These words escaped Gbolahan Dada's lips as he walked past the lithe figure of a very beautiful dark haired, light-skinned Nigerian woman. She projected the picture of the 21st century career woman. She was dressed in a white sequinned shirt and a pencil skirt with black pumps and a suitcase bag.
She turned around in the newly renovated Abuja Airport and looking asking at the tall dark, Yoruba male standing before her, who was dressed in a dark blue dashiki shirt and trouser.
She murmured a hesitant "Hello"
She pursed her lips and then her mouth broke into a smile as she flew into Gbolahan's arms.
"Dearest" she whispered the words from perfectly painted lips.
She was a picture of elegance, elegance that spoke of the highest excellence. She had a personality that broadcast to the world 'nothing but the best would do for me'.
They separated but their hands were still linked and slowly swinging back and forth.
"How have you been?" she smiled
"I am doing great, dearest. How have you been? Have you been living under a rock?"
"No. I have actually made quite a mark for myself. You have probably been too busy to notice other people's successes. I see you have done quite well for yourself"
"Likewise" He tried to quell the pride that welled up in him at her words "You cannot be classified as a Lagos big girl or an Abuja big girl; you are somewhere up there in a class of your own"
"We ought to spend some time together, chatting, catching up" still smiling "Would you mind having my card?"
"Definitely" He thought for a while and then said, "I am in Abuja for a couple of days, why don't we meet up?"
"I am catching a connecting flight to Gombe"
He frowned "Gombe? Why Gombe?"
He asked without words what she was going to do in Gombe when everyone was slowly avoiding the North.
"I have to see my husband urgently. He is doing some business in Gombe"
He nods understanding. "I don't have to tell you the north is not safe and it hasn't been safe for a long time; but lately, some things are going down. You shouldn't be there."
"Okay." She smiles. "You have not changed. How is your wife? I always did like her. Warm, giving..."
She trailed off.
"She is doing great. Let's get together when you return to Lagos then, if I am not mistaken, your first flight was from Lagos"
"We have homes in Lagos and Abuja. I hate the impersonal feel of hotel rooms unless I have to use them, too stuffy!"
"You are still as choosy as ever" He hugged her "Let me catch up on business in Abuja"
"Take care and it was good seeing you"
She blinked and then continued on her way to catch her next flight.
She looked back at him, smiled and kept going to her destination.
Gbolahan looked back at her elegant figure and fleetingly considered that the both of them had never mentioned Mahmoud. It was a silent thing, the choice to pretend that Mahmoud, their once dear friend and his still close friend, did not exist.
He let it go and hurried to catch an airport taxi to meet up with his business partner at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
Bright Okopi walked down the street in Surulere heading for his pastor's house. He caught the bus from VI into Costain and then got a bus going into Surulere. The beauty of the sights and sounds of Lagos sank into his spirit. He loved the bridges, the billboards and the energy of the place called Lagos. His friends laughingly called it Las Gidi, the city that never sleeps. It was known as 'Centre of Excellence' by the local government bosses, the governor made the slogan 'Eko o ni baje' popular on the lips of all Lagosians.
Although the current governor had made many doubt their honorary position as Lagosian when he deported certain people, some Hausas and some Ibos. Rumours had it that he was averting war and possible strikes of the deadly Boko Haram sect. His pastor called them cowards because only cowards captured women and children. Only cowards killed defenceless people or killed children in their beds while they were still sleeping.
"Good evening ma" he greeted his pastor's wife as he entered the living room
"How was work, Bright?"
"Fine, thank you, ma." He muttered as he shook the rain off his raincoat and stride into the sitting room.
"He's in your study," she pointed in the direction of his study.
The study was made of wood, carved, beautiful, ornamental wood.
"Good evening sir"
His pastor looked up from his study of the bible "Good evening Bright how was your first week at work? Did you enjoy it?"
"Great. Everywhere and everyone is so beautiful and I am enjoying the orientation. I will be living for Port Harcourt after my second week".
