UNCONTROLLABLE

UNCONTROLLABLE

“Life, oh life, oh life” a song by Des’ree blasted from the radio station that keeps him company every day from work. He nodded his head to the beat and sang along as he made a turn onto the road and heading home.

Ladi Ojo had loved music all his life; his iPod could boast of so many songs he could have started his own radio station and never be wanting of good music, if he so desired.

As the song played, he couldn’t help but reminisce on his own life. He was fortunate to secure a job at the prestigious Lily oil and gas company. He joined immediately after his master’s degree abroad. He had travelled immediately after the compulsory National youth service corps (NYSC) by the Nigerian government for those who have completed their university or polytechnic education.

Most of his friends who had served together had not been as lucky as he was. In five years, he had risen to the position of Head, human resources due to his relentless attitude and hard work.  He would be thirty in two months and one of his goals was to at least have a fiancée by thirty if marriage didn’t happen.

A dog ran in front of his car as he turned into his street, snapping him out of his reverie.  He honked his horn and waited for the guard to open the gate to the compound where he lived. He chose to rent a serviced apartment in the highbrow part of the city to fit his status as a Lagos big boy. A characteristic of a Lagos big boy is the bevy of ladies that was always at their beck and call. One can literarily have these ladies eating out of their palms.

Ladi had his fair share of the ladies; different colors and sizes.  He was also blessed with looks that never went unnoticed. A charm he had used to his advantage from his university days when he began dating.

His first girlfriend had been Esther, the daughter of the school registrar. They had been the envy of a lot of students when the affair started, but it hadn’t lasted more than two months. Everyone was shocked at how short the relationship had been. One of Esther’s friends who had probed her to know the reason why they broke up had met a brick wall; she only observed that Esther didn’t want to have anything to do with Ladi again. Not even the mention of his name.

Next was Toyin Ali. They also dated for a while and Toyin called off the relationship.  Ladi then decided to call it quits with women and relationships but to have flings only, at least until he graduated from the university. Even during his NYSC, he stayed off anything serious with any lady. He felt he wasn’t lucky when it came to matters of the heart.

Ladi travelled out of the country for thirteen months after his NYSC for a master degree program. There he met a Jamaican lady and he developed an interest in her. “At least, since she is a non-Nigerian, possibly the relationship will work” he thought to himself. They dated for just three weeks and went their separate ways. She just couldn’t stand him; in less than three weeks of dating, she had come to know him for who he truly was; she saw what lay behind the charm and intelligence. She thought it could work out between them because she really liked him but she knew she would be making a grave mistake if she stayed on.

Ladi got back to Nigeria after his master’s program and got a job almost immediately.  He determined to stay off ladies and build his life. Life couldn’t be better; his mates were still job hunting but not for him. The master’s program coupled with his good grades earned him the job. He was sought after even before he completed the NYSC.

One day at work, his colleague Michael teased him about a certain intern who was obviously swooning over him.

“Ladi, what is wrong with you? Do you mean to tell me you haven’t noticed the way Joyce acts around you? She literarily worships the ground you thread on” asked Michael

“I noticed Mike. She couldn’t even hide it; but I am not into her type” replied Ladi. He loved to be the one who did the chasing, not the other way round. This Joyce acted as if the world revolved around him, always at his beck and call.

One day, Ladi decided to take Michael’s advice. He invited her to lunch and she accepted without a second’s hesitation. Lunch was good and Ladi found himself impressed. Joyce was actually a very intelligent lady. She had graduated with honors at the university and the best student overall in her department. He decided to take her even more seriously.

They started dating officially and everyone knew they were a couple; they couldn’t hide it for long. Micheal was surprised but happy the two hit it off smoothly.  Joyce, being a well brought up lady told Ladi from the onset that she would not engage in pre-marital sex before her wedding. Ladi didn’t like it, but because she appeared too good to be true, he agreed.

Months into the relationship, she had gone to his house on a visit. She came with food stuffs hoping to make a meal for them, instead of eating out. She prepared egusi with goat meat and searched the house for yellow garri (cassava flakes) to make eba (a Nigerian dish made from cassava flour) but when she couldn’t find, she used the white garri instead.

“Wow darling, the aroma of this food is enough to satisfy me without me actually eating” said Ladi as Joyce set the table.  They both laughed and she invited him over to the dining when she was done.

As she opened the bowls to begin the dishing out, he asked; “Why is the eba white? Why didn’t you use the yellow garri?”

“I searched all over but found none, I assumed it had finished and used the white garri instead.”  Joyce replied.

“How dare you assume? No one assumes around me, you should have asked me first or gone out to buy. I HATE WHITE EBA!!!”  He jumped up from the seat and angrily scattered the table; throwing the bowl of soup at the wall and plastering Joyce’s face with the hot eba.

She ran wildly until she got to the toilet to wash off the eba. Her face was tingling due to the heat. She prayed her face won’t boil from the impact. When she was done cleaning her face, she sat on the toilet bowl wondering about the scenario that had played itself out at the dining. She wasn’t sure it was the same Ladi she had known all along. This person in the living room was a beast; a savage.

“Open the door Joyce, I know you are in there” called out Ladi as he knocked on the toilet door. “Please come out. I am so sorry; I don’t know what came over me. I am truly sorry. Please open up dear”. Joyce came out of the toilet to behold the face of Ladi, he looked like an angel. No sign of the beast she had witnessed a while ago. He knelt down and begged her, promising he would never do anything to hurt her or their relationship. She hugged him and they shared a passionate kiss. He cleaned the apartment all by himself and made sure she was seated in front of the television whilst he did so. They went out afterwards to a restaurant for lunch.

On her bed later that night, Joyce knew what she witnessed was more than a stressed up Ladi. He seemed to be emotionally imbalanced and she didn’t know what to do about it. She thought about telling her mother but she knew her mum would be excessively worried and mess things up for her. Mummy can be over protective of her little girl sometimes and Joyce was in no mood for lectures.

“Dear Lord, thank you for today. I am grateful for your mercies. Please whatever is wrong with Ladi; help him sort it out because I do not want to lose him oo. Dear Lord, you know I am madly in love with him; therefore our relationship must just work out. Touch him for me and make him the best man in the whole wide world. In Jesus name I pray” said Joyce as she closed her eyes to sleep.

Two weeks after the eba incident, they went out to the beach for a weekend outing. They rode horses and bathed in the water. It was a refreshing time; Joyce couldn’t have had a better weekend. They later lay on the beach bed they brought along, under some coconut trees.  They decided to play the game “catch-up”. It meant they asked questions from each other about what happened before they both met; past relationships, if any.

“So tell me, how many ladies have you dated?” it was Joyce’s’ turn.  “I hope they are not uncountable” she added.

“Well, I have dated quite a few but they were not good women.” Ladi replied. “I don’t know what happens, but when I really get into them and start showing them how much I really care, they just walk out of my life without turning back”

“I have often wondered why I have never been able to have a relationship that lasts up to a year” Ladi said. “I had told myself its over for me when it comes to ladies until I met you Joyce; you have been the best thing to happen to me”. He pulled her to himself and squeezed her in a tight hug. Joyce had never felt so loved in all her life. They disengaged and lay side by side staring at the clear skies.

