Stanley sat on his bed, breathing heavily. He flashed his torch at his wrist watch. It was a few minutes to five. He had dreamt that he had been sent away from the conference. He never knew anything could scare him so much. He never knew he could feel so much fear. He knew what Utibe, who broke his nose, could do. He could only hope for the best.
He had been able to breathe a sigh of relief the previous night when he hadn’t been summoned throughout the day. He had made it through one day. It was the dream that had re-awakened his fears.
He shook his head in disgust at himself. “I should just have left that girl alone. Now, I can’t even seem to find the confidence to have any other girl before I leave this conference.” He talked to himself. “Stanley you be big fool o!”
He wondered how he hadn’t walked into either Utibe or Shade the previous day but he was glad he hadn’t. His real self was beginning to surface. He looked very hard and daring on the outside but deep within him, He knew he was a brat; a very scared one at that.
But as he played thoughts over in his mind, an idea came to him. ‘If I go to Utibe and Shade and apologise for what I did, it could get them to think I’ve come to my sense. They would forgive me and take their eyes off me. With that, I might be free to still get a few willing girls this time.’ He thought to himself.
He smiled. ‘Stanley, you’re smart!’ he praised himself. His only regret now was that with the way things seemed, it was impossible for him to have Tunbosun again. He was so sure that desire was insatiable. “You’re very lucky Tunbosun”, he said to himself as he stood up from his bed.
The room was still dark; lights had not been put on yet. Uche could tell the whistle would soon sound. He sincerely didn’t know whether or not to be happy that the whistle would go soon. He hadn’t been able to sleep well through the night; that part of him wanted the day to start.
But he didn’t look forward to going into the day either; that part of him resented the idea. He turned on his side and stared into the blackness around him. He hadn’t imagined things would turn out like this. If anyone had prophesied this outcome, he would have laughed the fellow to scorn. He had been so sure.
He had had no doubts that Fatima was going to give him a resounding yes. But she hadn’t, and his little world was beginning to crumble. He wondered why her refusal was bringing him so much unease. It was then he realized that he had put his mind so much a getting a positive answer and he had tied his happiness hence to being with Fatima.
With that thrown out of the door now, he was left with little or nothing to look forward to for the remaining six days of the conference. He thought about the meeting that would be holding that night. He managed a smile; it would sure be another great time, but he doubted he would be able to attend it. He suddenly felt depressed. Fatima had brought life into his dull life in the few days they had met, and now, she had just sent him back to the hole where he had crawled out from.
He tried to replay the reasons she gave for saying no. he desperately wanted to see reason with her and accept it amicably but it seemed too much a task for his hurting heart to do. He would have prayed about it, as Fatima was sure to have suggested, had he been worried about another girl, but he wondered if God wouldn’t take sides with Fatima; His devout and faithful daughter.
The whistle sounded. He tossed once again. In this state he was most vulnerable. He knew it so well. And as if confirming his fears, a picture came into his mind. He wondered what on earth made him think in that direction but he didn’t push the thought away. It was a welcome distraction.
As the lights came on in his room, the image he had on his mind was that of a beautiful girl. If Fatima had rejected him, at least there was actually someone that wanted him. Hadn’t Fatima herself said that the girl liked him?
Uche sat up on his bed. And he was then able to smile for the first time in eight hours. He was going to make friends with the girl that had been stalking him since; he was sure she would look for him again, and when she did this time, he would be waiting and available.
The morning seemed the most beautiful she had seen in a long time. It was her first time in a long while waking up with a broad smile on her face. Christiana was indeed giddy with excitement. She couldn’t wait to hear the whistle. She had just heard it and she was already up. She hurried to the bathroom. She didn’t have one minute to lose.
She was going to be the first person that Igbo chap would see. She knew if she waited a moment longer, he might come to his senses quickly especially if the first person he saw was that his Hausa friend. They might be able to talk things out. She wasn’t going to let that happen.
She had wondered how she would get the stubborn boy who had refused to give her a second look but here was her chance, and she wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world. She would even spice herself up for him. Opportunities like this only came once and if she knew anything about herself, she knew she never missed opportunities that came her way.
