The Girl Whisperer
as published in the Guardian of April the 15th
Whispering in the Dark
A few years ago, I was leaving a well-attended church on the island after a mid-week service. It was the place to be, with a vivacious preacher and young upwardly mobile professionals of both sexes as the majority of the congregation. As I got into my car that night, a friend called out my name. We had been at the University together and he asked for a lift. I willingly assented. There were also a few people around who also asked if they could join us. They crammed into the car and we chatted in the darkness of the vehicle until I dropped all off in the heart of the mainland.
Months later, as I stood at a tyre repairer’s near my home, a young lady approached and asked if I attended that church. I said I did and asked how she knew. She told me it was my voice. She had been listening to me speak to the tyre man and although she couldn’t recognize me from looking, knew I was the one who gave her and others a ride home months before (yes, when you hear the whisperer, you never forget).
We re-introduced ourselves and I showed her where I lived. Thereafter, she became a regular visitor at my place. We’d stay in a room by ourselves for hours and instinct strongly told me she was not averse to romantic advances but I never proceeded down that path. She told me how she was fending for herself and her siblings and how she strove for a better life. not being actually one of the upwardly mobile types.
After a while, I got tired of her repeated visits and began to avoid her.
At dusk one day, she came round, (I was next door) but she was told I wasn’t in. She could see my car where it was parked, however, and said she’d wait, so she sat on a low fence and watched the people in the neighbourhood pass by.
I didn’t come out of my place of refuge till she left, though, but after she went away, two female friends in the neighbourhood who had seen her as they passed, came to meet me at separate times unaware that the other had done so. They said the same thing laughingly, “Whisperer, are you the owner of that girl’s pregnancy?”
My blood ran cold and I understood that I had almost been outplayed. This ‘church’ girl had hoped I would take advantage of her on one of those many visits so she could claim I made her pregnant. If I’d refused saying, “Only once can’t make a baby”, she would have reported me to the head of the church and that church leader would probably have announced to his church full of people who knew me that I had made a church member pregnant and I was refusing to accept responsibility. I could see it all, a full sermon on my case and if I still refused, removal from the church and national disgrace. Years after, people would still point to me and say “he has a child he refuses to take care of”.
So, restraint saved me, and an odd reflex for survival. Yet, when I reflect, I think of how many men wander the streets of this world, playing father to children that are not theirs. “Only the female knows” is the adage, so be warned about whispering in the dark.
Even a “Whisperer” would have fallen but for divine intervention.