NEXT SUNDAY AFTERNOON ‘I will try to go straight to the point’, Mike started as they both walked. He had always preferred walking than sitting anytime he wanted to speak his mind. It had always helped him relax; but this time, Sarah walking slowly by his side didn’t help to make him relax. Mike had pleaded with Sarah to walk with him from the church so that he could tell her what he wanted to say without shifting from left and right and feeling awkward. However, the walking was also proving a difficult task as he tried all his best not to look at Sarah’s face to see the effect his words were having. He had read in one of his psychology books in school that it was easier to say the truth while standing than when sitting. It had to do with the arrangement of neurons or something like that; but that didn’t prove to be the case on that bright afternoon. ‘But why am I feeling like this?’ Mike tried to reason himself out of the uncomfortable situation. He remembered how he used to walk with Sarah back in their days in the higher institution. He was always very happy, calm and at peace those days after their fellowship services. He smiled as he remembered the good old days but frowned again when he realized the gravity of the situation he was presently in. ‘What’s happening? You are not saying anything’, Sarah wondered aloud. She had been very careful not to look at Mike’s face but his sudden silence prompted her. She had to agree that things had really changed between the two of them since the first day they met.

So many storms and doubts, yet she knew still believed in him; and she still loved him. ‘I am sorry. I am trying to get myself together’, Mike answered her. ‘Can you remember the question I asked you last time we spoke?’ ‘Yes’ Sarah answered; ‘You asked if I was sure God wants us to be married’. ‘Okay, thank you. I’m sorry I asked, that really is not the problem’, Mike apologized. ‘Okay…?’ Sarah was afraid but she led him on. ‘The truth is… Ehmmm… I am sorry, just be patient with me, I am trying to… You know?’ ‘Okaaaay…’ Sarah decided to give him as much time as he needed. ‘The thing is, I don’t know if I really…’ His words faded again. Mike was surprised at his nervousness. He put his sweaty palms inside his pockets and shook his head as a drop of sweat broke out just beside his left brow. ‘Damn it!’ He was getting infuriated with himself. ‘Just say what you want Mike, I am ready for the worst’, Sarah tried to lend him some courage. ‘Okay, thanks. The truth is, I am not sure I still love you like before again.’ He finally delivered the blow. The words stopped Sarah in her tracks; ‘Excuse me; you are not sure?!’ She was stunned; she was not prepared to hear such words. ‘Okaaay, Relax…’ Mike said more to himself than to Sarah. ‘I don’t know if I really love you again’. He said the weighty words again as his confidence returned slowly. ‘I don’t know why. Maybe it is the persistent break in our communication, or the different difficulties, but I don’t love you again’, Mike said with a note of finality. They were standing in a shade by the road and Sarah could see the taxi park from where she was standing. She shook her head and laughed; but the sound of the laughter was strange to her own ears. ‘So, how did you know you loved me before?’ She asked Mike. ‘And how do you know you don’t love me now?’ Sarah laughed again as she spoke. The laughter only added to Mike’s fear as he tried to find the right words to explain himself. ‘It is not like that. I loved you before. You know I did’, He said. ‘I was always happy to see you, happy to talk to you, happy to share things with you. I even often tried and failed to discipline myself and not to call you daily’, Mike added. ‘I loved you those times; I know I did’, he said again. ‘But now, I am always afraid to call you. I know you too have noticed it. It is not because I don’t want to call. It is just that I am now seeing calling you as a duty rather a pleasure.

And the truth is, I always look for excuse not to see you.’ Mike continued. ‘In fact, last month, when my Pastor sent me to your church to deliver message notes to your Pastor, I had to give him a flimsy excuse so he could send another brother. Imagine that! Me, that could not wait to call and see you before. I will be deceiving myself if I say we are still alright. No, we are not.’ Sarah’s hand stayed on her cheek in amazement as Mike poured out his mind. She had thought she would cry when he said he didn’t love her. But she was surprised not even a single tear flowed. She just maintained the smile on her lips and the hands on her cheek. ‘I am sorry Sarah, really, I am. But I felt I should be sincere with you.’ Mike didn’t know what to say again. It was not the response he expected; Sarah was taking everything calmly; maybe too calmly. ‘Please say something’, he pleaded.

‘What can I say again?’ Sarah asked and smiled. ‘Please don’t be like that’, Mike begged. ‘We can still continue the relationship. It does not really matter’, he continued. ‘If I can lose the love now, I believe I can love you again. Please, let us continue with the courtship. The relationship should not stop now. I am sure I was led to you. And you too have confirmed you are convinced God want you to marry me. Can anything go against God?’ He asked and searched her face or answers. When he didn’t get any, Mike talked on, ‘Please, let us marry still. I just told you these things because I want to be sincere with you. It does not really matter’. ‘We can still marry. Love will develop again’, He assured Sarah. Mike wanted to say more, but with the smile on Sarah’s lips and her shaking head, he knew she had made a decision. The two of them stood in the silence for about a minute. ‘It seems as if the day is getting dark. I need to go home’, Sarah finally broke the silence. ‘WHAT?!’ Mike shouted. ‘No, please, say your mind before you go, please. Don’t leave like this, please’ Mike rubbed his hands against each other. ‘What’s there to say again?’ Sarah smiled again, ‘If you don’t love me, you can’t marry me’. ‘No, Sarah; No.’ Mike tried again to convince her. ‘I have told my Pastor this too. And he said we can still marry’, Mike said. Sarah laughed again. ‘No, we cannot.’ She said firmly. ‘Goodbye, Mike. Nice seeing you again’. ‘But…’ Mike tried to say but she was already walking away. ‘Sarah, please…’ He called again, but she didn’t stop. Mike stood and watched as Sarah walked towards the taxi park and he hoped and prayed she wasn’t walking away from his life forever.


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