The new week was uneventful for Sapphire. Pain was boldly written on her face. She tried hard but she was in the doldrums. As she sat in her office, she remembered one of her encounters with a prophet some months back. Very unusually of her, she had decided to go see a prophet. The thought came out of the blues and without thinking she gave in to it. Till date, she didn’t understand why she took that step.
She got to know about Pastor Ben through one of her colleagues in the office who attended his church. Chinyere and Sapphire were not close pals but each time they had the chance to talk, it was always Pastor Ben this, Pastor Ben that. What made Sapphire consider the prophet was that Chinyere had mentioned how the man was a professional at helping people who had delay in getting hooked and how he was the one who God used to change her own story.
The day she visited Pastor Ben was one that would never be erased from her memory. She was uneasy about it but she ignored it.
“Feelings ehn, they try to draw you away from your blessings. That was how I did not want to go to church last week Sunday. See what I would have missed. After all, I’m not going to a herbalist’s place.” Sapphire had convinced herself.
She had waited for over five hours in Pastor Ben’s visitors’ room before he finally attended to her. She was exhausted and famished but her quest wouldn’t let her move an inch from the place she sat. She was desperate!
“I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting sister…” He looked at her face like he was going to see the name written on it.
“Sapphire.” She helped him out.
“Sapphire! What a fantastic name for a ravishing beauty like you!” He said, sitting on the magnificent red sofa in the room. The sofa was built in such a way that it could accommodate at least five people conveniently but she remembered that Chinyere, during one of her blabbing sessions had told her that no one else could sit on the chair apart from Pastor Ben himself. She wondered why one person would have a special seat as large as that. The colour also nauseated her but she cast her mind off everything she saw.
Pastor Ben’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Yes! So, you need a husband urgently, right?”
“Yes, I do sir.” The words struggled to make their way out of her throat.
“You’re in the right place my sister. You see, the will of God is that you should be married.”
Her eyes were glued to him.
“But the problem of you people nowadays is that you don’t know how to take what rightfully belongs to you.” He said, beating the back of one hand on the other palm.
“See, if you like a man, you can claim him. Didn’t the scriptures tell you to ask and it shall be given to you? The word of God says you should decree a thing and it shall be established. Are you following me sister?”
“Wait. Let me ask you. Is there somebody in view?”
“Ermm… Yes sir. We broke up some time back and I think he is seeing someone else.”
“My father, my father! Sister, you are sleeping o.” He thrust his head forward and continued. “There are so many godly ways to claim him back. You cannot just sit and be waiting for the will of God and expect it to come. The Kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Ji! Ma sun.” He roared.
“Faith without works is dead my sister, dead! Rabashanda!”
“I’m sure you’ve been delighting yourself in the Lord and He’s ready to grant the desires of your heart.”
“By the way, you must be over 27 now.”
“How did you know sir?”
“Daughter of Zion, I am a servant of God. The Spirit of God cannot lie.” He said, chortling.
“Indeed sir.” She affirmed, nodding like an agama lizard.
“So, you waited this long to possess your possession? Chai! Rebohanda! The Spirit is even telling me that there is a brother in view.”
“That is very true sir. You asked me earlier.” She said, scratching her head.
“Uhm… Yes. This is a confirmation. Get up sister!” Sapphire sprung up from her seat. “This case is simpler than you can imagine.”
“All you need is the anointing for attraction.”
She was getting uncomfortable. She knew that witchcraft had saturated the atmosphere but she kept her cool. She had slotted in the movie. She was going to watch it till the end.
He went inside and brought out a bottle of oil. It was well packaged with his name boldly printed on it.
“I’ve prayed over it, sister! Go and possess your possession.”
“Thank you very much sir.” She opened her purse and ran her hands through the compartments.
“Oh. No…no… It’s when you see the miracle that you should come back to thank God. You will definitely pay my sister, but not now.” He said, smiling.
Something about the smile made her miss her steps as she made her way out of the house.
“Thank you very much sir. I will definitely come and testify to God’s goodness.”
As she got into the car, her heart skipped a bit. She looked at the bottle and knew immediately that she didn’t have the liver to keep it. She trashed it as she drove home. It was after some time she discovered that if she had used the oil, her story would have changed drastically. She would have become an eternal slave to the man as she leant that those who he helped could never go out of his reach. That included Chinyere.
