STORY SERIES: IBADAN CHANGED MY LIFE EPP 11

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I cried so hard. I didn't know exactly why I was crying. All I knew was that I felt very sober. Very sober about everything I had ever done or said. Bola helped me up. I couldn't look at Pastor John's face. I simply hid my face behind Bola's shoulders.


          'Sister Harriet', Pastor John finally said. 'I will like you to see Sister Mary at the counselling unit'

          'No! I want to go home', I said almost immediately.

          'Harriet!', Bola exclaimed. 'Why do you keep running away from God? Is there something you aren't telling us?'

I remained silent for a few seconds before replying.

          'Nothing. I just want to go home. I feel sick. I want to rest'

          'The counselling won't take much of your time, Sister Harriet. I want you to know that our Father loves you and would be very happy if you give him a chance', Pastor John said.

Bola led the way to the counselling unit. She had to wait outside while I entered. The counselor was an aged woman. She was very pleasant. She prayed with me and told me so many stories about how she lived when she was much younger. The mistakes, the regrets, the pain and how she finally found God in her late 50s when her strength has waned. She talked to me about the Love of God and the Grace of God. She talked to me about Christ's death and resurrection and the purpose of salvation. She talked to me about rapture and events to come. She pleaded with me to give Jesus a chance in my life. I was very convinced and accepted her plea. We prayed together and I gave my life to Christ. I wrote my name and number in a book and she promised to keep in touch.

Neither of us talked as we walked back to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, we faced ourselves in silence.

          'I'm sorry about today', I told Bola.

She reached out to me and gave me a light hug.

          'You don't need to be', she said. 'I have to go now. We'll talk on phone'

I watched her leave. There was something about her that I couldn't understand. She held onto me tightly and had so much hope for me but I couldn't fathom why.

When I got to my hotel room, I searched for my Bible and began reading it. I could barely understand the words in it. I closed it back and kept it close to my pillow.

          'Lord Jesus', I prayed. 'I know you can hear me. I feel you are here with me because you are omnipresent. I know I've not been a good person all my life but still the counselor said you love me so much notwithstanding. Bola even said you haven't condemned me. I don't understand and I don't know why but all I want you to know is that I need you so much. I need you badly and I'm ready to give you a chance and...'

My phone began to ring.

          'Ugh! Doesn't this person know that I'm praying?', I said as I answered the call. 'Hello?'

          'Hi', the person said. The voice sounded familiar.

          'Who is this please?', I asked impatiently.

          'Guess'

          'Please I don't have time for games. Who is this?'

          'Slow down, ma'am. Okay. It's Akinola'

I pulled the phone down immediately. Akinola? How did he get my number? I hadn't called him yet so how did he get my number? I carried the phone up again.

          'Oka...ay. How did you get my number?', I asked.

           'I thought you would ask about my welfare first', he replied

I sighed. 'Akinola, I was in the middle of prayers when you called. I would appreciate if you make this really snappy'

          'Wow. Prayers. You are the religious type, hun?'

I really never liked people who behaved too religious and now that Akin thought I was, I didn't like it either.

          'Nope. I'm not. A little prayer won't hurt. Will it?'

          'Never. I just called to check on you anyway'

I scratched my head. 'Thanks. You've not told me how you got my number though'

He laughed.

          'I'll tell you that on our first date' Where would you like?'

          'Date? Where I would like? I never agreed to us going out in the first place'

          'Now, I'm proposing. We could talk over drinks. I would like somewhere serene. Maybe Agodi Gardens'

          'Hmmm. Where is that?'

          'It's somewhere around Agodi Gate. I understand you are a newbie here. I would make it easy for you. Where's your office?'

          'Ring Road'

          'Okay. Do you know The Palms?'

I smiled. 'Very well. It's very close to my office'

          'That would make it easier. I would wait for you at The Palms. Tomorrow. 6pm. Would that be okay for you?'

          'I still haven't agreed to your date though. But if you insist, it's a deal then'

          'Great. Let me leave you now to continue your prayers and please, say a word of prayer to God for me. Okay?'

          'Bye', I said and hung up.

Did I really sound so religious? I laid back on my bed and my mind traveled back to the Church scene. I soon fell asleep.

Monday came quickly. Toba arrived quite late to pick me. He complained that he was quite sick and needed to take some days off. I was quite pissed but I let him anyway. I collected the car keys and gave him some money to fend for himself aside from the company's free medical he would be entitled to. I drove myself to the office and when I arrived, I got the surprise of my life. Seun, my flatmate back in Lagos was in my office. I screamed so hard out of excitement as we hugged ourselves.

