She graduated from University of Lagos with a degree in Economics and bagged her Masters in London. He asked why she wasn’t working in a huge company and making big money. She said God had called her to a far different ministry, one that she loved and found fulfillment in.
“My parents didn’t quite understand at first, not like they fully understand now but it’s better than when I first broke the news to them. I told them God had called me to be an evangelist. To share His word everywhere and anywhere in could.”
Daniel’s eyes had widened at that information. “So you just left everything? What did your parents say?”
Her eyes fixated on the parking lot with cars driving out of the compound. She shrugged and said, “They thought there was something wrong with me. My father was angry and said asked why he had spent so much money sending His daughter to school abroad if she knew she just wanted to carry a bible around and preach.”
As she said the words he could hear the tinge of sadness in her voice.
“My mum tried to talk me out of it but there was really no way anyone could stop me once I made up my mind.” She looked down at her fingers. “I prayed for them to understand and support me. I told God to give them the same understanding He had given me about His calling for my life.” Her lips tilted up to a smile. “He reminded me of the story of Joseph and even of Jesus.”
Daniel could recall both stories in the bible. Joseph’s family hadn’t believed in him much. Jesus’ family hadn’t stood by Him… only His mother had.
“It’s hard when you feel alone, but I know God’s with me.”
He felt like hugging her but felt it wouldn’t be appropriate. Instead he shoved his shoulder into hers gently. “It would be alright, just keep believing in Him.”
She looked at him then and smiled. “That’s exactly what I’m doing. It’s what keeps me going. It’s been two years since I’ve followed God’s calling and I don’t regret it. Difficulties come and go, my faith has been tested… but at the end it works out fine.”
“I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks. So what about you? What’s your own story?”
Daniel looked at her and noticed she was sweating. He found that strange despite the cool weather. He asked if she was okay.
“I’m fine. Just that I sweat alot. I could use some ice-cream though and I have the perfect place in mind. That is, if you’re willing to move our conversation elsewhere.”
It was fine by him. They took their leave and drove their separate cars to a popular ice-cream store in town. It was a little crowdy but they got a seat. He got their orders within the next fifteen minutes and settled down at their table. She took two scoops and closed her eyes as she relished the taste of her strawberry and vanilla flavours with M&M’s mixed with it.
He smiled at her.
“Mmmm… This is delicious! God is good. Okay so I asked … What’s your own story?”
Daniel took a spoon of his chocolate and vanilla ice-cream and let it melt in his mouth before he answered. “What story?”
“Where do you work? You have a daughter, what about her mum?”
He suddenly felt uncomfortable with the latter part of her question, but then Mitchell was oblivious to this ’cause she was getting another spoonful of ice-cream. He wasn’t sure if he could bare his heart with her, but then there was nothing wrong in sharing and hearing her perspective. He was already comfortable with her.
“I work in an advertising company. I had my daughter out of wedlock but later married her mother who happens to be a family friend. We had issues and we went our separate ways.”
“Ouch. That’s sad. Is that all there is to the story?”
Daniel sighed and told her all that happened with Adesewa and how he messed up. He told her about Efe and how she had gotten him to marry her. He rounded up the story by telling her how he told her to leave and after her NYSC they could decide what to do.
“Wow. So what do you plan on doing?”
He shrugged. “Maybe get get a divorce. It’s been heavy on my mind. I don’t love her as I should and I don’t think I ever will after how she forced her way into my life. If it was God’s will for us to marry why did she play God and not wait for His timing? Why did she have to sleep with me and get pregnant?”
Mitchell tilted her head to the side and looked at him. “You’re still angry, and you’re hurt. She was the one that told you everything right? That has to mean something.”
“I don’t care what it means. She played me.”
“So you think it’s okay for you to punish her? Isn’t that revenge?”
Mitchell looked at her watch. “I have to leave now, but could we meet up later on and talk?”
“Sure why not.” Daniel loved spending time with her and if his problems kept her coming then it was no problem with him.
Why was she asking her if she loved I.K? She was irritated at the question. Lately, she had been acting weird after she told her what had happened with Sonia.
“Of course I love him. I’m getting married to him after all. Why are you asking?”
Zainab propped her legs on the coffee table and rested her back on the couch. She had a long day putting final touches on the venue, cake and food. Her feet were aching, despite the comfy tennis shoes she had chosen to wear.
