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Story: The Wedding Guest II

Thank you to Christabel (@BreakingMadTeam & @Bye_Wig), @Timidi.Photograpy, Namz (@JustForJoshDecorative) & my Parents for helping me out on things I wasn’t sure of.
Read Part One Here: The Wedding Guest

A story inspired by a handful of scriptures from the Bible.

Different from my other stories, the characters have been given names you can call them by. Names that, well, tell their own stories.

“But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.” ~ Hosea 3:5 NLT


Intro

While preaching to the couple and their guests he caught another glimpse of him. “Why is this guy’s face so familiar?” he asked within himself. He looked away and continued.

“And friends, family, our newly weds, Mr. & Mrs. Adetide-Cole and to myself also, God’s love has saved us from things we could never save ourselves from. By the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, we have been called back to Him, we’re forgiven completely. Usually at weddings, I like to give “advice” to the newly weds and their guests, but our lovely couple insisted that I share a word on God’s forgiveness and saving grace, and I’m pleased that they insisted because I find myself refreshed by this word and I hope the same for you too. As I close, I want you to hear me well when I say, God’s love is real. His love keeps no record of our wrongdoing – but we must believe this truth with our whole hearts and by trusting Him. Yes, there will be consequences for our actions, good or bad, and for the same reason a loving “earthly” parent would discipline a child, so God will do the same to us and righteously so. But fret not, because from this loving and all righteous discipline God reveals more of His loving self to us and we see ourselves the way He sees us. Amen.” He wiped his brow with an expensive handkerchief his wife had gifted him for his thirty-fifth birthday around this time last year. Her gilt gift to him for missing his birthday again.

“Amen.” the congregation responded.

He addressed the congregation again, this time indicating with his hands in a heavenward motion, “Kindly rise as we take a moment to meditate and pray about what we’ve heard this afternoon.” The congregation rose, some looking sober, others uninterested and some looking like they brought hunger as their plus one, but that did not bother Pastor OH what did bother him was the best man’s face and his constant fidgetting. “Where do I know this guy from? Where?”

The bridal party had danced out of the sanctuary with their family and friends after the prayer had ended and announcements were made. In true OH fashion, the tall even-skinned-ebony-toned Pastor hung around till everyone had left to pick up the “For Guests” black leather Bibles. The Bibles, a gift from Mr. Felix, were embossed in the middle of the cover with “Holy Bible – On Mission Youth Church”. Mr. Felix, his elderly mentor, had given instruction that the Bibles be given to guests who attended service at OM-YC without one and that they be allowed to take a copy as a gift if they wanted to. He paused in thought “did I remember to make the announcement about these Bibles?” He nodded back to himself in response “Yeah. I did.”

While pulling out the seventh Bible he had found, which was lodged between two seats, he remembered the best man again and in an instant he heard from God’s very mouth, “Son. His name is Oluwasegun Adetide-Cole. He was the last one.”

Pastor OH’s voice escaped him, “What?” was all he could silently mouth as the pile of Bibles fell from his hands.


Him: Oluwasegun ~ God is Victorious | aka Segun

Still tall, dark and handsome, Oluwasegun Adetide-Cole was surprised that he had filled out his suit pretty well – he attributed his necessary weight gain to all the good organic food Lagos had offered him this past week from the visits to various “Mama Put” for Amala, to Ogi and Akara or Yam and Egg as options for breakfast, thanks to the chefs at Grandma AC’s house and do not forget the grilled to perfection nighttime Suya as a midnight snack. He smiled at himself while fixing his bowtie because he remembered Adeiye’s comment when he picked him up from Murtala Muhammed International airport.

“SEGUN!” Adeiye exclaimed. “Where’s the rest of you? You look malnourished! I hope there isn’t any famine in the abroad oh? Chai!” Adeiye asked in wonder while turning Segun around to take mental measurements of how much the tailor would have to take in on Segun’s suit.

Adeiye Adetide-Cole was Segun’s cousin and the only reason why he was in Lagos. Adeiye was getting married and Segun was his best man. Segun had wrestled with the idea of being Adeiye’s best man. Yes, they were family and yes, Adeiye was the brother he never had (people often called them twins because they looked so much alike), but the thought of being a best man again and having to attend a wedding was far from the list of things he wished to accomplish this year. After last year’s fiasco at Chidi’s wedding, Segun had not attended another wedding since and there were many. He had found that “work travel” was the best excuse to not attend the weddings he was invited to. Even hearing the word “wedding” often made him anxious causing his palms to moisten. In days leading to this trip Segun had become even more anxious and tempted to not show up at all, but he could not do that. Not to Adeiye. Adeiye had really been there for him the past year, despite the geographical distance Adeiye was his voice of reason, his banter partner and encourager in the faith, especially on his darkest days, so it was only right that he be the best best man he could possibly be. If only his right leg could stop twitching and his palms could stop sweating, maybe, just maybe the real Oluwasegun could show up for Adeiye.

“Bro!” Adeiye called to Segun, interrupting his thoughts. “How long will it take you to tie your bowtie because I can see you’re feeling yourself?”

Segun laughed in response, thankful for the interruption.

