I introduced the four pieces of drumsticks that I had bought from a chicken store today into the boiling oil in my enamel frying pan. As the pieces of chicken cried, I danced to the rhythm of the song emanating from the television in the sitting room. Joy! Joy!! Joy!!! My phone rang and I went to the socket above my microwave to check who the caller was. My heart started racing really bad! Tony! Since the blunt experience I had with him at the Pastor’s house, i couldn’t look into his face anymore. I allowed the phone to ring on. He called again but the limit alarm of frying pan sounded so i rushed there to turn the content, thereby missing the call again. I laughed… Really satisfied that i was getting a ‘huge’ revenge. He tried calling again, My heart rang fast to Pastor Idile and his wife. Could it be that he had an urgent message to pass across? I picked the call.
“Hello” he started.
“Yes?” I really didnt have much time to spend with someone who would tug at my emotions and then would leave me empty.
“How are you?”
“How was work today?” I was getting bored abeg!
“Great thanks! Anything the matter?” I asked so curtly.
“Would you be around for the choir practice today?” He asked I racked my brain so badly. Today is Monday for God’s sake. Choir practice was Wednesday.
“Oh sorry… Don’t mind me” he quickly replied and laughed sheepishly “I forgot today is Monday…. But would you be around for the Bible Study?”
Funny question “I have never missed it” that was my response. Why was he behaving like that? Was he missing me? I shook my head at that thought. Miss ke!
“Ok. See you then” he responded again and I laughed.
“Why are you laughing?” He asked
“Your behavior today is weird… ”
“In what sense?”
“You kept on stuttering as you spoke and i am left to wonder if all is well”
“All is well” I went to my gas cooker and switched it off.
“Are you missing me?” I didnt know when i asked the question.
“Yes” that came the prompt answer and my heart dropped. I never expected him to reply and I felt blood gushed into my face.
“I really do miss you” he said again. My heart couldn’t bear it anymore. I dropped the call and when it started ringing again, I switched off my phone. Let this guy allow me eat my drumsticks in peace abeg! I wasn’t just ready for any adrenaline malfunction that very day!
The passing out of the outgoing Batch A corps members was very near so the church decided to organize a special Sunday service for them as a send forth package. The serving Batch B corps members were the ones organizing the programme and as I got to know that very day, Tony was the General Corpers Liaison Officer (CLO) for that local government so he was on the high table. It had been two weeks now since I last saw Pastor Idile and when I asked mummy, she said that he was fine and he would be back soon. The associate pastor had been the one in charge since then and though the services had been power-packed, it was nothing compared to Pastor Idile’s vibrancy and authority. I really missed him, hoping that all was well with him since mummy was not opening up.
“We call on our general CLO to present his own thanksgiving message on behalf of his outgoing colleagues” the announcer said and there was a huge round of applause. He stepped forward and I saw his attire…oh my! It was huge! Fully embroidered in pink, the well starched and ironed brown adire cloth hung down his slim frame. He looked heavenly.
“Thank you Lord for this great opportunity. Thanks to my fellow corps member. Corpers wee o” he called out
“Waa oo” they echoed in response, jubilating happily.
“It is not my turn yet to go but you guys have successfully ended your own portion of service to your fatherland and I say a big congratulations to you all” he started and they screamed as they put their hands together.
“You have achieved one or two things, I am sure, right?” he asked and they all chorused ‘Yes’
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“Oyo State is a very good place to serve o. with about 6 months still remaining for me to spend here, I could say of all certainty that the lord had really done it in my own life as much.” He said and everyone listened with rapt attention.
“For me, God had done it in all ramifications. I left my job in the US to carry out an assignment in Nigeria and many job opportunities are lined up in front of me now that if I choose one, I would just have to resign at my working place in the US. So, in my career, God has done it!” he announced and everyone screamed, clapping. I clapped too “God used Pastor and Mrs. Idile for me so much, guiding me in the way that I should go and revealing the real truth of God’s word to me. So, spiritually, God has done it! “Accommodation, relationship with people, financially, everything, God has done it” he said on and there were claps again “Halleluyah!” somebody cried out from the congregation. “Also, to cap it all, the Bible says he who finds a wife had found a good thing and obtained favor from the Lord. So, martially too, God has done it!” he said, smiling happily. Everyone stood up, clapping, drumming, playing different instruments and all. What expression was supposed to be on my face? Happiness? Joy? Should I start crying? I felt a real jab on my chest. Why was I feeling this way? Why was it too painful for me to bear?