“So Ladi, tell me about the last relationship before you and I. What did she do to make you decide to stay off women”?  Joyce asked. He didn’t respond but lay there, gazing.  She nudged him with her shoulder to answer her question and he still didn’t say a word. She sat up to look at his face and possibly tickle him till she got her answer and she froze. What she saw could not be described. It was a glare as cold as ice. She could see veins popping on his forehead as if ready to burst at the slightest touch. She felt she must have broached a very sensitive topic and made to pat him and calm his fears but he stopped her hands midway as he held her wrist. He held it so tight she screamed, whispering to him to let her go. Ladi knowing they were in public glare, let go of her wrist and it looked as if blood had drained from it.

The rest of the time on the beach was tense and Ladi suggested they left. He drove her home and she invited him in for a drink, since her parents and little brother had travelled for the weekend and she was going to be home by herself. She hoped they could make up and go back to being normal again. He declined initially but she insisted. Once in, she got him a cold drink from the refrigerator and went in to change.

“Joyce, don’t ever broach the topic of my exes with me again. Never!!” Ladi said.

“But why Ladi, I told you about mine, what did they ever do to you?” retorted Joyce.  The next thing she saw were stars dancing across the living room. She was stunned. She staggered and fell into the couch and Ladi hit her on the face again.

“Don’t question me again; I am not your mate. I said drop the subject and you insisted. This is what happens to people who meddle in other people’s affairs” Ladi spat angrily. He thought she would fight back, he was expecting her to; but she crouched deeper into the couch crying.  But she wasn’t supposed to cry, she ought to fight back, he thought. Then he realized the woman he cared for was the one he had hit. He knelt by her side and cried alongside.  He promised heaven and earth to make it up to her. He said he didn’t know what came over him. He begged her not to tell anyone, that he loved her crazily and would do anything to make it up to her.

 

“Joyce, what happened to your face?” asked Tope her supervisor at work. Joyce had been happy her parents came in late Sunday evening and had not seen her face properly. She left the house before they woke up and was glad she knew a little trick about make up. She applied foundation and concealer as much as she could.

She couldn’t afford to stay back home; her first appraisal meeting was on Monday and it would not be nice to stand her department head up, as she hoped she would be retained after her internship.

Tope wasn’t fooled at all. She saw the signs and knew Joyce had not fallen as she had claimed. She told her to open up to her if she was in an abusive relationship. Joyce avoided her eyes and denied it.

“Okay then, but speak up dear before it gets too late to do anything about it.” replied Tope. Tope’s younger sister had been a victim of abuse and had kept it to herself until it was too late. She had become so depressed that she became suicidal. Eventually, she had a mental breakdown and has since been confined to a psychiatric home for proper care. It’s been 3 years and still hasn’t improved. Tope shared the story with Joyce so she can take action.

Joyce became wary of Ladi but tried to hide it. She pretended to be busy just to avoid him. She wasn’t sure she loved him anymore but misses him each passing moment. She promised herself to give him another chance and not judge him too harshly; he was probably undergoing work stress.

Suddenly there was a loud bang, raised voices and women screaming. The noise seemed to be coming from the conference room. Every one hurried to get there to see the cause of the commotion…a man was being held by three men in suit, all rumpled because of the pulling and tugging. Another lady was being consoled by two ladies and a guy. She was sobbing hysterically. The MD sat at the head of the table, sending a message on his phone, looking unruffled by the whole drama. Before long, the security guards had come up to take the man downstairs. The crying lady also got up, told her sympathizers she would be okay and picked up her phone to make a call.

It looked like a movie only that it was real and happening at her office premises. She got the full scoop of the gist from the PA to the MD.  The heads of departments had a presentation to make and defend. Then there was an argument over whose project was better and whose budget was to be approved first. The lady had stood her ground that it was hers and the guy felt belittled. He couldn’t hold his annoyance anymore and lashed out at the lady. Before anyone could calm them down, he had dealt her two slaps. The lady responded back with hers and then he rushed at her in a scuffle. It took the three men to get him off her.

The guy had been her own Ladi. Thrown out by security guards and handcuffed off the premises by men of the police force whom the MD had called. He couldn’t look at her eyes when the cops came. He felt stupid for having fought with a lady at the office.  The lady had pressed charges and sued, she had the evidence after having gotten a black eye and a broken tooth from the assault.

When Ladi’s mum had visited him in detention, she reminded him of her warnings. “You have lost all the good women God brought your way due to your uncontrolled temper. You beat them mercilessly and expect them to stay. I warned you, I begged you; see where it has landed you now”. She was heartbroken over his situation and started calling every top citizen she knew to help her son. He was also taken for psychiatric evaluation to determine his mental condition.

 

At the office, Joyce couldn’t concentrate. She just couldn’t believe the man she loved had been a beast in public. Tope sensed her mood and after little cajoling, Joyce opened up to her and told her everything.

Micheal visited her and tried to offer her some comfort. He told her he had never ever seen Ladi that way before. That though he got angry at times but never to the extent that he got into a fight. He excused himself and Tope went to her side one more time.

“Let’s just be grateful this happened. I hope you have snapped out of any uncertainties. Because a man as short tempered and violent like Ladi, is a time bomb waiting to explode” Tope warned.

Ladi sat alone in his cell, reminiscing over the entire episode and what his mother had said. He broke down in tears and asked God to help him. He knew he needed help so he won’t be condemned. He was shocked Joyce had only come to see him twice. He thought she loved him and that love stayed no matter what.

He didn’t want her to leave him like all the others. He now realized that the others had run for their lives when he exhibited his uncontrollable anger. Well, he wouldn’t blame them; he would have done the same. Two weeks after the assault case, he had gotten a letter of dismissal from his company, and his world had come crashing down around him.

He promised himself to get the necessary help so that he wouldn’t destroy his future.

“ Once I get out of jail, I will go for counseling and anger management class and try to be a better person for the society” he said.

THE END.

 

 

Not Anymore!!! (PART II)

Not any more!!!

“Welcome aunty, how was work today?” asked Ada as a petite lady stepped into the compound. Miss Thelma looked up and smiled at Ada. “Fine dear, it was boring as usual”

Miss Thelma was a youth corper posted from Lagos to serve in the country’s compulsory national youth service. She had studied law at the university and had gotten a posting to the local government secretariat. She lived at the boys’ quarter apartment in the compound where aunt Mabel lives.

She had taken a liking to Ada because of her smartness. Ada acted beyond her age and it amazes Miss Thelma. Ada loves to spend most of her evenings with her listening to different stories of Miss Thelma’s university days and how much fun she had had.

Ada followed her into her room and wanted to discuss her fears about uncle Uche with her but she didn’t know how to start the conversation and not long afterwards, she heard her aunt Mabel’s voice calling out her name. She knew it was time to prepare dinner so she ran out of Miss Mabel’s apartment.

Dinner was delicious. Ada noticed uncle Uche avoided her eyes all through the meal and it made her uneasy. She silently prayed that whatever demon possessed her uncle few nights ago would have left him so she could enjoy a blissful night’s sleep.

No sooner had she and Ike lay down to sleep that she felt his hand on her bosom. She cringed at the touch and sat up straight. She wanted to call out to Ike but her uncle immediately clasped his hand over her mouth, stifling her cries. She struggled to set herself free but he was too strong for her to overpower. She groped in the darkness for her pillow and reached under it. She brought out her only weapon of defense and down went uncle Uche with a yell. He slumped clutching his chest; Ada had stabbed him with a broken glass she had kept under her pillow.