“The brother eventually smiles! Praise be to God!” Adeiye teased walking up to Segun to help him adjust his bowtie. “You’ve hardly smiled or laughed the whole time you’ve been here you know? Maybe it’s a sign that today will go even better than I anticipate.” Segun wanted to get a word in, but Adeiye continued as he usually did, “I just want to let you know that I really appreciate you being here today, I know it took a lot for you to come my wedding. And for that, I sincerely pray that as you’ve set aside your fears to honour me, so God will honour you by opening your heart to receive the peace of mind only He provides. Thank you brother!” Using both hands, Adeiye patted Segun on the side of both his shoulders in a comforting way. Segun was touched by his cousin’s prayer, it had been the prayer he had prayed for himself before arriving in Lagos.

After their bro moment, Adeiye turned to attend to the other groomsmen while Segun stood staring at himself in the full length mirror again. He closed his eyes and quoted Philippians four verse six and seven, the scripture he had kept to memory for anxious days like these. He whispered “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” He whispered it at least seven times before feeling calm again.

The doorbell of the hotel room rang, Segun jumped a little before checking his Viate London watch for the time, it was eleven o’clock “must be the photographer” he thought. Being closest to the door he opened it and welcomed the photographer and wedding planner into room 777.

“Amen!”, the four groomsmen and groom shouted to end their prayer just as another picture was taken. The photographer, Williamson, was famous for two things – his white alligator skinned shoes that pointed upwards at the tip, which he had on, and his photography skills. Using his baby, a Canon 5D MK III with a brand matching camera lens only a professional would know how to use, he took amazing shots of the men as they huddled up to form a circle to pray, during their prayer and after they had finished. Williamson was Adeiye’s pick for a photographer because he liked how Williamson effortlessly caught natural reactions, his skill was second to none. “All of you de look like Naija Next Top Model for these photos” the mature Williamson gleed while shaking his head in amazement. The men laughed, with Dayo, one of the groomsmen, adding “With all the Ajali “Man Like” beard balm and beard oil we de use for this day. AH! We fit pass Naija Next Top Model. Amo’ shine well well!” All the guys looked at Dayo and burst out laughing when he made reference to Nollywood viral star Charles Okocha popularly known as “Igwe 2pac”. Even Segun could not help himself.

“Williamson, before you go, please take more shots of us while I give the guys their gifts?” Adeiye instructed.

“Guys, a small token of my appreciation, here you go.” Adeiye motioned towards each groomsmen handing them each a small pouch. The velvet pouches, were a shiny purple colour and inside contained personalised whiskey hip flasks that had been filled. Dayo and the others were pleased with their gifts, while Segun seemed uneasy, he had not touched alcohol in a year and Adeiye knew this. Noticing that Segun seemed unsettled, Adeiye quickly added a disclaimer with a huge smile “There’s no whiskey in it oh! I had it filled with communion wine, so that with each sip you remember the blood of Christ and that you all have responsibilities today, so don’t get carried away.” Everyone but Segun found this funny.

Wuralewa ~ Gold Beauty

“Hi you must be Williamson, the photographer? Do come in.” Wuralewa welcomed, offering Williamson a beaming smile. “Tara will be ready in a bit, the rest of us are ready though.”

Wuralewa, was a petite, deep-brown and full figured UK size twelve babe, who carried herself with so much grace, and not because it was her best friend’s wedding day, but because she had always carried herself well. Her mother encouraged “lady-like” behaviour, no slouching, no elbows on the table and so on since she was small. Wuralewa’s smile had God’s signature on it, if one looked close enough they would find it in the form of a beauty spot on the left side of her top lip. Her sunken dimples appeared each time she smiled, which was all the time! She was always smiling or laughing, those closest to her rarely ever saw her lose her cool, unless during a trip to Mushin market when her haggling stance was in full effect, only after her price had been agreed is when she would offer her golden smile.

As Maid of Honour or as the church programme listed “Chief Bridesmaid”, she wore a fitted floor length Orchid-purple silk gown with a lace illusion neck-line, designed by Nigerian designer Lilian of Lilies Fashion House. It was Tara’s choice that all dresses and outfits for the wedding be designed by Nigerian designers, she was an avid supporter of the #BuyNigerian/#MadeInNigeria movements. Each of the four bridesmaids wore similar dresses in different shades of purple to match with the wedding colour scheme Adeiye and Tara had chosen, Purple and Coral. Wuralewa had not been sure about the colour scheme initially, till the night before when they had the rehearsal dinner and visited the reception hall. It was the most beautiful wedding decor set up she had ever seen and it was not even finished.

“Tara, love. Williamson is here to take our photos, I’ll let him take us first then he can take pictures of you with the finishing touches.” She smiled at Taraoluwa, “girl, you look so beautiful.”

Taraoluwa and Wuralewa had been friends since primary school, they went to secondary school together and both studied in the UK at Kingston University. They both decided to come back to Lagos (Taraoluwa returning before Wuralewa did) and both found great jobs; Taraoluwa as a Business Advisor & Consultant and Wuralewa as a Clinical & Occupational Psychologist. Both their jobs were trying at times, but they spurred each other on in prayer, good gist and enough night outs to suppress their doubts about their return to Nigeria.

Williamson had finished with the ladies and left the room, Taraoluwa was so excited and pleased to see her girls looking amazing beside her, all of them will now be married women except Wuralewa. Taraoluwa hugged each of her friends, Bola, Sharon and Ope and asked if they, the make-up artist and hairstylist could give her the room to speak with Wuralewa.

