It had been a grueling day at work, leaving me bone-tired by the time I arrived home. I felt better after a hot shower and made my way to the kitchen.
Rosa, my house manager, had asked for the evening off, but she had texted that she had left some food for me in the microwave. I wasn’t really hungry, though, as I’d had a late lunch. I made myself a cup of tea and sat on one of the stools by the kitchen island.
I reached for the remote and put on the TV. Rosa must have been watching a program before she left because it was on a Christian channel. I knew my house manager was religious, and I’d always had the feeling she disapproved of my lifestyle. That didn’t bother me so long as she did her job and kept her feelings to herself.
I glanced at the popular televangelist on air. I couldn’t quite place his name, but I knew he pastored a large church. The man is a sharp dresser, I thought to myself as I admired his well-tailored suit. The auditorium also looked quite nice, and it was obvious they had spent some good money doing up the place. Those kinds of things were important to me as a business man. You have to make your environment nice so that people would want to do business with you.
“Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” The pastor’s voice cut through my thoughts. “We also have to remember that the Bible says that the wages of sin is death.”
A frown furrowed my brows. That certainly wasn’t business talk. You don’t attract people to your business by preaching unattractive messages. My finger hovered on the channel button as I prepared to move on to another one.
“Your body is the temple of God, and you have to keep it holy,” the pastor continued. “Your body is God’s dwelling place, and you cannot afford to defile it.”
My finger rested on the channel button, but somehow, I didn’t click on it, and I pondered over what the pastor had just said.
I didn’t think God dwelt in my body. Sophie had left for her apartment that morning, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted God with us while she had been around.
“How do you feel after doing what you obviously know is wrong?”
The pastor’s voice startled me, and I almost glared at his image on the TV. It was as if he knew me personally and was tailoring his message to me.
“I know that many people have that sense of guilt afterwards,” he continued. “Except for those who have deliberately told themselves it doesn’t matter anymore.”
Did I have a sense of guilt about my lifestyle? I guess I had become so accustomed to it that I didn’t really feel anything anymore. I worked and played hard. What I wanted, I went after, and I got. But I had also discovered that the thrill of acquisition whether it was of a new business deal or some other thing I fancied had a time span. I soon got bored of it and desired more.
I rubbed my palm along the back of my neck. What that ‘more’ meant was something I hadn’t yet figured out, but I knew I constantly sought it, and I used whatever I could get in the interim to assuage that need.
My phone vibrated—the caller ID showed it was Denola. I glanced at the pastor again before deliberately changing the channel. I was definitely not tuning in again. One day, I’d figure it all out, but no one was allowed to take me on a guilt trip over my lifestyle.
“Hello, Daddy.” Zara’s voice sang out when the call connected. “How was your day?”
“Good, Princess. How was yours?”
“Very nice, Daddy.”
She went ahead to tell me about her day and what she had done in school.
“Mummy just made the yummiest dinner ever,” she said at some point. “She made my favorite—roast and potato wedges. She did it all nice, and I wish you could have some, Daddy.”
Suddenly, an image of me sitting with Denola and Zara in her cozy kitchen flashed before me, but I pushed it back with a wry smile. Hell would probably freeze over before Denola invited me for dinner.
“Me too, baby…” I began, and then stiffened upon hearing a masculine voice in the background. “Where’s your mum?”
“She and Uncle Alex are clearing up the plates from the table.”
“Oh.” A strange emotion surged through me. I remembered vaguely that Zara had mentioned that name to me before, but not in any way to arouse my interest. But this ‘Uncle Alex’ was obviously in her house now and had just had dinner with her mum and her.
“Has he been there for a long time?” I asked before I could stop myself.
“Not that long. He came just before dinner,” Zara replied. “Daddy, are we still going to Marijas Beach this Saturday?”
“Of course, baby. How can I break my date with the most beautiful girl in the world?” I teased.
She giggled. “I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you too, Princess.”
I was still thinking about what Zara had told me long after we’d ended the call. So Denola probably has someone in her life. I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about the news.
The only other time she’d had something close to a relationship had been a few years ago, and it hadn’t lasted long. She needs to be careful, though, I muttered to myself as my brows furrowed with concern. She shouldn’t be having the man over to her house that soon, either.
So says the man whose girlfriend has just spent the last week in his house. I didn’t even know how long Denola had been seeing the man, anyway.
Thankfully, she was religious and didn’t swing the way I did on those sorts of things. Moreover, she was a big girl and could take care of herself. But I wondered why the thought of her moving on left a hollow pit in my stomach.