At the End of the Tunnel


At The End Of The Tunnel – Episode 10 (Finale)
© Jennipher Duru

Florence and Mama Stella danced like two little kids. They just couldn’t contain their joy. “Oh mom God is good! Me, Florence going to Canada on a full scholarsh¡p? Unbelievable!” Florence said.

Pastor Rowland smiled and said “By the way, Mama Stella, there is another confession I need to make to you as I believe the time has come for me to say the truth”.

Mama Stella and Florence stopped what they were doing and looked at him, wondering what confession he had to make.

Pastor Rowland spoke “Mama, there is a man that has been coming to visit me frequently in the night to ask of your well being”

Mama Stella was surprised “A man? Who is he?” She asked

Pastor Rowland: Well he told me that he is your father in law, meaning your late husband’s dad. He usually comes to ask of both of you to know whether you are fine or not and if you needed anything . In fact, he is the one that gave me the money I gave you to start your small “cookie” business. But he asked me to hide it from you as he knew that you wouldn’t accept the money. He said he longed to see both of you but he greatly fears his wife. I am sorry I didn’t tell you, but I had to respect his decision. He really seems like a nice man but just like he said, he is imprisoned by his wife.

Mama Stella shook her head “I can’t believe this. How can a woman be evil to such a level of even scaring her own husband? Anyway I have always known Papa to be a good man, but he is influenced by his wife. I bless God for his support. I pray God will grant him freedom from the claws of his wife. Pastor, thank you very much for your help” she said

Florence travelled to the city to have her passport done. Austin had come to pick her up. They arrived in the early afternoon. She had made arrangements with Nadia to stay in her house until she finalized the paper work.

“Oh Florence! I am so happy to see you. You’ve grown so fast. Look at your h¡ps!” Nadia said as she welcomed them. Nadia was now married and stayed with her husband. Florence looked at her and said “Nadia, look at you! Are you pregnant?”

Nadia laughed. “Yes my dear. God is really good. I never thought I could get pregnant but by God’s grace, I am 4 months pregnant already” she said.

Austin left as he had some work to do and left the two ladies discussing. Florence narrated everything that had happened to them and how God had been gracious to them. “God can never abandon your mom, Florence. She is such a wonderful woman. I owe her my life. My husband and I were even planning to visit her once the Doctor gives me authorization to travel long distances” Nadia said

Florence stayed in Nadia’s house for at least 7 days. It was finally time to go and get her passport. She was so excited when the Officer gave it to her. “Austin, please I would like to go and see our house” Florence said. Austin hesitated “hmm, Flo. I dont think it’s a good idea. It will just bring sad memories and I don’t want you to cry. It’s all behind us now” he said.

Florence insisted until Austin agreed. They arrived at the house and stood a few meters away. The surrounding of the house had become so dirty. It was clear that nobody took care of it well. Florence started crying as she remembered her former life.

“Ohh, you see why I didn’t want to bring you here? You are too emotional. We need to leave now” Austin said. As they were about to leave, one of the neighbours called “Florence, Austin!”

She hugged both of them and asked how they had been doing

Florence: We are fine aunty. Mom is also fine. She is in the village. I just came to the city to settle some personal issues. Tell me, who lives in our house now?

Neighbour: Hmm. It’s your dad’s brother, Godwin. He has become a real criminal. He brings all sorts of women and men and together they drink and make so much noise. His mother and sisters also frequently visit, in fact I believe they comes here at least 3 times a month. Can you see how dirty the house has become? No one takes care of it. All they do is drink. In fact rumour has it that Godwin is into some illegal business.

Florence and Austin shook their heads. Suddenly, someone came out from the house. It was Godwin. He looked at them with amazement. “Hey you two, what are you doing here? Are you spying on my house?” He shouted.

Florence went towards him. Her brother tried to stop her but she refused. She stood right in front of him and said boldly “You are such a wicked man, and I pray that God makes you pay for every single pain you have made us to go through. Wherever my father is, he will never have peace until you pay back with your blood” she said.

“Your father is gone. Do you understand me? He is dead and buried like a dog” Godwin answered. Florence raised her hand to hit him but he took hold of it. Austin came near them and hit Godwin and pushed him so hærd that he fell down. People gathered to watch. Godwin rose up and laughed as he went back in,side the house. Florence and Austin left in fury.

After two days, Florence went back to the village. When she arrived, she told her mom what she had seen. “Don’t worry my dear. God does not sleep. The most important thing is that we are now at peace. Let them have the houses and all. As long as we have Jesus, there is still hope for a better tomorrow. My only prayer now is for you to start your studies in peace so that you can secure your future” Mama Stella said

Florence: But mom, it also pains me to leave you alone in this village. Why don’t you go back to the city? You can rent a room there and continue your business, and maybe even go back to your nursing career. It’s never too late

Mama Stella : Oh my Flo. You have nothing to worry about. I have come to like where I am now. And besides I am enjoying my work in God’s vineyard. I have nothing more to do in the city without your father. I prefer staying here and winning more souls for the Lord.