“Is everything ok?” Wuralewa asked, still smiling although her eyes seemed worried.

“Wura, everything is more than ok! It’s perfect. I just wanted to have this moment with you and tell you thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me, especially for this wedding. If it was money I needed, I received a bank alert from you. If it was your suggestion I required, you gave it. If I needed to rant, you allowed me to! You did all this and more without complaining and even encouraged me throughout this process. Thank you so much for being an amazing sister-friend. I thank God for you, and I ask that as He has used you to bless me, that He will use me to bless you when such a time like this comes for you.”

Wuralewa frowned a little bit at the last statement. “But Tara. You’ve been a blessing to me already. As for this wedding talk on my behalf, you already know where I stand, right now I’m good where I am. You know this now! Girl today is your day, so please, let’s just focus on that.” With all her smiles, Wuralewa was also a very frank person especially when it came to her relationship status.

Taraoluwa laughed “Babe, relax. I’m just praying for the future. I don’t deny that the gift of singleness is good for you and it’s clear you’re doing well, I just desire the gift of marriage for you that’s all.” She hugged Wuralewa to appease her and then made a joke when separating their embrace, “Hmmm. Normal people will say “Amen” to such prayers, you you’re here frowning your face, you better smile oh! “Aunty smile-for-me-24-7!”” They both laughed, when Taraoluwa brought up Wuralewa’s secondary school nickname.

The Church: Adeiye ~ Crown of Salvation & Taraoluwa ~ From God’s Own Body

There she was a vision of priceless beauty.

There he was, the most handsome man in the room.

They met each other’s eyes as she walked down the aisle.

A tear, he held back, only to release it.

Tears of joy had a new meaning. Joy walked towards him in the form of Taraoluwa.

She approached joy, joy in the form of Adeiye.

She wanted to walk faster to examine the joy she would call her own. But she would wait a few more “1-2-3-step” if it meant examining him for a lifetime.

He wanted to run towards her, for her steps were counted and paced. But he would wait another few seconds if it meant beholding her walk for a lifetime.

Her King.

Hair and beard neatly groomed like a man of great importance. He was important to her. He was dressed in the finest cloth made by Nigerian hands. He wore a slim-fitted bespoke Mai Atafo three piece black suit that emphasised every angle he had, from his broad back to his long athletic arms. Everything about him, from head to toe was chiseled so well that you would think God used an Oxford Maths set to design him. She saw his arms again, arms that will forever embrace her. The suit enveloped his long frame in a way that would have had James Bond asking “may I know who your tailor might be?” His blazer was accented with a coral fabric flower lapel pin, a silk coral pocket square and on his feet, socks to match. Her smile showed up like an unexpected guest when she spotted the socks in his black patent leather penny loafers, but she made haste to stay focused on his eyes. “My Bride I await you” is what his eyes said.

His Queen.

Her hair pulled back into the sleekest of buns, only serving the purpose to show off her beautiful face and caramel complexion. Her make-up was so natural that it had him question whether she even had make up on. It was a testament to her natural beauty, than the craftsmanship of the make-up artist. For earrings she had on the rare bi-colour Tanzanite diamond studs, which he gifted her the night before. With a bouquet of white roses in her hand, she walked in as if entering her coronation in the glory of her off-shoulder a-line Princess dress. The colour of the silk dress was the purest white ever seen! It was almost blinding and at the same time a necessary sight to behold (preferably with sunglasses). It was so simple and plain but at the same time luxurious. To accentuate the ways in which God had blessed her, a braided coloured sash-belt sat on the lower part of her torso. Taraoluwa with no colour on her clothing was unheard of, a pop of colour was her thing. The sash-belt enhanced with Swarovski Crystals that reflected off the light, was made from satin silk pieces in lilac, coral and a dark blood-orange piece which was tied at the back of the dress. During the reception, with him standing with her, she would be asked by guests why she added the coloured sash-belt, she would respond so eloquently “a three strand chord is not easily broken. The purple represents me, the coral piece represents my darling husband and the red-ish piece represent Christ. Don’t you love how that piece is in the centre?”  But first he needed to receive her from her father, promise her “I do”, place a second ring on her finger, hear her being renamed “…and Mrs. Adetide-Cole”, before anointing her with a kiss filled with faith, hope and love.

***

“This is the day of joy, the day of joy, the day of jooooyyy! This is the the day of joy, the day of joy, the day of joy.” Sister Sheila belted out the familiar African chorus with the choir as Adeiye and Taraoluwa headed out towards the sanctuary doors with family and friends in tow. Maybe it was all the pushing and mini rush to leave that made Segun feel a little “tight” and unsettled, but he had a sickening familiar feeling that he was being watched. He looked to the left of him and to his right, nothing out of the ordinary, except that one Aunty holding up her iPad to take pictures of everyone leaving. “No. Someone is watching me.” He uttered silently to himself. He bravely turned back, and it was Pastor OH looking at him, looking at him as if he owed money. The intensity in Pastor OH’s eyes had Segun feel like he was being exposed. For what? He could not say.

Segun pushed through the crowd a little to catch up with Adeiye and his new wife, with Dayo and the others trailing behind.

Nudging Dayo, Segun asked, “What’s with your Pastor? He’s a bit intense don’t you think?”