Sapphire almost died when she finally got to know what the so called man of God had up his sleeves. She would have become one of his victims too.
She shook her head and sighed.
“What exactly is wrong with me? I’m not normal o. Why am I this desperate? I need deliverance bajebaje.” Her phone rang. It was an unfamiliar number.
“Good morning, Sapphire.”
“Good morning, sir. Please may I know who I’m speaking with?” She muttered.
“My name is Jude Ayoade, Mercy’s brother.”
“Oh! Mr. Jude. How are you doing?”
“Very well. Thank you. Are you fine? You sound cold?”
“Yes, I am.” Why does he think I sound cold? All these brothers dem. Shey I should start jumping because he called ni?
“Anyways, when would you be free this weekend? I would like us to hang out.” Sapphire’s head sparked. This man does not even know the right time to call? Abi what is this now?
“Are you still there?”
“Yes sir. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” She said, lifting her nose.
“Alright. I’ll be expecting your call.” He said and hung up.
“Who is this one again now? What exactly does he want? These brothers should just leave me nah abi what is it?”
She was still ranting when she heard a knock on her door. She wasn’t expecting anybody.
Sapphire froze at the sight of her august visitor.
“Can I sit?”
“Sure sir! Good morning sir.” She greeted, quivering.
“Sapphire, Silverberry is in distress.” The CEO began.
Sapphire pinched herself.
“Sir, I don’t seem to get that, I mean…”
“Sapphire, I mean Silverberry is under serious threat.”
She still didn’t understand what he was saying.
“But sir, what is wrong with Silverberry? We don’t have any issues. We’re financially stable, we don’t owe anyone and we deliver on time.” She said, looking lost.
“You’re the reason Silverberry is in trouble.”
She pointed at herself. He nodded. Sapphire thought her ears were in tune with another universe that morning. How would the CEO say that she, Sapphire, the winner of the most dependable staff of the year award for three years running was a threat to a company to which she had given her best?
“What is wrong with you?”
“The last report you gave me was terribly prepared. The one you gave me this morning too had several missing digits. If you keep missing out details like this, there’ll be trouble one day.”
Sapphire held her chest.
“You have been a very detailed and efficient staff so I want to know what is wrong. I am like a father to every member of staff in this company you and so I insist on knowing, else…”
Sapphire did not know when tears began to roll down her face. Like someone under a spell, she let everything out.
“Sapphire, aren’t you a Christian?”
“I am sir.”
“So why are you giving yourself so much stress on such a flimsy thing as this. Let me tell you my dear, whatever is yours is yours and what is not yours is not. Can you repeat what I just said to yourself?”
“Whatever is mine is mine and whatever is not mine is not mine.”
“God’s will for you is very important. Have you even taken time to seek what His will concerning this matter is? Have you asked Him to give you a clear word? Did He say it’s this Jerry or why the fuss?”
She bent her head and sighed.
“I think you should give yourself a break and keep your eyes on God.” He said as he stood up to leave.
“Thank you sir. I’m grateful.”
“You’re most welcome. Meanwhile, you should work on those files again. I’ll send someone to bring them.” He said, shutting the door behind him.
She remembered her encounter with Mrs. Wilson two years earlier and was disappointed in herself. She should have learnt. She wanted to pray but felt this sharp pang of guilt.
She decided to drown her emotions so she turned on her data and began to scan through her Whatsapp messages. She saw a message from her mum. Strange, she thought. They had been trying to convince her to use social media platforms for ages but she always gave the excuse that social media could be enslaving. She was eager to see her mum’s first message.
Sapphire, always remember that you’ve got worth;
Even when you mess up
It doesn’t reduce that worth
Carry yourself like a queen
Because that is who you are
And the King loves you no matter what.
Sapphire read the message three more times. It became crystal clear. Mothers are witches. She turned off her data connection and picked a pen and paper.
I know I’m messing up so badly right now. I don’t even know what words to say to you. There’s so much clutter littering the heart of your little girl right now. But, I’m grateful that you love me despite this. I know I keep repeating this matter in your ears I keep saying the same things over and again. Please don’t be tired of me. I can’t lie to you. I want a bobo. I feel like time is not on my side. I feel bad that it’s like Jerry is getting another person. Father see o, I have not even confirmed. I’m just assuming. You can imagine!
