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This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl- Season 1 Episode 15
It was almost 6p.m when I got to Abigail’s house. You won’t believe that from the time I left Simeon’s house to my friend’s place, Festus called me three times. I really tried not to get pissed. The guy didn’t have anything interesting to say. The conversation went in this order;
‘Are you at your friend’s place?’
‘It was great seeing you today.’
‘You have great dreams. I’m so amazed at your ideas. You really know what you want in life.’
‘Do you live with your parents?’
‘How many siblings do you have?’
I stopped picking his call and turned off the ring volume of my phone when I approached the front door to my friend’s place.
I let myself into the living room. It was empty. As I opened my mouth to call my friend’s name, I heard her voice coming from the corridor that led to the three bedrooms.
‘Please open this door.’ Abigail was saying.
Who was she talking to? I increased my pace, pushing the curtain aside and hurrying down the corridor. I stopped when I saw Abigail sitting in front of Adesuwa’s room with a tray of food in front of her. She leaped to her feet when she saw me.
‘Thank God you are here. Your girl has refused to come out of the room since morning. She didn’t take breakfast, and this is lunch. She still doesn’t want to let me in.’
I rapped on the door. ‘Adesuwa, It’s Miss Yemisi. Open the door.’ No answer. ‘Adesuwa, please.’
We knocked several times. No response. I pushed the tray aside and sat in front of my friend.
‘What do you think is wrong?’
‘I don’t know. Yesterday afternoon, we had a beautiful time reading the book of Colossians and we shared lessons from scriptures but before we went to bed, her mood changed. I asked her what the problem was, she said nothing was wrong.’
‘Where is mum?’ I asked.
‘She went out with Mama D very early this morning. They took some clothing items and toiletries to one of the slums in the outskirt of Lagos.’ She paused. ‘I was so worried that I called mum. She said Adesuwa will come around but what if she hurts herself?’
I smiled. ‘She’ll be fine. Relax.’
Abigail let out a deep sigh. ‘It’s so good to have you around. How far your new boss?’
I was still bursting with excitement over my meeting with Simeon’s wife.
‘Abigail, my life is taking a new turn. Right now, I’m so confident of the path God wants me to take. I know impacting the lives of teens is some serious labour but I’m assured I have the capacity to do everything God is calling me to do.’
Abigail held out her palm. I slapped her a Hi five. ‘That’s my friend. I’m happy for you. If God has called you to do this, he’ll provide the resources you need.’
‘Yeah, right.’ I was ready to get into ‘man’ gist. ‘Guess what? I met a guy in my boss’ house. He asked to have lunch with me tomorrow.’
Abigail got up quickly and sat beside me. ‘Na this kain gist I dey like. Tell me about him. Is he gorgeous?’
I poked her side playfully. ‘You are too carnal. He is just an okay guy. He is nowhere near my boss when it comes to physique.’
‘You are going to have lunch with him?’
‘I might…not tomorrow though. I just want to meet him and get to know him more.’
Abigail sighed as if she was frustrated about something. I glanced at her, concerned.
‘What was that sigh for? What’s going on?’
‘Nothing much. I was just thinking about my own life and how-’ She paused. ‘Forget it.’
I could immediately guess what was bothering her. ‘Abigail, please don’t tell me you are still waiting for Victor to propose to you?’
She pulled her knees up and rested her head on them. ‘Yemisi, I don’t know.’
It was time to talk sense into my friend’s head. She was there when I was stupid enough to allow Wale walk over me. It was my turn to get her out of this fantasy. We deserved men who respected us, men who knew our worth, men who believed strongly in our roles in their lives. We are God’s daughters and we deserved the best.
I pushed her head up and held up her chin. ‘Abigail, why are you doing this to yourself? Victor is in a relationship for goodness sake. I get it that before he kicked off the relationship with that lady, you were convinced he was the one but right now, you have to let him go! There is a good man out there who values the grace of God on your life. ’
Abigail stood up and paced the corridor in silence. She stopped in front of me. ‘Do you really think I don’t want to move on?’
