Chidi waited patiently. Watching every woman who came in, wondering what she looks like. He was waiting for Laura. She had called him out of the blue, insulting him and accusing him of trying to leave her for someone else. She had ranted on and on. He waited until she was done and calmly informed her that it was a wrong number. She had apologized profusely, and suddenly burst into tears. Chidi had listened to her tale of how her boyfriend suddenly stopped communicating with her, changing his number and cutting all ties with her. She had gotten his number from a mutual friend of theirs, which was obviously wrong ‘I miss him so much.’ She had informed him.
‘I’m sorry, but he obviously don’t know what he has. Please pull yourself together and move on.’
‘Thank you so much. But I don’t even know who I am talking with. I’m Laura’
‘It’s nice talking to you, Chidi’
‘My pleasure, Laura.’
‘Thank you so much for listening to my woes’
‘No problems. Just don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are.’
‘Thanks. I won’t.’ That had been two weeks ago, since then she called every evening, until Chidi had gotten used to her, and indeed looked forward to her calls. Before long, he started calling her and felt it was time he saw her and knew what she looked like. She had dilly-dallied for a while, then she finally accepted. She chose the place, the time, and the day. Chidi had agreed to everything, he just wanted to see her. He was falling in love.
His phone rang, he smiled as he saw it was Laura.
‘Hello dear, where are you? I’ve been waiting!’
‘I’m sitting behind you’ Chidi quickly turned. Sitting two tables away from him, was a very beautiful woman. She was smiling at him too.
‘Laura?’ He asked She nodded. He couldn’t believe his luck. She was one of the most beautiful ladies he had ever seen. He walked towards her, wondering what stupid man had let such a beautiful lady go.
‘Well,’ he said to himself, ‘his loss is my gain.’
Stanley waited at Ngozi’s house until the evening, she didn’t return. He felt a bit discouraged. But each time he wanted to give up and go home, he remembered the white light and the change that followed it. He decided to go to the church and pray. He might just get an inspiration. On getting to the church’s gate, he found it locked. He suddenly felt every iota of strength leave his body. Ignoring the stares of the passersby, he knelt down at the gate and prayed.
‘Father, I have tried. I don’t know what else to do. Please show me a way forward. It can’t be your will for my marriage to end like this, please help me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Still ignoring the stares of the passersby, he stood up, and dusted his knees. As he wondered how to turn and face the onlookers who without a doubt saw him as a madman, his phone rang. Ngozi. He had never changed her ringtone. He double checked to be sure. It was her.
‘Hello?’ He answered, uncertain about what will follow.
‘Stanley?’ Her voice sounded uncertain too.
‘Yes?’ ‘Are you alright? Can you drive?’
‘Yes and yes. Are you okay? Where are you?’
‘I’m with my mother. Can you please come?’ Stanley turned, totally forgetting the onlookers
‘I’m on my way.’ ‘The change has begun to manifest’ he muttered, smiling.
‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ Chidinma asked Olanma. She was trying to discourage her from giving up schooling.
‘Yes Nma. I have to take care of my mother and myself. Going to school now will be a burden.’
‘But I told you Obinna was ready to help until I continue when I start working.’ Olanma shook her head
‘Nma, you are my friend, and you have done more than I imagined. Please don’t disturb Obinna again. God blessed him with means, but you should start building your own home. I just need you to show me opportunities if you find any. You taught me how to fish, allow me fish.’ Chidinma felt heavy at heart, she didn’t know how else to help her friend. She made a promise
‘I will always pray for you. Always.’
‘But I need you to promise me something.’
‘Two things actually. The first is that if you ever need help you will let me know. And the second is to consider a man when he comes for marriage, by at least praying about it.’ Olanma took a pause, then
‘I promise’ Chidinma hugged her tightly, and after greeting Olanma’s mother, joined her husband in the car, and they drove off, with Olanma waving.
The next day, Olanma went back to work. She worked so hard, making her father’s death a drive. Her boss increased her salary by one hundred percent, which was a welcome development, but Olanma wanted more, she decide to draw a plan.
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‘Why did you lie to me?’ That was the first thing Uchenna said to Rita once they got home. He hadn’t said a word to her while they fried and attended to customers, he hadn’t said a word to her as they prepared to come home for weekend. Sensing the brewing storm, she had decided that the children will stay back with her parents who quickly agreed, seeing the look on their son-in-law’s face.The children had whined and Uchenna had found a way to appease them, yet he hadn’t said a word to her.
On their journey home, he had been courteous and he had walked by her side as a husband should, protecting her, paying for the fares, but he still didn’t say a word to her. But immediately they entered their house and shut the door, he calmly asked
‘why did you lie to me?’
‘I didn’t mean to. I just…’
‘But you did. You made a fool out of me. What kind of husband will I appear as to your parents and our children? So the money for the past two months came from selling akara and getting insults? I was eating from your sweat and you didn’t give me a chance to choose. That’s not fair Rita. That’s not fair.’ He walked away from her, going to the bedroom. Rita didn’t know how to react to his calmness. He was obviously in shame and regret. That was the last thing she wanted. She had only wanted to help. She followed him to the bedroom
‘my husband, it’s not so. My parents were against it. And the children don’t love or respect you any less. Please I am sorry.’
‘Please Rita, I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to say something I may regret.’ He proceeded to leave the bedroom but Rita knelt down at his feet.
‘Uchenna please. I only wanted to be the helpmeet God made for you. I should have told you, I know. But I am sorry. Please don’t walk away from me. I never saw it from this angle.’ Uchenna have recently promised himself to cherish Rita more, and seeing her kneeling and begging broke his heart.
‘Please stand up. I don’t like this.’ He tried pulling her to her feet, but she refused.
‘Not until you say I am forgiven.’
‘Rita stand up.’
‘Say it. Please.’
‘Okay, I forgive you. Now stand…’ Rita was suddenly in his arms, hugging him tightly
‘thank you. I’m truly sorry, I just wanted to help.’ He disengaged himself from her and looked in her eyes.
‘Don’t do that again. We are a team. We should work together. Do you understand?’ Rita nodded. ‘And you have to stop, we will find something else to start. I sold the house today so we can now…’
‘If you make a sound, you are both dead, kneel down.’ A masked man announced, pointing a gun at them. He was closely followed by two others dressed like him. They were about to be robbed.
The story continues…