Nedu

Fall On My Sword 21-Finale

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Chapter 10

 

Preye was seeing her last patient when a commotion outside got her attention. She asked him to excuse her and ran out to the gate to find that a crowd had gathered around a man who had hit a motorcycle rider. He was explaining that he was not at fault and that the rider had run a red light but the other commercial riders were not having any of it. She saw he was in danger of getting lynched and inserted herself in the fray.

“Can someone help me carry him into the hospital?” she shouted as she knelt to take his pulse.

He was a young man; lying on the road groaning in pain. She saw that he had a cut on his arm and a few bruises and concluded his injuries were mild. One of her nurses saw what she was doing and went back for a stretcher. Two of the onlookers assisted her staff to carry him inside. The car owner followed them, sweating visibly.

 

When the crowd saw that the fun was over, they dispersed. The bike of the patient was in bad shape so the gate man wheeled it to the front of the reception before locking the gate. By this time, Preye had donned her gloves and begun to examine the victim who had been laid on her couch. Her dental patient had also risen to watch the unfolding drama. She gave him an injection to relieve his pains and began to clean his cuts. Luckily none of them required stitches so she dressed them and asked her nurse to get him a change of clothes. All the while the driver of the car involved stood by watching her without saying a word.

He followed her to her office when she finished.

“How can I thank you?” he asked.

“I didn’t want them to set your car ablaze or worse beat you up. Those guys are aggressive,” she said.

He sank into a chair, his face in his hands.

Preye felt grief in her spirit. “There is something more. You lost a loved one this morning. Did you lose your mother?” she asked.

He looked up, surprised. “How did you know? She died yesterday after battling with Diabetic complications for months. I prayed, I pleaded, I begged God to heal her. Why didn’t he answer me? I have been serving him all my life.”

“The Spirit of God would have you know that He loves you and would never hurt you. Your mother told God she was ready to go.”

“Why must he take her? I needed her here.”

“What do you need that the Holy Spirit cannot do for you? He is reaching for you. Lay your head on his shoulder and allow him to comfort you.”

The man nodded still overcome with emotion.

“Let me give you space to talk with God. I think you both have a lot to discuss.” Preye rose and left her office to him.

 

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“Moses, do you mean you have lost all the money you borrowed to start business?” Nedu asked, incredulous.

“Every dime is gone!”

“Were you duped or what? I don’t understand it.”

“Someone Chibaby introduced me to gave me a contact in China who was supposed to ship in the equipment. He has turned off his phone now. I can’t reach him at his address. They said he moved out.”

“Chichi should be able to tell you where to find him. She knows him, right?”

“She said I should have done my due diligence; that she only introduced him to me and didn’t vouch for his integrity. Now everyone is blaming me. How do I face my investors, Nedu? I am done for!” Moses was panting as he spoke, his hands on his head.

They were in Nedu’s house. It was 5am. Nedu had been surprised when Moses knocked at his door that early on a Wednesday without calling first but had received him without hesitation. Now, he wondered if the case was not beyond him.

“What kind of equipment were you importing exactly? And I wonder why you never involved me? I would have told you how to go about it.”

“Chichi said I should keep it to myself because of haters.”

“Haters?”

“She said I needed to prove to you and all my friends that I am my own man and I can stand on my own. She said my friends see me as a weakling who is being fed by his wife and I need to challenge that impression.” Moses was sobbing by now.

Nedu shook his head sadly. “I wonder what gave her that impression. I have known you for far longer than her and I have never been a hater.”

“From the day she connected me to the man who invested the money she became ungovernable. She does whatever she likes and I am afraid to correct her. I thought when the deal pulls through I will become rich and finally have a voice in my own home but alas!”

“That means she simply set you up. I refuse to believe otherwise.”

“Nedu do you know she is a drug addict?”

“Isi gini? (what did you say?) Drug addict?” Nedu shrank back.

“She was doing drugs in secret but now she is so brazen. Even though she is pregnant, she still uses Indian hemp and cocaine.”

“Did you say she is pregnant?”

“She is a few weeks pregnant. What do I do? I am tired of this life. I feel like taking my own life.”

“Let’s start with the money. How much is it?”

“It is a total of N25 million.”

“Okay; you will get a lawyer and do an agreement with the investors as to a time frame within which to repay them.”

“Repay them? I cannot earn that kind of money from guitar lessons even in 50 years. I will have to sell 1 kidney to get the money.”

“It is just to get them off your back while we put the EFCC on the guy who stole the money. I have a contact there. We went to school together and he helped out my brother Obinna when he lost some money to a business partner.”

“Thank you so much! You don’t know what you have done for me. You are a friend indeed!” Moses clasped his hand in gratitude.

“Don’t thank me yet, Moses. You need to come clean. What is the true state of your relationship with God? Is He your ATM machine or your Father? You need to declare your stand so I can define my relationship with you. Sometimes I don’t know if I am dealing with a stark unbeliever or a baby Christian or a scoffer. You have been born again for over 10 years yet you still struggle to obey God. What gives?”

Moses looked at him ruefully. “I haven’t been serious with my Christian life, have I?”

“No you haven’t. Younger Christians than you are bearing the fruits of the spirit, manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit and taking territories. I think it is time for you to come up higher?”

“How do I do that?”

“You start by telling yourself the truth. Stop pretending to be so smart and tell yourself the truth. Next, open up to God on how you got to where you are and be ready to give up anything he asks you to.”

“Help me my brother,” Moses sank to his knees in anguish.

“Let me call my boys to man the shop. I sense we will have to spend the morning praying. As for Chichi, does her friend know she is pregnant?”

“I am not sure she knows. She has withdrawn from her over the past few months. I heard she quit her job and moved to a new apartment. She and that girl who is a dentist are living together.”

“That’s good. I believe God wants to use her to talk Chichi out of her drug habit; if for no other reason, for the health of your child.”

Moses burst into tears at this point so Nedu knelt beside him and began to pray in other tongues.

 

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Nedu and Moses went the next day to Preye and Didi’s house to talk to her. She had decided to share the rent with Preye instead of looking for another house and was now running a consultancy business from her living room. It had been 1 year since she broke up with Stan.

They had called to say they wanted to come over for a chat so the ladies were expecting them. Nedu had avoided direct contact with Didi as much as he could even though they saw each other in church often. It had almost cost him his sanity but he had concluded it was a test God was putting him through before introducing him to whoever would eventually become his wife.

 

As they talked with her while Preye made dinner, he tried to keep his eyes on the wall behind her but it was next to impossible. He thought she was really beautiful and it was punishment to hear how much she had progressed in her walk with God. It was evident she had changed the course of her life in obedience to God and even given Chichi space when she tried to drag her back into the life she fled. She broke down when she heard that Chichi was using hard drugs while pregnant.

“No, she can’t continue to do that!”

They waited in silence while she cried. Moses held her hand but Nedu was afraid that if he touched her his body would betray him so he crossed his arms and legs and sat as far from her as he could. When she dried her tears, she asked them if they would be willing to pray with her before she went to speak with Chichi.

“The bible says this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. If you would be willing, I want us to declare a 3-day fast for me so that when I talk to her I will be like the oracle of God. I want her to agree to go in for rehabilitation, detoxification, counseling, deliverance…whatever it takes!” she cried.

“Of course we will,” Moses agreed.

Nedu nodded, almost choking with his emotions. As they rose to go to the table he pursed his lips.

 

The man who will marry this girl is very lucky.

Do you want to marry her?

Don’t torture me. I can’t bear it. You know what it cost me to let her go.

It’s time Nedu. Ask her to go to lunch with you next Sunday

For real? A date? I can ask her out?

She will be your wife.

Noooooo! You’re playing

I don’t joke with destinies

Thank you so much! Whoop! I love you so much Holy Spirit.

I love you too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End

 

 

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Dear Holy Spirit, I wrote this story as a love letter to you. I fell in love with you when we met while I was in secondary school and you showed me how to avoid getting into trouble with the senior students. I am amazed by your compassion, your brilliance and your generosity. The reason I wrote this is I want everyone I meet to know you, to know you are the wind in my sails, the spring in my step, the reason for my sunny disposition. Thank you for keeping me. That I passed through the waters and did not drown, passed through fire and did not get singed, climbed mountains and did not gasp for breath is because your voice has always been in ear saying “This is the way. Go this way.” I love you.

Dr. N

@nenabekee

drnsmusings@yahoo.com

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall On My Sword 20

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Nedu and Kevin were at a double date with Kevin’s wife Tamara and Isio. The venue was an ice cream shop a stone throw from church. The outing was planned over the course of two weeks after Nedu and Isio got talking and became fast friends. It would be their first date. Nedu could feel the nerves particularly because he had been unable to hear God’s opinion on him asking Isio out. She was witty and friendly and it was easy to talk to her. He almost began to forget about Didi.

You don’t want me to ask Didi out yet I chose to befriend someone else and you are not giving me your approval either. Is there no winning with you?

I gave you a direct instruction and you flouted it.

But I am tired of being alone. I want to marry. Besides, Isio is everything I everything dreamed of.

You are mine. As a soldier in my army, you obey your commander without complaining.

I am sorry Lord. What do I do now? The girl is already expecting that I will ask her to be my girlfriend. How do I dig myself out? I did not mean to disobey you. Forgive me.

Tell her you want to match make Obinna and her.

My younger brother Obinna? That is not a bad idea. Thank you so much. I will wait for whoever you appoint me to love and cherish. But…Holy Spirit…mee ngwa ngwa…I will be 38 soon. Let people not wonder if there is something wrong with me.

Nwoke m call Obinna and tell him you have found a great girl for him. See your mouth like mee ngwa ngwa. He that believeth shall not make haste. Don’t you know a day is like a thousand years in my sight?

Meaning I will have to wait 1000 years…na wa Oh!

Keep complaining and your wait will be elongated.

Na joke I joke Oh! Sorry sir!

 

 

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“Stan, hi; I wasn’t to see expecting you in church.”

“Are you kidding me? I couldn’t miss hearing you sing,” Stan says reaching for a hug.

