Motivating Yourself

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Lately on the social media, a lot of innovations are being bought to the fore. There have been a lot of online contents videos that makes you wonder if it’s going out of fashion.

Most of these are found personal video blogs (vlogs) and some on the new rave of the moment (Going Live on Facebook).

While I do not hold brief for any of them, I must say that they often churn out great online content. Most of those videos range from how to start your own online content, how to design your blog, how to get your target audience and the likes. They offer you some tips for free and then you have to pay a certain amount of money to purchase the “real deal” if you are actually serious about learning. Your inboxes gets bombarded with lots of emails you sometimes wonder if you should unsubscribe.

My two cents on the matter is this: NO ONE can motivate you better than YOURSELF. No one knows you like you do. Sometimes, you can’t even explain you to yourself. The only thing these “motivators” do is to encourage you, but you have got to have something on the inside that needs to be motivated into existence.

Find yourself first. Study about yourself. Take stock of your past and use it to forecast your future. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Know your limits. Set your realistic goals and targets. Be aware of your environment. Improve on yourself. Use Google.

Don’t measure yourself by another’s opinion of you. Plan to take it one step at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if you do fail. There won’t be success stories if there hadn’t been failures!

If you do not believe in yourself enough, no matter what anyone tells you out there, you are never going to be able to become the picture they paint of you.

 

Keep Being Better!!!!

 

Picture Credit: Bizreport

Finding Grace

The road to finding oneself sometimes are not the easiest of roads to take. Will Dapo find his? Are the roads paved with gold or pain?

