Read Episode 7
Philip folded the last of his clothes into a black box and shut it. He had made up his mind. Kingdom Christian Centre was not his church. They’d been instrumental in bringing him to Christ but his time there was up.
He pulled the box out of the room just as Seun came home from work.
Seun looked at him, surprised. “What’s going on here?’
Philip’s heart dampened at the look of disbelief on his friend’s face. Seun had done nothing but given him a good life. The least he’d have done was carry Seun along with his plans.
‘Seun, thank you for giving me a place here. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I’ll never forget the influence you had on my life.’
Seun maintained his gaze on him while he waited for a response to his question.
Philip cleared his throat. ‘I’m going back to my mum’s place. I think God would have me stay close to her. She’s been quite ill.’
It was true his mum had been down with malaria but she had called that morning to say the agbo had worked and that the fever had left.
‘That’s fine. You know you are welcomed here anytime.’
Philip smiled and reached for the handle of his box. ‘I have to go now before it gets late.’
Philip was restless as he walked out of the house. He tried to convince himself that he was making the right decision.
Two weeks ago, he had received a job offer to teach music to a teenage girl. When he attended the first meeting with the girl’s father in his magnificent home, he had been astounded at the home studio the man built for his daughter.
‘Wow! This is something.’ Philip had exclaimed as he walked around the studio. He had everything he needed to train her. There was a piano, a Mac Pro laptop, a digital audio workstation, studio monitors, headphones, a Gibson guitar. This was the kind of home tutoring he loved. A job that didn’t stress him.
‘What’s your charge rate?’ The man asked.
Philip had his figures ready. He had done his research. ‘Ten thousand naira per hour.’
The man smiled. ‘That’s okay. Timi said you are a natural teacher and I like that for my daughter.’
Timi. Philip smiled. Timi was the Director of the music school he attended. Before his father died, he had registered at his studio but had stopped after his father’s demise. He’d resumed after Seun agreed to pay the outstanding fee.
Timi had been impressed by Philip’s performance. At the end of the training, He’d asked Philip to take a class of ten music students and the feedback brought in more students.
‘You’ll be teaching my daughter twice in the week for three hours. Saturday and Sunday.’ Philip’s client said. ‘If you have to stay longer than that, don’t hesitate. I’ll pay the extra fee. I just want my daughter to get the best.’
Philip calculated the amount he’d receive monthly. Two hundred and forty thousand naira!
‘You will not be disappointed sir. I will ensure your daughter gets the best.’
The man went on. ‘Listen, I’ll speak with the chef. You are entitled to lunch. Just tell him what you want and you’ll get it.’
Philip couldn’t believe his ears. God was indeed lifting him from the miry clay.
Jesus, thank you!
That same day, when his student walked into the studio in a crop top and bum short, Philip’s eyes widened at her flawless skin. There were no freckles, no dark spots, just a caramel skin that glowed. Philip watched her swing her waist with confidence and swore that his daughter would never suffer in life.
‘This is Monica, your student.’ Her father said, introducing his daughter.
She smiled briefly and reached for the microphone. Philip folded his hand, fascinated at her boldness. He wondered what sound would come out of her mouth.
Rich kids like this had no talent, he thought. He’d have to work out a miracle plan to get her voice in shape or else he’d be kicked out.
Philip was wrong. His hand ran to his mouth as she sang Beyonce’s Crazy in love.
The hair on his arm rose. He loved this job more. Monica already had the talent and what he needed to do was finetune it. He made a reminder to send a gift package to Timi once he received his first payment.
Philip pushed his thoughts back home. He was returning to his mother’s house but it won’t be for long. He had dreams too. A nice apartment, a car and a woman to cook his meals.
Money solved everything, he concluded. He missed Seun already. He believed he had done the right thing by leaving the church and moving out of Seun’s house.
If God was not with him, why would he get a part-time job that paid him two hundred and forty thousand naira. Just few days ago, an old classmate had invited him to join his band. There’ll be tours. He’d be paid too.
God is faithful, He muttered.
Philip dropped his box in the room he shared with his brother and went in search of his mother. There was only one place she’d be. Her wooden stall at the bus stop.
‘Philipi,’ His mother beamed with excitement as she sold iru to a customer. ‘You didn’t tell me you were coming today. Omo mi re o. My wonderful son has come to visit.’
Business moved quickly that evening. Philip helped his mother sell vegetables while she sold bunches of plantain stacked on an iron tray. In two hours, the stall was empty. Philip locked the wooden stall and walked home with his mother, fagged out.
‘I thank God for that your Pastor.’ His mother said. ‘He is really teaching you many good things. Look at you now. I remember when I used to cry and pray, Oh God, every demon following my son’s destiny must die. You are different.’ She stopped to greet a woman with a bowl of water on her head and a child strapped to her back.
‘How’s Seun?’ His mother continued.
‘He is fine.’ Philip responded. ‘I’ve moved out of his house.’
His mother looked at him in surprise. ‘Why?’
‘I don’t want to keep living off him. I’m back home.’
