Short Stories, Tale Africa

Surviving On Old Prayer (06)

By Vimbai Lole, ZImbabwe:

Psalms 18: 16.  He reached from on high, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

The shadow of a smile plays on his face before his look rapidly changes to reflect concern as it must have registered that I had been crying.

“Ummm excuse me…” he is visibly uncomfortable. “I…you are blocking my way out, you mind easing your car out a bit?”

“Oh” I say, sniffling and desperately trying to look put together, “I had not realized, I will do that”.

He turns and takes a step coming back to my side again.

“Are you okay?” it is unexpected and it surprises me for a moment before I just nod because I don't trust my voice to do the job without betraying me. He towers over my borrowed car awkwardly, obviously unsure of what to do or say next.

“Any way I can help?” I sigh, looking to the side, annoyed and angry at this intrusive stranger. What? Can't a lady cry over her dammed life in peace anymore without overzealous and curious men showing up and showing misplaced chivalry? Where is such knight-like behavior when a girl needs a new pair of shoes? Like offer to cover my bill in the line at the departmental store sometime! I look at him, and instead of telling him off, I surprise myself with a fresh show of the water works.

“Oh goodness I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you, f-f-forgive…”

“No, no, it's okay,” I cut him off, his heart is in the right place I decide. “It's just been one of those days, even my cup of coffee needs a cup of coffee itself.” He chuckles, a hearty laugh that warms my heart.

“I know the feeling; well, I better be going, but I hope whatever it is you are battling with lead you to find comfort in the Almighty.”

He gives me a smile and finally disappears into the dark to his car. I stare into the darkness that just swallowed him before remembering to create space for him to back out of the parking lot.
I then drive out and make my way home, pondering the stranger's parting words. Comfort in the Almighty. God had recently taken the form of a beautiful but distant memory in my life. There was a point in my life when I was all sold out for God, then life happened, and I started to slowly lose tiny bits of my awareness of His presence until He was nothing but a vague being at the bottom of my junk. Until that moment, I had not realized how much I missed Him. Desperately missed Him, and it had taken a stranger to make me realize it.

Trying to reach out to Him then, my own shame and guilt form a layer too thick for anything to penetrate and I feel like I cannot get to Him. Frustrated, I slam my foot onto the accelerator before I see that I am already at the house. The promise of my bed makes me realize how exhausted I am as I drive into the small yard. Tip toeing towards the back door while I think of church, I stop in my tracks. I must be imagining things now, hearing voices that are not there. But even as I try to reassure myself and listen closer, her unmistakable voice escapes through the walls from the inside, drifting and seemingly charging the air so that I can almost feel the tingles against my skin. I take a few strides, forgetting my need not to make any noise. I open the door and head for the sitting room where she is sunk in the couch like she never left…

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