I went to her. ‘Babe, it’s been four years since you’ve held on to Victor. You did your best to make him see that you were available. We both know he saw the green light and still he chose someone else! Can’t you see that you are wasting your time? I’m not saying your conviction was wrong, but it takes two to be in a relationship. There is someone else who will fit into God’s plan for your life.’
Abigail blinked back tears. ‘I really want to let him go. I wish you can see my heart but I don’t know why it’s so difficult. I was so sure about him Yemisi. I really was. What about the things God said to me in prayers about my place in his life. What am I supposed to do with those notes? Sometimes I feel like, getting married to someone else would mean I’m not aligning with God’s original plan.
‘You see what I’m saying? Abigail! You must break this stronghold in your mind. That a relationship between you and Victor didn’t work out does not mean you can’t have a beautiful marriage with someone else. We must pray together this weekend. There is wisdom to break that emotional attachment you have with him.’
We went to the door and knocked again.
‘Adesuwa, please open the door.’
Still no response.
We sat back on the floor. I said to myself that I would wait for another twenty minutes and if Adesuwa does not respond, we’d get a carpenter to break open the door. I didn’t understand why I felt so peaceful. I just sensed there was no urgency to save Adesuwa from doing anything stupid.
‘There is a brother in my church who is seriously interested in me.’ Abigail said. ‘I told my Pastor I wasn’t interested but the truth is, I still have this tiny spark of light that Victor will come back.’
I shook my head. ‘You are indirectly saying, Victor’s relationship should break up so he can choose you.’
Abigail laughed sadly. ‘That’s so selfish.’ she rubbed her hand over her face. ‘My emotions…Oh God!’
The door to Adesuwa’s room finally opened. Adesuwa stood there, eyes swollen, her protruding stomach filling the entrance. It was obvious she had been crying.
We rushed into the room before she changed her mind and lock herself in again.
Abigail faced the distraught teenage girl, clearly upset. ‘Adesuwa, what is wrong with you? I’ve been knocking on this door since morning! At least you would have accorded me some respect and opened the door. Why would you do such a thing?’
Adesuwa started to cry. ‘I’m sorry.’
I went to her and led her to the bed. ‘It’s okay. Stop crying.’
Abigail served rice and vegetable into a plate and placed it in front of Adesuwa. She wiped her tears and began to eat slowly at first and then ravenously. The rice disappeared before our eyes and we had to plead with her to slow down when the food choked her throat.
When she pounced on the pomo with two hands, Abigail and I started laughing. Adesuwa didn’t even look at us. She finished everything on the plate and stood up to take the tray to the kitchen.
Abigail stopped her. ‘Don’t worry. I’ll take it.’
She gulped down water from her water bottle before looking in our direction. ‘Yesterday night, I saw a chat on 2go about the ongoing SSCE exams. I felt really bad because I know I should be writing the exams now but here I am-’ She rubbed her stomach. ‘I won’t be graduating with my mates.’
I rubbed her back gently. ‘Adesuwa, by God’s grace, you will write your final exams next year. Don’t allow anything bother you okay?’
‘Thank you, Miss Yemisi.’
We heard voices in the living room. The women were back. I could hear Mama D singing ‘Jesu o, se b’oun lo n gbani’ in a bass voice that rented the air. Abigail’s mother backed her up with some very funny beats. We burst into laughter. Even Adesuwa couldn’t help but chuckle.
‘Will mum be upset with me?’Adesuwa said. ‘I heard her knock on the door this morning but I didn’t want to talk with anyone.’
Abigail smiled. ‘No she won’t. Rest a while and join us in the living room.’
As I rose to follow Abigail out, Adesuwa held my hand.
‘Will you be staying over?’
I sat back on the bed and squeezed her hand. ‘Sure. I’ll be here till tomorrow evening.’
