HE SAID NO.
It was a couple of hours to Daniel’s church meeting. Amifel was folding her dried clothes when her phone beeped, she had a new mail from G-mobile telecommunications.
We are glad to inform you that you have been awarded the contract for the position of the event manager of G-mobile telecommunications for 1 year.
You are required to report to HR on or before 22nd of November 20**
She screamed hysterically as she flung her clothes in multiple directions.
“Yes! I got it! Yes! Thank you, Jesus!”
She sang as she assembled her clothes and folded them neatly, humming, and dancing happily as she did. The contract was a big deal, and there were quite a number of qualified persons other than herself, hence her getting picked could only have been by God’s favor.
She was done packing her clothes in less than 30 minutes and she proceeded to freshen up before getting dressed.
She was overly excited.
She just got an amazing job and she was going to see Daniel at church and of course Jesus!
Amifel looked briefly around for Daniel the moment she was ushered in, she didn’t see anyone that looked like him plus she came in quite early and so she found herself in one of the mid rows where she was surrounded by several tall people that made it quite difficult to see through the tightly packed crowd.
She was quite unsettled at first but she momentarily forgot about him as the meeting got heated up.
She really enjoyed the choir ministration, it was powerful.
The word session was an encounter that she wouldn’t forget in a jiffy. She was grateful that she came.
The program lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes thereabout and there and then, she started her eye scanning again.
Maybe he wasn’t even around. She decided it was best to call him.
She catwalked outside the church hall as she scrolled through her phone for his number.
Someone tapped her lightly on the shoulder from behind.
“Daniel! I have been looking all over for you.”
“I’m sorry, I was ushering at the far end of the hall. I saw you come in, but as much as I would have loved to, it would be unethical to call you. “
He was looking all radiant in his white shirt and black trouser which was fitted to his slim body, as usual, he had on his neck a rope attached to a tag that had the word, ‘Usher’ boldly inscribed on it. He sure was a good looking man.
“I get. It’s fine.” She smiled.
“You look beautiful by the way, I couldn’t help but notice.” He grinned.
She blushed as she became self-conscious all over again. ” Thank you.”
“And I must also say thank you for honoring my invitation. I am so so glad that you could make it. Trust you had a great time as I did?”
“I sure did. It was such a time of refreshing.”
“I am elated to hear that.” He smiled broadly. “Could you give me a few minutes, we have a brief meeting now. So, I could drop you off.”
“Great. Please come sit inside.” He suggested as he ushered her to an empty seat at a corner of the hall.
He has a car?
She didn’t know that. She busied herself with her phone while awaiting his return.
He came around a couple of minutes later.
They talked as they strolled to the park, towards his car.
“I should get you something to eat.”
“No, don’t worry. I am fine. I would eat when I get home.” She objected.
“It’s too late to start making dinner and I invited you here, so, please allow me.”
“I told you I stay with my friend, she would have made dinner.”
“Oh… that’s true. But I still insist. I would drop by an eatery on our way so we’ll get takeaway.”
He seemed more like a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer, she had no choice.
“So, for a moment I felt like you invited me to church because I looked like I need some sort of deliverance, especially after what happened when we last met.” Amifel chuckled.
“What!” he laughed hard and loud as he banged the side of his red Toyota Camry lightly. “Why on earth would you think that! Oh, God! Have you thought of doing comedy skits?”
“Really?” She giggled. “So, I have been meaning to ask you.” She cleared her throat, waking up his curiosity.
“What is the mystery behind your name?”
“Your surname to be precise. I can’t remember it right now.”
“Yes! What does it mean? “she said with a snap of her fingers.
“Well, let me start by saying it is nothing mysterious. What does it sound like to you?”
“I think the ‘Isu’ part means yam but I might be wrong… ”
“You tried… seems like you understand Yoruba a little.”
“Yeah, a little. My mom is Yoruba, so I understand it a bit.”
“Really, then you must have a Yoruba name, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do.”
“I would love to hear it.”
“Awwwwn… such a beautiful name. Do you know the meaning?”
“Yeah, it means God loves me. “ she made a face. “Thank you but I have not forgotten that you are yet to tell me the meaning of your name…” she smirked.
He laughed briefly before he continued. “ Promise me not to laugh.”
“That would be hard oh but I will try. Let’s hear it.”
“Well, I was told that it means that yam is enough to make pounded yam. ”
“What?” Amifel cackled uncontrollably.
“You promised not to laugh, you promised.” He repeated with a smile.
“I am sorry, I am sorry.” She said as she tried to suppress her laughter. “The meaning is really weird. Let’s stop talking about this so I won’t be tempted to laugh again.”
