Read episode 4 here
‘Good morning mummy’.
‘Good morning nne. How are you?’
‘Are you not done with your exams?’ she queried.
‘I’m done’, I replied.
‘So when are you coming home?’
‘Soon is not a date Goodness. We have missed you so much. When are you coming home?’ she probed further.
‘I’ll come home next week,’ I said. My mum was very good at getting her way.
‘Next week is too far,’ she said. ‘Can’t you make it home this weekend?’
I rolled my eyes. ‘Mummy I have some things to tidy up here. I will come back next week, I promise’.
‘Alright. We will be expecting you. Take care of yourself’.
‘Yes mummy’, I ended the call. Almost immediately, the phone rang again. This time, it was mummy Okoro.
‘Munachi how are you?’ She asked immediately I picked the call.
‘I’m fine Ma, good morning’.
‘When are you coming home?’
‘Em…home… yes…’ I stuttered.
‘I didn’t hear you’, she said.
‘I’ll be home next week’, I mumbled.
‘Why? Has the semester not ended?’ She asked.
She cut me short. ‘I want to see you in my house tomorrow evening. Is that clear?’
‘Tomorrow?’ I responded, shocked.
‘Tomorrow. It is an instruction so do well to comply. Don’t let me drive down to Enugu myself to get you o’
‘Mummy hope all is well’ I inquired. I wasn’t happy with the fact that she was about to disrupt my plans.
‘All is well by the grace of God’, she replied. ‘Enjoy your day my dear. God bless you’, she said as she ended the call.
I stared at my phone. If there was one thing I tried not to do, it was to disobey Mummy Okoro. I didn’t even want to contemplate it now. I sighed deeply. Her call meant I had to leave school latest by the next morning. I dialed Gozie’s number but he wasn’t picking.
While taking my bath, I decided to go home that afternoon. Thinking about home suddenly made me realize I missed my family. After dressing up, I dialed Gozie’s number again but he still wasn’t picking up. I then sent him a text informing him that I would be leaving school later that afternoon.
As I was packing my box in readiness for my journey home, Gozie called me.
‘Hello dear’, I greeted.
‘You are joking right?’ he said.
I took a deep breath.
‘But you promised to stay for as long as you can’, he accused.
‘Look Gozie, it’s not my fault. My mentor says she wants to see me in her house tomorrow. I can’t disobey her’.
‘Can’t you explain to her that you still have some things to do here?’
‘I wish I could, but I know my mentor well. She won’t have any of my excuses’
He was silent for some seconds.
‘I’ll miss you terribly’.
Tears welled up in my eyes. ‘I’ll miss you too Gozie’.
‘What time are you leaving?’
‘Okay. I’ll see you off to the park’.
By 1:50pm, Gozie called to tell me he was downstairs. I fought the temptation of inviting him to my room. If we could act carelessly right inside the church of God, then what would happen if we were both alone in a room with two comfortable beds? I didn’t need to answer that question as I locked my door and dragged my box downstairs.
At the motor park, I felt tears stinging my eyes as I bade Gozie goodbye.
‘Don’t cry my angel’, he said. ‘We will always keep in touch, and I will make sure I visit you in Owerri before I finally travel back to Lagos’.
I nodded, afraid that if I spoke, my voice would betray me.
Everyone was excited to see me when I arrived home. I was happy too. I had missed them. My mum had prepared fufu and ofe owerri for me, and I ate it with relish. Afterwards, I sat and had exciting discussions with my siblings far into the night.
As I dressed up to visit Mummy Okoro the next day, so many thoughts ran through my mind. How do I tell her about my relationship with Gozie? I knew she wouldn’t be happy that I didn’t tell her about it at the beginning. I knew she would also ask about my relationship with God and to be truthful, I had noticed a downward slope in the past few weeks. Gozie had literally taken over my heart and I had little space left for God. I still had my regular daily devotion and I still attended fellowship, but I knew something had changed. I knew cold ashes had begun to gather at my altar.
On getting to her house, I knocked on the front door. Precious opened it and ushered me in. The house has not changed, I said to myself as I looked around. The sitting room was tastefully furnished with beautiful frames adorning the walls. I could perceive the aroma of egusi soup coming from the kitchen.
‘She’s in her room. Let me tell her that you are here’, Precious informed me.
I sat on the sofa and brought out my phone to text Gozie. I had only just started typing when I felt my mentor’s presence. I looked up and saw her standing by the door. I rushed to her and embraced her.
‘Mummy!’ I exclaimed. ‘I’ve missed you’.
She held me lovingly. ‘I’ve missed you too my daughter’.
She gently pulled me away from her and looked at me from head to toe.
‘Ah ahn, you are now so skinny. What happened?’
I giggled. Mummy Okoro always complained that I hardly put on any weight so I had gotten used to it. She smiled and patted me on the cheeks.