His mother didn’t look happy with the news. ‘Okay o. We will manage what we have together. I pray you get a good job soon.’ She sighed. ‘We’ve not paid your brother’s school fees.’
Philip smiled. He almost spilled the news of his part-time job but restrained himself. He wanted to see his mother’s face clearly when he announced the amount he’d be earning every weekend.
I’m going to be rich, Philip chuckled to himself. He would give his mother a better life. He’d finally fulfil his vow to his father.
Pastor Mayowa sat on a high recliner in his study room, praying.
Where was she now?
He had called her aunt several times without success. Was Ibidun still in Ogbomosho?
He heard the door open and turned to see his wife approaching him with a cup of tea. She placed it gently on his study table and came to his side.
‘You’ve been quiet all day.’
He let out a soft breath. ‘It’s about Ibidun. I just want to know that she is fine.’
His wife pulled a small stool from a corner and sat beside him. ‘Sweetheart, she’ll be alright. You know how attached she was to her father. She is probably still mourning him.’
Pastor Mayowa scrolled down his contact list and dialed a number. His eyes lit up when it rang at the other end. He smiled at his wife. ‘Finally, It’s ringing.’
The voice sounded tired. ‘Hello. Good evening.’
‘Good evening ma. I am Pastor Mayowa, Ibidun’s Pastor. We met once. I’ve been trying to reach you for a while now.’
‘Oh, Pastor. I remember you.’ She responded slowly. ‘Have you heard from Ibidun?’
The Pastor heart fell. Ibidun was not in Ogbomosho? ‘I was calling to ask about her.’
Ibidun’s aunt sighed. ‘After the burial, she told me she had to return to Ibadan to attend to something at work. Apparently, it was a lie. She sent a message after she left that she didn’t want anyone looking for her. I’ve not heard from her since then.’
Pastor Mayowa was shocked at the news. ‘This is my number. Please reach me if you receive any information about her location.’
When Pastor Mayowa ended the call, he leaned back on the chair. ‘Where could Ibidun be?’
‘I wonder.’ His wife responded, puzzled. ‘This is not the Ibidun I know. What must have gone wrong?’
Pastor Mayowa sat up. Where had that name come from? Why was it ringing in his heart?
‘What’s that?’ His wife asked.
‘Who is that?’
Pastor Mayowa hesitated, trying to trace a connection with the name. ‘That’s the guy from Abuja Ibidun wanted to start a relationship with.’ He dialed Remilekun’s number. She answered on the second ring.
‘Remi, do you know any of Ibidun’s friends called Silas?’
‘Yes sir.’ She responded.
‘Send his number to me now.’
‘Sir, if this is about Ibidun, I have called him. He does not know where she is.’
‘I want his number.’ The Pastor insisted.
‘Yes sir. I’ll send it right away.’
Pastor Mayowa looked at his wife. ‘She is with him. He is leading her in a path that will destroy her. He is going to deny it but it doesn’t change what I perceive in my spirit.’
Pastor Mayowa’s wife held his hands. Her hands were trembling. ‘God, deliver your daughter. Open her eyes to see the dangerous path she is walking into.’
‘Amen.’ The Pastor responded.
Ibidun was uncomfortable in the black leather mini-gown that accentuated her curves and revealed too much flesh on her chest. The long eye lashes also gave her a different look.
She had to make Silas happy. He liked girls in skimpy clothes. She had caught him staring at them many times.
‘I must get comfortable with this.’ She said silently and stared at her reflection in the mirror.
Her eyes went to her long fingers painted red. ‘Would Silas love this colour?’
When the front door opened, Ibidun’s heart raced. She glanced quickly at her backside and with a satisfied look, waited for Silas to enter the bedroom.
‘Hey baby, I am-’Silas stopped to stare at her. Delighted at the effect she was having on him, she wrapped her hands around his neck.
‘You like what you see?’
He moved away from her. ‘You can only wear that in our bedroom, you know right?’
Ibidun protested. ‘I’m going to the club like this.’
His eyes swept over her. ‘You are definitely playing pranks on me.’ His eyes went to her thighs. ‘Look at those laps. They should drive only me crazy. You know I won’t let you out of this house dressed like that.’
‘I’ve seen you stare at women dressed like this. Why is mine different?’
He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. ‘You are a responsible woman. You are going to be the mother of my children. I want to come home to a woman that gives me solace. All those girls outside, I don’t care about them. They are cheap objects. I forget them as soon as I get off the bed with them. It’s you I think about all day. You are the woman I love. Don’t put yourself on the same level with them.’
Ibidun’s head swelled at the words as she unbuttoned his shirt. ‘Fine. I’ll wear something more decent but I’m going with you to the club tonight.’
He held her hands. ‘What’s your business in a club?’
‘I’ve never been in one before. I want to go.’ Ibidun ran her hand over his chest. ‘I’m not sleeping alone tonight.’
Silas was quiet. ‘I don’t think you should go. Ibidun, be content with staying at home. You have courses to finish. You have a home to take care of.’