“AYE!! PASTOR OH BE MY GUY MEHN!!” Dayo said, jumping up and down saluting an invisible Pastor OH like a Lagos area boy. “He is legit! It’s too serious eh!!” Dayo said waving his hands, “In fact, even seriousness sometime ask Pastor OH make he calm down. See eh! Him sabi Bible well well! He go use English Bible and translate am to Latin, from Latin na to Greek. Onccceeee he now finish for the Greek, he now go add Hebrew on top am and translate am back to English only to give the Yoruba translation too!” Dayo excitedly explained criss-crossing his index fingers over each other to emphasise Pastor OH’s ability to define words in these languages. “He de make sense oh! MY GUY! PASTOR OOOOOH!” Dayo continued saluting again.

Not understanding Dayo’s response, Segun shook his head asking himself “why did I even bother?”

The Wedding Reception

The atmosphere of the reception hall was infectiously electrifying! There were approximately five hundred guests from all over the world who had made it to Lagos just for the newly weds. Friends of the bride, friends of the groom, friends to their parents and endless family members. Nearly every guest honoured the dress code “Strictly Traditional – Prints and Styles, Colours: Any shade of Purple or Coral” as mentioned on the invitation, and of course attendance was by invite only (security at the door made sure of this). Those fortunate enough to be extremely close with the families of Adeiye and Taraoluwa were decked out in Aso Ebi made of the best see-through French lace in a nice toffee brown colour, that offset all the purple and coral being worn by others. When picking the lace material Taraoluwa’s Mother, Mrs. Badmus, had given instruction to the fabric merchant “You see Madam Best Fabric in Lagos, for my daughter oh, you are going to have to be Madam Best Fabric in the World. Nothing short of elegant and luxurious. Oh you don’t know? One Adetide-Cole is marrying my daughter, so if you know what’s good for you and your enterprise, you better do correct and be fast about it.” Taraoluwa had shaken her head, her mum had a special Nigerian way with words, “surely it shouldn’t be this stressful to find Aso Ebi!” but she let her mother be in her Mrs. Badmus-I-know-what-I’m-doing-way, she had to for her own safety and peace of mind. When she had set her eyes on her guests earlier at church, she admitted to herself, “Mum and Madam Best Fabric in Lagos came through!”

Colour everywhere, a wedding reception that burst at the seams with so much vibrance and love, a prayer that had been answered.

Chidi ~ God Exists & Morayo ~ I See Joy

Hashtag couple goals, would be found in the comments section of their Instagram page and YouTube channel, Chidi and Morayo Igwe (#4evaMoChi) – Nigeria’s latest social media IT COUPLE had just made it to the reception. They missed the wedding ceremony as they were guest speakers discussing “Our First Year” at a relationship event in the afternoon, but when they did enter, everyone they walked past noticed. To describe them to others, their fans called them the real life Nigerian Barbie & Ken. Everything about them was put together. Not a strand of hair out of place, not a piece of lint could be found on their person. They were really the ‘ish and they basked in their popularity and took up the opportunities that came from it. They were a brand, and from their thirty-minute speaking engagement earlier the brand had made seven hundred thousand Naira.

“Oh my gosh Chidi! This venue is amazing! Makes me want to get married again! Look at the acrylic throne seats! I just loooove!” Morayo’s English accent was most prominent and high pitched when she was excited about something, some found it annoying because she was often excited, but Chidi loved it about her.

The African music blared out of the speakers as they walked in almost on beat to the music through the tent like venue. To each other Chidi and Morayo pointed out things they noticed like the warm-white uplighting against the walls which made the venue seem nice and cozy a nice touch of course. Chidi pointed out to Morayo that the floral arrangement of white and pale coral roses used as centrepieces, resembled what they had at their wedding last year – unimposing and elegant so guests could see each other and the stage clearly. All fifty large round tables were draped in white linen table cloths and the ten acrylic seats on each table, were fitted with purple cushions matching the throne seats reserved for Adeiye and Taraoluwa. Warm-white icicle lights were used to decorate the wall behind the throne seats and were also used to decorate the ceiling, everything about the wedding decor was simply elegant and bright.

Chidi and Morayo walked further into the venue to find their table when they noticed Segun ahead sitting two tables from the dance floor. “Dima, that’s Segun right?” Morayo asked Chidi.

“Yeah. That’s him.” Chidi tensed slightly. He had not seen or heard from his best friend much since his wedding last year. He recalled that the three out of four times they met, it was by accident on the tube and even then Segun had seemed off. Chidi knew that seeing his best friend was inevitable, so rather than prolong what was bound to happen he suggested to Morayo that they go and sit with Segun. “He’s the only one on his table and at this point of the reception I don’t think the seating arrangement is in use anymore.” Morayo agreed not before asking, “Are you sure?”

“Yes. I’m sure. Trust me.” Chidi brought his wife’s left hand to his lips and kissed her on ring finger, it was his way of saying “thank you for looking out for me.”

“Are these seats taken?” is what Segun heard. The familiar voice called him out of a pondering session just in time before a panic attack came. He welcomed the voice. Looking up at who was talking to him he was surprised to see Chidi and Morayo. He had not spoken to them in a while and it was his fault for that, he knowingly kept a distance from them because of the memories he was afraid that being around them would bring up, so it surprised him when he did not feel “uncomfortable” when he saw them in front of him, instead he felt a sense of peace and relieved that his right leg stopped twitching.