I hug him discretely, slipping out of his grasp almost immediately. Chichi is coming over to say hello. We usually catch up while Moses is helping his mates pack up the equipment. Sometimes we get lunch. On other days we part at the parking lot and I go to find Preye who is always ready to hang out. I have avoided Stan as much as possible and luckily he has been busy with work. It appears my luck has run out.

“It was just back-up,” I deflect his praise.

“Nonsense; I heard you distinctly and you out-sang the others.”

“Well, thank you but remember it is not a competition.”

He takes my hand and intertwines our fingers. “Of course it is not a competition. How can a cheetah race rabbits?”

Chichi is at his side so he turns and hugs her without letting me go. “Hello, Chi; you look nice.”

“Thank you. You have been away for too long. Did you want my friend to go nuts?” Chichi asks, throwing me a conspiratorial wink.

If only she knew what I have gone through in his absence; buying books on sexual purity, praying and fasting, plotting what to do in every scenario: everything but break up with him.

“I missed her as well. You know how I feel about her.” He draws me close and pecks my cheek.

I cringe but he doesn’t notice.

“Aww! You guys are just cute together,” Chichi beams. “Are we getting lunch?”

“No! I want her all to myself. By the time I finish with her, her legs will be shaking!” Stan announces.

“Ewo!” Chichi exclaims. “Take it easy on my friend please. You haven’t paid her bride price.”

“How much is it? I will pay double,” he scoffs.

Mentally, I am fishing for excuses. “How do I extricate myself from this mess? Father help me. I want to serve you in spirit and truth. I can’t keep going round in circles.”

Chichi is laughing and saying something I can’t hear because I am scouting the room for Preye or Annette. I reach into my bag to get my phone and call them for help.

“Baby, shall we?” Stan doesn’t give me time to think but ushers me towards the door.

I wave at Chichi who makes a face at me and turns away. Preye and Annette are not in sight. I can’t make the call without being heard. We get to his car and he opens the door to let me in.

“Let me drive behind you,” I suggest. I am hoping he says yes so I can run away to fight another day.

“We can come back and pick your car in the evening. I have missed you so much. I want you now.”

He is in the driver’s seat, staring into my eyes intensely, breathing into my face. I nod like an agama lizard and he kisses me.

“I love you,” he says.

“I love you too.”

How about me, Didi? Do you love me?

Who are you Lord?

I am your Lord. Do you love me?

I love you Lord.

Why then do you not obey me?

“Didi, I got you your favourite perfume.”

“No way! It has been out of stock in Nigeria for a while. Where did you find it?”

“I wrote to the designer and told him I offended my girlfriend and the only way I could apologize was with a bottle of his perfume. He had his team send me 2 bottles. 1 is complementary.”

“That is unbelievable! You mean I have 2 bottles to myself?” I reach over for a hug but he turns it into something else until I come up for air.

“Keep my reward till we get home. I don’t want these sanctimonious folk to kick you out of the choir.” He smirks and fastens his seatbelt before speeding off.

His statement reminds me of my conversation with the Holy Spirit. In the past I would have chuckled at his criticism of church folk and thrown a few barbs of my own. Now I am one of them and it has just brought me back to reality.

I am saved.

I am filled with the Holy Ghost.

I have been baptized in water.

I know the truth.

I serve in the choir.

“How can I continue serving two masters?”

He doesn’t notice that I am more quiet than usual while he carries on telling me about his trip and all the deals he closed. I am biting my lip because I don’t know how to tell him the relationship is over. I can’t continue to live a lie. Like Sis. Annette said, I have to be single for a while and learn how to serve God with my single status before I commit to serving God as a married woman. Even if he proposes today, I cannot marry him because I can sense that he will end the pretence and forbid me to go to church or sing in the choir. I know he has humored me thus far so as not to scare me.

We pull into the driveway before his house after his gateman opens the gate for us. It is an imposing 5 bedroom house with a pool, pent house, gym and field at the back for his dogs to run in. he has a gardener who comes in 3x a week, a live-in steward and a cook who comes in whenever he is around.

“I asked Kweku to make lunch and leave because I didn’t want any interruptions. I hope you don’t mind dishing the food?” he asks as we step into the house.

“I don’t mind.”

In the foyer, he takes my bag and flings it on the floor. Then he picks me up, kisses me and carries me up the stairs to his room. I find myself placed gently on the bed before I can protest.

“Do you know you are the most beautiful woman in the world?”

“Umm,” I mutter. I feel as though a stone were in my throat.

If you don’t rescue me, I will be here all night and this cycle will never end. Give me a way out Lord. I meant it when I said I am tired. Help me. I feel so weak. I don’t know what to do.

Flee!

Huh? How am I going to do that? All 85kg of him is lying on top of me.

Ask him to go and take a shower.

“Sweetheart?”

“Hmm?” He raises his head from where he was trailing kisses down my neck.

“Could you go and take a shower?”

“Now?” He gives me a quizzical glance.

“’l’ll join you. Let me just get a drink from the kitchen.” I smile hoping he doesn’t read my thoughts.

He makes a face and grunts. “Oh well…what the lady wants, the lady gets.” He rises to pull off his clothes slowly, teasing me till I blush. Then he blows me a kiss and heads for the shower.

When the door closes behind him, I rush downstairs and pick up my bag from where he threw it. Opening the door as quietly as I can manage, I make my way outside.

“Oti, come and open the gate for me,” I call to the gateman.

“Madam, any problem?” he asks as he unlocks it.

“I want to collect something from someone. I will soon be back.” I am almost shaking. I cannot bear the thought of him noticing I left and calling to his gateman to stop me.

Once I am outside, I remember I don’t have my car.

What do I do now? If I call a taxi, he may come outside and see me waiting for it. I don’t want him to talk me into going back.

Call Preye and tell her where you are. Then turn off your phone.

 

I check to make sure Oti is not watching and then run to a small kiosk down the street. Taking cover behind the owner’s desk, I explain to her that I don’t want my ex-boyfriend to see me. She smiles in understanding and goes to sit outside in order to deflect all intruders. I pull out my phone and call Preye.

“Hi Didi; I didn’t see you after service.”

“Where are you?”

“I am in a friend’s house. She is supposed to give me some fabric for…”

“What street is it? I need you to come and pick me?”

“It is Duromi street. Is there any problem?”

“That is not far from here. I’ll send my address. I am hiding from Stan in a small kiosk called Madam Ice. She is outside. Just tell her you came to pick me. I have to turn off my phone.”

“Are you in any danger?”

“No, I am fine. I will tell you everything when you get here. Please hurry.”

“Okay, I’ll be there shortly.”

 

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“Didi, what is going on? Stan has been calling me. He said you blocked his number and you are not in your house. What is the matter? Did he hit you?” Chichi asked on phone.

“I sent him a message telling him it is over between us. Why won’t he accept that?”

“What did he do? Did he cheat on you?”

“I want more than he can offer.”

“What more do you want, Didi? The guy is sweet, romantic, stinking rich and caring. I don’t think he deserves this.”

“Chichi, you remember the day I called you to tell you Moses asked me if you smoke weed?”

“Yes, I do.”

“I lied to him and I felt very bad; I felt as if I stabbed a child.”

“It’s not that deep, Didi. You know I would do the same for you.”

“That’s the thing. I don’t want to live that life anymore. I want God to be proud of me. Jesus did not die for us to live this kind of kalo kalo life we have been living.” I am almost in tears at this point.

“I don’t understand.”

“Come clean to Moses. He will forgive you. Wipe the slate clean and make your marriage work.”

“If you want to insult me let me know. What is this about wiping the slate,” Chichi sneers. “Kpachakwara onwe gi anya (Mind your business).”

“Chichi, Moses told me you secured him an investment to import sound equipment. He even asked me to thank you for him.”

“Yes, I did.”

“Does he know you are having an affair with that man?”

“I am doing it for Moses!” Chichi snarls, defensive.

“If you wanted to help him why didn’t you tell him to ask Nedu his friend for the money or the contacts? Nedu is doing something similar, I recall.”

“He said he is already so indebted to him and he wants to surprise them; to prove he is a man. What should I have done? I had to support my husband.”

“You are on a slippery slope, Chichi and I would be a bad friend if I didn’t tell you. End all those relationships and face your marriage.”

Chichi is silent for a while.

“Where are you?” she asks finally.

“I moved in with a friend of mine.”

“Did you quit your job? Stan said you haven’t been at work for a few days.”

“I had to quit. I got that job the wrong way and they will keep using it against me.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“I have some savings. I might go into consultancy as a project manager or look for another job. Right now I am waiting on God to lead me. I don’t want to preempt him. Who knows he might even want me to become a professional gospel musician.”

Chichi laughs. “Musician? That will be the day.”

“You never know.” I laugh as well.

“Chichi, do you promise to think about what I said?”

“I will think about it. It’s scary though, to open up that can of worms. I don’t think Moses can handle it.”

“We can pray for wisdom. I want to introduce you to my best friend, the Holy Spirit. There is no mess he can’t get you out of. Nothing fazes him; he can’t be embarrassed and he is always compassionate. He won’t mock you or use your mistakes against you.”

“Jiri nwayo! One thing at a time. It seems you have become a pastor. Meanwhile, what do I tell Stan?”

“Tell him it’s over. I am with someone else and he has to move on.”

“Is this like self-mutilation or what? Are you punishing yourself for your past?”

“On the contrary, Jesus was punished for our sins. What I am doing is called dying to self. I made the decision to fall on my own sword and I’m loving my new life in Christ. If you decide to do same I will hold your hands and support you.”

“Fall gini? Biko kwa. Take care of yourself.”

“Bye, Chi. I am praying for you.”

“Thank you. I mela. Let me call Stan. I hope he won’t kill himself.”

“He won’t, Chichi. Bye now.”

 

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Thanks for reading everyone. The Final episode comes up next week after which I will go on a break. I really appreciate all the comments, likes and shares. God bless you real good.

I am @nenabekee or drnsmusings@yahoo.com in case you have questions.

Cheers,

Dr. N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall On My Sword 18

Posted on Updated on

 

Moses was battling a suspicion he had had for long. It started as a hair-raising sensation whenever he got home before Chichi unexpectedly and she would be at the backyard with the back door locked. The house was designed such that he could not access the back from the front without alerting whoever was there. The last time this happened it took her almost 20 minutes to unlock the back door and when she did her eyes were dilated, glazed, unfocused. He actually panicked thinking she was ill but she smiled, squealed and flew into his arms for a hug and a deep kiss that forced him to abandon his suspicions.

