend, as you should. But afterwards, heal and move on. The Apostle Paul told us in the book of Philippians that one thing he did was to forget the things that are behind him, and forging ahead to the things before him.
“You’re still a young woman, and there’s still a great future ahead of you. Don’t let this one error bring your life to a grinding halt. Please. When your time of sorrow is over, move on.”
“Please, the service starts at 9 am, right?”
“Yes, my dear. 9 am.”
“No problem. I’ll try and come much earlier than that. Umm, so… have you heard from Mrs. Dawson?”
The sigh from Mrs. Vanderpuye over the line already informed Rawda that the answer was unlikely to be a positive one.
“No ooo. Hmmm. The woman has blatantly refused to pick any of our calls. We’ve tried over and over again, but no response. I don’t understand why. It’s not like we were the ones encouraging Glori to sleep with her husband, so why this behaviour?”
“Hmmmm. Looks like the anger has really overwhelmed her.”
“I can understand. And I know she’s going through serious pain. I mean, none of us expected this. But the way she’s treating us, it’s not fair. It’s as if we told her to come and snatch her husband or something. God knows if I knew Glori was doing such a thing, I’d go to the house myself and drag her out and beat that foolishness out of her. We just wanted to apologize, see the way forward, that thing some. But no, the woman won’t hear it. My husband tried going there twice, and nobody answered. So, I dunno…”
Rawda sighed and shook her head. “Hmm. Well, if she doesn’t want to talk, I guess you can’t force it.”
“Hmmm, no ooo. I can’t force it. I know she’s angry, but… well, let’s just move on…”
So Boahemaa too holds a grudge against Rawda? Doesn’t look like that friendship’s gonna be mended any time soon…