Ibidun was upset. ‘Nothing you say will change my mind. I’m going with you tonight.’
Silas phone rang. Ibidun uttered a foul word under her breath.
Why would Jennifer call when she knew Silas would be with his girlfriend? She glared at Silas and resisted the temptation to smash his phone against the wall. Annoyed, she stood up and changed into a longer gown while her ears followed Silas’ conversation.
‘Relax.’ She said to herself. ‘Silas loves you. Those women are just cheap objects. You are his woman.’
‘Who is this please?’ Silas sounded irritated. ‘I’m going to end this call if you don’t identify yourself.’
Ibidun turned to look at him. His eyes widened and he made a sign to Ibidun to remain quiet.
‘Oh, Pastor Mayowa. Good evening sir.’
Silas continued. ‘Pastor, I’m telling you that I have not heard from Ibidun. It breaks my heart but I know God is in control. I’ve been praying every day and I believe wherever she is, God will take care of her.’ He paused to listen. ‘Thank you Pastor. I’ll let you know if I get any information about her. God bless you sir.’
Ibidun fell to the bed and stared at the ceiling. Pastor Mayowa called her? Her eyes were teary.
I miss Pastor Mayowa. I miss him so much.
She wished he could come get her out of here. It was impossible. Pastor Mayowa would be disgusted if he knew she’d been living with Silas. She was far gone. She would have to handle her problems alone.
‘I’ll be leaving for the club in ten minutes.’ Silas said.
Ibidun lost interest in going to the club. She wanted to get under the blanket and cry herself to sleep.
I miss Kingdom Christian Center. I miss Pastor Mayowa.
Silas stretched out his hand and helped her up. He wiped her tears. ‘I know you miss your church. I think by next week, we should find a church to attend.’
Ibidun fought back tears. Since she got to Abuja, Silas had not mentioned attending a church and she had never raised it.
‘The club will make you feel better. Let’s go.’
Silas’ friend, Ebube, lived few houses away from theirs. When he joined them in the car, he stared at Ibidun from the back seat all through the ride
‘She is in his house. I perceive her presence there.’ Pastor Mayowa said to his wife as he stood up from the recliner to get his bible.
She squeezed his shoulder gently. ‘Let me put the kids to bed. I’ll join you soon.’ She was heading out the door when she remembered something and came back.
‘Seun called this evening. He said he had tried reaching you earlier in the day. He wanted to let you know that Philip has moved out of his house. He has also returned to his former church.’
Pastor Mayowa shrugged. ‘Good for him. He is a stubborn young man. I’m not sure I can pastor a man like that.’
Pastor Mayowa faced the window. His heart was heavy and he couldn’t sit still. He went on his knees.
As he prayed, an image of Philip flashed across his mind. Philip was ministering in front of a large crowd. Some screamed for joy, others wept. It was obvious Philip’s ministration was having an effect on the audience. The scene was replaced with Philip on his knees, saying,
‘Dad, pray for me.’
Pastor Mayowa opened his eyes. It was clear what God wanted him to do.
He had to labour over Philip too. His labour would start in prayers.
Ibidun played with her painted nails. Her body was shivering with tremor. Silas had left her for a dark skinned plump lady who was giving him a hard time. He followed her like he was under some kind of spell.
Tears welled up her eyes. Silas didn’t care how she felt even though he claimed to love her.
She looked around the club and wished she had stayed back at home. Feeling abandoned and lost in the crowd, she went to the bar and ordered for a shot.
Her hands were trembling as she gulped it down. It was her first time with alcohol. A sharp pain hit her stomach. She coughed while she held her stomach to suppress the pain. The pain lessened and was replaced by an excited feeling.
‘Can I get another shot?’ She shouted at the barman over the noise of the music. Her head felt light. She laughed loud and shook her head to the rhythm of the song.
‘Don’t give her another one.’ A man said from behind her and pushed the cup back to the bartender. He paid for the shot she’d purchased and pulled Ibidun towards the staircase.
Everywhere was blurry. Who was the man leading her up the stairs? His hands were strong. Was it Silas? She blinked twice, her gaze fixed on him.
‘Watch your steps.’ The man said, holding her tighter when she almost fell.
‘I don’t know how you ended up with a man like Silas.’ He said as they got to the top of the staircase. ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to take care of you tonight.’
She laughed and cried at the same time. ‘I love him so much but he treats me like trash.’
The man stopped at the second room with the number ‘15’inscribed on it. He reached for a key in his pocket and opened the door.
‘You are too beautiful to be treated badly’ He raised her chin and kissed her. ‘I’ve loved you from the day Silas introduced you as his girlfriend.’
Ibidun held the wall for support. ‘I want to be loved. Is that too much to ask?’
The man was already undressing her. She gazed long at his face.
Was this not Silas’ friend?
‘Ebube’ she said quietly as he moved her towards the bed.
‘Come baby. You’ll never forget tonight.’
Ibidun tried to pull away, but his strong hands gripped her waist. ‘Ibidun, don’t struggle please. I am going to treat you well.’
Her body relaxed. At least someone wanted her.