Another day, he smelled what he suspected to be weed in the bathroom. He thought it was a leak from somewhere and shouted for their help to clean it thoroughly. Chichi was not at home that day. The girl said she had cleaned it that morning but proceeded to do it again. After that, the odor disappeared. Moses heaved a sigh of relief.

Today, he saw what looked like a stub from a roll of weed at the backyard when he went to practice his guitar in solitude. He did not want to ask Chichi about it because he felt she would take it badly. It was inconceivable to him that his domestic assistant used drugs because he had never had reason to suspect her. They did not have a gateman because the house was in an estate with a central gate. No other person had access to their backyard but the three of them. He decided to call Didi for help on a whim. He could not live without knowing the truth.

“Hello Didi, good afternoon,” he greeted when she answered at the fourth ring.

“Hi Moses.”

“Is this a good time or you’re swamped with work?”

“I am actually at a lunch date with Annette and Preye. We are having a shourt-course mentoring so we work around our busy schedules.”

“That’s so nice. When you go for all these programs you don’t invite your friend; why is that?” he accused.

“I do; it’s just that she has been busy. I assumed you are one of the reasons she no longer has time for me.” Didi laughed shortly.

“Could you find a private spot? I want to ask you something confidential,” Moses requested.

“Okay.”

He heard her tell her companions she had to take the call privately and then he heard the scraping of chairs as she changed locations.

“Alright, shoot; what’s going on?”

Moses heaved a sigh before asking the question that kept him awake the night before.

“Didi, does Chichi smoke weed?”

Didi was shocked. She stood there, silent, heart pounding for minutes.

“I…Didi…are you there?”

“Hmm.”

“Have you ever seen Chichi using weed?’

“Moses, I am surprised you are asking this type of question! How can you accuse your wife of smoking weed and then come to me to confirm it?”

“I am sorry to put you on the spot. I just felt you would know because of how close you both are…”

“I have never seen Chichi doing drugs!”

“You haven’t? Not even when you both were in school.”

“I never did. If she did, it was not in my presence and I never had reason to suspect her. Go home, love your wife and enjoy your marriage.”

“Okay, Didi, I am sorry I put you on the spot.”

“Thank you. I’ll talk to you later.”

Didi ended the call unceremoniously and dialed Chichi’s number furiously. She did not want to be drawn into their issues but she had to warn her that her husband was on to her before her addictions led to the breakup of the marriage.

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Nedu was interviewing a new entrant into the follow-up department Isio. She was a fair and heavily-endowed woman, a teacher who had known the Lord for over 20 years and had recently joined their church after relocating from Ibafo. Kevin his assistant who was also part of the interview panel had stepped out to take a call.

“What do you believe about demonic possession? Can a believer be possessed?” he asked.

“No,” she said. “I think a believer who doesn’t know his rights may be oppressed but never possessed. He is already possessed by the spirit of God and there cannot be two captains on one boat,” she replied.

“Good. What do you believe about salvation? How can we lose our salvation?”

“I don’t think anyone can lose his salvation. The gifts and calling of God are irreversible. Maybe the person would have to recant as in, say I don’t want you to be my Lord anymore Jesus or something. But I don’t think there is any sin we can commit that God cannot forgive. Paul wrote that neither death nor life angels nor powers can separate us from the love of God.”

“You are well-versed in scripture,” Nedu complimented her.

“Thank you but I don’t think that should be a rarity. We are called to be priests and kings so each of us should know the word for him or herself,” she smiled.

He noticed she had dimples and smiled back. Kevin came in at that time and apologized.

“That’s fine. I think we are done here. Your training will commence tomorrow. I’ll send you a text.” Nedu rose and shook her hand. Her grip was firm but soft and her eyes were kind.

“Thank you Bro Nedu,” she said.

“My parents did not name me Bro. The name is Chinedu, Nedu for short.” His eyes twinkled with mischief.

“Well, I prefer to be called Madam Isio,” she joked.

“Me too, I want to be called Sir. Kevin. After all my father was a knight of St. Mulumba,” Kevin added.

The group burst into laughter.

“It was nice meeting you Isio. Welcome to our department.”

“Thank you so much. I’ll take my leave.”

The men watched her leave.

Nedu, na your wife be this! I know she is your spec; fair, shapely, not too tall and she is grounded in scripture,” Kevin said when she was out of earshot.

Nedu was silent. Kevin was right. Before he fell in love with Didi, he dreamed of marrying a girl who looked like Isio and his friends knew. He began to wonder if there was anything wrong with him getting to know her better.

Father, since you won’t let me go for Didi, should I ask Isio out? She’s beautiful, full of the word and she’s a teacher. There’s a good chance Didi will not want to marry a trader in Alaba market. Am I putting all my eggs in one basket?

You are silent Lord? Why?

 

“Guy, collect her number and follow her up very well. The girl is hot and if anyone else notices her you may not have a chance,” Kevin was saying.

“How do you know she isn’t already in a relationship?”

“I heard her fiancé died a few months to their wedding years ago and since then she has kind of kept to herself.”

“How did you get all this information, Kevin?” Nedu stared at his friend with his mouth hanging open.

“My wife has a friend who went to school with her. Apparently the guy had sickle cell and was battling one crisis after the other.”

“Poor chap!”

“Yeah, pity; so are you going for her or what?”

“I’ll give her a call and see how she responds. If she gives me the green light I’ll know it’s a sign from God,” Nedu decided.

Kevin raised his hand and thumped him on the shoulder. “That’s what I’m talking about!” he exclaimed. “You need a good woman to put your life in order.”

“Are you trying to insinuate my life is out of order?” Nedu pushed him in jest.

“Guy, you won’t know what you’re missing until you taste it. Thank me later.”

 

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Cheers,

Dr. N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall On My Sword 17

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Chapter 8

Stan was on his way home from the airport. He had been away for two weeks and he missed Didi. Though technology made it easier to stay in touch she had not taken advantage of all the opportunities they had to make video calls and so on. Instead she kept giving him excuses. He was worried that she had moved on. Perhaps it was time for him to propose. A proposal would put her mind at ease so they could go back to being the affectionate couple they had once been. He wasn’t really ready for the commitment but if that was what it would take he would take a punt and decide afterwards whether or not he wanted to marry her.

“Let’s stop and get flowers for Didi,” he instructed his driver. He preferred to drive himself but retained his services for occasions like this when he needed to be picked up.

“Did they clean the house?” he asked.

“Yes sir. Everything was done as you instructed.”

“Okay.”

He picked his phone from the phone holder and dialed her number.

“Hi Sweetheart I am almost home. Should I send Attah to pick you or do you want to come over by yourself?”

“I am not sure I can make it. I have a ton of work to do.”

“Didi…you mean you are too busy to see me after I have been away for two weeks?”

“I do want to see you…I missed you…Today is just not a good day.”

“You can’t be serious!” He ended the call and barked at his driver. “Turn back and head to Scholl oil!”

“Yes sir!”

 

 

Preye and I joined the choir together. We have grown closer as I gave Chichi a bit of distance. Of course being married has made it a bit more difficult for her to club and party as before but that was not my excuse. I really wanted to taste the deeper things of God and I didn’t see how possible it was to continue to indulge as I used to and grow spiritually at the same time. Stan was the only snag in my growth plans. He wanted me in his arms every other night and each time I left his house I would be unable to pray because I was so consumed with guilt. It was affecting our relationship and he had noticed. I didn’t know what to do about it so I just tried to push it to the back of my mind.

We were introduced to the other members of the choir by Moses who I could see was taking the credit for ‘discovering’ me. I smiled and nodded at appropriate times but my mind was in turmoil. The director of the choir Bola welcomed us and laid down the rules. Next, we were asked to listen as a song would be played from the speakers while the lyrics were displayed on the projector. I listened carefully, suspecting that we the ‘newbies’ might be tested afterwards.

It turns out I was right. Preye and I were asked to stand and sing into the microphone. She sang first and was applauded for her effort. When I was called up I had only sung 1 line when someone whistled from the back. Startled, I stopped and stepped away from the microphone stand.

“Don’t mind them. You are doing great.” It was Nedu. I had not noticed him when I came in. Perhaps he had stepped out to run an errand. “Go on please.”

I took a deep breath and did the rest of the short chorus. A whoop went up when I finished. Some of the ladies came forward and patted my back or hugged me or just gave me a hi-five. I noticed they also hugged Preye and made her feel welcome.

“You have an amazing voice,” one of them said to me. “I think you will soon be signed to a record label.”

I laughed at the thought.

Engineer turned gospel musician? I think not.”

The rehearsal continued for 2 hours and then they began to pray about the service. I expected a perfunctory prayer; something short so they could say Amen and close the meeting but that was not the case. In the first place no one was telling anybody what to pray about. A lady who I later got to know was the prayer coordinator started singing in tongues and they followed suit. I tried to pray in my prayer language but I was so full of guilt for sleeping with Stan that all I could do was cry and cover my face.

When I peeked again, some people were rolling on the floor; others were laughing, crying, singing and dancing while praying in tongues. It was all so strange yet so new. I loved the electricity in the air and I wanted to feel it and carry it home with me but I was afraid.

Lord, please forgive me for being so weak. I love Stan and I don’t want to hurt him. Please help me. Touch him so that he will want to wait till our wedding night.”

                                                                                                                                             

I was not expecting a reply to my request so I was alarmed when I heard a voice so clear yet so quiet.

“It’s either him or me.”

I looked round to be sure no one had spoken to me but I knew it couldn’t be a member of the choir because the voice was like a thought save for the fact that I could not possibly be telling myself “It’s him or me.”

What was that?”

It’s him or me.”

I raised my head and put my fingers in my ears, wiggling them to loosen the wax. I don’t know how this will help but I just can’t think of anything else to do.

“Praise the Lord!” one of the men had raised his hand and was acknowledged. The room stilled to hear him. “I don’t know who this word is for but God is saying you have to choose. You cannot have both. It is either you serve God or you serve mammon. Choose life and live. Hallelujah!”

