(THE GAMBIA: YEAR 2008. GRACE’S HOME. GRACE IS A SIERRA LEONEAN LADY IN HER THIRTIES WHO HAS BEEN LIVING IN THE GAMBIA FOR NINE YEARS NOW. SHE LIVES ALL ALONE IN A TWO BEDROOM APARTMENT IN KANIFING ESTASTE. SHE SHARED THE COMPOUND WITH FIVE OTHER TENANTS IN THEIR OWN APARTMENTS. IN THIS SCENE, GRACE IS FANTASING ABOUT HER PASTOR, PAUL WHOM SHE HAS SECRETLY FALLEN IN LOVE WITH BECAUSE HE LOOKS SO MUCH LIKE HER FIRST LOVE FELIX WHO HAD DIED OVER FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. IN THIS SCENE, SHE IS CONTEMPLATING WITHIN HERSELF WHETHER TO CALL HER PASTOR AND EXPLAIN HER FEELINGS TO HIM OR NOT. THE PASTOR ON THE OTHER HAND ALSO HAD A CRUSH ON GRACE. HE HAD LOVED HER FROM THE FIRST DAY HE HAD SET EYES ON HER BUT AS A MAN OF GOD AND MARRIED IN PARTICULAR, HE COULD NOT DARE TO DISCLOSE HIS FEELINGS. NOW GRACE IS TAKING THE INITIATIVE TO CALL FOR SHE IS FED UP WITH HIDING FROM HERSELF. SHE BELIEVES THAT IF SHE TELLS HER PASTOR, HE COULD EITHER DO TWO THINGS; REBUKE AND PRAY FOR HER OR ACCEPT HER PROPOSAL.
IT’S JUST AFTER 11PM. GRACE IS LYING AWAKE IN BED, ENGULF IN THOUGHTS).
GRACE: God, why am I feeling this way? Is this a sin or not? Only you Lord can deliver my mind from these thoughts. (She sat up from the bed and switched on the bedside lamp. She reached for her bible, turned the pages, tried to read the words but couldn’t concentrate. She closed the book and switched off the bedside lamp. The light from the corridor illuminated through the half open bedroom door)
I’m going to call him. Yes, I will. But how will I say it to him? Should I say it bluntly to him that since I set my eyes on him I hardly sleep? Stop it, Grace! You’re the song leader in the church. What would Pastor Paul think of you if he hears these words? I don’t care, I must get these thoughts out of my mind and only saying it can help me. I must make the call.
(She reached for her cell phone and dialed the number. It was picked up almost immediately).
PASTOR PAUL: Hello? (There was a long pause from Grace’s end). Hello?
GRACE: Hello. It’s me Pastor.
PASTOR PAUL: Yes? (Pretending not to recognized her number) Who am I speaking to?
GRACE: Pastor, it’s me, Sister Grace.
PASTOR PAUL: Hey, my beloved sister! How are you? You were not in church this evening. We missed you.(He got up from the bed and walked to the living room).
GRACE: I’m sorry for not being able to come. That’s the reason I decided to call to explain certain issues that are bothering me. I don’t know if you have time to listen….
PASTOR PAUL: (Cutting her from finishing her words) My beloved sister, why don’t we meet tomorrow at my office so you can explain these issues to me in face to face. I can sense they must be some issues that require a more conducive environment, rather than talking it over the phone. What time is best for you?
Grace: Four PM sir. I will come directly from work.
Pastor Paul: That’s great. I will be waiting for you. Okay, my beloved sister. Stay blessed and sweet dreams. The Lord keep watch over you.
Grace: Same to you sir. (Pastor Paul hung up the line).
(Grace spent some moments watching at her cell phone. Though she was not successful at saying her thoughts to her pastor, she was happy that she had an appointment with him tomorrow. Tomorrow is just few hours away. She smiled in satisfaction, tucked well in bed and had the soundest of sleep in months).
