Click here to read Episode 4
This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl. Season 1 Episode 5
I love working with Taiwo. We became buddies the first week I resumed at Pavilion. I’d been a little disturbed when I discovered I was to work in the marketing department. I didn’t like the fact that I had to be looking for clients up and down.
Taiwo assured me that I would get a hang of it. He showed me all I needed to get started. I picked up well and by the third month of my stay there, my boss was impressed with my work.
Anyway, something happened few days to my twenty-seventh birthday. I was walking down the corridor to my office when my boss, the head of the marketing department informed me that some big guns were in town from Abuja. He wanted me to introduce one of our recent travel packages to them.
‘Who is going with me?’ I asked.
‘Tosin.’ My boss said.
Why would he choose Tosin to partner with me? I’d never worked directly with her but the things I heard about her put me off. I didn’t want a person who did dirty work.
‘Sir, why not Taiwo. I work better with him.’
My boss didn’t answer me. He thrust his hands into his pocket and returned to his office. Frustrated, I stood there wondering how I was going to handle working with Tosin. I had not even moved a few steps when she came out of the rest room in a mini gown that had the neck line so low her breasts were almost popping out.
Her make-up was heavy. At least it covered perfectly the dark grey spots and the redness on one side of her face. I remember the day she walked into the office without make-up, I almost shouted. It was as if I was looking at a different person. Whoever invented concealer is really cruel. You can’t even tell people’s real faces again.
I stopped and rolled my eyes at her. ‘Is this your marketing strategy?’
Tosin looked at me, disgustedly. ‘I don’t even know why Stephen put us together. SU won’t get the job done. Don’t take all your born-again attitude there o. This is a huge deal to land. No spoil work for me.’
I stood there and wanted to lash out at her. I wanted to ask her if she had ever used her brain to get anything in her life. I was so angry that I hissed and walked away. All the clients I’d brought to the agency had been through intelligent persuasions. I was going to win this deal with my brains.
But I was wrong. Who these guys really were and where they got their money from, I couldn’t say. All I knew was that I was irritated sitting with them and talking about some travel packages my office was offering. Tosin leaned seductively towards one of the guys. While he ogled her, his partner is lustful eyes on her. His partner was staring at me and smiling. I wondered why he was amused.
The guy beside Tosin touched her chin tenderly. ‘We love this package and we are ready to pay thirty percent right away. You’ll get the check tonight at our hotel room with something extra. There will be a lot of fun.’
Tosin chuckled. ‘We’ll be right there.’
I was pissed. How can a woman be so cheap? What nonsense was this?
The guy who had been flirting with her winked at me. ‘I’ll be expecting you.’
They gave us the address to the hotel they were lodged. We gave them our business cards and returned to the car park where the driver was waiting for us.
In my few months as a marketer, I had never experienced anything like this. It’s true that some of my clients had asked me out on a date but they’d relaxed when they knew what I stood for. It was enough that I was intelligent and knew my onions. But this was different. These ones looked like guys who were either spoilt brats of wealthy fathers or men who had stolen large sums of money and didn’t know what to do with it.
When we got back at the office, I met Taiwo chatting with the receptionist. Tosin walked past, flashed them a smile and said a quick hello. Taiwo beckoned on me and wrapped his hand around my waist when I got to the reception desk. A heavily pregnant woman sat behind the large brown desk.
‘Hi Rebecca.’ I said to the receptionist. She smiled warmly and reclined on her chair.
‘Let me guess, you didn’t have a good time.’ Rebecca said.
I looked from Taiwo to Rebecca. ‘Does she always flaunt her body around clients?’
Taiwo thrust his hands into his pocket. ‘There are clients Stephen will never let her talk to. You can never find her at presentations that require intelligent discussions.’
‘Then why did Stephen ask me to go with her. They should have picked one of the other girls.’
Rebecca smiled. ‘Stephen wasn’t sure what your clients really wanted. So he merged body and brains together. If they wanted sex, Tosin was surely he right pick but if they were looking for an intelligent deliberation, then you’ll fit in. Either way, the company does not lose.’
‘Abeg, they should just leave me out of any stupid meeting. Imagine, they were asking us to pick up the check at their hotel room tonight.’
Rebecca and Taiwo laughed. Taiwo reached for a cup of cold water from the dispenser and handed it to me. I gulped it down and asked for another.
‘You should know they won’t give it to you until they’ve had sex with you.’ Rebecca pointed out.
‘Of course, I’m not a child. Me like this, open my body to those dogs. God forbid.’
We chatted briefly about other things and I returned to my office. I grabbed my purse and left to get something to eat.
That night, I had just fallen asleep when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID but the number was unfamiliar. I answered it.