I felt goose pimples on my arms. There was no way I could deny it any longer. God had spoken to me! And to confirm it He even asked someone who had no way of knowing what I was thinking to say the same thing. I began to cry, rocking back and forth as I fell to my knees.

“I choose you Lord! Whatever it costs, I choose you. You gave your life for me. No one and nothing comes before you. You are my Lord and I will serve you.”

I was praying out loud not caring who heard. Others had resumed praying along the same lines so no one paid me any special attention. Before the prayers ended there were 2 more prophecies but they did not appear to address me. Nedu brought the meeting to a close, admonishing everyone to keep the fire burning and to bring it to church the next day.

Preye and I will not sing with them for a few weeks as we have to learn many songs and also buy the uniforms. I don’t mind this as I had been worried about not even being good enough to stand before others to minister in songs.

Nedu came over to say hello but did not linger. It was late and everyone was eager to get home. I hugged Preye in the lot. She did not know why I was hugging her but I just wanted to squeeze someone else because I had had a surreal experience and I was pinching myself to confirm that it was real.

“So people can actually hear the voice of God?”

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“Nedu, what did you think of Didi? Isn’t she awesome?” Moses was asking. They were packing up equipment while others filed out of the auditorium.

Say nothing of your feelings for her!”

“Lord?”

“I said say nothing of your feelings for Didi.”

“Yes Lord.”

“She is a good vocalist. Thanks for inviting her,” he said to Moses.

“You’re welcome. I wish Chichi could sing too. She complains that I spend too much time at rehearsals and she hates staying home alone. If she was a singer she would be here as well.”

“How did you discover that Didi can sing?”

“I heard her singing along to a song being played at an event we attended together. She even out sang the composer of the song.”

Both men laughed.

“I think she’ll be a great addition and she seems to be an open book. That she has never been in a choir means she has nothing to unlearn,” Nedu said.

“That’s what excites me. Since Itoro left, we have not been able to find a vocalist who can do those raspy songs and still sustain a falsetto.”

“She does have a great falsetto.”

Guy, this one na jackpot!” Moses and Nedu hi-fived each other in jest.

There was a brief interlude before Nedu asked how things were with Moses and Chichi.

“We’re alright I guess. I mean…we haven’t been married up to 6 months.” He shrugged as he spoke.

Nedu noticed he wasn’t meeting his gaze and shook his head. “Just remember I am praying for you and I am a phone call away if you need anything.”

“Prayer warrior; go and marry!” Moses teased rolling his eyes.

“Have you found a wife for me?”

“There is no scarcity of wives. Look at that your assistant; what’s her name…Annette! She is crazy about you.”

“Don’t say that Moses!” Nedu warned wagging a finger in jest.

“I’m telling you she is in love with you; the way she hangs on your every word and mopes at you. If you propose to her she will gladly pay her own bride price.”

“Are we forgetting the little issue of her being at least 10 years my senior?” Nedu raised an eyebrow.

“Age is nothing but a number.”

“Get out!” Nedu laughed. “Please leave that precious woman of God alone. She is not looking for a partner.”

“Why then does she stare at you?”

“Don’t you know the anointing attracts? It is you who will clarify for the attracted what you are willing to offer and what is off the table. If I go after every woman my gift attracts don’t you know I will become Solomon; shouting from the rooftops ‘Vanity upon vanity’…”

“All is vanity!” Moses completed for him before they burst into laughter again.

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Fall On My Sword 16

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Moses was in Nedu’s shop to restring his guitar. They were chatting in his office while his assistant did the repairs. Two bottles of malt drinks stood on Nedu’s desk. He was reclining in his chair with his fingers interlaced behind his head.

“Can you imagine my wife renting a house for more money than she told me?” Moses was saying. “What sort of behavior is that?”

“Did she give a reason for what she did?”

“She claimed she didn’t want to intimidate me. I don’t understand what she means by that. I have never acted like I was insecure about her earning more than I do in all the period of our courtship. That story does not hold water.” Moses tapped his foot angrily.

Nedu was silent.

“The worst thing is I couldn’t even make a big deal of it because I knew I was planning to borrow money from her the next day for my trip to Abuja.”

“You could have asked me for the money…”

“No. I still owe you the money I borrowed before the wedding.”

“Don’t worry about that. Consider it a wedding gift.” Nedu waved a hand dismissively.

“Wow! That’s too much. I can’t accept that. You already gave me a wedding gift besides what the choir and committee of friends bought.”

“Forget about the money. I am more concerned about your peace of mind. You need to cut your living costs so you can fend for your family. I hope you give her housekeeping money?” Nedu asked.

“No I don’t. The first time I did she laughed at the amount of money I offered,” Moses bit his worried lip.

“Why did she laugh?” Nedu leaned forward.

“She said that it would not even pay the house maid.”

“You have to insist. Tell her that she can augment it but she has to accept money from you.”

“I don’t want to hurt her feelings. We just got married.” Moses bowed his head, confused.

Nedu rose and paced the office. “Something is wrong somewhere. I feel this heaviness each time I pray for the both of you.”

Moses shrugged. He was used to his friend ‘sensing things’ and had never really thought much of it.

“I asked Didi to join the choir. You remember her?”

How could I forget her? That voice, the eyes like a dove, the gleaming dark skin, that figure…that voice! Father, why won’t you let me ask her out?”

I have a purpose for her. Leave her alone.”

“Ah! That is serious. This purpose does not include marriage at all? But I love her.”

“Do not awaken love until the time is right.”

“Chai! Holy Spirit…sometimes you can be harsh sha”

“Face your friend that came for counseling.”

“Hahaha. Okay, I’m sorry. I will wait until you are ready to give me a wife. I like Didi though; just putting it out there.”

 

Nedu, did you hear me? I asked if you remember my wife’s maid of honour who sang at my wedding,” Moses was saying.

“Yes, I remember her. She seems shy. Did she say yes?”

“She did. I asked her to come in on Saturday.”

“Obviously she doesn’t need an audition.”

Moses laughed. “Her wedding performance was more than an audition. Pastor has already asked me why she is not in the choir.”

Nedu laughed as well. “She is welcome. Annette has been mentoring her. I will find out if she is ready for the big leagues.”

Just then, Nedu’s shop assistant brought in the guitar and gave it to Moses. His face lit up.

“My baby is back!” he screamed and hung the strap on his shoulder.

Strumming it gently, he began to play a tune. Nedu smiled and began to sing along. The shop assistants stood at the door listening to their boss and his friend worship unashamed.

*************************************************************************************

 

I am staring at my poor performance evaluation scores. My chest feels tight and tears are stinging my eyes like the soldier ants that bit me when I tried to destroy their home one day when I was 8. I clear my throat noisily, trying desperately to swallow the bitterness. Ese has made good his threat. I actually thought I could hold him off without reporting him. Now I realize I should have got HR involved and even gathered evidence against him. If I say anything now, I may be accused of trying to get back at him for the poor evaluation he gave me.

Shaking my head sadly, I bite my inner lip to hold back my scream of frustration. I blame myself for trivializing his harassment because I felt guilty for giving in to the director. Besides, there had always been the option of giving in to his demands if the pressure got too much. That was till things changed.

Now I have the voice of the Holy Spirit in my head stopping me from indulging freely as I used to. I have even been feeling guilty about sleeping with Stan. The last time he was around I lied that it was the wrong time of the month and just before that I told him I had a migraine. Right now he is out of the country but I know when he returns in 2 weeks he will not believe any lies. I will have to decide whether losing him is worth it.

My phone rings and I jump. I check the caller Id. It is Nedu. I wipe the tears that had strayed down my cheeks and answer.

“Good afternoon Bro. Nedu.”

“Who is your brother? Anyway I don’t blame you. It is because the Holy Spirit told me to back off. Somebody I want to marry is calling me ‘Bro’”.

“Hi Didi. I hope this is a good time to talk,” he said.

“Yes it is.”

“Moses told me he invited you to join the choir. I hope you accepted the invitation. I was pleasantly surprised to hear you at the wedding and I think you would be a great addition to us.”

“Oh! I don’t know if I am good enough. He convinced me to sing at the wedding as his gift to Chichi so I went along with it but I had never been on a stage before.”

“No one noticed. You sounded like you sing for a living.”

I throw back my head and laugh. It feels good to be complimented for my voice and not my looks.

“Bro. Nedu you are funny.”

“My parents did not name me Bro.”

“I apologize Nedu.”

“Does that mean it’s a date?”

I spend a minute thinking about it and decide it’s worth a shot.

“I guess I’ll come. Who knows if I will come and ask for a paid position in church in the event that I lose my job?”

“There is no way you will be fired. Our rehearsals are timed to give working professionals time to meet their obligations.”

I sigh.

“Is there something you want to discuss?”

I hesitate. It’s not exactly wise to tell your follow-up director that you are being passed between men because you didn’t say no when you had the chance.

“Umm. I am just worried for my cousin. She made the mistake of getting involved with someone at work. She just called to say he gave her a poor evaluation and that made her feel so bad.”

“That’s serious. Is she still with him?”

“No, she broke up with him so he is punishing her.”

“Wow! Can’t she report? Does she have no evidence?”

“She can’t report because he has the ear of some top dogs in the company.”

He doesn’t speak for a while. I am already squirming in my seat, ashamed of myself for blurting out my business like that. Maybe he has sensed that I am a liar, a loose woman and a murderer of unborn babies.

“Is she born again?”

“Yes.”

“Jesus said if anyone loves me he must hate his wife, his mother, his father, his siblings and even his own self. Ask her who is Lord of her life; this guy or Jesus? When she decides she will know what to do.”

“But…it is not easy to find work.”

“But it is not easy for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

“How will she fend for herself?”

“The God who clothes the lilies and feeds the sparrows; has He slept off?”

“We are not sparrows Nedu.”