          'Babe, you just forgot us ehn. It no even be like say you dey PH or Abuja o. Just ordinary Ibadan and you come forget us. If to say na UK them come carry you last last, omo, you go disown us', she said

          'No be like that ooo. Seriously, work has been tedious. I've been working so hard ever since I arrived here and I've had little time for myself. I even fell sick at a point. I've not even had time to call anyone in Lagos. No vex ehn'

          'I vex small sha', she said and laughed. 'How is everything now?'

          'Everything is fine o, my sister. How is Lagos?'

          'Well, we are pushing it o.'

          'No No No. You should say, we are triumphant'

She pulled back and starred at me for a while before bursting into laughter.

           'What?', I asked wondering why she was laughing.

           'Abeg, which one be triumphant for the matter so?'

I smiled. 'Na one of my friend dey always talk am ni jare.'

           'Ehen. As you don reach Ibadan so, you don get new best friend. You don finally forget me abi?'

           'Haba. No be so na. At least, I should have someone I can talk to here since you are a bit far. Besides, as Christians, we are supposed to speak positive things at all times'

          'E-Hey!!! Positive things kwa! You don born again ni or wetin happen?'

I sighed. 'Babe, na long story. Well, something like that sha.'

She scoffed. 'Hmm. Sha no allow all these church people colonize your sense. Use your head! That's why you've got brain. In other words, you don't party here in Ibadan. No outing. Nothing.'

          'Babe, no even remind me. I no too sabi this place. From work to hotel to Church. Nowhere else. I don go one club like that for Molete sef'

          'Chai. See the name sef. Molete' Seun said with a cynical look.

          'Haba. Babe forget o. This Ibadan no bad like that. Na we just dey assume am. At least I don spend almost 3 months here. This place is really cool. The same thing applies to the people. I'm really enjoying my stay here. All those things wey we dey hear about Ibadan that time na pure fallacy. Ibadan na happening town o. Just that the experience wey I get for one foolish guy hand too bad'

          'Ehen. Wetin happen?'

I told her about Timi and talked extensively about my experience. She felt really sorry for me.

           'Well, I thank God I survived. That's the most important thing. When there is life, my sister, there is enough hope. I'm being careful now.', I said.

          'Hmmm. It is well. just be very careful o. You know they said Ibadan is full of bad people. Be very careful'

          'No No No. Don't even say that. Don't go there. Ibadan is not full of bad people. Don't generalize. They are very cool and hospitable people. This could happen to anyone and anywhere, even abroad. There is nothing new under the sun. Wasn't it in Lagos that Amaka got killed by a guy she met at the club? Does that mean that Lagos is full of bad people? The fact that one egg is bad in the basket doesn't mean all other eggs in it are bad as well'

          'Nawa o. Ibadan Supporter's club. Don't worry. I go gist our other flat mates when I reach Lagos say them don employ you to dey support Ibadan'

I laughed. 'On a more serious note, it's not like I'm supporting Ibadan or anything. I'm simply telling you the obvious and the hard truth'

          'Okay o. I hear you. So how far na? Any guy on the line?', she asked and winked.

I sighed heavily. 'My sister, no single guy o. My life here has been built around work. My mom isn't helping matters. She's been on my neck and I've totally ignored her calls since I got here. You know how hard it is for a working class boss lady to find a guy. And then, you drive a car again. No guy is ready to approach. I even thought the Timi guy would be a potential suitor but instead, he was a traitor'

Seun hissed. 'Forget that fool jor. So, you mean in the whole of Ibadan, no sensible guy has discovered my hot friend?'

I sighed. 'Well. There is another guy sha'

          'Ehen! Now you are talking', she said and I bursted into laughter.

          'Seun, you won't kill me. Anyway, this particular guy is very hot. As hot as any hollywood actor you can think of'

          'Brad Pitt?'

          'Eew! What's fine in that one? I'm talking about someone as hot as Idris Elba!'

          'What?! He must be fire then. Tell me more'

          'Well, the bad news is that he is a waiter. He works as a waiter in my hotel's restaurant'

Seun eyed me for a second. 'Babe, tell me you are joking. Why you want fall my hand na? Waiter kwa? What happened to your rich suitor hunt? You, a company manager with an ordinary church rat of a waiter. Haba. Which kind equation be that na?'

           'Seun, I'm 27. I'm not growing younger o. I think I really need to slow down on this rich suitor search o. What have the ones I have found offered me? Fred that I met at Genius Club in Ikoyi and I dated for three years, did he marry me? Was it not before my eyes that he married one banker? Ekenne that I dated for one year because he is the son of an ex - senator. What did I get? Didn't he dump me suddenly after giving him my body and time and then he went on to propose to his South African babe. The annoying thing is that the media carried the news like it's one special event. Now, Timi that I met here. What did he offer me? Drugged my senses and raped the hell out of me. Are all these not saying something?'