A smile broke across her face. ‘I’ve missed you. Yesterday, I was thinking about my classmates. I can’t believe I won’t graduate this year.’
I drew her into my arms. The cards her classmates had given me were in my bag but I wasn’t sure it was the best time to give them to her. With the way she’d been acting since morning, the last thing I wanted was for her to break down again.
She pulled away and looked at my face. ‘If my classmates should see me now, they’ll just jeer at me. Philip will raise his hands and say, ‘How hath the mighty fallen.’ Debby will hiss at me and call me a naïve girl who knew nothing aboit safe sex. I don’t want to ever stumble on any of my classmates. The shame will be too much to bear.’
I reached into my bag and brought out three cards. ‘These cards are from your classmates. You are wrong Adesuwa. They love you.’
She hesitated, afraid of touching the cards. I dropped them on the bed.
‘I’ll be back.’ I said and left the room to see my spiritual mentor.
Mama D was seated at a corner of the kitchen chatting with her friend. They always had something to talk about. Abigail’s mother was the only woman I’d seen Mama speak so freely with. There were times I’ve stopped to wonder if this was really my mentor. They behaved like teenagers sometimes and it fascinated me.
Abigail was offloading sacks of yam and onions the women had brought home. Mama D held out her arms to me when I entered the kitchen. I knelt down and wrapped my hand around her waist.
‘My beautiful daughter.’ Mama D said, wrapping her hand around my shoulder. I greeted Abigail’s mother too
‘How’s Abeo and his lovely wife?’ Mama asked, when I joined Abigail to arrange the yams into the store.
‘They are doing well.’ I answered. ‘They sent their greetings.’
Abigail raised her head. ‘Who is Abeo?’
‘My boss. That’s his other name.’
Abigail’s mother remembered something and sprang to her feet. ‘Imagine, I’ve not seen Adesuwa today. Has she finally come out of her confinement?’
Abigail poured out the onions to a sack flattened on the floor. ‘Yes, she has. If you see the way she finished that food.’
Abigail’s mother laughed. ‘I told you she will come around. A day after my parents dropped me off at my grandmother’s place, I refused to eat. My grandma pleaded with me but I was adamant. When she left for the farm, I grabbed the pot of ewa agoyin and finished everything in the pot.’
‘I think we should check up on her.’ Mama stood up and reached for my hand. She held my hand tightly as if I was a little stubborn boy who needed to be monitored.
When we got to Adesuwa’s room, she was looking at the cards and tears poured down her face. She didn’t even notice when we came in. Quietly, we stepped away from the room and shut the door.
Abigail shook her head. ‘The tears that girl has shed today, it will fill a bucket.’
Abigail’s mother turned to her daughter. ‘I’ve told you the story before. I did worse when I carried you in my womb. I wept for several nights. I couldn’t understand why my parents dumped me in the village with my grandmother. I was angry because I didn’t get pregnant by choice. They refused to believe I was raped. It’s a tough journey but she’ll be fine.’
I knew the details of the intense suffering Abigail’s mother went through when she found out she was pregnant. Thanks to a grandmother who gave her reason to hope.
I went back to Adesuwa’s room shortly before we started preparing dinner. I just wanted to be with her and to let her know again, she was not alone. I opened the door and there she was, kneeling beside her bed, praying, a bible opened in front of her.
Tosin was fired today. I had left the office early to catch up with a client on the island. I returned to find her crying. This time, her so-called friends were nowhere to be found.
‘What happened?’ I whispered to a guy whose table was next to mine.
‘Mabel fired her. ’ He said.
What happened? I asked. He said he didn’t know the details only that she had gotten on Mabel’s bad side. I felt pity for her. When I looked at her again, she was pulling a make-up kit out of her drawer. Two employees had been fired since Mabel took over. Who was next?
Simeon entered and stood in front of us. His attention was directed at Tosin.
