He looked down on the congregation from his position above them. They were all listening intently to Pastor Ikechukwu. He seemed to have their attention, but Dapo found he tuned out as soon as he heard the voice.
Organized religion just didn’t do it for him.
He could make out Nnenna’s profile from here, her ecstatic expression told him that she was buying whatever Ikechukwu was selling.
The guy was young and energetic, but that did nothing to sway Dapo’s stance on religion, no matter how much Nnenna insisted it could if only he would listen. But, he loved Nnenna , and marriage is about compromise, so he attended church with her because it made her happy.
He could see his daughter, Kemi, sitting with the choir. She seemed to be listening too. Thank God Ade was such an annoying boy. It gave Dapo an excuse to take his screaming son out of the church and to the outside wing where they kept the kids under 10 occupied with Sunday school.
Ade had seemed quite happy there. They were letting them kick balls and eat biscuits. The lady in charge there had taken Dapo’s number and told him to go back in for the service,
“We find it better if the parents don’t hang around. The kids misbehave less.”
That was beyond fine for Dapo and, best of all he did not have to go back in and listen to Pastor Ikechukwu drive on for several minutes, he looked at his watch. Damn, there was still an hour to go.
After leaving Ade he had wandered around outside for a while, before coming across a small outside staircase that led up to the organ balcony at the back of the church. Curious, and not finding any signs or locked doors to bar his progress, he wandered up. From up there he could look down on the whole congregation. There were enough corner and dark shadows that he knew he could stay up there completely unseen.
He sniffed the musty air.
Since Pastor Ikechukwu had come along this part of the church was hardly used anymore. Ikechukwu had brought in a band. He also sang and played lead guitar and everyone sang Contemporary Christian songs instead of traditional hymns. So there was hardly a need for the old piano.
Nnenna called Ikechukwu ‘progressive’. Dapo, having heard the band, called him a talent-less man who now had a captive audience.
Dapo had enjoyed the choir, at least. That was one concession to tradition Ikechukwu allowed. And watching Kemi’s face light up when she sang was thrilling. Their lead female singer, too, was a pleasure to watch.
Bimbo? Was that her name? She was beautiful and, if Kemi was to be believed, a genius too.
Dapo sniffed again. That was not the stale smell of an old church. That was something he remembered all too well from his university days.
Who was smoking weed in a church?
It took him a while to trace it but, eventually, he spotted a small door that leads out onto a balcony on the outside of the church.
There was a young lady out there, dressed in choir robes. She was sitting, back to the wall, staring through the balcony bars at a small area Dapo had not been aware was even there. Her robe was pulled up to her thighs, revealing long, smooth legs. He saw then the casual flick of a thumbnail to dislodge the ash from her marijuana cigarette.
Dapo wasn’t sure why he did it. He had been feeling hostile all morning since being dragged to church when he could have been at home watching movies. He slid through the partially open glass door and asked, “Nice spot you have here. Mind if I take a smoke?”
The lady looked up, clearly surprised. He had not seen her face, a curtain of dark hair had hidden the side closest to him. But, as she turned, Dapo winced when he recognized Bimbo. Her face was filled with embarrassment.
Dapo gave his best ‘I’m not going to report you’ smile. Bimbo seemed to calm when she realized he was not shouting at her.
Bimbo was not a friend of Kemi’s, precisely. Bimbo was two years older for one thing. But, she was something of a mentor to Kemi at the university and a youth leader in the church. She was that kid everyone always compared their own kids to.
Beautiful, straight A’s, always busy doing the lord’s work.
Dapo was shocked to see her smoking weed, in a church no less. In a weird way, he felt like she had caught him doing something bad.
He sighed and dropped his head. “Relax, I am not going to say anything. I was going to ask you for some until I saw who you were.”
She looked up at him warily, “you’re Kemi’s dad, right?”
“Guilty,” he answered.
“She’s a nice girl. I like her.”
Dapo laughed, “girl? You’re hardly older than her.”
Bimbo shrugged, “I feel a lot older.” Without looking at him she held up the weed, “Here, still want some?”
