Shola was seated in her room. Thomas had promised to join her later. He had excos’ post-meeting after service. She had enjoyed the service. It was a conservative setting but the love in the air was palpable. When the President, Pastor Lekan, mounted the pulpit, she had felt a strange sensation in her body and she hadn’t been able to explain why. It was after the sermon that she understood what was happening.
The young man was truly anointed and God had given him a word in season. He didn’t preach from his notes; but from his heart, being led by God. It was as if he had grown up with her right from the childhood to the present moment. His sermon was titled ‘Return to your first love’.
He reminded the congregation that God was still waiting with outstretched arms, calling unto His children who’d run away from home, still seeking his lost sheep, wanting to bring them back to safety. In concluding his sermon, he had said “God has never and will never get tired of you; He will never give up on you. No matter how hard you’ve fallen or how deep you’re stooped in sin, Jesus is waiting and calling you back home. He can make all things new and sweet again. He’s saying ‘My dear child, return to me, your first love’”
With that, he made an altar-call. Shola, who wouldn’t have given it a thought on another day, was the first to come out. She really didn’t mind the publicity; she was used to being stared at. She walked up front, knelt down before the altar and was soon joined by others.
After leading them in the sinner’s prayer, Pastor Lekan told them to open their eyes and follow the young man to their right. By the time she opened her eyes and looked right, it was Thomas standing there; ready to lead the new converts to the counseling room. He smiled at her. She smiled back, and looked down. She was surprised at herself. When last had she been shy? ‘This God really has what it takes to make me a child again’ she thought as she was ushered out for counseling.
Resting her back on her pillow, Shola felt her heart would burst. She felt so relieved and happy for the first time after many years. ‘See what I’ve been trading for doctored grades and status all this while. Shola, how silly could you possibly be?’ she chided herself but rejoiced in the fact that it was never too late to start again.
As she was about to flip through the new bible she was given at fellowship, her phone rang. She looked at her phone and saw a number she didn’t know. She picked the call. “Hello”
“I heard you have found God!”
“Please who’s this?”
“You think He can help you?” she soon recognized the voice; Professor Toriola’s. She didn’t answer him. “Alhaji was very upset yesterday and decided that if I wasn’t man enough to bring you I couldn’t have the loan.”
“I’m sorry”, she said.
“Oh! Don’t be sorry yet”, he said picking his words deliberately. That’s what he did when he was angry. “I want you to know that by the end of this semester, you’ll be on your way out of this campus with a paralyzed GP”
“Prof, I’m sorry, please…”
“I thought you had some sense. You’re a fool; a big fool” He cut the line.
Shola was shocked. She had expected it but the reality was still hard to bear. She knew Professor Toriola well enough to know that he said only what he meant and he was capable of doing it. ‘This cannot be happening to me. God, what do I do now? Is this the price I pay for following you?’
‘I will surprise you’
Shola looked around. Who said that? She had never heard God’s voice before but she was now so sure this was His voice. Tears of relief flooded her eyes. ‘Thank you for speaking to my heart. I don’t know what you have in store but I’ll wait and see. Whatever happens, I’ll trust you Lord. And please, let that post-meeting finish early, I need Thomas right now!’
FAJUYI HALL, OAU, ILE-IFE (SUNDAY 29TH APRIL, 2007)
There was a knock on the door and Bayo went to open up.
“Hey Bayo! Good to see you! I’ve missed you!” Amaka said as she hugged Bayo and clung to him. “I’ve missed you”
“I’ve missed you too baby”
She stepped and walked over to his bed and sat down. “When did you arrive on campus?”
“About 7:30 tonight.”
“Hope you had fun, Moni?”
Amaka was stunned. ‘Who is Moni?’ After a brief thought, she dismissed it. She had probably heard wrong. “Didn’t really have fun.” she said, “couldn’t be the same without you around.”
“I’m really tired tonight and need to sleep”
“Are you sending me away?” she asked.
“I could never do that” Bayo said. Amaka touched his shoulder and smiled at him but noticed he was distracted. She squeezed his shoulder and bent forward to kiss him. “Stop Moni! I’m not in the mood!”
Amaka recoiled. “Who is Moni?”
Bayo was caught off-guard. “I don’t understand. Where… what… who is Moni?” he managed to ask.
“I should be asking you”
“I don’t know anyone by that name.”
“She must be so close and intimate with you that you didn’t even realize you were calling me Moni. She’s on your mind, right?”
“Oh! There’s one Moni that sells…”
“Don’t give me that crap, Bayo.” Amaka said, standing up. “You’ve taken me for a fool so far because I really like you, but Bayo, I’m about to show you that it’s not every girl you can use and dump.” She paused. “When I’m through with you, you’ll wish you never ever opened any girl’s laps”. With that she stumped out of his room. She didn’t even bother asking about his penchant for deflowering virgins as she had agreed with Zainab that she would do. His betrayal was enough for one night.
Bayo dismissed her words; it wasn’t the first time a girl would shout empty threats at him. Little did he know that Amaka’s threat was nothing close to empty.
LAGOS (SUNDAY 29TH APRIL, 2007)
Moni sat on her bed and couldn’t think of anything else. She had wanted to know what sex was like and who better with than with Bayo. But now, she was overcome with guilt and fear; the fear more than the guilt. She couldn’t explain why but she was having this feeling that she had only had twice prior to this time. A feeling of foreboding that something bad was about to happen.
She recalled that disaster had ensued on those two occasions. One was the death of her younger brother; she had felt it before it happened. The second was the fire-outbreak in Royal College two years back that claimed two students’ lives. Now, she had another foreboding. And no matter what she had tried to do to avert the first two, they had come to pass. She couldn’t stomach the fear that gnawed at her. The foreboding had come over her when she stepped back into the hostel after the Visiting Day hours were over.
She buried her head in her pillow and began to cry, then sob, then jerk, then scream, still shedding tears. It was too much to bear. She had the premonition that she was going to die, and the whole episode would start when she discovered in a month’s time that she was pregnant. ‘Please God; don’t let this happen to me. I’m too young to die!’ she cried, the tears unstoppable, her heart broken and her spirit shattered.
Chief and Mrs. Okposu walked into the hospital with Michael following behind. The moment they got home from visiting Pearl, they had been told their house help, Kafayat, had fallen while mopping the floor and had been rushed to the hospital. When they got to the hospital, the doctor called Chief and his wife into his office.
“Your aide is fine and is resting now, but I have bad news for you!” the doctor said.
“What is it?” Chief Okposu asked.
“She’s a month pregnant”
“What! Who? How?” Pearl’s mother exclaimed and asked.
“She hasn’t told us who is responsible yet” the doctor stated.
Mrs. Okposu started rambling on what she would do the girl when she awoke. Chief on the other hand was too stunned to speak. He hoped his wife would mistake his silence for shock.
‘What kind of cruel joke is this, just when I had decided to stop’ he thought to himself. ‘But come to think of it, it can’t be me. It can’t be me.’ He thought some more. ‘If I’m responsible, then I will have a child of my own; it doesn’t matter who the mother is, but that would ruin my marriage. But if the baby is not mine as I expect, then it means Kafy has been sleeping around and I could have contracted an STI or AIDS.’ The thought was too much to bear. ‘Pearl, I really hope you’re praying. I need your prayers desperately now.’
…TO BE CONTINUED NEXT EDITION. Please remember to subscribe if you haven’t, so you could receive the next edition. Only subscribers would be receiving editions on a regular basis. Don’t forget either that subscription for this magazine is free. All it costs you is either browsing time or a postage stamp!!! See ‘Free Subscription’ for details.)
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