Click to read Ayanfe Episode 4
Philip sat on the floor of the living room with a bible opened on his laps. Since he woke up at 4a.m, he’d been reading the epistles of Paul and making notes of scriptures that spoke to his heart.
The accident was a blessing as far as he was concerned. He had not only met Seun, he met Jesus too. He remembered that morning as if it happened yesterday. A lady had embarrassed him at an interview. He’d gotten drunk and staggered to the road. A car had hit him and he’d landed in the hospital.
He remembered his near death experience and the team that had surrounded his bed. Nobody had ever prayed for him before. When he regained consciousness and left the hospital, he’d been rushed back a week later. The doctor said his right leg would be amputated. He’d been worried. The team returned.
Every morning and evening, different people from the church came to pray for him. Few days later, the doctor said the surgery would not happen but he’d be attended to by a physiotherapist while they watched his progress.
In his twenty eight years of existence, he had never encountered people like this. His mother and siblings had been mesmerized. He ate three balanced meals daily. Their smiles, their prayers, It had broken down his defense. There had to be God somewhere.
‘Are you born-again?’ Seun asked him after dinner one day.
Philip had no answer. He was a drunk, slept with his girlfriend and had stolen money from the office. How can a man like that claim to be born-again. At least he was trying. He had once been a choirmaster although he had stopped going to church since he lost his job.
Seun explained the gospel to him. ‘Sin passed to all men by one man, Adam and the consequence of that sin was eternal death. We were condemned and doomed for hell. Thank God! Christ came to the world and died of our sins. He resurrected to give us a new life. Philip, No matter how moral you are, you would still not be able to pay for your sins. A man becomes saved by believing in the death and resurrection of Christ.’
That day was the beginning of his journey with Christ. When Seun offered him a room in his two bedroom apartment, Philip jumped at it.
Philip closed his bible and limped out of the room. He was grateful to be alive. Would ladies be attracted to him now that he had a shorter leg? He didn’t care. His desire was to know God and to serve him. This Sunday would be his first time attending church after a long time.
As he stepped out of the room, Seun walked through the door, a grin on his face. He tossed his laptop bag on the sofa and yanked his tie. Seun’s younger brother, Sogo, appeared from one of the rooms.
Seun sighed, tired. ‘The Pastor is on his way.’
A car horn sounded. Seun hurried to the curtain and pushed it back. ‘They are here.’
He turned to Philip. ‘When the Pastor comes in, take three bottles of wine from my car and the fruit basket to his car.’
‘I made jollof rice. Should I dish some into a food warmer?’ Sogo said, excited, eager.
Seun chuckled as he went out of the front door. ‘I’m not giving my Pastor your pathetic jollof rice. Get cookies and vitamilk from the cabinet.’
The visitors had barely settled in the living room when Philip’s gaze fell on a lady beside the Pastor’s wife. Her face was familiar. Was she one of the people who had visited him in the hospital?
She is beautiful
‘Philip,’ Seun started. ‘You know my Pastor and his wife already.’ He pointed at the third person that had come with them. ‘This is Sister Ibidun. She is the head of the ushering team.’
Ibidun shook his hand. ‘It’s so great to finally meet you. I’m sorry I couldn’t come to the hospital to see you.’
Philip stared at her. She was not part of those who visited him at the hospital. Where had they met? Had he seen her before? She looked so familiar but he couldn’t remember exactly where they had met. She was beautiful. Those eyelids.
‘Nice to meet you Sis Ibidun.’ He said, holding her hand firmly.
Philip kept stealing glances at her while the Pastor shared scriptures with him.
He had met this lady somewhere. Was it back on campus? Had he met her on one of his sales trip?
When they were set to leave, Philip took the gifts to the Pastor’s car. For the first time since he got out of the hospital, he was embarrassed by his left leg. Ibidun stood at the entrance laughing aloud at something Seun was saying.
Is she laughing at me?
His heart dampened as the Pastor’s car sped out of the street.