“Erm. No. These seats aren’t taken. Everyone is on the dance floor.” He stammered back and pointed to the packed dance floor. Everyone was having so much fun from the looks of things, especially Adeiye and Taraoluwa dancing and singing along to each other the “Odo” remix by Ghanaian artist KiDi. Before entering the wedding reception, Adeiye had pulled Segun aside and told him to get it together and to stop thinking about “The Incident”. For Segun, his way of getting it together was sitting out the cardio workout called dancing; now had the old Segun been around, he would have been on the dance floor owning everyone with his moves.

“Long time Segun. How have you been?” Morayo asked with a little coldness in her voice as they sat down. She was ready to defend and protect her husband that’s for sure. Chidi had really been upset about the breakdown in relationship with Segun and worried about him too and she was not going to let that happen again. Chidi knowing exactly what was going through Morayo’s mind, softly patted her hand when her grip on his shirt sleeve began to intensify.

“Honey. You know what, I’m hungry. Could you prepare me a plate please?” Chidi whispered to Morayo, thanking God that the buffet area was far down the hall, that way he would have some time to speak to Segun without having Morayo ready to tell Segun about himself. From the looks of things, Segun already knew about himself. Morayo sighed understanding exactly what her husband was asking. She stood up staring at Segun daring him. Still looking at Segun as she rose, she tugged on her tight aso ebi dress, adjusted her gele, rolled her eyes, kissed her teeth and then turned to her husband smiling “Dima, pounded yam or jollof?” “Pounded yam please.” Chidi smirked and shook his head. His wife could defend better than some Premier League Football Clubs. She warned Segun one last time with her eyes, before strutting away to prepare her husband’s meal.

“Sorry about that bro!” Chidi laughed, “she’s just looking out for me that’s all.”

Chidi was grateful in that moment, grateful that the evening was off limits for vlogging as per Adeiye’s request and that Morayo was purposely taking her time to allow him have this moment with his brother, he was pretty sure she bumped into a few subscribers on her way to the buffet area. Segun apologised countless times for the way had been acting and even disclosed why and what had happened at his wedding last year. Chidi never did get the full story, surprisingly for Chidi he did not know the girl from Segun’s “The Incident” story, as Segun called it. Segun was fidgety the whole time he recounted the story to him, he had never seen Segun like this. Chidi said a prayer for his friend in his heart because it was clear something was up and made a mental note to himself to ask his wife about this friend of hers that Segun spoke of.

“So you guys are like superstars now.” Segun stated, wanting to change the topic.

“Something like that.” Chidi said smirking again with his head down looking at wooden floors. “Well, it’s all great and fun at times, but we’ve noticed that we put so much out there about us in such a short space of time. It really is another full time job, keeping up appearances and always smiling for people you don’t know because a frown might affect our brand. It’s just a lot to have embarked on as newly weds with little focus as to why we wanted to do this, except that everyone’s doing it,” he sighed with relief “so we’ve decided to actually give it all a break and just get back to us and importantly God because it’s been a while. You know? Maybe we’ll actually figure out what we really want to do. Bro, if you’re not strong hearted, putting yourself out there for the world to see, praise and critique will eventually become too much to handle and thank Jesus that we haven’t hit that point. That’s why we’re taking the break so we don’t ever get to that point, by God’s grace. In this past year alone we’ve met many couples doing what we do all for the brand and not for anything else, it’s sad. I don’t want to make money from my life only to have no life.”

“I watched a few of your videos you know, so is this where I ask for my cut?” Segun joked. “But in all honesty, I feel you brother. God willing the break will be beneficial to you both.” Segun said wiping his hands repeatedly on his knees.

“You got jokes! But I pray so too.” Chidi said looking concerned as he watched Segun’s repetitive behaviour.

One would think Morayo had been listening to their conversation the whole time because she appeared with two plates of pounded yam and all it’s trimmings just as they finished talking.

“Dima. Here’s your food.” She placed a plate before her husband and the other for her before looking at Segun. With her nosed turned upwards she nodded slightly towards him – the nod simply said “Hi Segun. If he forgives you I do to, but I’m not talking to you just yet. Let me finish my pounded yam first. Love you bro.” Strangely enough, Segun understood every unspoken word from Morayo’s nod.

As they ate and gisted with Segun, Morayo looked up and around seeing if she noticed any of their other friends who were invited. Mid bite into her layer of pounded yam, efo riro and beef that she excitedly received from her fork she notice her old friend Oluwakunmi. “Dima. That’s my friend Kumz over there, remember her? She was out our wedding.”

Both Chidi and Segun looked to the direction where Morayo’s eyes were fixed on and instantly Chidi put two and two together when he noticed that Segun seemed frozen. Segun was officially reliving the very nightmare he prayed so hard against.

Her: Oluwakunmi ~ God Fills Me | Kumz

I’M ON MY WAY. JUST STUCK IN TRAFFIC ON 
THIRD MAINLAND BRIDGE. LOVE YOU. ❤

She nervously clicked send on the Whatsapp message to her husband, “Love You” she repeated to herself at the back of the Uber taking her to the wedding reception.

“Ma! You say?” the Uber driver asked.