“I concur.” he grinned as they entered his car. “Have you heard from G-mobiles?”
“Yes, yes… I have. I received a mail from them just before I left for church and I got the contract!” She screeched excitedly.
“Oh wow. Congratulations! Super glad to hear that!”
“My friend told me that you had a really impressive portfolio. You sure deserved it.” he commended as he turned on the ignition.
“I am talking about Yomi, he works in the HR department.”
She could recall that one of the her interviewers introduced himself as Mr. Yomi.
“Oh…” she paused as she filled in the gaps silently. “Did you have anything to do with this?”
“Well, not exactly. I only spoke to him and buttressed the already existing points.” He smiled as he focused on the wheels.
“Wow! I really don’t know what to say right now. “
“You don’t have to say anything, you really deserve it.”
“Thank you, Daniel.” She said warmly.
“You are welcome.” he smiled as they zoomed out of the church premise.
Apart from Amifel’s intermittent directions and when they stopped at an eatery across the road, the rest of the drive home was a little silent.
Amifel barged in Grace feasting on an almost finished loaf of bread and sardine. She was half-n@ked.
“Put on something, Daniel is at the door.” She whispered as she gestured with her hands to show how urgent it was.
She scrambled for a top and hurriedly wore a mismatched skirt while keeping her meal at a safe corner as Amifel ushered Daniel in.
“Good evening sir.” Grace greeted as her face shaped into an awkward smile that graduated to amazement as she assessed him closely.”
“Good evening ma. My name is Daniel.” Daniel smiled back as he offered a hand.
“I am Grace.” She smiled. “My hand is a little dirty.” She continued meaning to decline his handshake. Her hands reeked of fish oil.
“It’s fine.” He chuckled.
“Please have your seat.” Amifel offered as she adjusted their plastic chair.
“No, Amifel. It’s fine, I just wanted to know where you stay and of course, see your amazing friend.”
“Seems like you guys talked a little about me, hope she told you nice things sha?”
Daniel giggled, he thought that Amifel was funny but her friend was even funnier.
“Yeah, she sure did.” He smiled. “I would love to be on my way now, it’s pretty late and I have quite a number of things to attend to before work tomorrow.”
“It’s fine sir. So good to finally meet you.” She clapped lightly.
Amifel saw him off to his car.
She got back to meet Grace ransacking the nylon she came in with.
“Did you keep anything there?” she asked mockingly as she sank in bed.
“At least put off your shoes now.”
“I am so tired.” She said, sitting up, she saw that Grace had already opened one of the two food packs that she brought in.
“You didn’t even ask where I got it from. Moreover, I thought you had already eaten?”
“That’s true oh. Where did you get it from?”
Grace shot her a smirk before she answered. “Daniel bought it at an eatery on our way home.”
“Awwwwwn… such a gentleman. He even got for me.” She continued as she accessed the chicken.
“God will save you from food.”
“I am even filled up already, I just wanted to check out the chicken. It’s big sha.”
“Better warm it up so it won’t get sour,” Amifel advised as she took her pack of food aside.
“Aren’t you warming yours?”
“No, I will have it after I take a bath.”
Amifel went in for a cold shower, there was a power outage and almost no hope that it would be restored before they slept.
She sat down with her meal afterward as Grace took her former position on the bed.
“Ami, have you even thought to pray about him?”
“Me.” She hissed. “Who else?”
“But he has not said anything yet.”
“Does he have to?”
“Yes, moreover, It’s a little too early to start thinking in that direction.”
“Well, I don’t see anything wrong in talking to God about someone who you have feelings for, especially if it looks like the feeling is mutual.”
“Yes, it would save you unnecessary emotional stress and trauma. It’s not only when things get complicated that you involve God, it starts from the seemingly insignificant details.”
“But, what if he says no again?”
“Then, you move!” Grace answered with a deadened emotion.
“It is so easy for you to say.”
“I don’t think it is that hard.” She said as she crossed her legs like she was practicing yoga. “Okay, let me start this way. Do you believe that God loves you?”
“Do you believe that he wants the best for you?”
“Now, let me ask you again. What if he says No?”
Amifel was quiet, she focused on her food instead.
“Grace, to be sincere. I don’t know where this is headed right now but I am enjoying the journey and I like this guy.
I am not sure but I think he likes me too and it feels good. The last thing I want to do right now is to cut this short, at least not right now. Let me enjoy my friendship with him while it lasts. ” she said, then she paused and looked into space.
“You know how long I have prayed and waited for a relationship. I feel like it would be better I wait till he voices out his intentions but sincerely, I am scared to pray about him.”
“Because God might say No, wait a little longer?”