‘Let’s sit’, she said.
I sat beside her on the sofa.
‘I know you have plenty gist for me’, she started. ‘My ears have been itching to hear them.’
I smiled and played with my nails. Where do I start from?
‘So how have you been generally?’ She asked.
‘Fine ma’, I replied.
‘And how were your exams? Hope they were not challenging?’
‘By God’s grace, I wrote well’.
‘Thank God’. She replied. ‘So how is your walk with God?’
‘All is well ma’, I responded, avoiding her eyes.
‘What kind of answer is that? Talk to me jare’.
I glanced at her and looked away almost immediately.
‘Well, for some time now, I’ve been struggling but God has been helping’.
‘Struggling? How do you mean?’
I sighed. ‘Well, I just feel a little bit distant from God, that’s all’.
‘For how long have you been feeling that way?’
‘For a few weeks now’
‘Hmmmmm… something must have caused it. Have you searched your heart to see what could be putting a strain on your relationship with God?’
I hesitated. I didn’t want to tell her about Gozie, at least not like this.
‘I can’t say ma. Maybe it was due to my exams’, I said, trying to find an escape route.
The look in her eyes said she didn’t believe me, but she didn’t say anything. Then, like lightening she asked, ‘how is Gozie?’
The question threw me off balance. How did she know about Gozie? Did Ezinma inform her?
‘Gozie?’ I asked, trying to be sure I heard clearly.
‘Yes, Gozie. You told me about him one certain time and you were so excited about him. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned him again since that time’.
My heart raced. What do I tell her?
‘Gozie is fine ma’.
Silence. The look on her face showed that she knew something was up.
‘Well…actually, Gozie proposed to me’.
‘Is that so?’ she asked with interest. ‘So when did he propose?’
‘It’s been over two months now’, I said, dreading the next question.
Her eyes widened for the briefest of seconds. ‘Over two months? So when were you planning to tell me?’
‘Em…mummy… I actually wanted to tell you face to face’.
She shook her head. ‘Munachi, you know that is not an excuse. We talk on the phone every week. Every single week. Why didn’t you mention it at least?’
‘I’m sorry ma’, I said with my head bowed.
Mummy Okoro shifted on her seat.
‘So are you still praying about it?’
My heart thumped loudly. I was afraid to answer.
‘Munachi I asked you a question’.
‘Mummy I’ve given him an answer already’, I replied with a shaky voice.
Mummy Okoro leaned back into the sofa.
‘You gave an answer to a marriage proposal without informing me?’
My tongue suddenly became heavy. I couldn’t answer.
‘So what were your convictions?’
I cleared my throat. ‘Mummy, towards the end of my first year, I started having some revelations about Gozie.’
‘What kind of revelations?’
‘I would see us working together to perform a task. Sometimes, he would be leading the way and I following. At other times, we would be getting married right inside a church building. I ignored the dreams at first but when they became frequent, I took it that God was speaking to me.’
‘Did you pray about the dreams?’
‘Yes ma. Each time I prayed, I felt this peace and deep love for Gozie in my heart.’
Mummy Okoro sighed. ‘Is that all the convictions you got?’
‘Well, on two different occasions, two persons met me and told me that they saw Gozie and I as husband and wife in a revelation. Even a preacher who was invited to speak in our fellowship six months ago prophesied that I will get married to a brother in the fellowship.’
Mummy Okoro sighed again. ‘So you said yes based on all these?’
‘When he proposed to you, did you ask him about his convictions?’
I thought for a minute. I couldn’t remember asking him that. I guess I was too excited to even think about it that day.
‘He said he has been watching me from my first year and that he was convinced that I am his missing rib’, I replied sheepishly.
‘Just that?’ she asked after a few seconds had passed.
‘He also said he loves me’.
Mummy Okoro smiled. ‘Did you ask him what his purpose and vision in life is?’
I scratched my head.
‘Mummy, Gozie is a very hardworking guy. As soon as he finishes his youth service, he plans to travel out to…’
‘That is not what I asked, Munachi’, she interrupted. ‘Have you ever asked him or has he ever shared with you his purpose and vision in life?’
‘Not exactly ma’.
‘Munachi, do you know your purpose and God given vision for your life?’
I lowered my eyes.
‘I’m still praying about it’, I replied.
‘If you are still praying about it, then you are not ready for a relationship’, she said gently.
I looked up in shock.
‘Munachi’, she started. ‘If a blind man leads a blind man, they will both fall into a ditch. You cannot say yes to a man when you don’t even know where your life is headed to yet. Worse still, you didn’t even bother to find out where his own life is headed to. Notwithstanding that love is an important ingredient when considering a marriage proposal, it is not the most important’.
‘How?’ I asked. I could feel the tears gathering in my eyes.
Episode 6 comes up next!