But whatever it is Lord, honestly, like seriously, all I want is your will. You know sometimes this thing can just be so hard. But shebi you sha understand me? Please, help me. See, I will wait but just make everything clear. Let me know what exactly you want for me. It has nothing to do with Jerry or anyone right now, though really there’s this silent nudge in one corner of my heart o.
See, I don’t understand the whole thing again. But I’ll let him go if that is what you want. Please, let your light shine. And right now, help me keep my gaze on you. Help me to be totally lost in you. I know that when it’s time, you’ll work everything out. Thank you loving Father. Thank you sweet Holy Spirit.
A cool breeze blew over Sapphire as she dropped her pen. She reclined in her chair. A thought crossed her mind. Staying at home during the weekend would not be a good idea. The temptation of slipping into another round of self pity and depressing moods could be difficult to resist. Accepting Jude’s offer would be just fine. But she decided that she would go only if he would allow Lolade to come along. Lolade, only God knows what will happen when both of us finally get married. She picked up her phone.
“Hello Sapphire. So are we game?”
This man’s gragra is too much. Sapphire, your own wahala too is too much jare. Give the man a break.
“Yes sir. But if you don’t mind, I would like to come with a friend.”
“Are you afraid or something?”
“No sir, it’s just…”
“Don’t worry. I’m just kidding.” He said, chuckling. “You’re free my sweetheart.”
Sapphire shook her head. She was not comfortable with strangers using endearing words for her. Dear was still okay but a personalized sweetheart, haba. She bit her finger.
“We will go and nothing will happen.” She burst out.
The next thing she needed to do was call Lolade. She was reluctant. She scrolled to her number in her contacts list and stared at it. As she was about to dial it, a call came in. Talk of the devil!
“Hello girl, you can’t believe what just happened.” Lolade’s voice was trembling. Sapphire was scared to death.
“Calm down girl. What is it now?”
“He has come! He has come!”
“Him. He has come.”
“Where are you?”
“At work. He just came now.”
“Lolade, don’t scatter my head nah who is he?”
“I’ll be in your office very soon.”
“OK. But be fine o. Take it easy.”
Before Sapphire could say Jack, Lolade was in her office. Her eyes were red and swollen.
“Did you fly? What happened nah?”
“Chei! It is too wonderful to believe!” Lolade said, rotating about a spot.
“Talk now.” Sapphire pressed.”
“Greg asked me to marry him.”
“Lolade, I have work to do. I don’t have time for child’s play.” She said and hissed.
“Why do you find it hard to believe things that seem impossible?”
“OK. I’m sorry. So what are you going to do now? You were screaming he has come as if you’re already sure he’s the one.”
“Sis, I’m super duper sure. I knew beforehand. I told you nah.”
“God had been pointing my attention towards one brother like that. I didn’t like it at first. Then all of a sudden I began to like him.”
“But you didn’t reveal his identity.”
“I’m sorry nah. I couldn’t mention his name when the vision was still shaky.”
“And how did it become unshaky?”
“You know I told you that I had asked God to show me very clearly if he was the one through his proposal.”
“Yes…You said you asked God to make him know the right words to say.””
“Sis, it may sound strange. But believe me, he said the very words I told God I wanted him to say. He said them simply, steadily and convincingly.” She said, hitting the table.”
“This one is possican o. He said it live and direct. It was like God showed him my heart.”
“Awesome!” Sapphire said, clapping. “So what did you do?”
“I said yes.”
Sapphire held her and shook her. “On the spot?”
“Ahnahn. You should have taken some time to pray and be sure about it. You don’t jump at men like that now.” Sapphire protested.
Lolade cut her eye at her.
“Are you joking? Madam, I knew and was very sure before he came so why did I have to delay him?”
“Normal ladies’ shakara.”
“Na lie. Some people will go and never come back again.”
“It’s not true. If he’s sure, he’ll wait.”
“OK. I hear you. But leave that aside sef. What is the essence of the shakara, Aunty Sapphire?”
“It is simply to show him you have some worth and that you’re not desperate.” She said twisting her neck.
