“Ima, you would not believe what happened to me today?” Zina clapped her hands as she spoke, seated on a kitchen stool in front of Imaobong who was kneading dough.
“What happened? Did you get lost?” Ima did not look at her but spoke with her eyes on the bowl she was working on.
“No, the house was easy to find.”
“Wasn’t Ovie there?”
“He was O!”
Imaobong stopped what she was doing and looked up with a frown. “Did he try anything funny?”
Zina laughed. “No.”
“So what is it?”
“I met PA.”
“For real? I don’t think I have really had a close encounter with him despite years of being a member of the church. He is very quiet.”
Imaobong narrowed her gaze when she saw that her friend had more to spill. However,she didn’t have to beg Zina to indulge her.
“He was sitting in front of the house. I thought it was Ovie and covered his eyes.”
“Abasi mbok!” Imaobong screamed. “You covered whose eyes?”
“I nearly fainted when he turned. Kai! My sister, foolishness is not good.”
Imaobong had her hand over her mouth, her eyes wide in astonishment.
“Wait till you hear the rest.”
“There is more? You mean he did not bind you and cast you out into the abyss? I heard he doesn’t play.”
“He plays O. I had to pry my hands out of his grasp,” Zina said, straight-faced.
“He held your hands? How?”
“He said I have very soft hands, that I am lovely and interesting.”
“It’s a lie! Zina, you are lying!” By this time, Imaobong was hitting her friends laps in disbelief.
“Ima, I cannot make up such a story.”
“Hmm…I was struggling not to bite my mouth. But Ima, that guy is fiiiiiine! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you? Haven’t you been seeing him in church?”
“This ‘seeing’ was different. He was casually dressed and down to earth and he is a very good listener.” Her voice was becoming dreamy.
“Zina! You are in line to become the 1st lady O! I can’t believe it. My friend as PA’s wife?” Imaobong began to pace the kitchen, one hand on her hip, the other tugging at her chin.
“Hahaha! That is not likely to happen. He was just carried away.”
Imaobong stopped and faced her. “What do you mean? Now that I thought of it, you are a perfect fit. You are confident, out-spoken, used to being in leadership, well-versed in scripture, spirit-filled and stunning to boot. What’s to stop you from filling the vacancy?”
“I didn’t know there was a vancancy.”
“I didn’t either. He has been single for long and he promotes singleness. There was a time women were out to snare him but I think he wore them out. Besides, he has impregnable security. How did you even get so close to him?”
“I went to see Ovie. In fact I forgot he lives with PA. The man was just sitting there casually and he was hidden by some plants.”
“This has to be divine.”
“Na! I think God just wanted to teach me to see Pastors as human beings. I am in no way Pastor-wife material,” Zina shook her head sadly.
“Do you have anything against marrying a pastor?”
“No. I never thought about it but, I think it’s a call for those who have spotless records. I can’t even deceive myself on that one.”
“Who is spotless? Only the lamb is pure, my dear. Even PA is no angel.”
Zina frowned. “Does he have scandals trailing him?”
“No but, he always says salvation is a gift. We do nothing to earn it and we have no right to determine who is qualified before God and who is not. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
A call on Imaobong’s phone interrupted their conversation, leaving Zina to her thoughts.
All have sinned indeed but some sins leave scars and they are visible for the world to judge you. There are sins God may forgive but man may never forgive. I will live with the consequences of my decisions but which Pastor will join himself to a woman with my kind of baggage? No, it will never happen.
Moji, Idara and Toyosi were coming from the house of a musician they had gone to interview for their magazine. They were in Moji’s car, a roomy SUV with state of the arts fittings. Idara was fiddling with her camera in her lap. She was wearing a tank top on blue jeans, her standard work gear except they were attending a formal event. Moji was dressed in a black caftan, her expensive weave cascading down her shoulders in attempt to soften her hard frame. Toyosi was wearing a floral top on white capris. She looked lovely with her hair in a bun and minimal accessories.
“So how is your relationship with that Pastor? Have you guys fixed a date for the wedding?” Moji asked, tongue-in-cheek.
Idara rolled her eyes, wordlessly.
“What do you mean by ‘have we fixed a date’? Are you mocking me?” Toyosi was incensed.
“No, my dear,” Moji smirked.
“Anyway, he called me yesterday to invite me on a date.”
“Na lie!” Idara scoffed.
“I have a text to prove it. Do you want to see?” She handed her phone over to Moji as she spoke.
Moji and Idara read the message aloud, incredulous.
“10 am on Thursday at Brioche café is fine. Regards, PA.”
“Who is laughing, now?” Toyosi sang. “Behold, as long as the earth remains, seed-time and harvest-time will not cease.”
Her two friends glanced at each other and swallowed every thought of the intervention they had planned. She was obviously succeeding in her schemes. PA had never had a meeting with her in private and most of the meetings were instigated by her. That he was willing to be seen with her in a café was almost a public declaration of his interest in her.
Idara was almost seized by apoplexy over fears of being thrown out and more. Moji on the other hand saw the positive side of it. If her friend who was no better than her could land such a great guy, perhaps there was hope for her despite her age and the fact that she had an adopted child. She began to think that she might have been wrong to write off all men as evil. There could be someone out there who would love her for who she was and even be willing to marry her.
Toyosi eyed her friends, guessing their thoughts and laughed to herself. She knew what they thought of her brazen attempts to woo PA but she took comfort in the story of Ruth. Besides, she had no evil intentions for the man. All she wanted was to guard herself from the heartbreak that appeared to be all that the men she had been meeting had to offer. Was that too much to ask for? A man whose Yes was his Yes and whose No was his No. One who would not cheat on her, beat her or leave her. How could that be too much to ask.