It was only a week to go before Florence could finally leave. She had been preparing for a couple of days. Austin had bought her some warm clothes to take along with her as she was told that is was very cold. She sat in her room as she put some more clothes in her suitcase. She thought of her mom and how she would leave her behind. Her heart ached. She couldn’t imagine leaving her mom behind “oh Lord, how will mom survive alone? I know she’s pretending to be ok with it but her heart also bleeds” Florence said to herself. She decided to go and take a walk to cool her mind down. As she was about to close the gate behind her, she suddenly scre-med “Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”.

Mama Stella, who was in the kitchen preparing for dinner, came running when she heard her daughter scre-ming “Florence, what is it?” She shouted

Florence stood there like one who had seen a ghost. Mama Stella hurried to the gate and when she arrived there she couldn’t believe what she saw. She tried to blink her eyes to confirm that she was not dreaming. It was Brian, standing with crutches, smiling. Austin stood by his side, tears flowing from his eyes. Mama Stella went slowly towards him and touched his face to see if he was real. Brian shed tears as he looked at his wife who had grown quite old in such little time “it is I, my darling wife. I am here now” he said.

Upon hearing that, Florence ran to him and hugged him with all her might. Mama Stella sat on the ground and wondered in astonishment. Brian stooped down and sat down on the ground with her, putting his hand on her shoulder “My love, I am here. I am sorry for everything you have gone through. I am here now” He said.

Mama Stella wept on his laps. She hugged him and k-ssed him. “My Brian. My love. I hope I am not dreaming” she said. Florence and Austin held each other’s hands and stood there shedding tears of joy.

They all entered into the house. Brian explained everything that had happened to him: ” when the blast occured, I was in the men’s room. I jumped through the window but one of the terrorists saw me. They caught me and one of them asked me to put on the same masks they were wearing. They managed to escape and kidnapped me and two other colleagues. We have been at their base since then. We have gone through torture and all manner of evil treatment. But all of a sudden, their boss decided to free us a week ago. We didnt even know where we were. We walked for several kilometres before finding ourselves in a certain village. It was the village Chief that org-nised transportation for us after 4 days. And we finally managed to get to our Main office there. I asked them not to tell anyone that we were alive until we arrived. I am so glad we arrived safely. I missed you all. I kept praying to God to keep my life and yours” Brian said. He cried.

Mama Stella and the children hugged him and cried too. Dinner was served and they all ate. Austin had told him everything that had happened.

Mama Stella held Brian tightly as they slept. In the middle of the night, she cried in her dreams “Brian don’t go, don’t go”. Brian woke her up “Honey, it’s just a dream. I am here now. I am not going anywhere” he said. Mama Stella held him even more tightly and went back to sleep.

The following morning, Brian decided to go and see his family house, to show himself. His mother and sisters ran in,side the house when they saw him, thinking it was a ghost. But his father stood by the door and cried “I knew you were not dead my son. I knew it deep within me”. He hugged his son and they all entered the house. Surprisingly, Godwin was there too. His hands shook like a leaf. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He had come to the village to inform his mother that he had seen Florence and Austin in front of the house. Brian looked at him with so much anger. His mother sat on the chair, not knowing what to do.

Brian: As you can all see. I am alive and well. I have heard everything that you did to my wife and children. If it was not because of my wife who asked me to forgive you yesterday, I would have taken you all to the police, except dad. But as my wife said, we shall leave this matter in the hands of God. But one thing I am sure of is that I never ever want to see you in my life again. Please give me back every single thing that belongs to me so that my family and I can be at peace. As from now on till eternity, the only person I consider to be my family among you all is dad. The rest of you don’t exist anymore.

Brian’s mother fell down on the floor and cried. “No my son, you can’t do this to me. Forgive me, it’s all Godwin’s fault. I am your mother, you can’t do this to me”

Brian’s father suddenly stood up and shouted “you liar and wicked woman! Brian is not your son. It’s high time he knew the truth”

Everyone looked at him in amazement. “Dad what do you mean?” Brian asked

Brian’s father: It’s true my son. This woman is not your real mother. Your real mother passed away immediately you were born. Your mother and I were so much in love with each other. However, because we were from different tribes, our parents never consented to our relationsh¡p. But we went ahead with it. Your mother fell pregnant for me and her parents cursed her saying she had brought shame to the family. She died when giving birth to you. On the day of her burial, her mother came to me and cursed me that I would never be able to have children in my life. I took care of you alone until you were 6 months old. When you were 6 months old, my uncle brought this wicked woman to me and asked me to marry her by force in order to eradicate the shame from my family. She pretended to be a nice woman and promised to take good care of you. We tried having children, to no avail. Until one day she told me that she was pregnant. I thought the gods had answered us and had mercy on us. She gave birth to Godwin but I noticed that he didn’t look like me at all. Until one day I saw this woman entering into a certain man’s house. I followed them and hid by the window. I could hear her committing adultery with him. I couldn’t tell anyone or do anything about it because of the shame I would face. I kept it all to myself. I almost committed suicide but every time I thought of you, I gave up. She continued sleeping with this man and bore two more children, these girls you are seeing here, thinking that I didn’t know anything. I have been a dead man walking. This woman has terrorized me all my life. She has treated me like dirt and abused my love and kindness. I have lived in fear all my life. But today, I can’t take it anymore. I gave my life to Christ through a missionary called Pastor Rowland in whom I confided everything. He asked me to confess everything to Stella but I have not had the courage to do so. But today I thank God that am in the capacity to say so. And today I have decided to divorce you. I want you and your children to leave my house immediately. As for you Brian, I do not deserve to be called your dad. I will not be surprised if you cut me off. For me, the most important thing is that you are alive and that your family can now live in peace. I have also found peace in Jesus Christ.

