It was a Wednesday evening. He deliberately took longer in the office to get home past nine o’clock. The current state of affairs in his home made him dread the idea of going home. Nonetheless, he loved Rachel and hadn’t given up on their marriage – yet.
Raphael got home at a quarter to ten o’clock. The lights were off, and he desperately hoped Rachel was in bed. He called out her name, but there was no response. He went to the bedroom to confirm but found no one. After a long day at work, he was famished, so he went to the kitchen. The sight of shiny cooking pots that were upside down on the dish rack welcomed him. He opened the fridge with crossed fingers, but he found a sorry-looking lettuce and a little milk.
The living room door opened, interrupting his thoughts. Rachel was finally home. She greeted him and headed to the bedroom. Raphael’s stomach was rumbling, but this didn’t stop him from noticing Rachel’s clothes. She wore a long oversized skirt, a large blouse, and a sweater. Her trip to the bedroom was to put away the sweater.
“When and why did she start dressing up like this?” Raphael wondered.
“Where are you coming from?” He asked her as she entered the kitchen.
“You know we have prayer meetings on Wednesdays,” Rachel said as she proceeded to open the fridge.
Choosing not to continue with that line of conversation, Raphael asked her for food.
“You’ll have to eat a sandwich. I didn’t have time to do more shopping,” said Rachel as she retrieved bread from one of the cabinets. She then took out the lettuce, two slices of ham and tomato.
Raphael stood there, partially angry but also wondering what was going through her mind. She plated the sandwich and used the little milk to make him a cup of hot chocolate.
“Here you go,” Rachel said confidently.
“What are you having?” Raphael asked her.
“I’m fasting,” she responded.
“Of course you are,” he muttered to himself.
He had half a mind to reject the sandwich but was too tired and hungry to pull that move. He ate and joined Rachel in bed. He patiently waited for her to finish her prayers and then told her they needed to talk.
“Rachel, we cannot continue like this.”
“What is the problem now?” Rachel asked in irritation.
“The list of the problem is long but let’s start with what you just served me for dinner. Rachel, me a grown man with a wife and who provides everything you need just had a sandwich for dinner served by my wife. It’s unacceptable.”
“I told you I didn’t have time to go shopping,” Rachel defended herself.
“Why? What were you doing?”
“I left work early because the pastor needed help with something before the weekly meeting.”
“Rachel, since you changed churches everything revolves around your pastor. You have neglected everything else.”
“You wouldn’t understand it. The pastor said there will always be opposition and I guess you’re proving him right.”
Raphael started to speak and decided against it because he knew how this conversation would go. They had been down this path severally over the past seven months. He needed a new strategy, so he decided to call Rachel’s mother to intervene.
Rachel’s mother respected Raphael enough to know he would never have asked for help if it wasn’t serious. She decided to visit them the next weekend. Since she lived upcountry, they decided she would visit on Saturday, spend the night and travel on Sunday evening.
Rachel’s mum first noticed the change of wardrobe. She refrained from commenting, suspecting there were bigger battles. After spending a few hours together, Rachel excused herself, explaining that she needed to attend church to make arrangements for Sunday and assist the pastor with errands. She left at three o’clock in the afternoon.
Raphael came home around five o’clock, thinking he had given the mother and daughter enough time to bond.
“Where’s Rachel?” He asked after sharing a cup of tea.
“She went to church,” Rachel’s mother answered.
Raphael held his head.
“I don’t how much longer I can go on like this. It started a few weeks after we lost our son. I figured that was her way of dealing with grief the same way I buried myself in work, but she got more entrenched in it. She changed churches and everything else suddenly didn’t matter. She’s struggling to keep her job and all she seems to care about is keeping her pastor happy.”
“Have you tried talking to her?” She asked.
“I have lost count of how many times I have tried to get her to speak to me. It always ends in her telling me I am not religious enough to understand.”
Rachel hadn’t come back by seven, so the mother had to prepare dinner. When Rachel returned, she didn’t seem to acknowledge a problem. Later after dinner, her mother tried talking to her.
“Rachel, what is going on?”
“Mum, are you also against my devotion to the church?” Rachel asked her.
“I brought you up in the church and I am glad you have kept the faith, but my dear you’re neglecting everything else. I hear you changed churches, tell me about that.”
“There’s nothing to tell mother. I needed a place that would increase my faith and the pastor helps me,” said Rachel.
“What about your marriage and home?”
“Raphael doesn’t understand me. He wants me to spend more time here but I have to work with the pastor.”
“Doesn’t the same faith instruct you to tend to your marriage?” The mum asked.
“I don’t think I am doing wrong by Raphael, he just doesn’t understand me.”
Realizing she would not get through to her, the mother switched topics. “I see you have changed your wardrobe. Why the change?”
“I was lost in many ways including my dressing and I lost my boy as a result,” Rachel said with tears in her eyes.
“Rachel, it wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t a punishment. Tragedy can hit anyone,” her mother tried to explain.
“Not according to my pastor.”
After two hours of trying to convince her otherwise, it was clear they needed to handle it delicately. The following day Rachel made lunch before leaving in the morning and went to her church. Rachel’s mother returned home, but she would call the daughter often. Things didn’t get better between Raphael and Rachel. Raphael suggested counselling, but Rachel would only have counselling from her pastor. Raphael declined. Eventually, although he understood grief had led her to that path, Raphael couldn’t take it anymore and left her.
Stolen By The Cloth
The Singlehood Series: He Swore He Was A Church Boy But His Car Reeked Of Alcohol
The Singlehood Series: He Asked Me Out On A Brunch Date But Took Me To Church Instead
The Singlehood Series: My Date Was Too Religious Which Put Me Off
My Crush Took Me On A Date To A Pyramid Scheme Meeting
My Perfect Woman Turned Out To Be An Escort
The Date Was Going Well So She Didn’t Expect That Kind Of Disrespect
My Date Was Too Religious Which Put Me Off