WELCOME TO LIPS AND LIVES, THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS’ CIRCLE

Dear Worshipper,

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I’m so glad you’re reading this right now and I’m sure your quest is to know what’s happening in this circle. You probably saw the name and thought, ‘Oh! All these church stuff?’ If you really want to know what’s cooking here you should read this letter from start to finish, even if you feel like giving up just muster the strength to finish up.

Do you expect that everything we talk about here is spiritual stuff? Of course it is, because you and I are spiritual beings.  We cannot get to worship the way the Father desires without getting on the spiritual level.

Let me clarify this. Worship is not defined by activity. It is not restricted to some certain activities like singing, going to church, lifting your hands to the heavens. It’s much more than that. Worship is a lifestyle. It’s about placing your everyday ordinary life as an offering to God (Romans 12:1 MSG).

Let us take a list of some things we do everyday or at least almost everyday; going to work or school, eating, sleeping, chatting with friends, taking a stroll, washing the dishes, singing, listening to music, writing, watching TV, shopping-just think about those activities you’re involved in everyday or almost everyday. Alright! Worship is about taking all those things that constitute your everyday life and offering them to God on the altar of sacrifice.
Some other versions say to offer our bodies as living sacrifices meaning that whatever we do with our bodies must give God pleasure and we all know that the aforementioned daily activities are carried out with the members of our bodies-our hands, legs, eyes, noses, mouths…You get the picture? Great!
So, we’re going all practical, taking a tour into whatever facet of life you can think of in various dimensions. Trust me, I very well know that theories don’t do. I know you would like to know more but I can’t talk about everything in this one piece.

Here we have fun as we discuss issues about life ranging from girls’ gists to general relationships and music. There are poems, stories from everyday life and articles that are sure to make your stay worthwhile. Why not hop in for a ride trusting God that it’s going to be worth the while?

Welcome to the Circle!

Oluwatoosin.

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ADVANCED SEARCH

I had been looking for a particular receipt so that I could collect my departmental package but I couldn’t find it. Every morning, I remembered that I had a package to collect, I would hurriedly check through my file folders but I did not see it.

I was so sure the receipt was in my folder but I got confused at some point. I let it lie and discarded the thought of collecting my package for over three months.

I got back to school and the desire welled up in me again, not just to collect my package but also to find my receipt simply because I had to find it.

So one weekend, I looked at the place where I kept my files and said to myself, “Today, I must look for this receipt and find it. It is not missing. It is here.”

I brought out all the folders and began my search with the folder I believed I had put it, the same folder I had been checking almost every morning about three months before.

This time, instead of checking hurriedly, I took time check through the documents carefully. They were arranged in groups so I would pick one group and search through thoroughly.

I had only lifted a bound pile of documents when my receipt smiled at me. It was there all the while but I didn’t see it. I couldn’t have seen it.

The mistake I repeatedly made was searching in a hurry every morning when I was almost late or when I was under pressure. I was never intentional about looking for it.

I was thinking about the experience as I stared at the receipt and God made me understand that we often do a lot of scanty search in our sojourn through life.

We don’t tarry. We want to get instructions urgently. We want situations settled at the snap of our fingers. We want to be the best without going through the pain of becoming. We want working relationships without wanting to take responsibility. We want to scratch the surface and get the best but, things don’t work that way.

Have you ever used the google advanced search option? Ahah! You know it’s not the general kind of search. It is specific. It is streamlined. In fact, I would say it is deeper than the general search.

We have to tarry, to stand on the watch tower, to dwell in the secret place, stay in the refinery, undergo adequate training, cultivate depths and build full capacity to live quality lives.

We are not called to pity depths or dread them, we are called to dig into them and excavate the treasures that lie in them.

Have an awesome week ahead!

LACED WITH GRACE (FREE BIRTHDAY E-BOOK)

Yippeeee! It’s my birthday! Happy birthday to my twin brother and me. Oh, yeah! I am a twin. I have an amazing twin brother and I’m grateful for us.

I’ve been preparing for my birthday for a long time because it’s a special one. I was thinking of how I’d love to receive gifts when it struck me that instead of expecting any gift this year, I should give something, especially to my younger friends.

Every time I’ve thought about my life in the past few months, my conclusion is that my life is laced with God’s grace.

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Outwardly, you may see someone who is all smiles and wish you had life all figured out and smooth like he/she does not knowing that this happy soul has had his/her fair share of life’s challenges and struggles.

I’ve not always been the best of humans and I’m still not. I’ve not always experienced the best of life’s weather. But I make bold to say that I am one who is greatly helped by the Lord.

It’s not just me. There are several others like me who who rose from the mire by God’s grace and are making impacts for the Kingdom in diverse ways.

In this book, some of these people have shared their stories to strengthen your heart and to make you know that with whatever you’ve been through or whatever weaknesses or flaws you have, you can still become all that God wants you to be.

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This book is a gift from me to you. I do pray that it blesses you greatly and that after you read it, you’ll rise from the dust and sit on your throne ’cause it was custom made for you.

You can download a copy here Laced with Grace(E-book)

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Please keep me in your prayers and feel free to drop your comments in the comment box.

I cherish you.

Oluwatoosin

SAPPHIRE (The Final Episode)

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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.

Sapphire nodded.

“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?”

“Yes sir.”

“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.

“Hmm…”

“Faith without works is dead my sister, dead! Rabashanda!”

“Amen!”

“I’m sure you’ve been delighting yourself in the Lord and He’s ready to grant the desires of your heart.”

“Amen!”

“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.”

“Alright sir.”

“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.

“Come in.”

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.

“Sapphire.”

“Sir.”

“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?”

“Nothing sir.”

“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;

Great 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.

Sweet Father,

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!”

“Who?”

“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.”

“That…”

“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.”

Impossicant””

“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?”

“Yes…”

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.

“Sapphire.”

“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.”

“Alright dear.”

****

“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.

“Lazy boy.”

“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”

Sapphire chuckled.

“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. ”

“Says who?”

“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?”

“Which 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.

“Eeyah…”

“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.

“OK…”

“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.

“But why?”

“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.

“Really?”

“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?”

“Lolade.”

“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.

THE END

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.

SAPPHIRE (Episode 5)

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Two years had passed and the traffic lights were still on amber for Sapphire. She bothered herself less about it. She diverted every moment that sought to greet her with depression into doing something productive. She believed her joy was not worth sacrificing for anything.

She made celebrating her friends a point of duty. She had cultivated an attitude of making the joys of others hers. She carried their successes on her head. Sometimes she had to sit and ask herself if she was normal but those moments did not last. Violent prayers and blessings for the friend in question erupted from the wells of her being. The feeling that swept over her at the end of such prayers was more than fulfilling. One of such friends was Prisca.

She swiped her phone screen and saw it was 9.20 am. She would have been one of the bridesmaids if not that Prisca insisted on not having a train. She only had a chief bridesmaid in person of her younger sister. There was no aso ebi of any kind, not even common ankara. No amount of pressure shook Prisca. Most of her friends were disappointed while some were glad that they could attend a wedding that would cost them nothing more than a gift and transport fare.

As she applied her powder, which was the last thing she usually did when she was dressing, Sapphire swerved her body rhythmically to Teni’s Uyo Meyo. She checked herself out in the mirror.

Chai! Ada you fine!” Sapphire had learnt to appreciate herself. Whether or not anyone complimented her looks and dressing meant little to her. She was stunning and she knew it.

The auditorium was draped in baby pink and gold. Those two colours usually made her go gaga. The pink balanced steadily on the gold and had gold petals scattered scantily over it. White lights hung across the drapes in a zigzag fashion. The sight was breathtaking. As she stepped in, Sapphire’s eyes ran through the building, mouth agape. LifeLight Cathedral had not looked better in recent times. Moments like this ignited the painting power of her mind. She had not gone too far on her adventure when something fell from her hands and she found herself in the auditorium again.

“…With this ring, I wed you. I promise to be by your side in all seasons. Nothing but death will do us apart. I receive God’s grace to fulfill my vows to you.”

The LifeLight Voices stood immediately after the vows were said. The choir master gave them a signal and they swayed from side to side.

Through the pain and the rain, I’ll be there for you

I have come here to stay., there’s no where I’m going

I have made this one decision, there’s no turning back.

I ask the Lord to help me.

The congregation chorused an ‘Amen.’

Sapphire had missed listening to the earlier parts of the vows. She pondered on the words of the vows and the lyrics of the song. People would just come to the altar and start opening their mouths, she thought. Did they really know what they were committing to as they said these words? Sapphire trembled. She knew she was going to say those words or something similar to someone someday.

“And now I present to you, the newest couple in town, Mr and Mrs Tunde and Prisca Davies,” The minister said, lifting the couple’s hands.

A loud ovation rained through the auditorium. Sapphire’s hands were smarting by the time they were done. She had put so much energy in to it. She had to. This love story was one in a million. It was a perfect example of eyes not seeing, ears not hearing and minds not being able to conceive what God has in store for those who love Him.

Tunde had joined the church when he newly moved to town. He had looks and a build that could make any woman drift into an endless venture of building castles in the air. He was an oil and gas big boy but how he made time out to serve God was daunting.

People had been waiting to see who the she would be. And today, he was married to Prisca, one of Sapphire’s closest friends in church. No one saw it coming. Not even for once in Prisca’s life had she imagined it.

Prisca’s skin tone could brighten up a space saturated with inky blackness but she had an unusual birthmark on the left side of her face that made it two-coloured. As a child, she battled with low self esteem. She was taunted and bullied by her classmates throughout her early years in school as they called her the double faced girl. She hated herself. As she grew up, she began to understand that there was nothing she could do about it. One day, when she was about 21, she stood up from the floor after a long session of crying and praying and she decided that the scar had bossed her around enough. Afterwards, anyone who jeered at her only had themselves to blame because by the time she finished describing how much of a beauty it was in the sight of the Creator, they would be at a loss for words.

Many of the ladies tried to flaunt themselves at Tunde and hang around him but he was the kind who followed the straight and narrow every day of his life.

Prisca on the other hand did not care. The thought of him or any other person in that church requesting her hand in marriage never crossed her mind for once. The issue had given her parents sleepless nights. They felt she had not won the esteem battle. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to get married or that there were no good brothers, Prisca had just learned to party like a princess.

Sapphire remembered the story of how their relationship came to be.

The day Tunde went to propose was funny as a barrel of monkeys. Prisca was on duty at the private primary school where she worked. She had to wait till the last child had been picked up by his or her parents before leaving for home. She was standing in front of the school gate that evening and there he was with his car parked right in front of the school gate. She greeted him like any other person and kept flagging down cabs until he came down.

He greeted her more warmly. Although she knew from what people said that he was humble, she never knew he had such a calm personality. He delivered his lines so passionately and accurately that she felt he was talking to the wrong person.

“Sir, sister Mirabel and I only look alike. It’s true that she works here too but she has gone home.” She had said. Mirabel was another sister in the church who everyone thought looked so much like Prisca but there was something that gave a clear distinction between them and she knew it.

“No you don’t. I know who I am speaking with.” Tunde had said.

Prisca must have stood fixed to a spot for more than ten minutes before uttering a word. And as they say, the rest is history.

Sapphire smiled as she remember the stories. God really moves in mysterious ways, she thought.

Sapphire loved wedding receptions but she couldn’t attend this one because her mum was a little bit under the weather. She had pleaded with another friend to capture the moments. As soon as the church service was over, she disappeared.

She didn’t go out with any car that morning because she wasn’t in the mood to drive. She had to board a bus. As soon as she entered she surveyed the bus for the most convenient space she could get. She found one beside a nursing mother who was sitting close to the window.

At some point on their journey, the baby began to cry. He must have been about three or four months from the little Sapphire knew about babies. The mother kept trying all she could to calm him down to no avail. For the first time in a long while Sapphire, saw another side to marriage.

All she had been thinking about was the ‘me and my husband’ part. She forgot that a baby, or rather babies would come in later on. And then the thoughts of in-laws came in. She placed her hands over her face. It had been a while she mentioned children or in-laws in her prayers. She had forgotten that there would be more responsibilities. She was overwhelmed. How did she forget these things? She felt that if marriage knocked at her door that instant, it would have caught her napping. The thought of marriage became nightmarish at that point.

“Maybe this single life is just it for me.” She said unconsciously.

“You said?” The woman with the baby asked. She had finally succeeded in putting him to sleep.

“Nothing.”

“I heard you sis,” she said smiling. “Well, maybe. But married life is the best when you’re hooked with the right person. I’m glad I got married my dear.” She was sure proud about being married.

Bravo! This was a great testimony, Sapphire thought. She stared hard at her. The ring she wore blazed in the sun. It must have cost fortune.

“But it is work and my mind is not ready for it”

“Well, you would have to prepare your mind and body for it f but there are also lessons you cannot learn outside of it. It’s a school on its own”

“Uhn?”

The woman nodded.

Her mum had once told her something similar on one of the occasions they were at loggerheads on the marriage issue. She had argued that she was not ready for marriage as God was still working on her. It was three years since that time and God was still working on her. But really, she needed to buckle up. The exam hall is a very wrong place for study.

The woman alighted at the next bus stop. Sapphire’s bus stop was the last so she still had quite some distance ahead of her. A new passenger came on board and sat beside her. She moved to the window side and look outside. She found it spellbinding to watch the road run by.

“Hello pretty.” The new passenger greeted.

His greeting fell on deaf ears. She detested such. Hello was hello. The pretty was not necessary.

He tapped her. She turned and was going to say something when she stopped. She searched for the face in her head.

“You’re Sapphire.”

“Yeeees…”

“Wow! It’s such a pleasure to meet you. My sister has told me so much about you.” He stretched out his right hand

“Your sister…” She received the stretched arm.

“Yes. Mercy Ayoade.”

“You’re Mr. Jude Ayoade”

“You got it!”

She riveted her glare on the young man. He read her thoughts.

“You’re wondering why I’m on a bus, Right?”

“ You’re a wizard!” She screamed and covered her mouth quickly.

He waved it off.

“I do this once in a while when I want to feel like every other person.”

“Wow!” Such simplicity, she thought.

“Yeah. And I’m not going far so it’s not stressful. I’ll be off this bus in a minute.” He brought out his phone. You would be willing to give me your number, won’t you?”

“Sure!”

She took the phone from him, input her did it and handed it back to him.

“Well, I’ll be coming off her he said as the bus stopped. I’ll call you.” He said, smiling reservedly.

Sapphire was thunderstruck. Mercy was one her clients at Two Can Tango who had become a friend. Her relationship was on the verge of a fatal crash but Two Can Tango had been the saving grace. She and her fiancé were back together and stronger and were getting married in two months. Mercy could spill till the end of the age and that was how Sapphire got to know that she had only one sibling- a brother named Jude.