‘Hello, this is Tosin. I’m already at the hotel. Where are you?’
I stared at the phone screen and placed it back to my ear. ‘Are you kidding me? You woke me up from sleep to ask me this?’
I ended the call and switched off the phone.
The following morning, Tosin stormed into the office, dropped her handbag on her table and walked to mine.
‘You think you are better than some of us. You’ve not seen anything yet. Life will show you pepper. Nonsense!’
I glanced at her briefly and returned to the proposal I was working on. I was not angry, just irritated. I guessed my silence annoyed her more.
‘I don’t want to ever work with you again. You are a pain in the ass!’
I shook my head as she went back to her table. What responsible man would marry a girl like her? How can someone be jumping from one bed to another and still feel normal?
I finished drafting the proposal and printed it out. As I placed the proposal in a folder, my eyes caught a note underneath it. I reached for it.
Hey babe, Will you go on a date with me, please?
I smiled. Even if I wasn’t engaged to Wale, Taiwo wasn’t an option. Apart from the fact that office romance wasn’t my thing, Taiwo was darkness if you know what I mean.
I wrote a reply note to him. Thankfully, I had an easy way out of this without hurting him.
Taiwo, I am engaged. I value your friendship a lot. Hope this doesn’t change anything.
Stephen came out of his office. ‘Yemisi, come to my office now’
I slipped the note into Taiwo’s laptop bag before entering my boss’ office. I was ready to defend myself if Stephen asked why I didn’t show up at the hotel. If I had to lose this job then so be it.
Stephen didn’t bring it up. He gave me a file and asked me to work on another proposal.
There was no week my sister didn’t ask me for money. It’s not like I’m trying to be tight-fisted with money, I just didn’t like that she was dependent on me. Our parents lived on farm produce somewhere in ijebu-igbo.
Two weeks ago, mum called asking for some money for dad’s medical treatment. It’d be nice if we could both send money to them every month.
I shared my concerns with Taiwo. He suggested we get Yewande a place where she could sell soft drinks. I loved the idea and jumped at it. At least, she’d have somewhere to go to everyday.
We drew out a budget. I made enquiries for soft drinks and contacted a woman who’d supply donuts and eggrolls. Taiwo sorted out a perfect location close to a busy construction site. There was only one vacant shop space left in the shopping complex. Someone had tried to secure the space by paying half of the rent with a promise to finish up payment. He hadn’t and the owner was ready to give the space to anyone who could make the full payment. I transferred the amount that same day.
Excited about securing the place, I went to Yewande’s house. Since I moved out of her house to the temporary apartment Wale’s friend offered me, I’d not visited her.
Yewande was watching a Yoruba movie on African magic when I entered her house that Saturday morning. One of her daughter slept beside her on the sofa while the other two played with their toys. Yewande screamed for joy and ran to hug me. The girls left their toys and squealed in delight. The noise woke my sleeping niece up. I gave them the biscuits and sweets I’d gotten for them. Yewande told them to go into their room.
I settled on the sofa with my sister. I told her about the business. I had paid for the shop and it was the drinks and snacks that needed to be settled. Someone was ready to sell his refrigerator to us. I had contacted an electrician that’d help with the electrical wirings. I assured her that she’d be able to make lot of sales.
My sister frowned. ‘So you are saying that I’ll be selling soft drinks and snacks.’ She sighed. ‘I don’t know if I can do it.’
I wanted to shake her and tell her she’d be foolish to lose an opportunity like that ‘Yewande, you’ll make a lot of money in that place.’
Yewande folded her hands. ‘I’m not interested jare. I want to start a restaurant. Not buka o. I mean a proper restaurant with nice tables and fine cutlery. How can I be selling soft drinks? Yemisi, think about it too. Graduate like me selling snacks. I deserve something good too. I’m really sorry about the rent you’ve already paid.’
The curtain to Yewande’s room opened. Yewande’s husband appeared in a singlet and knickers ready to explode. He glared at his wife and I was wondering if I was again going to be in the middle of a hot quarrel.
‘Just look at you.’ Her husband started. ‘Lazy old brat! What about the money I gave you for the restaurant business? Where is it? Today you want to start a foundation. Next tomorrow a consultancy firm. The other time it was baby wears you wanted to sell. Last year, you said you’d open a shop to sell drinks. The money I gave you disappeared into thin air.’
He looked at me. ‘Your sister is all talk and no action. All she knows how to do is build castles in the air. I want to do this, I want to do that, na only mouth she get.’
Yewande flared up. ‘If you were man enough, would we still be living in this dilapidated two bedroom flat?’ She pointed at the wall. ‘Just look at the cracks everywhere. Imagine the kind of life you brought us into.’
