The Choice (chapter 9)

Sarah removed the tray she had earlier set before Femi. She packed the few grains of rice that had spilled on the table into the plate on the tray.

"Thanks for the meal," Femi said as Sarah took the tray into the kitchen. Sarah nodded and smiled. Sarah dropped the tray in the sink. She washed her hands and dried them with a towel. She turned around and returned to the room. Femi was still seated at the table adjacent to the door, tapping his phone. Sarah took her seat on the empty chair opposite Femi. Femi looked at her. "I said 'thanks for the meal,' but you didn't answer," he said. "You're welcome. I already answered with a smile and a nod," Sarah said. "Okay, thanks." "That reminds me, how far about what we discussed?" "We discussed many things. Which of them?" "The part of you talking to your parents about our wedding," Sarah said." "I told you already that I've spoken with them. You were aware when I traveled home after our visit.

I've discussed it with them," Femi said and stared back at his phone. Sarah stared at Femi as he played with his phone. Was Femi not troubled by the state of things? The relationship wasn't moving forward. And he still had the mind to waste time for quality discussion by pressing the phone. Sarah exhaled. "Femi, we need to talk." "I'm listening to you." "You're not listening. I know when you are," Sarah said, her brow creased. Femi dropped his phone on the table and stared at Sarah. "Okay. Now, I'm listening." "Thank you. You are yet to tell me your parents' final decision." Femi stared at her for a while in silence. "Sarah, my parents love you. Why would they ask their son to sleep with you if they didn't want you to become his wife?" Sarah shot him a questioning look. What was Femi driving at? "Just listen to me," Femi said. "As I was saying, they love you and want the best for us. I have spoken to them at length, and now I know their reason for such a request." Sarah's ears flared.

She wanted to know the reason behind such a sinful tradition. Femi continued. "Now I know they're acting in our best interest. So, I don't want you to see them as enemies." "Why would they have us sin against God before consenting to our marriage? You are yet to tell me the reason," Sarah said.

Femi shook his head. He knew Sarah would tag his parents as idolaters if he told her exactly what his mother had said. "Don't worry about it. There's this fear that we might not have children in marriage. They just want to be sure we're both fertile." Sarah raised her shoulders. "Reassure them. Children are gifts from God. If we desire them, He'll give us in the confines of marriage." "Mere reassurance can't work, Sarah. They want proof." Sarah flattened her lips. "And what's the assurance that we will achieve pregnancy outside marriage?" "Let's try first.

At least once. Then we can tell them to let us alone," Femi said. Sarah's eyes widened. "What? Did you hear yourself? Are you giving in already? If we can't stand our ground now, is it after sinning that we will?" "Look here, dear. I'm in the mood for no argument. This is simple. We're either in the agreement or not. It's not as if we won't get married eventually. If I may ask, what has happened to those who had premarital sex willingly? Nothing. Talk less of us who are being forced to do it. God won't punish us. He knows we are willing to keep away from premarital sex, but our parents won't let us. Sarah eyed Femi. "Our parents or your parents?" she said. "Are my parents not yours as well? Are you bringing in segregation already?" Femi said with a raised voice. Sarah kept quiet. "Anyway, this is what I have to say. Since we are not doing it for pleasure but for a purpose, I see nothing bad about it. We'll ask God for forgiveness afterward," Femi said. "I can't. I won't. If you can't have your parents waive the condition, you can't have God waive the consequence," Sarah said. Determination flashed in her eyes." "Femi shrugged. "No problem. I'll disregard your attitude and give you some time to think about it.

The earlier, the better, so we can get things started." Sarah shook her head. "I don't need no time to think about it. My mind is made up. Let heaven fall; I won't do it." Femi sighed. It was obvious Sarah wouldn't budge except he tried another method. He calmed his heart. "My true love, please, let's just do it for my parents' sakes. Maami promised to hasten our wedding process immediately. She knows you're pregnant. Before anyone can sense you're pregnant, we are already married. Then we live happily ever after," Femi said as gently as he could bring himself to. "I see you've been bought over. I'll keep praying as I have been doing. God has told me to be patient and not commit sin. If you don't listen to God, then I can't listen to you," Sarah blurted. Femi rose to his feet.

"I think I've done my best persuading you. If you can't obey me now, when will you? If you can't submit it now, when will you? I think this is the point where we say our goodbyes and find better partners. I wish you the best of luck," he said and walked towards the door. Sarah jumped to her feet and held his hand. "Femi, what does that mean? Are you breaking up with me? This is an issue we're supposed to maintain a holy stance on until God gives us victory.

But here you are, giving up on our relationship already," she said. "Sarah, I'm tired. How much longer do you want me to wait? I know my parents, and I can tell when they are hell-bent on something. That was why I begged you to let us do their will and go ahead with our lives. God is a loving God. He will forgive us," Femi said." "Dreamboat, God is our anchor. What if this is a test of our faith? Don't let us fail this test. Please," Sarah said, tears forming in her eyes. "So, what do you suggest we do?" Femi said. "We have to wait until something happens in our favor." Femi raised his brow. "What if they insisted throughout this year?" Tears that had formed in Sarah's eyes dropped on her cheeks. "We wait till next year." "And what if they insisted through next year?" Sarah held Femi's hands. "We wait till the next, and the next until your people see that we are resolute and allow us to do God's will." Femi withdrew his hands. "I can't wait that long, Sarah. I'm sorry." "It might not be as long as you think." "Just forget it. I thought you had an interest in this relationship at heart, but now I see I was wrong. Best of luck," Femi said.

He opened the door and left. Sarah walked to her bed and crumpled on it. She sobbed. Thoughts flashed in her mind. She wasn't sure she could survive another heartbreak. She'd had many in the past. And when Femi came, Sarah tried her best to keep him in her grip. But now, Femi would slip out of her fingers, except she was ready to honor his family tradition. Sarah wept like a child. If Femi left her, where would she start? At almost thirty-four, she was losing her appeal. Many people had even counted her lucky to have someone like Femi in her life. Femi could have gone after younger, beautiful ladies, but then he chose her. Now, this tradition was pulling them apart." "Sarah buried her face in the soft pillow that decorated her mattress. She sobbed, praying that God would intervene."

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