Goodbye March, Hello April!

Happy new month! Welcome to the month of April! I think April is such a beautiful word and a very beautiful name.

I’m introducing a new column to the blog where I’ll do monthly recaps. I’ve seen it on some blogs and I honestly enjoy reading it (I just hope mine will be interesting enough for you to enjoy reading!)

Reading: One of my goals for 2018 is to read more. I think the time I read the most was when I was in college. But Life got busy thanks to ‘adulting’ – Thanks to my commute to work now, I’ve started reading again and e-books make it very convenient. I remember telling my friend some years ago that I preferred paper books to eBooks because I enjoyed the feel of paper in my hands LOL. The books I got my hands on in March were:

A bit of difference by Sefi Atta– I stumbled on this book on my local library’s app and it piqued my interest because it was by a Nigerian author. But I really struggled to read this book, I kept skipping pages and just stopped reading it altogether (I remember reading a quote about it being okay to stop reading a book because you aren’t enjoying it). I like books that I can’t put down once I start reading. Books I can’t get out of my mind even long after I finish them. Like Jodi Picoult’s Storyteller I read last year and 29, Single and Nigerian by Naija Single Girl.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I read very good reviews about Homegoing and decided to buy the kindle version. It’s like a collection of short stories in the era of slavery and it reminded me of the movie, Roots. The author did a very good job of telling stories across different generations. It was sad to read our fellow Africans sold their own people into slavery. I still haven’t finished it because it’s not a page turner for me and its been a bit of a drag.

I read a very interesting article by Funto Ibuoye on Bella Naija where she shares 28 inspiring life lessons as she celebrates her 28th birthday. You can read it here. To think that she’s only 28 and has so much wisdom?!

I didn’t do much reading in March and I hope to do better in April.

Cooking: I do enjoy cooking, in fact my bridal shower was themed “Odun’s kitchen party.” I follow several food pages on Instagram (such as foodace, Thekitchenmuse, 9ja foodie, Sisi Jemimah etc) and the pictures of mouth-watering dishes I see encourages me to try out new recipes.

I made Nigerian meat pie for the first time using Sisi Jemimah’s recipe and it was amazing! The pastry was so nice and the filling was moist and tasty. I’ve wanted to make meat pies for ages and now that’s off my list.

I also made cauliflower fried rice and it was soo good! The ‘rice’ is cauliflower floret which is grated using a grater or a food processor to look like rice. It was so good that I forgot there was no rice in it. This was my first time cooking with sesame oil and I must say it gave the stir fry a very nice nutty flavour. I’ve added it to our menu because its tasty, low carb and very quick to prepare.

Watching: Iroko TV. I cancelled my Netflix subscription last year because I hardly used it. I struggle to follow TV series and I started watching The Crown but got tired. I decided to try Iroko TV since I always watched the Nigerian movies on Netflix first. And, I must say I’ve watched some really good ones! Nollywood has improved in terms of their cinematography, I love the drone shots of Lagos but the storylines are still pretty much the same.

Finally got round to watching Black Panther. My friend, Tayo and I saw Black Panther after the whole world had seen it. Wakanda Forever.

I watched Lalaland with my aunt and cousin. I had tried watching this movie on two different occasions before but got bored because I’m not a big fan of musicals. I think Sound of Music and Mamma Mia are the only musicals I like. Anyways, we watched it and it was quite interesting. It got me thinking because the main characters had to end their relationship and go separate ways because they each wanted to pursue their dreams. Could they have compromised their dreams for the sake of their relationships? Would they still have been happy? While I agree that compromises should be made in relationships, I think some compromises are just too big to make. Have you seen Lalaland, what do you think?

Learning: how to be more patient. People say I’m a patient person and I agree with them. But I have truly learnt patience in the last few months. Having to wait for an important news is excruciating. Very. But I’m trying to enjoy the moment while I wait. Also, God teaches us patience during our waiting periods. It has been a time for me to reflect about the miracles and prayers God has answered in the past and increased my faith in Him.

Are you waiting on God for anything? Please don’t give up. The bible says there’s seed-time and harvest but in between those two seasons is TIME. Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit and also one of God’s attributes which I believe He likes to develop in His children. One lesson I’ve learnt in my walk with God is that His timing is the best. I shared a testimony some years ago about how He makes all things beautiful in His time.

Loving: spring! I heard spring is called the queen of seasons. And I can see why. Not too cold and not too hot. As a proper Nigerian girl, my favourite season is summer. My first winter back in the UK was quite tough, I was always cold. I just hate winter. The cold, darkness and everything about it. It’s funny how the weather affects your mood.

I’m loving the sights of blooming trees, longer days, ditching the extra layers of clothing etc. The UK switched to British Summer Time two Sundays ago and it was annoying because we lost one hour but hey! It signalled better days. I remember my first year in the UK when I learnt we would move the clock forward, I found it very odd.

Listening: to Ire by Adekunle Gold. Ire (goodness) is about how the grass is not greener on the other side. I’m not a fan of afro beats because I’m mindful of the lyrics I listen to. Apart from Orente and Pick up the phone, I didn’t really know his songs. DH* had mentioned him to me a while back that his songs were good but I didn’t really check him out until recently.

Writing: a new story. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know how long it took me to complete Through The Waters. I decided I won’t post any series till I complete it first and properly edit it. I’m currently working on a new story which I started in the third person and decided to change to the first-person point of view. I enjoy reading books written in the first person which is probably which I would read any book Jodi Picoult writes. Which do you prefer? First or third person point of view?

Thinking: about three couples I know who have been trying to conceive for years now. I had a burden for them during the month and prayed for them. One of the husbands shared their pain and struggle over the past 10 or so with me last year and it was really heart-breaking. I also know our culture makes it more difficult for couples trying to conceive. People ask insensitive questions and give unsolicited advice.

Thinking about friendships. How some friendships are for a season and knowing its okay to move on when it’s over.

Celebrating: March 8 was International Women’s Day and this year’s team was Press for Progress. I think we have made considerable progress but there’s still a lot to be done. This year alone, women have spoken up in unity with movements like #Metoo and #TimesUp.

To celebrate International Women’s Day , Sterling Bank Nigeria produced a short video about the prejudice against women in the workplace. You should watch it here.

Mother’s Day: March 11 was Mother’s Day in the UK and it was lovely to see how mothers were celebrated. My boss asked me about Mother’s Day in Nigeria and our conversation was something like this:

“Odun, when do you celebrate Mother’s Day in Nigeria?”

Me: “We celebrate both the British one in March and the American one in May.”

She gave me a puzzled look, shook her head and walked away.

Which brings me on to my next question, why do we celebrate the British and American Mother’s Day in Nigeria? Why don’t we just pick one? I suppose the British one since we were colonized by them and our educational structure is modelled after the British. I’ve heard people say one is “Mother’s Day” while the other is “Mothering Sunday.” Is this true?

Mothers are heroes. Like they say, not all superheroes wear capes. Mothers should definitely be celebrated! On Mother’s Day, all the women were presented with gifts in my church and we had the men treat us to a feast after church.

Some years ago, I did a mother’s day post, where people submitted write-ups about their mothers. Have you seen this video? Its a complication of speeches from Oscar award winners who thanked the same person. It’s really beautiful.

Celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus during Easter. I enjoyed the long weekend Easter gave us.

So that’s it!

What did you get up to in March? Did the month go too quickly?

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. Please do check out some of the links I included.

Wishing you an Amazing April.

*D.H: Dear Husband.

P.S: Please sign up to my blog so you can receive alerts about new blog posts and share this post with others if you enjoyed it!

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Sade’s Story

My heart beats faster at the sound of the approaching footsteps. I take a look at my reflection in the mirror again. My hair is neatly packed into a ponytail, no loose strands. My green dress sits nicely on my curvy frame, hugging my thighs slightly.

