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Wednesday, 31 August 2016


(Image source: www.informationng.com)

‘There is power in the name of Jesus…to break every chain…’ Yetunde rushed in to see the owner of the angelic voice that sang those words. She loved that song so much; it was one of her best gospel hits. She held her baby tightly and hurried to her seat but she paused at who she’d seen. This was getting crazy. She stared at her cousin who looked like she had seen a ghost. But what greater surprise could be than seeing Genevieve? Eddie told her the name of the arrogant lady that attacked her at the bank. There she was, high and mighty, singing with the voice of an angel with the heart of a demon.

This was going to be interesting. She sat comfortably and hummed to the song. Although this woman was evil, she had to give it to her. She sang good. Eddie was surprised at her cousin’s composure because of the woman on stage but they needed to leave immediately; she couldn’t see Femi, not with Naomi. “Don’t you think we should go back home?” Yetunde stared at her. What had gotten into Eddie? “Are you okay? ‘Cause you’re acting all jittery like you saw a ghost.” Eddie avoided her eyes. “I just have a bad feeling. Are you sure you are comfortable and with Genevieve on stage? You must feel weird, you know,” she closed her eyes. She sounded really ridiculous. “Okay you know what Eddie, why don’t we stop talking and enjoy the praise and worship session.” She nodded quietly and prayed they shouldn’t bump into Femi.

The crowd cheered and clapped their hands. The praise session was wonderful. Faces were filled with smiles and hearts with joy, all giving glory to Jesus. Yetunde waved her hands in appreciation for His mercies upon her life. And at that point, she made a promise to God never to fail him again, always to trust Him in every situation. She felt her burdens being lifted up. She was at the right place—Bethel; the place of worship.

She closed her eyes and joined in the worship chorus then the voice switched to a deep male baritone. She paused. She didn’t want to get distracted but the voice sounded awkwardly familiar. No, it couldn’t be. What was he doing here? Then she felt Naomi’s little hands on her skirt and she was forced to open her eyes. Her cousin was right, they should’ve left a long time ago.

She saw him and shuddered. She had to leave immediately. She felt so bad but the crowd behind would ruin her plans. She sat down gently to gain some balance. She couldn’t believe it; the man standing on the pulpit was introduced, ‘Pastor Calvary Aduga’ and the crowd applauded very loudly . Her cousin stared back at her widely in disbelief. “Eddie, did you know about this?” Edidiong was just as shocked. So her boss was also a Pastor. She hadn’t expected it but she wasn’t too shocked because he lived a righteous lifestyle; he was very kind and humble except for his wife to be. She shook her head sadly and wondered how such a marriage would turn out.

Yetunde felt stunned as the man began to preach. She quickly whispered some words of prayer in her heart. She felt horrible—all her stubborn pride fled away—when she realized she had slapped a man of God. God, please show me mercy. I didn’t know. She shook the thought out of her mind as she remembered her stolen car. Maybe that was the punishment she got for slapping a Priest of the Most High. He was a genuine prophet as he had just spoken a word that met her at the point of her need.

“The bible says: whoever calls on the name of the lord shall be saved, and that is what we came to do tonight—to call on Jesus with our songs, our praises, our worship to Him—Hallelujah!” He paused and continued. “The Holy Spirit has just ministered to me. There is a young woman here, your life had been taken away from you since you fell into the sin of fornication. You are still running away from God’s presence but He said He has forgiven you and if you hold on to Him and worship Him tonight, He will make your life beautiful again.” Yetunde froze at where she sat. The crowd thundered amen as he began to make other declarations.

She couldn’t hold it anymore. That was God speaking to her. She had been forgiven. She knelt and cried. “Thank you Jesus,” while her daughter who sat comfortably with Edidiong looked confused and stared back at her Aunt for an explanation. Eddie was as shocked as the little girl she held her close and pecked her cheek.

Yetunde smiled as they boarded a cab back home. “I’m so happy you invited me, thank you Eddie.” Edidiong smiled and thanked God. They hadn’t seen Femi. But she felt a little bit guilty for keeping it to herself. Yetunde had the right to know but this wasn’t the right time. Her cousin had never been this happy and she didn’t want to get her in a bad mood again. The night had been eventful; they had recorded live performances of many songsters and they would talk about it for a long time.