“Oh nothing, nothing, I was just thinking out loud.” She replied back with a smile that appeared like a worn and fraying carpet. She could not smile, she had not smiled in a while. The Uber driver looking at her with his rear-view mirror just nodded in response, after all his only aim was to drop her off at her destination and not become her shoulder to cry on, because she did look like she was going to cry.

“Ma! Rate me five stars oh, I de need the rating. Thank you Ma. God Bless you Ma.” The Uber driver shouted to Kumz like a rehearsed chorus, and she definitely did not like being called “Ma!” as young as she was, granted she had four children already, but she was not a “Ma!” not one bit! She gave him four and a half stars for the “Ma” reference.

Her willingness to remain thinking about her Uber experience after being dropped at the venue, was just a way for her get her mind off her current realties, had she thought about how unloved she felt from her husband, she would have been tempted to call her Ma-Uber driver back, but she was here now, hopefully he’ll see the effort she made today. “Hopefully this dress isn’t too tight or revealing?” she mumbled to herself as she smoothed it out, looking at her reflection in one of the large french windows of the venue. One last thing before she walked in,

I JUST GOT HERE. I’M MAKING MY WAY IN NOW.

His phone vibrated twice to alert him of the WhatsApp messages he just received from Kumz, his wife. Trying to open the messages to read them Dolapo, the extremely eager youth choir drummer called out to him “Pastor OH! Let’s take a selfie. You’re the only one that I haven’t taken a picture with.” Dolapo not waiting for Pastor OH’s consent for a photo, had already stretched his basketball player arms in the air to take the picture, Pastor OH could not back away now. Thankfully Dolapo was happy with the picture taken and bounced off to disturb some of the girls from church for a selfie. Pastor OH shook his head smiling because Dolapo reminded him so much of his four children, they always had so much energy. Mid-thought he remembered his wife, he looked up searching for her through the crowd of wedding guests and saw her standing by the entrance of the hall. He saw her and she was stunning! Everything about her was just stunning.

He stood staring at her for a few seconds as her eyes darted across the room to find him, in those seconds he took inventory of his wife. Her hair was braided in canerows with the ends wrapped to form a bun that rested on her nape, some braids were chunky and every other braid was thin, she had said to him once that it was the new style and that she was thinking of getting it done for the wedding. He did not care then, but seeing her tonight, he saw her beauty for the first time in a long time. Her make-up was light and natural and she wore a matching silver stoned earring and pendant set. His eyes surveyed her some more, from her pastel-peach coloured Adire midi-dress, to her matching pumps and clutch bag, when he noticed the bag, he noticed her wedding ring too “Oh she found it then?” he thought. His survey was now over and memories past now crept in when he decided to approach her. Maybe he had taken his eyes off her for a little while when he pondered about his wife’s wedding ring, but looking up to her face again he saw that she was no longer searching for him, her eyes were fixed on Segun.

“Oh no, no, no, no.” She muttered to herself, like the maid from the film Get Out. “God why? Why is he here? Why Lord? The first wedding my husband willingly invites me to as his guest and this loser from last year is who I see.” Her “almost” tears from her Uber ride were now knocking on her tear ducts for release. She would not allow them to fall. She had cried enough guilt and repentant tears to last her a lifetime. “I must find OH.” She broke her gaze with Segun and turned her head to see her husband standing right in front of her looking extremely angry.

“Who’s that she’s taking too?” Chidi asked Morayo not wanting to give too much away to his wife, since Segun had gone mute and looked like a deer staring at the headlights of an approaching car.

“That’s her husband. Everyone calls him OH. He’s a Pastor you know? Strange fit for a couple, because if I tell you about Kumz! That girl back in the day was…” Morayo was ready to drop gist, not before being interrupted by Segun’s abrupt self-dismissal running out towards the venue doors with one hand clutching his torso and the other hand over his mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick!” he whispered before darting outside. He needed not to be here! This was a mess! A BIG MESS!

Pastor OH pulled his wife away from the entrance area to one of the empty tables near by, he really wanted to hug her there and then and tell her “I forgive you”, but seeing her stare at Segun brought back the feelings of heartbreak all over again.

Not knowing what to say or do, Kumz closed the gap between herself and her husband and said “I’m so sorry OH.” He could not hear her well over the music that was playing but he knew exactly what she had said and he felt convicted immediately hearing God softly say, “Forgive her. I have.” Just about when he wanted to utter words of forgiveness to his wife, Segun ran past them both.

Confronting Fears

“When will I wake up?” Segun repeated over and over to himself as he found himself outside. “She’s a Pastor’s wife?” he questioned. He found a plastic white seat reserved for the security team and sat on it, with his head down and his hands on his head with his fingers interlocked. He kept rocking back and forth, feeling as if he was drowning. He could not breathe. “Why me? Jesus why me? I’ve apologised, I’ve changed and now this?” He continued rocking and questioning God.

“Here. Take this, it will make you feel better.”

Segun lifted his head slightly to see a bottle of cold water almost being shoved in his face, he needed it. He had taken the water first, before looking at who offered it, then he realised that voice was only known to him from the wedding ceremony. It was Pastor OH. Segun rebuked himself for not seeing who it was first that offered him the water before taking it, now he was hesitant to open the water.

Pastor OH maintained an emotionless expression watching Segun debate with himself if the water was safe. “Listen,” Pastor OH started, “You need to drink water, you don’t look too good. The water is fine. Drink up.” Pastor OH gave the instruction in such a pastoral way that Segun had to do as he was told. He consumed that water like a Dyson vacuum cleaner avoiding eye contact with Pastor OH.