"Hmmm" He nodded
"I had great time learning a lot from my supervisors. The boss came to address the ten of us that were chosen from the recruitment exercise this morning. I like him"
"Remember to cooperate with you bosses and supervisors. It is God's divine organization."
"How do you mean?"
"Any man who is going to make impact in the world and the next must learn to follow God's divine organization?"
"Does that mean that I must do anything my boss says?"
"No, my son. God is God. He wants you to do all things in the fear of the LORD. Give him first position. Remember Joseph"
"Okay sir" he nodded and even though he did not understand it fully, he knew that his pastor was right. His pastor was always about the word.
"So what are we learning today?"
"Authority. The Believers Authority"
"Hmmm. You are a great student. Let us start now and pray afterwards. "
"Repeat after me, this is very important." Bright looked intently at his pastor. "The head of every man is Christ. The head of Christ is God. The head of the woman is the man..."
"The head of every man is Christ..."
Toke Dada wore a bright yellow tank top and white shorts with sneakers. She was watching a movie with her mom. She had the best mom in the world. Her mom made time for her on Friday or Saturday night. They spent it watching a movie and Daddy sometimes joined them.
She looked up at her mom in a white tank top and navy blue shorts with sneakers. They were watching the latest captain America movie. The Ibo mafia were still working. The movie was not out in the United States yet but the Ibo mafia knew how to get those movies once it was out in box office. When they failed her kid cousin, Tunde, had creative fingers.
"Mom, do you know I love you?" she smiled into her mom's eyes.
"Yes dear." Her mom smiled a little preoccupied with the movie. "What prompted that, dear?"
"I was just thinking about you and dad, and how I love you both"
"Hmmm" she smiled knowing her daughter had more to say.
"I noticed that you somehow ignore him lately," she said in a worried voice.
Her mother looked at her alarmed. "Whatever makes you think that?"
"I am a kid" Toke smiled to herself "...but in case you noticed I am also growing up into a beautiful young woman"
"You are one smart chic" she smiled. "I am just a little upset with him"
"Do you think he's cheating?"
"I shouldn't be having such conversations with a 14 year old"
"Hmmm, you're always saying you want me to grow into a responsible adult" she smiled "If I am going to succeed at that, you cannot be shutting me up when I want to clarify things".
Bimbo Dada swallowed and then looked in her daughters eyes, tears sprang in them immediately
"I think so"
Toke nodded emotionless
"What do you want to do about it?"
"I don't understand" Bimbo blinked back the tears. "What do you mean?"
"I have been around you both a number of years to know that Daddy is crazy about you. If some woman is distracting him, you must have left a gap. Daddy does not seem like someone who would enjoy playing a fast one on you. Maybe he's lonely"
"What about me? Look at me here with you on a Saturday night, instead of with him".
"Are you saying, 'I'm boring'?" Toke shrieked in mock offence.
"No. I am just saying I am human too"
"Do you want to be right or do you want to remain married in every sense to my daddy," Toke asked in a very serious voice. "Let me say that I really want you guys to be really married on the outside and on the inside, I am tired of the cold air that has been blowing around".
"I do," she said in a quiet voice.
"Then be present in the marriage, when he wants to talk to you, talk. Drop the grievances of a day on that same day no malice. You are a Christian, remember?"
"Is that blackmail?"
"No mom. I want you to love my dad. I want us to be one big happy family. Please"
"Okay dear. I promise you I will fight for my marriage. I will do my absolute best to keep every promise I have made to God. I promise you, I will forgive your daddy"
Toke launched herself into her mom's arms. She was crying betraying the teenager that she was.
Bimbo Dada held her daughter tight in her arms. This child was her blessing. She had directed her thoughts away from thought of separation to thoughts of love. God help her. She almost gave up. She looks up to the heavens and gave thanks and then murmured
"Father, give me the grace to forgive that man"
As those word left her mouth, she remembered her mom's words and then set out to do God's will for that day with an added prayer that she would remember to do his will tomorrow.
"Father, protect my husband" she said out loud.
"Do you still want to watch the movie?" She said brushing Toke's hair.
Toke shook her head "No mom. Maybe tomorrow. I am just glad being with you."
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