“How do I begin my story? Where do I start from? I‟m not sure many will believe it ever happened. This is no fable….
My name is Adedapo Obe and I am forty three years old. I was born into affluence and my father was also a crown prince. It meant we got to enjoy royal treatment when occasion demands. Life was good as I had a lot of things at my beck and call.
My mother, Madam Titilayo Obe is an epitome of beauty. She exuded grace and charm, everyone loved to be around her. Unfortunately, they had just me hence mother pampered me to a fault. Dad often scolded her for the excesses and would normally say
“You will spoil this boy and he will eventually rot if you do not be a little firm with him”. Mother always had something to say in defense. She loved me too much. I knew it and used it to my advantage all the time.
I once drove my father‟s car against his knowledge, a car he had actually warned me to stay clear of. Thankfully, I got back home before he did and mother took the blame. She told him she had gotten a little distracted and didn‟t know when the car veered off the road into an electrical pole. I was only fifteen and under the Nigerian law, not old enough to drive a car.
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I miraculously passed my A’level examination and my parents were over the moon with joy. I did all other required examinations and luckily got admitted into a renowned university in Canada. I was admitted to study Chemical engineering.
I told my parents I didn‟t want to stay in campus, against the school rules but my dad would have none of it, but my mother pulled it off. She travelled with me so I
could settle into school before she left for Nigeria. I lived a lavish lifestyle on campus.
By the end of the second semester, I had gotten introduced to hard drugs. I skipped classes and my grades got affected. I was mugged by some certain group of guys on my way from a friend‟s party. I was beaten to a pulp but a certain guy came along and helped me home. His name was Mike and it was he who introduced me to DEUCE, the club for the elites.
I was fascinated at the kinds of people who were part of Deuce. There were professors and lecturers amongst us. I even saw some of my faculty members there and it was later I found out it was set up to take out the enemies of club members. I was asked if I had enemies I would like them to take care and I told them I wanted them to find those who mugged me and bring them to book.
Two weeks later, Mike told me my muggers had been found and would be punished at the next club meeting. When we got there, four guys were tied to chairs and their faces covered. I was asked to remove the paper bags used in covering their faces and after I did, I realized that I hadn‟t seen their faces before, because the guys who mugged me didn‟t cover their faces.
I told the house to let them go as they were the wrong people but they would have none of it. They argued that someone just had to pay for what happened to me. I tried to persuade them and right before my eyes, our leader shot the four guys in the chest with a silenced pistol. As the floors fell to the floor with the chairs, I realized that my life also wasn‟t safe with them. So, I got deeper in the atrocities they committed else they turn back against me.
By the fall of the following year, my grades had gotten so bad I was asked to withdraw from school. I couldn‟t go home and I stayed back, pretending to my parents I was still a student at the university.
Then one day, Mike who was into shop lifting as a hobby had asked me to tag along. I refused initially but succumbed. We were caught and sentenced but I bagged only four months because I was a first time offender. After I served my sentence, I had to come back to Nigeria. There was nothing else for me to do in Canada.
Back In Nigeria.
I got back to Nigeria and couldn‟t go straight home. I hung around a bar in our neighborhood till it was dark, then I went home. I didn‟t want prying eyes. My mother was shocked to see me home without a prior notice. I ought to have informed them I was coming home and the driver would have come to pick me up from the airport, she lamented. Father didn‟t even raise his head from the newspaper he was reading before my entry.
The fact was father had been informed by my school and the Canadian authority when I was arrested. It was then he got to know I had even been sent away from the university but refused to share the information with my mother so that she wouldn‟t hurt herself from much worry.
Mother broke down in tears and was inconsolable. “Dapo why, why” she asked. “After all we have done for you, is this how you repay us?”
“But mum, I really didn‟t want to travel, you imposed it on me. I was cool with my Nigerian friends.
Dad got up and in a swift, landed a deafening slap across my cheek, cutting short my blab. I staggered from the impact and before I could regain my composure, another one on the other cheek. Dad rubbed his palms together to calm the sting. He walked away into his room and retired for the night.
I knew I deserved it, my parents didn‟t need to be paid back for all their love with my waywardness. Mother got up from the soft rug she sat on and went into the kitchen to rustle up some food for me. As she walked away, it seemed as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. It broke my heart to see her that way.
I ate my dinner quietly and went to bed. For the first time, the realization of my actions hit me in the face. How do I make it up to them, especially my mother?
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Staying at home was boring, I also had to hide anytime visitors came to the house as my parents would be ashamed to let them know I had been rusticated. I usually go out once in a while to the neighbouring game house to play. And on a certain day I saw the most beautiful work of creation.
She passed by me on her way from church that evening. I could tell because she had a bible in her hand. She was tall, slim and beautiful. Her skin looked like caramel and I swore it would also feel silky to touch. She had natural long hair that reached her shoulders when let loose. I stopped her to say hello and the sound of her voice when she responded was like a nightingale. She immediately handed
over a tract publication she had tucked into her bible. She smiled and walked on. I really would like to see her again. I didn‟t bother to read the tract, I knew what would be in it but I kept it in my pockets all the same.
I had the privilege of seeing her two weeks after our first meeting. I found out her name was Folake Coker and a part time student at the university. She worked as a receptionist and schooled during the weekend.
I really admired her and wanted a relationship which she refused. I made sure I was outside whenever she walked home from the bus stop. Sometimes she would wave and head home and at other times she would stop by for a chat.
One fateful day, she was on her way home and I was outside as usual when she tripped and fell, she wore very high heels that day. I quickly rushed but got to her late as she was already on the ground. It had rained that day and typically our untarred roads were slippery. I helped her up and told her she would need to wash up the mud from her body and clothes before continuing home except she wants to be the symbol of laughter. Her home was still about ten minutes‟ walk and she gave in to common sense and followed me in.
I helped her clean and offered her a drink which she refused, she doesn‟t trust me. When she felt clean enough, she made to leave, while thanking me for my kindness. She invited me to church as a way to start a conversation and I promised to come. She stood up and smiled at me, thanking me once more and that instant, her smile looked like an invitation. I wanted to hold her forever. I made to hold her and kiss her lips and she pushed me away.
She looked frightened and begged to leave but I would have none of it. I tried to hold her again forcefully and this time she pushed me so hard I fell. I got up