“Thank you. I… needed that.” Segun said sheepishly.

Staring ahead at the venue hall, Pastor OH nodded, then started, “I know who you are. God told me exactly who you are shortly after you all left church today.” Pastor OH paused to let his words sink in for Segun, and to actually hear what God was instructing him to tell Segun. Pastor OH had forgiven his wife as per instruction, now he was sitting with Segun, as per instruction, apparently God was in a very instructive mood this evening, and vessel of choice was Pastor OH. He told Segun that he just had a feeling that he knew him from somewhere even though they had never met.

“I’ve always loved her, you know, and I’ve always taken her back each time and I accepted the pregnancy too. It’s been mad being married to her! Seven years! A whole seven years of marriage, most of which I spent praying for her safety and that God would change her. And then you happened last year.”

Segun shifted his eyes to avert Pastor OH’s eyes when he eventually turned to look at him.

“Segun, I don’t know the kind of people you have in your corner, but you really do have a multitude of people praying for you. I’m sure Kumz told you that I was away on church business when she met you? That was a lie. It was actually my birthday that day and I had called her to talk to her and the whole thing turned into an argument. When she dropped the phone, I decided that I wasn’t taking her back anymore. When she came back home I was ready to throw her out, and then I saw real fear in her eyes and she started confessing everything she had done and kept asking forgiveness. Once I got over the initial shock of her change in behaviour, we sat and we spoke, she said the craziest thing – she said that you talk in your sleep, imagine hearing that as her husband – but yeah, she said you talk in your sleep, on the hour every hour you were in her room you’d mumble some words and end whatever you were saying with “Jesus. Amen”. She tried waking you up but you wouldn’t budge, and the more you kept at it, the more she became afraid, that’s why she left you in her room that night, she booked the next ticket home.”

Segun sat stunned at what he was being told. Before “The Incident” last year, he rarely ever prayed when he was awake how was it possible that he was maybe praying in his sleep after a rendezvous with a married woman, a Pastor’s wife, who he did not even know. He did not want to believe it.

Pastor OH sensing Segun’s confusion carried on, “I’ve told you what I wanted to tell you, but now listen to what God wants to tell you Oluwasegun Adetide-Cole. God has been nudging me to tell you that He loves you deeply. Such depths of love that cannot be measured or quantified. He says to you have peace that surpasses all human understanding and eternal joy. He says He will help you live out your name Oluwasegun – ‘God is Victorious,’ because He really has been. He has saved you from so much and blessed you with even much more.” Pastor OH paused to tell if he really heard God correctly on the last message to Segun. “Erm, He… He also says, your doctor was right with the diagnosis, and that you should take his advice about getting a therapist for your condition He wants you to be sound mind, spirit, soul and body. The Lord says be anxious about nothing.” By this time Segun eyes were red with disobedient tears falling both sides of his face, each time he wiped his face the tears came back with full force. Pastor OH placed his arm over Segun in a way that made them look like an old school B-Boy crew, except in suits. With each heave Segun’s six foot frame released, Pastor OH’s arm would move in a choreographed-like unison. Pastor OH really felt for Segun and silently prayed for him. When Segun had calmed down, Pastor OH turned to Segun telling him, “If God holds nothing against you, neither do I.” A fresh wave of tears were on the brim of spilling over again, this time Segun successfully held them back.

“Thank you so much. You’re a better man than I am, that’s for real.” Segun sniffed.

Pastor OH let out a faint chuckle, “Trust me. If it literally wasn’t for God, I would not be here right now. I would have probably come out to spew a few choice words at you, but you see, the way My God is set up, I can’t get away with that. God has been really teaching me about His love and forgiveness through my own very real and personal experiences and then He has me preach every other Sunday on the same topic. I can’t escape God’s redemptive love.”

Segun admired how sure Pastor OH was of God, and liked the fact that Pastor OH was honest enough to tell him what he really felt. Segun did have one nudging question to ask Pastor OH, “Thank you for being honest with me. I have an off-topic question to ask though,” he sniffed again, “what does OH stand for?”

Pastor OH did not seem surprised by the question, God had already told him to prepare to tell someone new his name, now it all made sense. “My name,” he smiled, “my name is not as off topic as you think it is. OH stands for Oluwaranmipada Hosea. You can understand why saying ‘OH’ is less time consuming? My first name means ‘The Lord Has Called Me Back’ and my middle name, Hosea, means ‘Salvation.’”

Brand New

Chidi had come out to check on Segun after a while, he had seen Kumz’s husband run after Segun, but felt God tell him not to follow behind not even when Morayo, was pressing him to check on his friend.

Ahead of him Chidi saw the two men talking in what looked like a sobering moment for Segun, it was clear that whatever they discussed had benefited Segun.

***

The African music coming from the hall got louder as Segun followed Chidi to head back inside leaving Pastor OH behind. On their way back in they brushed past a few guests leaving for the night, one of the guests in crowd was Kumz. In their brief crossing of paths Segun could see the change that her husband spoke of, her demeanour now seemed humble. They purposely avoided eye contact with each other as she rushed out to see to her husband. Chidi turned to Segun and gave him an all knowing look that translated as “everything will be fine.”