“That makes us easier to feed because we can even work. Let me share a little of my story,” Nedu said. “I graduated with a degree in History and Internantional Relations dreaming of getting a job at an embassy or multinational. After 3 years of scouting for a job on a hungry stomach, I left my friend’s house where I was living because I hated the debauchery and moved into a relative’s house where I was like a steward. I happily ran errands, excited to finally have a room to myself so I could study the word. He had a shop in Alaba market where he used to sell kitchen equipment. I started assisting him at no pay with a written agreement that he would give me enough money to rent a shop after 3 years. In my spare time, I cleaned and repaired musical equipment in church. Soon other churches started paying me to do same. The money I made enabled me to buy musical equipment for sale when he rented the shop for me.”

I did not know I had been holding my breath while listening to him until I let it out with a ‘whoosh’.

“That’s awesome. I wouldn’t be surprised if you now own more shops.”

“Yes, I own more and we sell online to buyers all over Nigeria.”

“Thank God for you.”

“Amen and you can tell your cousin that God will provide for her. I have to go now. See you on Saturday?”

“I’ll be there.”

“That’s awesome. God bless you.”

“Bless you too!”

 

************************************************************************************************************

 

Thanks for reading. Kindly share, retweet via @nenabekee and like.

Cheers, Dr.N

 

Fall On My Sword 14

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Chapter 7

Stan and I have a lunch date. He is to pick me up from work so I wore something I know he will like. Unfortunately, it is also Ese’s favourite colour and the way he is standing by my desk and gloating, I fear he has mis-read the situation.

“You look lovely today, babe,” he purrs.

“I am not your ‘babe’ Ese.” I am short with him because he has wandering hands. His pea-sized brain has convinced him that relentless pursuit will get him into the bed of any woman he desires, no matter how many times she says no. I just happen to be his subordinate and I need him to sign off on my appraisals. That is the only reason I have not yet kicked him in the shin.

He sits on my desk, unbuttoning his jacket.

“Can you get off my desk? This is an office!”

He smirks. “You keep promising me a visit. When are you going to let me show you how I feel about you?”

“Your wife is the only person you should be showing how you feel about her,” I retort.

“Forget that fat bird! We are separated. I intend to divorce her as soon as you give me your consent.”

“I am so sorry to hear you are having issues in your marriage but I have a boyfriend. He will be here shortly and I don’t want him to get any ideas about us.”

“Does he know what you did to get to this position?” He raises an eyebrow in derision.

I raise my voice not minding who can hear us. “I fully deserve to be where I am today and you cannot blackmail me into admitting otherwise. Now get off my desk!” My right palm lands hard on my desk.

He rises, startled. “Hey, don’t shout. I was just joking. Send the revised schedule to my email.”

I scowl at his back as he leaves then rub my temples hard. He knows I had an affair with one of our directors when I needed a promotion. The two of them are friends who pass women they sleep with to each other. I refused to be passed though he has thrown every barb in his book at me. The worst they can do is to fire me and I have decided that losing my job is not the end of the world. Thank God I have Stan. He has given me the courage to stand up for my rights.

My phone rings. It is Chichi. They just returned from their 2 week honeymoon in Dubai.

“Hi! The latest missus in town,” I hail her.

“What’s up?”

“I’m fine. Never mind that opportunist, Ese. He tried to spoil my day but I put him in his place.” I lean back in my chair and sigh.

“I have told you to be careful with that guy. Do you want to lose your job?”

“I can’t give in to him, Chichi. One has to have limits. His friend is better than him. Ese is the type that will keep coming back for more. See how he leers at me like a fool. I can’t stand him. Besides, Stan and I have something good going.”

“You are right about Stan. He is a nice guy but you need your own income. Don’t plan to become a housewife please. I don’t want to hear sob stories.”

“That is not even possible. So, how is Moses? I hope he is a good husband?”

“He is doing alright, as expected. I still have a few weeks off so I am using the time to sell the stuff I bought from Dubai.”

“Business is moving! I am happy for you dear.”

“Thank you. Hopefully, Stan proposes soon so we can start planning your wedding.”

“Yes! I can’t wait!” I squeal.

Chichi laughs. “I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, bye.”

 

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Annette was asked to mentor Preye, Didi and two young men at the next new converts class Didi attended. Stan had completed the classes in her absence. She had missed a few due to the preparations for Chichi’s wedding and was now trying to catch up. Preye had also missed a few because she was busy at work. They were having a break-out session in a seminar room in church.

“During the classes you missed, we learned about the Holy Spirit and the role he plays in our lives as believers. He is the one who delivers the anointing, the power essential to enable us live in the supernatural. Without him, we live like we are not born-again; doing whatever we feel like or what others are doing or what we have always done. The Holy Spirit is essential for a productive Christian life.”

Didi listened to her with rapt attention. She often wondered whether there was more to it all than just attending the Sunday morning services and praying for 2 minutes every morning. Would she ever be able to control her impulses? Would she ever do more than go to work, hang out with friends and watch TV? She wished she could change her life, change her behavior and become the kind of girl who had nothing to be ashamed of. Her past was terrible and even worse was that daily; she made decisions that did nothing to prove that her past was actually past. It felt like drowning in mire.

“Nedu asked that I take you all to the power plant. Didi, you are an engineer so you understand what power is to our lives. If you all don’t mind coming with me, the plant that supplies the church and its environs with electricity is a stone-throw away.”

The group rose and made it to the power plant where they were addressed by the technician in charge, Rob. He explained the capacity of each transformer and how much fuel was required to power it and how long it stayed on. They paid attention for the sake of it, not really understanding what it all had to do with being a Christian.

“Thank you for your time Rob. I have a final question. When this plant is turned off, is it possible to identify this building as a church?”

“It would be an empty shell of a place. The lights, air conditioning systems, microphones and other equipment that enable us to have a smooth service would go off. This place would be no different from the empty houses down the road that Bro. Jide the real estate guy is trying to sell off.”

She thanked him and ushered them back to the seminar room. When they were seated, she resumed her teaching.

“The Holy Spirit is like Rob, our prayers are the fuel, your spirit man is the plant and the electricity is the power you generate when you pray in other tongues. Praying in tongues delivered me from my addiction to cigarettes.”

At this, the eyes of all her listeners popped open.

“I had tried everything and gone for deliverance so many times but once I heard this message, I started praying in tongues once the craving hit. I have not smoked in 15 years. What’s more, I lost 50kg. I used to eat like a glutton. At one time I was weighing 120kg. That was after I lost my husband to my children’s nanny who was 10 years my junior. I turned for comfort to junk food. I started praying in the spirit each time I hit an emotional low and I found that I did not need to binge on burgers and soda. Praying in tongues is the way to bypass the intellect and plug into the frequency of the Holy Ghost.”

She was cut off by one of the young men who suddenly burst out praying loudly in a language the others could not understand.

“I see the Holy Spirit has taken over. Let’s bow our heads and welcome him. I am going to lay hands on you all and ask him to fill you. If you are not comfortable with being prayed for, just slip our quietly. The rest of you, bow your heads.”

Annette stood and began to pray. Did saw that the other brother had slipped out. She bowed her head and prayed following directions but did not feel any different. Soon, Preye was praying loudly as well. Didi began to cry so Annette took her aside.

“What is the matter?” she whispered.

“I know God is angry with me. It is because I am a sinner. I don’t deserve his mercy,” she wept.

“Once you give your life to Christ, all your sins are forgiven.”

“What of the ones I committed afterwards and keep committing?”

“If you confess them he will forgive you as well.”

“But I keep going back. Won’t he get tired of me?”

“You need the Holy Spirit to stay focused. The bible says one of the fruit of the spirit is faithfulness. Don’t deny yourself the helper you need.” Annette was rubbing her back as she spoke.

Didi looked up and nodded. “I want Him. Show me how.”

Annette motioned to the rest. They surrounded Didi and laid hands on her, praying loudly in their new languages. Didi was howling, kneeling down and bent over. They did not stop praying for her even when she emptied the contents of her stomach on that floor. Preye held her while the only brother present went for a mop bucket and wiped up the mess.

They raised a song of praise. Annette was singing in tongues. Suddenly, Didi heard herself speaking in a new language and marveled. The group thrilled. A spontaneous applause went up as they all collapsed on the floor, praying loudly with no concern for time, propriety or who heard them.

 

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kindly leave a comment, like and share or retweet vai @nenabekee on twitter

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Fall On My Sword 13

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Chichi and I are off to see her dentist. She needs her hand held during a procedure to whiten her teeth. I had to take half the day off to be with her. While we wait in the lobby, I browse through twitter to find the trending topic of the day. Chichi and Moses are chatting on phone. She said he couldn’t make it because he had to rehearse a song with a guest artist coming to Shepherd Centre on Sunday.

“Hi, aren’t you Didi? We met at New Converts class.” I look up to see who is interrupting my solitude. It is Preye.

“Hi.”

We shake hands and then I introduce her to Chichi who waves and goes back to her chat. I notice she is wearing a white coat like a doctor.

“Do you work here or something?” I ask.

“Yes, I am a dentist. I started working here 6 months ago. Actually I bought out Dr. Okoye’s former partner.”

“Wow! Good for you,” I say and give her a hi-five.

“How’s your boyfriend?”

“Stan? He is fine, thanks for asking.”

“I didn’t get your number that day. Could I have it now?” She brings out her phone from her pocket.

I take it from her and punch in my number before handing it back.

“Let me run along. Chichi have a good one.”

Chichi makes a face and Preye laughs. “It’s not that bad. I promise you won’t feel a thing.”

“Yeah…” I rise and walk to her office with her. She has her name on the door.

Lagos is one amazing city. You might see someone casually dressed on the streets and not realize she is a C.E.O. What a rush!”

“It must be awesome having a boyfriend who is born again,” she says wistfully as she unlocks her door.

I open my mouth to say ‘Yes’ but memory of the ‘revival’ in the car after the class flashes across my mind and I bite my tongue.

“I envy you dear. You guys are ‘couples goals’. Remember to invite me to the wedding.”

“That’s for sure. Let’s get him to propose first.” I roll my eyes.

“I know right?” She laughs and gives me a hug before we part.