“Edidiong you are awfully quiet tonight. Are you sure you’re okay?” Yetunde asked again only to receive the exact response as earlier: two nods. She sighed. Something was bothering her cousin but she let go of the issue and tapped her sleeping child as they approached the house. She believed every word of the Pastor. She had stopped thinking of him as Mr. Perfect. There was no good thing about mocking an anointed servant of God. Her admiration for him grew stronger—he was her ideal man. She pushed the haunting thoughts as she remembered his arrogant fiancĂ©e. She wondered how he ended up with such a vile woman but the bible said, “Judge not that ye may not be judged.”

They all walked toward the house. Something wasn’t right. Yetunde quickly walked to the lobby and found her neighbours weeping. “What happened here?” Yetunde asked anxiously, referring to no one in particular as she spotted the lifeless body of her landlady. “We were attacked by armed robbers,” one broke down and wailed loudly. Eddie took Naomi and rushed to Yetunde’s room. The door had been greatly vandalized and her television was missing. She hoped that was all and nothing more. “Yetunde, come over here.”

She paused and observed her one room apartment: her television was missing but that wasn’t the important thing. She had just received part of her gains from the savings committee she had joined. She reached her yellow bag from where it hung. She bit her lip and controlled herself as reality hit. “God, is this your promise to me?” she wept silently. Something was wrong in her life. She hoped to pay part of Naomi’s fees with that money but it was now gone.

Saturday, 20 August 2016


(Image source:www.timeslive.co.za)

I cast another glance at my wrist watch, not necessarily to determine the time as I had already glanced a minute ago, but to admire its luster and masculinity. It was a cherished wedding gift from Dad. I had forgiven him for missing my wedding. His job had mandatorily taken him abroad that week and he couldn’t miss the once-in-a-life-time promotion opportunity, even if it was my burial. It wasn’t new of him. I had understood him by now. He was a good father, he played his role in my life excellently but his beliefs were different from the ideal. He believed in living his own life too without letting that of his kids interfere. “I have a life with your mother. She’s the only one I’m obligated to. You kids just got in the way. Grow up, get education, get a job, get married and get the hell out of my life.” That was always his defense line whenever he did something “unfatherly” like missing my graduation ceremony or my wedding day. He was a workaholic with the energy of a new employee.

But today wasn’t about my father. It was ten minutes after twelve o’clock, a sunny Saturday and I was with Idaraesit at MildWind Boutique. She was picking up new clothes. “Big Daddy, please pull up this zipper for me. I think this dress is a bit loose around the hips,” she said, trying to get me involved in her shopping. I pulled the zipper up and continued typing a mail on my tab. “Big Daddy you haven’t said a word. Won’t you even look at the dress?” I didn’t realize she was asking. I thought it was more of a conclusive statement. Maybe it was a rhetorical way of seeking my opinion. I raised my face and examined her in the glossy grey gown. She looked as beautiful as the first time I met her. I was proud she was the one I walked down the aisle with a month ago. “Uh…yeah. It’s few inches loose, don’t you think that’s what you need? You know…” I hesitated to complete, then teased her in a lower voice, “…married ladies expand exponentially.” She threw me the mischievous ‘you-have-started’ look. I chuckled and continued typing my mail while she vanished behind the curtains to try out another dress.

One of the features that attracted me to this angel was her vivaciousness. She was everything I wanted in a woman. Even when I was certain she was the one for me, I had usually felt a lump in my throat each time I wanted to pop the question on one of our numerous dates.  Maybe I was afraid of leaving the known into the unknown. There was so much liberty in being single, so much freedom. I loved that freedom. I was responsible for myself alone. It didn’t matter if I played FIFA2012 with Chucks till 10pm or if I travelled to Abuja to hang out with an old classmate  for the weekend. Life was an adventure, a spontaneous journey. I could walk into the bar with my crew, flirt mercilessly with charming beauties, slip phone numbers into my pocket, sip ice cold beer and laugh into the nights. I could drive my Highlander at 100km/hr, jamming Rick Ross tracks, just to feel fly. I could step up to 120 just for the fun of overtaking a Lexus that sped past me. I could throw my shoes and socks carelessly on the room floor, ignoring the shoe rack at the corner of the room. I could eat my meal from the pot while watching TV in the living room. Life was spontaneous. Life was selfish and sweet. But I had to marry the love of my life.