The footsteps stop and I hear his voice. He is answering a phone call.
I take another glance at the living room. It is very tidy. I had vacuumed twice already and a diffuser was plugged to give the house a fresh fragrance. All the throw pillows were carefully placed on the sofas. The coffee table and TV stand were shinning, there was no dust in sight.

I hear the end of his phone call “Bye Efe, see you later in the evening.”

My heart beats even faster. The bell rings.

I swallow deeply and walk towards the door.

“Hi Honey, welcome back.” I say as sweetly as possible.

“Excuse me!” He roars back and pushes me aside before entering the house. I stagger and almost lose my balance.

“Why is that throw pillow not in the middle?” He points to a throw pillow at the edge of a three seater sofa.

“No- nothing.” I stammer.

“You are just useless Sade. Home keeping skills zero, baby zero. The only thing you do is seat around here and get fatter.”

I offer no response. The last thing I want is to aggravate him.

“Hope you cooked something reasonable?” He asks.

“Yes, I did. I made your favourite. Pounded yam and seafood okra.” I reply and bend to pick up his briefcase which he dropped at the door.

“And where is it?” He glances at the dinning table.

“Its its still in the kitchen. I thought you would want to shower-”

“Oh, so I’m that predictable abi?” He responds and takes three steps towards me. I quickly move back so there is a sofa between us.

“I’m sorry Kayode. I’ll serve it straightaway.”

“You this woman, you better don’t provoke me!” He shouts and takes another step towards me. “I’m ministering in church today so don’t provoke me.”

I hold my breath and instinctively use my arms to shield my face. I wait for the slap or blow.

Instead he storms out of the living room.

I drop his briefcase on the coffee table to go serve his food but then pick it up because he doesn’t like things out of place.

I reheat the soup and unwrap the pounded yam from the layers of kitchen napkins I used to keep it warm. I dish the hot soup into a white rectangular ceramic bowl and place it in a tray beside the pounded yam.

I hear his footsteps descending the stairs and carry the tray into the living room. I place the tray on the dinning table and stand back while he pulls out a seat. He washes his hand and dips a finger into the bowl of soup.

I hold my breath.

“The soup is alright.” He says. I spent hours cooking the soup because he likes his okra chopped a certain way and insists I pound the yam in a mortar.

He moulds a morsel of pounded yam. “This pounded yam is too much. Do you expect me to fall asleep in church?” He says without glancing at my face.

“I’m sorry Kayode but the last time I made pounded yam, you said it was too small. Jor ma Binu.”I plead, rubbing my palms against each other.

“Why are you so daft Sade? Please leave this place!”

My shoulders slump as I walk away. Kayode cuts off what’s left of my self esteem daily.

*******
Kayode paces the altar as he preaches. Moving about with confidence as his audience pay rapt attention. Even on a weekday, the auditorium is full.

I’m seated in front where ministers seat and the empty seat beside me belongs to Kayode.

I’m the perfect picture of a pastor’s wife. They call me mummy even though I’m only 32 years old. I wear fashionable modest dresses, minimal makeup and carry myself with grace like they say. Today, I’m wearing an Ankara dress from a top Nigerian designer, paired with orange court shoes.

I look at my husband and smile. I wonder how he does it. Being the charming pastor everyone likes and the beast of a husband.

“Lets all stand up and ask God for grace. Brothers and Sisters, His grace is sufficient for us.”Kayode says as he brings his sermon to an end.

I stand up and wince from the pain on my right shoulder. Kayode pulled me by my arm from the kitchen two nights ago to the living room just because his food was not hot enough.

Kayode leads the congregation in prayers for a few minutes and steps off the pulpit. He immediately kneels down beside me and bows his head to pray. A sister collects the offering and the service ends.

After the sermon, we exchange pleasantries with the other pastors and speak to some members of the church who come up to speak to us.

“Pastor we are very excited about getting married and we can wait!”We are speaking to a young couple who are getting married in two weeks time. They both look happy and very much in love.

“We are praying for you two.” Kayode reaches for my hands and I play along smiling beside him.

“We admire your marriage Pastor and Mummy. Just the way you two look at each other.” The lady continued.

I guess people only see what they want to believe.

“Yes pastor, you can’t complete a sentence without talking about your wife.”

We both laugh. “When you have a virtuous woman like mine, you can’t help it.” Kayode responded.

“We thank God.” I say.

Can’t anyone see the sadness in my eyes? The say being at the top is lonely and I agree. I have people around me who attend to me because I’m Pastor Kayode’s wife but I don’t have friends. Bisi and her family won the visa lottery two years ago and moved to the US. My parents and brother live far away in Kaduna.

As we drive home in silence, I remember how we both met. I saw the red flags but choose to ignore it.

*******
I was invited to Grace Christian Centre by my friend Bisi. I had just moved to Lagos from Kaduna after I got a job in a Bank in Lagos. Bisi and I met at University of Abuja and she had always spoken about her church back at home and I decided to try it once I moved to Lagos.

I attended their second service on a Sunday morning and loved it immediately. It was very similar to my church back in Kaduna and I felt at home immediately. But I’ll say what got my attention the most was the handsome young pastor who preached.

I still remember the army green suit he had on that day. He looked like a model from a GQ magazine. He spoke with eloquence and the way he quoted Bible verses throughout his sermon left me in awe. Right there, I decided Grace Christian Centre was going to be my church

I joined the ushering team after going through their three months workers training school. Working in a small bank branch gave me the opportunity to close work early, so I was regular at mid week services.

Nine months in and I was waxing strong. The church had their annual worker’s dinner and to my uttermost surprise, I was awarded the Best Usher award. I believe Kayode noticed me as he presented the award to me.

After the event, I sat down waiting for a lift home with Bisi who was one of the organisers. I was chatting on my Blackberry phone, waiting for Bisi.

“Hello, our best usher.”

I looked up and saw Pastor Kayode standing in front of me.

“Good…Good evening Pastor.” Before then, I couldn’t remember having a one on one conversation with him.

“Sade right?”

“Yes pastor.” I got up and dropped my phone on the table.

“I must say I’m impressed. We all know being a worker in this church requires a high level of commitment. With our three services every Sunday.”

“Its God’s grace and I honestly enjoy it.”

“Thats good to know.” He reached for his wallet and pulled out his complimentary card. “Call me.” He said and handed the card to me.

“Okay pastor.” I replied.

He smiled and walked away.

That was how it all started. I told Bisi about my conversation with him and she encouraged me to call him.

Pastor Kayode was every woman’s dream. His slender frame, striking features and charisma made him the prayer point of sisters in the church. He had a very successful chain of businesses and drove the best cars. Rumor had it that at 35 he had never been in a relationship and was waiting for the right person.

I was 28 at the time and single. I had been praying to God for the bone of my bones and my family was beginning to put pressure on me. My mother didn’t understand why a beautiful and well behaved lady like me was still single at my age considering she got married at 23.

Not wanting to appear desperate, I called him 4 days later. He invited me out on a lunch date which I accepted and asked his driver to come pick me up.

I had made more effort with my appearance that day. Wore my favourite black dress and used make up which I rarely used. Kayode chose the restaurant and was already there when his driver dropped me off. The date went well. He asked me a lot of questions about myself, my family and my dreams. I told him, I was the first of two children and my family lived in Kaduna.

He told me he was an only child and grew up with his mother in Jos. I mean what were the odds, both of us were Yorubas who grew up in the north. We could speak Hausa fluently. He didn’t mention his dad and I didn’t want to probe.

Kayode proposed marriage three months after. We had seen each other every weekend even with his very busy schedule. He took me to fancy places I had never been to. He bought me expensive gifts, wristwatches, perfumes, bags. I began to fall in love with him. When he asked me to marry him, I said I needed more time to get to know him better and he said he just wanted to make his intentions known since he didn’t believe in dating, just courtship.