Ike woke up; startled by the noise and aunty Mabel also rushed into the living room. She put on the light and was shocked to see her husband in a pool of blood. She screamed and rushed to him asking what happened but when she saw him going pale, she rushed out to the street for help. She was able to get a cab man just closing for the day and with Ike’s help, rushed him to the hospital.

All through the journey to the hospital, aunt Mabel kept wondering how her husband could have gotten stabbed right in the house and from the look on Ada’s face, she must have been the culprit. Had an evil spirit suddenly taken Ada hostage? She thought.

When everyone had left, Ada just sat down and wept. For once, the thought that uncle Uche might die hit her. She didn’t mean for him to be stabbed; she had put the glass there to scare him away. She regretted her actions and muttered a prayer that uncle Uche shouldn’t die. Tobe slept through all the commotion and only got to know the fate that befell his father when he woke up the next morning.

The next morning, Aunt Mabel came back with Ike and called Ada to question her about the incident that led to her husband being at the hospital . Ada didn’t want to tell her aunt so that she wouldn’t destroy her marriage but she also realized that the truth would set her free. She finally, reluctantly told her aunt how the whole saga started.

“Is that all? Is it because my husband touched you that you want to kill him?” aunt Mabel retorted.  “Why didn’t you tell me earlier or even just allow him? I know how to deal with him…but you just had to stab him. Why Ada? Why? You want to make me a widow so soon?”

Aunt Mabel concluded that Ada had seducing spirit and wanted to use it to scatter her home. Tobe also hated Ada for being the reason his father was at the brink of death. It was as if the whole world had turned their backs on her. Then she remembered the one who loved her regardless; miss Thelma.

She went and explained all that transpired to Miss Thelma who was furious at the fact that her guardian could do that to her. She encouraged her to stay strong and not let anyone threaten her. Her father was sent for and he had clearly become a drunk. He could barely stand straight; he was always reeking of alcohol.  He went back two days after but didn’t mince words when he told Ada not to think there was still a home to come back to. He had sold it and moved on. She had better pray her uncle comes out of the hospital alive.

The police also had to wade in and interviewed Ada on all that transpired. They eventually ruled out that she struck her uncle through self-defense. She was told not to worry as the case, if any, would be in her favor. Miss Thelma had also told her she would help her get some child right’s lawyer if the need arose.

Exactly seven days after the incident, uncle Uche passed on from an infection from the stab. It was a trying moment for Ada as everyone now saw her as the reason for the death of her benefactor. Miss Thelma had to take in Ada and Ike for some days so that Tobe and his mother wouldn’t think of hurting them in anyway. One can only hope that aunt Mabel finds a place in her heart to forgive her niece.

How does one explain the whole scenario? Uncle Uche lost his life because of his lust and foolishness. Do we call him a pedophile? Was it right for aunty Mabel to ignore facts and blame an innocent girl who was only trying to protect herself from a predator?

Could Ada have found a better way to handle the situation? Maybe she could have confided in someone like Miss Thelma, and on time, instead of taking laws into her own hands?

Be the judge!!

THE END.

black girl
Photo credit by LA Johnson/NPR

Not any more!!!

DRAMA SERIES.

Nothing distorts the human face than a frowning mien.  What could have caused the frown on Ada’s face; it looked like a badly razed bush.

She sat staring into space, oblivious of anything going on around her; it was obvious she was lost in some deep thought. Ike stood in front of her smiling and trying to catch her attention but it was as if she could look through him. Whatever it was, Ike knew it wouldn’t be good.

Ike Obi is Ada’s younger brother, their parents had them after fifteen years of marriage. Everyone thought their mother was a barren old witch due to her childlessness. She was ostracized from the good women’s meeting of her village because they thought her barren state must have been as a result of the evil she must have done whilst in her youth.

Her husband didn’t help matters too; he was always coming home drunk, better drunk than listen to his wife’s tales of the next “Dibia” (herbalist) to see who would help them in their quest for a child. He would pretend to have fallen asleep and before she arose the following morning, he would have jetted out to the farm or gone to hunt for bush meat. He only stayed back home when he wanted to perform his conjugal duties.

Eventually, luck smiled on her. She conceived and had her first child Ada. It seemed the whole village came to the christening; they wanted to see the baby themselves. A year later, she conceived again and had Ike. Her joy knew no bounds; she believed the heavens must be smiling down on her.  But nine years after Ike’s birth, she suddenly started losing weight. At first, she thought it was her eating habit and resolved to eat better. But when there was no improvement, she went to the health center. She did some tests but because the health center was ill equipped, not much could be done for her. She was referred to the state hospital in their state capital.

The test was carried out and the diagnosis showed she had an advanced case of cervical cancer. The cancer has spread to distant into her bladder and bowel. Due to lack of funds to treat her, she was eventually discharged and told to wait for death. They gave her two years at the most to live.  Her husband, felt like his world was crashing in all around him. He resumed his drinking and sought to drown his sorrows with each gulp. But he realized that the moment the alcohol cleared off, he was still back in the state he was before; a husband to a dying woman.

Ada’s mother passed on less than two years as the doctors foretold, mostly because the fighter in her had died. She surrendered to the cold hands of death and was greatly mourned. Her friends thought God was unfair; how could she have died before eating the fruit of her labour over her children? Why did death come calling so fast? Endless questions that no one had the answers to.

Her husband was the most devastated by her death. His best friend and confidant had gone; leaving him with the sole responsibility of taking care of their two children. He knew he wouldn’t be able to take care of them himself so he took them to his sister who lived in the city. She had a child of her own and when he discussed it with her and her husband; they welcomed the idea and promised to be good guardians to them. They lived in a 2 bedroom apartment. Ada and Ike were told they would have to sleep in the sitting room as they didn’t have the luxury of space.

Ada was twelve years old when she her father brought them into her aunt’s home. She had never felt so alone in her life. She held onto her father’s hand tightly and wished he didn’t have to leave them there. But the smile from her aunt and husband did much to calm her nerves and for once, thought she might actually like it there.

Her aunt Mabel and husband Uncle Uche took them in and enrolled them in the neighboring school where their own son also schooled. All was well until one cold chilly night. It had rained cats and dogs and everyone had retired early to sleep. Ada felt something creepy on her leg; she woke up and wanted to be sure it hadn’t been a dream. Then it started again and she realized it was not an insect or a wall gecko but a human hand. She sat up straight and was shocked Ike hadn’t even been startled; she sat up to stare into the face of uncle Uche. He put two fingers to his mouth and signaled for her to keep quiet.

Ada thought something was wrong and whispered” Uncle, is aunty okay?”

“I thought I heard you scream, maybe you had a nightmare and I came to check” replied uncle Uche.

“No uncle, I didn’t scream” and uncle Uche did as if he wanted to ensure all was okay and left for his room. Two days later, he was back and this time, Ada instinctively knew that something was amiss. Uncle Uche had crept in as usual and when Ada sat up straight, he covered her mouth with his hands and stifled her scream. He whispered in her ears that he wasn’t going to hurt her but to make her become the woman she ought to be. He pulled her roughly and a struggle ensued. She kicked viciously and clawed at his face with her nails. Minutes later, shocked that a girl so young could wield so much energy to resist him; he retreated into his room promising her he would return and that she had better behave when next he came calling, else, she and her brother would be kicked out onto the streets. And the thought that Uncle Uche was about to do something terrible to her had plagued her mind and made her always lost in thought.