“Tony never told me about the last aspect of his speech o.” the associate pastor said as he took over the microphone. There were different reactions from the people- excitement all over!
“So should we call on him so he could tell us what he meant by that or so he would tell us who the lucky lady is?” the associate pastor asked, beaming with smiles. How I wish the pastor knows that he is tampering with somebody’s heart right now. How I wish! I felt like my heart was arrested and the rib cage ransacked and broken into different pieces. The pastor handed the microphone to Tony who was just laughing as he held it. What a guy! For his mind now, he thinks he is funny o… I hissed as my lips shook out of anxiety.
“Sir, I wouldn’t like to disclose her identity now because I know the state of her heart. She doesn’t like this kinda public thing” he said and I sighed deeply That was a nice one my guy! I wonder what he meant before by disclosing all about him like that, all in the name of testimony! The lady is lucky sha! But I pity her o… that Tony guy is too blunt abeg! As I smiled to myself, satisfied that he didn’t disclose what could have killed me that day, I looked around me to see if nobody had watched my reaction and all and from among the congregation, to my right hand side, I saw a solemn face looking deeply into my face. I was dazed! Who was that? The look was not just sad…it was attacking! It looked like it wanted to swallow me up. Abigail! Why was she looking like that? I gave her a questioning face and tears dropped down her face. She wiped it quickly and placed her head on the pew in front of her. My heart jumped into my mouth. Was anything wrong with Pastor Idile and his wife? None of them was around in the church. I stood up since all was standing and I walked over to her side. I placed my hands on her shoulders gently and she turned to look at me. As if my hands were fire, she shook my hands off her with a great alacrity.
“What’s the problem?” I asked her softly, trying not to interrupt the service. I was confused.
“Leave me alone” she said almost loudly. I was embarrassed as few people looked towards our side. Thank God for my big stature. With a hand covering her mouth, I pulled her out of the church, despite her struggling. Oh God! What sort of a thing is this?
“Leave me alone” she almost screamed I did She looked at me and charged at me.
“Wicked, hefty monster” she cried out and my heart froze. This was the best treble singer in the whole church Sister Holiness unto the Lord! What were these words coming out of her mouth? Oh my goodness!
“Were we fighting before sister Abigail?”
“Don’t sister me! Miss seductress!” she continued to howl insults at me and I felt like dying as some women leaders were gathering already.
“Why would someone like him, choose you over me? Why? If not because jazz and seduction is involved. Why?” she started crying. I was more than confused What was she talking about?
“I don’t understand you” I tried to say.
“Liar! You think I don’t know of your vices? You think all your seductive acts eluded my eyes? You would come with the pretence of coming to take care of mummy but both of you would not even…” she continued and my spirit was vexed. That was an unclean spirit talking! I refuse to be ignorant of the Devil’s handiwork .
“I command quietness from above upon you unclean spirit in Jesus’ name!” I prayed from my spirit and she held her head and screamed. She fell to the ground while the leaders watched on. She started crying “But, I am the one Tony loves…I loved him first before you did” she said. Now I know why she was doing this.
“You had a crush on him?” I asked and she nodded I pitied her. She was just like a small girl whose lollipop had been snatched away from her.
“Sorry dear. But you are wrong. I wasn’t the one he went up stage to talk about. I am a bit close to him too but I am just hearing this for the very first time” I tried to explain to her.
“It’s a lie!” she spat it into my face and I was embarrassed the more. One of the leaders came to my side and hugged me gently.
“Don’t be embarrassed my dear. It sometimes happened to her like that. We have warned her against such costly assumptions especially in regards to marriage but she has roped herself into another one, it seems. Sorry dearie” she said, trying to pull me away with them. I was speechless! What exactly was happening? I don’t have anything with Tony, so why this one? Then, I remembered that very day we both went to the pastor’s house and she was trying to bar me from entering into the house and the look on her face…oh my! I never even suspected much! How Tony held my hands and pulled me inside, authoritatively as if I was his… This sister read another meaning to that action! Oh God of mercy! This Tony guy won’t put someone into wahala o….what’s all these now? what? How I wish Abigail could understand that she was not the only broken- hearted lady crush in this case. …I was broken hearted too.
To be continued….