I regret ever meeting Kelvin. I regret the day he walked up to me while I sat on a log of wood outside the building that served as our lecture hall, a place we were forced to attend boring lectures.
It was the first week of my stay at the NYSC orientation camp. I remember that on this particular day, I had left the hall because it was very stuffy, oh yeah, that hall was packed full with corps members and the atmosphere had this strong smell that almost made me choke.
I went out, found a log of wood at a corner and went straight to my phone gallery to watch a video skit I had downloaded the previous evening.
I had not gone halfway when I noticed a dark guy with clean shaved beards standing in front of me. He asked if he could sit on the log with me. I said, ‘of course.’
He started talking to me and at first I ignored him and then he unplugged my earpiece and I got angry and he said something and I started laughing hysterically. From that point, I enjoyed every moment with this stranger, whose name I didn’t know at that time.
Maybe if I had stood up after the lecture ended and joined the throng of people heading for the mammy market, just maybe I would have time to caution myself but I sat there with him until the afternoon break was over.
Everything went very fast from there and when few days later Kelvin kissed me in the dark, I couldn’t get him out of my head.
I had no friends. Not that I was one to make friends anyway. Even back at school, I always kept to myself, content to have my space alone. Kelvin came and he shook my world.
I began to look forward to seeing him every day. The words Kelvin whispered to my ears every time we romanced kept me awake all night. I couldn’t think about anything aside from seeing Kelvin. After our usual morning drills, we looked for every available space to be together. We just couldn’t get our hands off each other. And then one night, while we were standing in the dark, his hands wrapped around my waist, he held my chin up and said,
‘You are the best thing that has happened in my life. I love you Nike. No matter what, I’ll never leave you.’
I didn’t sleep until the early hours of the morning. Those words kept playing in my head over and again.
You can imagine how excited I was when Kelvin told me he had been posted to the state capital, Keffi. I had also been posted there. I flew into his arms, tears of joy pouring down my face. I’d been scared that we would be thrown far apart and even then, I had vowed that no matter where he was posted to, I’d travel to see him every weekend.
A young man tapped my shoulders. When I turned, he looked down at the posting letter I was holding and turned slightly to the car park where corps members climbed into different buses.
‘I’m serving in Keffi too.’ He pointed at a white bus and written on it was, ‘Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF), Keffi. ‘You can stay with us at the family house until you get settled. We’ll take care of you.’
Kelvin appeared by my side. I didn’t know he had been standing there all along. ‘She is not going anywhere with you. We don’t do those Christian shit.’
I stared at Kelvin shocked. Christian shit? For goodness sake, I was a Christian. I knew the specific date and time I accepted Christ into my life. How could he say such abominable words? I watched the man walk away, and now that I think of it, I’m sure he was God-sent to deliver me from an impending destruction.
Kelvin used me…or let me say I allowed myself to be used and dumped. When we first had sex, I felt really bad and then it happened again until it was almost a weekly affair. I had stopped crying and just gone with the flow. I felt God hated me and since he had already handed me over to the devil, my life was meaningless.
After a few months, Kelvin started to talk to me anyhow. He would yell at me and bark out orders so much that I became afraid. He slapped me once, yeah. He was so different from the man I met at the orientation camp. I complained to Angela, my friend and roommate and I loved that she always listened without judging me but still I didn’t know how to get out of my predicament.
One day I got angry and told Kelvin I was done with him but two days later when he didn’t call, I rushed to his house crying and apologizing. That day, Kelvin ordered me to get beer for his friends and prepare dinner for them and I remember as I bent over the kitchen sink, tears ran down my face.
‘God, help me get out of this. Will you just show me mercy please?’
Six months later, I took permission to travel home to attend my sister’s wedding ceremony. The night before my trip, I went to Kelvin’s house and found Angela in bed with him. I was speechless.