****************************************

“Ada!!” called Ike. Her brother’s voice brought her out from her reverie.  She didn’t even know he had been standing there.

“What is it sister? I have been standing here for over five minutes yet you were not aware of my presence” She got up from the wooden stool and held his shoulders, telling him she had something on her mind but that she would handle it. She needed to make up her mind what to do when next uncle Uche came calling….Run? Fight?

 

To be Continued.

 

 

A flicker of Hope?? Concluding part

Courtesy hope fellowship podcast
Picture courtesy hope fellowship 

Mr. Adamu sat Ladi down the morning after she told them about her shocking decision and asked her what exactly she would like to do. Ladi said she had decided to learn the art of tailoring. She told him how she had gone round the town two days earlier in search of a tailoring shop. She had found one not too far from the weekly market area. She spoke with the madam who owned the shop, Madam Abigail about her intentions. Madam Abigail had told her that the shortest duration for learning is three years, especially since she is educated, if not she would spend about five years. They had agreed on the fee of fifty thousand naira that can be spread into three installments till she completes her learning. Mr. Adamu was impressed that Ladi had thought it through and done all the findings. Sometimes, he believes she acts more matured than her age. They ended the discussion with her uncle promising to visit madam Abigail’s and starting the process.

Two weeks later, Ladi started her tailoring apprenticeship and found out it was not as easy as she had envisaged. She was told as a beginner, she had to run personal errands for her madam, like going to the stream to fetch water for her water pot; helping with market runs and so forth. Ladi was shocked that after six weeks of learning, she was yet to neither handle the scissors nor even fix buttons on clothes. She began to think that maybe opting out of school was a bad idea entirely. Her only solace was in a friendship she had started with Chidiebere Obi, a fellow apprentice who had been there for about a year.

Chidiebere Obi is an only child. Her father is the community priest and her mum sells hand woven wool shawl at the weekly market. They are not a rich family but have learnt to be content with what they can afford. Her father also fishes and sells to earn extra income to support the family, since Umuleke is a small community and one cannot earn enough wages from the local assembly. He was posted to Umuleke five years earlier and he had come to love its serene nature. He had married his wife when he was twenty five and she was twenty. They had to wait for eighteen years before they had Chidiebere. She was a miracle that had long been awaited. People had insulted them and some advised that the delay in childbirth must have been as a result of witchcraft operations in his wife’s family. But Mr. Obi held unto his unwavering faith in God and always consoled himself with the story of Abraham in the bible. When Chidiebere finally came, everyone marveled and could only join them to give thanks to God. The Obi’s family is one filled with many trials and challenges but God had kept them through it all.

Chidiebere had started learning tailoring because she discovered that she always found it hard to understand her academics. The simplest subjects were like a mountain before her, very insurmountable. Her parents had gotten several tutors for her with a view to getting a solution to her problem, to no avail. All she loved to do was knit and fix any loose buttons on clothes. Her teachers then advised her parents to withdraw her from school and let her follow her passion, and to get trained in the fashion line.

It was then such a huge shock for Chidiebere to discover that Ladi wasn’t learning tailoring because she wasn’t brilliant but because they was no means to continue her education. Ladi’s warm heartedness had worn her over and they became inseparable. Every opportunity they had, they talked at length sharing stories of their childhood and families. It was on one of those days that Ladi learnt about Chidiebere’s mother. .One of the Obi’s many trials.

Mrs. Obi had woken up one day to discover she couldn’t move her right hand and leg.  She had been rushed to the hospital and the doctor had told them her mother had suffered a stroke. Her father had been devastated. In a short time, her mother had become an invalid. They had to help her do everything, even bathe. The doctors had told them that her kind of stroke might be permanent. They took her to another teaching hospital and after three months, they were asked to take her home as they can’t help her anymore.

After two months that Mrs. Obi had been brought back home and after spending all their savings and the ones friends and church members helped them with; Mr. Obi suddenly realized that he had not yet exhausted all options. He was angry with himself for considering the options as the last resort. He turned to God. He told his wife about all the stories of great men in the bible had faith and how it worked for them. He reminded her of Naaman’s leprosy that was healed. Also about Lazarus who was raised from the dead. He spent a whole month working on his wife’s psyche. He needed her to believe that all things are possible to anyone who believes.

He started vigorous prayers and waiting on God. Chidiebere herself also had to join in the waiting. A month after they started the prayers, Mrs. Obi said she could feel a sensation on her toes; this was a sign that God had started the work. Exactly two months after the vigorous prayers, Mrs. Obi got her complete healing. She had regained the full use of her hand and leg and what doctors had written off, God did!! It was a moment of great joy and since then, her mother had had such unwavering faith in God. And so does Chidiebere!!

Ladi listened with rapt attention and was amazed at such miracle. It seemed to her as if she had never heard about God before. Chidiebere then told Ladi, that if she wanted to continue her education, she should simply have faith and trust that God will do the miracle. It was the most difficult words to believe, her question was “How on earth will God perform this miracle?” It seemed highly impossible. That night after the story, Ladi could not sleep. Her mind was agog with the thought of what God can do. She then decided to begin telling God to turn her situation around. There was no harm in trying she thought. She started exercising faith.

Six months into her tailoring training, one cool evening; two men were escorted by a policeman to the Adamu’s house. They were all seated outside taking in the fresh air when they saw the men approaching. When the men got to the porch, there was a grave silence, such that the sound of a needle dropping would have been heard. “Is this the house of Mr. Adamu?” asked the police officer. The sight of a policeman is not a pleasant one, especially if you live in Nigeria….Stuttering, Mr. Adamu replied with a shaky “yes, is there something I can do for you?”

“I am sergeant Usman from the zone 2 command and these men would like to have a word with you” replied the policeman. The two men then stepped forward and offered Mr. Adamu a handshake which he accepted. All the while, Mrs. Adamu and her kids, including Ladi and Tobe stared with trepidation.  Mr. Adamu took them inside and after about forty five minutes, they all came out smiling and exchanging pleasantries. They left promising to return two days later with the documents.

After they had gone, everyone looked to Mr. Adamu to tell them what the meeting was about. He looked at them, smiled and said nothing. They all almost died of anxiety, not able to take the silence anymore, Mrs. Adamu gave the command…they all pounced on Mr. Adamu and tickled him so hard he begged to be set free. After he had calmed down, he sat them all down and explained what the two strange men had come to tell him.

The men work for Virgo airline. They had explained how sorry they were about the plane crash that had claimed the lives of Ladi’s parents. They had gone in search of the deceased’s relatives and had been told by neighbours that they had vacated the house and gone to live with their uncle. But no one was willing to tell them where the uncle stayed. After two attempts, they gave up. But four months ago, their MD remembered the case and made it a matter of compulsion to find the deceased’s children. Because of the resistance they got at first, they decided to get the help of the local police in the search, which led them to finding the Adamu’s.

Virgo Airline felt the need to pay compensation to the family of everyone affected by the crash; they had visited the Njoku’s and given them their entitlement. Now they have come to give Ladi and Tobe the compensation for their parent’s death. Virgo airline promises to see to the education of Ladi and Tobe till the University level and master’s degree. They would also support them with monthly allowance for the whole duration.