‘Are you okay? You went quiet suddenly.’ Seun said and placed his hand on Philip’s shoulder.
Philip forced a smile and retired to his room. He had to get out of his fantasy. He’d never be enough for a lady like Ibidun. Her composure, the way she spoke and her thought process stunned him.
Apostle Paul never got married. I’ll be a eunuch for righteousness sake, Philip muttered to himself.
Philip looked around. Where did that voice come from? There was no one in the room with him.
Ibidun changed into her pyjamas and called Remilekun. ‘Babe, have you met Philip?’
Remilekun hesitated. ‘Who’s Philip?’ She remembered. ‘Oh, the guy Seun almost killed. Don’t tell me you are falling in love with him already.’
Ibidun hissed. ‘He is not my type so don’t flatter your match-making skills. I was just wondering why he was staring at me all evening. The guy was just looking at me like he has not seen a fine girl before.
She didn’t tell her friend she enjoyed the attention even though at some point, she became uncomfortable.
‘I met him twice at the hospital.’ Remi said. ‘Fine dude. If Silas was not in the picture, I’d have said we could check him out. How far with my assignment.
‘Relax. I’ll engage him on Sunday.’ Ibidun responded. She stopped by her wardrobe and ran her hand over two medals she had received from church.
‘We have gist. One guy asked me out this morning. We’ll talk about that later. I need to attend to a client’s request.’
When Remi ended the call, Ibidun stared at her medals.
Steward of the year -Ibidun Adetoye
She picked the second one
Steward of the year. Ibidun Adetoye
Ibidun doubted if she’d win again this year. She had relaxed now that Silas was in her life. It didn’t bother her. Her relationship with Silas mattered more than winning awards.
Someone rapped on her door. Ibidun put the medals down and went to answer the door.
‘Daniel.’ Ibidun said, surprised to see her thirteen year old step-brother standing at the door. ‘Are you okay?’
He shrugged. ‘Can I come in?’
Ibidun opened the door wider. ‘Sure.’
He stood, unsure what to do next. Ibidun pulled a chair and placed it close to bed. She sat on the bed. He sat on the chair. Seeing he was tensed, she smiled. He sighed and relaxed.
‘Why do you hate us?’
The question took Ibidun by surprise. ‘I don’t hate you.’
‘You do. Since we moved in here, you always fight with my mum or ignore us. I was happy I had a big sister but-’
Tears burned Ibidun’s eyes. ‘I’m sorry.’ She touched his hand. ‘Daniel, can I get another chance? I want to be your big sister. It’s about time we get to know each other. What do you think?’
Before he’d respond, the door opened and his mother burst in, enraged.
‘What are you doing here?’ She barked at her son. When Daniel remained seated, ‘Are you deaf?’
Ibidun smiled, hoping to put the woman at ease. ‘We were just getting to know each other. It’s been-’
‘Will you get back to your room. I don’t want you to ever step into this place again.’
When Daniel left the room, Ibidun faced her step-mother. ‘Why are you doing this? Can’t you just put your grievances aside and let’s start on a new plate? They are my brothers and I want to be there for them. Please give me the chance. Fine, I’m sorry for the way I’ve acted in the past. I’m begging you, let by-gone be by-gone.’
Ibidun’s step -mother stared long at Ibidun, hissed and left the room, slamming the door behind her. Ibidun fell back on the bed, confused.
Jesus, soften this woman’s heart. I don’t know what to do again. I need wisdom. I’m learning to be patient but some people just make it so difficult to love. Just help me Lord.
Sunday service was over. Ibidun stepped out of the usher’s room, yawning. It had been a long service and she had enjoyed every bit of it. Philip appeared from the side of the building. Ibidun straightened up.
‘Brother Philip.’ Ibidun said, smiling.
‘Call me Philip.’ He answered. ‘Can I have a word with you for a minute?’
She loved brothers like this. No beating around the bush and several trips to eateries. She was ready to spell things out to him. How would she say it?