“Shuooo… The person that God has already given your password. Biko, which one is playing hard to get again? He will just sit down, flenjo, and be laughing at you with the side of his cheeks. If you’re not sure, it’s a different case. It’s like you’re forgetful self.”
“Why did you say so?”
“Were you not the one who told me that God gave you a word for us?”
“Yes. He said this is our year. I remember.”
“OK… And then?”
“He particularly said the people we’re waiting for are closer than we can imagine. But I didn’t tell you He said it was Greg.” Sapphire argued.
“Sis, would you just leave this and be happy for me. I give you the permission to go and pray about it when you get home, you hear?”
“OK. I surrender.” Sapphire said, covering her face. “I was only pulling your legs. I knew it was him all along but I was not sure he was the same person you were talking about so I didn’t want to create any troubles.” Sapphire admitted.
Lolade’s eyes widened.
“Are you serious?”
. “Yes. O ya come here. Congratulations, babe!”
“Thank you darling. And you were behaving like what I don’t know at first. Don’t worry, you’re next and it’s gonna happen faster than you think”
Sapphire withdrew to her seat.
“Abeg leave that side jare, at least for now.” She said, tapping the table with a pen. Sapphire had decided to thoroughly flush out anything that had to do with marriage and relationship for the time being. She was going to enjoy herself with God and that was it!
“You want to be doing shakara upandan abi?. Continue nah.” Lolade grumbled.
“No… I want to love up on God, you know that kind of a thing.” She said, lifting her brows. See, let’s leave that first. There’s this hangout I want you to follow me to.”
“OK. With who?”
“One of my client’s brothers.”
“A brother… Hmm.”
“Don’t even go there. There are no strings attached o babe. In fact I’m taking you along so that even if he has any strings in mind, they will just cut off piam.”
“My sister, that’s the way it is at the moment.”
“So, what time tomorrow?”
“It would be in the evening jare.” She said scrolling through her phone planner. “My goodness!”
“What is the matter?”
“I completely forgot. Let me call the man back. Tomorrow won’t work”
“I’m sorry sir. I won’t be able to make it. I had thought that tomorrow would be free but I suddenly remembered my family would like to be together tomorrow and we rarely have these times together. I do hope you understand. I’m sorry for any inconveniences.”
“Well, I do. No problems at all. I love the way you value your family. Keep it up.”
“Thank you, sir.”
She turned to Lolade as she dropped the call.
“I’m sorry babe. We’ll do this some other time. Junior is coming home tomorrow and Mum insists I should pick him from the park. I really don’t understand why. We’re having family time tomorrow or so she said.”
“You still call him Junior? Abeg call the boy better name jare.”
“Na you sabi.”
“No wahala now. I’m at your service always. At least till I go to my husband’s house. Let me be on my way.”
“My regards to Chef Mama. Tell her I would check on her very soon.”
“Naughty boy.” Sapphire said, smacking her brother on the head. “Is it that you don’t know how to board a bus again abi why did mum have to force me to come and pick you up when you’re not a baby.” She queried.
“Sis, I don’t understand o. I was surprised myself. I told her not to bother but she insisted and I did not argue. You know how she can be at times.” He said, rubbing his head.
“Hmm… Your mother.”
“Sister, our mother.”
She hit him playfully.
“So, how has school been?” She asked, turning down the volume of the car radio.
“Fine sister. The thing don dey tire me sef.”
“It’s not like that sis. All these courses we do in Nigerian universities, na wash o.”
“Junior, you and this pidgin ehn.”
“Sister, my name is not Junior. I don’t like it”
“When did you start protesting against the name we’ve been calling you since only the heavens know when? Even Lolade was supporting your cause only yesterday.”
“Sis, the eyes of my understanding are open now. Junior is not a good name.”
Sapphire was startled. ”
“See, sister, I can’t argue. Kelvin is fine.”
Sapphire shook her head. For the next five minutes, one could hear a pin drop in the car.
“Sis, how is the bro?”
“The bro now. Sis, you for don marry o.”
“Jun… Kelvin not from you too.” She said, shaking her head.”
“How have mum and dad been taking it?”
“Nobody talks about it. I’m not under any form of pressure from either of them. But Junior, I’m not that old now, am I?”
“Sister, I didn’t her you well o.”