Guess what Kelvin said to me,
‘Get out! You can’t just barge into my house anyhow. In fact, I’m done with you! Just go.’
I cried all the way back home. I cried in the bus that took me to Ibadan. Why would a man treat me like this?
Somewhere along Lokoja, our vehicle broke down and we all came down. That was when I met Shola.
I was sitting under a shade where a woman sold garri in large bowls. She was very warm and even offered to get us water. Beside where I sat, two men were discussing.
‘Shola, I had a beautiful time studying the word yesterday’ One of the guys said.
‘You want to share?’
‘Yes, It’s about supernatural relationships. I read Acts 18 verse 24 to 28. While reading those verses, I was moved at how a fervent man with a limited understanding of Christ could by verse 28 become sound and balanced in his understanding of scriptures all because he met a couple.’
By this time I was looking at them and listening with rapt attention. Shola thrust his hands into his pocket and smiled.
‘The couple expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. You see, there are some relationships the Lord will connect us with that will set us aright in God’s divine plan. Always, God uses men to achieve his purpose. Just as we have this beautiful supernatural relationships, in the same vein there are relationships orchestrated by the devil to put a halt to a man’s Christian walk and drive you deeper into carnality.
His friend sighed. ‘Hmmm…. Our association matter greatly. A man surrounded by Spirit filled friends cannot stay down for long. But another thing I observe is the ability to humble ourselves and receive what God provides from the relationships he brings to us.’
‘Exactly! From those scriptures, it seemed Apollos already had a good following. Imagine if he was puffed up, unaware that there was so much he needed to know, he’d never have seen verse 28 come to light. This is something many believers do not know. As long as you think you know everything and refuse to listen and glean from those God has brought your way, you will remain stunted. ’
‘Acts eighteen verse twenty-eight. When Apollos came to Achaia, he helped them much which had believed through grace, for he mightily convinced the Jews and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ!’ Shola’s friend said.
‘See the shift in Bro Apollos life. Sweet shift. God-birthed relationships cannot be toiled with. They will open you into some kain level of understanding that you might never have been able to get alone.’
Shola continued. ‘There are some supernatural connections that may not even translate into long-term friendship. The goal is to fulfil a purpose in your life and that’s all. Remember Ananais and Paul. Guy was in his house and God told him, go into the street called Straight, and inquire of a man called Saul. See, one meeting sometimes can pull a man out of a pit.’
I didn’t know when tears began to trickle down my face. I needed relationships like this. I wanted to get back on track. I wanted to grow spiritually. Would God connect me to relationships like this?
When I noticed that Shola was staring at me, I turned my eyes away to the mechanic who had just got out from under the bus Our driver jumped into the car and started it. It roared to life.
We got in. I was surprised when I saw Shola sitting beside me. The woman who had been sitting with me was now comfortably seated in the next row.
‘Whatever it is, don’t ever forget that God loves you.’ Shola said to me.
The tears poured down again and I covered my face in embarrassment. Shola and I had a very long conversation. When we got to Ibadan where I was to alight, he prayed with me and said he was going to connect me with some corps members in Keffi.
My God! That connection was the best thing that ever happened to me. I returned to Keffi and one of the ladies Shola connected me with invited me for a vigil with some of her friends. It was the day my life took a new turn. Those ladies were on fire! They taught the word with so much authority and grace.
I got back on my feet faster than I expected. For the first time in years, I began to hear God speak to me about my future. My prayer and study life took another shape. The boldness I have today was strengthened by those two ladies, Chinwe and Arike.
Kelvin and my roommate didn’t understand what happened to me. They just knew there was something different about me since I returned from Ibadan. They didn’t know that I’d found my own Anainais and Aquila and Priscilla.
Guess what happened towards the end of the youth service? Kelvin came back pleading with me to take him back. As he stood at the entrance of my door using his toasting skills to woo me, I just laughed and the only question I asked myself was,
What was I thinking by dating a guy like this in the first place?