Adina was walking down the sidewalk when she spotted Asriel coming in her direction. It was the first time she was seeing him since his break up with Linda.
“Are you going to preach to me about forgiveness?” he asked dryly.
“I know you’re bitter towards your father and that’s understandable.”
“It’s good to know that I have your permission to be bitter.”
“Do you mind not smoking?” she asked when she saw him remove a packet of cigarettes from his jacket. “The smoke affects my Asthma.”
“Is that the only reason?” he asked putting the packet back in his pocket.
“Smoking is bad for your health.”
“And my body is a temple and should be treated with care.”
“Yes. Why don’t we go into the cafe down the street and talk?”
“What’s there to talk about?”
“We don’t have to talk about your father or Linda if you don’t want to.”
“What about religion?”
“All right. Let’s go and talk.” He knew he wasn’t being nice to her but he was in a foul mood. When he visited his mother yesterday all she wanted to talk about was his relationship with his father. “You can’t continue to avoid him like this. He’s still your father in spite of what he has done.”
“And he’s still your husband in spite of what he has done to you. You know you have grounds for divorce. Even the Bible says that committing adultery is grounds for divorce.”
“It says whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality and marries another, commits adultery and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
“Adultery qualifies as sexual immorality, doesn’t it? Do you really think that God would want you to remain married to a man who has cheated on you twice?”
“Asriel, I don’t expect you to understand but I love your father and that will never change and as far as divorcing him, I can’t do it. He will have to divorce me.”
“You’re right, Mother. I don’t understand.” And shortly after that, he left, fuming.
“How is your mother doing?” Adina asked him when they were sitting in the cafe by the window.
“She’s holding on to a marriage that was over a long time ago.”
“Maybe it isn’t over for her.”
“She’s fooling herself. He will never change.”
“You don’t like your father don’t you?”
“What’s there to like? He’s a no good cheat. My mother is a good woman and he treats her like crap. I despise him.”
“Is your mother the only reason why you feel this way about your father?”
“Isn’t she reason enough?”
“What about Linda? Are you also angry with your father because of Linda?”
“Well, of course, I am,” he snapped impatiently. “Wouldn’t you be if you were in my shoes?”
“Maybe you’re angry with her because she threw you over for an older man?”
“I’m angry because she cheated on me with my father. As far as I’m concerned, that’s sick!”
Adina couldn’t argue with that. “What they both did was unforgivable.”
“Yes, but my mother’s willing to forgive him if he ends the affair.”
“Do you think he would end it?”
“No, I don’t.”
“What do you think is going to happen?”
“I think he’s going to leave my mother for her.”
“I hope not, for your mother’s sake.”
“And I hope he does for her sake. She would be much better off without him. All he has brought to this joke of a marriage is pain and misery.”
“You don’t like your father, do you?”
“No, I don’t and I don’t respect him either. How could I? He’s selfish and he doesn’t give a damn about my mother or me. All he cares about is himself and what he wants–to hell with the rest of us.”
Adina reached out and placed her hand on his. “Let’s not talk about your father anymore,” she suggested. “It’s too upsetting for you.”
“Yes, let’s drop it.” He glanced down at her hand and she moved it. He was actually sorry when she did that.
There was a brief silence, then Adina said, “I got a new job.”
“Why? What was wrong with the old one?”
“I left because there was lack of growth. I wanted to learn new skills but it just wasn’t happening. I found my new job through LinkedIn and I love it. This company big on learning they even have a Learning Development Team responsible for creating continued education opportunities for its employees at all locations. And it’s less of a commute.”
“Good for you. What about your personal life?”
“There’s not much going on there.”
“What about that guy you were dating?”
“Jamal? Oh, that didn’t work out. He was too intense.”
“Meaning that he wanted to have sex with you but you refused because you want to wait until you’re married.”
“Yes. And I know that you think that’s lame but that’s just how it is. I’m sure there are guys out there who are saving themselves for marriage too.”
“I don’t know how you expect any normal, hot-blooded male not to want to have sex with you.”
“Before we started dating, I expressly told him that our relationship will not be sexual as I was saving myself for marriage. He agreed and said that he respected my wishes. Then, months into our relationship, he started pressuring me to change my mind about having sex. He said that what I was asking of him was impossible. He said that kissing and cuddling weren’t enough. He wanted more. I was upset because I thought he respected my decision but I guess he thought that he could get me to change my mind. I broke up with him.”
“Don’t feel badly about it. You were upfront and honest with him from the beginning and things just didn’t work out. I’ve a friend who was dating this girl and it was when they were lying on the couch in his flat, kissing that she stopped to tell him she was abstaining. That happened two years ago but to this day, my buddy still gets mad about it.”
“I don’t blame him. She should have told him before they started dating.”
“My advice to the woman is that she lets the man know at the beginning of their relationship that she’s abstaining and my advice to the man is if he can’t be with a woman who wants to save herself for marriage, just walk away. It’s not the end of the world.”
“I thought that since Jamal was a Christian, he would understand but I was wrong.”
“You’d be surprised to know how many single Christians aren’t abstaining from sex.”
“But they should.”
“Not everyone is like you, Adina.”
“It isn’t easy for me,” she admitted. Right now, it wasn’t easy sitting there across from him and wanting to hold his hand. She glanced at her watch. “I’ve to go. Are you going to be all right?”
“Yes. Thanks for the coffee and for the talk.”
“You’re welcome.” She wondered when she would see him again.
“I’m sure we’ll run into each other again,” he said.
“Yes. I’m sure we will. Take care of yourself, Asriel.” She grabbed her jacket and walked away.
Asriel sat there for a while and then, he too left. He thought about it for a moment and then, he pulled out his cell and hit the contact button. He found the number he wanted and called it. “Adina, are you free tomorrow evening?”
“Good. I was wondering if you would like to go to dinner and a movie with me?”
“I’d like that, Asriel.”
He released his breath which he didn’t even realize he had been holding. “Good. I’ll call you again tomorrow.”
He ended the call, slipped his cell back into his pocket and headed home.