Read Episode 9
Simi came out of the bathroom with a towel tied around her chest. She stood in front of the mirror and began to dance, excitement pouring through her.
It was the beginning of a new year. Lodging in a hotel away from the noise had been the best decision she’d ever made. Since she arrived the previous day, God had opened her eyes to deep things in his word.
She glanced at the bed scattered with her bibles and some copies of Kenneth Hagins books. Her laptop was also opened to a folder containing audio sermons she had collected from Kola.
Up until midnight, she had stayed up, soaking in God’s Word and allowing it fill her soul. There was a notepad opened in front of one of the bibles. It was filled with scriptures and God’s promises.
She faced the mirror again, arms akimbo. ‘I can’t even explain how I feel right now. Simi, how could you have been chasing the wrong things all these years?’
Her stomach rumbled and she knew it was time to eat something.
On her way to the hotel’s restaurant, Simi stopped at the counter to pay for another night. Thankfully, January 2nd had been declared a public day. She was excited about spending more time with God.
As she gave the receptionist her debit card, someone called her name. She looked behind her and didn’t see anyone she recognized and then her gaze fell on a young man standing beside her. He bowed slightly.
His face was familiar. Where had she met him?
‘You can’t recognize me again.’
Simi tried but nothing clicked. She sighed in frustration. ‘I know I’ve seen your face somewhere. I just can’t place where. You attended Unilorin?’
He shook his head. ‘No. I finished from Uniben.’
‘So where did we meet? You called my name. Obviously we’ve met before.’
He smiled again and remained silent. Simi returned her attention to the receptionist who had pushed the POS in front of her requesting that she entered her pin. Simi did. The receptionist handed her a receipt.
‘I’m heading for the restaurant.’ The man said. He had been waiting patiently beside her.
‘Same here.’ Simi smiled. Together, they entered and settled for a table close to the window. Something about him stirred up buried feelings especially when he looked at her. She kicked the thoughts aside.
Affliction shall not rise again. God forbid!
Simi ordered bread and fried eggs. He settled for yam and fish sauce.
She leaned forward. ‘Please how did we meet? I’m really curious.’
He folded his hand. ‘Does the name Muyiwa ring a bell in your head?’
Simi gave it a thought. Muyiwa? She could not recall meeting anyone with that name.
‘I’m sorry. I’m really poor at remembering names.’
Muyiwa smiled. Simi’s heart quickened. Why was her body reacting this way? She had just met this man and he could be son of the devil.
‘I was in the bus with you on your way to osogbo. You said you were going for an event there.’
Recognition settled on Simi’s face. ‘Oh my God! I remember.’
He was the guy whose notepad she had peered into during the journey to Osogbo. She still remembered him writing about an instruction to wait for his spouse. Had he found her?
‘So good to see you again.’
Muyiwa smiled. ‘Same here. What are you doing here?’
Simi hesitated. ‘I’m trying to get my life in order. So I came here to spend some time with the Lord.
‘That’s really nice. Did you find your answers?’
The waiter arrived with their order. He placed the trays in front of them and poured hot water into their teacups. Simi waited until he left.
‘To an extent I did. I feel refreshed and energized. God told me some of the things he’ll have me do this year. I’m really happy I came. So what are you doing here?’
Muyiwa didn’t respond immediately. He skillfully placed some of the scrambled eggs on a piece of yam before putting it in his mouth.
Simi almost chuckled at the carefulness with which he handled his meal. He didn’t speak until he finished chewing the yam and slowly sipped his tea. Simi watched him. He dropped his fork carefully at the center of the plate and picked a napkin to wipe the side of his mouth.
‘What!’ Simi muttered under her breath. All these activities for one small piece of yam? She wondered how many hours it’ll take for him to dress up on a Sunday morning. Her smile disappeared when he raised his head.
‘So I was asking what you were doing here.’
He stirred his tea. ‘This is a routine for me every year. Since I got into the university like six, seven years ago, I spend the first week of the year alone with God.’
Simi’s eyes widened. ‘Wow. You’ve been born-again for that long?’
He smiled. ‘I got born-again in JSS 2. Thankfully, I had a great mentor who has watched over my life since that time.’