It was like a dream for Ladi. She didn’t know what to say at first. Tobe jumped up screaming excitedly, Ladi only wept for joy. In all her imagination, it never crossed her mind that her story will take this turn. She remembered what Chidiebere had said “That there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail….but at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant”.

The promise made by Virgo Airline is a flicker of hope, Ladi doesn’t know what the future holds but she trusts the one who owns the future. He had started it and she believes He will surely bring it to a glorious end.

THE END.

A flicker of hope???? Part II

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

The burial was a quiet one. Friends, family and neighbours were present and their church pastor. Ladi only stared into space throughout the ceremony. Her grief could be felt strongly. When it was over, everyone said a word of comfort to her and her brother. She only nodded; she cared less.  She simply hated everything. Why did it have to be her parents? Poor innocent people, merely looking for their daily bread? Life is so cruel.

Immediately after the death of their parents, their extended family member took Ladi and Tobe in. They thought it best for them not to stay at home alone during the grieving period. They tried their best to cheer them on and make them forget the incident but they were just inconsolable. For Ladi, the death meant the end of her dreams.

Her parents had formed a habit of saving most of the money gotten from the farm produce sales for their children’s schooling. Mrs. Bello would not buy new wrappers but recycle the old ones, saying, “When you grow up and become successful, you will buy me many wrappers that I won’t even be able to finish wearing” this thought brought fresh tears to Ladi’s eyes and sadness into her heart.

The door opening jolted Ladi out of her thought. It was Tobe, rushing in carrying clothes he had washed earlier that morning. “Ladi, so you are in the house and you couldn’t help me bring in my clothes from the hanger? You want them drenched in the rain?” He repeated himself a second time and when he got no response from her, moved closer to see what was wrong with her. It was when he moved closer that he saw tears running down her cheeks. He forgot the wet clothes, dropped them on the floor and held his sister in his arms. He knew the cause of the tears, it isn’t as if he doesn’t miss his parents too, but he also realized that no amount of tears would bring them back. It is a sad reality and Tobe made up his mind to help his sister get over her grief and become the lively girl she had once been. Ladi just kept weeping and Tobe stoked her hair and tried to whisper comforting words to her.

***********

Since the death of their parents, Ladi and Tobe had stayed with the Adamu’s. It had not been an easy transition. Umuleke village had been in the news for the past 3 weeks since the plane crash incident. Reporters had thronged the entire village. The plane company also came, asked questions and paid condolence visits to Ladi’s family. They also visited the Njoku family, they had a farm besides the Bellos. Their crops were also affected. It was a very unfortunate incident and all affected parties tried so hard to put it behind them.

Mr. Adamu is Ladi’s maternal uncle. He and his wife, tried to help Ladi and Tobe adjust to life without their parents. It had not been easy, but it is a task they determined to pull off. Gradually, Ladi came to terms with her parent’s death and decided to live again. The fourth week after the demise, Ladi and Tobe returned to school. Their school mates and teachers had been sympathetic the first week but everything returned back to normal the following week. Besides, they are not the first people to have lost a parent.

It wasn’t easy for them, their parents had saved up and ensured that their education was top priority, but with the Adamu’s, it was a different ball game. They had three children of their own and struggled to pay fees from the meager salaries they both earn as local council workers. Having Ladi and Tobe as extra mouth to feed just wasn’t easy on them. Ladi had just promoted into SSS II while Tobe was supposed to be writing the junior WAEC few months from then. The Adamu’s on the other hand had all their three children in primary school, the oldest being in primary six.

Ladi called Tobe aside one day after school and shared her plans with him. “Tobe, I know how our parents wanted us to be a medical doctor and an accountant. But death has done otherwise”. “I have thought about it and the situation of living. You know our uncle is really trying his best but it is still not easy. In view of this, I will step aside for you so that they can help train you to university level. I will go learn a trade and support. Then when I have saved enough, I will go back to school and finish up and become the medical doctor I have always wanted to be”.

“Noooooo!!!” screamed Tobe, “this cannot be happening. You are the smartest and deserve the opportunity. I am a man, let me find some work to do and I will help you through school” “I will support you until university and till you get married too”.  “No Tobe, I insist” replied Ladi. “My mind is made up. I am the eldest and I have spoken. We will tell uncle our plans after dinner”. And she stood up and walked out of the room. She went to the back yard, into the garden and cried her heart out. It wasn’t an easy decision to take but she believed it was the best given the situation of things. “Papa, mama, I know you wanted to see us through school but the cold hands of death snatched you away from us. I promise to take care of my brother and to live the upright way you have always taught me. I will not let you down” she sobbed.

In the evening, when everyone had had dinner, Ladi excused her uncle and aunt to the veranda that she had something important to discuss with them. She insisted that Tobe stayed back with the younger children when he also wanted to follow them. She started by thanking them for accommodating her brother and herself and for being their new father and mother. She particularly thanked Mrs. Adamu for her patience and love. It really isn’t easy taking in two grown-ups into one’s house. She then went on to tell them of the decision she reached earlier in the day and how she thought it was the best under the circumstance.

Her uncle and his wife listened to her speak and couldn’t utter a word. They were shocked at her decision. Mr. Adamu felt it was his fault, if only he had studied harder and obtained a higher grade in the college of education; he would have been able to secure a better job in the city and would be able to take care of them all. Because, even a blind man could see they were struggling to take care of the home. He begged Ladi to rescind on her decision, that he was able to sort it out. Ladi only reminded him that he is yet to complete the fees for his children; it would be heartless to add theirs to it. Mrs. Adamu then stood up, hugged Ladi and promised her that she would return to school as soon as things got better. Ladi knelt and thanked them and went into the house. Her uncle felt really bad but he also knew that if things didn’t change for good, something drastic would have to be done to sustain the family.

A flicker of hope?????

Hope
Hope

Hope in life should not be lost. Belief in oneself should not be quenched. One must always have the understanding that God can make a way where there seems to be no way. “Spiri” talk it seems, but no, it isn’t “Spiri” stuffs but a necessity. Life can only happen when there is even but a flicker of hope.

Hmmm!! The famous man Job, known to have endured such hardships and untold misery, who despite all, didn’t allow his spirit to be broken, once said: There is hope for a tree, if it be cut down …that even at the faintest smell of water, shall sprout again. Such amazing belief that it isn’t over until God says it is!!

The breeze whizzed furiously, “weee, weee”, the sun had gone to hide behind the dark clouds, it seems like a heavy downpour is about to be witnessed.  Feet can be heard shuffling hurriedly in the compound, hens scampering for safety, goats running for shelter; every living thing around seemed to be avoiding being drenched in the rain that is about to fall.

Ladi Bello just lay on her mat, totally oblivious of the helter skelter going on outside. To her, be it rain or sun shine; life has lost its meaning. What is there to live for? She can barely wait for nightfall but still, the dread of the dawn of another day sets her on edge. How can anyone ever tell her it’s okay? That time heals all wounds? For her, the wounds will never heal. It just can’t!!

Growing up had been filled with so much fun. The Bello’s are not an affluent family, not in the least possible way; but they are hardworking and resilient. They believe that the next day could bring the miracle they so eagerly looked forward to. They farm and sell the produce at the local market close by. Ladi’s younger brother, Tobe assists their parent on the farm after he comes back from school. Ladi on the other hand, hawks the produce and eventually stops at the local market where she finally sells off the remaining.