Mercy had probed Sapphire endlessly about the man in her life. At first, Sapphire would laugh and skillfully divert her attention from the topic. But when Mercy became a pest, Sapphire, without mincing words told her all there was to know about her love life. That was when she mentioned so much about Jude to her.

Jude was a young man in his early thirties who had climbed his career ladder as swift as the wind. He was sure an embodiment of grace. The only thing he needed was a woman, a good one. Jude was not one to fall for just any woman. He believed in divine guidance. Most of the ladies that swarm about him were out to milk him dry. He loved and respected women who were willing to bring something to the table irrespective of what their husbands had or earned. He was not in a rush.

Mercy thought Sapphire would be perfect for him but he had laughed it off. She had pestered her several times about connecting them just for friendship but she declined politely.

Now she had seen the Jude face to face. Something in her tummy tickled. She slapped it hard and growled. The passengers around her stared at her but she shifted her gaze back to the window in a jiffy.

____________________

Lolade and Sapphire had decided to hang out in one of the finest gardens parks in the city on Sunday evening. Many waters had passed over the bridge since the last time they set eyes on each other. There was too much Lolade wanted to share. She couldn’t wait.

They had agreed that Sapphire would pick Lolade up. She arrived in front of the house just as Lolade stepped out. She got in the car and raised her right hand. Sapphire slapped it hard.

Kukuma break my hand.” She said, rubbing the hand. The heat transmitted into it could boil water.

Sapphire tickled her.

“Go joo!” Lolade hissed.

Sapphire ignited the car.

“Girlfriend, you can’t imagine what happened at work this past week.” Lolade started.

“My ears are itching o.”

“Debbie is in town.”

“Who is Debbie?”

“Greg’s Debbie.”

“Oh! Wow!”

“And she’s getting married next month.”

“You’re joking.” The car landed in a pot hole.

“My sister, I was shocked.”

“But wait, Lolade, you sure say we still dey normal like this?”

“How?”

E be like say dis marriage matter dey tey o?”

“Sis, leave that one. I’m coming back there. Let me finish this gist.” Lolade waved.

Sapphire wondered. How could somebody be more interested in another person’s relationship that much?

“As I was saying, if you see the guy this babe is getting married too ehn, you go bow” She said, throwing a salute.

“Really…”

“His name is ehm…” she hit her head. “I can’t even remember but the IV is at home sha

Sapphire swerved into the parking lot of the Purple Island Gardens. The park was owned by one of the rich oil moguls in the town. The park housed a 100 room guest house, several relaxation huts, a special section for children’s and many other eye catching sights.

Lolade, opened the door and in two shakes of a lamb’s tale, she was at the driver’s side.

“What is it?” Sapphire queried.

“I invited Debbie over. She promised to share details about what exactly happened to her over time so she suggested we should hang out. I thought you would love to hear it too and she didn’t mind when I told her you were coming.”

“Ah! You have become a professional amebo niyen. You’re now looking for somebody to join body, abi?.” Sapphire blinked.

Lolade made a funny face at her.

“It’s alright. True true, I’m interested because this one na season film o

“I tell you my sister”

“But one thing was crystal clear when I saw her. She has undergone a severe makeover. Eh. O serious gan!” She exclaimed and lifted her fists to the skies.

“This is wonderful.”

“My dear, that’s an understatement.”

Their attention was drawn by a figure advancing in their direction.

“Talk of the Devil.” Lolade whispered.

“Hello ladies.” Debbie greeted as she got close. They exchanged pleasantries. Sapphire compared the first time she ever met Debbie and now. There was a gap between the personalities that breathed in those time spaces. Awesome!

They approached the Purple Island Garden snack shop.

“I want some grilled chicken and a bottle of Sprite. What would you like to have ladies?” Sapphire asked.

“Same is perfect for me”, Lolade responded and gave Debbie an asking look. She nodded.

Sapphire made the orders and they wasted no time settling in one of the several huts in the park.

Lolade hated the silence that engulfed the atmosphere. It was in opposition to their purpose for being there. She cleared her throat.

“So Debbie, tell us, what happened in the past two years plus?”

“Hmm… A whole lot of things, sisters.”

Lolade and Sapphire exchanged glances.

Debbie began to describe how she changed her mind about leaving town and went to rent a place on the outskirts of town. It was quite a good place but life was not happening there as much as it did in the interior.

Fortunately for her, she found a new top notch private school that was recruiting. Her background in English Language flung the doors open to her. The pay was mouthwatering and she didn’t have to spend any money on transport.

In the same vicinity she lived was a church that was specially established for Youth. She had passed in front of it several times but never cared to step in. One Sunday morning she was bored to death. There had been power outage in the area for days. Her phone and laptop were dead. She wanted something to make noise in her eras. She found her way to the church and that was the beginning of the end of the old Debbie.

All she heard that day sounded so new. the hymn, The Great Physician that the choir sang pierced through her skin. She had not been under any life giving ministration in years. Her former church was full of paparazzi. Holiness? Who cared to preach about that? Even the Pastor himself was compromising on a lot of things? Walking with God? When last did anyone talk about it? All she knew how to do was read her bible and fire tongues. She was serving in the church but she did not have a life. And what was service with a life unoffered of the altar of sacrifice?

That day a mask was torn of Debbie’s face. She had been scratching the surface. But an end was going to kiss all that nonsense. She encountered Jesus there and the woman who was going to be the channel through which she would meet her would be husband became her discipler.

Lolade and Sapphire gaped. Debbie’s story was a thriller. They were not going to let it end there.

“So what happened afterwards?” Sapphire asked.

Debbie smiled.

“I got involved in seeking God by myself. It was crazy! It was like that was the only life I had.”

Debbie went on to relive the several days and nights she spent in prayer, fasting and intense fellowship with God. Asides her job and her faith, every other thing nauseated her. She blazed for God. And just like He visited the biblical Cornelius, He visited her. Her growth happened at the speed of light. Her attitude and perception of life changed. Even her Pastor was surprised because hers was one case in a million.

“In all my sisters, I thank God for where I am today. I was broken but God took the pieces of my life.” Debbie said as she conclude her story.

“What about the brother, how did you meet him?” Lolade asked.

“It was on an international mission trip sponsored by my church headquarters. I wasn’t even looking out for anyone. You know how my past was na. But we met and here we are!”

They sighed.

“He’s someone you know,” She said, looking in Sapphire’s direction.

“Really?”

She nodded.

Sapphire’s heart skipped a beat. She thought she died at that moment. What made her know she was alive was the fact that she was still seeing but everything she saw was blurry. She scanned through her fuzzy head. The only person she knew that went on a mission trip recently was Jerry. He had offered to go with the mission team. That was about a year earlier. Jerry? No!

She was already feeling like a failure. What did this woman, not just any woman but Debbie of all fishes in the ocean do to keep Jerry in a relationship they could barely sustain for five months?

She perished the thought. Debbie hadn’t mentioned the name so why was she being forward. But who else could it be? She managed to put her act together. Even if it was Jerry, they were not in a relationship so what was her problem? She balanced in her seat. She was curious but her ears had heard enough for one evening. If it was Jerry, she didn’t want to make a scene there. She was going to tear up and it definitely was not going to be in Debbie’s presence. Everything was going to be unveiled in no time.

“Ladies, I’m grateful for the evening. It has been a beautiful moment sharing my story. You would be attending the wedding, won’t you?”

“Oh! Sure! By God’s grace.” Lolade replied. Sapphire simply nodded.

Debbie hugged the ladies in turn.

“Why did you suddenly grow cold?” Lolade asked when Debbie was out of sight.

“What did you say the name of her fiancée is?”

“You should have asked her now. I didn’t memorize it.” She racked her brain. “I think it begins with J… Jeffery or something, I really don’t know.” She said, frowning.

Sapphire was glued to her seat. My heart has stopped, she thought.

“You still have the IV abi?”

“Yeah it’s in the house. I’ll check it as soon as I get home. But why do you want to know the name? You’ll get to see him on the weeding day na. Abi you no go turn up?” Lolade queried.

“I just want to know” Sapphire snapped. Lolade was irate but managed to contain it.

“Don’t bring on this mood thing today o. You know I’m a pro shey?” She winked.

“You’re taking pride in being a mel abi?”

“Point of correction ma’am, Spirit-controlled mel. You’ve not seen the mel in recent times, have you?”

Lolade was right. Sapphire had not seen her display any bout of mood swings in recent times. It was a plus.

“Can we go, please? It’s already 4.30. Tomorrow is Monday, remember?”

Sapphire stood up from her seat like a wet duck.

That night, she lay on her bed and let her thoughts wander. She expected Lolade’s call but waited in vain. Her 12 o’clock prayer alarm rang. She slapped herself hard. What exactly was her problem? She was not supposed to be doing this. She was supposed to happy for Jerry and Debbie. She had gone passed this stage. She was not supposed to go back there. She went on her knees and plugged in her earpiece. The song Cycles by Jonathan McReynolds filtered into her ears.

SAPPHIRE (Episode 4)

SAP4

Sapphire’s head boiled as she flipped through the pages of her journal over and again. She found the page she was looking for and traced each line of blue ink with her finger carefully.

“But I don’t understand this.” She said, soliloquizing.

She closed the journal and held it close to her chest staring blankly at the wall. It was like a violent whirlwind had begun to take its course in her head. In a split second, the journal in her hand found its way to the other end of the room. She slapped her ears, muttering a doggerel about the troubles of being deaf to herself.

Another feminine voice drowned hers.

“What is the matter princess?”

“Mum, my ears are dirty. They’re blocked.” She said, picking her words one after the other.

She moved closer and tried to examine the ear.

“When last did you clean your ears? You know, cotton buds are not the best bet. I even bought a bottle of Cerumol yesterday because I needed to clean mine too.” She said, peeping into the ear passages.

Sapphire stared at her dumbly.

“Is there something else asides the ears?”

“No Mum. It’s just that I’m not talking about these ears.” She said pulling the ears like one would the ears of a naughty child. “What I mean is that I’m not sure I heard God clearly about this Jerry of a thing.” She explained.

Her mum’s brow contracted into a frown.

“Hmm… Jerry has now become a thing.”

Sapphire covered her mouth. Her mum always taught that everyone deserved some respect no matter who they were or what they did and not only in their presence, but also in their absence. There were times she had disagreed with her saying that some people were the ones who made themselves worthless in the eyes of others but her mum never agreed with her school of thought.

“I’m sorry mum. It slipped out of my mouth.”

“But sincerely, is this about hearing God or about the two of you misbehaving?” She asked, making herself comfortable on Sapphire’s bed.

“Mum, it’s not about the two of us. It’s about him. You know me now. I don’t have wahala now.”

“Sapphire…” the name resounded throughout the room for some seconds, “you need to be very humble, and patient too.” She said making gestures with her hands and head to drive home her point.

Sapphire shut her eyes and pulled her upper and lower jaws together, grinding her teeth against one other.

“Mummy, Jerry is very bossy and pompous. It seems to me like he feels he runs the world or something. He’s so annoying. I can’t stand men like that.”

“So why are you still with him?” She asked.

“I really don’t know. I’m confused. I heard God or… I don’t even know…”

“I want to ask you a question and I want you to look me in the eyes and answer me.”

“Alright mum.”

“Did you just start observing these traits you mentioned?”

Sapphire racked her brain.

“Erm… Yes. And it’s strange. I mean he behaves like there’s no where I can run to. God has spoken and it stays so.” She said, banging the bedside stool.

“Did he say that?”

“No mum. But that’s what his actions suggest. Who does that?” She asked rhetorically and crowned it with a hiss.

“Well, you would need to be patient my dear. You need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. You should pray for him and you need to check yourself too.”

Sapphire pointed at herself. Her mum nodded.

“Mum, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m very fine. Honestly, Jerry is the problem here. The other day he decided that we were going to spend time out during the weekend. I told him I would be busy and he started complaining that I do not make time out to build our relationship and all. He was just talking nonsense. Who hijacks another person’s plans just like that? And at the end he’ll start talking about submission. To hell with submission!” She ranted.

Her mother’s eyes turned red. She gave Sapphire a stern look.

“Willyou keep your voice down?” She ordered.

“I’m sorry mum. I know that didn’t come out right. But mum I cannot submit to a man I’m not married to now.” She protested.

“You can.”

“Mum… Noooo…”

“Yes you can. Haven’t you read Ephesians 5:21? It says, ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ It’s not speaking about husbands and wives alone. It speaks of Christians submitting to one another. You don’t always have to claim you right. You should give it away freely at times.”

“Mum, does he always have to behave like he’s the head or something? That guy is just too proud. He’s feeling himself and he was not like that before o.”

“Are you sure?”

“The only person I know he used to boss around was his younger sister. That girl suffered in his hands. That was before he got his own apartment sha.”

“Hmm… And he was not like that before.” Her mother said rising. Princess, I won’t make any further comments on this. I’ll leave you to consider all I’ve said. I would be praying along with you.”

Sapphire folded her arms.

“Is that all you’re going to say, mum?” She asked with a querying look.

“Yes… What else do you want me to say.”

“Thanks mum”

“You’re welcome my darling. You had better come take your dinner. It’s getting late. You should not be eating late.” Her mum counselled.

“Alright mum. I’ll do that soon”

Sapphire tried weighing her mothers words. ‘This woman is supporting a stranger over her daughter’ she thought. Did she think this guy was a saint? She thought about Jerry. Yes, she had seen him hit his younger sister once or twice. But how come she never though about those things?

But even if he was bad, they were supposed to work things out. Was she being too hard on him? She thought about it but couldn’t come to a reasonable conclusion. That night Jerry called to ‘say that they were going to his parents’ place that weekend. She was enraged but did not argue. Within her she had decided what she was going to do.

__________

Jerry checked his wristwatch for the umpteenth time. He decided to beep Sapphire.

She had been containing her anger since the day he called but she was ready to give him a piece of her mind if he provoked her any further. If he thought he was second in command to God, she would put him in his place.

“Why do you have to be one to always make us run late?” Jerry asked as she approached the car.

“Bros, let me hear word nah. After all you’re not my husband abi what is it now?”

Jerry moved backwards and rested on the door at the driver’s side.

“What’s eating you up?”

“Nothing.” She replied, rolling her eyes .

The AC was on but Sapphire felt very hot on the inside. She made an artificial fan out of her hands.

Jerry was dazed.

“Really. But is it a crime to visit my parents? And just today I ask us to go and you’re spitting fire.”

“You called me two nights ago and you know I plan my week ahead of time. What if I had some other things to do?” She retorted.

“Some other things that are more important than I am?”

