Read Part 3 here.
Charlotte was watching the video for the fourth time that afternoon. She would laugh so hard that her colleagues in her office got curious and drew near. They also joined in the laughter. One of her colleagues asked if she could send the video to him via WhatsApp. Charlotte hesitated.
She was clearly enjoying herself having evidence of Comfort’s evangelistic humiliation but risking it to go viral? That would be horrible. It wasn’t like she didn’t deserve it but if it were to spin out of control, would she be able to look her in the face? She wasn’t a saint and neither was Comfort but at least she had a conscience. And her conscience told her to tell him no. Comfort was her fellow chorister and no matter what bad blood brewed between them was their business. Only she had a right to laugh at her; not some strangers who wouldn’t mind ripping her apart to other strangers. No, she wouldn’t have that.
But she had missed her. She was a thorn in her flesh but she missed her. She made her choir life interesting. She couldn’t wait for rehearsal day to see her. Had she been humbled by the embarrassing moment at the bus station or was she coming in shamelessly and acting her typical self? She couldn’t wait to find out.
Charlotte arrived at the church premises for the rehearsal about 15 minutes late. Frank was talking and the choir was unusually very quiet. She sat next to Sandra.
“What is going on?” She whispered to her choir fellow. Frank’s next words answered her.
“I must say I’m very disappointed in you. We are supposed to act as the body of Christ, in unison to the watchful eye of the world. But what do we do instead? We take advantage of our fellow’s low point and broadcast it to the world. I told you evangelism isn’t a competition. It’s not about us; it’s about the ones we’re going to meet on the street. But if we can’t stand up for our own when we claim to be Christians, how you expect to win any soul? Even the wicked appreciates loyalty. But it’s obvious that it’s missing in this group.”
Frank’s eyes scanned the heads present. They paused when they met Charlotte’s and Sandra’s.
“I heard of what happened with Comfort last Saturday and I decided not to think much of it hoping it would blow over. So imagine my shock when someone in a WhatsApp group I’m in uploaded a video and lo and behold, there’s my choir member being harassed by a bus conductor. Whoever shared it, shame on you!”
Why did he say it looking at her like that, Charlotte wondered.
“It was the two of them!” Comfort said, pointing to the duo.
“That’s not true. I didn’t send anything to anyone on WhatsApp!” Charlotte countered.
“But you recorded the event, didn’t you?” Frank asked. He had a disappointed look in his eye.
“Yes I did. It was funny at the moment and I recorded it. But I kept it to myself. Why share it with others who don’t know who Comfort is?” Charlotte asked.
“Because you wanted to humiliate me, that’s why! May God deal with you!” Charlotte laughed.
“Like how your real self was exposed on Saturday? Sorry, I’m not a hypocrite like you.”
“I must say, I’m disappointed in you, Charlotte. You went too far with this one and it was a very unchristian thing to do.”
“What did I do? I didn’t share it with anyone!” Charlotte insisted.
“Then who did?” Charlotte glanced at Sandra. She sighed.
“This should never happen. And to ensure that…”
“Kick them out of the choir!” Comfort finished his sentence.
“What?” They both exclaimed.
“Who seconds the idea?” Many hands shot up.
“That’s not fair. I didn’t do it!”
“Was it you, Sandra?” Frank asked. Sandra scoffed.
“Why would I waste my precious data sharing a video of her when I haven’t finished uploading my own photos? I don’t have time for persons like her.”
“This is no way to speak of your fellow chorister, Sandra. Since only two had access to the video, it’s either one or both of you are responsible for the video going viral. And so, you two are suspended from the choir. You’ll attend rehearsals but won’t mount the podium on Sunday.”
“What?” They exclaimed again.
“How do you know she didn’t broadcast the video herself so as to win herself some pity and blame it on us knowing very well we’d look like the suspects?” Sandra asked.
“I didn’t even know the video existed until a friend sent it to me. Do you have any idea what I’ve been through this week?” Comfort asked.
“Whatever it was, I’m pretty sure you had it coming.”
“But seriously, it’s not fair to suspend us, Frank. We’ve done nothing wrong and we’ve really worked hard for the next ministration,” Charlotte protested.
“I hope this will be a lesson for us all. We are to be one not just to harmonize vocally but in fellowship. If you can’t do that, I’m afraid you can’t be with us.”
Charlotte and Sandra stared at each other. Was he for real? Why was he acting all sentimental?
“Did you share it with someone?” Charlotte asked her friend.