For an hour they talked about their personal lives. Muyiwa’s parents and siblings had died in a motor accident when he was writing his final exams in the secondary school. He had immediately moved to his mentor’s home who became a father to him. From his mentor’s house, he had gone to the university to study medicine.
Simi talked about her family. She was the third of four children. She had two sisters and a brother. Her dad had died of heart attack. Her mother was a business woman.
She talked openly about her past relationship, surprisingly herself when she mentioned the names of the men who had walked out of her life without a fight.
Why was she opening her life to a man she barely knew? The spark in his eyes encouraged her to talk more.
‘Remember the day we first met in that car? I was on my way to see my ex. I wanted badly to see how we could mend our differences. I didn’t realize I was actually attending his wedding ceremony.’
Muyiwa eyes widened. ‘Oh I’m so sorry to hear this.’
Simi changed the topic. She was already feeling the anger rising to the surface.
‘I can imagine those wonderful sisters flocking around you. I’m sure you are in a relationship. Fine spiritual dudes like you don’t stay in the market for too long.’
Muyiwa sipped his tea. ‘I’ve never been in a relationship before.’
‘I don’t believe that.’
He chuckled. ‘I told you I met Christ early in my life. Not like I was not smitten with any of the ladies that crossed my path but God kept saying No. So I waited.’
‘Wow.’ Simi mouthed.
They finished their meal in silence. Simi stood up.
‘I really enjoyed talking with you and It’s great meeting you again.’
Muyiwa rose. He was looking at her with so much warmth. She felt awkward and tried to distract herself. Her gaze landed on his head. She noticed his baldness fitted his oval face. He was the first man she would see with a bald head who wasn’t short in stature. Her eyes met his again and she knew she must go.
‘Can I have your number?’
They exchanged numbers and Simi left. When she opened the exit door, she turned to look at Muyiwa. He was sitting with his hands folded, staring at her.
In her room, Simi began to pace around, her hands sweaty.
What was this she was feeling? It certainly couldn’t be from God. Was this not how her feelings for David started? Where did it lead her? She sat back on the bed frustrated.
Oh God, please. Help me. I’m very weak.
Rest in the Lord. Be still and know that I am God.
She tried to convince herself of everything wrong with Muyiwa. Every time she pushed him out of her mind, he returned. Didn’t Muyiwa say he was rounding up with his housemanship at UCH? He hadn’t even gone for service yet. She had finished serving six years ago. He must be young.
She stopped in front of her bed. ‘If he entered the university at 18, add seven years, Muyiwa would be 25. She was 29. Four years difference between them. How can she even marry someone four years older than her.
Why was she thinking about marriage? Has the guy said he was interested in her? Wasn’t this how she jumped into conclusion when in 300 level, she thought the president of her campus fellowship was interested in her?
She drew her ear. ‘Simi, you will not hear word o. Learn from your mistakes. A fool at 29 is almost a fool forever.’
Still agitated, she knelt down. ‘In the name of Jesus, I come against every imagination and desire from the pit of hell. I bring every thought under the obedience of Christ.’
The feelings for Muyiwa grew intense. Simi sat on the floor frustrated.
‘What’s going on, Lord?’
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
She jumped to her feet. ‘This is not God speaking. I know my flesh.’
She pulled out her phone from her small box and switched it on. Her heart pounded as she called Kola’s number. He’d know what to say about this. How many times had he helped her find her way? Wasn’t he the one who suggested the personal retreat at the beginning of the year?
She sat on the bed and leaned against the wall. ‘Hello Kola.’
‘Simi, How are you?’
She ignored his question and went straight to the point. ‘Kola, can you marry someone who is older than you. Like four years older?’
Kola hesitated. ‘Simi, I’m married.’
‘Sure. If God is involved, why not.’
Simi noticed that his voice sounded low. The Kola she knew would have prodded her about the guy and how she had met him. ‘Are you okay? You don’t sound your usual self.’
Kola sighed. ‘My wife just kicked me out of my house.’
Simi climbed down from the bed and put on her sandals. ‘Where exactly are you now?’
I’m standing by the express road just before my street.’
Simi grabbed her handbag and threw her purse into the bag. ‘I’ll be there soon.’