(END OF SCENE ONE)
SCENE TWO (SAME NIGHT AT PASTOR PAUL’S HOME)
(Lizzy Carlos is Pastor Paul Carlos’ wife for five years. She had been listening to her husband’s conversation unbeknown to him. She emerged from her hiding as soon as her husband finished talking. Without him mentioning Grace’s name, Lizzy knew it was her on the phone this ungodly hour. She had noticed the silent attraction that is between her husband and Grace. But as the mother in the Church, she’s acting wise, as not to flare up unnecessary accusations. She trusted her husband and believed he will not allow the devil to lead me astray.).
Liz: What does she want honey?
Pastor Paul: (Startled) Who?
Liz: Sister Grace, of course.
Pastor Paul: Oh. (He got up from the chair he was sitting, walked up to his wife. He hugged her and walked her to their bedroom). Well, she was calling to explain some personal issues she wanted to share with me. I set an appointment with her for tomorrow at the church’s office.
Liz: Very strange on her part. Couldn’t she have waited to call you in the morning instead of calling at midnight?
Pastor Paul: Well, my dear, only she can explain why she wanted to talk to me at this time of the night. To get rid of the stress it might have caused us that’s why I have booked an appointment for tomorrow. By the way, honey, it’s not yet midnight. Check your time. Common, let’s go to bed, it’s late though. (He closed Lizzy’s mouth with a warm kiss as she wanted to make another comment. It weakens her. That night they made great love which was inspired from Pastor’s imagination that he was making love to Sister Grace!)
(END OF SCENE TWO)
(PASTOR PAUL’S OFFICE: FEW HOURS BEFORE HIS APPOINTMENT WITH GRACE)
(There was a knock at his office. Brother Felix entered)
Felix: Good after noon, Pastor.
Pastor: Good after, my brother. Please have a seat.
Felix:(sat down). Thank you sir.
Pastor: What can I do for you today? You sounded so urgent on the phone. Hope all is well?
Felix: By the Lord’s doing, all is well sir.
Pastor: Amen then.
Felix:(Shuffled in his seat). Well, Pastor, it has to do with sister Grace. As you know since she joined our church I have been watching her closely. It’s close to two years now and I have found out that she is single and available. So that is why I have come to share my desire with you to have her as my wife. Since that is the rule of the church for marriage.
Pastor(Smiling): Brother Felix! Firstly, you said just now that I know you have been watching sister Grace closely. How could you conclude like that? I don’t know my member’s movement unless those that are disclosed to me. Any way, as to concern your interest in sister Grace, I don’t know what to say to you now, because you might have heard that she has refused about four suitors since she joined our church. I’ve tried to know her reasons, but she has refused to disclose her refusals. I can say you might be lucky, as she will be coming to see me today. I will use the opportunity to mention you to her. Let’s see from there. Is that okay?
Felix: That’s fine sir. Please Pastor if you could be a little persuasive I would appreciate it. You know she’s a very difficult sister but I truly love her. I have gotten confirmation that she is my wife. I believe it was God’s divine intervention that she was refusing those other suitors so she will accept me.
Pastor: I admire your faith, my brother. Let’s wait and see the outcome. Anyway, I can testify of your faithfulness to the Lord. The good Lord will help you.
Felix: Amen sir! Thank you very much Pastor. I will be going now. (He handed him an envelop enclosed with some money). This is my seed of faith sir.
Pastor: You are blessed my brother. Let’s pray. (He said a short prayer for him.) Go in this grace. I will see in on Sunday to get you a feedback. Okay.
Felix: (Got up). Yes, sir. Thank you very much sir. I will be going now. See you on Sunday then.
Pastor: Go in peace. (Felix went out)
Pastor (Alone in his mind): My beloved sister Grace, why are you causing trouble in men’s hearts? Look at this fine young man that has become one of your victims. No man will see you and not desire you. What about me? Do you know how much I think of you every day? You seem like part of me. It seems I’ve known you before. I can feel you in my soul. As a man of God, I’m not supposed to have these thoughts about a woman that is not my wife. But I don’t just have these thoughts for you, I enjoy having them. I close my eyes and see you. Each time I see you up that stage singing, my heart melts. Worst of all, when I make love to my wife, it’s you I imagine. God, what is happening to me? (There was a knock at the door. It startled him to reality.) Come in.
(It was Henry, the church secretary.)
Pastor: What is it, Henry?