Sapphire’s head sparked.

“I’m not a married woman o Jerry. Get that straight.” She blurted out.

“But you’ll soon be married. You should start learning some things now, you know.”

“Like you bossing me around. Right?”

“No. Like submission.” He replied calmly.

“See me see wahala o. You know what, let’s not go into that. Let’s just go where we’re headed in peace”.

Jerry ignited the car. Tension filled the air as they journeyed. Sapphire looked out of the window all through with several thoughts flooding her mind.

Covering up at her would be in-laws’ place was quite easy for her. She was all smiles. They spent less than an hour because Jerry’s parents had to go for an urgent meeting. She was more than glad.

The drive back home was uneventful too. Sapphire concluded that she was choking. She needed some air- some fresh one at that. She didn’t know whether she was in a relationship or on a battleground. As soon as they got back from the visit, she spilled it.

“Jerry. I think we were good as friends and it would be fine to revert to that old status.” She started.

He took a deep breath and swallowed hard.

“Being in this relationship has been hell.” She said bluntly.

” Uhm… I think I agree.” He said with his hands firmly fixed to the steering wheel.

She was shocked. She didn’t expect it to be that easy. It was like a response coming from a drunkard after the effect of alcohol had wears off. She wondered why he seemed to be agreeing with her at that point. But her mind was made up.

“Can we just go back to being friends and leave our relationship that way?”

“Alright. I think we need to work on certain things.”

She wasn’t sure she heard him right. Saying that they had to work on some things meant he knew he was doing something wrong. It made her feel good.

They remained friends but there was a slight strain. They were not as close as they used to be. They still greeted and chatted occasionally but something was definitely missing.

_________

Sapphire sighed.

“That was how we parted ways, Lolade.”

“Wow! What a story? But whose fault was it?” Lolade asked.

Sapphire looked at her and smiled.

“The two of us.”

“I’m glad you know. I thought you would have said it was his.”

“Nah. I know better. I wanted to prove that I had my rights. I wanted to prove that I was not a fool. I was only attacking him. I wasn’t out to help him. I was stubborn at that moment we broke up sha but after a few months, I had to face the truth.”

“Hmm… That’s really commendable. I’m proud of you

“In fact, I queried my Christianity at a time”.

“Eeyah…” Lolade said with pity in her eyes. “What about him?”

“He realized his faults too. He came apologizing but it was over. I was just fine having him as my friend. I didn’t want any relationship after that one ‘cause I was scared. If God spoke, why was it so difficult? But I now know that we were the ones who were difficult.” She admitted.

Lolade shook her head , clicking the roof of her mouth with her tongue.

“Babe, we deceive ourselves with this ‘God spoke’ thing o.”

“Oh! You don’t believe that God speaks about these things?” She exclaimed with a rigid look.

“I do but we just say God spoke and give Him the responsibilities that are ours to bear. Just like you said, you ought to help him. Dialogue, not debate or operation fire for fire would have done the magic. He also had a warped mindset about submission jare. All these brothers dem, biko.”

“My sister, I have learnt o.”

“I’m glad you guys learnt your lessons. At least, in your next relationship, you won’t make the same mistake.”

Sapphire didn’t think there would be a next relationship. The thought about reuniting with Jerry came like a flash again.

“But how would it happen?” She blurted out.

“I don’t understand your question.” Lolade replied with a puzzled look.

“I’m sorry. It was an overflow of my thoughts.”

“You better calm down. Ehn ehn… Has Greg called you?” Lolade asked excitedly like someone who had just won a lottery.

“Greg? No? Did he tell you he was going to call me?”

“No o. Eh… But Sapphire, it’s like the guy is tripping for you o.” Lolade said pulling her cheeks. Sapphire slapped her hands.

“Tripping for me ke? You better tell him to watch his steps so he won’t fall.”

Lolade put her hands together and placed her chin on them. Her countenance changed.

“What is wrong with him?” She asked, talking with one side of her mouth.

“He is my convert Lolade.” She said, moving her head forward with each syllable.

Lolade gave her a long, rigid stare.

“You’re too proud sis. Come down from your high horse.”

“That is not even the point. I’m not attracted to him in any way, not one bit. And by the way, he’s in a relationship and you know so why would you even think of it?” She queried.

“See you! Are you sure you’re in this world at all? So you did not even follow up on your convert.”

Lolade jumped from her seat.

“What happened? I didn’t want to be too involved now. I was going to help his relationship work in the Two Can Tango hub but I don’t think that kind of relationship is the kind we deal with. It was more than I could handle so I retreated.” She confessed.

“I see. But did you check to see how he was doing in his walk with God?”

“Well, for a while I did. But I left the rest to you now.”

Lolade’s eye balls enlarged

“Me? You’re not serious. This is one thing we need to be careful with. I understand that he’s a brother but you could have handed him over to a trusted brother.”

Sapphire bit her fingers.

“That’s true o. I didn’t think about it.” She said.

“I just think that God had ordained his salvation from the beginning of time because I’m not even sure that he’s not more spiritual than you right now.” She said, sticking out her tongue.

“It’s not possible.”

“You see, that is pride. You don’t believe that he can be greater than you spiritually. Sit down there. Maybe you think it’s about how far.” Lolade said, waving her hands in Sapphire’s face.

“See, Lolade, it’s OK. I admit my faults in all of this but you said he’s fine so that’s just okay. God has covered for me.”

Lolade raised her nose at Sapphire.

“But what did you say happened to his relationship?”

“Why are you suddenly interested?”

“Lolade now…” She pressed.

“Debbie had a stillbirth and the summary is that they are no longer together.”

“Eeyah… That’s so sad.”

“Yes, it is. Debbie does not even work in Diamond Press anymore.”

Sapphire was startled.

“Why?”

“She resigned. I guess she couldn’t stand getting to see him everyday so she resigned and relocated.”

“Poor lady. I just hope she’s fine”

“Maybe you should call her.” Lolade suggested, stretching her phone towards Sapphire.

“Why are you full of sarcasm this evening.

“I don’t know o. Looks like you’re one of my teachers in Sarcasm Comprehensive High School.”

Sapphire looked at her with disdain.

“Dhuur… That was dry…”

“Whatever!” Lolade snapped.

“Honestly Lolade, there’s more to this issue of the liking Greg or not. Let me come out plain. I think I still like Jerry.

Lolade placed her hands on her head.

“Ehn!”

“Nooo… Not that I like him… Like I mean… I still… Uh… It looks like things can still work out between us.” She stuttered.

“Since when?”

“I don’t know but I have this nudge and it comes very frequently. I’m not comfortable with it but I think it’s God.” She said, twisting her mouth to the right.

“Sapphire.”

“Huhn… I’m confused. I really don’t know what this is”

Lolade took a quick glance at the large wall clock in the sitting room.

“You know what, I need you to calm down and take this to God in prayer. It’s already two minutes to five and I have to get going. We would find time to talk and pray.” She promised.

“Alright dearie. I’m very grateful.”

They were locked in a warm embrace for a while. Lolade whispered into her ears and she replied with whispers of “Amen”. They refrained from the embrace and held hands. Lolade nodded with a smile. Sapphire sighed.

Sapphire led the way out. She was greeted by a shocking surprise. In fromt of the door stood two August visitors. She looked from one person to the other. Lolade was not left out of the shock.

“Won’t you ask us to come in?” The men at the door asked grinning.

Lolade opened the door.

“Thank you.” They said as they made their way into the sitting room.

“Your place is really beautiful,” The taller of the men complimented.

“Thank you.” Sapphire managed to say as Lolade watched on.

“I would have to leave now. It’s getting late.” Lolade said.

Sapphire tugged at her dress firmly. She ignored her.

“Bye ma’am.” The men chorused.

Outside the house, Sapphire could not help wandering in wonder.

“How did both of them get to meet?” Lolade asked.

“I’m as dazed as you are.” Sapphire declared.

“Well, this is awe amazing.” Lolade affirmed.

Sapphire shook her head violently.

“No. This is a disaster. Are you going to leave me here?”

Sapphire’s voice was getting too loud. Lolade placed her finger on her lips.

“My dear, you know how it is now. I’ll have to board a bus and you know getting one from here is not easy. I have to prepare for work too. I’m so sorry. I’d love to stay back but I can’t , I trust God to give you the wisdom you need to handle the situation.” Lolade

“Mhen! Situation is the word!” Sapphire exclaimed.

“Don’t worry. I have a feeling that it’s all good. I have strong positive vibes about this.” She assured.

“OK. If you say so.”

“And if they try to do anything you will just scream, “Daddy! mummy!” She teased.

Sapphire spanked her.

“Do you know I forgot they are inside?”

“Imagine! O ya let me leave you to go attend to your visitors. You’ll give me the gist later.”

“Sure dearie. Bye.”

Sapphire’s heart was in her mouth. She made the sign of the cross, took a deep breath and opened the door.

“You’re welcome.” The men chorused.

“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.” Sapphire apologised. “Let me get you something to drink.”

“Ah! No. Don’t bother. We’re leaving very soon.” It was the shorter of the men who spoke. “I never knew you guys knew each other. That’s what he was telling me as you stepped out though he has not given me the full gist.” He said, smiling.

Sapphire sniggered.

“Well, I also never knew you guys knew each other too.” She said.

“What a small world!” The men chorused. Sapphire found the telepathy stunning.

“You can say that again. So to what do I owe this visit?” She asked. Her heartbeat rate had normalised.

“Well, my spirit won’t let me give up on the job so I thought you would be more relaxed at home to see what I want you to see.” He said, opening the document that contained the details on his tab.

“Why don’t you ever give up? You could have sent it online.” She said, taking the tab from him.”

“The face to face method is more honourable, mademoiselle.” He replied.

She scanned through it patiently this time.

“Alright I’ll think and pray about it. And please, send it to my mail. Are you satisfied now?”

“Yes. Thank you we would be on our way now. Don’t bother about seeing us off.” Jerry said.

“OK. Thank you.”

Sapphire picked up her phone immediately they were out of sight.

“They left just now.”

“OK. So what did they come for?” Lolade’s ears were itching.

“He just came to pester me with one job offer like that.”

“OK…” She said, waiting for more.

“But Lolade, something is happening o.”

“What?”

“I think I like that Greg guy in comparison to Jerry sha. At least looking at the two of them was…”

Lolade cut in.

“The Lord rebuke you Satan.” She screamed from the other end.

“What is it now?”

“What exactly is the point of attraction?” She probed further.

“I really don’t know. The guy is finer and more posh than Jerry.”

“Ah!” Lolade shouted in despair, “You’re already fantasizing!”

“I won’t talk again o.” Sapphire threatened.

“You didn’t see all these before nah.” Lolade argued.

“Maybe I was blind.”

“It is now that you’re blind, abi? I smell danger Sapphire. Be very careful.” She warned.

“I really don’t what is wrong with me o. I’m confused.”

“I thought you said you feel strongly that you should go back to Jerry and… In fact, we need to see as soon as possible.”

“OK. I’m going to see Mrs Wilson tomorrow.”

“Who is that?”

“My mentor.”

“Oh. That’s fine. Great idea! Let me know how it goes.”

“Alright, dearie. Sleep well.”

“You too.”

—–

“How did you get to know Sapphire ?” Jerry asked Greg as they drove off.”

“I got converted through her.”

“Are you serious?” Jerry asked surprised.

“I am. It’s a long story man. We’ll get to talk about it later.”

“Wow! That’s awesome! When you told me you were born again the day we reunited, I didn’t even bother about the details.”

“And I think I like her but she looks hard to get.” Greg continued.

“Hmm…”

“You seem to know her well. You should be able to tell me about her.”

“Yeah… You’re right. I know her very well; more than you can imagine.”

Greg had butterflies in his tummy.

“That’s awesome. Then you can help can’t you?”

Jerry cleared his throat.

“Sapphire and I were in a relationship and we broke up due to some differences.”

Greg’s eyes widened.

“Whoosh!”

Jerry chuckled.

“You said you like her. Let’s get it straight. Do you just like her or you’re very sure she’s the one for you?” Jerry asked.

There was absolute silence. The question sent shivers down Greg’s spine.

“It’s not like I am convinced or anything. I only see signs of a good girl that I can marry and good girls are scarce. But I’m not sure. You think you guys can get back together?” He digressed.

“Maybe… I don’t know but time will tell…”

“Well, man whatever it is, my hands are off. I really do think I need to focus on growth and not a woman at this point. So, I still like her but there are no strings attached. I let go!” He declared raising both hands.

_____

Sapphire had been waiting for about forty five minutes when Mrs. Wilson walked into her office. She was a young woman in her early forties.

“Good afternoon ma.” Sapphire greeted.

“Good afternoon, my darling. How are you doing today?” Mrs. Wilson asked, giving her tight a hug.

“Very well ma.”

“That’s good to hear. Please pardon me for keeping you waiting. I’m sorry” She pleaded.

“You’re forgiven ma.” Sapphire said, smiling.

“I know there’s something to spill, right?” Mrs. Wilson asked in her usual jovial manner.

Sapphire nodded.

She began her story. Mrs Wilson listened attentively, nodding, smiling and sighing at intervals. When she was through, Mrs. Wilson spoke.

“Sapphire.”

“Ma.”

“Have you talked to God about what you just told me?”

It was then she remembered. For about three weeks she had not really said any meaningful words of prayer. Her quiet time journal had not smelt ink either.

“No ma’am.” She replied with a sullen look.

“Good. I’m sending you back to the place of prayer. I have no leading to say a word about this until you go back to God. When you’re through, let me know what you get but I’m certain that that’s where your answer lies.”

Sapphire was expecting her to say more. Mrs. Wilson sensed it and laughed.

“I know you expect me to say more dear, but there’s no more to say than this, at least for now. And I would plead that you are as sincere to God as you should be. Tell Him what you think and how you feel. Lay everything before Him and you’ll get clarity, you’ll get light. I’m sure of this.” She concluded.

“Thank you ma.” That was all Sapphire could say.

“You’re welcome my darling.”

Sapphire decided to go on a three day retreat. She booked a room in one of the guest houses of a Christian Conference Centre on the outskirts of town.

On the first day as she sat in her room, Sapphire realized her relationship with God was very cold. She cried her eyes out. She didn’t realise she had been as far from God as she was. Yes, there was work, there was a lot to do but how on earth had she drifted away from her first love without sensing it?

She then began to connect the dots. She was feeling lonely and wanted to take solace in people and things. That was the problem.

“Lord, I let go of all these. It’s me and you alone for now. I’m getting back on track. You’re the most important of all these people and things that I see. I lost concentration but I’m back and I give you all of me.” She cried.