‘Philip, I’m so sorry. I’m deeply in love with another man.’
They sat on a slab behind the usher’s room. and Philip went quiet. Ibidun waited.
He must be wondering how to put his feelings together without embarrassing himself. Would he say, ‘While you were sitting there in the living room, the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘That’s your wife.’
She’d heard lots of stories about some christian brothers and their weird proposals. It was another reason she liked Silas. No powerful story of seeing her in a dream or vision. He loved her and wanted a relationship.
‘Over a month ago, I attended an interview at a company somewhere in Bodija.’ Philip said. ‘I went to that interview without my hair combed and my shoes dusty.’ Philip started.
Ibidun frowned. Was this another new style of proposal?
‘A lady entered the reception and asked what my name was. She showed me the door. In her exact words, she said, ‘Get out!’ He paused. ‘rings a bell?’
Ibidun shook her head. She would never do such a thing. If Philip really knew her, he’d know that she was one of the most approachable staff in her office. She went the extra mile to help people she didn’t know. Why would she-
Ibidun’s hand flew to her mouth. She’d lashed out at a man the morning her boss informed her Adanna would be taking over the dental project.
‘Oh my God. It was you!’
Philip smiled. ‘Small world right?’
Ibidun clasped her hand together, her face filled with shame ‘I am so sorry. Was that the day you had the accident?’
Philip nodded. He raised his hand when he saw pain flood her face. ‘Don’t take a guilt trip. I brought it on myself. Let’s say the devil meant it for evil but God used that to turn my life around.’
Ibidun clicked her tongue and took a deep breath. Philip watched her.
‘Where did you learn that.’
Ibidun looked at him puzzled. ‘What?’
He clicked his tongue. ‘You got it from your mum or your dad?’
Ibidun laughed. Every time her mother released tension over anything, she clicked her tongue. ‘My mum. How did you figure that out?’
God, she is so beautiful. Philip kicked the thought aside and brought his mind back to the conversation. ‘Who are you closer to, dad or mum.’
Ibidun considered what he said for a moment. ‘Dad. I was close to mum but really dad is my best friend. He is my everything, especially after mum died.’
Philip sighed deeply. ‘I lost my dad ten years ago.’
‘Were you close to him?’ Ibidun asked.
Philip smiled sadly. ‘He was my hero. I wish he knew Jesus before he died. It pains me every time I remember how he lived his life.’
He stood up. ‘It was great meeting you Ibidiun.’
Ibidun was enjoying his company. She wanted to keep talking to him. ‘How was service today?’
Philip spread out his hand and closed his eyes. ‘Refreshing. Streams of living water flooded my soul. The worship was amazing! I can’t wait to join the choir.’ His fingers moved on an imaginary keyboard. He started to sing.
Then sing my soul, my Saviour God to thee
How great thou art, how great thou art
Ibidun opened her mouth in surprise. Goosebumps rose on her skin. ‘What! Did that just come out of your throat?’
Philip grinned. ‘It’s the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight.’ He thrust his hands into his pockets. ‘Can we hang out sometime?’
An alarm rose. Was Philip asking her out already?
‘Why is your face like that?’
Ibidun hesitated. ‘Would that be a date?’
Philip considered her question. ‘You want a date?’
Ibidun let out a deep sigh. ‘I have a man in my life.’
The news hit Philip. There was no doubt he wanted something deeper with her. ‘That was so fast.’
‘I like to get the facts on the table quickly.’ Ibidun said, emphatically. ‘You know, I think it’s cruel to double date. A person who does that should rot in hell. I’m just being honest, Philip.’
Philip was quiet. He wished he had known her earlier. Maybe he’d be the guy in her life.
‘Can I ask a question?’ Philip asked. ‘Do you know if Seun has a lady on his mind. I know he is not officially in a relationship but I’d love to know if there is a lady he is considering.’
Philip shook his head. ‘There’s no one yet. You have a wife for him?’