‘Tosin, see me in my office now.’ Simeon said and walked into the inner room that served as his office.
My eyes went to Tosin again. The high-class, I-can-get-whatever-client-I-want looked so defeated. Was it not last week she bragged about clients pleading with her to come work for them? Why didn’t she just walk out boldly when Mabel asked her to leave?
She wiped her tears and went to see my boss. A minute later, they came out and went out of the office.
Shortly after I started writing my report on the business meeting I had that morning, Jide came to my table.
‘Hey Yemisi, is your boss around?’
I shook my head. ‘He just stepped out.’
‘If you are not so busy, come over to my office. There is a letter for you.’
I looked at him surprised. A letter for me?
I jumped to my feet. Everything could wait until I read the content of the letter. I followed Jide to his office. He waited for me to catch up with him on the corridor and then patted me gently on my shoulder.
‘How are you? I can’t believe we work in the same place and we rarely see each other.’
I shrugged. If Jide was sounding this cool, then the letter must be a good one.
‘You’ve been very busy.’ I said. ‘I’ve checked up on you a couple of times.’
We came to a glass door that had ‘Human Resource department’ written boldly on it. He pushed it open. We walked past a big room with people working on their computers and entered a smaller office. He pointed to a chair across from his. I sat down.
He smiled broadly. ‘Hope there’s no problem with the house.’
‘Not really.’ I responded. Since Jide assured me I was fine staying in his family house, I’d not bothered looking for an apartment to rent. ‘The kitchen sink is leaking but it’s a manageable situation.’
‘I’ll ask the family plumber to check it out this weekend.’
I clasped my hands on the table. ‘Thank you so much for everything.’
Jide smiled and reached into his drawer. He brought out a letter and pushed it towards me. I took it from him but didn’t open it.
‘Go ahead. Open it.’ He said.
What I saw made me gasp. My salary has been upgraded. From one hundred and fifty thousand naira, I now earned two hundred and eighty thousand naira. I did a quick calculation of my commission and bonuses. Monthly, I’d be going home with over three hundred thousand naira.
Jide said something but I didn’t hear clearly because I was carried away by the figures before me.
‘Can you drive?’ He repeated.
I shook my head. ‘Not yet. Although, I have plans for that later this year.’
‘You should start immediately. Mabel is giving out official cars to you and two other staff.’
I opened my mouth. ‘What!’
He nodded. ‘I’ll recommend two driving schools. I can also come over to teach you on weekends.’
I was mesmerized. Why would good things be happening when I felt an urge to leave Pavilion?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave again. Life here was sweet. I had a boss who had become a friend. Mabel and I were on a good page unlike her relationship with some of my colleagues. My salary has just been increased and now I have a car.
I started a bargain with God right there in Jide’s office.
Lord, do I really have to leave Pavilion? Can’t I do the teens work alongside this? At least Simeon is a Pastor even though he works in a corporate organization. I can combine both perfectly well.
I got no response. God just went quiet on me.
I jolted out of my thoughts. ‘Sir?’
‘I was asking what really happened between you and Wale. I’ve not had time to talk about it in details with you.’
I sighed. ‘It didn’t work out. Apparently, he liked some other lady and was already making travel plans with her even while we were together.’
‘Oh!’ Jide exclaimed.
‘How’s he doing? Have you heard from him?’
Jide shook his head. ‘I have not been able to reach him since you told me you guys broke up. His line isn’t going through.’
‘He must have travelled out of the country with the lady. That was their plan.’
Jide leaned forward. ‘How are you faring?’
‘I’m fine now. All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and who are the called according to his purpose.’
Jide laughed. ‘Christian sister.’
A call came into Jide’s phone. I took the opportunity to return to my office and finish up my report.
When I got there, my colleagues were in a joyous mood. Tosin was smiling and serving everybody cupcakes. Simeon had pleaded for her and she had been restored.