She plugged in her ear piece and played ‘Give me You’ by Shana Wilson until she felt a release in her spirit. Then, she said her final words in prayer.

“When You’re ready, send the right person. I don’t care who it is. All I want is Your will.”

She sat there in silence for a while.

By the time she stood up, she felt very light. It was like she stood up into a new life. The atmosphere felt and smelt different. The raging seas had been stilled. She didn’t wait till the third day. She already knew what to do.

SAPPHIRE (Episode 3)

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An unending sound that seemed to come from the next flat drew Chichi and Nkiru’s attention.

They looked at each other for a moment and in a flash, their feet landed in Greg’s apartment. They swung into action.

As Greg drove, Chichi and Nkechi saw his lips move repeatedly but they couldn’t hear a word.

He ran into the hospital reception. Sweat beads ran down his face. Nurse Lilian was the one at the reception desk.

“I need your attention. There’s an emergency.” The words came out like an order from a parade commandant.

She looked up, rolled her eyeballs to the left and then the right. She shrugged and continued with what she was doing.

Greg was confused. Was she dumb? He thought. He tapped the desk.

“What is it?” She charged at him like a wounded lion.

Greg jolted backwards. That was the last thing he needed.

“Erm… Sorry… Erm. Good eve… afternoon ma.” His voice vibrated like loose guitar  strings.

“Now you’re talking.” You people will just come and be ordering someone about. No greeting, nothing!” She retorted.

“Anyways, How may I help you Mr man?” She asked, her mouth moving carelessly.

“Uhmm…” Greg pointed at the car parked right in front of the hospital’s main entrance as her countenance seemed to chase words away from his mouth.

Nurse Kike walked into the reception at that point. Greg turned to her.

“Please nurse, there’s an emergency” He managed to say.

Nurse Kike swung into action. She beckoned on another nurse who was in one of the wards while Lilian watched on. Debbie was wheeled into the emergency unit. After about two hours the Doctor came out to see Greg. The overall he was wearing was soaked.

“Hello Mr Greg.”

“Dr, what is the state of things. How is she?” He stared at the doctor like a student who stuck in an examination hall.

“Can we talk in my office?” He offered.

“You can say anything here doc.”

“Well she is fine. She’s conscious. But she would have to rest until…”

A nurse interrupted the doctor.

“She’s in labour.”

“But she’s not due for delivery.” Greg argued.

Greg held on to the doctor’s hands. He carefully released himself from the grip and patted Greg on the shoulder.

“I’ll be back in a moment.”

In the following moments, doors flung open and feet hurried from one part of the hospital to the other. Greg paced about the reception, clasping his hands and sighing at intervals. At some point, he muttered some inaudible words.

After about 3 hours, the doctor came out. He sat on one of the chairs in the reception. Greg waited for him to say something but all he did was point in the direction of one of the nurses who was coming out of the ward.

Greg wondered why the doctor refused to say a word when he needed to.  Was he shocked? Was he too tired? Was he sad?

He followed the nurse who led him into the ward. Debbie was fast asleep. He looked around but there was no sign of any baby.

Debbie was discharged from the hospital after more than a week of being admitted. It was on a Tuesday morning. Greg decided to be there to help out. It seemed like her bones would peep out of the windows of her skin any time. As she walked towards the car, the wind threatened to blow her away. Her sister  was swift to come to her rescue. She had been there to take care of her immediately she heard the news two days after the incident of the fall.

She pleaded to be taken to Greg’s place first. His heart skipped a beat at the request but he finally agreed. She and her sister made for Greg’s bedroom and in no time, a big brown leather box accompanied them out of Greg’s room.

Debbie led the way and her sister dragged the box behind her. Greg accosted her as she moved towards the door, arms akimbo. Debbie looked sideways.

“Stop acting like you want me to stay Greg. You obviously don’t need me around to so cut the crap.” She blurted out still avoiding his eyes.

Greg opened his mouth. An indistinct sound came out of it and then he shut it again. Debbie smiled faintly.

“You don’t have to say anything. I’m  leaving. There’s nothing to hold on to. All I succeeded in giving  you was a vegetable. Unfortunately its not edible.” She said, chuckling with sarcasm.

“But it’s not you fault.” Greg said trying to lessen her burden of guilt. She gave no response to his defence and continued.

“Thank you for bearing with me all the while. I think I lost again.” She said. She raised her head and lowered her eyelids faintly. Greg knew the look and so he moved out of her way. She moved towards the door and her sister followed.

“But you can win.” He said.

“How? I have missed the boat already.” She asked, still focusing on the door.

“With Jesus… You can go back to the drawing board,Debbie.” She turned back.

“Greg, Thank you. I’ll find my square root. I  really do hope you’ll forgive me for all the trouble I’ve caused you. I’m not the kind of woman you deserve cause you’re a good man.”

Something about the last comment stirred up butterflies in  Greg’s tummy.

“But where are you going now?”

“Home first. Then somewhere else later. I would tender my resignation at the office.”

“Because of me. No I’ve forgiven you. I hold nothing against you, believe me” He persuaded.

“Greg, is it that easy? Don’t worry about me. I have decided to leave the town to start a new life somewhere else where no one knows me.”

Greg sighed.

“Alright. Please keep in touch.”

“I’ll try.”

Greg helped Debbie’s sister with the box while she gave Debbie some support. He felt strongly in his Spirit that he was not supposed to let her go just like that but he didn’t know what he ought to do to help her. Staying in the same office and seeing his face everyday would sure be like heaping hot coals on her head but where and how was she going to get another job so easily with the situation of things in the country?

“Let me drop you off.”

Greg drove the duo home and helped them with getting the box inside after which he left for the office.

It was about 11.45 am when he got to the office. He had sought permission to be late and since he didn’t have much work for the day, he had nothing to lose. He, Lolade and another lady shared the same office. The lady, Haleema was on maternity leave.

His entrance into the office was greeted with sighs and hisses from Lolade. She flipped each page of a children literature she was editing open and stared at it as she read through. Greg felt uneasy. He had earlier lambasted her about not checking on Debbie. She was hurt and he knew it but what he didn’t know was that she had let it go.

“What is this nonsense now?” She asked aloud unconsciously.

“What is it?” He managed to ask.

“Greg, you need to take a look at this. I’m even fed up with it.” She said handing the book over to Greg. He took it from her and began to open. He laughed until he nearly split a gut. It was then he understood that the hisses were just coincidental with his entry. The author of the book had written it for a different audience.

“Hmm… This is serious” He agreed.

“In fact it’s already break time. I cannot kill myself because of this work. I still have two weeks to finish up.” Lolade said, putting each item that was scattered on her table in its place and picking up her handbag.

“Well, you know the children we’re raising in this century are smart.” He teased.

She raised her eyebrows.

“Ehnehn. So they understand all the big big grammar abi?”

“Are you going to leave me here?”

She spread her hands in the air

“Greg, I’m sorry. I’m not in the mood.”

“To talk to me or to do what?”

She stood fixed to a spot, rolling the ring of her car keys with her index finger.

“OK. Do you care to come along?” She asked half heartedly.

“Sure. But we’ll go in my car.” He said, all bubbly.

“Alright. I’m not even in the mood to drive.” She admitted.

“You see. I’m your angel on assignment.”

“What?”

“Just kidding.” He cackled.

The drive to the restaurant was spiced up with some hip-hop gospel music blasting from Greg’s mp3 player. At intervals, he would keep his hands off the steering and roll them. Lolade’s head and eyes grabbed the steering at those points.

“Ma’am we’re here. I’m a pro you know.” He said, winking.

“I’m not sure I’d let you drive me ever again.” She declared.

They got in and sat down. The waiter came to take their orders. Lolade preferred to take only snacks outside her house so she asked for two sausage rolls and a bottle of Sprite. Greg ordered for four wraps of eba with egusi soup and three pieces of meat. As the waiter approached them, Lolade shook her head. She was staring at the food as the waiter placed it in front of Greg.

“You want some?” He asked grinning.

She offered a wan smile in response to his question.

“So what’s eating you up?”

“Nothing. I am or rather, was just in a bad mood. Melancholy troubles.”

“You’re mel?”

“Not exactly. I’m a rough mix but this mood thing is definitely from my mel and funny enough, I’m out of it because I would ordinarily not be talking with you.” She  explained.

“Hmm…  First I was your angel on assignment and now I’m your mood doctor. Isn’t that something?”

Lolade avoided his eyes and took a bite from her sausage. Greg could be annoyingly talkative sometimes.

“What about Sapphire. Does she get moody like this?”

The piece of sausage in Lolade’s mouth got stuck. Her ears tingled. She dropped her sausage in the plate in front of her and smiled with one side of her cheek,  twirling a lock of hair round her index finger.

“You guys talk, I guess.”

“Yes but not as much as I do with you.” He said rubbing his head.

“Oh really…” She said cracking her knuckles and looking him straight in the eyes.

“I think I like her.”

Lolade burst out laughing.

“You like who? Sapphire?”

Greg was embarrassed. He didn’t understand what Lolade was driving at. Was she too good for him or what? His eyes turned slightly red and the smile that had been on his face evaporated. Lolade stopped.

“I’m sorry. I’m really very sorry but I don’t think you stand a chance.” She said shaking her head.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. You can give it a try though.” She said, shrugging.

“Or are you jealous?” He asked jokingly.

“Greg! Jealous of what? Abeg park well.” She said as they both finished up their meal.

“Can you help me talk to her?” He implored.

“Are you fine, I mean are you OK?”

“What sort of question is that?”

“You’re falling my hand now, Greg. Are you not man enough?”

“I am but that girl, she looks like someone who is very principled and has a high taste.” He confessed.

“Really… Then you don’t know Sapphire.” She said, standing up. The waiter brought the bill and Lolade offered to pay. She slotted her ATM card into the POS machine and in no time, the payment was made. They continued their discussion as they walked towards the car. He unlocked the car with its remote control.

“You think?” He asked, unconvinced about what Lolade said.

“No. I know. And if you really want her, you better go to her directly. A third party is a no no.” She concluded.

She moved towards the driver’s side of the car, opened the door, took her seat and fastened the seat belt. Greg did not struggle. He took his seat beside her.

“Thanks for the counsel. And thanks for the food too.”

“You’re welcome.” She said, stretching out her hand to collect the keys.

—–

Sunday services were usually awesome in Life Light Cathedral. Only those who were unserious usually said the services were boring or tiring. Every session was power packed . Sapphire always longed for the worship sessions. She experienced so much peace and  joy in the place of worship. Her mum was trying to put the final touch to her head gear when they heard the horn of the car. Everyone knew that whenever Mr. Olaoti blasted his horn, no one dared stayed an extra minute in the house. As soft as he was, he hated getting late to church with a passion.

“Why would you never go late to school, to work, to the office and then you would go to church late? That is terrible! It is absurd! It is barbaric!” He  ranted one morning. Sapphire thought the world was going to come to an end that day.

Anyone who did not meet up with him was left behind and expected to find their way to church. The family had three cars but whoever was left behind was banned from using any of the other two. The punishment for not meeting up was to take public transport and the hustle for that itself could ruin a beautiful Sunday morning.

At the blast of the horn, Sapphire and her mum sped to the car. The ride to church was a solemn one. Everyone seemed to be meditating on something.

As they drove into the church compound, Sapphire sighted Jerry. She quickly turned her face away from his direction. She and Jerry still kept in touch after their breakup but recently, she had been thinking about them getting back together. She couldn’t explain it but she felt a strong burden to tell him they could start their relationship over again. It seemed awkward.

“I can’t do it.” Besides, I am not sure. It may just be an internal pressure.” She said silently.

The worship service began with a Sunday School session which was followed by the main service. Sapphire was being careful not to move towards the row Jerry sat because she didn’t want to sit close. Once she spotted the row he sat, she moved quickly to an extreme one. She decided she would leave through the side door immediately after service.

As she stepped out of the church, the first person she saw was Jerry. She peeped into the auditorium and looked at where he sat. She looked at him again.

“Were you stalking me or what?” She didn’t know when the words dropped from her mouth.

“No. And why are you shocked to see me?” He asked, confused.

“I’m not.” She denied.

“OK. Can you spare me a few minutes of your time, please? I need to talk to you about something and it is very urgent,” He said, holding her right hand. She felt uncomfortable but cooperated so as not to draw attention. He pulled her away to a place where they could talk privately.

“So what is it?” She asked, folding her arms.

“There’s this job offer for accountants like you and my uncle owns this company. The pay is definitely juicier than what you earn right now. I bet you’d love it. Here are details.” He said trying to show her the necessary information on his tablet.

She looked at it scantily and sighed.

“Jerry, thank you but I’m not interested.”

“But Sapphire, you would at least take this and look through it.”

“Thank you Jerry. I don’t want a new job yet. I don’t hear God saying anything about it.”

Jerry’s eyes opened in bewilderment.

“Are you kidding me? The pay, the offers attached, the…”

She was becoming more uncomfortable standing with him.

“But you’ve not even prayed about it.”

She saw Lolade in a distance. It was a surprise because Lolade didn’t tell her she was coming to their church that day but it didn’t matter at that point. She was relieved that there was at least something to take her away from Jerry’s presence.

“Thank you Jerry. I have to go now.” She said, pointing at Lolade.

She moved towards Lolade and hugged her.

“I would be going home with you.” She told Sapphire.

“It’s alright. Mum and dad would be glad to have you.”

“Who was that you were talking with?” She asked looking in Jerry’s direction.

“Oh… That’s Jerry… my ex.” She responded, rubbing her neck.

“Wow! You promised to tell me about what happened between you two.” She reminded.

“Yeah… You’re coming home with us right?”

Lolade nodded.

“I’ll tell you all I can. I think I really need to spill it before I choke.” She disclosed.

Mr Olaoti was soon at the car and in no time they were home.

The first point of call for the women was the kitchen. Sapphire put some water on the cooker to boil and went in to have a change of clothes. They prepared some semovita with melon soup and relished it at the table. After about 20 minutes of relaxing, Mr. and Mrs. Olaoti stood up.

“It’s time for siesta darlings. We need to take some rest.” Sapphire’s dad said.

“Sapphire, don’t forget to give Lolade the package.” Her mum reminded.

“Ah! Thank you very much ma. God bless you.” Lolade said, kneeling like a typical Yoruba girl.

“Get up jare.” Mrs Olaoti said, waving.

As soon as the old folks were out of sight, Lolade took the floor.

“So about Jerry…” She began with excitement.

“Can’t we talk about other things before Jerry?” Sapphire asked in objection.

“No. That is what I want to hear.” She said twisting her mouth. “And you know I have to leave here on time,” she said checking the time. It was 2:20 pm. “I must be out of here by 5.”

