CHICKEN PLAZA, OAU, ILE-IFE (FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST, 2007)
Shola was speechless. She stared at Thomas who was sitting opposite her; waiting. Her eyes filled. She had always thanked God for this great friendship and blessed God for bringing Thomas into her life. She had always eyed one Sis Emilia as the lady Thomas would ask out. Emilia was what she wished for someone like Thomas. She was beautiful, simple, spiritual, caring, pure, innocent and more. Her CV was simply impeccable.
Shola had felt jealous at some point when she saw Emilia try to get close to him but reminded herself that she wasn’t Thomas’s type; was soiled and meant to be a friend and nothing more. She desired more than friendship with this guy that had won her heart totally in four months. She had wondered hard what her life would be like when he started dating someone else. She only reminded herself at those times, that she still had God.
And now the same Thomas had just proposed to her. She was speechless. Her eyes filled. ‘God, this is too much’. She looked at him, smiled and nodded without words.
He smiled back and placed his hand on hers. “I need to hear something, Shola.”
“Yes, Thomas. Yes. I would love to spend the rest of my life knowing and loving you.” The tears spilled down now. He kept a hand on Shola’s and reached out with the other to wipe at her tears.
“Thank you dear. Together, we will win!”
Shola nodded, again unable to talk pass the lump in her throat. Thomas reflected and was grateful to God for this gift. He had known for a while that Shola was to be his fiancée but even then she wasn’t born-again. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to God. He had told God in his 200level that he didn’t want to leave OAU ‘empty-handed’, and now one day to becoming a final year student of Economics, God had blessed him with the most beautiful, teachable, intelligent and well-spirited lady he’d ever met.
Looking into her eyes, he said the words he’d never told any other female apart from his mum. “I love you” It was barely above a whisper.
“I love you too” her voice was hoarse – emotion laden. They were a very rare combination but she was so sure God was with them and things would work out great.
After the romantic air simmered down a bit, they picked up from where they had left up. “Congrats dear, you’re now a 400-level law student. Should have said that earlier but had to get this thing off my mind.”
Shola smiled. “I understand. Thanks. Congrats to you too, FYB.”
“I have looked forward to it badly”
“I’ll miss you when you leave school”
“Easy now! We still have one session to spend together.”
“I know” she said.
“It’ll be the best session for both of us, ever”
“I believe so too, Thomas” She paused. “I’ll miss you during this break”
“I’ll miss you too but we’ll speak on phone and since we both live in Lagos, though quite far from each other, we should see each other quite often.”
She shook her head like a child. “It won’t be the same”
“I know, but we’ll make do.” There was a pause as they held hands across the table. “We should travel to Lagos immediately after my paper tomorrow, right?”
“Yes. Dad said he’ll send the driver and I told him a friend would be coming with me and he agreed”
“Thanks” Thomas said.
“Can we seal our special day with a prayer?”
“Sure. Please do the honours.”
With that, they committed their newly budding romance to the hands of the One who Himself instituted romance and asked Him to lead them through. Thomas’s emphasis was that God would help them to fulfill purpose together and that He would keep them undefiled in the relationship until their wedding night.
Shola said Amen and entrusted her heart to the two people in world she’d grown to cherish most in the last four months; God and Thomas Baderin.
LAGOS STATE (FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST, 2007)
Pearl couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was awfully wrong with Moni. She hadn’t seen a need to press Moni further to come on the trip. She had lived with Moni for years and knew when to let her be; this was one of those times. She knew there was one more thing she could offer her friend that would go a very long way in being a blessing to her.
She went on her knees and began praying for her friend. She started praying for Moni’s health, admission, family but wasn’t flowing. At a point, she began praying for the salvation of Moni’s soul and it was like she had hit the jackpot. Grace was poured on her as she prayed. A passion, like she hadn’t felt in a long time, consumed her and she prayed for Moni with every bit of strength in her.
Before she knew it, she was on the floor. Soon, she was praying in the spirit. When she felt God’s peace, she rose up and discovered she was soaked in sweat and she had tears on her cheeks. She felt a deep sense of peace that it was well with her friend. With that, she went to the shower to get refreshed.
“Adetumi, it’s almost midnight. Have you finished packing?” Sunbo yelled from the living room.
“I’m almost through.”
“Adeolu, what about you?”
“I’m making progress”
Sunbo walked over to her sister’s room and peeped in. “Do you need help?”