‘Nonsense! Don’t turn the searchlight on me. I’m trying. At least you are not living under the bridge. If I knew you were this lazy, I swear I would not have married you. For seven years, you have never brought anything good to this marriage. Even a business can’t survive when it keeps incurring liabilities.’
Yewande clapped her hands. ‘Stupid man. Do you think I’d have married you if I knew you would drag me into poverty? This wasn’t the life I planned for myself. I had enough as a single lady. Every weekends, I had dates. Men picked me up in expensive cars for dinner dates. I ate whatever I wanted. I-‘
‘And you think they would have stayed if they discovered you were just a pretty woman with an empty head? The only good thing you know how to do is pop out babies. I wish you could be productive the way you handle the baby factory.’
I stood up. ‘Please, you guys should stop.’
Yewande’s husband hissed as he picked his shirt from the chair and walked out of the house. ‘You should be happy I’m still stuck with you. I’m not sure how long I can take this.’
The three children were all standing at the entrance watching the drama between their parents. Yewande kept shouting at her husband. ‘Go if you want to go! I don’t even need you in my life!’
She sat down, fuming. Her body was trembling. ‘Nonsense. Didn’t you hear him? The only good thing I know how to do is pop out babies. Is he not the one that will not allow me rest every night? He should come and meet me again. I am baby factory abi? Okay. If I allow him touch me again, my name is not Yewande.
‘He’ll sleep out if you deprive him of sex.’
‘Who says he isn’t already having an affair. Is it because I’m not saying anything?’
I looked at my wristwatch. ‘Yewande, I’m seeing Wale in a couple of minutes. I have to go.’
‘What about the money?’
I looked at her. ‘Which money?’
‘The money for the business. Give it to me. I’ll determine what to do with it.’
I shook my head. ‘I’m not giving you any money. Your husband has a point. You are always in love with everything and you can never make progress that way. You start something and back out when it gets tough. Results are birthed by commitment and consistency. You can’t live a successful life by depending on your feelings.’
‘I can’t believe my own sister is taking sides with my husband. You know what, I don’t need your money and I don’t need your help. Let God strike me if I ever ask anything from you again. Get out of my house!’
‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-’
I was really upset when I left the house. I had to start thinking of how to get back my money for the shop I had paid.
Wale picked me up at Adiat bus stop. We were seeing my spiritual parent that afternoon. Yes, finally he agreed to see Mama D.
There was something I noticed with Wale after we kicked off the relationship. He took the relationship seriously. He called at least twice a day. He ensured we prayed together every night. His level of commitment to what we had amazed me.
Wale never withheld affirmations, especially when he discovered that words of affirmation was my primary love language. Although I still didn’t like that he sometimes compared me with some of the young ladies in the business circle, I convinced myself that it was the push I needed.
‘My beautiful wife. I’ve missed seeing your sweet face.’ Wale said when I climbed into his car. He wrapped an arm around my shoulder and pulled me to him. I sunk into his warmth and pinched his stomach playfully.
‘I missed you too.’ I said.
When we pulled into the slow traffic on the express road, Wale glanced at me.
‘I’ve gotten the name for our church.’
I stared at him, confused. Church? Wale never discussed anything about starting a church. I mean, he’d spoken so much about going into full time ministry but he had emphatically said he was not ready to start out until the next five years.
I still remembered that we talked about the nature of the ministry. He wanted to get young people to flow in the things of the spirit and the ministry would be non-denominational. Which one is church again? Who would be the members?
‘How are you going to combine your job with running a church?’
He smiled. ‘I’ll be resigning by the end of the month.’
My eyes widened. ‘What?’
He squeezed my hand briefly before concentrating on the road. ‘Yemisi, as I speak to you now, God is upset with me. He has been nudging me to step out long before now but I’ve been struggling with it. He reminded me again yesterday while we were praying. I can’t keep disobeying the instructions of God.’
‘I don’t get you. Few weeks ago, you said you were not ready to step out. You told me it was a non-denominational ministry you planned to run. Why are you now starting a church?’
Wale smiled. ‘The path of the just is like a shining light that shines more and more until the perfect day. Sweetheart, you can’t just hear instruction once without checking again in your spirit. Sometimes, the things you hear might not be God. Mine had been drawn out of fear. I didn’t want to go through the rigors of starting a church. Yet that was what God really wanted me to do.’
I let out a deep breath. ‘Do you have plans on ground?’
He said he did. He had a solid team. Seven of his mentees are joining him in starting the church. They were working on strategies to get members. Flyers would be released before the end of the month. Two out of those mentees were digital marketers. They know how to pull a crowd.
I was really angry that preparations had been going on without my knowledge.
‘Do you have a venue yet?’