“OK ma. No delays. So here’s my story.”

——

It was a sunny afternoon. Sapphire had just returned from her lunch break to meet piles of files waiting for her. She looked at each one scantily. She sat and reclined in her chair. She did not know which to start with. She felt so lazy. The only thing that made her glad was that they were not due that day. As she ruminated on how to go about the work, she heard a knock on her door.

“Hey! Sapphy, how are you doing today?” Jerry greeted. He was the only one who called her Sapphy and she loved it.

“I’m good o.” She looked towards the door but it was crystal clear that he came alone.

“Ahnahn! How come you came alone today? Where’s your friend?” She queried because he never came alone to her office.

“He traveled o.” He responded, taking his seat.

“Oh. Really. How was work today?”  She asked stretching and yawning.

“Good. We closed early.”

“ No wonder. I thought my clock has started misbehaving. Anything for the babe?”

“Yes o something big. There’s this deal my company is  going to be involved in and I need you to be a part of it.”

She giggled

“Me? What do I know about your company or business?”

“A lot, babygirl.”

“Hello! That did not come out right from the mouth of a brother in the Lord.” She complained.

“Oh. I should have said mummy. I’m sorry.”

“Sis is fine.” She suggested.

“Keep deceiving yourself. You were the one who referred to yourself as babe some seconds ago so don’t even go there. As I was saying I need your help badly.”

“If it has to do with accounting, I dey . Any other thing, I no sabi.

“Let me quickly show you the documents so you’ll see what I’m saying.” He said, bringing out a bound document from a file folder. He flipped it open and gave it to her. She collected it from him.

She looked into it and looked up at him. She looked into it again and closed it

“Sapphire, will you marry me?” He requested. Those were the same words written in the document. They were written with very beautiful artistic fonts. Silence enveloped the room.

She liked Jerry. In fact, she didn’t see any reason why she should not say ‘Yes’. They had been friends for more than three years. They knew so much about each other as they had been confidants. Jerry knew about her past relationships and she knew about his. They seemed to understand each other pretty well but she was cautious.

She understood that the decision of who to marry was beyond the things she saw.

“But you know you have to give me some time to pray about it.”

“Yes, I do and I  will.”

“Thank you.” She was happy that he was not in a hurry.

“So what about the business?”

“That’s what we just settled.” He said, giggling.

She scratched her head.

“Oh… Yeah… That’s true but that was a nice try. Well-done.” She commended.

Jerry was proud of himself.

Within a month, Sapphire had prayed earnestly about the proposal. She had settled that it was only God’s will she wanted  to do. She felt so much peace in her spirit as she prayed but she wanted more confirmations. In her journal, she had written the sources she wanted confirmations from. They were in five categories- God through His word, her church pastor, her parents, her mentor and one random person who she did not know from Adam. She got all five and they aligned perfectly. There was nothing delaying her. She wanted to be sure again and on the day she was contemplating whether or not to give Jerry a response, a message from a colleague at the office was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Tinuke walked up to her that morning.

“Sapphire, how are you doing this morning?”

“I’m good dearie. You?”

“I’m fine. Thank you. Have we ever had time to chat or talk?” She asked trying to rack her brain.

“Not really. You know how work is in Silverberry. If you’re not in the same department with someone, it’s hard to get to see them often.”

“Yeah. That’s true.” Tinuke agreed.

“Well, as I was praying this morning God said and I heard clearly that the answer to that question is Yes.”

Sapphire’s heart skipped a beat.

“Hmm… I understand perfectly. Thank you so much Tinuke.”

“You’re welcome. I have to run now.”

“Alright.”

The conversation was that short and simple.

That same evening, she called for a meeting with Jerry in a restaurant not too far from her office.

“I got the answer.” She said smiling coyly.

Jerry was very confident and she noticed. She liked confident people but something about this kind of confidence did not seem right.

“Wait, what is wrong with you? You don’t even look worried.” She queried.

“My dear, I am too sure of what I heard and I know you are a child of God. It’s only if…” He paused.

“Only if what? You better don’t allow pride get the best of you.” She warned.

“I’m sorry if that’s what you perceive.”

“Anyways, the answer is Yes.” She said.

“I said it! I knew it!” He sang repeatedly, dancing on a spot.

Sapphire watched on. She felt something was not right but she couldn’t place it. Maybe she was being too judgmental. But how come she had never felt that way all the time they had been friends? She dismissed the thought. Whatever it was, they were going to work on it together.

SAPPHIRE (Episode 2)

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Sapphire did not wait for Greg to go far before she gave Lolade a piece of her mind.

“Lolade, that was so rash and harsh, so brute…” She lamented.

“Ehnehn… Etiquette madam, please don’t spoil our beautiful evening with your sentiments and niceness. Please o, niceness is not a fruit of the spirit.” Lolade said hissing.

Sapphire opened her mouth in amazement. She was not sure she was speaking with the right person. Lolade noticed the look on her face.

“What is it? You should have asked for the reason for my reaction now before you started defending him.”

Sapphire sighed.

“OK. I’m sorry.”

“When you warn a child not to play with fire and he dares it, it will definitely burn him.” She said hitting her left fist with her right palm.

“I don’t understand.”

“I warned him about that girl. She’s just a cheap, dirty thing” Lolade’s eyes were filled with fury. Her words were coming out with so much venom.

Sapphire couldn’t believe her ears. She shook her head like someone who was trying to clear her sleepy eyes.

“Wait… wait… Lolade, you need to calm down. All these words coming out of your mouth are not sounding right.” She said cautiously. Sapphire felt there were better ways Lolade could have expressed herself but definitely not with those words.

“Arghhh. I’m sorry. I’m just overwhelmed by rage.” She said shaking vigorously.

“Oh! No! You should not be. You should be able to control your temper.” Sapphire said in opposition to Lolade’s defence.

Lolade breathed in and out repeatedly. Her head was boiling. In fact, she could practically feel something like an electric spark in her head. She reclined on the couch she was sitting and fixed her gaze on the ceiling.

Sapphire left her to calm down for a few minutes before she spoke.

“Do you still want to talk?” She asked gently.

“Hmm… It’s a long story.” She said clicking the roof of her mouth with her tongue repeatedly.

“I got to meet Debbie for the first time when I got my job with Diamond Press about two years ago. She was the only female staff then so somehow, we got close. She put me through on things I didn’t really know about editing and we got along. In fact, I used to attend her church until something happened.”

“What happened?” Sapphire looked into Lolade’s eyes curiously.

“Debbie started dating one married man like that. At first, I thought they were only friends but with time, things became clearer.”

“OK…”

“I cannot tell you details but in short my sister, Debbie ruined that man and his home. She was after his money and when things went wrong, she fled.” Lolade accompanied the word ‘fled’ with a clap.

Sapphire stopped to think for a moment. She tried to connect the dots but got stuck so she decided to probe further.

“But how did that affect your attending her church because I don’t understand what business her church has got to do with this?”

“My sister, her pastor knew about everything. I mean he was in support of her relationship with a married man. And then I later got to know that there had been similar incidences and some other unspeakable things that were happening within the church. That was after I had spent about six months there.”

“Are you serious?” What sapphire was hearing sounded like something that only happened in movies.

“Why would I lie about such a thing now?”

“OK. Back to Debbie, did you warn her or do anything to caution her, I mean to bring her back on track?” Sapphire asked with so much concern.

“Sapphire, you and this your passion for people ehn… Some people are not worth the trouble o.” Lolade said blankly. “Well, I called Debbie to order several times but she wouldn’t listen. So when this brother Greg started eyeing her, I warned him. I couldn’t give him details. It would look like I was jealous or that I wanted him to myself.”

Something struck sapphire at that point.

“Hmm… Tell me, do you like him?” She asking grinning.

Lolade was shocked. She almost lost her balance.

“Ah! Sapphire!” She called covering her mouth. “OK. Sincerely, I do but I know there’s nothing that can happen between us. We’re just friends.”

“You mean before now or now?” Sapphire pushed.

“Before now. See, he is not a Christian. He goes to church but he’s a free thinker. Do you know what that means?” She asked looking at Sapphire with slight annoyance.

“Oh…” Sapphire rubbed her chin gently.

“So you see that he was never an option.”

“No. Never. Not at all.” She agreed.

“But there’s something he’s not telling me. I wonder what’s keeping him with that girl. It’s obvious she’s not letting him have his peace but he’s stuck. He rants and complains and whines but at the end he’s still with her. I don’t get it.”

“Well, maybe there’s some form of agreement or covenant between them or something because I can’t fix it either.” Sapphire suggested.

“Agreement… Covenant… I hope… No. no… no. If it’s what I’m thinking, then this guy don enter one chance be that.”

“What are you thinking?”

“Voodoo…”

“Nah… It looks like the lady is pregnant” Sapphire opined.

“What did you say?”

“I was only thinking aloud.” She answered making a funny face at Lolade.

—————————————–

“Man, I’m done with this.” Greg said fuming as Kunle opened the door for him.

“What is it this time?”

“It’s Debbie again. You needed to see how she embarrassed herself at Lolade’s place today.” He said unknotting his tie.

Kunle sat on one of the living room sofas with a toothpick hanging from his mouth. He had obviously just had dinner. He placed his legs on the centre table. Greg pushed his legs off the table. He always told Kunle that the table was not a footstool.

“Kunle, I’m talking to you.”

Bros you no dey hear word. Na today I don dey tell you?” Kunle snapped.

“But you know now. You know why I’m still hanging on. What if you were in my shoes?”

“Mr. Hanger. I’m not against your hanging on o. But bros, come to think of it. What if she were lying?”

“No joor. She’s not lying. I personally took her to do the tests now. I’m not that stupid.”

“Oh. OK. But must you marry her? Can’t you just take responsibility for her baby and …” he stopped, unsure of whether he was giving the right piece of advice or not. “Boy, this thing is a mess” He concluded.

Greg was pacing about the room.

“It was supposed to be a one night stand and now I end up in this mess.” He said biting his fingers.

“You’ll be alright o because I don’t even know what advice to give you anymore.”

Greg looked at him with contempt. He felt like giving him a solid blow that would leave him writhing in pain for a reasonable length of time.”

“Just imagine. And you were even the one who introduced me to her or was it her to me? Whatever!” He blamed Kunle.

Kunle wasn’t going to take it.

“Bros this is one of the things I have been telling you. I introduced you to her, yes. But did you make your findings? You just jumped at her and boom, you found yourself where you are right now. This blame trade you want to start will not help matters. May the good Lord help you. I have some work to tidy up against tomorrow,” Kunle said patting him on the back.

He went into his room, shut the door and locked it properly. He knew Greg too well. He could come barging in on him because he obviously needed someone to talk to in order to clear his head. Kunle couldn’t afford to be his shoulder to cry on that night, at least not at the expense of the work he had to finish up. Greg was left all by himself in the sitting room.

“The good Lord help me… The good Lord help me.” He repeated.

A call came in. It was Debbie. He ignored the first and second time. He could not explain what made him pick up the third time.

“Hello dear.” She was chewing something in an irritating manner.

“What is it?” He asked aggressively.

“I wanted to know if you have gotten home.”

“I have.”

“And… erm…I wanted to remind you about the money I asked for.”

He didn’t wait for her to finish what she was saying before he ended the call. He felt like seeing her and strangling her. Debbie seemed to care about herself alone. The best she could do was ask, “How are you?” Every other sentence she uttered afterwards had to have ‘I’ or ‘me’ recurring in it.

He thought about their relationship. It was nothing like what he had wanted. He never really had dreams when it came to relationships but at least he knew that what he was experiencing was not what he would have dreamt of. Something about failing to plan being a way of planning to fail came to his mind. He placed his hands on his head.

He knew that it was the baby in Debbie’s womb that was still keeping him with her. He did not even know whether he felt anything for her. He just knew he was doing what he had to do, or rather what he was told he had to do but he was not sure of whether he was right or wrong.

He lay on the longest sofa. At that point he wished he knew how to drink or smoke or just do something that could make him forget his troubles at that moment. He stared into space like the answers to his questions were written there.

As he stared, a smile flashed across his face. He remembered Lolade and Sapphire. Those two were obviously good women. Their fiancés must be lucky, he thought. Lolade was naughty but altogether lovely. And Sapphire, she seemed to have a charming and calm personality. The smile was short lived by a voice he heard from within.

“Why are you smiling Greg?” He heard. “None of them can be yours you know. You better carry your cross. Debbie is your lot, your destiny.”

He jumped up from the sofa in anger and spoke up.

“No. This can’t be my lot. It can’t be my destiny. I’d rather die than take this as my destiny.” He said flinging the throw pillows in various directions. He got tired. He sat down again. He was exhausted. It was not too long before he dosed off.

—————————————–

Monday mornings in Silverberry and Co were usually busy. Sapphire usually wished it could be different at least once in a while. They usually did a proper tidying before leaving the office on Friday. It was Silverberry’s policy never to carry jobs that should be completed within a week over into the next week except it was totally and understandably unavoidable. The reason for the constant busy Monday mornings was not far fetched.  Silverberry had a reputation for doing really excellent jobs and usually got contracts to execute very regularly and so even if there was no project on ground by the close of work on Friday, there was definitely a new project to embark on by Monday morning even if it was just the planning that would commence.

Sapphire had only just settled down in her office when the intercom rang.

“Good morning Sapphire. See me in my office at once.” A male voice from the other end instructed. It was the MD.

In no time she was seated right before the MD.

“I asked Mr. Tim to show you a file on Friday. I wanted you to look through it. Did he get it across to you?” He asked, flipping through some files on his table.

“Oh. No sir. Maybe he forgot. I did not get anything from him.”

The MD was angry.

He had given Tim the file on Friday and had told him how urgently it needed to be treated.

“This is serious. This man is playing with his job again. I would need too…”

A call interrupted the MD. It was from the receptionist.

“Hello sir. There’s one Mr. John waiting to see you.”

“Yes. He’s my nephew. I’ve been expecting him. Let him in.”

“Maybe I should just leave and come back later sir.” Sapphire suggested politely.

“Alright. We’ll talk about that later.”

Sapphire and the MD’s nephew met at the door and exchanged pleasantries. She thought his face looked familiar but couldn’t place it. As she stepped into the reception she was greeted with a surprise. It was Greg.

“See who we have here. What a pleasant surprise!”

“You can say that again. Do you work here?”

“Yes, I do.”

“How come I never knew?”

“You never asked and we never really got to talk.”

“That’s true…”

“And what are you doing here?” Sapphire asked.

“I came with a friend and colleague. He came to see your MD.”

“Oh! The MD’s nephew, right?”

“Yes.”

A very great opportunity was staring Sapphire right in the face. She seized it.