I went into Simeon’s office. ‘Thank you for speaking to Mabel about Tosin.’
Simeon folded his hands. ‘She is an intelligent lady. Last week, I gave her two assignments and the result she brought back was just amazing. She has an unusual creative mind. I’m moving her to the advertising team.’ He let out a deep breath. ‘We have another mission though. We are going to get her saved. There is no mess God can’t fix.’
I was about asking him what he knew about Tosin and what mess he was referring to when he looked at the paper in my hand.
‘My salary has been upgraded. I am also entitled to an official car.’
Simeon laughed out loud. ‘What a temptation. Mabel didn’t tell me about this.’ He took the letter from me and read the content. He looked at me. ‘I hope somebody is not changing her mind.’
I exhaled. ‘Simeon, are you sure God wants me to leave Pavilion? I mean, you are the head of the advertising and marketing department. You are also in the Pastoral office. Who says I can’t combine my work here and my ministry to teenagers.’
Simeon just fixed his gaze at me and didn’t say anything.
‘Simeon, please say something.’
He folded his hands. ‘As far as I am concerned, right now, it’s your flesh speaking. Spend more time in prayers. You can’t be moved by ephemeral things.’
My phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Festus. By this time I was really tired of the guy and I didn’t hide it from Simeon.
‘What’s wrong with your friend?’ I said, showing him the phone screen. ‘Simeon, please tell this guy to slow down. He calls me every day.’
Jide chuckled. ‘The guy likes you a lot. He is a wonderful brother, Yemisi.’
What for goodness sake was my boss saying. Why would he be pitching this man to me?
‘I can vouch for him.’ Simeon continued. ‘We’ve known each other since uni days. We were pastored by the same man and ran a pastoral course together. He was so happy when he heard I had moved to Lagos.’
Simeon leaned forward. ‘It’s true he knows close to nothing about wooing a woman, but he is teachable. Festus is a man of good character although he can be narrow-minded sometimes but trust me, he loves God. Yemisi, he is worth praying about.’
When I stepped out of the office and walked to my table, I was very upset. Festus was still calling me even though I was not answering the call. When a lady’s phone rings twice and she does not pick up, wasn’t that enough reason to make you just stop until she returns the call?
My phone beeped. It was a text message from him
Hello Yemisi. I was calling to check up on you. How’s work going? You are always in my heart and I can’t wait to have you by my side forever. I love you very much.
I stared at the message. Love! Abi what’s this man saying? Which one is ‘I can’t wait to have you by my side forever?’
I grabbed my phone and went to the rest room. As far as I was concerned, it was either his spiritual father was not training him well on how to approach a lady or he was simply not listening. I dialed Festus’ number.
‘Hello dear.’ He said on the other end.
‘Festus, I don’t understand the text message you sent to me. You don’t even know me and you are talking about love. For goodness sake, we just met last weekend!’
‘Does it matter, Yemisi?’ Festus said. ‘We are spirit beings, have you forgotten? The moment you started talking, my spirit connected with you straightaway and by the following morning, I knew what God was saying to me about you. Yes, we may live in this world but we are not citizens of this world. It is the world system that tries out everything before making moves. We carry the Holy Spirit and we know exactly what the Father is saying at every moment.’
I was shocked listening to Festus spill those words. Where for goodness sake did Simeon get a friend like this?
He continued. ‘There is so much I’ll love to say but I’ll wait till we have lunch together. We are meeting this week right?’
‘Festus, I’m not having lunch with you. Since we are spirit beings and we know exactly what the Spirit is saying. Listen to what the spirit has to say. I cannot be by your side forever.’
‘I have to get back to work now. Please don’t call my line again. Leave me alone. Thank you.’
I hung up and held the edges of the toilet sink while I stared at my reflection in the mirror.
Some Christian brothers sha, I said aloud.
I felt guilty almost immediately. Was my response to Festus harsh?
Read Episode 16
Read: The Pastor’s wife