He nodded. ‘A tentative one though. If we are going to attract the kind of members we desire, we have to do this big. It has to be classy and top-notch. When people step into Pure Heaven Assembly, they’ll know that we are unique.’
Pure Heaven Assembly. What a name. It sounded like my favourite biscuit, Pure Bliss. The name didn’t seem spiritual. Was there a heaven that was not pure?
Wale continued. ‘We’ll be using Telilah resorts. There is a nice conference hall there. Fully air-conditioned. Nice atmosphere. There is no way the presence of God will not flow heavily in that hall.’
I stared at my fiancé with my mouth wide opened. ‘How much will it cost you to rent the hall every Sunday?’
’Thirty thousand naira. Why are you surprised? With God everything is possible.’
I didn’t know how to respond. We were close to my mentor’s house. I gave him the directions and we drove into the estate where she lived. When we got there, Wale touched my chin.
‘Yemisi, we are going to be a force to reckon with. Just watch, in a couple of weeks, our church will be filled up. Anointing attracts men. As the Lord gives to me, I release to the people of God.’
Wasn’t this the kind of man I’d been praying for? A man committed to the work of the ministry. I should be happy he was determined to obey God. My duty was to support the work in his hands. More than the love we had for each other, my greatest goal was to support my husband’s ministerial assignment.
‘I want us to get married next month Yemisi. The work ahead is huge. If we are married, the work of the ministry will be easier. Together we will bring nations to their knees.’
I sighed deeply. ‘Next month is just two weeks away. Wale that’s too close.’
He weaved his fingers into mine. ‘We don’t have to do a big wedding. Just something small. Last weekend in March is perfect Yemisi. We could travel next weekend to see your parents in ijebu-igbo. Your mother is eager to see me. Remember the first time we spoke on the phone, she kept asking when we’ll be travelling down to see her. ’
The thought of finally getting married excited me yet I didn’t want to feel like I was desperate. I wish Wale could see how my heart bubbled with joy. There was hardly any night I slept without thinking about my wedding day.
‘I’ll have to talk to my Pastor and my mentor about it.’
Wale frowned. ‘I am your Pastor. I hope you know you’ll have to leave your church once ours kick off. Our first service will be in March and you must be by my side. No excuses. We’ll inform your mentor about our wedding plans today. We are not seeking for permission. We are informing them. Nothing stands against our union.’
We entered the mentor’s house. I flew into the arms of my mentor’s husband. Papa Deolu was looking so robust and healthy. I had seen him only once in two years. He’d been running a course in South Africa for a year and attended another short course for six months.
‘Finally, Wale shows up in our house.’ Mama D said, pulling Wale to his feet. I noticed Papa was looking at him with a frown on his face.
I was worried. ‘Papa, why are you looking at him like that?’ I whispered.
He quickly flashed me a smile and led me into the living room. I took the beverages Wale had brought to the kitchen. When I returned, Wale was talking to them.
‘I’m not trying to boast, but the anointing of God upon my life has liberated many people from the claws of the devil.’ Wale said. ‘I don’t usually have any challenge when I flow in the supernatural.’
He talked about the woman who had been instantly healed by fibroid after prayers. He spoke about the demonstration of the power of God during his ministrations. Quietly I watched the reactions of my spiritual parents. Would they be impressed by his accomplishments? Papa D interrupted him at a point.
‘Who is your Pastor?’
Wale laughed. ‘I have many mentors I learn from. If you know Apostle Teri Sanusi, one of the renowned ministers of God in this country, I have worked personally with him.’
‘You haven’t answered my question.’ Papa D pressed. ‘Who are you accountable to? What local church do you attend?’
‘Sometimes I attend The Lord’s Army bible church and at other times, Fullness of Grace Assembly.’
Papa D was not satisfied. ‘Do you have anyone who oversees your life? Are you are a lone ranger? Who are you accountable to?’
Wale was getting upset. ‘I don’t have that time. Besides I’ve not seen anybody that understands in full details the nature of my call. The truth is, I’m always busy with the work of the ministry. I had to cancel an important engagement just to be here. Ministerial assignment saps most of my time.’
The couple sat there listening as Wale continued to talk about himself. At a point I wanted him to stop talking because he wasn’t making sense again.
Wale broke the news. ‘Yemisi and I are planning to get married next month. It’s going to be a small wedding with just family and friends.’
My spiritual parents turned to me. I could see the shock on their faces. I wished Wale had allowed me to inform them first, it’ll have been easier for them to deal with the news.
The house help walked into the dining room with a food warmer. Plates and cutlery were already neatly arranged on the table.
Mama D stood up. ‘Lunch is ready.’
Click here to read Episode 6