Jacob studied Susan carefully as he spoke those words. She still seemed very worried but was beginning to look as though he had defeated her.
“I told him not to get the police involved!” she finally said, sitting down with a very loud sigh. He sat beside her as he smiled in his head.
Finally, she is going to tell me her story.
“Who is he?”
“Nobody!” she turned away once again.
“Susan, please. We have come too far for you to turn away.”
“That’s exactly what we thought! And now look at me!” she buried her head in her hands and began sobbing. He patted her back.
“What did you think?”
She did not answer, but continued to sob. He decided to be patient with her. After almost ten minutes of silence, she got up suddenly.
“I have to go to my room.”
“Your room?” he couldn’t help smiling.
“Yes, my room. I need to think.”
“But that’s not fair, Pe…Susan. If you had allowed me to go to my room, we would not be having this conversation by now.”
“Life is not fair, Jacob.”
“Not at all, I know. But we can try to make it a bit fair.”
“Jacob, I don’t know…” she began crying again and held him in a tight embrace.
Jacob wished this night had been different. Susan was showing more affection to him that day than she ever had in the entire period they had known each other. If only this news had not come up, if only it were not true, it would have been a strong indication that she felt the same way about him too. For now, she seemed to be using him as an anchor for the inner struggle she seemed to be facing. Nonetheless, even if she felt the same way about him, there was no way he would selfishly keep her in Soma when he knew her family was looking for her. That would be the most unloving thing for him to do.
“Jacob, I’m sorry,” she said, interrupting his thoughts. She was still hugging him.
“I know you are, dear.”
Uh-oh! Did I just call her that?
“Oh Jacob! What am I going to do now?”
He felt relieved when she did not comment on how he had addressed her. “I can only help you if you tell me what is going on,” he said softly to her.
She stepped back from him and sat down. She suddenly noticed the pan she had left on the coal pot. “Oh!” she yelled, taking the pan off. She opened it and they both realised the stew was completely burnt.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jacob quickly said before she could say anything. She gave a brief smile.
“Jacob, why is life so unfair?”
“I don’t know, Susan.”
“Don’t call me Susan!”
Jacob opened his mouth to make a comment but he closed it again. She was obviously struggling a lot within her.
“I know, I know. I’m confusing you. I’m sorry.” She paused and turned away. “Call me Petrina,” she said in a low voice. “I’m Petrina Bannerman.”
Jacob’s heart tightened suddenly. Hearing her confirm it was painful although it was already obvious that was the truth.
“So, what happened to you, Petrina?” He tried very hard to keep his voice as neutral as possible.
“I do not even know where to start from…” she sighed.
It was already past midnight but Petrina was still struggling to fall asleep. She had gone over the events of the night several times. She could hardly attach an emotion to how she felt about how things had unfolded. After staying in Soma for more than a month, she had finally been convinced that she could settle down and start a new life there. She just could not fathom how she had been found at just the same time.
Her thoughts went back to the point where she told Jacob her story. She told him about how she and Gerald were very staunch Christians and had desired to please God with every bit of their relationship. Unfortunately, as time progressed, they began putting God aside and focusing on only themselves. That was when it became harder and harder to resist each other. They kept lowering the bar, till that night, the night she run away. They had broken their virginity that night. Petrina had felt very broken afterwards and she knew she could not stay home after what she had done. When she was just beginning her teen years, she had vowed to herself that if she ever broke her virginity before she got married, she would run away from home that very day. It was something she had always kept in her heart but had never thought it would happen. Even when she realised the level of physical intimacy that she shared with Gerald kept increasing day after day, she had still managed to convince herself that it would not happen.
She sobbed. Her eyes hurt from all the crying she had done that night but she just could not stop the tears from coming down again. Her life had become so complicated just by that mistake she had made. She chided herself for being so stupid. Then she remembered everything Jacob had said to her that night.
“…remember the story of the woman who committed adultery in John 8? Indeed, Christ acknowledged that she had sinned but he did not condemn her. Instead, he let her go and charged her not to sin again. Jesus is more interested in your future success than your past sins. He allows you to feel guilty so that you can recognize that you have fallen, but after that no longer must you allow yourself to be buried in guilt and shame. He beckons you at that point to come back to Him. He calls you once again and affirms His love for you. Jesus has died the most perfect death for your sins so you need not kill yourself inwardly when you fall into sin. All you need to do is run to Him so that He would cleanse you with the blood that was shed and take you on to a fresh start…”
He had said so many other things to her but that was the point that had captured her heart. After speaking for a very long time, he told them they would have to go back to Accra the following day. She immediately did not agree. It was just so sudden. But he had insisted. So she finally told him she would think about it and give him an answer in the morning.
She checked her watch again
12:48 am. She still had not made a decision.