Read Part 4 here.
Charlotte deleted the video after watching it for the last time. Revenge no matter how sweet leaves a sour aftertaste. She had underestimated the power of social media. The video had spread swifter than wildfire. She was shocked to find it on her Facebook timeline and the comments were heartbreakingly horrible. And it had generated a whole new debate about the canker of hypocrisy plaguing Christians of today. Almost every comment confirmed that Christians were masters of living double lives; expertly combing self-righteous acts with rotten behavior.
It was slowly climbing up the ladder on Twitter trends with the notorious hashtag #FakeChristians and #DoubleAgentChristians. She was grateful for not showing Comfort’s face in the video. It was the faces of the men sitting on the bench which appeared. She sighed. If she had showed hers, who knows, her blood if she had chosen to commit suicide would be on her hands. Now she knew better than uploading just anything online because there were a lot of hungry internet trolls waiting to pounce on such juicy info.
She had wanted to apologize to her but her pride wouldn’t let her. Maybe this would serve as a lesson to her not to take her for granted. If the pastor had seen it, he’d use it as a sermon for sure and coupled with her burnt sacrifice on the podium that Sunday, that would be enough for her to leave the church.
Charlotte was lazily surfing the net when Frank and Sandra walked in. Judging from the look on her face, she knew their suspension had been lifted. She smiled. She’d have been shocked if it were to be otherwise. Frank needed to redeem himself next Sunday and she and Sandra were his vocal saviors. Charlotte took her handbag off the seat next to hers for her sit down.
“What do you want to have after rehearsal? Just name and you’ll get it. And don’t worry, your purse is safe.” They chuckled.
“James, kindly do us the honor with the opening prayer,” Frank said to his deputy. He stood.
“May we bow down our heads…”
A loud ringtone rang in the auditorium. Charlotte opened her eyes. Was that Chris Brown’s Loyal playing? Heads started turning, looking for the phone’s owner.
“James, isn’t that your phone?” the guitarist asked.
“Really? I thought it was on silent.” He picked it from his seat and cancelled the call. He lifted his head to find all eyes on him. He glanced at Frank who wore a disproving look.
“Um…it’s not my phone. I lost mine so a friend lent his to me to use for the meantime,” James said hastily. Charlotte raised a brow, staring curiously at him.
“Who asked him to explain?” Sandra whispered to her. Her thoughts exactly. She had seen James with that phone for a while. It was certainly his but what business of hers was it? If this was his ringtone, she could imagine the ones he listened to only with earphones. Interesting.
“I think I’ll say the prayer myself,” Frank said and closed his eyes before James could say anything.
After the vocal warm ups, Frank called Charlotte to lead on a song.
“Oh, but what about Comfort? This song is one of her favorites,” Sandra said, turning to look at her. Comfort glared at her. “I’ve a sore throat.”
“Oh, I’ve Tom Tom. Do you want one?” Sandra said, digging into her bag.
“I’ve some. Thank you.”
“Oh ok…get well soon.” Charlotte stared at her friend. She wore such a concerned look that if she didn’t know her well, she’d have thought that she truly cared about Comfort’s supposed sore throat. It was confirmed when Sandra gave her a sly smile. Charlotte shook her head. Singing began.
After the rehearsal, some of the members began murmuring about the unexpectedly secular ringtone on their deputy choir director’s phone.
“For goodness’ sake, drop the judgmental talk! You’re talking as if you all don’t have secular songs on your phones. Just because you haven’t been exposed doesn’t give you the right to be the moral judge here,” Sandra said.
“As for me, I don’t listen to any worldly songs. I listen to only hymns and spiritual songs,” Ama said, raising her hands.
“Yeah right and I’m sure there are a couple of songs you prefer to safely call inspirational songs, huh? My point is, we are all not perfect here. The fact that that our dirty linen hasn’t been washed in public doesn’t excuse their existence. First it was our dear Comfort’s attitude to bus conductors, today is James’ choice of ringtone and who knows who else’s turn it will be next week. Let’s first remove the log in our eyes before attempting to remove someone’s speck, okay?” Sandra said.
“Ei, did you just quote the Bible?” Charlotte asked her.
“I actually read it today and had a good quiet time, my dear. I’m changing.” Charlotte laughed.
“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t criticize when one is going astray. Keeping quiet means you’re condoning the behavior and that is a sin,” another member spoke up.
“Of course, you may. But murmuring among yourselves doesn’t benefit anyone. If you have something to say, walk to him and offer your advice and lend him your support. What you’re doing isn’t criticizing, it is gossiping and that’s equally shameful. So drop the hypocritical coat; it doesn’t look good on you.”
“That’s my friend,” Charlotte said. They laughed.
After the announcements, Comfort offered to say the closing prayer.
“Hope your phone is on silent,” Charlotte muttered.
“Don’t worry; I use the preinstalled tone. I don’t want any such awkward moment.”
“That’s smart. Very safe choice.” Charlotte gave her a thumbs up. Comfort cleared her throat and started praying.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us here safely and seeing us through another successful rehearsal. We commit every beating heart here before you. Cleanse our hearts and minds and make us like You. Let us live fully for You and not only serve You with our voices and fingers. And when we stand before the congregation to minister, let it be to Your glory and not for our ego. Let Your presence fill every heart and draw them to repentance and renewal in Jesus’ name, amen.”
“Amen!” Sandra’s voice ringing out the loudest.
Charlotte watched Comfort as she took her bag. She got up and pulled Sandra along with her.
“Hi Comfort. I…I mean we want to apologize about the video. It was silly of us and we really regret it.”
“We do?” Sandra asked. Charlotte gave her a sharp glance.
“Of course we are. We are fellow servants in God’s house. We shouldn’t have done that. Forgive us.”
“I already have.”
“Thank you. I know we started on the wrong foot but I’d like us to bury the hatchet. Truce?” Charlotte said, offering her hand. Sandra slapped it away.
“What truce? Why are you trying to kill the motivation for coming for choir practice? Don’t you know it’s our ‘beef’ which keeps the attendance spirit high?” Sandra said. Charlotte chuckled and shook her head.
“Goodbye, ladies,” she said and walked away.
“Come on, you saw the look on her face. She enjoys it too. We all know the hatchet has been buried but there’s no need to make it official. It will kill any chance of us fighting going forward. A little drama is necessary, trust me.”
“I thought you said you were changing.”
“I am…day by day, my dear Charlotte.” Charlotte shook her head. They took their handbags.
“Where’s Frank? He has to give us our reinstatement package,” Sandra said, looking around for him. Charlotte smiled. She just loved Sandra.
© Josephine Amoako 2016
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