Brian: Oh my God! Now I understand why this woman had always mistreated me when I was young. At a time, I really wondered if I was her true son!.

Everyone was shocked. The woman fell on the ground and cried “Please forgive me, I beg you”

Godwin went towards her and put his hand on her neck “you pr-stitute! You wh-re!” He shouted. Brian pulled him away from her. His sisters cried and cursed their mother. Godwin was about to leave the house when suddenly two policemen entered the house “Mr. Godwin, you are under arrest for ilegal importation and sales of expired medical drugs that have resulted in the death of at least 3 patients. We were sent by the central police station to arrest you and take you back to the city where you will answer for your charges” they said. They put him in the police car and drove off.

Meanwhile, Brian’s father forcefully packed his wife’s clothes and asked her and her daughters to leave. Many villagers gathered to witness the scene. They booed her off as she left. Others spat on the ground to show how disgusting she had been.

Brian and his children were back in the city. ” bye my dear Florence. Please take care of yourself and may the Lord be with you. We love you so much” Brian said as they saw Florence off to the airport.

Brian’s father, who had esc-rted them to the city also left the following morning. Mama Stella packed a lot of food stuffs for him. “Have a safe journey dad. Please tell Pastor Rowland that we shall visit in two weeks time. I cant wait to inform him that we are offering our house there to the Mission so that they can use it as a Missionaries’ guest house” she told him as he left. Brian esc-rted him to the car park.

“My son, the worst thing that can happen to a man is to marry a bad wife. I have reaped the consequences of such a decision. But there are two things that I am glad of today: the fact that I have now found Jesus and the fact that you have not followed my footsteps. Your wife is a good woman my son. Love her and cherish her. She shall be health to your bones and joy to your heart. Beauty is vain but a woman that fears the Lord, her price is far above rubies” Brian’s father said. He waved him goodbye and entered the car.

Brian was compensated generously by his Company for all that he went through. He was given two months complete rest before he could go back to work again. This time around, he was promoted to the position of Chief Technical Officer. They had decided to put all their properties in the names of Florence and Austin. Austin had gone back to university to continue with his studies while he still worked part time with the sh¡pping Company because the boss was well pleased with his work.

“Honey, where are you taking me to?” Mama Stella asked as they drove off. “Don’t worry honey, you will soon find out” Brian said. After driving for a couple of minutes, Brian asked Mama Stella to close her eyes. He blindfolded her and helped her to come out of the car. “And voilaaaaaa, you can now open your eyes” Brian shouted. Mama Stella opened her eyes and to her greatest surprise she saw a beautiful, new bakery. It was written “Mama Stella’s bakery”. A small crowd had gathered to cheer for her. She entered in,side and found it fully equiped with all necessary equipment. At the corner was a beautiful display specially designed for her cookies. A big label was put across it which read “My Chapel cookies”. Mama Stella danced around and sang songs of praise. She ran to her husband and gave him a long k-ss. The crowd cheered and clapped. It was a beautiful day for her.

Brian needed to go for medical checkup frequently because of the wound on his leg. “You will soon get better and be back on your feet sir” the nurse said. Brian and Mama Stella left the hospital. As they got to the reception area, they heard a woman shouting “Hurry up you stupid girl. Who told you to fall pregnant at this age when all your friends are going to school? You have brought so much shame to me you idiot” Mama Stella looked closely and saw that it was Catherine talking to her daughter Emily who was heavily pregnant. Catherine felt ashamed and tried to walk away quickly. Mama Stella ran up to her and said “Cathy, I know that you are trying to run away from me because of how you treated us. But let me assure you that I have nothing against you. It was a good thing that you asked us to leave your house, because in so doing I learnt a lot of things that I couldn’t have been able to learn in a comfort zone. And most importantly, it made me to have an encounter with destiny. I encountered God in the hærd times. So I really thank you. Like Joseph in the Bible, what the devil thought to be evil against me, God turned it into good”

Catherine walked away quickly with so much shame.

That night, Mama Stella and Brian cooked together. They had a candlelight dinner in their house. Brian looked at Mama Stella and said “I thank God for giving me a second chance to prove my love for you. I love you my small Mama”. Mama Stella giggled and, hugging him, said rom-ntically “I love you too my small daddy. Indeed there is always light at the end of the tunnel”

The end…..Thank you for taking time to read. If you are going through any challenges, please hold on and trust in God. He will come through for you.

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