quickly and held her and a struggle ensued. I had gotten more beautiful girls when I was in Canada and it was no struggle, why would she put up resistance?
She kept screaming and clawing at my face. She fought so hard, I must give her credit for that. I was able to pin her down and got a kiss from her and hoped she ceased to struggle as I wasn‟t finding it funny anymore. Then she bit my lip and I pushed her away from the impact of the pain, cursing her as she fell backwards.
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“Folake, Folake” I called out her name. She lay limp on the floor and I noticed that blood was trickling down slowly besides her face. I had pushed her after she bit me but I didn‟t know she would hit her head on the side stool as she fell. Her eyes were closed and I thought she had fainted. I rushed to the kitchen to get a bowl of water and poured on her, knelt beside her and begged her to please open her eyes.
“I won‟t kiss you again, I won‟t even disturb you again Folake, just open your eyes” I cried. The gravity of what I had just done dawned on me and I feared for my life. I looked at the time from our big sitting room clock and I knew my parents would be home anytime. I know what I had done would shock my parents and probably raise their blood pressure to infinity.
Then I did the only thing under the circumstance, I ran. I went into my room, packed a small night bag and threw some few clothes inside. Went into my parents‟ room and took all the money I could lay my hands on. I looked at the body one more time on the floor and bolted out of the door. I ran and never looked back. I ran to Ibadan in Oyo State. I later read in the newspaper about the incident and that I was a wanted man.
The money I took from my parent‟s room lasted me for two weeks and I became penniless. I took up odd jobs to survive and lived each day as it came. I worked so hard during the day to make enough money to settle lodge bill and buy food, then at night, sleep eludes me. The face of Folake haunts me, every night. I was shocked my face had still not been splashed all over the media for the murder I committed.
Two months after Folake‟s death, I packed my clothes to launder because I had not washed my clothes since I left Lagos. In one of the pockets, I found the tract Folake had given me the first day we met. It reminded me of her and though I knew what would possibly be written in it, I read it all the same.
Surprisingly, the writer came in from a different angle and before I knew it, I could not hold back the tears. I had conviction for my sins and wanted to make amends. I knelt down and wept profusely. I wept because I had committed murder, I wept because she didn‟t deserve to die like that, I wept because I had brought shame upon my family, I wept because I realized that with all I have done, I still had a chance to make it right with God, but Folake didn‟t. I snuffed life out of her. How can God love me after all I had done? I didn‟t deserve it.
I made up my mind right there and then to surrender my life to Jesus and go back and face the consequences of my actions. I packed the unwashed clothes back into my bag and walked out of the lodge..I was going back to my parents!
I got back home and our guard was shocked to see me. He ran inside shouting “Madam, Madam!” My mother came out feigning annoyance at his outburst but froze when she saw me. She rushed at me and held me tight, crying and checking me out at the same time. She couldn‟t stop the flow of tears and I joined her. She held onto me for a long time and when she finally let go, she led me inside the house.
“Mum, who moved Folake‟s body or better still who found it?” I asked as I needed answers. Mum told me how the guard had called them after I ran after the house and he didn‟t see the lady I came in with leaving with me. Mum got home to find the body in a pool of blood. My father was called and when he arrived, they had to report to the police and meet the deceased‟s parents. The police began an earnest search for me and are still searching.
My mum also told me that after the police left, on the day of the incident, my father had disowned me and vowed to have nothing to do with me again. She told me to go back into hiding until the whole incident was forgotten and was about writing a Cheque in my favour when my father arrived. He was shocked to see me and even more to see that mum had made me comfortable.
He didn‟t allow me utter any apology before ordering me out of his house. He clearly forbade me from returning back. Mother cried, holding him by the leg to forgive me but he stormed into his room and slammed the door shut. It was clear his mind was made up.
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I left our house and went straight to Folake‟s house. I needed closure and I know once they see me, the end of my freedom had come. I was prepared for the worst. I knocked on the door and was ushered in by her mother. They didn‟t know what I looked like as we had never met. She saw that I hesitated at the door, what guts I must have to have showed up at the home of someone I killed. Folake‟s father was reading a newspaper and he put it down as I walked in.
I prostrated on the ground and explained who I was. I expected to be pounced on as I started talking but I wasn’t. Folake’s father asked me to tell them exactly what happened on that fateful day. I narrated the story exactly as it happened. Whilst still on the floor, he picked hid phone and called in the police, telling them the culprit was right in his living room. He then told me to stand up and sit on the chair.
I refused and lay still on the floor. He explained to me how I had taken their only source of happiness. How I had turned their joy into sorrow, how their hope for a better tomorrow was cut short by my actions. Before long, the police arrived and took me away. I knew the end had come. If the judge was kind, I might get a life sentence.
Exactly six days in police cell, while waiting for my case in court, I was called out. I guessed it must be my mother, who had come to see me. I was shocked to find Folake‟s parents there, I later got to know they had come to withdraw their case against me and have forgiven me. I was shocked, I couldn‟t believe my ears. I know I didn‟t deserve to be forgiven but God made it possible somehow. They left after bearing the news to me and I was taken back into my cell. I didn‟t know what it would mean to my case.
On the day of the hearing, I pleaded guilty to the charge. It was ruled that it was an involuntary manslaughter and the date for judgement was adjourned till the following day. I prayed to my new found confidant, God and told Him to help my case. I was sentenced to ten years imprisonment because I pleaded guilty but with no option for bail. My mother broke down in tears in the court room as I was led away to serve my term in jail.
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My sentence was reduced to six years because I showed exemplary and I was released two years ago. I have worked since then as a volunteer in an NGO I joined whilst in prison. It is for the rehabilitation of young people who have led terrible lives and how to help them live better lives.
I visit Folake‟s parents once in a while and they have come to forgive me fully and their home became my second home.
I still remember Folake and wish I could turn back the hands of time. God had been gracious to me and has saved me from eternal destruction; I can‟t help but wonder if God “planned it all along” to get me to His side. I am glad for a second chance. His grace found me in my sinful state and made me a brand new being.
I am still waiting for my father to forgive me. I have sent elders to meet him to no avail. He is over seventy years old now and still does not want to set eyes on me. I need to make peace with him and I need him to find peace for himself as well…I won‟t stop praying.”
THE END

