Read Episode 2 here
Matthew maneuvered his second-hand Toyota Corolla through the crazy Lagos traffic. It was past six in the evening and most workers were on their way home after a long day at work. Matthew worked with an auditing firm in Victoria Island which was about twenty minutes’ drive from his two-bedroom apartment in Yaba. However, the consistent Lagos traffic ensured that he spent at least two hours on the road each day. On some days, he preferred parking his car and using the public transport system. At least on occasions like that, he had the option of trekking when the traffic became unbearable.
Unfortunately, he had driven to work this morning and was now on his way back when he found himself plunged into a stand still traffic. A trailer had broken down in the middle of the road up ahead, making it almost impossible for vehicular movement. The four-lane road had been reduced to just one lane while traffic officials did their best to pull the trailer out of the road.
Matthew sighed for the umpteenth time. He had to turn off his air conditioner because he noticed that the fuel in his car had run very low. Not knowing when he would be delivered from the traffic, it was wisdom to conserve the little fuel that he had. He was sweating profusely, and the honk of car horns were grating his nerves.
“Buy your original aluminum pot,” a hawker appealed to him from the window. He smiled in amusement. There was nothing that couldn’t be sold in Lagos traffic. Someone had even joked that if you wanted to prepare fried rice and chicken right in the traffic, you would get everything you needed, down to the pot and the gas cooker, from the traffic hawkers.
The hawker misinterpreted his smile for interest and started showing off the different sizes of pots he had for sale. Matthew raised his hand dismissively. The hawker understood and walked off, grumbling. As he sat in the gridlock, his mind wandered to Ife. Ife, the woman he loved. He smiled again.
Matthew met Ife at a business conference. She was small and unassuming, but very smart and sharp witted. She was one of the panelists, and he was blown away by her perspective towards the topic for discussion. Her accent was smooth and clear, such that it was impossible to decipher what ethnic group she belonged to. He was captivated by her performance and longed for an opportunity to speak to her. His chance finally came during the ‘meet and greet’ session. He saw her afar off, laughing heartily with a glass of wine in her hand. Quickly, he strode towards her.
“Hi. I’m Matthew, and I work with Pinnacle Auditors and Consultants.”
“I’m Ife Davies,” she responded, extending her hand for a handshake. “I work with Dalong Africa. Nice to meet you.”
“Same here,” he responded, taking in all of her features. She wasn’t strikingly beautiful but there was an aura around her that was compelling and intimidating. Her sharp forehead glistened, making it obvious that she just made a new hairstyle.
“Your hair is beautiful,” he complimented.
She was pleasantly surprised at my remark. “Thank you. So how did you find the discussion session?”
“To be honest, I was blown away. It was a brilliant discussion, and your presence in the panel made it all the more worthwhile.”
She grinned. “I’m flattered.”
“I’m serious. Ife, you are an intelligent panelist. I wish to be like you in the nearest future.”
They both laughed at his statement.
“Here,” he said, giving her his complimentary card. “Can I have yours too, if you don’t mind? I would love to keep in touch.”
“Of course.” She opened her purse, took out a card and handed it to him. He couldn’t help but notice her slender fingers.
He was about to say thank you when they were interrupted by someone who needed her attention.
“I’ll call you,” he said as she walked away. She waved at him and disappeared into the crowd. He took a look at the card. Ife Davies. Associate, Dalong Africa. He grinned.
That night, with a bowl of popcorn in his hand, he placed a call across to her. She didn’t pick at the first ring. He contemplated calling her the second time but decided against it. She’s probably tired, he concluded. Thirty minutes later, she called back. When she realized that it was Matthew speaking, she was excited.
“I’m sorry I missed your call earlier,” she apologized. “I was having my time with the Lord.”
Her statement struck a chord in Matthew’s heart.
“Wow. Your time with the Lord?”
“Yes. It’s something I do every night before I retire to bed. We just talk and gist about my day, basically.”
“Sounds like a lot of fun”
“Well, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, especially when I have bad days but, He always cheers me up so I go to bed smiling.”
Her relationship with God was enviable, Matthew thought to himself.
“That’s good to hear. So how did your day go?”
The conversation rolled until they realized they had been talking for over an hour. It was odd because the conversation flowed like they had known each other for years. From their chat, he got to know that she was the only surviving child of her parents, after losing her two other siblings to sickle cell anaemia. She was twenty-five years old, two years younger than Matthew and had been an ardent Christian since she was fourteen. She lived alone in her apartment at Ikoyi, and she coordinated monthly meetings for teenagers at her church. Apart from her job which she loved so much, she enjoyed writing and she had written several gospel tracts and magazines which she distributed for free.
“I am a bearer of good news, and I do my best to ensure that this gospel is preached to all the earth,” she had said.
Her love for God was so palpable that for a brief moment, he envied her. She talked about God so effortlessly and passionately, like He was her flat mate. When the conversation ended, he knew that their meeting was not a coincidence. It was divine.
His phone rang out loud, jolting him from his reverie. It was Ife.
Thanks for reading. Episode 4 comes up next!