Rita sat opposite Mrs. Funmi in an air-conditioned office in OLA and Co. Ltd. She had just finished an interview with the interviewing panelist some minutes back. She was the last candidate to be interviewed. Mrs. Funmi had taken Rita to her office after the interview. Mrs. Funmi is a distant relative of Rita’s late father. It was during the interview (of which she was part) that she discovered that Rita is the daughter of late Sam Benson. She got to know this after asking her some questions. Rita had narrated her ordeals of job hunting to Mrs. Funmi who in turn promised to do something about it. She told Rita to expect her call during the weekend. Rita thanked her profusely and left after some few more discussions. The words of Mrs. Funmi didn’t really sound convincing but she decided to keep hope alive.
As she stepped out of OLA and Co. Ltd, She remembered what transpired between her and Mr. Shola at Babcob Plc earlier that day. Mr. Shola is the Operations manager at Babcob Plc. She had gone to collect her letter of appointment which she was called over the phone the previous evening to come and pick up. Upon arrival, Mr. Shola had told her to come back for the appointment letter on Friday by 7.pm at Ebo hotel. She was reluctant at first but later collected his complimentary card and told him she would give it a thought. After all, her aunt had told her that is the trend and that was how she got her current job.
Rita’s Aunt had supported her financially while on campus, this made her to hold her aunt in high esteem. Rita had actually turned down many offers of employment because of this same reason. Some recruiters had been blunt enough to tell her that she must have to give her body in exchange for a job offer. Rita’s aunt always got mad at Rita whenever she informs her she lost a job opportunity because she couldn’t succumb to such agreements. Rita had so much on her mind (thinking of the next step of action to take) that when she got home, she decided to sleep over it.
Rita was awakened from sleep by the noisy atmosphere in the house that evening. Pearl and Caro were at it again. They were having another round of argument, and this was all because of Dele. This had been going on since the day Caro told her friends about her prince charming (Dele). Pearl was blunt in refreshing her memory about what they had learnt about godly principles of knowing and choosing a life
partner while on Campus.
Pearl told Caro that it is not a sin to love
a person because God is not stereotyped in his leadings. Her point was that Caro should be sure it is God’s leading and not just her emotions which may be dangerous. That evening, the argument started when Caro informed Pearl that she is having an outing with Dele that evening. Pearl had been so worried about Caro, she loves her friend dearly and does not want her to get hurt, but Caro is so blinded with emotions. Rita came in to intervene when it seems the two ladies will soon start tearing at each other. Caro marched out of the house in annoyance. “Who is Pearl to educate me, is she my pastor, after all, I am a child of God, I can’t be walking in the wrong path” She mumbled. In Dele she had found all that she ever desired, she thought. After all, Dele is also a born-again Christian
, so she can’t be wrong. “Who knows he might propose tonight” she said to herself excitedly.
It was a Friday morning; Pearl and Caro had gone to work. Rita just kept strolling up and down the room, what is she going to do? She was so confused. Mrs. Joy had called her from Warri the previous day; she told Rita about what God had impressed in her heart to inform her. She had prayed with her husband about it and had decided to inform Rita about it. That wasn’t the first time Mrs. Joy had called Rita to encourage her since she arrived Abuja but this one was different. Mrs. Joy had informed Rita that God will surprise her soon. She gave Rita a Bible passage “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40 vs. 31)”. She told Rita that her testimony is already on the way and she is sure of what God had said. Rita always opened up to Mrs. Joy but she couldn’t just tell her about Mr. Shola’s invitation; probably because she already knew the answer Mrs. Joy would give her.
Rita also thought of the dream Pearl had about her. Pearl had woken her up earlier that morning to inform her of the dream she had. In the dream, she saw Rita cooking a piece of meat in a pot which she kept on stirring until she was tired and decided to taste out of it. A man who she couldn’t recognize instructed Rita to put down the meat and be patient till it’s well cooked. “It won’t be long before it would be cooked” the man had said. But Rita was adamant; she wanted to eat the meat that moment at all cost. Pearl was pleading with Rita to listen to the man when she woke up. “What could that dream mean” Rita asked herself. Just then her phone rang, it’s her Aunt. Her Aunt had been calling her daily since she told her about Mr. Shola’s invitation.
“So, what is your decision, have you made up your mind? Her Aunt asked.
“Em, em, am still thinking about it” was Rita’s reply as she sat on the sofa.
Her Aunt had always told her that God from won’t come down from heaven to help her, she have to play her own part. According to her, it seems church dogmas and over-spirituality have blindfolded Rita from seeing the realities of life.
“Rita you are taking this too far. You told me the said Mr. Shola looks like a responsible man. Did he tell you he wants to sleep with you? Who knows, maybe there are some very important issues about the job he wants to discuss with you. After all he said you should meet him by 7pm, is that not early enough. Who will want to sleep with a lady at that time when the evening is still busy and knowing that he could be caught? Why are you drawing conclusions unnecessarily? I didn’t know you to be this judgmental. This your Christianity is too serious; I am also a Christian. You see, God loves you and don’t want to deprive you of your happiness but you keep depriving yourself because of your holier than thou attitude. My dear, there is nothing absolutely wrong with the invitation. Just go there by 7pm as he said and collect your letter of appointment” These were her Aunt’s words to her
“What if something serious happens? I will lose my salvation. Besides, how would I tell my friends that am going to a hotel to get an offer letter” Rita sincerely responded.
“You are a coward Rita. So because of your friends you will just sit, fold your hands and watch things get spoilt under your nose. Come on, don’t be stupid; didn’t your bible tell you God is a merciful God? No matter how grievous one’s sins are, God will always forgive. Even if anything happens against what you planned, you can always go back to God for repentance. I will not allow you lose this opportunity, never!” her Aunt said and dropped the call angrily.
Rita took her purse and brought out Mr. Shola’s complimentary card. She took up her phone to call him. At first, her hands were shaky but she suddenly summoned courage to dial his number. Mr. Shola picked up the phone at the third attempt. Rita told him the news he had been waiting for; “I will make it tonight”.
“Alright, just call me when you get there, I shall be expecting you” he said.
After Rita dropped the call, she noticed she had received a text message.
It reads “Dearly beloved, the scripture says ‘walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh’, wait till the meat is cooked for it won’t be long“
She trembled after reading the text message, it was from an unknown number. “Who could this be?” She wondered. She wasn’t in the mood for any introductions, so she decided not to call the number. She dropped her phone and switched on the radio. The first word she heard as she tuned in was “Abstain from every appearance of evil”. It’s a female preacher ministering on air. She switched off the radio. She thought it will be better getting herself busy with some house chores as she have no time for sermons at the moment.
Story by Christiana Okafor (nee Afeme)
photo credit: Google