Chucks had done everything to scare me from getting married at 28. He told me the ugliest matrimonial stories he knew, just to win me over for a few more years but that didn’t stop me from making him my best man. He was indeed my best guy. During the bachelor’s night, he had chained a heavy steel ball to my right ankle. “Sorry pal, I warned you, marriage is bondage. She’ll just drag you like that weight there. You have to get used to it.” It had taken almost an hour of clumsy movements and pleadings before Chucks set me free from the weight.
Seated here in MildWind Boutique absent-mindedly, waiting on my dear wife to try out all the dresses she picked, I could really feel the weight of that metal ball dragging me. I had to sit tight still.  She was supposed to come shopping with Glamie, her best friend but Glamie was unavoidably absent and she had to plead with me to be the emergency substitute. That wasn’t in the list of things I planned to do today. I had to save the unfinished mail I was typing on the PC as draft just to attend to her needs. She told me it would only take thirty minutes.

While she went behind the curtain to change, I picked up my tab again and continued typing. I had barely finished two lines when she re-emerged. She walked down to me again, requesting I help zip her up. I complied. She wriggled uncomfortably. She turned round, a slight frown was on her creamy face. “It’s too tight…so sad I love it so much.” It was a red gown, a little above her knees. It fitted tightly on her gorgeous body. She had the perfect body for any dress. If she wasn’t my wife or if I was still single and saw a girl like her in such a charming dress, all she’d have to do was wink to seduce me. She looked like a highly priced tramp that could turn the heads of men, including eunuchs. But she was my wife and the thoughts other men would have just seeing her dressed like that… “Berry, this would have been perfect on your 18th birthday. Too bad baby. You’ll have to drop it.” She looked visibly uncomfortable. “Yeah, I barely can breathe, so beautiful. What a waste.” I looked at the gold watch again. We had spent exactly fifty minutes so far and she had only tried three of the six dresses she picked. I was growing impatient. She went in again to change up. I could see the stress of changing wears all over her beautiful face. She wore a slight frown of worry as she walked inside again.

In moments like that, I recalled the weight Chucks had chained to my right ankle that night. It had an enormous significance. It meant I had to lay down my own interests sometimes—be it planned for or unplanned for—to satisfy hers. It meant she was a new part of my body. It meant I was responsible for her. It meant there will be moments of compromise, moments of patience, moments of understanding, moments of being there for her.

Those thoughts made me feel I could do more for her at that moment. I swallowed my impatience and single-man selfishness. She had taken up to an hour but it wouldn’t matter anymore, I was willing to compromise. When she stepped out from the curtains again, I gave her my best smile of approval.  “Oh my god! That’s my angel! You look so stunning Berry!” She was dressed in a lavender gown which conveyed a touch of class and royalty. She looked up in surprise and I caught the smile spread on her lips, just like ink on water. Her vibe was suddenly up and she was radiating with confidence. She struck a seductive akimbo pose and I didn’t hesitate to minimize my mail and open the camera. I gave her as many shots as the poses she could offer.  She looked like a model. She was a model—my model. The sales girl was watched and smiled when she blew me a kiss before rushing in to change again.
After few more displays, she dressed up and we were ready to leave. She picked four out of the six and we headed to the desk. I slotted my card into the POS. Fifty five grand. We walked out of MildWind hand in hand. “Big Daddy, thanks very much. So sorry it took longer. Don’t worry,” she smiled. “I’ll make it up to you. Just name anything you want for dinner.” She always had ways of warming my heart again.  I smiled mischievously. “Now that you’ve asked, I want you in bed for dinner, hot and spicy.” I had always planned to use that line on her one day and she presented the right moment. She gave out a surprised laugh and punched me on the shoulder while we walked to the car.

As we drove back, several thoughts ran through my mind. I couldn’t even drive above 80km/hr because she wouldn’t feel comfortable. I thought of how many times she’d have to be picking up my socks and shoes to the shoe rack before I could eject the habit. I thought of the phone numbers and pictures I had to flush out of my phone. I thought of the gone nights we used to have with the crew frequently. I had grown into a new man; she was a new part of me. I had to be there for her—with her. We had to grow together. The transition from me to us wasn’t going to be as easy as the oaths we exchanged before the excited witnesses. It wasn’t only an institution merely for satisfaction of coital cravings. It was the beginning of a new life. Somehow, I missed my old freedom, my single life, my selfish world. My Dad had pre-warned me of this feeling. He told me it’s going to be a journey of responsibilities henceforth—an enjoyable one, depending on how I played my ball. I gained a lot of wisdom from my parents’ marriage. They were my greatest marital inspiration. I was a bit nervous, hoping I’d never let down this fragile angel who loved me with her whole heart.

Idaraesit was sitting peacefully beside me, bobbing her head gently to the harmony of country music. It was like she sensed my thoughts. She stretched her left arm and gently massaged the back of my neck for few seconds. It was a silent communication and I understood it all. We were driving to Dr. Tino’s hospital.  She hadn’t seen her period in the last two days.

