Several weeks ago, Pastor, a neighbour and founding father of a small mabati church, where he is also the senior pastor and ministers to his congregation almost every Sunday, was caught in a very compromising situation with The Other Woman.
Pastor’s wife arrived home unexpectedly from an outreach upcountry to find the pudgy, light-skinned The Other Woman in forbidden passion with her husband and the rotating fan in the room doing nothing to cool their high body temperatures.
Pastor’s wife shrieked in horror and disbelief and the two lovers jumped out of bed in confusion and panic.
The Other Woman fled the house while grabbing onto anything that could cover her nudity, with Pastor’s wife throwing her (The Other Woman’s) clothes and shoes at her, calling her unprintables.
Pastor came out after them while shakily and hurriedly tying a floral bed sheet around his waist, a corner of the sheet sweeping the floor. He tried to calm down his angry wife.
“Don’t touch me!” she screamed as she pushed him away.
The Other Woman tried to hide behind a pillar in the verandah as she quickly put on her clothes.
“So this is what you do when I am busy spreading the word of God?” Pastor’s wife asked him.
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“Please, let’s go inside and talk,” Pastor pleaded, feeling thoroughly embarrassed.
His eyes darted around, seeing us, fellow plot dwellers, making that incident an important part of our lives by following keenly and asking intrusive questions on behalf of his wife.
“This is just a misunderstanding,” Pastor said with his voice down so that we, reporters and witnesses, had to move closer to them to hear. “She seduced me, this Jezebel!”
Upon hearing that, The Other Woman quickly approached them while buttoning up her blouse.
“Seduced you?” she asked Pastor angrily. “Yet we’ve been lovers for months?”
As soon as that revelation was made, and we all gasped and judged hypocritically, the holy spirit suddenly descended upon Pastor and he was instantly flung into electric prayers and and was talking in tongues, waving a fist in the air with his eyes closed, and pacing back and forth, a corner of the bed sheet tied around his waist sweeping the floor. We could all almost feel the presence of God in our midst.
We could all almost feel the power of God working miracles in our lives, healing terminal diseases and giving us the jobs and promotions we had been desperately looking for. We started feeling our lost hopes and dreams being restored and we were beginning to slowly get in touch with our spiritual sides and reconnecting with God.
We were on the verge of breaking into a slow worship song, and sing it with our arms raised up and hands clutching our chests, and our faces looking up to the heavens, and tears gushing out of our closed eyes, but it is the slap that Pastor received from his wife that brought us all back to the reality on the ground.
Silence befell the entire plot as we all felt the mighty weight of the slap, its velocity, its precision, and its impact. The slap was so powerful that we heard echoes, and we debated about it and reviewed it for days.
It was like a work of art, that strike. We speculated the number of months it would take for Pastor’s face to stop throbbing and stinging from that potent wallop. We imagined the physical damage it must have caused, wondering whether he’d look like his ID photo for a while.
Speaking of IDs, is there a support group for those of us who don’t have The New Generation ID cards? A secret place where we can meet regularly and try to find out what kind of conspiracy the Government was on about before the emergence of The New Generation ID cards? A home away from home where we can come together as brothers and sisters, hold hands, and catch up on our crying?
Because, sweet mercy, our (old generation) ID card photos look like they were taken when we were at a point in our lives when the devil had us in his filthy palms, playing with us like moulding clay. A point in our lives when all happiness, hope, and will to live had been violently sucked out of our souls and replaced with a hollowness so immense, it was almost palpable.
A point in our lives when we were rejects of society, riddled with sicknesses and inconceivable poverty and immense loneliness, and the only thing left was dark shadows of ourselves.
You look at your ID card photo and you cannot recognise the person you see. The eyes looking back at you look dead. You shriek and shudder in horror. I don’t even want to think about the torment we go through when we look at a photocopy of those ID cards. Or how many times we have to make photocopies of them, just to get the perfect copy.
And, no, there is never a perfect copy. Just always a little rectangular piece of paper with words, letters and numbers, and a big ugly blot of black ink as your face.
And when you are withdrawing some cash from an M-Pesa shop and the attendant asks, “Uko na ID?” (Do you have an ID).
You fearfully ask, “Wah. Ni lazima nikupatie ID yenyewe? Si nikupee number tu? (Must I produce the ID? Can’t I just give you my ID number?)
“Was God involved?” the angry, betrayed Pastor’s wife asked as soon as her palm was done making contact with her husband’s face.
She did not wait for an answer. She entered her house and immediately locked the door, leaving Pastor, The Other Woman, and the rest of us glaring at one another, reflecting on the question.
The Other Woman told Pastor that her handbag and phone were inside the house, so could he please get them for her?
But Pastor’s wife had already slipped into a coma. She couldn’t hear her husband banging on the door, pleading to be let in, or at least given some clothes.