 

 

It is Chichi’s wedding day. The makeup artist to the stars is working on her face while I busy myself taking pictures. Chichi has an army of bridesmaids and they all slept in the hotel we booked. 6 girls are wearing pink, while another 6 wear gold. My dress is cream and stunning as it should be considering the hefty price I paid for it and the rude attitude of the designer I had to put up with. She is very composed, drinking champagne from a straw. I know she woke up very early to smoke weed and then spray some perfume to get rid of the smell. I didn’t join her. Stan doesn’t like drugs. He says they alter my behavior and he wants me to be present when I am with him and not in a daze. I guess Jesus has a lot to thank him for; he got me into bible study and now I have even lost my craving for recreational drugs.

Moses and I have a surprise for Chichi at the service so I am smiling like a Cheshire cat, almost bursting with excitement. Finally, we are ready and pictures are taken and Chichi’s uncle is here. I pick up her train carefully. It is long and has real petals sewn into the hem. We get into her white limo and the driver speeds off. Pastor Dawodu is known as a stickler for time and Moses has been calling all morning to warn us to be punctual. Chichi is not known for her punctuality but when he threatened he would come to her room and carry her to the church himself if he got there first, she accepted the challenge.

We pull in 5 minutes early and I heave a sigh of relief. I see Preye getting out of a Toyata Prado and smile. I invited her to the wedding. We have been chatting quite a bit since we met at the clinic and she has turned out to have a great sense of humor. She sees our car and comes over to ay hello.

“Congratulations Chichi! You look stunning. Moses is a lucky man.”

“Thank you, doctor,” Chichi grins.

“Hi, babe,” I smile.

“You look good as well. I hope I don’t look like I came to pick up the notes guests are going to spray on you?” she jokes.

Chichi and I laugh.

“That’s not possible,” I reply. “You look like the boss lady you are.”

Someone motions for us to get out of the car so she waves and hurries off. I open the door, get out and then walk to the other side to assist Chichi. I have heard weddings are emotional but for some reason I feel the same way I feel when I go to the mall with her. There is no magic in the air, no excitement, no anticipation. I even feel bored and have to hold back a yawn. Maybe it is because the bridesmaids left us alone for a bit and reality dawned on me. Chichi feels nothing whatsoever for Moses and she has no remorse about marrying him and going back to exactly who she has always been whether or not he finds out.

 

Nedu is a groomsman. He looks resplendent in his white jacket and dark pants. Kevin, the best man is helping Moses adjust his bow tie while the cameras click as fast as lightening. Nedu suddenly feels light headed and realizes he skipped dinner and breakfast.

I hope I can sneak out during the service without anyone noticing.”

The music starts and they march in. They stand in their seats as Chichi marches in, looking exquisite in a ball gown with long fluffy sleeves. However, he can’t take his eyes off Didi who is a vision in cream.

“I never noticed this girl before now Lord. She is drop dead gorgeous. What do you think?”

“What do I think? I created her. You know what I think.”

“Ah! You do great work. I usually feel attracted to light-skinned girls on the curvy side of life but if you give me the go ahead, this one is a winner.”

“Wait for my go ahead then.”

“Are you saying she might be the one?”

“I never whisper uncertainties. When you need a wife, we’ll talk. Now, concentrate. You are staring.”

“I’m sorry Lord. But go ahead and consider my request…when you are less busy.” Nedu chuckled.

Guy, why you dey laugh?” One of the groomsmen asked him.

“Don’t mind me. I got distracted.”

“Aren’t you taking the special song?”

“No, Moses has a special surprise for his bride.”

“Cool…a solo performance on his guitar I guess.”

“I guess so.”

As if he heard his thoughts, the announcer said it was time for the special song. There was a hush as the lights were dimmed and Moses rose. Chichi looked at him in surprise and then smiled when it dawned on her what he was doing. He got on the stage and took a seat on a stool. Someone passed him his guitar. He adjusted the microphone to be able to speak in it.

“Hi everyone. I have a special song for my wife and I want you to welcome her friend Didi to the stage. It’s Didi’s first time on any stage so make her feel loved.”

The hall erupted in a cheer. Chichi screamed in surprise as Didi rose and blew her a kiss. Walking to the stage, she took the microphone Moses handed her and sat on a stool that seemed to appear out of thin air. No one was as surprised as Nedu. He had been completely kept in the dark about this and started fretting that Didi would be an average singer and endure ridicule.

Then she opened her mouth and he had to hold his breath. Her voice was sonorous, her tone was rich and fluid; she held her notes easily and brought emotions to the song. When she held a particular note for more than 1 minute the congregation began applauding her and didn’t stop till she ended the song. Even Chichi was on her feet. Moses had played well but Didi was the star of the show.

Father, we need to talk. She even sings! What do I need to do to get this girl? Where has she been all my life?”

“Hold your horses, Nedu. Today is Moses’ wedding. Tomorrow we can discuss yours.

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Apologies for the delay and thanks for reading. Please like, comment, share and retweet via @nenabekee.

Cheers,

Dr.N.

 

                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall On My Sword 11

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Chapter 6

 

 

 

“Didi let’s go to the bible class together on Saturday. They keep bugging my phone and I just want to go so I can get them off my back.”

I stare into my phone aghast. The caller id is Stan; I remember we took this picture at the beach one month into our relationship. Yes, he responded to the altar call last Sunday while I was working off shore and I was excited that we are both “born again and heaven-bound” but I am surprised he wants to attend the class.

“Why?” I ask.

“I don’t think it will be any harm. Don’t you want to formally join the church and get your name into the register?”

“Is that what it takes?”

“I think so. Come on; it will be fun. Shall I pick you up at 4.30pm?”

“I have a bridal shower next Saturday,” I argue.

“Won’t it be in the morning?”

“Even if it is, I don’t want to go for the class. Go and then you can tell me all about it afterwards.”

“No way: It was you who first invited me to church. How can you abandon the soul you won?” he teases.

“Ha!” I scoff.

“I’ll buy you suya afterwards.”

Stan knows I am a fan of suya and he even introduced me to the hottest suya spot in town. I thought I knew Lagos until I went there with him and met highly influential people from all walks of life eating suya in the wooden shade. One of them was an ex of mine who is a colonel in the army. He barely acknowledged me when he saw me. I didn’t say anything to Stan; after all it is none of his business.

“Let me think about it,” I say finally.

“Great; I’ll pick you up then. Love you.” He ends the call after blowing me kisses.

That is a habit Stan has that irks me. He dismisses my need for space and to have control without even batting an eyelid. My wanting to think about his offer means acquiescence in his books. After years of going along with whatever Chichi says I have about had it. In every other respect he is wonderful. He is attentive, kind, romantic and generous. Despite my sufficient income, he has been sending me hundreds of thousands of naira monthly, buys me gifts randomly and sends messages every morning. He made my picture his display picture on social media and has introduced me to all his friends. My mother is already in love with him though they have never net because he has won her over by spoiling her with gifts. I know it would be ungrateful to complain but I just wish he would not go ahead with whatever he originally planned even after I have voiced dissent. After a while one begins to feel invisible, irrelevant…taken for granted and it was so from day 1.

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Nedu was thinking of an innovative way to take the bible class for that Saturday. He was checking the websites of some of the churches he felt were leading in soul-winning hoping to scrounge an idea or two when it hit him that he hadn’t prayed about it. He dropped to his knees and began to pray placing his hands on his abdomen as he did whenever he wanted to hear from God.

“Dear Holy Spirit, you are my mentor and counselor. Give me innovation and inspiration. I want my classes to be dynamic and life-giving. Touch my mind and fill it with pictures from your word that grip the minds and hearts of my listeners and set them on fire in Jesus name.”

After a few minutes, he picked up his phone and began to play some worship music while still sitting still. It was a Thursday. He was on his desk in his office preparing the outline for the class he was to teach. Just then, he happened to look up and spotted a hawker walk past his shop with a tray of leafy vegetables on her head.

“That’s it! Thank you Father. I love the way you come through for me.”

Rubbing his hands in excitement, he began to plan the class. He decided to call his younger brother who owned a farm located 20 minutes away from the church to discuss his ideas with him and to solicit his help. After that he called his assistant follow-up director Kevin and told him what he wanted to do. They shared a laugh over the possible reactions to their approach but they were confident they were on the right track. When he ended the call, his sales assistant came in to ask for permission to take half the day off to run some personal errands.

“You owe me extra time, Bosco. I am not paying you to take off and do what you like during working hours,” he warned.

“Thank you sir. I appreciate it,” the young man said bowing.

He waved him away and pulled out his laptop. He had accounts that needed balancing and time was precious.

 

 

Stan and I got to church at 5.pm for the new converts class. He helps me get out of the car and smiles when I turn to check myself out in the car window closest to me.

“You look gorgeous honey.”

I make a face at him and he laughs.

“I’ll have you know I asked you out because I want beautiful kids. When you doubt how exquisite you are, I wonder whether I am mad or you are blind,” he teases.

“Flatterer!” I scoff though I am tickled.

He takes my hand and pulls me close for a hug before locking the car.

“Lead the way,” he says.

We make it to the room being used as a venue for the class just as it began. Kevin is standing at the front speaking.

“Good evening everyone and thanks for being punctual. Please introduce yourselves to one another and then pick up a name tag and put it on. My name is Kevin Odion and I am the assistant to Nedu who is our coordinator. Annette is the communications director for the unit. Thank you all for receiving her calls and keeping your promises to attend.”

There is a pause and then a buzz as conversation ensues as people get to know one another and also rise to find their name tags. In all there are about 30 people in attendance and more than half are female. I get my tag and adjust my jeans before sitting beside Stan wondering why I had been so nervous about attending. Chichi has been through the class but could not tell me what exactly it is about. Moses was no help either as he had done his in another church. I sneak a glance at Stan, sitting beside me, looking good enough to be eaten in his black T-shirt and blue jeans. Thank God he came along. My nerves are quite settled and I even feel serene.

I look around for Bro. Nedu but he is nowhere to be found. Maybe he had somewhere to be. He will find out that I made it and forgive me for being rather distant on phone for the 3 months he has made it a duty to call me once a week to invite me. As admirable as his persistence was, I had no reason to budge. Whatever they are teaching that did not change Moses, that did not screen out my friend Chichi and that accommodates the numerous members I see living a life more sinful than mine; is probably a waste of time.