I was too excited at the prospect of being his wife and to be honest, I didn’t see any reason to refuse his proposal. He was God fearing, good looking, very successful and loved me.

I informed Bisi of Kayode’s proposal, her words to me were “Sade pray seriously about it. Marriage is for life.” I thought she was jealous because she got married to her childhood sweetheart who was a vice principal in a secondary school ans they had a combined modest income.

As Kayode’s wife, I would have the finest things of life. My parents were not poor but we couldn’t afford luxuries while I was growing up. My mum was a petty trader and my dad was a teacher in a government secondary school.

I said yes to Kayode and our courtship began. I was practically walking on cloud nine for the first few months till I began to notice certain things. The first happened when we were both invited for a wedding by a church member. By this time, the church was aware of our intending union and I was the envy of many sisters.

Kayode came to pick me up for the wedding and I was running late. I went to the salon earlier to straighten my hair and it took longer than I expected. He refused to come in and waited in his car. I dashed out of the house with my shoes in one hand and purse in another.

“Kay, I’m so sorry.” I pleaded and tried to peck him when I got into the car.

“You are very very stupid Sade! How could you have gone to the salon first when you knew we had a wedding for 10 am?”

My eyes flew open and I looked at the face of the man who was speaking.

“Did you just call me stupid Kayode?

“Yes I did. That was very stupid of you!” he shouted.

“So is that why you had to call me-” I saw his hand move quickly and it landed on my face.

Without saying another word, my hands shaking, I opened the door and stepped out of the car.

“Come back here! Sade!” I heard him call back.

I went into my house and locked the door behind me. My hands were shaking. Did the man I was about to get married to just hit me? I desperately wanted to speak to someone about what had just happened. I picked up my phone to call Bisi but decided against it. How could I tell her Pastor Kayode hit me?

I didn’t speak to Kayode for a week after that. He called me several times, showed up at my office and at my house but I ignored him. During service the following Sunday, he sent a message pleading with me to wait after church and I accepted because I had missed him too.

He drove to our favourite restaurant where he had made a reservation for private dining.

“Baby, I’m so sorry for hitting you. I don’t know what came over me.” He pleaded.

“I didn’t tell you but I used to deal with anger issues in the past before I gave my life to Christ.” He continued. I thought I had overcome it till last Saturday. I’m so sorry.”

“Kayode, how could you?”

“I’m so sorry.” His eyes welled up with tears. “Please forgive me.”

“Kayode, if this EVER happens again, I’ll call off the wedding.”

“I promise, It won’t.”

Our relationship continued and it was as if that incident never happened. Kayode was more loving, patient and he went the extra mile. We travelled to Kaduna where he met my parents and they loved him. We set a wedding date and started planning our wedding.

Then it happened again.
A month to our wedding, we were in his office discussing final wedding arrangements.

“Kay, I want a different cake.”

“You must be joking.” He said. “This is the third time you are changing your mind.”

I pouted.”Its my wedding and I have the right to change my mind. Besides, it’s not like the cake has been baked already.”

“Okay fine.” He said.

“I want one more bridesmaid.”

“Okay? Suit yourself Sade!”

“Meaning, you have to get one more groomsman.”

“You must be joking. We already have 8 groomsmen.”

“I want one-”

The slap on my face sent me reeling backwards.

“Kayode, you…you slapped me?” I held my palm to my cheek.

“And I’ll do it again! You bitch.” His eyes were filled with so much rage, I didn’t recognise him.

I picked up my bag and got up. “I’m so done.”

I was almost at the door when he grabbed my hand. “Sade please I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“Kayode leave me alone!” I tried to move my hand from his grasp.

“I’m so sorry.” He held on to my hand and went on his knees. “I don’t know what came over me. Baby I’m so sorry.” He was crying.

I fell to my knees in front of him. “Kayode why? How do I know this won’t happen again?”

“Baby, I promise it won’t.” He wiped the tears flowing down my cheeks and pulled me into an embrace. We remained that way for a while and I decided to forgive him.

Kayode needs my help to overcome his anger issues, I thought.

*******

“Aren’t you getting off or do you want to sleep in the car?”

“Oh.” I didn’t realise we had gotten home.

Kayode slams the door. I take off my seatbelt and open the car door.

What is it going to be tonight? What fault is he going to find? Kayode’s outbursts of anger only got worse after we got married. At first it was just shouting and then he stared hitting me. In the three years we’ve been married it’s been hell.

I wanted to speak to someone about it but I remembered the advice my mum gave me on our wedding day. She said, “do not discuss any problem between you and your husband. If anything is wrong, talk to God about it.” People see us as the perfect couple. We switch into our roles perfectly when we are in public.

I open the front door and he’s sitting on the sofa with a glass in his hand. He drinks brandy almost every night.

“Sade, I’ll be up in five minutes, so be ready for me.”

My heart sinks. Right now sex is just a routine. Kayode forces himself on me. Last time I protested, he beat me up so badly.

“Okay.” I mumble.

As I walk up the stairs, I look at out wedding pictures lined up on the wall. I looked so happy. We had a society wedding. We used the best vendors in the wedding industry as Kayode spared no expense and our wedding was even featured on Bella Naija.

How could I have known the misery I was signing myself up to?

Kayode’s mum has been on my neck because we haven’t given her grandchildren yet. How do I tell her I’m on the pills to prevent pregnancy.

Who would want to raise up children in this type of environment?

I begin to undress quickly and pack my hair into a ponytail. My husband’s rage has left marks all over my body.
I lie under the duvet to wait for him. The door opens and he comes in. I turn my face in the opposite direction as he undresses.

He gets on the bed and I close my eyes tightly. The only way I get through this is to get my mind far away. Far away from my reality.

I remember the young lady I was who once believed in happily ever afters. Who wanted to get married to a man like her daddy because he was the sweetest man she knew. Who was not willing to settle but wait for God’s best.

******
I know this is a rather sad story but this story was prompted by a post on Instagram about domestic violence.

The signs are always there, please do not ignore them. Don’t be fooled by all the supposedly good qualities he has. You are not his saviour, let him get help if he needs it.

For anyone in an abusive marriage please speak up and do not endanger your life.

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this story, please share it with someone else.

Through The Waters -Final

Sope woke up with a terrible headache. It felt like someone was literally driving nails through her head. After she got back from Yinka’s’s house yesterday, she had spent the rest of the day crying her eyes out.

How did she go from loving and serving God to ending up pregnant out of wedlock? She bought two more pregnancy tests yesterday just to be sure she was indeed pregnant.

She wondered what God would think of her now.

She had claimed to love God, which was easy for her because she grew up in a Christian family and life had been rosy. The minute she had a setback, she rebelled against God.

She blamed God for allowing her mum die and she hated Him for that. Her mum had loved God and served God faithfully and yet God had allowed her to die. She had questioned the verse in the bible where God promised to satisfy His children with long life.

She couldn’t remember the last time she read her bible. She just wasn’t interested. But she couldn’t deny there was a huge vacuum in her life when she turned her back against God. She focused her love and devotion on Yinka.

She sniffed hard and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hands. She had to break to news to someone. Dolapo? Her friendship with Dolapo was no longer existent because she kept pushing her away.

She heard the sound of her dad’s car pulling out of the driveway. She glanced at the wall clock, it was 7:30am, he was on his way to church. She couldn’t remember the last time she went to her former church.

Of course, she liked Yinka’s church because she felt comfortable there. Nobody preached about sin, about repentance, about eternity. It was always about prosperity, faith, healing and success. She would go to church after spending the previous night in Yinka’s house and not feel guilty. She shut her eyes.

“My daughter, I love you. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”

“Why did you take my mother away God. Why?”