Friday, 12 August 2016


(Image source: nl.pinterest.com)

“The more you trust, the more you get crushed. If you show too much emotion, people will just exploit it. I try to be friendly to all and this is what I get? No problem, lessons learnt. I’ll never waste my life on any human being again.”
He took another sip from his glass. “I’ll start taking alcohol, I’ll go for parties, and I’ll stop smiling as often as I used to. I won’t even call people anymore, it’s like everybody takes me for granted. And oh, no more mister nice guy, I won’t tolerate any offence as often as I used to.” He concluded as he wiped the tears off his face. All I could do was just stare; this was the nicest guy I knew, probably the nicest in school. I had seen him being mocked and scorned on several occasions but he still took it on his stride. This however, the rejection he just got from a girl, this one broke him. He told me it was the third time, the third time in a row. I do understand how it feels to be rejected but thrice in a row? Never been there. I poured the remaining beer into his glass then he raised his hands to draw the attention of the bartender. “Another bottle,” he said. “Don’t even try it!” I shouted. I had seen enough already and I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I’ve come across a lot of individuals who have taken this wrong step in their lives. Changing your character or attitude, just to prove to someone that you’re a ‘badass’ or a tough guy, is just juvenile. You shouldn’t judge yourself based on most people’s opinion about you because most times, those opinions come from people who often see themselves as being perfect and who often believe every other person should live like they do. Do not attempt to abandon those beautiful attributes you have, just because of someone’s venom. It’s your life and you shouldn’t live to please anybody but GOD. Be your own man and don’t act like a feather on a windy day.  The world doesn’t end with one person, if they don’t like you, it doesn’t mean other people don’t.

Every human being has an emotional weak point, once it is meddled with, this is always the outcome. The way some people treat others, you’d be given the impression that people don’t have feelings. From shouting others down for trivial reasons, to looking them in the eyes while informing them how worthless they are to the world. You think it’s nothing right? Well, I’ve heard of people at the receiving end of such treatments, who have gone on to commit suicide. These things you consider to be minor can cause depression. Just because you ‘have no feelings’ does not mean others don’t. Most people are fond of judging people’s emotional resilience based on their physique. In my life time though, I’ve seen some Arnold Schwarzeneggers breakdown and cry. So don’t assume anybody is strong to withstand the venoms from your words. It is not written on the face hence, it is only wise for one to treat every human with some measure of respect and to choose your words wisely. If what you have to say is the truth, then communicate it with love and kindness, not with insensitivity.
Looking down on people, downplaying their importance, is one act we should desist from. “You’re rich and he isn’t”, “You have a great job and she doesn’t”, “You have a better job and he doesn’t” etc, should not be the basis which should be used by us, when dealing with others. What’s important is this; “Is he/she human?” If yes, then they deserve to be treated with respect. The same level of respect you would wish others to accord you. If you don’t like them doesn’t mean they are any less important than you are. They mere fact that the still breathe, is an evidence that God accepts them the way they are.

Finally, it doesn’t matter whether you need them, just treat everybody right. “If you can’t lift them, don’t drop them.”


(Image source: www.informationng.com)