What could have happened again? Since the incident at the restaurant, Lola had been calm. Dr Taiwo also confirmed her improvement. She had also noticed it when they attended her mother’s birthday ceremony the previous month. Why was she acting this way again?
Kola was standing beside an ‘aboki’ who sold water melon. From where Simi parked, she could see his jaw set, his face paled in anger. He looked ready to explode. Kola saw her and bounced towards the car. He climbed in.
Simi was filled with compassion for him. ‘What happened?’
Kola didn’t look at her. ‘Everything was fine this morning when I left with Hannah and Nene. Kiddies Mart organized a game party for kids in celebration of the new year. Lola said she didn’t feel like going anywhere. She urged us to go have fun and that she’d prepare something delicious before we return.
Simi, I left the house a happy husband. Lola and I even had pillow fight. I returned home with all the goodies and entered the room to find my wife hysterical. She was holding my other phone and screaming.’
‘The infinix?’Simi asked.
Kola nodded. ‘I only took my iphone to the children’s party. Bimbo called my line and obviously when she discovered it was my wife she was talking to, she said all sort of things. She told my wife that I still slept around and that I had made a bet with some guys to sleep with 30 women in exchange for a huge sum of money.’
Simi stared out the window. ‘Why is she doing this? I thought you blocked her line.’
‘The fool has her ways. I’m bringing that to an end today.’
Simi shot a glance at Kola. His chest heaved up and down and she could feel anger surging through him.
Kola finally brought his eyes to meet hers. ‘Can I drive?’
She wanted to say, ‘Why not’ but felt a restraint in her spirit. ‘Until you tell me where we are going to. I can’t put you behind the wheels of this car with the way you look right now.’
Kola clasped his hands together. ‘Please Simi, I’m begging you.’
‘Where are we going to?’
Kola let out a deep breath. ‘Bimbo’s house.’
Simi sighed. ‘I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.’
Kola flared up. ‘What do you know about the right thing! Ehn! A woman is trying to choke life out of me and you are there saying trash. I need to give her a piece of my mind. She is very stupid. I have told her it’s over, what part of that can’t she understand! She knew I was married before we got into that affair. It wasn’t as if I deceived her.’
‘Kola, you have to calm down. You can’t think properly like this. ’
‘Are you allowing me drive or should I find another means to get to my destination?’
Simi shook her head. ‘Kola, relax. You might just be walking into a trap.’
Kola opened the door of the car, Simi grabbed his hand. ‘Kola wait.’
‘Let go of my hand!’ Kola shouted.
He got out of the car and slammed the door. Simi jumped down and went to him. She sensed this was not what God wanted him to do. She wished he could look beyond his anger and listen to God.
Simi blocked his path. ‘Kola, human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.’
Kola stared at her, the muscles in his face jerking. It was the same scripture God gave him that morning. The scripture had come again while he watched his daughter work on the paper-bag skit. Had God been trying to warn him?
Kola leaned against Simi’s car. Tears welled up his eyes.
‘I am tired Simi. I have done every test Lola asked me to do. I have tried to prove that I want to make this right. I just wish Lola could trust me a little bit. Just when I feel there’s a progress, I’m back at square zero.’
Simi touched his shoulders. She still remembered the first time she had met Kola at the hospital. She had been sitting with Lola, lamenting David’s decision to break up with her. Lola had screamed when she saw Kola standing at the door. She hadn’t pitied him one bit. But looking at him now, her heart tore for the man who had become her friend.
Kola’s phone rang. He jumped with a start. Disappointment flooded his face when he saw it was not Lola.
While Kola answered the call, Simi crossed to the shops on the other side of the road. She bought a can of chilled malt and brought it to Kola. He opened it and gulped down thirstily before turning to her.
‘Eben called. He is waiting for us at his house.’
Simi smiled and started the engine. ‘That’s a better option.’
Kola sighed as she drove into the express. ‘Thank you Simi. I’d have done something stupid today.’
Simi smiled again. Kola was more relaxed now. ‘God is working Kola.’
‘I believe that too. Reminds me of James 1 verse 4. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.’
Simi winked at him. ‘Someone is already encouraging himself in the Lord.’