“It’s not all the time people marry ’cause of love. Some marry out of necessity, others for fear of being alone, some ’cause of financial constraints -”
Zainab rolled her eyes. She raised her hand for her to stop talking. “What exactly is your point Ade? Just spit it out instead of beating around the bush.”
“Okay. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you really love I.K you should let him know about what you’re going through. I know you’re afraid of what he might say once he finds out, but you still have to tell him. You can’t build your marriage on lies and expect everything to be rosy. What if Sonia decides to tell him?”
“She wouldn’t do such a thing!”
“I’m just saying. She could if she wanted to. So what would you do then? Where does that leave I.K?”
Zainab looked away from her. “I would cross that bridge when I get there. I can’t tell him; he’s the only good thing I have now. Ade it’s so easy for you to seat there and tell me what to do. Talk is cheap but actions are expensive. It sounds easy but it’s not. My life just feels like a huge bubble filled with toxic and I’m in it breathing ’cause it’s the only thing I’m used to. Whether it kills me or not I don’t care. I’m just going with the motions.
“I’m sorry pissed with my mother ’cause she waited till I was twenty-nine before she told me who my real father was. My stepfather was just a pain. His children look at me like I’m a freak or an evil person ’cause of all the rubbish he has filled their heads with.” She laughed, but it lacked humour. “And my father is a pastor. Doesn’t my life sound pathetic?”
She caught the look on Adesewa’s face and couldn’t decipher if it was self-pity or sympathy. Adesewa closed her eyes briefly and opened them again with a smile on her face.
“Everyone has their own sad story Zee.”
Zainab shook her head. “No, some people have it good without any commotion in their lives. Some of us just don’t have that luxury.”
“You don’t know about their lives. Some people just pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. It’s what they want you to see that they show you.”
“Is your dad coming for your wedding?”
“Yeah, I.K invited him.” She dropped her legs from the table and stood up. She needed to get some sleep. Later in the evening she was meeting with I.K’s parents for dinner and she didn’t want to show up looking haggard.
“We’ll talk later. Need to sleep.”
“Please think about what I said.”
I would never leave nor forsake you. You are My beloved child. Do not worry or be anxious about anything. Give Me your burdens and rest in My love.
Efe wrapped her arms around herself and took comfort in the words whispered to her heart. Resting in God’s love wasn’t something she had done in a long while. She had spent most of her weekend praying to God and trying to understand what exactly was going on in her life. Daniel, Amanze, Eluwa. . . Her step-sister, Zainab and what she was going to do? Everything just seemed out of control and there was nothing she could do about it. A pparticular thought had been on her mind and she wasn’t even sure if it was God talking or the advice she had received from friends.
The ringing of her phone made her discard her thoughts for the moment and reach out to the bed for it. It was her mother in law.
Why is she calling me? Her mother in law had called her the day befote and she had spoken with her daughter ans father in law. So why was she calling again? Fear gripped her heart. Hope nothing is wrong with Eluwa?
“Hello. Good evening ma.”
“Good evening dear. How are you?”
“I’m doing well. I-Is everything okay?”
“Yes,” Efe sighed in relief. “I just called to check how you’re doing. I know we spoke the other day but… I just had this feeling to call you. Is everything okay?”
“Yes mummy, I’m fine. How’s everyone?”
“Fine as well. But seriously tell me, are you okay? Really okay? You can talk to me dear.”
Efe pressed the phone to her ear and closed her eyes. “I’m just confused about a lot of things in my life. Mummy…” She bit her lip, uncertain if she should tell her mother in law about the lengths she had gone to be with Daniel. She didn’t want the older woman looking down on her or judging her. Instead she said, “Mum I’m okay. Just confused about what would happen with Daniel and how it would affect Eluwa.”
“Put everything in God’s hands. Keep praying. There’s nothing prayer cannot do.”
Efe nodded. “Mum I’m not sure I want to keep going on with everything. I don’t think I want – I don’t think we should have got married in the first place.”
“A-are you both considering divorce?”
Efe could tell how the thought saddened the older woman but there was nothing she could do. She couldn’t go on with the kind of life she was currently living.
“I’m considering it.”
Her mother-in-law muttered something in Igbo. “My dear you need to calm down and think this through. Marriage is not like this. Problems come and go.”
But what if the problems stay on forever? She didn’t want Daniel resenting her for the rest of his life.
“Please think about it first, biko.”
“Yes mummy.”But I’ve already made up my mind.