The Deception

“Oruka ti dowo na, di ololuferemu, ko se ni to le ya yin titi lai” sang Yetunde as she danced into Tolu’s room. A smile lit at the corners of Tolu’s lips, it was obvious that Yetunde Alabi is excited about the forthcoming wedding as much as Tolu Badmus, the bride was.

There was a palpable excitement in the air. Yetunde was more excited than any of her friends simply because she would be the chief bridesmaid. She had lobbied for the position even before Chude proposed to Tolu. Somehow, Yetunde knew that the only place Tolu and Chude’s relationship was headed, was the altar.

Tolu had met Chude one sunny afternoon on her way from lunch. She never was one to go out for lunch (she considered it a sheer waste of money) instead she enjoyed the packed rice and fried turkey delivered to their office by Kems Kitchens. But the last delivery on Friday had upset her tummy so much, she vowed to steer clear for a while. It had resulted in her stooling uncontrollably. She had to dash to the nearest pharmacy to buy talazole, much to the dismay of the attendant who tried to make her change her mind. “Why not try another better drug madam?” the pharmacist had said. “No ma’am” retorted Tolu, “talazole is all that works for me” but truthfully, Tolu didn’t want to spend a fortune all in a bid to stop stooling. To her, the pharmacist only wanted to make some more extra cash from her.

When Monday came, Tolu had to psyche herself to go to a nearby restaurant and give her stomach a treat. She had always considered it a waste of money whenever some of her colleagues go out to lunch. Why waste so much on food when you can always get a cheaper alternative, so long as the stomach is full, the cost of food is inconsequential. She quietly walked into the restaurant and chose a corner table that can seat only 2 people.  She ordered her food and ate quickly. She had a report to submit to her boss immediately after lunch and she didn’t want to be late.