Grace smiled as she began.
“The reason why you feel scared to talk to him is that you don’t really believe that he loves you.
The awareness of his perfect love towards us banishes fear. Apart from an awareness of wrong done, another reason why people feel reluctant to approach God is that they are not confident of his love for them.
God loves us Amifel, God loves you.
Let’s imagine it this way, you have a little daughter who is wandering close to hot iron. What would you do as a loving mother?”
Amifel was not ready for Grace’s rhetorical questions.
“Answer me now!”
“What kind of question is that?”
“I will warn her vehemently and if doesn’t want to listen, I would carry her away forcefully before she hurts herself.”
“So, do you think God, your heavenly father would do any less?”
Amifel sulked silently.
“God knows the end right from the beginning, he sees the things that we don’t see, and his duty as a father is to make sure that we don’t land ourselves in harmful situations.
The psalmist says it this way, ‘He makes us lie down in green pastures,
He leads us beside the still waters…” She paused.
“A still water signifies rest, peace, and quietness. That is what he wants for us, and that is where his leadings take us to. He wants us to dwell in safety. The culmination of his plans for us is to give us a future and hope.
I understand how you feel right now, but I would implore you to talk to God about him before things get more serious. It will save you both your precious time and emotions.
See, obeying God is non-negotiable o, if you say you won’t ask him now, when things spin out of control and you have no one to turn to, you will still have to find your way to his feet.
But the question is, why should we land ourselves in unnecessary troubles when we can avoid it altogether by acknowledging him in all our ways?”
“Uhmmm!” Amifel grunted loudly. “You are right, Grace. Totally. ”
“Please talk to our doting father, don’t leave him out.” She pressed further, Amifel focused on her food like she was seeing a vision. “I am serious!”
“I have heard you now. I will pray about us…him” she corrected herself as she packed her plate into the kitchen.
“Meanwhile, the guy seems nice sha ànd very handsome.”
“You see why I must not hear a No,” Amifel said, sounding sad.
Grace laughed hysterically.
“You want a fine boy!”
“Yes na, even your Mike with his already tushed up dressing is very fine. I deserve a fine man too!” She sulked as she removed a wooden toothpick from its container.
“No, be only him fine for this world abeg.”
“Lest I forgot, I got the contract at G-mobiles, all thanks to God and Daniel.”
“Awwwwn… So sweet. Daniel is beginning to impress me already.”
“Beginning to, you say? I am already impressed!” Amifel cackled.
“My bad, I have not even said congratulations.”
“Then say it!”
“Congratulations baby!” Grace yelled as she hugged her right on the plastic chair where she was seated.
“Thanks, sweet. ”
“I didn’t even ask how the program went. See me oh! Misplace priorities, we have been talking about man.” She laughed.
Amifel started the gist right from when she stepped into the church. The night seemed like it was going to be a long one, they had so much to talk about and Grace was as ready as ever to listen to the tiniest details.
Amifel had been fasting and praying for 3 days straight, she had cleared her schedule for that purpose.
She broke her fasts in the evening and up till then, she had seemingly not heard anything from God. Her ears had been on alert and she had been itching to hear the golden yes.
Be it Yes or even No, she heard nothing.
As she broke her fast on the evening of the third day with boiled egg, butter, tea, and sliced bread, she was a little disappointed and was even contemplating extending her fast.
“Till when?” Grace asked.
“I can’t say right now,” she said as she took a sip of tea. “Maybe 7 days…”
Grace chopped her fingers in silence as Amifel continued.
“I started this prayer clueless, my heart was a bit troubled too because I was nervous about God asking me to let this go again but right now I feel so much at peace.
My heart is restful even though I haven’t heard anything.”
“But are you saying that you didn’t hear or perceive anything, like anything at all?”
Amifel shook her head mildly.
“That shouldn’t be a course for alarm. If you had said God hasn’t said anything, I would have been worried.”
“What is the difference?”
“’ God is not speaking’ is different from ‘I am not hearing’”
“Yeah” Amifel nodded.
” Extending the fasting and prayers is the right thing to do. I am sure that God has been speaking.”
“I don’t even know what to think.”
“I think you should sleep. Don’t overwork your mind.”
“Is it a coincidence that Daniel’s call has been even more frequent in the last 3 days?”
“He is even messing with my mind.”
“Switch off your phones now.”
“What if an important client calls me while my phone is off?”
“Then you might like to consider extending the fast to like 30 days…”
Amifel flung half a slice of bread towards her and Grace laughed as she caught it and threw it into her mouth.
Amifel sat on a bench at an open park. She seemed to be the only one there. She was enjoying the serene view of the quiet environment as she admired the beauty of nature.