“Sope, I promised that WHEN you pass through deep waters, I would be with you. WHEN you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. WHEN you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up.’’

“But God, this water drowned me! It did.’’

“Sope, I called out to you several times. My Spirit was ready to comfort you but you refused. I sent my servants to you Sope. I sent Dolapo, your dad, Gbenga and Bode.’’

At the sound of Bode’s name she cried even harder. She began to shake uncontrollably.

“What did I do to Bode? Bode was good to me. He was always there.’’

“You broke my son’s heart Sope. He sent petitions up to me for your sake everyday but I couldn’t force you. That’s one privilege you humans have -freewill.’’

“God, will he take me back? I’m ready to repent. I’m coming back home Lord.’’

You are welcome home my child, We have longed for this day. I heard all the petitions made on your behalf. I have loved you with an everlasting love Mosope Lawal.’’

“I want Bode back.”

“It’s too late my child.”

“Nooooo! God please.”

“My child, sin has consequences.’’

“Please Lord! Please.’’

“Have no doubt, I have forgiven you. My son paid the price for that several years ago. But Bode belongs to another daughter of mine now. Just serve me faithfully and at the right time, I’ll bring someone else.’’

Sope woke up. It had been a dream but it seemed so real. She must have dozed off briefly. She moved her head gently and realised her pillow was wet. She had been crying.

She knew what she had to do.

******

“Is there anyone sitting in the congregation, who wants to be part of God’s family? There’s someone here today who like the prodigal son, has wandered far away from the father’s love. God wants me to tell you to come back home. Come home son, come home daughter, before it is too late.” The pastor said as he ended the sermon.

The choir sang:

“I surrender all (2x)

All to my blessed saviour

I surrender all.”

Sope rose from her seat and walked towards the altar with tears streaming down her face. As she walked to the altar, she felt lighter, all the anger she had bottled up against God evaporated. She knelt at the altar and raised her hands to her maker in deep surrender.

Tunji couldn’t help the tears that flowed freely down his cheeks when he saw his daughter at the altar on her knees. He tapped Abimbola, whose eyes were shut in prayers and nudged her to look at the altar. She placed her hand in his and they both prayed for his daughter.

Bode was shocked when he saw Sope walk into the service just before the sermon started. Their eyes met as she walked past him and he recognised that look on her face. She had been crying. He hadn’t seen her in over a year. When she walked towards the altar during the altar call, he started thanking God.

Thanking God she was back home.

*******

5 months later.

“Daaaaad, Gbenga is here.’’Sope called.

She heard an inaudible response from her father’s room.

“You don’t want to be late for your own wedding!’’

With a curling iron in one hand, she went down the stairs and opened the front door for Gbenga.

“Oh my! What a dashing best man!’’

Gbenga grinned. “Thanks sissy.’’ He replied and hugged her. I thought you spent yesterday in the salon, what are you still curling again?’’

“Just some lose hair strands jare.” They both walked into the living room.

“How are you Sope?” Gbenga asked and glanced at her stomach.

“I’m fine Gbenga.”

“You sure?”

“Yes I am. I’m just a bit emotional that I just spent my last nigjt in this house. Her gaze swept round the living room. “I have so many memories here.”

“Aww come here.” Gbenga said and opened his arms.

They stayed together for a while before Gbenga spoke. “Are you sure you want to move out? We can sublet the house you know.”

“I’m sure Gbenga. I’m a big girl. Besides, dad and aunty Abi need their privacy as newlyweds.”

“True. If its any consolation, you are closer to us. You can always stop by for dinner. Onyi and Debby would be glad to have you.”

“You know I’ll take you up on that offer! You know how much I hate cooking.”

“Gbenga, I need to finish my hair. I’ll be down in a bit.”

“Sha hurry up.” Gbenga replied. “Daaaaaad! Let’s go oh.

“Why don’t you check up on him? Maybe he needs some help.” Sope suggested.

******

Gbenga knocked gently on the door of his father’s room.

“Yes come in.” Tunji replied.

He walked in and found his dad staring out the window.

“Dad, are you ready?”

Tunji turned to face his son with moist eyes.

Gbenga was at his father’s side immediately. “Are you okay dad?”

Tunji sniffed and wiped his eyes, slightly embarrassed his son saw him crying. “I’m okay son…I just didn’t think I would be doing this again the second time.”

“Awww dad, I’m sure mum is smiling down from heaven.” He adjusted his dad’s tie.

“I’m sure she is.”

“So, lets get you married!’’

*******

The church auditorium was filled with people when they arrived. Father and son walked towards the front of the church to wait for the bride. Gbenga smiled as he looked at the faces of people who were dear to him and his family. His siblings, church members who had been there for them, their kids and grandkids, Deborah’s sisters.

As Abimbola walked towards him with her son to the tune of Great is thy Faithfulness, he was reminded again about God’s faithfulness towards him and his family. The death of Deborah was one of the darkest points in his life but God turned the story around and now he was getting married to a woman he was madly in love with.

He was grateful to God for his kids, especially Mosope, who had found her way back to God. She looked so beautiful with her pregnancy glow and surely, he was going to miss having her around in the house.

He smiled at Abimbola as their eyes met.

God indeed makes everything beautiful in His time.

The End

*******

Thank you so much for following the Lawal family’s journey through pain and how each person handled it, particularly Mosope.

I must apologize that it took over 3 years to complete it but I’m glad I finally did.

I hope you enjoyed the story and I’ll like to hear from you so please leave a comment.

Have a blessed week .

 

Through the Waters 13

Sope scanned the aisles for what she was looking for. It was at the far right corner of the store. She walked briskly and picked up a pack and carefully hid it beneath the pack of biscuit in her shopping basket.

She eyed the till and decided to wait for it to clear up. There were five people there. She didn’t want them looking at her and judging her especially as she had no wedding ring on. She walked towards the medicine aisle, pretending to be reading the dosage on a box of painkillers.

She wandered around a bit more more until the till was clear before proceeding to pay for her items.

As she drove home, she thought of how disappointed her family would be if she was pregnant. She didn’t want to upset them because they were all so excited about the forthcoming wedding. At least, Yinka was in love with her. So, he would do right by getting married to her before it became obvious she was pregnant.

She couldn’t wait to be Mrs Mosope Da-Silva. No, Mrs Mosope Yinka Da-Silva. A smile spread across her face at the thought.

She parked in front of the house and turned off the engine. Placed the pregnancy kit in her bag and zipped it up. Just in case her dad was at home. As she approached the front door, she heard voices, aunty Abi was around. She didn’t see her car parked outside though.

Sope opened the door with her keys and contemplated going straight upstairs without saying hello but then thought better because they must have heard the sound of her car.

She stepped into the living room and saw her dad, aunty Abi and a lady she knew from her dad’s church.

“Daddy good evening sir, Aunty Abi good evening.” She turned to face the other lady “good evening.”

“Good evening Sope, bawo ni?” Tunji responded.

“Good evening dear, welcome back.” Abimbola responded.

“Sister Sope welcome. It’s even good you are around. Oya, please help us choose between the two Aso Oke which one you prefer.” She pointed towards two Aso oke strips spread on the coffee table.

Really? Did they have to drag me into this?

“Yes Sope, we need a second opinion. It’s for our engagement. You know, you people are more current and trendy.” Abimbola said.

She managed a weak smile and looked at the two strips. They both had similar colours: turquoise and silver. She pointed towards the one with a simpler pattern.”I prefer this, it’s more…”

“We told you!” Tunji and the Aso Oke lady cut in.

“Okay okay, you both win. I like both of them anyways.” Abimbola responded. “Thanks Sope.”

Sope left them and went upstairs to her room.

*****

Sope cursed under her breath as she struggled with her vision because of the heavy downpour. She hated driving in the rain.