She hurriedly ate and left the restaurant, muttering under her breathe never to return there until pay day. The food was small compared to the “huge” bill she paid. Just as she rounded the bend that leads to her office, her small purse fell and as she stooped to pick it up, she felt strong hands brush her sleeves as the neatest set of fingers picked up her purse. “May I” the gentle man said as he straightened and handed her purse back to her. She was caught between surprise and fear. How come he was directly behind her as she bent to pick up her purse? Had he been following her? Was he a stalker? How did she not hear his footsteps? Loads of questions rummaged through her mind..

But her manners took the better of her.” Thank you sir” she said. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just happened to be around when needed” he replied.

“By the way, my name is Chude Obi. I work at Gibson global. I am a trained HR consultant” he stretched out his hand for a handshake. Tolu firmly gripped his hand and introduced herself too. They exchanged complimentary cards and Tolu hurriedly left the scene. She got to the office in time to send the already prepared report. Her boss was a no nonsense iron lady.

After work that day, she got home and as usual went over the happenings of the day. It had indeed been eventful. Then she thought about the gentle man she had bumped into. He isn’t what ladies call tall, dark and handsome. But he exuded a charm no one can overlook. Well-manicured hands, tall, caramel colored skin, eyes that looked as if it can see into your very soul, trim mustache, a  broad shoulder  and oh, the diction. Tolu had always been a lover of good diction and when a man has a good command of it, she is easily won over.

She had to pinch herself from fantasizing about him. “Maybe he has even forgotten about me” she thought. And here she was day dreaming about him.  For what it was worth, she actually would love to see him again, she felt drawn to him in a certain way. She had him on her mind as she fell asleep. She even dreamt about him. She woke up to find herself smiling and holding her pillow tight. She got up and started laughing at how stupid of her to see him in her dream.

She dressed for work the next day, bid her parents goodbye and headed to the junction where she would join the staff bus to Victoria Island, where her office was. She got to work and thumped away at her keyboard. She was eager to finish up her major tasks before lunch break. Tolu knew she should eat the Kems kitchen rice and turkey but the thought of seeing Chude again made her go to the restaurant. She hurriedly ate again and left. On her way back, she walked slowly back to her office and occasionally looked over her shoulders to catch a glimpse of someone who looked like Chude. But she never saw him. She finished the last two minutes’ walk to her office with a frown. She had so much wanted to see him, even if it’s for a minute.

Two weeks passed and still no sign of Chude. She had started to forget him; maybe he didn’t like her as much as she expected or alas, even married.  By the third week, her tad totally let him the thought of him out of her system or so she thought until her phone rang. The voice on the other end was so hot it could melt butter; she knew it was none other than Chude. He was only calling to check up on her and invite her for lunch the next day if she would be available. She quickly accepted the offer and after he hung up, felt she had accepted too quickly without any restraint. She didn’t want to appear too easy.

She carefully picked out her outfit for work the next day, wanting to create the right impression. Lunch went well and she found out he had been out of town on a business trip for two weeks, and only just got back. They had many more lunch dates after that and even dinner dates. He became frequent at her home and her parents loved his aura. Her friends met him too and prayed he was the “one” they had been praying for.

Exactly six months after they met, Chude proposed marriage to Tolu in the presence of her parents. “Oh yes, yes, yes” she responded, smiling and crying at the same time. Her parents hugged them both and prayed for them. Chude had been all she ever wanted in a man. God fearing and supportive, always knowing what to do or say, dependable, the man after her heart.  Two weeks later, Chude and his family came to do the customary introduction ceremony with Tolu’s family and the wedding date was set.

They set the weeding date for four months away and all hands were on deck to ensure a smooth and unforgettable wedding experience.