Ibidun slapped him playfully on his shoulder. ‘Let’s just say he’s hot on some sister’s heart. ’
Cecilia’s car stopped in front of them. Ibidun said she had to leave. They exchanged numbers. When she slid into the back seat, Cecilia’s son chuckled and wrapped his tiny hands around her neck. Ibidun blew hair into his stomach. When he giggled and moved towards his mother, Remi pulled him to her laps. He let out a loud cry.
‘My friend, sit down. Your mother is on the wheels.’
Remi silenced him with a pack of shortbread biscuit.
‘What were you two talking about?’ Cecilia asked. ‘Don’t tell me someone is already taking Silas’ place.’
‘God forbid. After my father, Silas is the most important person in my life. I’ve already told Philip about him.’
Remi gave her a high five. ‘Correct girl! Babe no waste time at all.’
Ibidun broke the news. ‘Seun is not seeing anyone yet. I think he is still praying about the right woman.’
Remi sighed. ‘Okay.
‘You really are not going to move on?’
Remi smiled. ‘I really like him but I don’t want to end up like Moyo. All these their prayer schemes are lies. They know what they want and they’ll go for it.’
‘Exactly!’ Ibidun said. ‘I don’t know why we have been deceived with this ‘will of God nonsense,’ I’m not in for it. If a guy likes you, he will chase after you. If you are both believers and have similar beliefs, get on board! Let’s be realistic abeg.’
Cecilia smiled sadly. ‘But sometimes, I wished I had followed the guidelines of the church before getting married to Jide. He has been in Europe for over four years and there is no plan for his family. It’s lonely, many times. These days he’s been cranky when we talk and we fight on very little issues.’
‘That’s really sad.’ Remi said.
Cecilia continued, fuming. ‘He thinks everything is about money. I’ve not seen my husband in years. Is that normal? He keeps giving me excuses about his incomplete papers. When I say, let’s pray together, he gives one excuse and ends the call. Pastor Mayowa is looking out for us. I know he has a good heart. Maybe things would have been different if I’d submitted to spiritual authority.’
Ibidun refused to agree. ‘Cecilia, you knew before you got married to that man that he’d be like this. We asked you if he had plans for you after the wedding, you were not even sure. I’m not trying to go back to the past, I’m just saying that, if there is anything wrong with a man, God will show you, except you are too dumb to hear. This is why I’ll not listen to the bullshit about praying before getting into a relationship. I’m not saying I won’t pray, but I should get to know the guy well while I’m praying. I feel peaceful about Silas. We are good to go.’
Remi clapped her hands. ‘So when are you accepting his offer?’
‘Tonight. Pastor Mayowa will waste my time.It’s not like Silas and I are saying we are getting married. We are not sure about that yet. If Pastor asks me again, I’ll find an answer to give him. Christians ehn, we can ‘overspiritualize’ things ehn.’
Ibidun alighted at her junction. As she waved at her friends and walked home, her thoughts returned to her father. She couldn’t wait for her wedding day. Her father would hand her over to her husband. He’d see her grandchildren.
Dad, I’ll take care of you.
Everywhere was dead silent.
Ibidun moved silently towards the dining room and saw half-eaten plates of fried rice on the table. The television was showing a movie on Zeeworld.
Panic filled Ibidun’s heart. Where was everyone?
She dropped her bag on the sofa and hurried to her father’s room. His bed was unmade and a blanket lay carelessly on the floor. Her father’s slippers were by the bed. A chill ran down her spine. She ran back to the living room to get her phone. She had to call her step-mother.
‘For goodness sake, answer your phone!’ Ibidun screamed as the phone rang at the other end.
She called the line again. No response.
Ibidun was frantic. She called the line again. It was switched off.
Ibidun paced the room, praying in tongues.
She heard a sound from the gate and rushed out. Her heart pounded hard as she stood on the veranda. The gate opened and a short plump woman with grey hair appeared.
Mama Ogbomoso walked in. Ibidun stared at her.
What was her aunt doing in Ibadan?