“OK Kevin. What about you?”
“Forget sis. This relationship thing isn’t my thing. I think I made a big mistake going into it in the first place. We thought it would work. We struggled to work it out but I don’t know, it just looked like God was not in it. I’ll be sincere, we were not sure. We just liked each other and thought being in a relationship would make us more of friends but sis, it brought out the worst in us.” He said with a chortle.
“We’re still friends though. But I’m not sure I have the capacity to be in a relationship or to love again. It was so messy.”
“I think you would find love again. Don’t give up because you failed at it once. You would need to learn what true love is by building a cordial relationship with God. Trust me, you would be given another chance at it. Don’t worry.” She sounded so confident.”
“Hmm……Two can Tango mama. Alright. But like you’ve said, my relationship with God comes first. I need to work on that and get a life!”
“That’s my little brother!”
They were soon home. Their mother came out as soon as she heard them drive in.
“Welcome my darlings.” She said, hugging them one after the other. Sapphire looked around with suspicion. The hug was an unusual one.
She began to examine Kelvin all over. His neck bones seemed to be more conspicuous than normal.
“Kelvin, you’ve not been feeding well. Why do you always do this to yourself?” She asked, looking at him with a frown.
“Mum, I try. Beside there’s no time.”
“Ah! Anyway, I am prepared for you. Things must change now that you’re home.”
“So mum, let’s get this straight. Why the fuss about me going to pick Junior up?”
“Sapphire, o baje. Emi ni fuss abi?”
“I’m sorry mum. I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“Mo ti gbo. The truth is Tope Lawson is in Nigeria.”
Sapphire remembered the name but it made no sense to her.
“We invited him over but we didn’t tell him it was so that you could connect but that was the reason.”
“Oh mum! But what did that have to do with me going to pick…? Wait, you wanted it to be a surprise or what?”
“Something like that.”
She was irate but managed to contain her emotions.
“We were only trying to help out but I guess we failed. See, it’s not like we’re comfortable with you still being here with us. But we’ve been trying not to pressure you that was why we kept quiet all the while.”
Sapphire and her brother exchanged knowing looks.
“Yes. You and Tope were childhood friends so we felt something could happen. I don’t even know what I was thinking because I don’t support such arrangements on a normal day.” Her mum admitted.
“I was just going to say that mum. So what happened?” She asked, arms akimbo.
“He called to say he won’t be able to make it again because he needed to take his wife to a programme and her car suddenly developed a fault.”
“C’est Fini! He’s even married!” Sapphire exclaimed.
“Yes o. Na so we see am.”
Sapphire burst into an endless bout of laughter. She finally calmed down and held her mother’s hands.
“Mum, you people should relax. If you arrange a hundred people for me, this is how you’ll keep getting disappointed.”
“It is very obvious my daughter. In fact, the whole thing poured cold water on my heart.”
“Thank God it was cold water not hot water.” She teased.
“What do you mean?”
“Mama Sapph!” She hailed. “But you allowed me to miss a great hangout o. Who knows, this one would have birthed what you desired.” She said, murmuring. Her mum stared at her blankly. As she made for her room, she couldn’t fix what gave her the impression that Jude was interested in her. She perished the thought in a jiffy. There was a resolution on ground.
Three weeks after the initially planned hangout, Sapphire and Lolade finally got to meet with Jude in his house. As the gateman flung the gates open, Sapphire’s jaw dropped. Flowers of different shapes, colours and sizes set themselves in an artistic sequence around the main building. There was a fountain that had water gushing from a Bible carving unto a kneeling woman. Deep concept, she thought. Asides her parents’ house, she had never been to any other house that was as devoured by nature as Jude’s.
“Wooooooosh! We die here!” Sapphire burst out. Lolade and Jude laughed.
They sat in front of the house because of Sapphire. She craved for the natural sights badly. A young lady of about nineteen came out with some snacks and drinks. She curtseyed as she served them.
“We finally get to hang out with the almighty Sapphire.” Jude quipped. “It’s a pleasure to have you in my space, ladies.”
“Thank you Mr. Jude.”
“Jude is fine. Thank you.” He said, smiling.
Sapphire cast a furtive glance at Lolade.
“And what’s the name of the pretty damsel we have here?”
