Victor didn’t talk to me for a week. It was unlike him. Whenever we had issues, he was always the peacemaker, irrespective of who was at fault. I opened up to Kitan, my dear friend and she blamed me as usual.
‘Bolanle, why did you make a mountain out of a molehill? This is a very simple misunderstanding. I didn’t expect you to take it this far’, she said as soon as I narrated all that transpired between Victor and I.
‘Oh, so it’s my fault abi?’ I retorted. ‘You did not say anything about Victor who is acting so childishly. Do you know he hasn’t called me since that day?’
‘Have you called him?’ Kitan asked.
‘Why should I call him? He offended me’
‘And you didn’t offend him?’
‘I only told him the truth to his face’, I said, justifying my actions.
‘And you think he didn’t?’ Kitan replied calmly.
I spun round and faced Kitan.
‘What do you mean? Are you saying I am selfish and arrogant? That I hold grudges?’
Kitan sighed and didn’t say anything. She then came closer to me, took my hands in hers and looked into my eyes.
‘Bolanle, you a wonderful person. You have a very cheerful heart. You love God and you desire to do His will. But, this your temper is getting in the way. Your pride is not letting you surrender fully to God. Your self is preventing you from enjoying God. You need to allow God fix it. But He can’t fix it when you have refused to admit that there is a problem.’
I removed my hands from hers and walked towards the window.
Kitan, I don’t have a problem’, I said gently. ‘Yes, I know I’m a little bit short tempered but it’s not my fault. That’s how we are in my family. It is in our lineage. I’ve been praying about it and I think God is helping me. Secondly, I’m not proud. I just don’t like it when people try to bend me to their own wishes.’
‘I am not selfish Kitan’, I continued. ‘I just like being comfortable, and I do all I can to ensure that. People don’t understand me, that why they think I’m selfish’.
Kitan smiled sadly. ‘No man can receive any help from God unless he first admits his weakness and helplessness. Until you admit that you need help Kitan, your prayers are like pouring water into a basket’.
I didn’t say anything.
‘In the meantime’, she continued, ‘Call Victor and apologize. Settle this thing and let it be in the past’
‘No way! He has to call me first. I can’t stoop so low’.
‘Bolanle don’t be childish’, Kitan snapped. ‘Nobody is stooping low here. Just swallow your pride and call him’.
I picked up my phone and started to scroll through.
‘Okay’, I said grudgingly. ‘I have heard you. I will call him’.
‘Call him now’.
‘He will be in church now. Prayer squad. I’ll call him later’.
‘Okay. I’ll follow it up o’, Kitan replied as she stood up.
I didn’t call Victor. Kitan pestered my life for almost two weeks and then gave up. I wanted the first call to be from him. We were very cold to each other whenever we met in church. Some persons who knew we were courting began to ask questions, questions I had no answer to.
One evening, after mid-week service, Pastor Gbenga called me into his office. Victor had informed him that he was calling off the relationship, and he wanted to hear from me. I was numb. How could Victor do this? He didn’t even deem it fit to tell me first before telling the Pastor. What kind of man is this?
I told Pastor Gbenga that we couldn’t continue the relationship because we had irreconcilable differences. Pastor Gbenga tried to talk to me, but anger wouldn’t let me listen to him. He then prayed for me and I left his office.
I was so hurt, but I bore it with a brave face. After all, Victor wasn’t the only man in the world, abi? Yet, six months later, I was here, thinking about what could have been.
I checked my wrist watch. It was quarter to one. I closed my eyes and forced myself to sleep. I didn’t want to be late to work today.
My alarm went off at five thirty a.m. I yawned and turned to my other side. Then I stood up from the bed, went to the bathroom, splashed water on my face and went back to sit on my reading chair.
I brought out my daily devotional, my Bible and my pen and notebook. The topic for this morning was “Don’t be Like Them” and the scriptural passage was from 1st Corinthians chapter 10 from verses 1 to 10. The passage was admonishing Christians not to be like the Israelites who engaged in acts of idolatry, sexual immorality, murmuring and complaining while they were in the wilderness.
As I meditated on the verses, one person came to my mind. Bukunmi, Kitan’s younger sister. I became excited. Today’s passage was for her! Bukunmi was the exact opposite of her sister. She was wild, stubborn, immoral, extravagant and loud. Kitan had talked to her several times but it yielded no effect. Worse of all, she complained like there was no tomorrow. She complained and grumbled about everything. She was never satisfied. Yes, this scripture is for her, I concluded.
I quickly picked up my phone, copied the passage from my mobile bible, highlighted the major sins I felt she needed to repent of and sent it to her via Whatsapp. Below it I wrote: “Change your ways, Jesus loves you”.
Satisfied, I said a short prayer, took my bath, dressed up and hurriedly left for work. Monday mornings were always rowdy and I had to leave early to beat the traffic.
I was in the office later in the afternoon when my phone rang. It was Bukunmi.
‘Hello dear’, I said as I picked up the call.
‘Don’t “dear me”, she retorted. ‘What’s the meaning of that message you sent to me?’
‘Ah ahn, you didn’t even say hello’
‘Please answer my question’ was her response.
‘Have you read through it?’ I asked.
‘Okay. Let me answer your question. As I was having my quiet time this morning, God impressed that scripture in my heart and asked me to send it to you. God wants you to change your ways and retrace your steps, Bukunmi’.
At first, she was quiet. Next, she burst into a loud laughter. I started wondering why she was laughing.
‘Really?’ She sneered.
‘Yes, Bukunmi. Jesus loves you’, I answered calmly.
‘Abeg(please) let me hear word. Look at this pot calling frying pan black. How dare you open your mouth to preach to me, you this unforgiving, malicious angry bird?’
I was stunned, too stunned to say a word.
‘Look, let me inform you, I know you well. Very well. I know you as a proud, arrogant, selfish, unforgiving and wicked Christian. So before you remove the leaf in my eye, please remove the tree in yours. You are the one who needs to repent. Oshi!(Rubbish)’
She went on. ‘Me, I am a bad girl. I am wild grape. I don’t deny it. I don’t pretend. I’m proud of it and everyone knows me that way. But look at you. You call yourself a Christian yet so many things are wrong with your character. Whenever you have a misunderstanding with my sister, you don’t settle it until she comes to beg you. Is that how your Jesus is?’
By this time, tears were rolling down my eyes.
‘You better don’t even cry o, because I am not done with you’, she hammered on. ‘You feel you can never be wrong, Madam Right. You almost beat up Iya Beji because she told you to your face that you were fake. You think I didn’t see you? You hate criticism, you want to be right at all times. Gosh! Should we talk about your anger issues? How you erupt like a volcano at the slightest provocation? Abeg, na so your Jesus dey vex? Answer na’.
I was speechless. My nose was already running, and I searched my bag frantically for tissue.
‘Wo(Look), Bolanle, let me advise you. Better repent and tell your Jesus to help you change your character if not, if you continue like this, you will die a lonely, miserable, old, unmarried woman. Worse still, you’ll end up in hell with people like me. We won’t mind making you the cell captain’. With that, she hissed and cut the call.
For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have any words in my mouth. Bukunmi hit me hard, below the belt and the blow was devastating. For the rest of the day, I was not myself. Even my boss noticed my mood change and asked if all was well. I replied in the affirmative.
Immediately it was close of work, I picked my bag and hurried out of the office. I was already in a cab half way home when I remembered that today was Bible Study. I contemplated whether to go or not. I wasn’t very tired, I was just downcast. I needed someone to talk to. I decided to go to church.
What happens next? Find out in Episode 4. Thanks for reading!