After such an intense few minutes both physically and emotionally, Segun decided that sitting down in a less rowdy part of the hall would be the wisest thing to do especially now that the exclusive By Ree cosmetics range was being distributed as one of the many wedding favours Adeiye and Taraoluwa had picked for guest. Poor hostesses, guests had gathered around them like bees on a hive. Segun shook his head at the sight, sitting away from that would give him time to take in everything that had transpired. He watched on ahead looking at the guests and prayed prayers of thanksgiving, slowly drifting into his own world. He had travelled so far on that he had not noticed when Wuralewa had come to sit by him at his table.

“Segun, ah ah! How many times do people have to call your name?” Wuralewa asked with a beaming smile. Her Maid of honour duties were finally done and she successfully got her hands on the Lip Balm By Ree Mini Set so she decided to have a seat and rest her tired feet. She was removing her heels when she saw Segun sitting alone and thought it would be the best time to finally talk to him. She had been meaning to do so all week, especially now that she figured out that Segun was the “friend” Adeiye came to seek medical advice on three months ago.

“Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t hear you, I was in my own world.” He flashed a smile back at her. There was something so warm about her and that was not the first time he thought so.

“Are you ok?” She asked genuinely.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m good. Well I’m getting to good.” He smiled a sad-happy smile.

“That’s great to hear Segun. I’m glad.” She looked hesitant for a second, like she wanted to say more  but was afraid to.

“Out with it already.” Segun teased, wanting to make her feel comfortable.

“Well, this might seem a bit forward, but I’ve been watching you these past few days.” She started just before Segun stopped her.

Oh no! He was not falling for this again, “Listen. Wura. I’ll just be honest with you. Right now I’m not interested in relationsh…”

Wuralewa tilted her head to the side because she was genuinely confused at what Segun was about to say and started laughing before he could finish his sentence.

“See this one oh! Wawu! You’re brave sha! So because of fit-fam, shape up, this small beard and your two dimples…” she didn’t finish her sentence but started a new one instead. “See ehn, the jokes on you because that’s not what I was going to bring up.”

Segun felt embarrassed.

“Anyway like I was saying before you interrupted me, I’ve been watching you these past few days that we’ve all hung out and I wanted to ask if you’ve seen a doctor yet?” Seeing Segun’s perplexed face she carried on to offer her reasons for asking. “You see, I’m a qualified Clinical Therapist and I’ve observed that you’re incredibly anxious, although you do look relaxed now. I mean look, your leg isn’t twitching anymore which is good. I want to give you my professional opinion, if you would allow me to?”

Segun could not respond, “she’s given enough of her opinions already, why ask for permission now?” He thought but wisely kept his mouth closed. She took his silence as permission and continued.

“Well I think you could have a mild form of PTSD, erm Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s an anxiety disorder that’s caused by a stressful, frightening or distressing event. Now I’m not asking that you tell me why you’ve been incredibly anxious since you’ve been in Lagos, but I strongly advise that you have it checked out to be sure. If you haven’t done so already, I can assist you with arranging an appointment with some credible therapists and doctors, either here or back in London. Just let me know and I’ll get it done.” Her smile appeared again like a full-stop to a perfect sentence.

He looked at her stunned and questioned himself, “So this is how God works?”

It Was All A…

Segun woke up at seven in the morning to the sound of his alarm which played “By Myself” by Deon Kipping.

He developed a habit of rushing to switch off his alarm as quickly as possible so not to wake everyone up. An early morning like this was the best for him because it meant that everyone was still asleep and it gave him time to chill with God. Perking himself up to sit, he picked up his black leather bible that was embossed with “Holy Bible – On Mission Youth Church”, he was not a member of OM-YC, the Bible itself was a gift from Pastor OH and happened to be Segun’s preferred Bible to use because it served as a daily reminder of God’s love for him. He prayed thanking God for His love and for waking up to see a new day. He took a moment to just focus on God’s goodness, then he looked over to the left of him mid prayer. There she was, the most beautiful woman in the world, his wife of three years. She was the woman of substance his mum always preached to him about back in the day, a hard-working and a hospitable woman. A woman who put God first before anything or anyone else, including him. She encouraged him through his daily battle with PTSD, offering her medical and wifely perspective and she prayed, oh how she prayed for him! Looking at her, the golden beauty God blessed him with, he laughed because even as she slept she still looked like she was smiling.

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. Ephesians 3:19 ERV

By @OlayideM

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7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Story: The Wedding Guest | DearLayide.com

  2. Tunde Ojeleye says

    Amazing. Simply amazing. Your talent is beyond description. Wow!
    I love yor creativity and the way you carried me along intrigued and captivated. You are a wonderful story teller.
    This is a story of God’s love and mercy. His amazing kind and gentle dealings with us His children. Inspirational.
    God bless you Layide. Don’t stop. Keep it coming.

  3. Yetunde Onifade says

    Hello Olayide,

    I just love this narrative. The way you’ve woven Nigerian names into Hebrew ones to indicate a biblical principle is so creative. And the themes of sin, repentance, forgiveness, redemption And healing is beautifully portrayed. I like the way you have raised awareness of mental health conditions too and the treatment that is available.
    And the you have graphically described Nigerian attire and functions, also promoting Nigerian culture whilst also showing western influences. And your description of black skin tone is instructive.
    Well done. May God bless your efforts with many more stories to come..

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