Stanley woke up and looked at the time, it was 2:13a.m. He got up and eased himself. Coming back to the bed, he couldn’t sleep. He had had the same dream again, where he and Ngozi were in the midst of many children. He wished he could understand it. He stood up and went to the reading table, and picked up his Bible to study the verses Ngozi had talked about. He prayerfully read the passages, trying to relate it to their situation and his dream.
“The only place I know that there are so much children as in my dream is a school or a motherless babies home” he said to himself, “could it be…?” He quickly flipped back to Luke 16:12
…and if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
He wasn’t yet certain of what God was telling him, but he decided to become a father to as many children as possible that need his help, and maybe once in a while visit the motherless babies home.
After making that decision, his mind felt less restless and he went back to sleep. The next day, after their quiet times, Ngozi came and sat by his side on the couch in the parlour. He watched her for a while and recognised her pose. After over ten years of marriage, Stanley knew how his wife acted when she wanted something, or when she had an idea she knew he may not agree to.
‘What is it Ngozi?’ He asked, feeling a bit bad that she found it a difficult approaching him.
‘You are, absent mindedly, twirling your hair.’
‘Nothing, just an idea that have been in my head since morning.’ Ngozi said, grateful that he had given her an opening.
‘Okay, let’s hear it.’
‘I know you say I am too generous with the money I earn, and you wish we could be spending on our own children instead, but I…’
‘Wait. When did I say that?’ Stanley asked incredulously.
‘You were angry. When I brought the letter for my last promotion.’
‘Really? I’m so sorry.’
‘It’s past, I just…’ Stanley tuned off.
‘Wow! God please forgive me’, he begged silently. ‘How could I have said that?’ He wondered. His attention was drawn back to what Ngozi was saying, when he heard
“motherless babies home”
‘Sorry, what did you say. My mind trailed off.’
‘I said, I think we should spend a percentage of our income on the motherless babies home. It occurred to me this morning, that we can afford it.’ Stanley looked at his wife, silenced by surprise. How did she have the same idea? He nodded,
‘I agree, let’s.’ He was shocked by Ngozi’s happiness when she jumped up and hugged him.
‘Thank you so much.’
‘No. Thank YOU, for helping me please God. So when do we start?’ He and his wife drew a schedule. One that will stand even when they return to work.
‘Lord, please we are planning to take care of other people’s children. Please be planning to give us our own.’ Ngozi prayed, as she discussed with her husband.
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Chidi looked at the computer screen, but he wasn’t seeing anything. His mind was everywhere but in his office. His mind was groggy from lack of sleep, his body was weak from lack of food, his mind was clouded with worry. He prayed day and night, yet his guilt remained. He regretted the day he decided to go his own way, he regretted the day he against God’s plan, had decided to get closer to Laura. He had ignored the voice, over and over again. He stood up and decided. He had to tell someone, before he gets suicidal.
He dialled Obinna’s number. He didn’t pick. He tried again, and at the second ring, Obinna picked and hurriedly told him that he was in a meeting and would call him back later. Chidi ended the call and sat down feeling sick.
‘God please help me. I’m trying to find a way out, and I am afraid.’ He said out loud in the empty office. He got nothing back. He waited, wondering whether to give up, since it seems God had given up on him. Then he heard it, small, still, but clear …and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. He felt so relieved just from hearing the voice. It was a sign that He had not been forsaken. He decided he needed more encouragement, so he picked up his office Bible and studied, ignoring his job. He was not in the right frame of mind to do anything efficiently. He was studying the seventh chapter of John, when his phone rang, it was Obinna.
‘Hey! Sorry I couldn’t talk then, I was in a meeting. What’s up?’
‘No problem. Obinna, I need to talk to someone. I made a costly mistake and I…’ Chidi felt close to tears ‘…and I am scared’ Obinna was alarmed
‘Chidi, should I come over? Where are you?’ Chidi calmed himself and told Obinna his plan
‘I’m at the office. Can I come to your place after work hours? This is not a discussion for the office.’
‘Okay, but will you be okay until then?’ Obinna asked, worried. He wasn’t really close to Chidi, but he knew he was not a man who cried easily.
‘The Lord will strengthen me.’ Chidi responded, consoling himself at the same time.
‘Amen.’ Obinna supported, then gave him directions to his house.
When it was time to go home, Chidi quickly packed up, and called Obinna.
‘I’m on my way’ he told him.
‘Okay, I will see you there. I told Chidinma you were coming, so if you get home before me, she will welcome you.’
‘Okay, thanks.’ Chidi beat the rush hour traffic, and got to the house before Obinna. Chidinma welcomed him with a wide smile, he knew this was what he was missing in not having a wife.
‘Please sit down and make yourself at home’ she said,
‘what do I offer you? Though dinner will soon be ready, and I know you will be joining us.’
‘Water will be fine for now, about dinner, I don’t think…’
‘I am not asking for your permission Mr, you are joining us.’ She was still smiling.
‘Are you sure water is all you want?’
‘Yes ma’am’ she reminded him of his mother. A mother hen. Taking care of the world, that is what they feel they are called to do. He sat down, impressed with the decor of the house.
‘Hello, welcome. Here is your water.’ Chidi turned at the sound of the voice, recognising the owner immediately. He smiled at reflex.
‘Thanks’ he collected the glass as she poured.
‘I remember you, the lady with the genuine smile.’ Olanma was confused, she had only come to the sitting room because Chidinma insisted. And the man was saying he recognised her?
‘I don’t understand. I know I have never seen you.’
‘But I have seen you, at the wedding. You were the only one with the genuine smile, among the bride’s maids I mean.’ Olanma didn’t know what to reply, so she just introduced herself.
‘Oh okay, you must be Obinna’s friend. My name is Olanma, I am Chidinma’s friend. You are welcome, and it’s nice to meet you.’ She brought out her hand for a handshake. Chidi accepted the handshake, and he decided he liked her already
‘my name is Chidi, that is Chidiebere, and it’s also nice meeting you. Thank you for the water.’ He said before he drank. He was thirsty, very thirsty, and hungry too. He remembered that severe thirst and weight loss were some of the symptoms of A.I.D.S. His mood was quickly dampened when he recognised that no matter how much he liked a lady, he had to undergo tests to be sure he was without the virus, before he could even get close to her.
Slowly, Chidi’s eyes opened to how expensive a mistake he had made, giving in to lust just for a night. He quickly changed the subject to fill the lengthening silence.
‘Do you have any idea when Obinna will be back?’ He was barely done speaking when the doorbell rang.
‘That should be him’ Olanma said standing up to get the door, she had noticed the change in mood in Chidi.
‘Thank God Obinna is back, and I don’t have to keep him company’ she thought, slightly disappointed. He looked like a good man. Chidinma came out and welcomed her husband, while Olanma excused herself and went inside, leaving them with their visitor. Chidi watched her go from the corner of his eyes, if not for his uncertain H.I.V. status, he would have engaged her in a longer discussion. Laura was out of his life, but her effect was still felt. Gradually, he was coming to understand what she had meant in her note …enjoy life as much as you can. It was going to be very hard enjoying life with the fear of H.I.V. or worse if he tests positive. He couldn’t wait to ask for Obinna’s advice.
The story continues…