“It’s nice meeting you Miss Lolade.”
“It’s my pleasure too, sir.”
“You’re welcome to my house.” He fixed his attention on Sapphire. “I’m not sure you know the exact purpose of this meeting.”
“Well, I don’t know. I can only guess.”
“I’m not going to stress a queen like you. There’s a miracle that will unfold in a few minutes. Just keep your fingers crossed.”
Lolade pinched Sapphire. She smiled sheepishly. I just hope it’s not what I’m thinking.
“Meanwhile, there’s a friend of mine coming over. I would like you to help counsel him as much as you can. He sure needs it. He’s the main reason we’re here.”
Sapphire was confused.
“But I didn’t come here as the relationship coach. I came as Sapphire Olaoti, the ordinary, everyday Sapphire.” She said, spreading her hands out.
“Oh. Really? Well, we may need to stretch you beyond that today.” He said, winking at her. She felt uncomfortable. She smacked herself. Sapphire, don’t be too quick to jump into conclusions. This man has not said or done anything bad.
“Seems like your friend doesn’t talk much.” Jude continued.
Sapphire gave Lolade a knowing look.
“Well, I do. I just do not want to interrupt you.”
“Hmm… Nice. So what do you do?”
Jude and Lolade were soon lost in their conversation. Sapphire was getting uncomfortable, not because of how Jude had found it interesting chatting with Lolade but because she still didn’t understand the purpose their being on a date with him. Yes! She hated to use that word but that was what she was seeing.
“I would like to take a walk.” She excused herself.
“I hope somebody is not jealous here.”
“No. I just want to stretch my legs.”
Jude gave her thumbs up.
She went around his garden. She fell in love with the pink roses especially. She released herself to the fantasy of living in a house like that one day.
A sound of a car horn sent Jude’s gate-man jolting from the chair on which he had dosed off. Jude had been watching him from afar but unusually, he decided to let him be. The way the man jumped from the chair made him and Lolade reel with laughter. A blue Toyota highlander drove in. As the lady and man in the vehicle stepped out, Lolade could only watch in amazement.
“It’s good to see you again, the lady greeted.”
Sapphire came back from her nature adventure almost at the same time the two newcomers arrived. She stared at them for a moment and smiled.
“Hello Jerry. Hello Debbie. Congratulations! I see you guys are doing quite well. The Lord will prosper your home and make you all that he wants you to be.”
The four looked at each other in amazement.
“Are you surprised?” Sapphire asked.
“I’m really confused here.” Jerry interrupted.
“Wait, guys, there seems to be a mix up somewhere. Let’s help madam Sapphire. She seems to be the only one from Jupiter here.” Jude proposed. The four of them laughed. Sapphire frowned.
“I don’t get you.”
“Well… Sapphire, Debbie and I are the ones getting married.” Jude explained.
Sapphire opened her mouth. That was the name that began with the letter ‘J’-Jude. She had not raised the issue of the invitation card again and Lolade had not bothered.
“And this is Jerry, my very good friend, the one you’re going to be counseling.” Everyone laughed again.
Sapphire looked at each one of them in turn. The place seemed to be spinning.
“Since everybody here is hooked, I came here for my own bride.” Jerry declared. A heavy applause filled the air. Sapphire looked at Lolade. She winked. She instantly suspected that she had a hand in all that was happening but she didn’t know how. That was a discussion for later.
He held Sapphire’s hands.
“Sapphire, I know we’ve been through a lot but I know we were meant to be. I have learnt my lessons. I’m ready to allow you be the woman that you should be. I’m ready to set you free as long as you’re going nowhere outside the leading of the Holy Spirit. I’m going to be your number one fan all the way, no bossing, no autocracy. Sapphire, I love you and I would like us to begin our journey again. What do you say?”
Sapphire screamed, running towards the gate and back like a confused chicken.
P.S: Sapphire is a work of fiction spiced with the writer’s personal and shared experiences about relationships. Any absolute similarities with any real life cases are only coincidental.
Thank you for following this story. I earnestly desire to get feedback from you. Watch out for another intriguing series very soon. While you wait, keep your spirit and soul refreshed with divinely inspired articles from the lips and lives blog.
And don’t forget that all of life is worship to the Creator.