8:24 am

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Slyvia is in the hospital; Onome is sitted with her at the reception.
"Thanks for coming". Slyvia said gratefully.
"Its no problem. So, how are you doing? Have you seen a doctor yet? I was really scared when I got your message" Onome said.
"Yes! I ran some tests; the results said I have a serious stomach ulcer and a very high blood pressure. I have a serious pain in my chest. I don't feel alright at all. I feel like am dying". Slyvia expressed her fear.
"God forbid! Don't ever talk like that again". Onome rebuked her. "You'll be fine. Did they prescribe anything? Slyvia nods.
"So, you'll just stick to your medications. Am sure you are just reacting to some things". Onome added.
"What things?" Slyvia asked, looking confused.
"Have you called Tony?" Onome asked.
Slyvia hissed in disgust.
"There's no room for stubbornness now; your husband left home on a transfer almost two months now and you haven't spoken to him; to know how he is faring atleast. Can't you see how your body is responding to the situation?" Onome reprimanded.
"Has he bothered to call me too? He just selfishly left me here". Slyvia answered in the defensive.
"Try not to think about yourself now. Love is not self-seeking. It became about both of you the very day you took your vows. You are in this  together. Am not married but at least I know that much." Onome went on.
"Tony is the one that needs this sermon of yours. You don't understand ....., to love me but..look! He might even be with another woman there". Slyvia said, a little calmly.
"And so? Do you love him? Is he worth fighting for? Love will cost you a lot but it's worth it at the end. You'll just let him slip off your fingers like that?"
"He thinks am a fool. I can't take it. He doesn't care and i won't either. There is a limit to submission; it's not meant to be stupidity". Slyvia said again, defensively.
”Can I tell you the painful truth, Slyvia? We have come a long way so I can say this; You are the problem! you pushed him out!"
"What?!!! you're taking his side? The last time i checked, You're meant to be my friend not his".
"Exactly!!" Onome said, almost immediately.
Slyvia looked at her confused.
"You need to let go, Slyvia".
"Let go?" Slyvia asked.
"Yes! Of so many strings!" Onome said, throwing Slyvia off balance.
"Yes, Slyvia! You have so many strings attached to you!'
Onome smiles much to Slyvia's dismay.
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Slyvia is lying in bed; pillow soaked in tears. The revelations of the past few days were painful but it was obviously the truth. As much as she wished it wasn't.
Was she actually the problem?  FOnome's words days ago after the long talk they had hunted her "Tony is not your father! You need to trust him."
Their talk opened her eyes to so many things. Perhaps she pushed him out. It started with that stupid message and she let the devil put ideas into her head. She could have confronted him; communicated her feelings plainly; she could have asked questions! All she did was monitor him, analyse, draw conclusions and judge him. What is love without trust? and even if he had cheated or erred, forgiveness? She could have atleast sought godly advise. She could have stood in the gap in prayers for him.
Yes! She judged him unjustly; she looked upon him with the eyes of her past. Yes! The strings of her past that had held her captive for years. The strings of betrayal! Rejection! Insecurity! Pain! Distrust!
Unforgiveness! Fear! The strings that kept her from having meaningful relationships.
Slyvia's mother was a "perfect" wife and mother as far as Slyvia was concerned. Despite her dad's consistent travels; she never lacked love and attention. Her mother, even with her little education; was ever so patient, understanding and showered her and her dad with love.
It was a painful turn of things when she fell really ill and died shortly after.
Not up to 6 months, Dad brought home a new wife. She was shocked; not only did he not seek her opinion or feelings, her mum's death was just few months ago; didn't her dad claim to love her mum? and worse of all, her step-mum was DAD's SECRETARY! A lady, her mum welcomed with open arms when she was alive; that came in and out of their house as she pleased all in the name of official matters. They played her mum for a fool. The shocking revelation grew a deep resentment for her dad. As if not enough; the woman produced twins boys not too long. Could she have been pregnant before mum died? Slyvia's growing mind was in shambles " He cheated on her mum". Could they also have been responsible for her death?"
Slyvia grew up suspicious; Her dad also focused on the new wife and her children; he said they were boys and girls meant NOTHING! She grew up lonely and rejected. Relegated to the background, even though she had food, shelter, clothing and at least good education; no one sought her opinion even for the most trivial issues. The only strength she had was from God and Onome, that stuck with her from the very first day they met in secondary school. When she was old enough; at the slightest opportunity she had, she moved away from home to stay with Onome.
Her burdened heart kept her far away from the opposite sex. As far as she was concerned; men were all alike. Why slave for them? When you'll be played for a fool? She was determined to always be on top of the game. Fire for fire! She was always very critical of men. Onome used to tease her that "she wasn't in love with any of them that's why". True to her words; Tony was one man she definitely was in love with; he was flawless in her eyes. Nothing else mattered.
Now, she knew that her past was supposed to be an history lesson and not a guide to her daily life. she had seen her faults and wanted to make things right but could not reach Tony. Her case had definitely been worsened. She managed to get across to Tim, who she knew as his colleague and lived not too far from them; she was forced to open up on the issue at hand She felt really ashamed when Tim told her Beauty, was the last daughter of their boss who came from abroad to oversee the company for a while; who picked a special interest in Tony and clung to him due to his nice nature. He was even teased by the other staff as "Beauty's office boyfriend" due to her out-show of affection. Some others even said "he was wasting a golden opportunity" But Tony always reminded them that "Slyvia was all he wanted!" And never had any illicit affair with her. She even favoured him with a transfer to a much better place just before she returned abroad. And that 5am call; it was the office secretary that picked the call. They had an all night meeting with some foreign business men and Tony had lent her his phone earlier in the evening but hadn't had time to collect it back.....

Slyvia cried the more. "Tony, where are you? I really messed up; how can your phone not go through?".

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