“Wow. Do you know how long he’s going to be in there?” She probed.

“Nothing less than an hour, I guess. We would have gone in together because we were sent as representatives of our company. But since he has a relationship with the MD, he asked me to sit and relax while the does the job. He says your MD is very approachable and that there’s no need to stress ourselves up so my being here is just a sort of formality if you know what I mean.

“Yes. Sure. I do. The MD is a very nice man but very disciplined and principled too.” She added.

“Then we can do a small catch up while you wait because the work I have to do can only be done when your friend leaves that office. That means I can say I am less busy at the moment.”

“OK…”

“So how is Debbie?” Sapphire began.

“She’s OK. She’s fine.”

“When are you guys getting married?” Sapphire had already asked the question before she thought about it. She usually did not ask such questions but somehow she was interested in this particular case. After her discussion with Lolade, she had decided that she was going to get to the root of why Greg would not let Debbie go. But she did not say a word about it to Lolade.

“Well. I don’t know.” He replied. His countenance changed. Sapphire noticed.

“Oh. I’m sorry. I hope I have not crossed my boundaries?” She sure knew she was going a bit farther than she would normally do but her interest in the case would not let her stop.

“No. It’s a free world.” Greg responded shrugging his shoulders.

“But you seem not to be happy, I mean with Debbie or your relationship.” She continued. “It was obvious the other day you came to Lolade’s place.”

“You know, this is not something I want to talk about now.”

“OK. Please excuse me.”

“No problems.”

She stood up and moved over to the receptionist. She asked for a copy of the newly printed complimentary cards she had kept in her care.

“Here’s my card.”

Greg looked ant the card and returned it.

“You gave me the wrong card.”

Sapphire smiled.

“Well, that is my card, not Silverberry’s card.” She said pointing at what was written on the card.

He looked at it again

“The Whole Hearts Initiative.” He read.

“Yes. That’s my NGO. We help people heal emotionally and helping them make their relationships work. We have the Teens and Tweens Hub and the Two Can Tango Hub.” Sapphire explained.

“Wow! Tell me something.” Greg was interested in what she was saying.

Sapphire smiled revealing her white set of teeth.

“I would tell you something one of these days. I think you’ll need to see us at the Two Can Tango Hub.” Sapphire remembered that there was something more important than Greg visiting the Two Can Tango Hub.

“But uhm… There’s something more important we need to talk about.”

“Hmm… Really…?”

“Yes.”

“Can we see sometime soon, I mean pretty soon because it is really urgent?” Sapphire sounded like it had to do with life and death. Well, it did.

“Then we can see now, I mean why would I wait till another time?”

“Very well, then. Please come along.”

The duo was soon seated in Sapphire’s office. She began talking and in less than ten minutes Greg started shedding tears. At some point she had to stop because she didn’t understand what was happening. When she stopped, Greg started talking.

He told her about how he had been in the church all the while but how he did not want to get too committed because he was afraid that he couldn’t pay the price. The way Sapphire spoke about God’s love, grace and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life melted something in his heart.

The way Sapphire told him about Christ was totally different and more practical than what any other person had ever said to him.

From their discussion, Sapphire knew that Greg was a good guy but good wasn’t what was needed. He needed to be saved and on the spot, he was willing.

Sapphire prayed with him and shared with him the basics he needed to know about walking with God on a daily basis.

As they walked out of the office, there was this glow on Greg’s face. It was very clear that something was different about him. As they walked into the reception, the MD’s nephew was also walking out of the MD’s office.

“Man, I’m sorry o. I didn’t know it would take so long.” John apologized.

“Well, you came right in time.” He said beaming.

John stopped and stared at Greg.

“Ahnahn. Wait o… Your face looks different nah, like there’s this glow in your face.”

He looked from Greg to Sapphire and then back. He thought He knew what had happened.

“Hmm. Greg the Greg… I understand.” He said smiling sheepishly and hitting Greg playfully.

“No. You don’t. It’s not what you think.” Greg tried to clarify.

“What do you think I am thinking?” John protested.

Greg shook his head. He was going to tell his friend about the experience but he needed to settle down first. They left the office after bidding Sapphire goodbye.

About an hour later, Lolade was seated right in front of Sapphire. They had agreed to go to the Mall together after work and since Silverberry was closer to the Central Mall, they agreed that Lolade would come and meet Sapphire and they would leave together for the mall.

Sapphire was trying to round off the work she was doing so it took about ten minutes before she could look up to say a proper hello to Lolade.

“Babe, I’m so sorry. Shey you know I don’t take work home and I can’t afford to roll this over till tomorrow. Each day has enough evils of its own.” She said mimicking a popular comedian, Falz

They both laughed.

“Babe there’s gist oh. Real hot one for that matter.” Sapphire said with enthusiasm.

“For real? Holy gossip here. O ya let it out.”

“Holy gossip. Don’t let anybody deceive you o. Which one is holy gossip nah?” Sapphire asked eagerly.

“What of the ones husbands and wives do? Can one really avoid that kind? I think that one is a pardonable kind of gossip sha o.” Lolade proposed.

“Ehh… Rev. Miss Lolade. I don’t know about that o.” Sapphire was not ready to delve into that although she felt that the kind of talks between couples that Lolade was referring to was bound to exist in any home. She took them back to the initial subject.

“Guess.”

It was as if Sapphire derived pleasure in asking her to do what she disliked. That was the same way she had forced her to dance in public at a function when she obviously knew it was not her thing. Lolade placed her hands on the table as if to share a secret.

“You know I hate guessing.” She whispered.

“I led Greg to Christ today.” Sapphire whispered back.

“Sapphire in your dream o.”

“No. I’m dead serious.”

Lolade was amazed.

“Where did you meet him? How did it happen? What did you say to him?” Lolade released the questions at the speed of light.

“He came with a friend to the office today. I felt the urgency in my spirit to reach out to him and I did what I should do. The Holy Spirit did the rest.”

“And Greg gave his life to Christ?” Lolade asked still in shock.

“Yes. He did.” Sapphire confirmed again.

“I have missed it Sapphire. I have missed it.” She said beating the table.

“How? Why? What do you mean?”

“Sapphire, please you have to pray for me. I have missed it badly.” She said crying and shivering.

“OK. Lolade. Calm down and tell me what happened exactly.”

“God actually gave me an instruction to tell him about Christ but I said my life was enough to preach and I didn’t have to say anything.” She confessed. “Of course my life was not enough to preach because as you rightly observed the other day I was calling Debbie names, I still need some dealings.” She admitted.

“But I have been struggling with God. I have to be sincere with you. All the paparazzi about Debbie and him was not really about what Debbie did.”

“What!”

“Yes. It was about me. I was supposed to be a light to Greg. I was supposed to have spoken to him before now but I didn’t. I was the problem not Debbie.”

“Hmmm… It is well Lolade.”

“No it is not.” Lolade disagreed.

“The truth is that you still have the chance to make a right turn. I hope you know God still loves you despite all this and that all you need is to give Him a chance to work on you.” She said assuringly. Lolade instantly felt at peace with those words.

“I was even scared. I thought it was something else.” Sapphire said.

“Like what?”Lolade queried.

“Like you were probably involved with him and bla bla…”

“Chai! Woman of God, are you sure your heart is pure?”

“No… I mean yes. I was just wondering. Shall we pray.” Sapphire stretched out her hands. Lolade pouted as she held her hands.

—————————————–

Greg usually looked forward to Saturdays. They were the only days he got to take a real rest except he was on leave. Sundays were days of rest too but more often than not, they didn’t look or feel like days of rest. He went to church on Sundays and had a voluntary practice of spending time with his immediate family members who lived at another extreme of town. By the time he got back, there was barely any time left to rest as the next thing he did as soon as he got home was to set his spirit, soul and body in motion for the new week ahead.

What meant rest to Greg would probably not mean rest to anyone else. He didn’t have to sleep all day or just lie  down. Watching TV, chatting with Kunle, taking a stroll all by himself, getting to surf the internet and keeping up with social media relationships was what constituted rest for him. Kunle always told him that was not rest but relaxation.

This Saturday was quite a lonely one for Greg one as Kunle had travelled out of town to see his fiancée. In a way, he was glad he was alone. He didn’t even long for Kunle’s company, at least not after his conversion. He needed better company. He needed someone who he could talk to and with about things that mattered but he couldn’t do away with Kunle just like that. His newly found life was definitely not to be kept to himself. He knew that telling Kunle off was not a good thing to do. Kunle needed a life too, he needed ‘the life’, Greg thought.

Greg had not spoken about the encounter he had in Sapphire’s office to anyone. Sapphire had told him about building a personal relationship with God and that was what he had started doing. He was enjoying every bit of it. It looked like a previously locked fountain of peace was let loose in his life. He smiled to himself as he thought of everything that had happened. He wished he had met Sapphire earlier or somebody  who would have at least led him to Christ.

“Well, it’s not too late. At least, I’m still alive. There’s hope.” He encouraged himself. “Nothing can steal my joy.”

He stood up and made for the living room. His neighbours in the next flat ought to have opened the gate that morning but he decided to go out to confirm. He whistled happily as he went out.

“Good morning Mr Greg.” Chichi greeted as he was returning to his flat.

“Chichi my beautiful young lady, how are you doing today?” He asked in a jovial manner. Chichi had never seen Greg that friendly since she and her sister had moved into that compound about six months earlier.

“I’m fine. How are you too sir?”

“I’m doing great my dear. I bless God o.” He replied all smiles.

Chichi nodded as he went into his apartment. She was dazed. She and her sister Nkiru had concluded that Greg was a big time snob because whenever they greeted him he would respond with his nose or head. In fact, it was Kunle that made them know his name. They felt he was such a proud man and just respected him for the sake of it.

Nkiru often asked her sister if he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and she would tell her to go and ask him the next time she saw him. But this morning, something was different.

“Looks like Mr Greg has finally dropped the weight he was carrying o.” Nkiru said mockingly.

“Your mouth ehn.” Chichi said poking her mouth. You better shut up and mind your business. You human beings can never be satisfied with what someone does.”

“What do you mean sister?”

“When he was carrying fire on his head, you complained. Now that he has decided to stop, you are still complaining. Ah!” Chichi lamented, clapping in her sister’s face.

They did not know that their voices were so loud that Greg was hearing all they were saying. He thought to go out and tell them what had happened to him but on a second thought he changed his mind. He would talk to them later. He didn’t want it to sound like he was defending himself.

Greg’s eyes were opened to something at that point.

The time the sisters moved into the house was about the time the issue of him marrying Debbie came up. He had been a happy person before then, at least happy without any extra worries or challenges asides the normal ones humans face from day to day and he had always been in control of his disposition in such situations. He had always known how to handle things or so he thought. But when the Debbie saga started, things shifted.

He was under serious pressure. His parents insisted he must marry her, first because she was carrying his child and then because he was not getting any younger.

As heady and tough as he could be, one thing he never did in his life was to disobey his parents. Greg had given his parents so much respect that they had the final say in most of the decisions he ever took in life. So when Debbie’s issue came up, he went with their instruction.

That was the beginning of his journey into a life of gloom. His relationship with people, especially Kunle suffered. Kunle was not a person to take things to heart so he was not bothered one bit. The few people he related well with were people he really liked and of course somehow, he learnt to put up a facade at the office.

So all the times Chichi and her sister greeted him, he felt like, “You people should not disturb me. I’m saving my best disposition for the world.”

He sighed. He remembered how so many times he had judged someone as snobbish, inconsiderate, pompous or rude. This was the same judgement he was receiving and things were actually not the way they appeared.

“What if those people I have judged were also going through such pressures or heartaches like mine or even worse?” He asked himself thoughtfully as he made for the bathroom. He was feeling bad and was almost sinking into self condemnation when a song he knew but never really sang suddenly came to his lips.

I’ve got joy like a river

Joy like a river

Joy like a river in my river in my soul

I’ve got joy like a river

Joy like a river

Joy like a river in my river in my soul

He sang on and on in the bathroom. He soon found himself singing some other songs. Greg had a nice tenor voice and was feeling himself as he sang. But more than the beautiful voice he heard himself sing with, something amazing was happening within him that he could not explain.

He was soon standing in front of his full length mirror to dress up. Greg always took time to dress well whether he was going out or not.

“Hmm… You actually really have a nice voice my darling.” Debbie said as she walked in and dropped her bag on his bed.

Greg almost jumped into the mirror in front of him. Debbie stood still in wonder for a moment.

“How did you get in here?” He asked pointing at the door. He was still shaken.

Debbie looked around to see if there was any other person in the room that Greg was probably directing his question to. She confirmed that they were just two in the room so she waved her hands in his face to be sure he was seeing well.

“Hello. Are you okay?” She asked with a worried tone. It was not the first time she would be entering his room like that so she didn’t understand what the fuss was about.

“I’m fine. But why didn’t you knock? I thought I locked the door.” He said, still looking towards the door.

“Excuse me. When did that start?” Debbie asked wondering.

“See Debbie, I don’t want any troubles today. Just go and wait for me in the sitting room.”

“I’m not moving an inch until you tell me what is happening here.” Debbie insisted.

“Alright. Please let’s go to the sitting room.”

“Oh. Then lead the way. I will follow.”

Greg looked at her. His attention was drawn to her tummy. He hadn’t paid attention to what she looked like as the pregnancy advanced. She did not have a protruding tummy and that was why Kunle initially suggested that she was probably lying about the pregnancy but anyone who looked closely would know. Her EDD was getting closer. Fear gripped his heart. It looked like this destiny thing was becoming a reality.

At some point he had been excited about the prospects of becoming a father. But with time, he understood that being a father entailed so much more than he thought and he became really scared. He wasn’t ready to be a father. It was not that he didn’t like the thought of it, but if there was one thing Greg was good at, it was telling himself the truth, no matter how bitter it was. He could be defensive in public but when he was all alone, he gave himself a sincere analysis of what he had done wrong or right. He knew he was ill prepared for the responsibilities attached to fatherhood.

Debbie was tired of standing.

“Hello, please lead the way Mr Greg Adetoyese.”

Her voice brought Greg back to the moment.

“Oh. I am sorry.” He apologised, holding his head.

She put her hands forward to indicate that he should go first. Like a sheep being led to the slaughter house he obeyed but looked back intermittently. He wasn’t sure he could trust Debbie at that point.

They were soon seated on opposite sides of the living room.

“So you want to talk. I’m listening.” She said folding her arms.

“Debbie, things have changed and I would want you to understand that.” He started.

“Go ahead. ” She said impatiently.

“I gave my life to Christ recently and…”

Debbie did not let him finish before bursting out in excitement.