Kola laughed. ‘Let’s talk about you. So who is this brother you were talking about? Is he the one we’ve been waiting for?’
Simi shook her head. ‘No way. . I can’t marry someone like Muyiwa.’
‘Hmmm.’ Kola smiled and said nothing more.
Eben was standing in front of the gate when Simi and Kola got to the house.
‘She is here.’ Eben announced.
Kola paused. ‘Who?’
‘Your wife. She drove down here a couple of minutes ago.’
Hannah ran out of the house excitedly with Eben’s children. She didn’t even notice her father standing in front of the entrance. They ran towards the back of the building, squealing in delight.
Lola roused when her husband entered. Her heart pounded.
God, help me. Please, save me from my fear. Lord, help me to trust him again. I can’t help myself sometimes.
Kola stood in front of her, his thumb caressing her face. ‘I’m sorry that I’m causing you so much pain. I love you Lola. Everything Bimbo said were lies. Please take these baby steps with me towards the restoration of our marriage. I’m not asking you to trust me absolutely. I have to earn that. Just give me a chance. God’s teaching me how to love. I’m relying heavily on him. Please, Lola.’
Lola placed her head on his shoulders. Eben and Simi stood at the entrance smiling. Tosin came out of the kitchen holding a tray. She stopped when she saw the couple.
Lola raised her head. ‘I called her after you left. I told her to stay away from you or else I’ll have her arrested.’
Kola’s eyes widened.‘You did?’ He gave Simi a quick glance. Simi winked at him. Kola brushed his hands slightly over Lola’s braided hair and pulled her into his arms.
Eben cleared his throat. ‘I have a suggestion.’ They turned towards him.
‘Can we start a home fellowship. We can just meet to share scriptures and pray together once every week. It’ll help us stay strong. I’ll talk to Dr Taiwo about it and we can get Eniola to join us online whenever she is free.’
Simi raised her hand. ‘I am so interested. In fact, I’m excited already.’
Kola kissed his wife’s cheeks. ‘Sweetheart, what do you think?’
Lola giggled. ‘How can I say No. I think I need this more than anyone else.’
‘Saturday?’ Eben asked.
They nodded in agreement.
Tosin went to Lola. ‘I’m resigning my 9-5 and kicking off my catering business full time. I’ll need some help. You are one of the few people I’ve met with amazing creative ideas. You just don’t know what you possess. That part of you has been buried for too long dear. What would you say to helping me with ideas to grow my business. It’s a job offer with remuneration. Think about it.’
Lola hugged her friend. ‘Finally, you have decided to take that bold step. I’m so happy for you Tosin. There was a time I was so worried with the way you reject offers from clients because of your tedious schedule at work.’
Tosin grinned. ‘I feel so relieved. That joy of doing that thing that gives you so much satisfaction.’
Lola glanced at her husband and immediately knew he approved her working with Tosin. A part of her was afraid she’d fail yet another part was excited to explore. She stood there, ideas already running through her head.
‘I think it’s a nice offer.’ Kola said pulling her closer.
Lola felt another wall collapse. There was something about this man that was different from the man she knew.
She’d watched him pray for her every night, asking God to teach him to love her. The way he studied the Word passionately amazed her.
One night, he had been in the living room praying when she knelt beside him and placed her hand on his shoulder. He stopped praying and looked at her, a flicker of surprise in his eyes.
She began to kiss his neck. ‘Make love to me, Kola.’
He’d hesitated. The last time he cuddled her, she had slapped his arms away. Now, His body rose with desire. She could see the fire in his eyes. She pulled him to his feet.
‘Are you sure?’ He asked, searching her eyes. She knew he’d rather control his desires than hurt her.
She planted a kiss on his lips and then felt him melt into her arms. He managed to find his way to the bedroom, his heart pounding fast.
When it was over, Lola lay beside him, staring at the ceiling. He laughed deeply, like a man who had just feasted on pounded yam and delicious afang soup. With a hand under his chin, he stared at her.
‘You are beautiful, Lola.’
Slowly, Lola turned to look at him. He pulled her to him and while her head lay quietly on his chest, he caressed her hair. Another wall had crashed that night.