“Okay, enough of the argument. Always consider Naomi’s future before your pride. We need to leave, the program starts by Six O’clock.” “Whatever,” Yetunde groaned and left to rouse Naomi who was deep in sleep. They all ate a light meal and packed up their bibles. It was indeed going to be great.
“So have you been to the church before?” Yetunde had heard about the church a lot but she never dared to go. She just couldn’t find herself in any church. She had failed God once and he was still punishing her for her sins. “No now. I’m new in town so I haven’t really settled down. Let’s just see what happens, maybe I will worship there.” Eddie smiled at the cab she had just waved down.
“Grace Arena Church,” she yelled to the cab driver and he stooped, looking at the two young women and the baby. He had the perfect set to exploit. He coughed and cleared his throat. “Five hundred naira.” Yetunde was already boiling with anger. Men, always wanting to exploit. “Five hundred what? Did we tell you we want to hire?” The man feigned anger. “Una no sabi the price of fuel for this country? No be Grace Arena Church Along Ore Road?” “Just go…go your way” was all Eddie could utter. No one was going to spoil her mood. Tonight would be all about praising God and giving him beautiful worship.
Calvary hummed his favorite tune as he drove. God was indeed faithful. They had taken months to plan for this program and it was finally coming to pass. He prayed mighty things happened to people—healing, deliverance, salvation of souls. “…and crown him…Lord of all…,” he continued whistling then he slowed down. He had spotted Edidiong from afar. This was the time to ask about the rude young lady. He wasn’t going to be free for weeks. But as he drove closer he saw his little friend in her mother’s arms. So the rude young lady could hold a baby so gently? He mused and horned to get their attention.
Her heart started beating again, just like in his office. She tried to calm herself by shifting to the other side. Why was she behaving this way? Like a shy teenager. Was she shy of him? He stepped out of the car and exchanged pleasantries with Eddie. She tried to look away but she couldn’t. He wore a black denim with a blue coloured shirt and he looked perfect. His dark eyes focusing on her cousin suddenly turned and caught her staring at him. She blinked and quickly looked away.
Calvary felt a little excitement crawl up his spine. Was he mistaken? He had seen admiration in her fiery eyes. Did she like him? He walked towards her and the toddler immediately leaned out and followed him, leaving her mother startled. “What’s the meaning of that? Give me back my baby,” she paused to listen to herself. Was she overeacting? She couldn’t help noticing how Naomi looked quite comfortable in his arms—his strong arms. “Chill, they have met before at the bank,” her cousin scolded.
“My little painter,” he squeezed her cheeks and stared back at the girl’s mother. This was the perfect time to do what the Lord had asked him to do. “Hi, I’m sure you know my name.” She stared at him with disgust. Who did he think he was? Some celebrity? He put out his hand for a handshake but she ignored it and left his hands hanging in the air. Edidiong stepped in. “I’m sorry sir, she’s just in a very bad mood. We were actually hurrying somewhere.”
He raised his brows suspiciously. His secretary could be coning. He stared at the rude young lady. She was going to be very difficult to please.  “What’s your name? At least tell me that,” he continued as she jerked Naomi out his arms. He felt hurt. “Yetunde Peters,” Edidiong chipped in, receiving a murderous glare from Yetunde. “Sir, we really need to go,” Eddie continued but he just smiled and it left her confused. Which man smiled in the face of embarrassment? “Where are you off to? I can drop you,” he offered kindly.
“Sir we are going to Ore road but you don’t have to stress yourself…” he opened the car door and smiled. “I insist.” As they both turned, Yetunde had already waved a cab and stepped into it. Edidiong shook her head. Typical.  “I’m sorry sir, she’s a very nice person. She has just been in a bad place lately. He nodded and started the car. “It’s okay,” but it wasn’t okay. The young woman—Yetunde hated him obviously but he couldn’t blame her. He had broken her car light. Wait, could that have been the reason she wasn’t driving? He wondered and hoped not. He had to find a way and appease her.
Yetunde was so furious with her cousin. How could she be on Calvary’s side? She ignored Naomi who tried plucking her lashes again. “You too, you had his back,” but the toddler didn’t understand. She closed her eyes and saw the kindness in his eyes as he played with her daughter. She needed a father but Femi had asked her to abort the pregnancy. She sighed. Could she ever love again? She had vowed never to trust any man, she would work hard and take good care of her daughter.
The abrupt halt of the cab brought her back to reality. She quickly paid the driver and walked towards the massive building. The area was filled with so many cars and people and she felt lost for a moment. She really needed to find her cousin. She wasn’t familiar with this place…she suddenly regretted her actions…they had to stick together in this crowd. And what annoyed her most was the poor network. “Lord I need you,” she whispered and moved forward.
“Welcome,” an usher greeted politely and she was led into the auditorium. She smiled happily; the turnout wasn’t that explosive yet. She had to pick the best seat. Luckily for her, Edidiong called. “Where are you?”She gave her directions and in no time, they were together. An aura of joy saturated the whole auditorium. “Momma…pee….,” Naomi complained and she knew what that meant. “Take care of our seats,” she instructed Eddie as she left.
Edidiong carefully placed their bibles on the empty seats next to her. Her cousin was really dramatic. Her behavior towards Mr. Calvary was quite childish and she would call her to order later. Although Calvary had hurt her and embarrassed her but he was truly sorry. She could see the remorse in his eyes but her cousin was blind to that. She looked around once more just to get their coordinates so they could know the way out as they hadn’t planned on staying to the end but her heart stopped for a minute; she blinked her eyes to be sure of what she had seen. No, it couldn’t be, not here and not right now.
She saw him smiling and speaking to an usher then he walked out like he was hurrying somewhere. It couldn’t be! She had to get her cousin out of the place. It was Femi.