I walked to the altar, against madam’s wish. I mean, this is the house of the Lord; I wasn’t going to miss my blessings simply because someone didn’t approve of it. But somewhere in my mind I was thinking; what if they were calling us out so we would be asked to sow a seed or make one financial donation or the other? Haaaaa! That means hanty would laugh me to scorn when I return. I turned to look at her, and she gave me one very stern look like that; I ignored and walked even more majestically. What’s the worse that could happen? I’d just make a pledge and redeem whenever I can. At that point, I was willing to face anything but returning to her, thereby agreeing to the fact that I wasn’t single.
As expected, when the speaker called for ‘Single ladies’, hanty did not move an inch. In no time, the lady who had called us out stated her intentions. She wanted the Pastor and his wife who had been married for 35 years for stretch forth their hands and pray for the singles; with pastor praying for the guys and the wife for the ladies. This was so that whatever Grace kept their marriage for that long, would work for us when we eventually get married. At the Revelation of this, I was happy both in my spirit and soul. At this point, even if they asked us to drop money at the end, I wouldn’t mind. I lifted my head to the heavens, shut my eyes, opened my heart and my hands as though I was expecting something physically. The prayers went on, and the pastor and his wife touched every one of us standing, after which we were asked to return to our seats without asking for anything.
On my way back to where I was previously seated, I had the biggest grin on. I imagined the cold War that was going to take place before the official close of service, as hanty was still not smiling. Oh! If only Precious had come with me, this would have been a perfect time for us to take our leave. On getting to my seat, I noticed hanty had moved my jotter, biro and keyholder to a seat behind her, and kept a straight face so as not to establish eye contact with me. In my mind I was like, Good riddance!!! I sat down gently on my new seat, brought out my phone and saw a message from Precious asking if he could still come. I hissed, and kept my phone back in my pocket. After a short while, we shared the Grace and service came to an end.
She quickly picked her stuff and went out of the auditorium as though she didn’t come with anyone in the first place. I followed her closely and called out to her, Babe! What’s the problem? She didn’t even answer nor say a word to me. She soon joined her friends and they were exchanging pleasantries, leaving me to be standing like a lone wolf. I again walked up to her and told her I was leaving, stopped a bike and headed home. It was already almost 6.30, and the weather looked like it wanted to rain.
On getting to my street junction, I called her to inform her I was home; she didn’t take my calls. I thought to myself that she probably was still busy gisting with her friends, that she’d return my calls when she can. I continued walking down my street, when I heard a voice from behind; Hello! I turned, and it was a young fair lady, with a traveling bag, walking towards me. “Hi, my name is Chioma. Sorry to bother you, please this is my first time in Warri and I’m looking for one Chief James Efe, was told his house is on this street”. Oh! That’s my landlord, I live in his compound, it’s a few blocks down the street, I replied. Oh thank heavens! She heaved a sigh of relief. Come let me help you with your bag. I took the traveling bag from her, leaving her with her backpack and small handbag. We walked down to my compound and were chatting along the way. I found out she was a mixed breed of Ibo and Calabar, and was a serving Corp member posted to Warri. Chief James was a church member to one of her family friends, and he had offered to give her accommodation throughout her service year. We got home in no time, I dropped her bag in front of my landlord’s house and turned to go home. She called me back and asked for my number, I gave her, she dialed it on her phone and my phone rang. I turned to her to signify that I’d seen it, and entered my house.
I had just finished taking a shower when my phone message tone rang. I was like, oh! Maybe hanty had tried calling me when I was in the bathroom, and then messaged me. I picked up my phone, opened the message and it was from CORPER CHIOMA..
Hello, I just wanted to thank you for your help earlier, I really do appreciate. I’m still unpacking, but this house looks like it’s going to be boring for me. Do you mind if I stop by your place later so we could gist?
Ah ah! We just met less than 30mins ago and this one is already offering to come to my house? Issokay.. I tried calling hanty again, but she still didn’t take my calls. Well! Atleast I tried.
“Oh! OK. But maybe tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now and would want to go to bed early today. Welcome to Warri” was my response to her text. Ofcourse, it wouldn’t be proper for her to come to my house that night, I mean, I felt somehow about it; I wasn’t just comfortable with the idea. I knew we’d definitely get along later on because, my landlord is barely around as he works offshore, his wife and kids are in the US; so it’s usually his house keeper and cousin, who at the time had gone to the village, that usually stays in the house. Ofcourse she was going to be bored with time. But NOT TODAY!
It was 7:15pm, my relationship was hanging on a balance, and I’d just made a new friend who was an Ibo/Calabar mixed breed.