“Iyawo” called Tolu’s mum, jolting her out of her reverie. “Your wedding planner is on the phone, she says she can’t get through to you on your line”.  Tolu took the phone and had a brief discussion with the planner. She wanted to confirm the cake tasting time. Yetunde also needed her to convince the other ladies not to make her own style of dress as she wanted to stand out. To which everyone in the room laughed. Yetunde had a way of amusing people; she was the official clown amongst Tolu’s friends.

And the wedding day finally arrived, it was a huge success. A particular highlight was the exchange of vows at the church. Both of them had written their own personal vows, pledging to love and cherish themselves, through thick and thin. Forsaking all others and cleaving to themselves alone, this got some eyes tearing up. Especially the bride’s mum.

The weather was beautiful, everyone had such fun. It was obvious the bride and groom were so into each other. Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” on every one’s lips. It was a romantic setting and the décor was out of this world. There was no doubt on everyone’s mind that the union will last forever. Or will it not? What could possibly go wrong?
rings

 

Chude and Tolu went on an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai for their honeymoon.  It was the best moment of their lives. They were back after eight days as they had both taken only two weeks from work. They planned to use up their remaining leave days at Christmas.

One thing Tolu craved for was to experiment all the things she had heard married people do, like feed themselves while they ate; bathe together, go hiking, sleep cuddled up till morning and a host of others. She was only disappointed because Chude got tired more often than necessary. He was a kind of kill joy but she was too elated to bother.

Exactly two months into their wedding, as they got back from church. Tolu went into the kitchen to fix lunch when she heard Chude let out a loud scream; she rushed to the living room to find him sprawled on the floor holding tight to his chest.  She held him to her bosom asking him what happened. He couldn’t speak but just held onto his chest. She quickly took her phone and called his doctor who told her what to do before he got to them. Twenty minutes later, as doctor Ibrahim arrived, Chude passed out from the excruciating pain.

The doctor resuscitated him and with Tolu, helped him to the car and drove to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, Chude had to be placed on drips and monitored closely. Tolu could swear that the doctor and Chude exchanged a glance that seemed to have a lot of meaning. Tolu was asked to excuse them as the doctor needed to examine him some more. She was invited into the room few minutes later and asked to sit. It was time to know what had happened to Chude

“Chude has a terminal disease.” Said the doctor. “What!!” screamed Tolu and she felt dizzy all of a sudden. Then she ran to her husband’s bedside and the look on his face halted her. It was obvious from the way Chude lowered his eyes that he knew about his condition way before this particular incident. But how could she not have known, thought Tolu. They had done series of tests before the wedding…”oh! All they did was HIV, Hepatitis and genotype test” Tolu muttered under her breathe.

“Chude, how long have you known?” asked Tolu. Chude couldn’t answer, he simply closed his eyes; he didn’t know what to say.

“I thought you knew, Tolu” chipped in the doctor. “ I insisted that he tell you before the wedding. Chude told me you had discussed it and were both okay with it”

The doctor explained that it was first diagnosed three years ago.  He even reminded Tolu of their last visit to his hospital before the wedding.

Suddenly Tolu remembered the doctor asking Chude in her presence if he told her and she remembered Chude laughed and said sure, and that she was fine with it. It was actually the doctor hoping he had told her the truth. When Tolu asked Chude about it later that evening, he had said the doctor wanted to know if he had told her he wanted to start a family immediately and also that his desire to have four children….they both laughed about it and carried on with the wedding plans.

Tolu loathed him at that instant. How could he do that to her? How does one hide such a secret from the one we profess to love? How would they move on from this? What was she to do? Different thoughts rummaged through her head. He had lied to her, deceived her into marriage. She couldn’t take it anymore and burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, she ran out of the hospital room. Doctor Ibrahim ran after her so she would not do something crazy to herself.

Chude knew at that moment that he had just lost the most important treasure in his life. He wanted to tell her but he loved her too much to want to lose her. And he figured if she knew, she wouldn’t want to go ahead with the marriage and even if she did, her parents won’t allow it.  He silently prayed to God to come to his aid. Hoping it wasn’t too late.