“Wow! That’s great news. That makes two of us then. I even thought it was something serious.” She said holding her chest with one hand and hitting Greg playfully with the other. Greg leaned forward. He was confused.

“Are you… born… born …a….a…gain?” He asked stammering.

“Yes. Of course I am.” Debbie said with so much confidence. “What do you take me for? I’m even a part of the workforce in my church. I’m baptised in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.” She said with a note of pride in her voice.

Greg felt like a blindfold was being removed from his eyes. He had been foolish. It occurred to him that he did not know Debbie at all. He knew her name. He knew where she lived. He knew one of her aunts but nothing more. They never really had a relationship. He never intended initiating a relationship with her. It was a one night stand that led to the mess he found himself in. He bit his lips hard. How stupid he had been.

“OK… OK… But for now I would like us to take a break.” He suggested.

“Wow! That’s an awesome idea. And where are we going?”

“Debbie, calm down. I said a break not a vacation.” He explained.

She hit her head severally to soothe the itchiness she felt in her hair.

“A break… Oh! A break… from what?” She asked.

“From our relationship.”

Debbie laughed hysterically.

“You must be joking. Greg, just tell me you are joking.”

“No I’m not Debbie. I need time to think about my life, to sort some things out and arrange my life, you know…”

Debbie stood up in anger. Her eyes were blood red. Greg tried to look up but looked to the floor almost immediately. He couldn’t stand the look in her eyes.

“I knew it. I knew you were planning to leave me, to abandon me with this pregnancy.”

“No, Debbie. Don’t go there.” Greg cautioned.

“I should not go where?” She asked eyeing him. “It is Lolade that is instigating you to do this. That girl has been plotting my downfall for a long time.” She said looking in no direction in particular. She turned to Greg.

“Greg, you are a joker. You lie.” She shouted in his face.

She expected him to react or respond but Greg kept mute. She held him by the collar of his shirt.

“We’re going to die here together today.”

Greg was stunned. He thought Debbie was a polished lady but here she was raging and ranting like a tout. He knew she was not altogether a good girl but he did not expect her uncivilized approach to the whole issue. Was this the lady he was going to get married too? Shivers ran down his spine. He placed his hands on his head.

“It is not yet time for you to place your hands on your head. Hehehe. By the time I am through with you, you will know that no one messes with Debbie.” She threatened as she stormed out of the sitting room.

The phrases ‘born again’, ‘baptized in the Holy Ghost’ and ‘speaking in tongues’ rang in Greg’s head as he watched her go to the room to pick her bag.

“Is she also a Christian for real?” He asked himself as he watched on.

The sitting room suddenly became very stuffy for him to stay in. He stood up to go outside to take some fresh air. As he got to the door, a loud noise drew his attention.

“Yeeh!”

He looked back. Debbie had fallen as she rushed out of the room. She had forgotten that the tiles were slippery and the pair of slippers she wore did not help matters. She missed one step and found herself on the floor.

He moved closer to help her up. He called her but there was no response. He placed his head on her chest. He felt nothing. He let out a prolonged scream.

SAPPHIRE (Episode 1)

IMG_20190222_213025_545

It was a very cold Friday morning. The harmattan was at its peak. Sapphire stood up and moved towards the window. She pulled the blinds apart and smiled. That was the first thing she did every morning after her quiet time. She loved natural sceneries. She looked from one end of the garden to the other and sang, “All things bright and beautiful”. There was this vibe it gave her to praise and thank God. She also always had something to learn from nature and turned most of the lessons into poems- deep poems that provoked the thoughts of anyone who read them.

She had quickly chosen her room when they newly moved in to their house. Her brother was not interested in such things so he let her make her choice. She would sit in the garden sometimes, till late in the night, staring at the sky and trying to count the stars. She would follow the moon as it moved until she could no longer move with it.

On one occasion she was carried away and had hit her face on the wall of the fence. That did not stop her love for natural sights and sounds. Her dad had intentionally planted various types of flowers because of her love for them. Well, he also loved them. Her mum usually teased that her love for nature was genetic.

A croaking voice followed by a shaky soprano voice brought her back to the moment.

Happy birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you

Happy birthday to you princess

Happy birthday to you

“Princess, would you please open the door?” Her mum called.

“I’m coming mum” She murmured. She didn’t like the way her early morning window side adventure was disturbed. She moved towards the door grudgingly and as she placed her hands on the keys, she heard a voice within remind her about putting up a right attitude always. She lifted her nose for a minute as she held the door handle, quickly wore a smile and opened it. Her mum greeted her with a warm hug.

“So you didn’t want to come out.” She said pushing her away from herself a little.

“Not that mum. I was busy with my morning routine.”

“Anyway, everything is almost set for the party.” She said rubbing her palms against each other. “Hope you’re getting ready.”

“Mum, I told you I want this on a low-key.” She protested.

“But it’s your 25th.

“Yes. I know. But does it matter?” She asked shrugging her shoulders.

Her dad who had been standing at the door all the while with his hands in his pocket moved closer and put his arms round her.

“My princess, we’re celebrating twenty-five years of God’s goodness and faithfulness. And you know what?” He asked, lifting her chin so she could look at him straight in the face.

She shook her head.

“The next might not be in our house.” He said as he smiled and pulled his wife close.

Sapphire laughed hard.

“You must have got husband for me dad.” She responded with sarcasm.

“No, no, no… But don’t you believe in miracles?”

“But dad, I’m not that old. You make it feel like I’m really old.” She frowned.

“No baby. No one says you’re too old. But you’re not too young either.”

Memories came flooding Sapphire’s mind. She shook her head smiling. Marriage was the last thing on her mind. She knew her father could drag the issue and start raising various examples of how God connected somebody with somebody in a very short while and how they got married and lived happily ever after.  He seemed to have a handful of such stories.

There was one that sounded really so weird to her. The man and the woman had only met for the first time, he proposed and she said yes immediately. The lady had already known that she was going to meet him and had already known what he looked like and certain other details so she didn’t waste time. That was too unbelievable in Sapphire’s ears. Well, she didn’t need such journey into history that morning.

“Dad, can we just stop talking about this, at least for now.” She pleaded.

“You’re not hurt, are you?”

“Haba! No I’m not, dad.” She said smiling.

He gave her a high five.

“That’s my girl!”

Her mum stood up. It seemed like father and daughter had forgotten that she was still in the room.

“Ehen…” She started. Sapphire and her dad already understood that they had ignored her. They were sorry and speedily gave her their attention.

“So, we’re having a party this evening. I invited the Aderemis, the Soremekuns, and their children.” She said counting with her fingers. “I also invited, Danielle, Chika, Tope and a few other people.”

Sapphire could not believe her ears. Her eyes widened in amazement.

“Mum! But you said it was a party with family and only a few friends. Oh mum. You know how I don’t like this”

“Oh. OK. We would just call them and tell them it has been cancelled” Her dad said pulling out his phone from his pocket. Her mum nodded in agreement as he tried dialling a number.

“Mum! Dad!” She screamed snatching the phone from her dad.

 ‘That would be very rude now” She said looking from one person to the other.

“Oh, really…” Her mum retorted.

Sapphire sank into her bed.

“Alright. You win!” She exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air.

Her mum and dad gave each other a wink and walked out of her room hand in hand. She watched on. Those two were simply impossible.

————————————————

It was 4 pm when Sapphire got back from work. As she stepped into the compound, she remembered the party. She had practically forgotten everything about it during the day because of all the work she had to do. She sighed. She couldn’t just understand what her parents were doing. All she wanted was a quiet time for reflection and planning for the year ahead. Her busy schedule that day did not help matters either.

She entered her room to find a pink tulle gown on her bed. Beside it were a white pearl necklace with tiny ear rings and a pair of silver wedge sandals. She dropped her bag on her table and undressed, went to take a shower, came in and hung the dress in her wardrobe. She lay on her bed to take a nap. About 30 minutes into her nap which was already becoming a full-blown moment of sleep, her mum came in and tapped her gently. The few minutes of sleep had been refreshing. She stretched and yawned.

“So when did you say the party would be starting?” She asked her mum rubbing her sleepy eyes.

“6 pm. No Nigerian time. In fact, our guests are already arriving.” Her mum replied stretching out her hand to help Sapphire up.

She flung her wardrobe open and began to dress. She suddenly seemed to be excited about the party. She couldn’t understand why.

At about 5.30 pm, her mum led her into the beautifully decorated garden. The sight was just too beautiful for her to ignore. Asides natural sceneries, she loved beautiful state of the art decorations too.

Danielle and a few other people came around to hug her and wish her a happy birthday. As she looked around the beautifully decorated garden, a tickle from behind startled her. She turned around and was shocked to see who the tickler was.

“Goodness! Lolade!”  She jumped with excitement!

“Yeah, yeah. It’s me.”

“How did you know…?”

Lolade looked in the direction of Sapphire’s mum. She got the gist.

“This woman ehn… But how did she get in touch with you? It’s been a long while, eight long years if my memory serves me right.”

“Yeah. You’re right. I just relocated here a little over a year ago but I didn’t even think you would still be here. I bumped into your mum at the Central Mall recently and she invited me. She even gave me your number but we agreed I wouldn’t show up or contact you until today.” Lolade confessed.

Sapphire clapped her hands slowly.

“Well played. This woman is too old for these things she does sha o.” She said looking at her mum from a distance. “But what if you had bumped into me before now?” She asked folding her arms.

“Well, I didn’t think about it. I guess God was involved in our deal” She replied laughing.

“Oh dear, it’s so good to see you. I have missed you. How’s your mum, the Chef Mama?” That was the nickname she gave Lolade’s mum.

“She’s fine. We relocated together.”

“You and your mum ehn. Your love is not from here. Does she still make cookies and ice-cream?”

 “She still does o. She even runs a big snack business now and calls it ‘Yummiez and Crunchiez’. You know it was just a small thing then.”

“Yes…Wow! I have to visit you and…”

Greg cleared his throat. Lolade and Sapphire turned round. He had been watching all along and was getting uncomfortable with being ignored.

“Greg” Lolade called, stressing the ‘e’ “You love attention.”

“Well, I don’t like being ignored” He said adjusting his tie. Lolade jerked her head backwards.

“What is wrong with this one?” She hissed playfully and began the introduction, “Sapphire, meet Greg, my friend and colleague. Greg, meet Sapphire my childhood friend.

They exchanged pleasantries.

“We’re really so sorry for ignoring you Mr Greg. Please forgive us.” Sapphire pleaded.

“Apologies accepted from you alone ma’am.” He said eyeing Lolade who retaliated.

“OK people. Can we get started?” It was the MC’s voice.  Sapphire checked her wrist watch. It was 6 pm on the dot. The party lasted for about 2 hours with a session of praises and thanksgiving to God, a charge for the celebrant and so much food, drinks, fun and beautiful souvenirs for the guests.

It was time to go home. Lolade looked around to say goodbye to her friend. She saw her appreciating some guests so she waited patiently. She approached her as soon as she was alone.

“Thanks a lot sweet. I’m grateful. I believe you enjoyed yourself.”

“Yes. I did. I love the way it went. Godly fun is what I call this.”

Sapphire smiled.

“We should do some catching up sometime soon sis” Sapphire suggested.

“Yes, we should.” Lolade agreed.

“There’s so much to talk about. I’m on leave so I could come around anytime. You could come over to my place too.” Lolade proposed.

“We’ll definitely work something out.” Sapphire assured.

Greg was already giving Lolade the “Check your time” signal.

The two friends gave each other a goodbye hug.

————————————————

Lolade stood up from the small stool she had been sitting on. She found it a bit difficult to stand as her back was already stiff and aching. She had been sitting for about an hour, washing as many dirty clothes as she could lay her hands on. Her mum had suggested that she used the washing machine to make the washing less stressful but she had declined. She loved washing manually. No one could understand why she would decide to wash with her hands when there was a machine in the house that could wash, spin and dry. It was really very strange.

She was on her annual leave and wanted to go spend some time with her aunt in Jos but her mum had pleaded with her to stay back for a while. The bond between them was so strong that her mother never wanted her out of her sight. She had become her mother’s husband since her father died about twelve years earlier.

The days she spent at home were quite boring for her so she occupied herself with house chores during the early hours of the day and visited friends, read books or went for church activities in the evenings.

She was about spreading the last piece of clothing on the clothesline when her phone rang. It was Sapphire. She used her hands free to avoid heart touching stories.

“How are you doing today, girlfriend?” Sapphire hailed.

“I’m doing just fine, girl” Lolade replied.

“Good, girl! Guess what.”

“What?” Lolade asked.

“I’ll be at your place tomorrow and I would be staying over” Sapphire said excitedly.

“Wooowwwwww! That’s great news.” Lolade exclaimed and jumped with so much excitement that she had forgotten she was still holding the white shirt  she was about to spread. She struggled to save it but it fell into the drainage.

“Arghhhh!” She screamed stamping her feet on the floor like an angry child.

“What’s that?” Sapphire asked worried.

“I just stained my white shirt.” She answered still staring at the shirt in the drainage like it should come out and clean itself up.

“Oh! You scared me” Sapphire said as she heaved a sigh of relief. “Be careful dear”

“Thank you. Seriously, I can’t wait to see you” She said picking up the shirt, dumping it back in the bucket and running some water into it.

“Me too dear. Uhmm… Would you please do something for me?” Sapphire asked.

“I’m listening” Lolade was curious to know what favour Sapphire needed.

“Get some of mum’s homemade cookies and ice-cream ready. I’ve missed them a great deal.”

“Na so!  I even thought it was something serious. You like food like what I don’t know, junk especially.” Lolade teased. They both laughed.

“If I catch you ehn. I choose to ignore sha. Just get them for me pleeeeaaase.”

“But wait, how come you remembered after all these years?”

“I asked you the other day at the party now.”

“Oh. That’s true. Alright. I will. By the way, how come you’re calling me at this time? You should be at work” Lolade queried.

“You want to start oppressing me because you’re on leave abi?”

“Haba! No now?” She defended.

“Anyways, there’s no work on ground at the moment girlfriend.” Sapphire explained.

“Oh… Okay… I’ll be expecting you then.”

Sapphire got to Lolade’s place about a few minutes past 5 the next day. She had missed the description but didn’t want to call Lolade because she had boasted that she would locate the house very easily.

She parked her car outside and knocked on the gate.

“Wow! I didn’t know you would get this place so easily.” Lolade said as she opened the gate.

Sapphire smiled sheepishly.

“Sapphire… Don’t tell me…” Lolade understood what had happened.

“Well, yes. I missed my way and found my way.”

Both of them burst out laughing.

“Anyway, it’s just fine that you’re here. Come in.” She said helping her with her bag and leading the way to the house.

“Wow! What a beautiful place you have here.” Sapphire complimented.