Fatima had grown to conquer fear but this fear seemed insurmountable. She was afraid Uche wasn’t spiritually mature enough to handle what she had told him the night before. She fretted that he would do something stupid; react in a wrong way.
Uncomfortable with her worries, she eased herself unto her knees and talked to God about the whole issue. She also thanked Him for the success of the meeting and asked that He did greater with each meeting.
When she was done praying, she opened her eyes and picked her bible. She was already feeling at ease. ‘There is so much power in talking to God and casting my cares on Him’, she thought to herself. She didn’t know how things would work out, especially with her friend Uche, but she knew God was still in control of all things. And that was enough comfort for her.
Faith was beginning to have more revelations about different people and she prayed for them as God revealed things to her. Her dreams had been full of them too; she saw the pains and struggles many were going through, she also saw the joys and successes of others. It was a rare gift and she was grateful for it. Her prayer was that she wouldn’t fail God, the giver of the gift. She longed to use it properly for His glory, and nothing less.
Out of all the revelations she had, the one that still bothered her most was George’s. The last revelation she had of him was scary. He had been walking down a steep road, with his eyes open; but they were not actually seeing; he was like he had been hypnotized. She was still wondering what the whole thing was about when she looked ahead and saw a very deep gully ahead. If George walked into it, he was never going to make it out again.
She had prayed for him immediately but knew beyond doubts that she needed to talk with him. She hoped he wouldn’t push her away as he did the previous night.
As she exited the bathroom, on her way back to the room, Tara heard someone greet her. She turned and waved back.
“Thank you for yesterday”, the girl said.
“You’re welcome”, she replied. “Hope we’ll see you today?”
“Yes”, the girl said with a smile.
Tara smiled back and kept walking. The girl was one of the girls that had waited behind to talk with her after the meeting yester night. Tara had been so thrilled to know that her story had set some girls free; girls that had also been carrying the guilt of having abortions.
This particular girl that greeted her had surprised Tara when she started sharing her experiences. Mere looking at her, Tara would have concluded that she was the child of a pastor and even a pastor herself. She looked so holy.
Tara smiled. It’s never about the looks. By the time the girl concluded her story, both counselor and counselee had been crying. She had had to call Faith to join them, knowing Faith had a similar past and they both prayed for the girl. Tara knew the girl still had a long way to go in healing because of the many things she had gotten involved in, but she was happy the girl was getting back up.
She was pleased she was being used of God to bring joy to lives. She only hoped and prayed that she would not mess up in the process.
“Oh boy, it almost seems like ages since we last saw.” Utibe was telling Okpara who walked into his room to say hi.
“I know. I needed some time to get my life together, after walking away from Stanley”
“I feel you. I needed same.” Utibe paused. He wondered whether or not to tell Okpara what Stanley had tried to do to Shade. He decided not to. It was uncalled for.
“Have you seen the wounds on Stanley’s face?” Okpara asked.
“I haven’t seen him since day before yesterday”, Utibe said, avoiding answering the question yet ensuring he didn’t lie.
“You should see him” Okpara said, trying to suppress a smile. “He is a sore sight.”
Utibe hadn’t seen the extent of the damage he had done to Stanley’s face two nights back. It had been dark and he had hit the guy blindly at force full. He didn’t look forward to seeing the guy either; he was sure he wouldn’t be proud of what he had done. He decided he needed to change the topic.
“You want to know what I have been doing since I cut off from Stanley?” Utibe asked Okpara.
“Hanging around your chic, of course”, Okpara teased.
“Be serious for once”. Utibe smiled. “Apart from hanging around my friend, not my c-h-i-c” Utibe emphasized, “I have found a new set of friends that are superb. They had a meeting yesterday and I tell you, it was da bomb.” Utibe ensured he didn’t mention it was a Christian gathering; he didn’t want Okpara to know just yet. If he knew, Okpara would most likely decline.
“You should come today; we’ll be meeting immediately after dinner”
“Hope they are interesting guys?” Okpara asked, doubtful.
“Yes they are. Deal?”
“Let’s go for the briefing.” Utibe said and walked with his friend out of the room. He hoped Okpara would find Jesus as he had. His friend sure needed God.