Ladi’s prayer is always to sell off her wares completely. It made her parents very proud of her and means an extra bush meat or mushroom in her soup bowl that night. And because of her beautiful looks and calm disposition, this feat is always achieved. You can imagine the envy Tobe feels towards her. How can he be the one to go to the farm, work tirelessly and simply because Ladi sells it, she becomes the hero? It just didn’t seem fair.

Tobe then devised a plan. He deliberately stayed longer hours in school playing football with his friends. He did it for three days, giving the excuse that they had extra lessons. On the third day, when the workload on the farm became unbearable, Ladi was asked to join them on the farm. Ladi suspected Tobe all along, but didn’t have any proof, besides they school in different locations. It wasn’t until the fourth day; Mrs. Bello had taken ill and didn’t go to the farm.

Tobe, thinking they were all on the farm, came home trying to sneak into the house. He suddenly stumbled upon his mother lying on the mat in their living area.  She was able to pry the truth from him. When she learnt the reason behind his acts, she decided to stop the extra meat for Ladi. Of course, this didn’t go well with Ladi but she always stills completely sells off her farm products.

The day had seemed like every other day. People going about their duties like they always do. No one had any inclination that things would be any different. The neighbour’s goats running and jumping around in the compound like it was a thing in vogue. The Bello’s had taken the previous day off from farming as it was a Sunday and since God commanded that no work on the Sabbath, it was obeyed to the letter.

Mr. Bello and his wife went to the farm the next working day to farm as usual, it was around 7am in the morning. They rested at noon in their farm hut, roasted some bush fowl and yam for lunch. They kept some aside for Tobe to eat when he comes to join them later in the day. They finished eating, rested a while and was about to start the second round of work. As they worked, suddenly there was a loud noise. Mrs. Bello looked up and froze. Run!! Run!! Shouted Mr. Bello and he pulled at her. Then there was a deafening noise. Sound of metal clashing. And everything went blank.

Thick dark smoke rent the air. Everything was quiet except for fire burning some distance away. About ten minutes later, little moans could be heard faintly. The Cessna 401 Titan cargo plane, travelling from Abuja to Lagos with computer hardware had crashed landed in Umuleke. There was a cry for help was from the pilot who had been trapped in the plane, he must be in a terrible state.

News of the crash filtered into the village. Fire fighters from the city had been called upon by some of the villagers and had not arrived at the scene, since the village is about 50km from the city. Villagers had rushed there in the meantime with water from the well to quench the fire. Rescue operation had begun in earnest by the villagers. No one knew how many people were on board; the task ahead was to save as much lives as possible.

Tobe ran as fast as his legs could carry him when he heard the news. And that it happened near their farm land. He got to the scene as rescue operations were going on. He started shouting “Papa, Mama!!”  There was no response. The hefty village men were seen, lifting heavy metal, some using cutlasses to wield their way through. Some others were busy carting away computer hardware scrap scattered all over the farm, from the crash site to their respective homes.

The smoke prevented some people from moving near but Tobe kept on, shouting “Papa, mama!!””. And then he saw them, both holding themselves close, under a pile of rubble. He ran there, screaming for help. Some of the men, ran to him and started lifting the metals. Moments later, they were pulled out from the rubble and moved them some distance away from the smoke. Tobe held them, shouting “Wake up papa, wake up mama. Your son Tobe is here”. His parents lay there lifeless. He kept on shaking them until one of the villager pulled him up. “They are gone”, the man said.

“Noooooooooo!!” Shouted Tobe and he started running back into the village. He was running and shouting; he ran past Ladi who had also heard the news and was rushing to the scene of the accident. He didn’t know he had passed her, he didn’t even see her. He just kept on running. Ladi froze in her stride. She feared the worst. What could make Tobe behave like that? Without even noticing her presence? She ran on to the scene and when she saw the bodies of her parents on a side of the farm, her worst fears were confirmed. She had lost the two most important people in her life. Her parents were gone. She curled up on the ground and wept her heart out. Life became meaningless.

Thereafter, the fire fighters arrived at the scene. The major work had been carried out by the villagers. There was nothing left to do but to write down reports and ask questions. The only crew on board the ill-fated plane died too but the pilot had already been taken to the nearby village clinic. It had indeed been a sad, sad day at Umuleke.

Watch out for the concluding part. Stay blessed

The beautiful wanna be…..

wannabe

 

 

Kate had just gotten admission into the university and like anyone her age, was ecstatic. She had spent two years at home because she could not make her Jamb results. When home became unbearable for her due to pressure from her dad about why she has been unable to secure admission like her friends, she had resorted to secluding herself from every pleasure (movies, outings and her iPod) to focus on intensive studying and thank God it paid off.

Kate had been a reserved girl all through her life. Her friends used to tease her about taking life too seriously but she knew what exactly she wanted from life and vowed to do all it takes to be successful. Her mother would always call her and tell her to remember the child of whom she is and not to disappoint her family and most especially God.

This made her resolve not to have any boyfriend while in secondary school unlike all her other friends. They often teased her about being “Mary the virgin” but she held on to her belief and decision to be different.

Her first semester in the university was one of the most hectic months of her life. Lectures and assignments and all the registration issues she had had taken its toll on her. She didn’t know this was how school was. She quietly thanked God for experiencing it because she knows there are many out there who would give anything to be in her shoes.

The first semester ended with Kate having a 4.2 GP. It was a feat has been a rare occurrence in engineering department of that school, especially for a first year student. She vowed to keep up her grades by working harder.

Because the school had gone on 2 months ASUU strike earlier, the students were only given a week holiday before second semester resumption. Second semester started with the usual hustle and bustle. Some students play and engage in too many social activities and only prepare for examination when it is only 2 weeks away. One of the social events that occurred in second semester was Valentine’s Day. It was greatly celebrated by the students.

Kate’s two roommates, Bisi and Tola both got beautiful gifts from their boyfriends and somehow, Kate felt lonely. Especially when evening came and her roommates went to the valentine’s party organized by the student union executives. Later in the morning when her friends returned, all excited and talking about how great the party was, it made her think and conclude that she won’t be alone the next Valentine’s Day. She vowed though, to make sure she gets a bible believing boyfriend, one who would not make her fall into sin.

Kate being a very beautiful eighteen year old lady and with the right curves at the right places, had lots of admirers. Ranging from good boys to cult boys, but she was looking for one that had a Christian background. She believed she would be able to imbibe her biblical principles if she dated a Christian boy. Her friends also introduced guys they thought would interest her, but she had no interest in them.

Would she find that Christian guy who would ensure she stays on track as a Christian lady?? Watch out for the concluding part.

(Proverbs 1:10 When sinners entice thee, consent thou not)

The search for a godly boyfriend had taken so much of Kate’s time that it had started affecting her concentration with school lectures. It was as if she had forgotten the reason why she was in school in the first place.

one sunny afternoon, Kate and Bisi had just finished lectures and strolled to the park to take a bus home since they stayed in a hostel off campus. To their dismay, there was no bus in sight but a long queue of students. Lucky ones who had friends with cars started calling them to find out if they could hitch a ride into town. Just when Kate thought she couldn’t take the scorching sun anymore, a car parked just by the curb besides her and offered her a ride into town. She quickly peeped to confirm that the driver was a student and not a sugar daddy and jumped in, dragging Bisi into the car as well.