“Thank you dear. So what do I get you?”

“Uhmm…” Sapphire scratched her head.

“What’s the matter?”

“I thought I already told you…”

“Oh! My bad! Mum’s homemade cookies and ice cream. I forgot. Let me check the fridge.”

Sapphire prayed silently that her hopes would not be shattered. She had craved badly for the cookies and ice-cream. There was this special taste that Chef Mama’s cookies had. And the ice-cream, it was superb.

“Oh. Thank God.” Lolade placed her left hand on her chest as she looked at the side compartment of the fridge.

She placed some cookies in a plate, served some ice cream in a disposable cup and placed them in a fancy tray. She pulled a stool and placed the tray on it right before Sapphire.

“There you go. Our neighbours kids came here yesterday and trust mum, she brought them out. I heard her saying they were almost finished. I didn’t even remember you. I’m sorry.”

Sapphire was grateful. She wasted no time in devouring the snacks.

“So tell me Sapphire, what’s up with you? How have you been? How has life been? Where do you work? Are you in a relationship?”

For a moment, Sapphire stared blankly at Lolade. She finally responded with a question.

“Which one do you want me to answer first?”

“Any, all and others I have not even asked.”

“OK.” Sapphire pushed the stool to the side a bit so she could stretch her legs.

“I’ve been doing pretty well, flowing with life as it takes me over the mountains and down in to the valleys and up again.” She said gesturing with her hands. “But I’m grateful I met the Lord. Life makes sense with Him”

“Hmm.. Sure.”

“I work with Silverberry and Co as an accountant. It’s been quite interesting. I also run an NGO where we help people heal from emotional wounds inflicted on them by toxic relationships.”

“Wow! Tell me something.” Lolade’s ears were itching to hear details.

“Yeah… I’ve had a fair share of relationship troubles. Two heartbreaks and one peaceful separation.” Sapphire said nodding.

Lolade covered her mouth. She felt sorry that Sapphire had been through all of that. Sapphire saw the look on her face.

“Don’t pity me dearie” She said laughing.

“I’m fine. I’m whole now. I told you I met Jesus. He fixed everything.”

Lolade sighed. Sapphire continued.

“So, I counsel teens and people in their early tweens majorly. I have a burden for teens because I had my first two heartbreaks as a teen and somehow these young ones just rush into relationships and get their hearts broken unnecessarily. I told you the last one was a peaceful splitting but I think it could have worked. So this year, my team is working on helping people make their relationships work by following godly principles.”

“Hmm… This quite amazing”

Sapphire continued.

“You know, Jerry and I were convinced that God wanted us to be together. There were very strong confirmations and all but we made our mistakes. I’ll tell you all about it later on.”

“I can’t wait to hear it.”

“Enough about me. So, tell me about you? Follow the format you gave me.” Sapphire said chuckling.

“OK. Well I’ve been good. Life has been filled with so many lessons. I work as an editor with Diamond Press. It has been very fulfilling. It’s sometimes stressful but beautifully stressful. I met Jesus too, about three years back and my life has been more meaningful since then. That’s a little something about me. I know we’ll get to talk more extensively later on.”

“Lolade… You missed something out.”

“What’s that?”

“The relationship part now… We’re following a format here.” She said with a wink.

“Well, the one or two people who ever came along were not serious at all.”

“Hmm… Lolade, are you sure you’re not clinging to all those rigid and crazy principles you set since secondary school days?”

“Not at all. I have my principles, I have my taste but everything is subject to God’s will, really. And I’m really enjoying this single phase.”

“Really?” Sapphire asked with surprise.

“Yes o my sister. See, it’s not like it has always been like that. When I was in my eraly twenties, say twenty-one or twenty-two, I craved for a relationship as badly as you crave for Chef Mama’s cookies and ice-cream.”

The duo burst out in laughter.

“But as I grew older and understood what marriage really is asides those things we see in movies, I received sense o.”

Sapphire giggled.

“Yes now. These days, I just look at singles who rush to get married. God help them o but me I’m fine here. Let God keep building me thoroughly.”

“Hmm… But don’t close your eyes o, He may just be somewhere around” Sapphire advised.

“Sis please move closer.” Lolade requested.

Sapphire moved towards her. Lolade bowed her head.

“Now lift my chin up like you’re struggling, like my head is very heavy.”

“Hehehe. Which kind of movie are we shooting here today?” Sapphire asked curiously.

“Just do it now. I’m trying to explain something to you.”

Sapphire did as she was told.

“Good. My sister that’s the case o.”

Sapphire spread out her hands in confusion.

“I really don’t understand Lolade.”

“I’m not looking anywhere. That’s how my head will be bowed until the right person comes and God Himself will be the one saying, “O ya look up now” just the way you were trying to pull my chin up.”

Sapphire could not hold it anymore. Tears streamed down her face as she laughed hard and hit her hands on the floor.

“Ah ah… Is it funny?” Lolade asked wondering why her friend was laughing. “Do you know there was a time I used to think everyone that came my way was a potential husband?”

“Really?”

“I had to ask God for help to fix my eyes and heart on Him alone. So I decided to fix my gaze on the cross. I cannot see anybody” She was speaking with so much energy.

“ Ehm… But if you’re fixing your gaze on the cross, you should be looking up now, not down or are you taller than the cross?”

“I think we have come to the end of this discussion. My stomach is about to explode.” Lolade said as she held her stomach and tried to restrain herself from letting the laughter within her loose but she could not help it.

“You started the whole thing, drama queen. I hope you’re using this talent for God o.”

“I will think about it. I must confess it’s been long I had a conversation like this. I really miss our friendship”

“I do too. Well, I know God will fix us. I’m so sure He will” Sapphire said assuringly.

“Yeah… I believe too”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Lolade went to check who it was.

“Lolly mama. You’re just enjoying your leave.”

“Yes o. Your own was last month nah, did you share it with me?”

“Eh… Shakara. I was asked to drop this… Oh you even have company.”

He moved into the living room as he noticed Sapphire.

“Good evening ma’am. I remember you.”

“Good evening sir”.

Sapphire was looking lost.

“I came with him to your birthday party.” Lolade reminded her.

“Oh… it’s good to see you again and thank you for coming around the other day” She said with a warm smile.

“It’s my pleasure.”

He seemed to have forgotten what he was there for so Lolade cleared her throat.

“Ehm… So what were you asked to give me?”

Greg handed over the file he was holding to her.

“Mr Ade said I should plead with you to look through this and make suggestions…” He was still speaking when a feminine voice interrupted.

“Hello”

“All three looked back to see who had just come in. It was Debbie.” Lolade shook her head, looking at her with disdain.

“Ahnahn!” Greg exclaimed.

“You said you won’t take too long and I came to check what was keeping you.” Debbie protested.

“So  was that why you barged into another person’s house without knocking?”

“Ah ah. Is it not Lolade. Lolade how are you?” She greeted

“Fine” Lolade replied mumbling.

She turned to Sapphire.

“Hello. My name is Debbie and I’m Greg’s fiancée.” Lolade threw her hands in the air. Debbie never disappointed her when it came to announcing her status as Greg’s fiancée to people.

“Hi. I’m Sapphire”

“What a beautiful name.”

“Thank you” Sapphire replied. There was something repelling about Debbie’s personality but she just couldn’t place her hands on it.

Greg was already blowing hot within. This Debbie girl was nothing but a pest.

“Would you just go wait in the car. I’m almost done.” He said trying to contain his fury.

“OK, darling” She replied as she waved at Lolade who waved back mockingly.

Sapphire didn’t understand what was going on.

“This girl is just a pest. I don’t know how I got myself into this.” Greg lamented. Pain was written all over him.

Lolade laughed. Sapphire tapped her whispering to her that she was not being kind in her reaction but she shrugged her shoulders indicating that she cared less.

“I warned you, didn’t I? That’s your cross. Carry it.” Lolade said bluntly.

Greg took a deep breath. This was really a heavy cross he had to carry he thought. He wished that someone would be willing to help him. But more than that, he wished he could drop this cross. Several thoughts ran through his mind as he walked out of Lolade’s house.


The story has just begun

You must have learnt one or two things as you read this story. I would like to read your thoughts and learn from you.

MOVE IT! (A Short Story)

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“Reboboshanda… Rabaskibaraba…” Temi was vibrating all over, shaking her head violently as if she wanted it to come off.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh… This girl has started again”. Simi murmured as she rolled from one end of her bed to the other.

“Limayamasatayaba… Malekeyaribosata…”

“Chai! She won’t let me enjoy my sleep this cold night”. She complained further covering her head with her pillow. The more she tried to ignore Temi’s voice, the louder she seemed to hear it.

“My Father, My Father, I declare that I’m the head and not the tail. The works of my hands are blessed. My steps are ordered by You. Everything I do is blessed. All my enemies are consumed by fire…”

Simi could not take it anymore. She stood up and rushed towards Temi’s room. She paused at the door remembering that Temi always locked her door at night. She knew knocking would not work. She decided to try. Fortunately, Temi had not locked the door. As she entered the room, she looked at her sister in amazement. The amount of sweat dripping from her body was jaw dropping . She shook her head in digust.

“Temi” She called gently.

“Every spirit of Sanballat and Tobiah disturbing me in this moment of prayer, Holy Ghost fire consume them,” Temi screamed. Simi was unmoved.

“Temi oooooo!” Simi called raising her voice a little higher.

Temi motioned to her sister not to disturb her. Simi was getting frustrated. She thought for a while and then resorted to pinching her sister. That was the best way to get her attention. Temi hated being pinched.

“Father, thank You for answering my prayers. Amen”. Temi said as she rounded up her prayers hurriedly. She was already boiling with anger. She stood up to face her sister. Her eyeballs had turned red. She was breathing heavily.

“Temi, so you’re the one who wants to pull down the house with fire and thunder this peaceful night ehn” Simi burst out angrily.

“Big sister,  you have always encouraged me to take prayers seriously. Why did you allow the devil to make use of you as an agent of distraction tonight?” Temi asked with disdain in her eyes.

“Ah!  Temi, me, agent of distraction”. Simi exclaimed beating her chest and biting her right index finger simultaneously.

“Yes, sister mi”. Temi affirmed. “I was making powerful prophetic declarations over my life and destiny and you came here to disturb me instead of quietly following suit in your own room”. She said lifting her nostrils and eyeing her sister.

“Oh… Do you mean both of us should have raised our voices foolishly and disturb the entire neighborhood”? Simi asked angrily.

“Sister, you’re calling my prayer foolishness.  Don’t you usually say that a closed mouth is a closed destiny?” She asked in defense.

Simi shook her head, clicking the roof of her mouth with her tongue. She stared at her sister for about two minutes and then made for the door. She opened it and turned round.

“I do. But I think I made a very big mistake by not telling you that I also discovered and understand that an open mouth with bound arms and feet is a ruined and damned destiny too”. She said bluntly.

Temi was shocked to the bones.

“Think about it. I need to go back to sleep now”. Simi said as she banged the door behind her.

Temi could not sleep. She knew her Her sister’s statement meant something deep but she couldn’t fix it.

The first person Simi saw the next morning was Temi.

“Good morning sis. I’m sorry about what happened overnight”. She apologized covering her face with her palms.

“It’s alright”. Simi said pushing a chair towards her sister.

“Thank you ma”. Temi said smiling coyly. Simi nodded her head.

“So, to what do I owe this early morning visit?” Simi asked with a querying look as she checked the time. It was 6.00am. Temi never woke up as early as that.

“Well, ermmm, what you said before you left my room, I still don’t get it”. Temi stuttered scratching her head.

Simi laughed. Temi frowned. She wondered why what had made her restless all through the night was funny to her sister.

“Well my dear, remembering your prayers made me laugh. Bless the works of my hands, destroy my enemies, blah blah…” Simi said gesticulating.

“Yes. What’s funny about that?” Temi asked speaking through her nose.

Simi pulled a stool close to the chair Temi was sitting on. She leaned forward as if to tell her a secret.

“Tell me, what work do you do ? Who are your enemies?” She asked in a whisper.

“Well… I don’t work but… ” Temi was trying to defend herself but Simi wasn’t going to allow it. She knew her sister could be very defensive even when it was very obvious that she was wrong.

“Temi, If not for what I said to you last night, I would have been the one to come wake you up. I know words hit you so I intentionally left you with a few to ponder on”. Simi was now speaking with a clear and firm voice.

“Hmm…” Temi sighed. It was true. She never woke up early because she felt she had nothing to wake up to.

“I can practically tell how today will go. I will go to work and come back and meet you lying on the long sofa doing nothing but chatting or sleeping”. Simi continued.

“Mum enrolled you in a catering school but you said you wanted to learn graphic design. You started and after two weeks you said the teacher doesn’t know his onions. You’ve been with me for the past three months. You don’t go to church except on Sundays. You’re not doing anything for God. My help does the chores. Baby sis, you do practically nothing. God knows I’ve tried”. Simi said throwing her hands in the air.

 

Temi tried to say something but Simi hushed her. She hated being interrupted.

 

“My darling sister, all you do is pray, pray and pray. Funny enough I’m almost certain that you pray for yourself alone and then rain fire on your enemies. Am I telling a lie?” Simi asked expecting a response.

“No, you’re not”. Temi answered shaking her head. “But if my own prayers are not yet answered, why will I disturb myself about other people’s lives?” She asked grumbling.

Simi’s eyes widened. She was dazed. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“My darling sister, your screaming and shouting everyday will never work in your favour because your prayers are empty!” Simi said grabbing an empty bottle of water and waving it in her sister’s face.

“Ahnahn! Are you cursing me?” Temi protested with a frown.

Simi placed her hands on Temi’s shoulders.

“No, my dear. I dare not. But you see, you’ve been literally cursing yourself. You’re your own enemy. You’re not doing anything so you’re asking God to bless nothing. You’ve refused to move your legs, so there are no steps for Him to direct”.

“Ah!” Temi screamed placing her hands on her head. The words were sure moving in the right direction.

Simi stood up.

“Yes. Only open mouths and moving feet lead you into your destiny. You don’t speak on a spot. You don’t speak and sit. You shouldn’t even speak and just stand. You speak and move. Move the talk girl! Move it!” Simi concluded as she patted her sister on the back and made for the bathroom.

Tears streamed down Temi’s face for the first time in a long while. The words were clear. The pierced through her heart. They sank into her. It was a turning point in her life.

In the space of two months, her story was no longer the same because she took up the challenge to ‘move it’.

 

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Dear friend, I believe there are a number of lessons God would have us learn from this story. I would like to know how this story has blessed you and the lessons you have learnt. Please feel free to leave your comments. Thank you.

Oluwatoosin

 

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