Doctor Ibrahim caught up with Tolu at the entrance of the hospital and begged her to stop. He didn’t want her running blindly onto the road and getting herself hurt. She stopped in her tracks and turned to face him. Collapsing on his shoulders, she cried even more, her shoulders shaking sporadically from the sobs.  Passersby stopped to look and some simply moved on; at hospitals, crying people are a normal sight. After a few minutes, she calmed down a little and the doctor led her back to his office and the told her everything she needed to know.

Chude had discovered a small lump under his armpit one day. At first he thought it was a boil but when after three weeks it showed no sign of improvement, he went to the hospital to have it checked. He did series of test until a biopsy showed that the lump was malignant melanoma, a particularly fatal form of skin cancer. He got the lump removed and thought everything was okay, but a year after, the cancer had spread to his lung. And he had been on drugs and radiation therapy ever since. According to the last oncologist, Chude had less than eighteen months to live. Which means he should die in less than eight months?

Tolu could not take it anymore. She took her phone and called her friend Yetunde to come take her home. She wanted to be far away from the hospital and especially Chude as far as she can. She could see her world crumbling right in front of her. How can her marriage that had only just begun suddenly be coming to an end? Whom had she offended? How could God let this happen to her? She prayed endlessly and served God faithfully…What was she to do?

CONCLUDING PART

“This is terrible and an unjust, how could he have gotten married to you knowing his condition?” retorted Yetunde.

“You cannot continue with this madness friend. I reject being a widow barely a year after wedding for you oh” “Have you told your parents?”

“No, I don’t even know how to start telling them” I find it a hard pill to swallow myself” replied Tolu.

“Well, you just have to. Thank God you are not pregnant yet, it’s not too early to find a way out” said Yetunde.

“But I love him Yetunde, with all my heart and soul” “I know he deceived me by not telling me the truth about his illness but I cannot think of a life without him” replied Tolu

“Then when he eventually dies, won’t you live without him? Be wise dear friend, you don’t want to saddle yourself with the responsibility of taking care of an ailing and dying man so early in life. You have to let go and move on. Even God will understand that you do not have a choice in this matter” Yetunde replied.

Yetunde did not want Tolu to delay telling her parents of the news. She drove her to Tolu’s parents’ home and was even the one who broke the news to them. As expected, her parents didn’t take the news too kindly. Tolu’s father ranted and raved, about how he was going to make Chude pay for the deception. Angry that he allowed them to have wasted so much on a wedding that would end soon.

Her mother just sat down staring into space. Searching for answers or for a small voice telling her all will be well. She was angry at Chude but also felt sorry for him. She understood why he did what he had done, and silently prayed that somehow, the whole news was just a mistake and all would return back to normal. Tolu was their only daughter and this wasn’t how they had envisaged her marriage.

*****

Chude lay down on the hospital bed feeling sorry for himself. He also hated himself for the deception. He wished he could turn back the hands of time. Replay his life over again and go back three two years. Wished he had not met the most caring and fun to be with lady called Tolu. Wished he had not fallen in love with her and wished above all, that he had simply told her the truth.

Doctor Ibrahim came in and broke into his thoughts. He knew what his patient must be going through. Physical pain from his illness and a heart wrenching pain from his actions. He simply checked to see that he had taken his medication and quietly left.

Chude’s parents were not happy at turn out of events. They rebuked their son for it but pleaded with the Badmus’ family to forgive him. They pleaded with them to allow their daughter stay married to Chude and weather the storm with him.

“Stay married to a dying man?” Retorted Tolu’s father “Never!! That will be over my dead body. He did not even allow Tolu have a say in the matter. Mr. Badmus had spoken; and that was it.

Five days later, Tolu went back to see Chude at the hospital and stopped at the door in shock. The man lying on the bed was not the one she had gotten married to. He was a shadow of himself, he had greatly emaciated.  She went into the room and sat opposite him just stared at him. She didn’t know what to say, Chude also was lost for words.