They were so grateful to the guy who later gave his name as Jude. He is a 300 level student of economics and stayed in town as well. His father was the pastor of the new breed Pentecostal church in town. He also spoke so eloquently like a pastor that Kate secretly wished he would ask her out. She hoped that he would be the one to be her Val during the next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Jude eventually asked her out and they started dating. He knew so many scriptures that she believed he must have been sent from heaven. They went everywhere together and the only place she hadn’t followed him to was his house. He played the gentleman all through.

Her roommates were shocked when she told them he had not even asked her for a kiss. “He is such a God fearing guy” Bisi said. And they all laughed about it. Two days later, Jude was absent in school and Kate found out from his friend that he was ill and also called him to confirm, telling him she would see him after lectures. When lectures ended, she went to the market and got fruits and a get well card to take to him. She met him on the couch in his one room apartment shivering. She moved close to feel his temperature and that was when he grabbed her.

He pushed her onto the bed and kissed her. He got up quickly and locked the door with the key, removed the key and threw it behind the desk. Kate suddenly realized what he intended to do and got on her knees to plead, begging him in God’s name, reminding him that he was a Christian. He only laughed and told her it was all a ploy to get her to trust him. He said he was actually Tola’s friend and Tola had told him Kate only wanted a Christian boyfriend. She made attempts to run and get the key and they struggled until he was able to overpower her. He succeeded in raping her. She felt as if her world had crumbled.

What would she do now? Who would she tell? How could she face her parents with such news? How would she face God knowing that she had disappointed Him? She cried all the way home. When she got to the door of her room, she quickly wiped her tears so that no one would know. She pretended that she and Jude had a little misunderstanding and had called off the relationship.

A month later, exactly in the month of November, she discovered she had missed her period and realized she must be pregnant. She told her roommates who pitied her but had no solution to her problem. She told Jude who claimed it was only once they had sex. Her whole world came crumbling right before her eyes. She had disappointed her parents. She had disappointed God and couldn’t even pray since the rape. She felt like turning back the hands of time. She had no choice but to go home and inform her parents.

Her parents were highly disappointed in her. What had happened to the innocent God fearing girl they knew? How could she have gotten herself pregnant? To think they had boasted to their friends about her good grades? They were really sad and broken hearted.

Kate had to withdraw from school and defer her admission indefinitely. And of course, the valentine came the following year, but she spent hers in sadness and all alone because it was the thought of not spending Valentine alone that led her to the predicament she found herself. Her roommates stopped calling after a while because they had to concentrate on their studies.

Shouldn’t Kate have faced her studies more and focused on being rather than envying the things that the world enjoys. Shouldn’t she have realized that friendship with the world brings enmity with God? Didn’t she realize she ought to flee every appearance of evil?

She learned the lesson the hard way. I pray the grace to stand for God always be made available to us in Jesus name.

II Timothy 2:22 flee also youthful lusts but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

Taking heed…

Distressed

Lape is what you would call any man’s dream woman. She is a tall size 10 lady, with all the curves in the right places, fair in complexion and to crown it all, very bubbly and down to earth. She is blessed!!

Lape has a degree in humanities from the premiere University and works in the human resources department of one of the prestigious resourcing companies in Victoria Island, Neon Consulting. Her colleagues dread when she has to go on vacation because it seems they are in for a season of gloom; she brings zest anywhere she goes.

Dotun is the lucky husband of this beautiful woman who seems not to know how blessed he is. They are blessed with 3 adorable children and theirs is what one calls a perfect family. Nothing can ever go wrong; or that is what anyone would think.  But lately, both seem to be too consumed with work life that they have forgotten their promise to each other to strike a work-life balance. It had become all about career growth and less of companionship…..

Lape got to the office late one bright Monday morning because her last daughter had the fever and she had to take her to the hospital, rush her back home to the nanny before setting out to work. She would have called in sick or given another excuse and stay home with little Omotola but there is an interview she has got to conduct by 12noon and was happy when she rushed in at 11am, meaning she still had an hour to calm her nerves and prepare for the task ahead.

She totally ignored stares from her colleagues as she slid behind her desk to resume work. Some minutes later, the receptionist calls to inform her that the candidates for the slated interview were all seated. She called on to the other interviewers via the intercom and proceeded to the meeting room where interviews are conducted.

The interview session lasted 2 hours as they had 8 candidates to screen for the position of head-marketing and sales. Eventually, they all agreed that only 2 would be selected to meet the group head the following week. They wrote their recommendations and Lape felt they had done great with the selected persons.

Exactly three weeks after the interview for the head, marketing and sales, a man walks up to her and asks to speak with her, she looked up trying to place the face and then she remembered, he was the successful candidate from the last interview. He stopped by her desk to get some documentation done as regards his new employment offer and also to thank her for finding him worthy of being employed. As was her usual self, she waved his thanks aside and muttered “I am only doing my job and I must say, you actually were better than the other candidates and that is what earned you the position and not me”. None the less, he still thanked her, and they got round to settling what actually brought him to her desk in the first place.  “By the way, my name is Steve”, he said before leaving her desk and didn’t wait to hear her feedback. She just shrugged and went back to her task

Two weeks later, as against its regular way of doing things, Neon consulting announced its plans to hold a dinner party to honor some outstanding staff for the first half of its business year. Everyone was so excited because the recipients of the awards were being kept a secret, even the HR department had no inkling of who the successful awardees would be. Typical of women…all the talks in the office was on what to wear, where to go shop for shoes and dinner dresses. Lape was not excluded in the gist. It was going to be an award night to remember.

Neon consulting also told staff to come along with just one partner each as it didn’t intend to use up all its reserves to fund a party…so everyone planned to come with either a spouse or friend.

The D-day finally came and Lape’s husband Dotun was to accompany her to the party. They had lots to eat and drink and all felt the party should continue forever. Lape was lucky to be one of the recipients of the awards and her husband proudly escorted her to receive her plaque. It was a moment to cherish. She was all smiles and dedicated the award to her colleagues in the human resource department; she would not be a recipient if they had not been supportive of her, she said.

Just before the party ended, Lape excused herself to go to the ladies and on her way back in the hall way, she tripped and almost fell down but was quickly helped by strong hands. She turned to see who it was since she didn’t even notice someone was around and stared into the face of Steve. He had been coming from the gents as well and because his shoes had rubber soles, she didn’t hear him behind her. She thanked him profusely and turned to move and discovered she had sprained her ankle. Steve helped her to her seat and explained what had happened to Dotun who thanked him and took over from him.

Lape got home that night, happy at being recognized by the management of her company and sad that she would have to be away from work for some days due to the sprain. She felt some demons were after her because of the award…but quickly tossed the idea from her mind. She limped to go check up on her kids, kissed their foreheads and went to her room to join her husband.

Lape got series of phone calls when Monday came and she wasn’t in the office, she was elated at the thought of being loved by all. Steve also called her line and she made sure to thank him for his help the other night. Lape got back to the office on Wednesday and as expected, had tons of email waiting to be attended to. She was so busy she lost count of time and just when she began to bother about the rumblings in her stomach, one of the janitors in their office brought her a lunch pack from TFC and said one of the new staff asked her to get it across. And to say it was a thank you gift. She hesitated and told the girl to take it back but her colleagues told her not to, that it would be rude to do so.