She had a rough night. Sleep eluded her after discovering she was pregnant. She felt a mixture of emotions all at once. Fear, shock, panic.

As soon as it was dawn and bright enough to go out, she had her bath and drove to Yinka’s house. She had to tell him in person. This was not to type of news to break over the phone.

Why was it even raining at this time of the year? It was probably a sign from God to punish her. She had to get to Yinka’s house and no rain was stopping her.

******

Bode had just finished his quiet time. One of the reasons be loved Saturdays was that it gave him more time to spend with God than the usual thirty minutes he spent during weekday mornings.

While he was praying, he heard the Holy Spirit minister to him. He was led to read Proverbs 18:22. He wasn’t sure what the verse contained till he opened his Bible.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” He smiled when he realised it was a very popular verse.

God was surely speaking to him. Earlier in the week, he received a call from his pastor from University, Pastor Silas, who he hadn’t spoken to in ages.

He had just gotten home from work and was fixing himself a quick dinner of noodles and boiled egg when his phone rang. He was shocked to see the call was coming from Pastor Silas. He replayed the conversation they had.

“Hello, Pastor Silas, good evening Sir.’’

“Hello, Brother Bode.’’

“Wow, I was shocked when I saw your call coming in.’’

Bode heard him chuckle “I know Bode, I can’t remember the last time we spoke. Hope this is not a bad time to call?”

“No, its not Sir.” He left the kitchen and went to sit in the living room.

“Okay good. I have a word from the Lord to you.’’

“Sir?”

“Yes Bode, God gave me a message for you. I was praying when I received the revelation from the Lord. He told me to read 1 Samuel 30. David and his men came back to find that their camp in Ziglag had been invaded by the Amalekites. They had carried their wives, sons and daughters. The bible says David and his men cried till they had no more strength to cry. Hello? Are you still there brother Bode?’’

“I am Sir.”

“Ok good. As I was saying, David and his men cried till they could cry no more. And we both know men don’t cry.” He chuckled. “The bible goes on to tell us that David encouraged himself in the Lord. He asked God if he should pursue and overtake them and God said yes.”

At this point, Bode, was wondering what He was trying to tell him.

“I’m sure you remember how that story ended. David recovered what the Amalekites took away. In fact, the Bible says, David recovered ALL. Brother Bode, God has asked me to tell you that you’ll recover all that the enemy as stolen from you. I don’t know what it is but God has asked me to tell you it’s your season of restoration.

Bode was stunned. “I don’t…don’t know what to say Sir. I’m- ”

“Brother Bode, I can’t remember the last time I called you. In fact, I had to get your number from Seun because I remember you two were very close back in Uni. But God told me to deliver this message to you. I don’t know what you’ve lost but God says you’ll recover all.’’

At this point, tears were flowing down Bode’s cheeks. He couldn’t fathom God’s love. The fact that God was speaking through someone he hadn’t spoken to in ages. He knew God loved him, but this- this was too much.

“Thank you very much Sir, I’m very grateful Sir.”

“We thank God brother Bode. Sorry, I have to rush off now. I have to head down to the chapel for bible study.’’

“Okay Sir. Thank you very much.”

“You are welcome. Remain blessed.”

Bode smiled and threw his fists in the air. He was going to speak to Nene about marrying her.

*****

“Yinka say something please!”

Sope was in Yinka’s living room. She had just broken the news of her pregnancy to him and got no reaction whatsoever from Yinka. She was pacing about the living room while Yinka was seated comfortably on a sofa with a glass of orange juice in his hand.’’

“Madam Sope what do you want me to say?”

She stopped pacing and faced him. “It’s funny how I’ve suddenly become a madam to you.” She hissed.

“Okay, what do you want me to say my darling Sope?” He said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Oh please, don’t patronise me!”

“Sope please stop shouting. Its too early in the morning. Don’t wake my neighbours up. Look, we are adults here.” He dropped the glass of orange juice on the coffee table. “It’s not like I raped you. We both had fun, that’s why you kept coming back.’’ He winked.

She knelt in front of him. “Yinka, I don’t know what to do. I’m so confused…a baby out of wedlock is unheard of in my family.’’

“It’s a no brainer babe, you’ll get rid of it.’’

Sope recoiled as if she had been slapped. His words sent her reeling backwards and she landed on the floor with her backside. “ I didn’t hear you well.”

“I said terminate the damn pregnancy!” Yinka shouted and sprung to his feet. “What were you expecting?” He drove his fingers through his afro. “That I’ll let you keep it? What do you want my family to say?’’

“Yinka I thought we were going to get married.’’

“MARRIED?’’

“Yes…you…you said you were in love with me. What have we been doing this last one year?”

“Me? Marry YOU? You must be out of your mind.”

Sope thought she was dreaming, she pinched herself hard, just in case but it hurt. She got back on her knees and crawled towards him. “Yinka, it’s me, Mosope.’’ She smiled “Your princess.” She reached for his legs but he moved back and she almost lost her balance.

“Look here Sope, I’ve told you the only solution. Get rid of that pregnancy. And as for marriage, I’m getting married to Bunmi Falana, the governor’s daughter. We just got back together about two months ago.’’

Sope was crying uncontrollably. Bunmi Falana? The socialite? Yinka told her they dated while they were at university but that ended over five years ago.

But Yinka said he loved her. She didn’t understand. So why was he getting married to someone else? What would happen to her? To their baby?

She felt used.

Stupid.

She got up and picked her car keys from the table. “Yinka, God will judge you. He’ll surely punish you for what you did to me.”

“Oh now you remember God, madam two goody shoes. When you were frolicking up on down on my bed, you didn’t remember God then.’’

“Yinka you are a very WICKED and HEARTLESS man.’’

“Oh please spare me! Didn’t you enjoy all the gifts and attention? All the times I took you out shopping, bought you those expensive perfumes and shoes. Did you think it was for nothing?’’

Sope picked up her handbag and walked towards the front door.

“You know Sope, I thought you were going to play hard to get forever. You came across as little Miss I love Jesus, but I’ve always loved a challenge. And I must say you were a very good one.’’

******

Thanks for reading guys. One episode to conclude this series. Please leave a comment, I’ll love to hear from you.

Through The Waters 12

Bode scanned the car park for a parking slot and sighed when he didn’t see any. His date with Nene was for 2pm and it was already five minutes past two.

He had sent Nene a WhatsApp message two weeks ago introducing himself and she teased him about being too shy to call her. So he called her and they spoke for over an hour. After that phone conversation, they chatted everyday.

Luckily, he saw a car pull out of a parking slot and he parked. Bode picked up his phone and dialled Nene’s number. She picked up on the second ring. “Hi Nene… I’m good…yes, I just got to the restaurant…okay then, I’ll just wait for you. Holla when your get here.”

Nene said she was ten minutes away. He looked at his face in the mirror and noticed he had gained back some of the weight he lost after his break up with Sope. He got down from his car and walked into the restaurant.

He was greeted by a waiter when he walked in. “Table for two please.” Bode said.

“Inside our outside?”

“Inside…actually, on a second thought, outside.” The weather wasn’t too hot for this time of the year, so it’ll be nice to sit on one of the tables outside overlooking the sea.

The waiter showed him to a table for two he sat. He had chosen this restaurant on recommendation by a colleague. It was a newly opened restaurant everyone was talking about in Lagos. He hoped the food lived up to the hype.

He recalled his phone call with Nene yesterday evening. They had been talking about their hobbies and passion.

“I think God has called me to working with teenagers, or should I say young people.” Nene said.

“Why do you think so?” Bode asked.

“ I don’t think so, I know so.

“I see. Just wondering-”

“I just have this passion or is it burden for teenagers going astray. I want to be their friend, I want to help them. I feel like they can confide in me and I can guide them. You know that’s why I work in the youth department in my church Bode. Those teenagers come up to and tell me stuff. They tell me a lot of things.” Nene said.