This was a different man. The Kola she knew would never hold her close after having sex with her. He would be snoring leaving her feeling used and dry. There were days she cried herself to sleep, wishing he’d just hold her close.
God, what did you do to this man?
He didn’t stop rubbing his hand over her head until she slept off.
As they knelt down to pray holding hands with Eben leading the prayer, Tears trickled down Lola’s eyes.
God thank you for the gift of friendship.
She knew she had healed faster because of the love they showered on her.
God, why do you love me so much.
The tears poured down her face. She held her husband’s hand tightly. He released his hand from hers and wrapped it around her shoulders.
‘Sing for us Lola.’ Kola whispered. Eben was still raising prayer points.
Lola looked at her husband. ‘I don’t know if I can anymore.’
Kola tucked a strand of braid behind her ear. ‘Yes you can. It’s in you. Silence everything that says you can’t.’
A song popped into her heart. She fought it.
‘There is a song playing in your head. Sing it.’ Kola said, encouraging her.
She hesitated at first and then cleared her voice.
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me
The bible tells me so.
Eben stopped leading the prayer and smiled at Lola. Tosin joined in quietly.
A deep laughter emerged from inside Lola’s stomach. Something she couldn’t explain was happening to her. Her head became light. She jumped to her feet, her face glowing with excitement as she increased the tempo of her voice.
Simi put her hands on her head, her mouth opened. ‘Jesus, her voice is out of this world! ’
She stretched out her arm. ‘See goose pimples everywhere.’
‘You have not seen anything yet.’ Kola said, laughing.
Lola moved her body from side to side, singing. Eben went in to get his guitar and began to strum it.
Lola didn’t realize how the songs she raised cut through Simi’s heart. She stood there,trembling. She closed her eyes and the tears ran down her face. Lola didn’t stop singing.
Oh the mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along,
That’s the story I’ll tell.
You brought the pieces together
Made me a storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That’s the story I’ll tell.
Simi couldn’t hold it anymore. She buried her face in her hands and wept. How can a song stir so much emotions and make her body quake?
How could God love mere man this much?
When her search for love proved abortive, God had revealed a love that satisfies- his love. Oh how that love consumed her.
Lola joined her on the floor and hugged her. They rocked from side to side while Eben continued to play the guitar. Kola’s sat down and clasped his hand.
‘Lord, how do I describe your love?’
Kola chuckled. ‘Beautiful. I like that word.’
A scripture flashed through his mind. He sat back, pondering on it.
Help Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear among the sons of men.
Why was God bringing this scripture to him? Was he not doing enough to express God’s love to his wife?
Kola, You have a mission. Restore the knowledge of my love to husbands. Teach young men the value of women I have placed in their care. The harvest is ripe. My sons must be trained to draw from my love. The well of my love is full. Scarcely are men drawing from it. Bring them to it.
Lord, but I am just a man. I am far beyond perfect in this.
Learn from me. Drink from my cistern and you’ll find out the God kind of love. It is deep. It is far beyond human knowledge.
Kola sighed and raised his head. Simi and Lola were chatting and laughing lightly. The door opened. Tosin’s kids ran into the house, followed by Hannah. They all looked exhausted.
‘Mummy, we are hungry.’
Tosin stood up and led them to the kitchen. Hannah stopped and ran into her father’s arms. He scooped her onto his laps.
‘Oh, my daddy, I am very tired.’
Kola kissed her cheeks wondering if the image of his wife pushing him out of the house had left her memory. His heart had torn apart when he saw his daughter weeping.
Someone shouted Hannah’s name from the kitchen. She jumped down from her father’s laps and ran to the kitchen.
Simi’s phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and pushed the phone aside.
‘Simi pick your call.’ Kola said.
Simi hissed and shook her head. ‘It’s that brother I told you about.’
Eben stopped playing the guitar. ‘Stop doing shakara for these our brothers. Sis Simi, it’s not good nah.’
Lola pulled her hand playfully. ‘I like love gist. Oya, if you will not pick his call, at least you will tell us how you met.’
Kola clicked his fingers. ‘Oya, Simi, start talking.’
Simi laughed out loud. All eyes were fixed on her. She looked at them and laughed again.
Episode 11 next
Read: A purpose in your pain