Being here Stan makes it worthwhile as we have almost become inseparable. The only reason I have not moved into his house is that I feel he is a keeper and I don’t have the liberty of time. He has to propose in a few months or I will move on. When I was in my twenties, I could live with men because it didn’t matter if they married me or not. I hoped they would but if they didn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world. Now, I feel that I need to get married as soon as possible. My mom keeps reminding me that menopause is the destiny of every woman (as if I need reminding).

“Now that we have done the introductions, we have some news for you. The venue of the class is actually a secret location to which we will be conveyed by some buses parked outside. Please rise and make your way to the car park,” Kevin announces.

My stomach tightens in alarm. “Where are we going?” I whisper to Stan.

“It can’t be anywhere far. Maybe the room is too small and they rented an event centre.”

I relax, thinking he is probably right. He picks up my red bag and hands it to me. Stan is one of those men who is secure he could walk down the street carrying my bag but since we are in church I know he is being discreet. That is another thing I love about him. He is demonstrative but he knows when it would make me uncomfortable and holds back.

A few people are gathered around Kevin trying to get him to tell them where we are going but he just smiles and asks them to trust him. We file out making quiet conversation and soon arrive at the bus and take seats. The lady seated beside me smiles and taps her tag.

“My name is Preye. I love your top.”

“Thank you. I picked it up in Zurich when I went for a conference last year.”

“It’s lovely. Yellow is your colour.”

“Thanks. I’m Ndidi. Do call me Didi.” I extend my hand for a shake. Stan who is seated to my right also says hello and shakes her hand.

“Where do you think we are going?” I ask her.

“Maybe we are going to the pastor’s house. I heard he has a huge house not far from here,” she says.

Stan rolls his eyes, unseen by her. “That’s not likely.”

“He thinks we are going to an event centre,” I tell her.

“That sounds plausible but the church has a room that can seat 100 people apart from the one we were in and it is not in use.”

“Oh!”

I am interrupted by the driver hooting his horn at the gate of a farm. A sign in front reads “Maduabuchi Farms”. The gates open and we drive in to park a short distance away. I clutch my bag wondering why we are at a farm as we descend from the bus.

Standing before us is Nedu. I am surprised to see him.

What is going on here?”

If he heard the murmuring he doesn’t let on. He just stands there, legs apart, hands behind his back smiling in his overalls. I wonder why he is wearing overalls.

“Hi everyone. Welcome to the first class of the 4 we organize for new converts. Today we decided to switch it up by coming to a farm. Jesus often taught his disciples using the things in their environment to explain what he was saying. I realize this generation has a number of people who think chickens grow in the supermarket…”

Nedu is cut off by laughter. I find myself laughing as well.

“Let’s welcome Omoye. She will give us instructions and some protective gear to put on before we go in. Give her a round of applause.”

We clap as a petite lady fully kitted in overalls, boots and so on steps forward. She explains that the farm produces vegetables and poultry products. They also manufacture their own feed and have a hatchery for rabbits, a fish farm and a nursery for flowers. After her talk, we on put some of the gear and head for the poultry. Nedu begins to explain to us what it means to be born again.

“Man is a spirit. In our spirit lies our intuition, our conscience and our ability to connect with God. Do you ever sense things before they happen?” he asks.

I nod. Many times I have felt like I knew something was going to happen before it did.

“That is the part of you God is after. We are born sleeping giants because by virtue of events in the Garden of Eden our spirits are cut off from fellowshipping with God. Spirits speak and their words cause ripples in the physical. You may turn your bibles or flip your phones to Genesis chapter 1.”

There is laughter at his phone reference.

“When you open your mouth and say “Be my lord and savior Jesus”, you have set in motion a sequence of events in the spirit realm. You have signed the release form for your spirit from the control of Satan who operates the kingdom that is responsible for all the evil on earth. Your spirit becomes reconciled with God and you can establish the dominion of his kingdom on earth. His kingdom is responsible for everything right with this world.”

A man raises his hand.

“Yes?” Nedu says.

“Can one get born again without saying the prayer?”

“You must say it whether privately or publicly or in your heart or under your breath. As long you, satan and God heard it, you are born again.”

Nedu looks around for more questions before continuing. “Your soul houses your will which controls your decisions, your emotions which control your feelings and your mind which controls intellect and reasoning. When your spirit comes under the control of God you have to train your mind to think like him. Isaiah chapter 55 verse 8 says our thoughts are different from God’s. This class is to teach you how to cultivate God’s thoughts by studying his word. Now you see why we are in a farm. The final part of man is the body and it is controlled by the 5 senses.”

I look round and see that people are taking notes as we had been informed there would be a test at the end of all the classes. I had chosen to record his talk on my phone. Stan and I were separated by two of our classmates so we could not make eye contact. I shifted on my feet and focused on Nedu.

“What God wants from you is transformation. You will see in this poultry that the egg becomes a chick which grows into a chicken but no chicken ever turns into an egg. They may lay eggs but they do not decide to return to eggs or chicks. Please take a walk around and take pictures. I want anyone who sees a chicken becoming an egg to raise an alarm so we can also behold it.”

I join the class in laughing. There is no way any chicken is going to turn to an egg. Even Darwin’s theory of evolution has not been in manifestation for us to witness; how much more devolution. I hear a chuckle beside me and turn to see that it is Preye. She smiles at me and I smile back. It appears I have made a new friend.

 

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Hi, Muses, I apologize for the delays. Getting this out took a while so I wrapped 2 episodes in 1. Hope you enjoy and share, like and retweet on my handle @nenabekee.

Shoot me an email if you have questions drnsmusings@yahoo.com

Cheers,

Dr. N

Fall On My Sword 10

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Nedu regretted ending the call abruptly but he was more disappointed that he had not discerned there was a battle over Didi’s soul. He began to think of the next step to take. Of all the new converts of that Sunday, she was the only one who blatantly showed no interest in learning more. Two would be unavoidably absent from the class but they apologized and promised to attend the next one. From Didi’s tone, Nedu knew she would never attend any class and as soon as she could do so without a twinge in her conscience, she would be back to whatever she had left behind when she stepped forward that day.

He decided to call his closest friends and prayer partners to share his prayer burden with them. They were a group of young men who held each other up in prayers, met once a month to share and held each other accountable. In the group were Bola, the music director, who was married with 2 kids; Veno who played keyboard and was engaged, Kevin the assistant follow-up director, Chuks the head of ushering who was Moses’ accountability partner and Moses.

It was a group call.

“Guys, are we up for it? Midnight as Veno suggested,” Bola said.

“Midnight is great. Are we doing a fast?” Moses asked.

“We do a 3-day fast from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and pray together at midnight, Kevin replied.

“Thanks guys; I really appreciate this,” Nedu said.

“No need to thank us. I remember when we prayed together about those 2 brothers in ushering who were giving me sleepless nights. Do you know they are now 2 of the most dedicated members? Last month 1 of them won ‘Best dressed usher’ and the other won ‘Most Punctual usher’. I am so glad we prayed,” Chuks said.

“I like your idea of internal awards. Bro. Bola, shouldn’t we copy this in the choir?” asked Veno.

“You just want Nedu to win all the awards, don’t you?” Bola replied.

Everyone laughed for Nedu was indeed very dedicated.

“He won’t win best-dressed though; no offence meant,” Moses chipped in.

“It’s not my fault we don’t wear suits to alaba market,” Nedu retorted.

“You can still wear a suit. In fact your customers may even prefer it.”

“What customers want is quality products, excellent service and discounts.”

“Amen somebody!” Bola hailed.

The group of friends laughed again.

“How are wedding plans coming up, Moses?” Veno asked.

“These things ain’t cheap, man! When next I see a newly-married man I will be sure to give him a handshake.”

“You know we will be there for you. When you set up your marriage-planning committee, let us know,” Kevin said.

“Of course I am counting on you all. Thanks guys.”

After a few more deliberations, Nedu ended the call. He spent a few more minutes praying for Moses; asking God to bless his marriage and bless his fiancé as well.

 

 

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It was the week before Chichi’s traditional wedding. She and Moses had decided to terminate the pregnancy because he couldn’t bear the thought that his pastors and friends would find out that he was sleeping with her. He knew that Nedu would not betray him; besides he had nothing to gain from it. Their group had wrestled in prayer for Didi but she remained nonchalant. She showed up in church every Sunday, arm-in-arm with her boyfriend who Chichi told her she had practically moved in with. Nedu had done everything he could to get her to attend just one class but she would not. He called, sent messages, and even tried connecting her with two women in their 40s who were mature in their Christian walk; all to no avail.

Moses did not blame her. He had met Stan and found him to be an intelligent, generous and demonstrative man. It was obvious he was in love with Didi from the way he fixed his gaze on her whenever they were together, holding onto her hand and rubbing it and talking to her like she was the only one in the room. He had yet to meet any other man who did not seem attracted to Chichi and that was a huge tick in his books. As far as he was concerned, Didi was a lucky girl. Add to all that, the fact that Stan was very good-looking and had the kind of money he had been sowing seed for all his life.

“Father, when will my own turn come? I have been paying my tithe since I learned about tithing and I always sow towards all the projects in church. Don’t you think it is time to change my level too? I also want to share testimony. I want to spoil Chichi. I want to bless my parents. Remember me for good in Jesus name,” he prayed under his breath.

He was waiting at a café for Chichi who had gone to see a vendor to finalize plans for her bridal bouquet. She insisted all the flowers at the white wedding must be imported white roses. They would be flown in from South Africa the day before. He thanked God for all her savings over the years and the huge donation her boss at work gave them for the wedding. How else would they have pulled off such an expensive wedding?

That is why it is good to be diligent at work.”

He felt a hand on his arm and snapped out of his thoughts. It belonged to a young lady he did not know. She was staring at him.

“Are you the guy who plays the guitar at Shepherd centre?” she asked.

He smiled at her, flattered. “Yes ma, I am.”

She squealed in excitement and clapped her hands, almost dropping the phone she was holding. “I loved your solo on Sunday. You play so magically!”

“Thank you ma. We thank God for his grace.”

“All my friends love you. Oh my gosh…we actually wanted to come over and say hello on Sunday but you seemed to vanish after the service. Fancy meeting you here?”