Seun was silent for a minute.

          'Babe, I'm sorry about your experience. But if I were you, I won't date a broke guy at 27. I can't come and suffer in this life. Let's forget about you. Let's talk about me. I came all the way from Lagos to tell you that Cynthia is getting married in 2 weeks'

          'It's a lie! Which cynthia?'

          'Which other cynthia? Our flat mate of course. Cynthia go club go flex and her luck meet the cousin of the ex - president's son. Within 3 months, he proposed and now, they are getting married. It's been all over the news. You no dey read news and blog again?'

           'Wow! I dey tell you, I've not even had that time. I'm super happy for her! It's unbelievable. Cynthia wey we dey look down on say she don sleep with every guy for Genius club and she no fit see better husband marry'

          'Naso we see am. Cynthia don engage o. Aso - Ebi na 300k sha and I came with your own invitation card that you will show on entry because the security would be very tight'

           'E-Hey! See life! If anyone tell me say Cynthia go first me marry, I go say na lie'

          'Same here o. But shit happens, you know'

I and Seun talked for another one hour before she decided to leave. I thought she was going to spend the night in Ibadan but she insisted on leaving the same day. When I got back to my office, I became less productive. My head was filled with thoughts about Cynthia getting married. She was just 25. The youngest of us all and was a serious runs girl in Lagos. Now, she's the luckiest. I started wishing it was me getting married. I looked up at the ceiling.

           'Lord Jesus, I know we are now friends. And as a christian, I'm not supposed to go clubbing. But look at cynthia's case. The most useless is now getting married. I don't think I would be able to give up everything. A little compromise won't hurt. Would it?'

When it was 6pm, my alarm rang. It was time to meet with Akinola. I shut down my system, went round the office to check on others before leaving finally. I drove down to The Palms and found a convenient space to park. I entered the mall and placed a call to Akinola immediately. His phone was still ringing when I heard someone call me. I turned to see who it was. It was Akinola.

           'Oh, Hi', I said, feeling nervous.

          'You look beautiful', he said with his very cute smile.

I pushed my hair to the back shyly. 'Thanks. I was just calling you.'

          'I know. What do you think about we seeing a movie here rather than going to Agodi Gardens?'

          'No problem. That would be fine by me', I said.

          'Great', he said. 'Do you mind if I hold your hands?'

          'I...I don't mind', I said.

He walked closer and the smell of his perfume became stronger. Such nice scent! He held my hands and walked me over to ColdStone Ice Cream stand. He was very tall and I was just the height of his shoulders. He looked really good in his Jeans and polo. He also had a nice face cap on.

          'Two cups please', he said.

We sat down with our Ice - Cream. It tasted too good to be true. I'd heard a lot about ColdStone but never had time to patronize. Now, I understand the hype behind it.

          'You like it?', he asked, still maintaining his cute smile.

          'It's really good and tasty', I said and took another scoop.

          'It's my favorite brand. Besides, I like your hair', he complimented and helped push back a strand that was falling onto my face.

          'Thanks. It's really old already. I'm planning to change it soon'

          'You think so? It still looks good to me. But if you still want to change it, it's no problem', he said.

He talked like a pure gentleman. I felt at peace around him. When we were done with our Ice Cream, we went over to the cinema to get our tickets to watch Boss Baby. It was due by 7:15pm. He got Pop - Corn and plastic coke for the both of us before we went in. He held my hands as we found a seat behind. The cinema was a bit filled up. The lights went off immediately the adverts started. The movie started out in no time and it was really funny. I watched as Akinola laughed. He had a funny way of laughing. He was just too cute to be true. His dimples weren't even helping matters. I was still starring at him when my phone buzzed. It was a notification from Seun telling me she had gotten to Lagos.

           'Who's that?', Akinola asked as he threw in some popcorn.

          'My friend. She came to visit. She just got back to Lagos', I replied.

          'Great', he said.

He packed some popcorn in his hand and offered to feed me. It felt a bit funny. I concurred anyway. He continued watching the movie. This time, he held my hands tightly. I couldn't even concentrate on the movie but I concentrated instead on his hands on my hands. He slowly caressed my hands and turned to look at me. I pretended not to notice and fixed my gaze on the wide screen.

          'You okay?', he whispered close to me. I could feel his breath on my neck.

          'Yea', I whispered back and swallowed hard.

          'Fine', he said in a whisper and kissed my neck for a second.

I swallowed hard as his cold wet lips moved up to my ear.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

[Read Episode 10 HERE]

EMETE

2 comments:

  1. Hmm. i smell something really fishy. I like that your description is very apt which makes it for us to imagine what you are trying to paint perfectly in our heads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @maxwell, great. Lol. You smell a rat ba? BTW, that's the power of imagination!

      Delete

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