My Aunt, St. Humble (2)
So, Aunty Everything is a torn in the men’s flesh, and a solution is badly needed to get rid of it…what can be done?
The answer finally comes one Sunday morning in the guise of a tall, gallant, and totally different kind of dude from the ones in church. He walks in while the Pastor is preaching. He takes a seat at the back, but for some reason, everyone seemed to know that someone had entered, and so turn in their seats to lookback. Maybe it’s because of the way Pastor’s speech faltered when he saw this man. Even his gaze had shifted too. And well…people normally followed their leader. The man takes a seat right beside Madam who is fanning herself. She glances at him once and that is it.
For the first time in a long time, Aunty does not wait for the birds to flock around her after service. They see him leave first, and then she carries her past, present and future self after him. The women nudge each other, wide-eyed; the men gape, mouth open. They cannot believe their good fortune; one Sunday out of many forgone when their wives would be going home with them with ears empty of one human being’s “humble” but loaded words. This Sunday, they can eat their lunch with no fear of a hidden blade in the piece of meat. One Sunday without the absent but always present presence of one woman. Wow…God answered prayers after all!
However, no one is ready for what the Sunday’s surprise reproduces the following Sunday when Aunty and the new Mr. walk into church while Pastor is preaching again. This time, their entrance together does not just make him shift gaze and falter in speech; he stops altogether and cannot find his words until they sit at the favorite back position. And of course, everyone turns back to look. What meets their eyes, changes the life of the church forever. Bro now looks even more different from the other men than he had the previous Sunday; however, he seems one with the woman by his side.She is wearing one of her horrid looking hats that reminds one of death and hellfire. Her clothes are indescribable, honestly, so description is unnecessary and impossible anyway. He is dressed just like her. It’s crazy that they had put the clothes together in just one week of meeting!
Soon, the men start looking down at their clothes and then stealing glances at that of Mr. Aunty just keeps fanning herself, yelling her phonetic “hallelujah” periodically, while retaining a secret smile on her lips. Now, there is something stiff in the air…everyone can feel it. And, there seems to be a psychological magnetic field around the back area, clamoring for swaying, insecure and easily persuaded minds, and succeeding inch by inch in drawing them close. Thus, the moment full stop is “heard” behind the closing grace, the church seems to part ways like the Red sea. Somehow, Mr. manages to move over to sit at the right side of the rows of chairs, and Madam retains her usual position, still fanning herself. The parting of the water brings the women to the woman, and the men to the man. The one group does not know what the other is talking about, but it is clear to the blind that things certainly will not be the same again.
Three weeks of Mr. being in church, the men have their own mission: different demands from the females in their lives; more complains; and, rising contempt for what used to be the undisputed status quo. The homes turn into a competition ground more or less—this one’s recently internalized desire trying to outdo the other; World War 3, as changes clamor for more money, time and effort to “purchase” them; wardrobes are going out, new ones coming in; freedom agenda are being drawn out; and, stress, futility, and anger problems resulting from efforts of feasibility to achieve the wanted “new life”.
Church is no different now—it is a sea divided into two genders, and then there is a silent, competitive war between members of each gender. Everyone wants to be different, to look better than the other person in acquiring the “awe-striking” personality of their mentors. And of course, the mentors keep telling of their humility, and smiling, and fanning, and coming late, and…Pastor keeps shifting gaze and faltering in his speech when two humans walk in.
The Sunday before Christmas is the day Pastor shocks the “Red Sea” with the news that Mr. and Madam are getting married and have relocated to London. Church turns into a grave yard that day, and men and women look at their changed and indescribable wears with new eyes. Eyes start to locate those of their partners, and by the time the last Grace is said, family members seek each other and hold hands. Everyone goes home early that day—no “group meetings” for the first time in a long time. Lunch is quiet; dinner, grave. The air is stiff with memories of foolish behaviors and their needlessness at the moment.
The following Sunday, everyone returns to a church that tortured the mind. They all still wear the funny, crazy, and different clothes, but there is no one to look…and nothing to prove to anybody. Pastor’s speech does not falter, nor do his eyes shift to notice anyone’s entrance. The two backseats are totally empty; but, brains are filled with the pictures of one man and woman: acclaimed demigods. The women can’t face one another; neither can the men. Their leaders are gone, but they are here, and their relationships with each other have been strained by stupid competitive ideologies and debased self-esteem. The clothes and agenda are useless now; only people remain…but, the people aren’t the same anymore, they just can’t be. They have changed, and change does not always suffice to be right.
Pastor finally addresses the church on what the problem is. Why are they all so cold? But no one knows…or maybe they can’t just tell. It would be too much to repeat the story of one’s stupidity. And so—hearts are drained; relationships strained; bank accounts compressed; but, mostly on the minds of them all, are the images of two vacant backseats…