When I was younger, I was told to be bold and unafraid. I was taught courage at my family altar, yet I had often lived in fear. Over the past year, my life has been defined by minutes and seconds, not hours. There have been several moments that have been milestones, and turning points. I have had several opportunities to make decisions some based on courage, others based on fear, but they were all my decisions, foolish, wise and reckless. These are the minutes;
10:02 Arnold happened. I was blindsided and ever since then my life seems like someone else’s dream. Arnold was at a ‘young entrepreneurs’ event that I attended. I was trying to grow my natural hair business and needed advice on making wise investments. Enter Arnold, an investment banker, risk taker by nature, brave bold and courageous. Almost like Joshua but lacking the anointing. He was always honest with me. Straight to the point, he said he did not mix business with pleasure. He always put desire first.
18:45 Daddy called me. He sounded tired; he often attempts to look healthy and energetic, but I know he was tired. Though retired from his work as a civil servant, he is still a pastor of a small church in Epe. He has to be the only pastor I know that has not been occupied with ‘temple building’ as much as he has been occupied with ‘church planting.’ He and my mother have served God wholeheartedly, and sometimes I wish I had that same amount of passion. I often say that I need to encounter God to have that kind of love. But I know that is not true, as I have seen God’s hand in all steps of my life. Daddy was calling me early; he never called that early. He knew I was driving back from work. He was aware that I had a church program at Eight O’Clock. Daddy never called me on a Wednesday. He knew it was my busy day.
At 18:45 daddy called, and I answered on my Bluetooth. Dad said he had been disturbed all day by a dream, and he wanted to talk to me about it, but he didn’t know how. Daddy had never called me about dreams before. Mummy often spoke to me about dreams, often, they were related to marriage and weddings. Daddy said he was unsettled but could not tell me what he saw. So he said instead; ‘Ibinabo, do not forget your family altar. God has been good to you, remember to be good to Him too‘. I asked him what he meant; he said it was self-explanatory. I was perplexed for the rest of the night.
22:00 I was out of a church service, and I looked at my phone, I had three missed calls from Arnold. He had sent a text earlier and I told him I was in church, yet he had called several times. I answered he said he was two hours away and was coming over. He said he wanted to see me; I told him that I had work in the morning, and I couldn’t be late. He said it was ok; he would leave quickly. I could not talk him out of coming over; he said he was driving down to my flat. I called Tolani; I told her I would not be able to say no to him, she said I was silly. I said I knew what was coming she told me to shave my legs. Arnold arrived as planned that night and said he was ravenous. I later came to find, that he was always ravenous.
23:15 Arnold was sitting down in his home office. I loved that room; it was evidence of his dedication to his work and diligence. He had a huge year planner that was evidence of the conferences he was planning to attend and the milestones he intended to reach. The room was lit by natural light during the day and strategically placed lamps at night. He had filled the room with books on money matters and wealth creation, yet he did not know the price of a bag of rice.
I knocked on the door softly, and he asked me to come in. His face lit up as though he was looking at a bowl of ‘Edikaikong’, he loves food! I didn’t go in. He followed me into the living room where I sat on the sofa. He knew something was wrong, and I did not hold the truth back for too long, I showed him the four sticks with the positive blue lines on them. He said no, then he exclaimed ‘yes’ then ran into his bedroom.
Before I realized what was happening, Arnold was on his knees rambling something about planting a seed of faith that had germinated. He placed a 1.2ct solitaire on my finger, and it fit like a glove. I was wrong; Arnold was ecstatic.
07:00 Mother was calling me. She was offended by my decision. I spoke to daddy instead of her. I told her what I had decided to do. I said I was afraid yet felt it was the right thing to do. I apologized for the disgrace it will bring. I apologised for the tongues that will wag. I acknowledged the hell it would raise. He was upset but said nothing; mother was not so gracious. She yelled at the top of her lungs; I yelled at the top of mine. Like all our arguments, she never wanted to hear my point of view. This time, I knew she was right, the choice I had made was foolish at best.
I told her that I had to be good to God; she said I should have thought about that before I became pregnant.
I said; ‘It took becoming pregnant for a man I don’t want to marry to realise I needed to be good to God.’
She dropped the phone, and I cried some more.
My name is Ibinabo, and I am defiant.