Bode was too stunned. This was exactly how he felt about young people. Hence why he worked in the teenagers unit in his church. He had felt led by the Holy Spirit to pick that department because he had a burden for young people.

“Hello…Bode? Are you there?”

“Yes I am. Yes Nene, I’m here.” He replied.

“You went quiet. I said we have a youth outing coming up next month. We are having a BBQ. Just wondering if you’ll be interested.”

“It sounds interesting. Please remind me closer to the date so I don’t forget.”

“Okay. So see you tomorrow?”

“Yes, see you tomorrow.”

“Bye Bode.”“Bye Nene. Have a good night rest.”

Bode ended the call and spoke to God immediately concerning Nene. They had a lot of things in common and also had the same burden.

Just then, he saw a lady who looked like Nene walking towards him and smiling. She was smaller in person and looked more beautiful than her profile picture on WhatsApp.

He got up and stretched out his hand to her. “Hi Nene, I’m Bode.”

She giggled. “Why so formal?” she teased. “ Hi Bode,” she shook his hand.

*****

Ever since she spent the night with Yinka, Mosope noticed he had become distant. He didn’t call her everyday like he used to. His gifts were not as frequent as they used to. In fact, for the first time she didn’t get cupcakes delivered to her office last week. She picked up her phone and dialled his number.

“Hi Yinka. Thank God you picked my call today.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He sounded irritated.

“Are we fighting?”

“Nope.”

“So what’s the matter? Since, that night…you seem huh withdrawn?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about Sope. It’s all in your head.”

“Oh I see. All in my head.”

“Sope, you know work has been a bit busy lately and-”

She ended the call and hissed.

“Nonsense!”

Her phone rang. Yinka was calling back. She was going to pick up. It was about time she stopped being available to him. He kept calling and she finally gave in.

“Yes? What do you want?”

“I’m sorry Sope.”

Silence

“I’ll make it up to you.” Yinka said.

“Yinka, can I ask you a question?”

“Yes, go on.”

“What are we doing?”

“I don’t understand.”

She rolled her eyes, forgetting he couldn’t see her. “What or who am I to you?”

She heard him breathe into his phone. After what seemed like a long time, he responded. “See about that, I was going to ask you out officially to become my girlfriend but since-”

“Yes!” Sope screamed into the phone.

“Okay? It’s not like I asked you to marry me.”

“I know Yinka, but you will eventually won’t you?”

“Lets just take things slow okay?”

“Okay.”

“I’ll come and pick you up in the next hour or so. So we can hang out.”

“Yaaaaay! I’ll get dressed. I’ve been home all day and I’m really bored.”
She ended the call and went into the shower.

******
Church service had just ended and Bode was trying to catch up with Patrick and Adaobi in the carpark.

“Patrick!” he called.

They stopped and turned round. “ Bode, how far?”

“ I dey oh. Hi Mrs A, how are you?”

“ I’m very well Bode. How are you?”

“I’m fine oh.” They continued walking towards their car.

“So Nene and I have been talking.”
Patrick cleared his throat.

“Why are you clearing your throat?” He asked Patrick and they burst out laughing.

“Anyways, we finally met yesterday. I must say I really like her.” Adaobi gave him a look which said I told you so. “I feel really drawn to her, I can’t explain it.”

“Bode, I’m so happy to hear that. I have to leave you both, I want to catch up with Sister Uju before she leaves.” Adaobi said and left the two friends.

“So you really like her?” Patrick asked.

“ I do, Patrick. It’s funny because from the first day we spoke, I felt it in my spirit. I’ve been praying to God ever since.

“Nene is an amazing lady. But apart from that, you have to sure God is leading you bro.”

“True bro, very true.” They got to Patrick’s car and continued chatting whilst waiting for Adaobi.

Twenty minutes later and Adeobi still hadn’t come. “ I better call Adeobi, if not I’ll be here for a long time. And I’m hungry.”

“Okay bro. Have a blessed week. See you next Saturday.”

‘Thanks Bode, you too. And say hello to Nene.”

“ I will.”

Just then, Adaobi walked towards the car.”

“ Women and gist sha! I am hungry, biko let’s go home.” Patrick said.

“We were discussing the next Sister’s fellowship. Bode, have a wonderful week.”

“Thanks Mrs A, thank you.”

They got into their car and drove off while Bode headed back into the church.

*****

Sope was driving home. She attended service with Yinka and they went to his house afterwards.

As soon as they got into his house, Yinka kissed her and took her up to his room. She didn’t put any resistance.

We are going to get married eventually, so having premarital sex can’t be too bad. She reasoned.
They had lunch afterwards and she left because he dad sent her a text saying he would like to talk to her.

Although they lived in the same house, they hardly spoke to each other. She greeted him before rushing off to work in the mornings and said hello in the evenings before going up her room.

At first, she felt a bit guilty because she thought he was lonely. But most evenings, he was on the phone to aunty Abi.

She opened the door of the house and walked into the sweet aroma of ofada stew, her father’s favourite. He was at the dinning table eating. He smiled when he saw her.

“Good evening Daddy.”

“Mosope, good evening. How are you?”

“I’m fine daddy. How are you?”

“I’m good. Come and join me.”

“I’m stuffed. I went to my…a friend’s place after church and had lunch there.”

“Okay. Abi gave me a huge bowl of ofada stew. So you can take some to work.”

“Ok dad. Thanks.”

She turned to go upstairs to her room.

“Sope, come downstairs in a little while, I want to talk to you. Or didn’t you get my text?”

“Yes I did daddy. I’ll just go upstairs to change and let you finish your food.”

“Okay dear.”

Mosope came down the stairs twenty minutes later. Her dad had finished eating and was watching the news on TV.

He took his eyes off the screen when she walked in. Mosope sat on the sofa opposite him.

“Sope, come and sit beside me.” Tunji patted the space beside him. Sope got up and sat beside him.

He switched off the TV and turned to her. “Mosope mi, I miss the days when we used to sit down and gist.”

Sope smiled.

“I miss my daughter. I know your mum’s death was very difficult for you. It was difficult for all of us. It was so sudden.”

“I miss her daddy. I still do. Everyday.”
He pulled her close in an embrace and father and daughter stayed that way for a while.

Tunji pulled back. “I want to talk to you about something, which is very important to me. It would also have an impact on you.”

“Daddy are you okay?” Her eyes widened. “Are you ill?”

Tunji laughed. “I’ll ke? I’m as fit as a fiddle.”

“Okay good. You had me worried for a second.” She searched his eyes. “So what do you want to talk about?”

“I’ve asked Abimbola to marry me.”

Sope’s eyes flew open “You want to get married to aunty Abi?”

“Yes…Sope I’m sure you’ve noticed our friendship. I never knew I could love again…after your mother. But I’ve found love again.”

Sope got up. “Wow daddy! Wow.” She clapped. “Its not even up to two years since mummy passed and you are moving on already.”

“Sope, I’m lonely. I need a companion.”

“Then get a dog. Get a dog daddy!”

“Watch your tongue young lady! Do not use that tone on me.”

“And what does Gbenga think of this?”

“Gbenga is in full support.”

“Of course he is!”

“Look here Sope, I’m not asking for your permission. I’m only letting you know. So the earlier you come to terms with it, the better.”

“Can I go back to my room now.”

“If you want.”

She walked towards the door.

“One more thing daughter, our wedding has been fixed for December.”

Sope walked out of the room and slammed the door hard.

Through The Waters 11

********
Tunji and Abimbola were in their pastor’s office to inform him of their intention to get married.

“Brother Lawal, I was waiting for you both to come sooner.” Pastor James said.