She sighted an unusual flower with black and shiny gold petals from where she was seated.
Curiosity got the better part of her as she stood up to have a better look at it.
She was wowed.
Strange yet so beautiful.
“You like it?”
Amifel looked up quickly, she saw no one. Maybe it was her mind playing games. She was about to touch it and probably trim off a part of it when he heard the voice again.
“Do you know what it is called?”
This time she saw him, he was tall and lanky, casually dressed in a white short matched up with neat and crispy white shirts. He could have been easily mistaken for a young man save the white strand of full and fluffy hair that surrounded his face and tabernacled beautifully on his head.
He was not bent nor wrinkled, he was neither using sticks nor eyeglasses. Never had old age been that beautiful.
“I don’t know, I have never seen it before?”
He smiled and that was when she had the opportunity to see his teeth. Not a single tooth was missing, they were neatly arranged and sparkling white.
This man was definitely not as old as she thought. Maybe he even dyed his hair. She was going to ask him.
He plucked a portion of the flowers and inhaled it deeply, smiling as he did.
“Are you in a hurry?”
“No, not at all.”
“Let me show you more…” he said as he took her hand in his and headed into the woods. The place where they were headed seemed to be far.
“You seem to like him very much,” he said as they navigated through the thick bushes with their hands.
“That smile says it all.”
“I do. I like him very much but I am yet to get God’s consent about him.”
“He already gave you his answer.”
“But I have heard anything.”
They arrived at an open space, it was even more beautiful than where they were earlier. She slipped out of his hands as she ran ahead of him excitedly. She suspended her hands in the air as she swirled around following the order of the gentle breeze.
As the strange man she met earlier perused the short and well-trimmed bushes, looking for something oblivious to her, she sighted a seat that looked even more beautiful than the one she sat on earlier, she walked towards it briskly and just as she was about to land her butts on the seat, she felt his firm grip on her arm.
“Don’t sit there, it is dangerous!” he said firmly.
She took one more look at the seat the moment she stood straight. It was a bench adorned with beautifully colored garlands, it looked harmless to her.
He must have read her mind because he motioned for her to bend down and take a look at what was underneath the seat.
A green cobra was majestically curled underneath the seat, the shade of its color blended perfectly with the slightly overgrown grass around it. It hissed at her slowly as it turned its head in another direction.
Her heart skipped a beat as she straightened up quickly.
He patted her on the back gently to calm her down. “It’s fine, I am here.”
“Take a look at this. “ He continued as he opened up his hands to reveal a stick of star-shaped flower with multi-colored layers.
“Wow! Where did you get this from?”
“Somewhere around” he smiled. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
He took her hands again as he led her further till they arrived at a bigger scenery.
This time, she maintained his grip and refused to let go of his hands.
He stood as he looked across the horizon with a big smile on his face.
She looked in the same direction but she didn’t see anything.
“You said he already gave me an answer?”
He nodded, his gaze was still steadied towards the horizon.
“How come I am not hearing anything?” she asked.
“Maybe because you already deduced an answer format in your head.”
“Isn’t this supposed to be a yes or no question?”
“What if he doesn’t use any of those?”
“How else could it come?”
“What if he gives you the answer of peace.” He said softly.
“The answer of peace?” she asked, confused.
He did not say anything this time, instead, he walked towards a seat that she didn’t see earlier, still holding her hands.
Each garden seemed to have seats around it. At least she had seen three of them with seats.
She thought that he was going to sit down but he didn’t, he swung her hands playfully in the air for a while before releasing it.
The moment he let go of her hands, her legs felt heavy, like they needed some rest. She eyed the seat with the corner of her eyes as she asked him. “Can I sit down?”
He smiled and then he sat down calmly.
She took a cue and sat beside him.
“When you were about to sit on the decorated chair, what did I do?”
“You prevented me from sitting on it. You said it was dangerous.”
He smiled again and said nothing further. She sat there waiting for him to say more and when he didn’t…
“But I asked you if I could sit down here and you said nothing.” She queried him.
“I actually did.”
“No, I didn’t hear you say anything.”
“But I gave you the answer of peace.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“Why did you sit down.”
“Because I watched you sit there.”
He smiled again as he nodded.
“If you had chosen not to sit down, I wouldn’t have forced you but I sat down there to show you that it was safe.”
He placed a bouquet in her hands. It was an assorted mix of beautifully colored flowers with amazing shapes. The black and gold flowers were also included.
She received it as she wondered when he gathered them together.
“Who are you?”
“The prince of peace!
To be continued…
Written by Sodamade Olamide Tolulope.