Finally he broke the silence. He had so much time to think of everything and was willing to take whatever decision the family reached.

“Forgive me Tolu; I know I have hurt you in ways I cannot even find words to explain. I allowed my selfish interest becloud my judgement. I should have come clean before the wedding; but I felt so energized by your love I thought somehow God had heard my cry and healed me. I wanted you so much I hid the truth so that I won’t lose you. But that is exactly what has happened, the truth is out now and I will lose you”.

“Please don’t allow your disappointment of me to cover that heart of gold that you have. I know I do not deserve to be forgiven; but please Tolu, please..”

Chude broke down in tears and wept soberly. Tolu also couldn’t bear the sight of him weeping bitterly and knelt by his bedside, sobbing uncontrollably. They were like that for over 10minutes and just held on to each other.

“I forgive you Chude. I do not know if I would have gone ahead and married you if I had known the truth then; but it doesn’t matter now. I swore to love you for better or for worse. I guess this is the worse part. And we will go through this together. I promise you it won’t be easy but I will help to make your last moments as memorable as possible.”

Tolu’s parents would hear nothing of it. They threatened thunder and brimstone.

“He is going to die soon anyways, I won’t leave him dad, I will stand by him till he breathes his last” with that said, she stormed out of her parents’ house and vowed to keep them away from Chude.

Yetunde concluded that Chude’s family must have used voodoo to brainwash her into standing by her husband. They all treated her like an outcast and told her she knows where to find them once she changed her mind.

Chude was discharged a week later and rested only three days before resuming back to work. He never missed his appointment at the hospital. He started preparing for any eventuality, since the oncologist told him he had about eight months during the last examination.

Then he remembered that the oncologist said that if a surgery was carried out again, the tumor had a chance to be removed and he could live. But he was given a 50-50 chance. He told Tolu and it renewed their faith.

They booked another appointment and the facts were laid bare.  The oncologist told Chude that once melanoma invades an internal organ like the lung, the invariable outcome is death; usually within months—without immediate treatment. Even with treatment, the outcome was guarded. Only few of all melanoma patients with lung metastases are alive twenty months after surgery.

Chude was warned to rest well for the surgery and desist from strenuous tasks. He went for his church’s mid-week service and he heard a scripture like he had never heard it before. Romans chapter 10 verses 10 “ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”.

Chude didn’t follow his doctor’s recommendation as expected. Even Tolu thought he had gone crazy but later had to encourage him as he confessed to good health. He took a month off to strengthen his body for the treatment that he knew would most likely be a grueling ordeal. He went on long walks, he ate healthy foods, and he meditated on that scripture alone. He also spent a lot of time picturing himself as healthy and visualizing good strong blood cells destroying the cancer in his body.

Two months after, Chude was ready for the surgery. He felt sure it would be a success. The chest X-ray was repeated to document the size and location of the tumor before starting treatment. But instead of the large cancerous lesion in Chude’s lung, he saw…nothing.  The doctor did the X-ray again to be sure there had not been a mistake and still saw nothing. During his month of meditation and healthy living, white rings developed around his skin tumors, causing what doctors call a halo sign.

But Chude knew God was at work. God had given him a second chance at life and love again. He was healed and didn’t even have to undergo a second surgery. What was scientifically impossible; God made possible.

Tolu could not believe it. It was indeed a miracle and her faith in God was strengthened even more. His parents thanked God for giving them back their son.

Tolu’s parents heard the good news and received it with mixed feelings. Happy that Chude was alive and well but ashamed because they had deserted him in his time of need. Yetunde only called, she could not bring herself to face Chude after all the hurtful things she said.

On the day of the thanksgiving celebration, while in her room to change into her second outfit; she couldn’t help but wonder what would have become of her if she had left Chude alone only to discover he wasn’t going to die after all. And she knelt down and lifted her hands to the heavens and thanked God, for helping her make the decision to stand by her man, no matter the obstacles and deceit. It wasn’t easy for her, but it paid off at the end of the day.

THE END.