Ngozi woke up to a quiet and almost empty room, which she realized, as she increased consciousness, to be her office. She tried sitting up, attracting the only other person in the office, the company nurse, in the process.
‘Welcome back madam. How do you feel?’
‘That’s expected, considering the fact that you had not eaten for hours, and kept working, and over tasking your brain.’ Ngozi didn’t want to inform her that she had been surviving on green tea and crackers for the past few days. She simply kept trying to stand up. The nurse gently pushed her back on the couch
‘You should rest. You are a human being and the earlier you realized that, the better for you.’ Ngozi reluctantly obeyed, lying back down.
‘What’s the time?’ She asked
‘Five o’clock.’ The nurse replied, about to leave.
‘What! I have work to do. I am supposed to submit a proposal today!’ Ngozi exclaimed as she bolted up. The nurse turned back
‘It’s five in the morning. You slept through the night, leaving a job unfinished, and the company didn’t collapse after you did. Go back to sleep. When you wake up, you are taking a compulsory day off.’ Ngozi relaxed as the nurse’s words sank in. As she fell back into the needed sleep, she wondered what she would be doing for twenty-four hours without her mind being distracted by work. She dreaded facing her troubles.
After the prayers, Uchenna had decided to stay at home the next day and go through his options. He was tired of looking for the job that apparently doesn’t exist. ‘There has to be something I can do.’ He muttered.
The next day, he started to act by fasting and praying. He searched the Bible for something, anything that can serve as a clue to what he is supposed to do. He found nothing at first. He closed the Bible, slightly discouraged. ‘Lord, I need something,’ he prayed, ‘anything. Something I can work with.’ He flipped through the Bible randomly picking and studying some Bible passages. Feeling tired, he decided to read one more bible passage before taking a nap. He stumbled upon Matthew 11:12 … and from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. He wondered what it could mean, he decided to check the reference text Genesis 32:26 … and he said, let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Uchenna decided to read the whole chapter. After a while, his discouragement fled. He prepared for battle, God must attend to him.
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Olanma was excited and it was evident in the way she smiled as she worked. Tomorrow was the traditional marriage of her best friend, and though she will miss her, this was the first time Olanma was well involved in a ceremony. Everyone was busy. Even her mother was involved in the preparations. Other women kept saying “we hope to come for your own soon, Olanma,” making her self-conscious, but despite that, her joy was still intact. Her best friend was getting married, and that didn’t happen every day. She escaped into the house to see the bride who was having her hair done.
‘How is it going?’ she asked
‘It’s going fine, but I am tired of sitting down for so long.’ Olanma laughed
‘don’t worry it is almost finished. You have to look good for your husband you know?’
‘I know. It sounds strange hearing you say “your husband.”’
‘Get used to it. Wait till people start calling you Mrs. Ejike’ Chidinma smiled shyly and changed the subject.
‘how are things going outside?’
‘Very fine, except for all the women telling me they hope to come for my own marriage soon. That’s why I escaped here.’
‘You will. Soon. Just don’t let…’
‘I am not thinking of anything marriage until I…’
‘Can you please shut up and listen? I know you have your hopes and dreams, and that’s an admirable trait. But sometimes, I think you forget that God has the final say in our lives. I won’t advice you to marry just any man that comes for your hand, but pray earnestly about each one that comes, so you don’t do something you regret.’
‘Yes Ma.’ Olanma said
‘Ola, I want the best for you. You of all people should know. I want you to settle down as we hoped and planned for. I know we hoped to get into the university together, but things didn’t turn out as we planned. But I think we should make do with what we have been served. I don’t want to preach today. Tomorrow is my marriage.’ Olanma smiled
‘Nma, I have heard you. We are best friends and I know you love me, as I love you. I will start praying as you suggested. Let me get back outside before my mother comes looking for me. There is still a lot to be done.’
‘Thank you for being here. Once I am done with this hair, I will join you there.’
‘Don’t even think about it. You should just relax and pamper yourself. Tomorrow you have to appear well rested.’
‘Yes Ma. Thanks again.’
‘You are welcome. See you later.’ Olanma headed back outside, thinking about what Chidinma just told her, and hoping she was not too late.
Chidi felt too tired to sleep. He had taken a late flight to the east for Obinna’s marriage ceremony. He had had series of meetings which he couldn’t avoid. He had arrived at the hotel and had taken his bath, eaten, tried everything to lure himself to sleep, yet sleep evaded him. He tossed and turned until he got tired and stood up. He decided to work, thanking God he brought his laptop along. He soon gave up trying to work and closed his laptop, when he discovered he couldn’t concentrate on the work. He had intensified his praying, and he was yet to see any change. He just wished he could know what God had in mind. He was lonely, and the temptation was sometimes so hard that only by fasting and prayer, depending totally on God, has he overcome and remained pure.
He felt he was ready for marriage, and wondered why God was yet to show him a sign that He has heard him. Though it tarries, wait for it. It will surely come.
‘I am waiting Lord, I am. But I am weak.’ He said out to the empty suite. He picked up his Bible and tried to study. He was flipping through his Bible when his alarm went off. It was time for his night prayer . Each night he prayed, he battled sleep and tiredness. But he wasn’t about to let go. He was going to pray each night, no matter how long it took until he heard a word from God, signifying that He has heard him. As he knelt down to pray, he remembered what he once heard someone say.
“When something good happens to someone in your neighbourhood, it shows you are in line for something good too, since it’s your neighbourhood.” He claimed it as he prayed, taking Obinna as his neighbour. As the night wore on, Chidi engaged in another night battle.
The story continues…