By this time she had taken a seat next to him and was snuggling up to him in a rather suggestive manner. Moses was uncomfortable particularly because the cropped top and skinny jeans she was wearing were leaving nothing to his imagination but he felt she was just being over-expressive and sat there wondering how to discharge her.

“Let’s take a picture. Better still, let me do a video for snapchat or my girls will call me a liar.”

She lifted her phone to the right angle and began to video the two of them while instructing him on how to pose and smile and so on. At the point that Chichi walked in, it actually looked like she was smooching Moses, though she was only putting her arms around him and resting her cheeks on his.

Chichi made it to the table before Moses could tear himself away and tapped her on her shoulder.

“Who are you? Nnunu (bird) what are you doing?” she asked.

“Excuse me!” that one tried to wave her away.

“I si gini (what did you say?)”

Before Moses could intervene Chichi pulled off the girl’s wig, threw it to the floor and pulled her off the chair. There was pandemonium. A few patrons of the café had surrounded them trying to pull Chichi off the girl but her grip was too strong. Meanwhile the poor girl was yelling like a banshee. Moses was behind Chichi begging her.

“Stop it Chibaby. I don’t know her. Nothing was going on!” he pleaded.

“Hapu m ka m ta this girl aru! ( let me bite her)”

“I’m begging you.” Moses had his hands around her waist trying to pull her away.

“Aunty leave her. She won’t do it again.” A patron lent his voice.

“Let them fight!” One prankster called from the back of the crowd.

The whole incident lasted about 10 minutes though to Moses it had lasted forever. He stood there mortified as Chichi finally released the girl and ordered her to run away and never look in his direction again. She picked her wig and bag from the floor and left in tears. The crowd began to disperse as the manager of the establishment stepped forward and asked them to leave. Chichi grabbed Moses’ hand and dragged him away.

“Who even wanted to taste your expired products?” She made a loud hissing sound as she stomped out.

Outside, Moses stood leaning with his back to his car arms crossed over his chest, tapping his foor furiously. Chichi went over to the passenger door and tried to open it. It was locked.

“Unlock the door,” she requested.

“If I don’t will you also fight me, Chichi? What was that all about?” he spat.

“Are you angry with me?”

“Shouldn’t I be? What were you thinking causing a scene like that?” Moses was pounding one fist into his open palm angrily.

“Please open the door. The heat is too much. I want to sit down.” Her tone was unperturbed, conversational.

He released a sigh and unlocked the car door for her. She thanked him and got in; putting her purchases in the backseat. He got in and started the car.

“Chichi, I am not happy with you. Your behavior was embarrassing and…”

She reached over, fixing her earnest eyes on him and took his hands in hers cutting off his words with her soft touch.

‘Gbahara m ezigbo di m (forgive me dear husband). You are right and I was wrong. It will not happen again. I just couldn’t stand the thought of another woman touching you,” she cooed.

“I can’t have that. You should have listened to me,” he insisted shaking his head.

“Let’s forget it happened, please.” She tugged at his earlobe gently leaning forward in a manner that caused his anger to evaporate like water left for too long in a boiling kettle.

“It’s okay. It’s just that I never saw this side of you. Are you sure you didn’t watch too much wrestling on T.V. as a child,” he joked.

She laughed before changing the topic as he put on his seatbelt and sped off. Later when she told Didi about the incident Didi pitied Moses who had been shielded from his fiance’s true nature. Unlike Didi, what Chichi did was not out of jealousy or anger. On the contrary she was just marking her territory. It was her way of manipulating him into staying faithful. It was probable that her heart rate did not increase by even a beat throughout the incident but the memory of the embarrassment would serve to restrain him from cheating and if he did, at least he would not be brazen about it.

 

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Thanks for reading. Kindly leave a comment, like, share and retweet via @nenabekee on twitter.

Who is your favourite character so far?

What do you think about Moses’ decision to get rid of Chichi’s pregnancy?

Are bridal showers and weddings getting too flamboyant?

Pray tell.

Cheers,

Dr.N

 

 

 

Fall On My Sword 9

Posted on

 

“Didi, I am pregnant,” Chichi said.

I almost fall out of my chair in shock. She is the most careful woman I know and her cycle is as predictable as the clock which is why she has had only 1 abortion that I know of. I remember her telling me that she and Moses had to be careful not only to avoid getting caught but also not to get pregnant. The church would not wed them if she was pregnant. They would have to do a “marriage blessing”; probably in some“ office in Shepherd centre without the normal fanfare of church weddings or wed in another church.

“How did it happen?” I ask.

“O buro Moses (Is it not Moses)? He claims he reacts to condoms and I told him it wasn’t my safe period but he said he would be careful. Lee nu ya (Look at the result),” she said folding her arms.

I was at hers because a tailor was to come there and take our measurements for the clothes for her wedding. She was running late.

“Ke ihe I ga-eme (What are you going to do?)”

“I don’t know. Moses says we can’t keep it. He can’t lose the job in church.”

“Will they fire him because you got pregnant?”

“You don’t know these people. They can be petty. Even if they don’t fire him, he won’t be seen in the same light ever again.”

“Well…I don’t know how that is a loss. Maybe they need to see him for the hypocrite he really is!”

“Didi!” she gasps.

“What did I say that is not true? He has everyone fooled that he is on a high spiritual plane or something yet, he is asking you to get rid of his baby.” I spit in disgust and cross my arms before the thought hits me. “Wait, is it his child?”

“How should I know?” she replies non-pulsed. “The child belongs to whoever I decide to keep it for.”

“Chichi!”

“O gini (What is it)?” She rises from her couch to pick the remote from the centre table and proceeds to flick through channels casually as if she just announced that it rains in Nigeria.

I gape at her, mouth open as she stands with one knee on the table and her left hand on her waist. She has crossed many lines in the past but now I feel like I can see into her soul and what I see is frightening. I feel like in place of her soul she has a yawning hole; deep and dark and menacing, filled with the souls of all the men she has been with. I shiver with repulsion.

How did I ever admire her so much that I wanted to be like her?”

She takes her seat before speaking again. “Why is that tailor taking so long?”

“Chichi why did you continue sleeping with your boss when you knew you were engaged to Moses?”

“Who will pay for me to maintain my lifestyle? Is it Moses who can hardly fend for himself? I had to give him money to secure a venue for our traditional wedding. His rent just expired and his car is on its last legs. Why doesn’t he ask where I get all the money from?”

“He is afraid to ask…” I realize.

“Does such a man deserve…never mind.”

She picks up her phone, dials a number. I overhear her scolding the tailor for being so late and urging her to hurry.

I find myself wondering whether Stan would ask me to abort his baby if he found I was pregnant. Then I find myself wondering what Nedu thinks about abortion.

“Why am I thinking about Bro. Nedu?”

“That woman is testing my patience. I will change tailors if she doesn’t show up. The last time she kept me waiting like this it turned out she was lying and had never left her shop. Ndi mmadu di nno unreliable (people are just unreliable).”

“How far gone are you?”

“Six weeks.”

“Is there any one apart from your boss?”

She nods. “There’s Chief Braithwaite and Felix.”

“But…but…Felix is married, newly married. I thought you guys broke up?”

“Is it my fault his wife doesn’t know her duty? He said she is frigid. All these “sisters” who don’t want you to test before marriage: She was hiding her issues. The guy came to me in tears. I had to put him out of his misery.”

She reaches for her glass and takes a gulp. With her it is never anything light. It’s go hard or go home. Even when she used to smoke she was smoking Cuban cigars. She gave them up last year when she felt she was losing control. I hug myself. There is a chill in the air.

Maybe it comes from us coldly discussing the future of a child who did not ask to be conceived by a mother who exists solely for the next thrill.

Maybe it is because of all the alcohol we have consumed.

Maybe it is about to rain.

I feel sad but I can’t explain why. Though I am the less adventurous of the two of us, I always defended her actions. Now I find myself wondering if there will ever be an end to the excuses.

“Where does it all end really?”

“Hmm?”

I realize I have spoken out my thoughts. “What will happen after the wedding when Moses finds out he has been fooled?”

“Like the good Christian that he is, he will accept his lot and make the best of it. Come to think of it, he is getting me.” She points at herself. “All this gorgeousness for one man?”

I laugh despite myself. She has a point; a woman as highly coveted as she is only comes at a price and Moses will pay it whether or not he realizes it.

 

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My phone jars me out of my reverie at work the next day. It is Nedu. I realize I didn’t call him.

“Hi. Bro. Nedu good evening.”

“When did it become “Bro. Nedu?” he asks.

I almost blush and I wonder why. “Why am I so nervous around him? I feel like a bumbling fool, barely able to string two words together. Even pastors don’t make me this nervous.”

“I am sorry: Nedu. I should have called to tell you I will be unavoidably absent but if there is another class next Saturday, I will be there.”

“Will he let you come next Saturday?”

“I beg your pardon?” A cold feeling of dread descends slowly down my spine.

“I know you heard me. I had a dream last night and I saw you had a star on your head. Most people who are born to be stars find their destinies derailed early in life. It is never easy getting them to commit.”

“I don’t know who you think you are but…” My legendary temper has unleashed itself like a rottweiler that smells blood.

“Ndo Nne. Enjoy your weekend and come to class next week. I pray the angels of God protect you till you are ready to take the leap. Jesus loves you.”

“He ended the call! What is it that gives this man airs, biko nu?” I fume when he cuts off. “Who told me to attend that church and even come forward and write down my name? I should never have.”

If I had been tempted to cancel on Stan, the thought perished when he sent me flowers in the morning with a handwritten poem telling me how much he looked forward to our outing. By the time I got off the phone thanking him for the flowers, a package arrived for me. It contained the most decadent lingerie, my favourite perfume, chocolates and red wine. I had had great boyfriends but this one surpassed them all.

Which girl in her right mind would ever give up all that for a bible study class? Am I the first girl to get born again? I know a number of born again folk who live double lives; they have the right lingo, attend church regularly and go through the motions but when it is time to party, they take no prisoners. That is more my style. Not for me the life of the miserable minority who actually give up their former lives when they get born again.

That just sounds so unnecessary.”

 

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