“Won’t mind. Thanks sis.”
Sunbo walked in and helped her sister pack. Her parents had been in the UK for four years running. They had called Sunbo last week to tell her that she and her siblings were all to come over, permanently. Fortunately for them, they were all under 18years.
The timing couldn’t have been better either. Sunbo had finished secondary school the year before and wasn’t in the university yet. Adeolu had just finished his junior WAEC and was moving to senior school. Adetumi, the last born, had just completed her primary 5 and was moving to secondary school. They were all going to pick up from where they stopped in Nigeria without losing a year.
Sunbo looked back at her life in Nigeria and could only conclude that God had been very good to her. She’d heard that it was easy to get wayward and forget God when you travel abroad, so she made a solemn promise to God that she won’t make the mistake others had made. ‘Lord, I will serve you till the end. You’ve been too good for me to turn my back on you wherever I go. You are my identity Lord. I can’t live without You’. That had been her prayer to God during the week as she prepared to travel.
In the cause of the week too, she’d done a mental analysis of those she needed to inform she was traveling. She had called them to say bye. It was as she was helping Adetumi pack that she remembered that there was yet another person. Bayo! She excused herself and went to the living room. She picked her phone and reclined on the sofa.
“Hey Bayo, watsup?”
“Who’s this?” a groggy voice said.
“Sunbo. I’m sorry for waking you”
“Watsup?” an indifferent voice asked, not the usual excited Bayo.
“I’m good. Just wanted to tell you that I’ll be traveling to join my family in the UK tomorrow.”
“Wow, that’s great news” he sounded more like himself now. “Will miss you over here” he said, sincerely. They had been friends before secondary school dating and sex ruined it all.
“Will miss you too.” Sunbo said. There was a pause. “There’s something I still desperately need you to do for me, Bayo”
“And what’s that?”
“Please Bayo”, Sunbo said, picking her words deliberately. “Give your heart over to Jesus. He really loves you and can make a great guy out of you.”
“Sunbo, please not tonight!”
“Tonight is the best time, my friend. Jesus loves you and is waiting. Don’t postpone it!”
“Okay. I’ll think about it!”
“Promise?” Sunbo pleaded.
“Promise. I mean it this time. I’ll think about it.”
“Thanks, Bayo. This means a lot to me. I can’t bear the thought of missing you in heaven if Jesus was to come now or if anything was to happen to either of us.”
“Don’t be silly Sunbo” Bayo scoffed. We’re too young to die”
“Death is not for…”
“I know what I’m talking about, we can’t die now. There’s still so much to enjoy in life” he said, interrupting her.
“But you’ll think…”
“Yes I will”, he said, interjecting again. “Say me well to Tumi, my sweetheart.”
“I will. Be good. God bless you friend.”
“Amen, Good night” Bayo said, obviously eager to go back to bed.
“Good night.” Sunbo said as she pressed the red button on her mobile phone. She said a silent prayer for her friend, believing for his salvation. She then rose and went to her sister’s room. “I’m through sis”
“You sure?” Sunbo said as she scanned the room for unpacked, relevant things. “Guess we’re good to go then?”
“Yes sis. Can I watch Hannah Montana?”
“You should be sleeping, Tumi”
“We’ll have all day to sleep in the plane” a male voice said. Sunbo looked up and saw Adeolu walking toward them.
Tumi hurried to the TV, with Adeolu calling behind her “I’m watching Super Sports after Hannah Montana”
“Whatever!” Adetumi said.
Sunbo just watched her siblings and thanked God for the grace He had given her to take care of them in the absence of their parents. “By the way, Tumi, Bayo said I should say hi” her sister nodded absent-mindedly. As Sunbo lay on the sofa, drifting into sleep, she heard a now familiar voice that filled her heart with indescribable joy. ‘I will go with you and bless you. You will please me in all things. You will find a man after my heart, together with whom you’ll fulfill purpose.’ And as if on purpose, the voice waited a while. ‘And you’ll have children; I promise you!’
Sunbo couldn’t contain it, she rolled over to her knees, the tears flowing as her heart soared in gratitude to the God she’d met who’d never ceased to trip her and to make her joy full. After pouring her heart of thanks to God, oblivious of her siblings watching TV, she stood to search for her dairy; she wasn’t going to let a word slip her mind until she had written everything God said down. ‘Thank you Jesus’ she said as she unzipped her handbag, pulled put her dairy and started scribbling.