Tunji and Abimbola exchanged a knowing look and smiled. “Pastor, we would have come sooner but we wanted to give our children enough time… especially Mosope.”

Pastor James nodded slowly “Yes, I understand.”

“Sister Abimbola, are your children in support?”

“Yes, they are pastor. In fact, I was surprised by their reaction. My first son said ‘finally mummy, we had been waiting to hear this for ages.’

“We thank God.” Pastor James said. “Brother Lawal, how did Gbenga take the news?”

“Gbenga is fully in support. I invited him over to the house and we discussed at length. I haven’t told Mosope yet.”

Pastor James nodded. “I understand why you haven’t told Sope but you have to tell her soon Brother Lawal.”

“Yes pastor, I intend to tell her this weekend. She’s spending the weekend with Dolapo and she’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Okay good. How is she these days? I can’t remember the last time I saw her. I was told she goes to a different church now.”

Tunji sighed and Abimbola placed her hand on his. “Mosope just seems to be going down a slippery slope.” He closed his eyes tightly and opened them. “I don’t know my daughter anymore.”

“It is well, my brother. All we can do is continuing praying for her. Some people need to be completely lost before they find God for themselves.”

“Amen.” Abimbola and Tunji chorused.

“So, has the date been fixed?”

“We are thinking of December, when so Abimbola’s children will be in the country.”Abimbola’s children were based in the UK and both came to Nigeria every chirstmas with their families.

“When can we begin premarital counselling Sir?” Abimbola asked.

Pastor James laughed. “You’ll both be the oldest members of the class but it’ll be good to have a refresher course.”

“I agree sir. Tunji replied.

“I need to confirm when the next class is starting.” Pastor James reached for his diary. “Oh! Its round the corner, in two weeks. You should both pick out the forms from the church secretary on your way out and bring it with you to the first class.”

“Okay Pastor.” Abimbola replied.

They chatted for a few minutes and prayed before leaving the pastor’s office.
******

Bode was at his friend Patrick’s house. He had hitched a ride with him after worker’s meeting because his car was at the mechanic. The two friends were enjoying jollof rice and chicken prepared by Patrick’s wife.

“Guy, I think you should move on already, it’s been how many months now?” Patrick said before lifting a spoonful of rice into his mouth.

“One year, three months and seven days.”

“Ahhhh, you are busy counting. Sope has move on oh. Last I heard, she was dating Yinka Da Silva.”

Bode shut his eyes tight, the words he heard felt like a knife slicing through his heart. He had heard rumours about Sope’s new found love but he refused to believe them. He reached for his glass of water and took a gulp.

“I’m not only heartbroken but disappointed. What she sees in that bad boy baffles me.”

“Baffle you ke? That guy has a PHD in Womanology! He can have any woman he wants oh. With his looks, charm and money. ”

“But he’s clearly not saved!”

“You are still speaking Christianese Bode.”

“So the question is, is she still a believer?”

Bode still thought about Mosope every day. He was really shaken by their breakup that he lost so much weight because he couldn’t eat. Even his boss had to order him to take an unpaid leave for a month when his performance at work began to drop.

“I told you about my cousin, Nene. She’s correct wife material, Bode. Not just that alone, she’s also on fire for God. I think you two will get along very well.”

“When did you become a matchmaker Patrick?” Bode asked.

“Since my friend got heartbroken oh. It was even Adaobi who suggested it to me.”

At the sound of her name, Patrick’s wife walks in. “Bode, I think you’ll like Nene. She’s very lovely.”

“I know you mean well Mrs A, but-”

“But what?” Patrick cut in.

“I don’t think I’m over Sope yet.”

Husband and wife looked at each other and smiled. When Adaobi told her husband she wanted to introduce Nene to Bode, Patrick had said he didn’t think Bode was over Sope yet. She had insisted that it was worth trying.

“Just one date, Bode.” Patrick raised his eyebrows “One.”

Bode sighed. He had better give into this date if not, Patrick would keep pestering him.

What If she wasn’t like Sope? He remembered Sope’s sweet smile.

“Bode?” Patrick called.

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“Adaobi was asking you if you wanted her number?”

“Yeah…okay.” He brought out his phone and saved her number.

“I’ll tell her I gave you her number, just make sure you call her soon okay?”Adaobi pleaded.

“Okay, you have my word.”

“Thank you.”She responded.

“Thanks for the meal Mrs A, it was on point as usual.”

“My wife makes the best jollof rice.” Patrick said and winked at his wife.

“You are welcome Bode. I can pack a bowl for you when you are going home.”

“Thank you!”

“Bode go and marry!”

*****
Gbenga and Onyinye were in their bedroom, ready to retire for the night. Onyinye had just tucked in Deborah, who was sleeping in her room.

“Gbenga, so have they fixed a date yet?”

“Daddy was saying around Christmas, so aunty Abi’s children can come into the country.”

Onyinye sat up. “That’s about…6 months away.” Onyinye said.

“Yeah…it’ll be a small-”

“We have to start planning straightaway oh!” She threw her hands up in the air in excitement. “I know a very good wedding planner on Instagram, I’ve been following her for a while. We can pick colours, so we can buy the aso ebi-”

“Calm down, see you getting all excited. Do you think they’ll want aso ebi considering their age and the fact that they’ve both been married preciously?”

“It doesn’t matter jare, it’s a joyous occasion.”

“Yes, it is, but I’d prefer an intimate ceremony with just family and closest friends. I don’t like all those Nigerian carnival weddings.”

Onyinye picked up her phone and opened to the event planner’s page on Instagram. “Gbenga see her page.” She handed her phone to her husband.

“Hmmmm this looks very good.” He said as he scrolled down her instagram page. “I hope she won’t cost a fortune though?”

“I’ll send her a DM*.”

”Like I said, an intimate ceremony for about 100 people.”

Onyinye laughed.”Very funny Gbenga, 100 people? Let’s see how we’ll manage that. When even family members alone are already up to 100.”

Gbenga handed the phone back to her and checked his phone for messages.
“I’m worried about Sope you know. I felt uneasy in my spirit so I called her.”

“Yeah, I heard when you were on the phone to her.”

“She cut me off and I sent her a message which has obviously read and hasn’t replied.”

“Maybe she’s busy, I’m sure she’ll call you back.

“Please mention her as you pray.”

“I will love. Let’s pray.”

*****
Sope opened her eyes and looked at her surroundings, it was unfamiliar. Why did her room look so different? And what was that smell? Was something burning? Then she saw a male figure sitting on the side of the bed with what looked like a cigarette stick in his hand.

Then it hit her.

She touched her body underneath the duvet and confirmed her fears. She touched the lower part of her body, no clothes on either. Her eyes flew open. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed.

“Morning sweetheart.” Yinka turned to her. “Last night was amazing.” He said with a wide grin and winked.

“Oh Jesus.” Sope cried. She rose from the bed and covered whatever dignity she had left with the duvet and ran into the bathroom. She locked the door and sat on the floor as tears flooded her eyes. She tried to remember what had happened.

Yinka had brought the wine she asked for and they had dinner. He made egg fried rice and shredded beef which was very tasty and she was impressed. He kept refiling her glass with wine. When she protested, he told her it was good for her heart.
After the meal, he told her there was dessert but she declined because she was stuffed. So, he suggested they watch a movie and dessert could come later. She picked out a comedy for them to watch and they both sat on the same sofa to watch the movie.

“Why did you switch off the lights?” Mosope asked.

“Dunno…to create the right mood I uppose.”Yinka answered.
As the movie went on, Yinka moved closer to her and caressed her face and her hair and then tried to kiss her. He had tried to kiss her twice in the past but she had turned him down but this time around she couldn’t resist him. Breathless, Mosope pulled back.

“Oh baby.” Yinka said as he kissed her again, pulling down any walls of resistance she had left.