But I never asked anyone for food she retorted back. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. But her colleagues persisted and one volunteered to eat from it so that she can be sure there was no black medicine in it…they all laughed and Lape told the janitor to thank the person and to give his name. When she heard it was Steve, a part of her wanted to return it but another part said but it is just a harmless meal of rice and chicken now….couldn’t be that bad! Anyways, her hunger defied any form of reasoning anymore as she devoured the remaining pack of rice.

The next day, she sought Steve out as he was going for his marketing calls and thanked him for the meal but that he shouldn’t send her food again as it would send wrong signals to people around. He said he understood and vowed not to. They both ended the conversation and went to do their work for the day.

For some funny reasons, her mind wandered to Steve and she didn’t know where to place him. Was he just a nice person or he wanted more. She meant to discuss the issue with her husband when she got home but he gets home late and she was already in bed. She only woke up briefly to say night prayers with him and rolled onto her side of the bed and slept off.

Work continued as usual at Neon consulting as everyone was looking forward to the end of the year party and award ceremony. Everyone put in extra efforts at work. It was on such days that Lape, busy with work that her table phone rang. She picked it up and was surprised it was Steve, he had called to find out about some calculations in his last month’s salary computation, there was a deduction he didn’t understand. She took her time to explain to him and even told him to come up to her office if he still wasn’t clear on it. He said he understood and thanked her.

Days later, he called again to find out the company’s policy on having devotions in the mornings as he was thinking of starting one. She was surprised and immediately dropped every reservation she had towards him. She told him the company had no issues with it so long as it doesn’t coincide with work time. He then told her he would like to start it since they didn’t have any. She was in full support and promised to be the first attendee. She confessed that work and family commitments’ has actually affected her prayer life and is happy so that at least she can enjoy fellowship with other brethren in the office and still get to do her work.

And that was how Lape and Steve became best of friends in the office. He also calls her desk phone regularly and they discuss almost everything there is to talk about. He became her confidant. Any day he is out for marketing calls and is unavailable to call, she finds herself missing him and wishing to hear his voice. She didn’t even know she was feeling that way towards him until her colleague joked about it with her. It was then she thought about it…Steve isn’t as good looking as her husband, he doesn’t speak as eloquently, he doesn’t have Dotun’s charm….so what is the attraction? And since she knew Steve doesn’t measure up to her husband’s standard, she felt no harm at all.

They still continued their phone relationship and during the morning devotions, they acted as if all was well but both knew there was an unspoken chemistry between them. Steve would call and tell her how lucky her husband was to have her, how he wishes to someday get married to someone like her and all these talks gets Lape very excited. Sometimes, she locks herself up in the toilet and they continue chatting on the black berry, they say nothing vulgar but she looks forward to such moments chatting alone with him. She never once told her husband about Steve, she felt she could handle him so long as they were not dating and don’t even see outside the office hours.

She gets home and deletes all conversations they’ve had and acts like nothing is amiss. Once sunny afternoon, Steve chatted with her about being a bit bored and would like to go catch the afternoon movie showing at the cinema close to their office and would be back before lunch time was over. He didn’t invite her along but knew she would love to go. Common sense told her to tell him bye but she found herself asking if she could come along as well and when he answered in the affirmative, she told him she would meet up with him there and to buy tickets for her too. She told her colleagues she had some personal errands to run and would be back once break time was over and left the office.

By the time she arrived, Steve was already there and had their tickets in his hands. Lape told him she would rather wait inside the cinema until the movie started for fear of being seen by someone familiar and at a cinema during work hours. He agreed since the movie starts in 10minutes, he went to buy popcorn and drinks instead and she went in to wait. When he was through, he went in as well, sat beside her and the movie trailer started showing.

While she was seated, she felt she shouldn’t be here but felt it would seem childish to get up and leave. She told herself she was only watching a movie and not committing adultery! So she sat back, relaxed and ready to enjoy the movie and saw that it was a romantic movie. Commonsense said to her again to get up and leave but she just couldn’t. The cinema was almost empty because of the time of day it was. She sat there tense and Steve noticed and whispered to her ears to calm down, the movie was for sixty minutes and she would be back to the office soon. She nodded and didn’t say a word.

The movie, the dark cinema, his closeness; everything was getting at her. He brushed his hands along her arm and she felt jitters run along her spine. He didn’t stop, she didn’t want him to. He brushed his lips across her cheeks, ears and neck and she turned her face and their lips met and it was like she has never been kissed before. He seemed to know exactly what to do. His hands started roaming over her body and she didn’t stop him, he started unbuttoning the buttons on her blouse and she couldn’t stop him….and then her phone rang. She knew the special ring tone, it was her husband. She looked at herself and felt like the ground should open….she didn’t pick his call. He called again and this time, Steve had let go of her and with shaking hands opened her bag and picked the call…”where are you dear?” was Dotun’s first words. She couldn’t answer and instead burst into tears…”what is wrong with you? Are you hurt? Where are you?” all he heard was her uncontrollable weeping. Dotun couldn’t imagine what might have happened to his wife. He ran out of his office and started the drive to his wife’s office.

Steve held her to console her and Lape smacked his face with the back of her palms. “It is all your fault” she cried, “but I didn’t force you did I”? He retorted. With shaky hands, she wiped her face, got out a mirror and re-arranged herself then got up to leave. Steve held her hands and said he was sorry. He didn’t know what came over him. ”I can’t deny that I want you but I meant to cause you no harm. Am deeply sorry” Lape stared at him, said nothing and moved past him and left the cinema. She got into her car, tried to calm herself down and finally started the drive back to the office.

As she was about entering the office premises, she saw her husband’s car trying to maneuver in the visitor’s parking space. At that instant, he saw her too. He parked and ran over to where she was. He opened her car door, checked her out and sighed with relief when he didn’t see any physical injury. He thought someone must have died. “What happened”? He asked, “Did someone die”? Lape looked into his face and started crying all over. Dotun then pulled her out of the car and locked it, walked her into his, went up to her office and got a permission that she wasn’t feeling okay, called his office that he wouldn’t be coming back as there was an emergency at the home front. Then he went to his wife and they drove home together. When they got home…with tears and shame, Lape narrated all that had transpired from the very first meeting to the cinema drama.

Dotun was livid with rage but showed calmness that even he could not explain. Lape kept crying that she was sorry and didn’t know what came over her.  Dotun looked at his wife and though still angry at the thought of another man touching his wife yet he said he was to be blamed as well…..He is hardly at home, they don’t have outing times anymore, their prayer life was nothing to write home about, they don’t communicate anymore and it made them drift apart even though they lived under the same roof. If they had talked about it before, what happened wouldn’t have.

Lape also knew she was playing super woman. She had thought the fact that she wasn’t sleeping with him made it no big deal, she thought she could handle her emotions and not go astray. She thought it would be a harmless adventure…

They both re-dedicated themselves to making their marriage work and to always tell the other party what was going on in their lives. They became an accountability partner to themselves. They vowed to put the whole episode behind them and start on a clean slate. Lape felt such a big release of burden off her shoulders and felt brand new again…

She went back to the office the next day and felt as good as new. She had deleted Steve from her contacts and made sure she would only relate with him on official matters henceforth. When Steve saw her the next day, he was shocked to see her stare him in the face squarely and with a triumphant look on her face. He knew he had lost.

Let he that thinks he stand take heed, lest he falls and let us flee every appearance of evil…..

Stay blessed