Tshepo: “In the book of Genesis 2 verse 18. We hear the Lord say that it is not good for a man to be alone. That’s is why God himself made a suitable helper for him. Amen Bazalwane”
Tshepo: “My young couple now that you have found each other. The word of God in Ephesians 4 verses 2 to 3 tells us that. You need to be completely humble and gentle with one another. You need to be patient with each other and be supportive to each other’s dreams. You both need to make every effort to keep the unity of spirit through the bond of peace in your union and home”
Congregation: “Amen” they say clapping hands
Tshepo: “Your house in not a battle field it’s a place where love and peace reign throughout. You are now going to be one his dreams are yours and yours are his. Her pain is yours and yours is hers. I am going to tell you a secret when my wife is sick I feel her pain. When she burns her beautiful fingers cooking for us I feel the pain because she and I are one”
I faintly smile at my daughter who takes my hand in hers and squeeze it tight while she keeps a straight face a gesture I don’t understand. It’s as if she is offering me comfort but that can’t be it because she doesn’t know about the abuse. No one else knows about it except Tshepo and his family who never did anything when I first reported in to them.
The congregations is busy clapping their hands while others keep shouting hallelujah. I am seated here listening to my husband preach to a young couple about to get married next month. Some people are just hypocrites preaching one thing and practicing something else. What makes me angrier is his nerve to lie in this holly place. I pray that this young man will not make his young wife go through even half of what I have been through.
Man like my husband can make you question the existence of God sometimes. I know I shouldn’t be speaking like this because I do know that God exist but sometimes his silence is just too much. His silence when I am being beaten up cheated on and verbally insulted sometimes makes me question his existence. I am disturbed from my thoughts by someone nudging me.
Me: “Mmm?” I say looking at the older woman next to me.
She doesn’t say anything but directs my attention to my husband in front.
Tshepo: “Mma Mamabolo could you please come and join me in front as I bless this young couple and wish them well on the beautiful journey they are about to undertake” he says with a beautiful smile.
A smile I once fell in love with all those years ago how I wish my husband was like this even when there was no audience around. Loving and patient. I stand up and make my way to the front while the congregation is on its feet singing along with the church choir. I get to the front and do my duties as the minister’s wife and stand side by side with husband in front as he bless the young couple. I hug both the bride and the groom at the end of the blessings and wish them all the best.
They look so in love which remind me of the young us all those years ago. We had dreams and most importantly we were in love.
Every Sunday after church my family and I helps out at the center run by the church. It was built for orphans
Koko Tlou: “Powerful sermon by your husband today. As usual I am sure the heavens are singing hallelujahs for all the souls he is saving through his preaching” she says cheerfully disturbing my thoughts.
I smile and nod as I continue chopping the veggies.
Sister Bethina: “He is a true man of God. Nothing like this fake pastors we see every day on TV”
Koko Tlou: “Not every pastor has God’s anointing. Some are just wolves hiding in sheep clothing to scam money from their congregations. Not even once have I ever had Pastor Mamabolo requesting money from us. Other than the offerings we give here in church on Sundays which we know very well that it is used for the center. We should count ourselves very lucky to have him as our spiritual leader”
I smile and nod as they continue singing praises of their precious Pastor. If only they knew that people hide behind the word of God for different reasons. Some hide to scam people money while others like my husband the most dangerous of them all hide their dirty laundry. I say he is the most dangerous of all the fake pastors because he hides his abuse very well. Who would believe that a man of God who not only ministers but also takes care of his community is a woman beater? Unfortunately the man they know and the one I live with are two different people.
Sister Bethina: “You are a very lucky woman to be married to such a man. Some of us are married to heathens who drink and sleep all day on Sunday” she says shaking her head
Me: “Blessed indeed. So sister Bethina does your husband start a fights when he is drunk” I ask curiously
Sister Bethina: “Mang John? Never. He is a sweatheart yena shame if only he could quite his drinking and start attending church with me. I mean lenna I would love to have my whole family present at church like most families here. But John says he doesn’t need a church to worship God or a pastor to pray for him as God is capable of hearing his prayers wherever he is” she says the last part shrugging her shoulders.
Me: “Interesting” I say softly.
I think she is the lucky one. I would trade my husband for any man God fearing or not as long as he would love and protect me like a husband is supposed to. People think that being married to Tshepo is the biggest achievement like I have made it in life. How can they mistaken my curse for a blessing? If only they knew that the grass is greener on the other side because it’s either fake or watered with someone’s tears and blood.
If only they knew that my body is covered in bruises as we speak. If only they knew that I had to sneak out during the sermon to go to the bathroom and take pain killers because the pain was getting unbearable. If only they knew that I would have liked to wear a different dress today but it would not have covered up my bruises and scars. If only they knew that I went to sleep in a heavy heart last night while I cried myself to sleep.
I think Sister Bethina’s husband is the most intelligent of us all. I mean he knows better than to follow a man who thinks God hears only his prayers and no one else. I remember my old friend from my backroom renting days who never liked Tshepo. She used to call him ‘Mr Holier than thou’ I never understood why until few years ago.
I wipe my hands and walk away from these woman who can’t seems to stop singing praises for Tshepo. I meet Mmabatho by the door on her way out.
Mmabatho: “After noon Ma” she says avoiding eye contact.
Me: “Afternoon Batho” I say with a forced smile.
Mmabatho is our choir leader and she and my husband have been having an affair for some time now. Something they think I don’t know but I do especially after my name was used on his medical aid to have an abortion done for her.
I walk the kitchen and check on the pots that are already on the stove. I smell his scent before I even know he is here. My heart sink because I know what he was up to. His level of disrespect for me has become too much for me to handle. I have cried enough and I will not be shedding anymore tears for him or this marriage.
Tshepo: “My love I need to go to Cape Town tomorrow to take care of business. I know its short notice but I will make it up to you” he says hugging me from behind and placing a soft kiss on my neck.
Me: “How long will you be gone?” I ask while busy stirring the pots
Tshepo: “Just 2 weeks. Will you and the kids cope?”
Me: “Its fine I understand. Our business put food on the table” I says softly.
Tshepo: “Thank you for understanding could we please leave so that you can start packing clothes for me”
I smile and nod. Ofcouse I am understanding and yes I will cope. Two weeks of his absence is all I need. I don’t care if he is really going on a business trip or not. At least I get two weeks without his presence enough time for me to meet my lawyers and start working on the divorce papers. I am done with this marriage my kids and I deserve better.