She heard a knock on the door.

“Sope, we are running late for church. Please hurry up, you know I’m ushering today.”

“Okay.” She mumbled.

How could she go to church today and pretend nothing happened? Will God should understand?

She turned on the tap and tried to scrub away her guilt.

Abbreviations:
• DM – Direct Message

Through The Waters 10

There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is destruction.

Mosope turned to the direction of the voice she just heard. There was no one else in her room with her. Where did that voice come from? Did she only imagined it?

Listen my daughter to your father’s instructions and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Was her dad back home? She stepped out of her room and called him but there was no response.

The voice was so audible.

Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her, she reasoned. There was nothing wrong in going to spend the night with a guy who was her friend. Yinka had suggested she spend the night so they could  go to church together tomorrow. He assured her that he’ll get the guest room ready for her.

Their friendship had blossomed in the past one year. He was always there for her, very attentive and very sweet. People assumed they were dating although Yinka hadn’t  asked her out formally and she was too shy to ask him to define their friendship.

He was constantly buying her gifts, randomly sending cupcakes to her at work. Her colleagues had come to expect cupcakes every week. Someone joked that he probably had a standing order with the cupcake store. She lost count of the number of perfumes he bought her. She had several she hadn’t even opened.

Her birthday was yesterday and he sent her a massive cake and told her the real celebration would happen over the weekend because he was out of town. A parcel was also delivered to her office from Bode which she didn’t bother to open. She wondered why Bode didn’t give up even though it had been almost a year since they broke up. He had called her in the morning but she ignored his call.

Her heard the vibration of her phone. She glanced at the screen and smiled. It was a message from Yinka telling her he was looking forward to seeing her. She had told him they could move her birthday celebration to next week since he only just got in from Ghana this morning but he refused. She smiled and reached for a brush for her hair. She had gone to the salon earlier to have it curled and just brushed a few loose strands off the side of her face. Yinka loved it when she made an effort with her appearance. He loved it when she got her nails done, fixed a long and curly weave and had her face ‘beat’. She applied another coat of mascara and was pleased with her appearance in the mirror.

The vibration of her phone announced the arrival of her cab. Satisfied with her appearance in  the mirror, she picked up her clutch and overnight bag. She had on a white wrap top and blue trousers which she paired with brown mules. She didn’t want to appear too plain beside a sophisticated man.

She was just about to lock the front door when her phone rang. She smiled when she saw her niece’s picture which she used as  Gbenga’s contact picture. She made a mental note to go visit them, she hadn’t seen Debby in a while.

‘Hi bro’. She put the housekeys by the side of her bag and walked towards the cab.

‘Hi Sope. How are you?’

‘I’m good Gbenga, how’s my little princess?’

‘She’s good, she misses her aunty.’

‘Gbenga please hold on.’ She entered the taxi and told the driver her destination.

‘Gbenga, I’m back. I miss my little munchkin too.  I have a dress I got for her  a few weeks ago’

‘Thanks auntie Sope. So, where are you off to? It sounds like you are out.’

‘To see a friend.’

‘Which of your friends?’

She rolled her eyes. Why does he have to be so nosy. ‘A friend you don’t know.’ She laughed. ‘It’s not like you know all my friends oh.’

‘I hope its not that guy you’ve been hanging out with?’

Silence

‘Hello Sope, are you still there?’

‘Yes I am. Gbenga I have to go.’

‘You didn’t answer-

‘Bye Gbenga.’ She ended the call and sighed. When was Gbenga going to stop policing her? Didn’t he realise she was a grown woman.

Her phone vibrated and she saw a message from Gbenga.

Sope, I feel troubled in my spirit and it is because of you. Please be careful little Sister.’

She could see he was still online on Whats app, so replying him would turn to another round of conversation. She would reply later.

There was traffic, so the car went at a snail pace. Her thoughts drifted to some years ago, her mum had come to pick her up from boarding school for half term. On their way home, there was serious traffic which was caused by a broken-down truck. The had been on the same spot for over an hour and Sope was uneasy. She had slept and woken up and they were still on the same spot.

Mummy, I’m tired

‘Sorry darling, do you want water?’ 

She shook her head in response.‘I just want to go home.’ She protested.

‘We’ll be home soon darling. I’ll tell you a story. Her mum went on to tell her about how she met her dad. They were both workers in the same fellowship in university. He was an usher and she was in prayer team. They were not friends because it was a large fellowship and only said the occasional hello. After university, they were posted to the same state for their NYSC and become friends.

‘Your dad was so quiet back then. He hardly spoke to anyone but-‘ Deborah said

‘So what happened?’

‘Mo-so-pe be patient.’

‘Okay mummy.’

‘You know, I was 24 then and I was already praying to God about my husband because I wanted him to choose for me.’

‘Why would God choose your husband for you? Isn’t He too busy with other people’s prayers?’

‘Spread out your right palm.’ Deborah pointed at her daughter’s palm ‘Sope God has you in His palm, just like the lines on them. He can never be too busy for you.

‘Madam, what number did you say we were going to again?’

‘Madam?’

‘Oh sorry, number 10.’ She checked the time on her phone. It was 5: 48pm. Yinka had told her to come by 5pm. She sent him a message on the way that she was running late because of traffic but she didn’t get any response from him.

‘Ohh that’s it right in front.’ The driver drove to the house and parked.

She paid the cab driver and picked up her hand bag.

‘Aunty, please be careful.’

‘What did you say?’

‘I said please be careful.’

A frown appeared on her face immediately. ‘Last I remember, you were a cab driver and not an advisor.’ She hissed and slammed the car door so hard that the driver jumped.

As she walked towards the entrance, she noticed two cars parked, a Range rover sport and a Mercedes. She smiled, so he even has a Range Rover! It wouldn’t hurt to date a rich man you know!

Just then, Yinka walked out of the front door. He had on a white polo which hugged every inch of his six packs, navy shorts and blue flip flops. He was indeed a sight to behold.

‘Hello beautiful!’ He greeted and wrapped her into a hug. Sope inhaled the alluring scent of his cologne. It felt so good to be in his arms.

‘Hello Yinka’ She pulled back. ‘I’m finally here! Sorry I’m late, there was traffic.’

“No problem darling, aren’t we in Lagos again? Where you can never predict traffic. At least it gave me extra time to finish preparing dinner.’

‘I can’t believe you still had the energy to cook. We could have just ordered pizza you know.’

‘Nah, my lady deserves the best.’

My lady. She smiled back at him and he took her right hand and led her into his house.

His house was tastefully furnished, with exquisite interior décor. She glanced round the living room and noticed how impeccable it was. Nothing was out of place, even his remote controls were placed on a stand. ‘Yinka your house is beautiful! And you have cream carpets!’ She glanced at her shoes. ‘Sorry, I didn’t take off my shoes.’

‘It’s okay beautiful, I will break my no shoes rule because it’s you.’ He winked at her. ‘Anything for my Sope.’

My Sope. Hearing him say that made her smile. She proceeded to take off her shoes and placed them neatly beside the door.

She hardly went to Bode’s house because of the boundaries they set in their relationship. But the few times she went, it wasn’t very tidy. It was a far cry from Yinka’s house.

‘So, what would you like to drink? I have red wine, champagne, baileys, name it.’ He noticed a frown on her face. ‘Oh, I forgot, you don’t drink right? I have cranberry juice.’

Yes, she didn’t drink because of her convictions but she didn’t want to embarrass herself. She should try the red wine, besides she heard it was good for the heart. ‘Can I have red wine please?’

If he was surprised, Yinka didn’t show it. ‘Ok princess, I’ll be right back. Feel at home, you can change the TV channel. He walked towards the TV and brought the remotes to her.

‘Thanks. I feel like some August visitor.’ She giggled.

‘You are my August visitor my darling!’