“A friend was watching it on my phone and he sent it to his phone. I didn’t think he would share it. And what’s the big deal anyway? Someone had to bring her off her high horse.”
“Well we’re the ones barred from mounting the podium on Sunday. Was really looking forward to it.”
Charlotte had her eyes set on one of the deacon’s sons. Their eyes usually met whenever she was on stage singing. Judging by the look on his face, he liked watching her sing. And she liked to be watched. Now, her audio-visual date plans were ruined. She was going to miss out on the cosmic moment she experienced whenever their eyes locked during music ministration. It was her fix for daydreaming during the week. If only she was immature enough not to care throwing her friend under the bus and telling them it was Sandra and not her. But she was not. And she believed in loyalty.
“Don’t worry too much about it. Frank needs us. Wait till Comfort and Ama burn the song and flop it beyond redemption on stage and you’ll see him running to us for help. Don’t sweat it at all. I’ve seen it happen once and girl, it was hilarious. Frank seems to have forgotten how gifted Comfort is at messing up on stage.”
But Charlotte wasn’t convinced. What if they actually sang well? Would that be the end of them?
“Let’s line up and start singing.” Comfort sneered at them as she walked past them and took the microphone.
“Now I feel bad for not sharing the video. I would felt so much better now. You’re right, she deserves it,” Charlotte said, seething. Sandra folded her arms.
“Just chillax. When it comes to Comfort, there’s no need to bother setting a trap for her. She herself will dig a hole and fall in it,” Sandra said with a cool confidence. Charlotte sighed.
Both of them raised their brows when Comfort went off-key for the third time. Frank seemed to be frustrated.
“Can someone please give us the right key?”
“I can,” Sandra said, raising her head and began singing without waiting for the go-ahead. She finished effortlessly.
“Yep. That’s it. Can you try it one more time?”
Charlotte sighed again. This was going to be one long rehearsal.
Sunday came. It was going to be Comfort’s show and one could tell she had really prepped for it judging from the near-suffocating power of her perfume, overdone makeup, her tight ponytail and her heels-which was clearly mismatched color-wise with her outfit.
When they mounted the stage, Charlotte held her breath. Did she want them to flop? Not really. But did she want Comfort to do so well that the church will roar in applause? No. She didn’t want her to have a reason to gloat. They should be average; dissatisfactory enough for Frank to reconsider her suspension. Maybe it was selfish of her; to think of her relevance in the choir being challenged by the annoying Comfort (whose name was in sharp contrast to her nature) instead of considering the essence of the ministration in general.
The choir started off pretty well and she found herself nodding to it. She glanced at the congregation. Some looked at them indifferently; a few others were touching their phones and some were singing along with so much gusto. Were they trying to prove that they knew the lyrics by heart and so wouldn’t glance at the projector? People were interesting.
Halfway through the song, Comfort began to feel excited and started to shout into the microphone.
“Here we go,” Sandra said. Charlotte chuckled.
By the end of the song, Comfort had succeeded in burning the song. The congregation clapped but it felt more obligatory than applaudably. As they walked back to their seats, one of the male singers called Sam told Comfort that she sang well. Really? Well, who could blame him? He was obliged to tell her that as a ‘faithful’…what were they exactly? Some pitiful excuse of a relationship, Charlotte thought.
The pastor cleared his throat when he mounted the podium.
“Thanks for the song, Glorious Choir. We appreciate you serving in the house of God with your talents but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your best. God deserves the best of everything and anything less than that shouldn’t be encouraged. If you’re serving here like singing or ushering, you’re not doing God a favor. It’s a privilege to be used by Him so please do well to utilize your rehearsal time well. When people attend these entertainment shows and the artistes don’t perform well, you hear the backlash. Let’s not ignore the need to deliver the best when we come to God’s presence. The shouting and off-key appearances shouldn’t be common in your ministrations so choir director, kindly keep note. Okay, let’s get to the Word. Our Bible reading shall be taken from…”
Sandra turned to look at Frank who was struggling to keep his composure. When their eyes met, Sandra smiled and looked away.
“Wow…never heard a mini sermon concerning a song ministration before. You must have really gotten Pastor’s attention. Well done, Comfort,” Sandra teased. Charlotte looked at Comfort who was busily fanning herself to keep her from looking at anyone else. She felt bad for her. She knew she tried her best. She wanted to prove herself. But to who? Her? This wasn’t showbiz after all, was it? Why has it become a tug of war among them?
Maybe there was a need for a paradigm shift.
© Josephine Amoako 2016
Read next part here.
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