“Oh, yes,” Dapo answered. “It’s the only way I’ll make it through this.” He took it from her and inhaled, tentatively, not wanting to make a fool of himself and cough everywhere.
Bimbo laughed, it was a beautiful thing to watch. Her seductive eyes danced with amusement, “You’re a pretty cool guy, Kemi’s dad.”
Smoke escaped his mouth and nose, in what was meant to be a laugh, but sounded more like a snicker, “Try telling my daughter that.” He fought back the tickling cough, trying to maintain any semblance of coolness he could. “Call, me Dapo, by the way.”
“Yeah, I know. I saw your musical performance today. You have a beautiful voice.”
“Thank you.” Her young eyes were crinkled with a genuine appreciation for the compliment.
Dapo recalled how she had looked, standing at the front of the choir, her pure, clear voice resonating through the church. He was glad his wife couldn’t read his thoughts because he had been secretly fantasizing about pushing his dick between those pink lips.
She looked so innocent in her full choir vestment, he ached to rip it off her. Somehow, being in church only made his dark fantasies even darker. He had to remind himself that she was a little older than his daughter.
“Dapo,” Bimbo suddenly addressed him, as if she had come to some sort of conclusion,
“You can’t really say anything about me smoking weed out here, can you? Seeing as you did it too, right?”
“I guess so, Bimbo. But I wouldn’t say anything anyway. I was young once too, and I can see you have a lot of stuff going on in your life. You strike me as someone who has a lot of pressure on them. You probably need a break every once in a while.”
She smiled a wonderfully warm smile at him then, “Thank you, I think that is the nicest thing anyone has said to me. It has been,” she trailed off, “a tough week. A tough couple of years, really.”
Dapo shrugged and took another puff. He was starting to feel the warm fuzzy haze wrapping his consciousness.
“My parents have every second of my day worked out. This is the one moment I have to myself, between classes, fellowships, singing.”
Dapo gave a sympathetic snort, not sure of what to add.
“So,” Bimbo, bit her bottom lip, “I can say anything to you out here and you can’t do anything about it, can you? I mean, it would look worse for you to be found out here with a young girl smoking weed than it would for me, right?” She widened her eyes and batted her lashes theatrically, “What with me being so young and innocent.”
Dapo was, again, unsure of what to say. He shrugged one shoulder and looked out over the courtyard. It looked disused, the plants were brown and untidy, the fountain dry. He looked at her out of the corner of an eye. She was biting her bottom lip again, nervously. He was going to get hard just watching her do that.
“I am going to level with you, Dapo. I am crazy horny. I normally come out here, once I’ve done my singing, and masturbate after I get a little buzzed. Having all those people I know just meters away, being out here in the open, yet where no one can see me, it makes me come so horny I am surprised I don’t scream loud enough to halt the service.”
Dapo inhaled the entire spliff, then coughed and spluttered as it burned the inside of his lips and left ash on his tongue. He spat it out and watched it tumble down to the courtyard below.
Bimbo laughed so hard she had to hold her sides, “Your face!” Was all she could get out between the laughter.
Dapo felt his face grow hot. He turned as if to leave. This sobered Bimbo. She grabbed his hand and held him back.
“Wait, wait.” There was still laughter in her voice, “I am actually being serious.”
She sighed and grew somber, “Look, you caught me here at a time where I am reconsidering some shit in my life. No one really knows me. I’m a good girl, I do everything right. But, just once I want to admit to someone that I have dark stuff going on in my head. Just once I want to do something just because I feel like it. If people only know the dirty thoughts I have going on inside me they would probably lock me up.
She stared out at the courtyard a moment before continuing, “And here you come, Dapo. It feels like it’s fate or some shit like that.” She gave him a level look, “I’ve always had a thing for older guys, Dapo.”
Dapo suddenly felt nervous, half expecting his wife to come looking for him any second. He wanted to leave. “Look, I better get back. I won’t say anything about”, he stammered, “about any of this.”
Bimbo grabbed his hand before he could back away. There was a fiery intensity in her eyes when she spoke to him, “I know you won’t, don’t you see? That’s the point!”
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