TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – #BABOON MS. DEAR DIARY

 baboon-47367_1280“All of Facebook know all our story!”

I thought it was a joke at first but then, I had always known the woman I married, just didn’t think she’d be this – brash, or what word can one use. And she had the unhealthy sense to tag me.

Okay, she didn’t say my husband did this or that, but anyone who as much as knew the city we lived in would know she was talking about us.

I never boasted of being a perfect husband. I have my many issues and I pray to God to help me with them. Reminded me of three pastors who sat together to share prayer points and the first confessed his weakness of womanizing.

“I’ve slept with half the sisters in church,” he said with tears in his eyes.

The second pastor heaved a heavy sigh and confessed to stealing church funds.

The third pastor, fell on his knees, and cried. “You two must pray hard for me, because I can never keep a secret.”

Oh so there goes. I shouldn’t crack jokes now but this relates my wife in to-to. She can’t keep a secret. She did this while we courted and I thought I would curtail it.

At some point, I decided not to tell her anything except on need-to-know basis, but some things happen at home, and everyone in the house is aware.

A compulsive talker, and friends, this is a personality disorder.

My wife would share our problems as a prayer point. Later, she would share it as a “tale” about another city. Then she would share it for counselling purposes.

The worst is when she tagged me on posts and shared “discussion” issues.

I hate to hear about my son’s indecision on what course to study in school on social media. I hate for my inability to maintain a hard-on to be discussed on the church WhatsApp group. I hate for my sister to visit and ask me why housekeeping delayed for a week.

It is so frustrating this woman needs to talk about everything.

Hard to believe I loved her for her inability to keep any of her secrets from me when we first met.

 

I call this #baboon – chuchuchu. I just couldn’t find the word, pardon me. This lady is going to mess you up real good, real fast. You need an emergency treatment from a counsellor. In the multitude of words, the Bible says, there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19.)

Which translates that he who does not refrain his lips is not wise. I know, it’s tough at times.

It’s a weakness, it’s a vice, it goes viral, it’s an emergency.

All the best in your love.

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – #BILHAH

BilhahShe saw the shadows rush by and knew. Her sin had been found out. What would be done to her?

Rachel could order her stoned to death. She was the mother of two boys for her mistress’ husband. By Israeli references, she was no longer just a bond-servant, she was a “wife” though she didn’t have the same rights. So complicated. She hated her life.

Jacob would never touch her again. That was for sure. She had been ruined. Reuben had brought on a curse into the family. Gone on to his father’s couch, and defiled it.

She feared for her boys. They were innocent. Born in the crossfire of sisterly jealousy and rivalry. Dan and Naphtali were princes of Israel, regardless of what their brother did, or who their mother was.

Bilhah cuddled to her side, and allowed her silent tears to flow. This was not her sin. Yet she couldn’t be cleared. She hated her beautiful body, or whatever it was that attracted Reuben to her.

Tall, dark, handsome Reuben. He could have any woman. Why her?

“Go,” he said softly.

It meant more than the word to her. It was a final dismissal.

She ran, though no help that did. When she stepped out of the tent, Rachel stood, Zilpah with her. Leah, and Jacob, and all of Israel. Everyone was there.

It was the end. She would be stoned to death. Reuben would be cursed. Bilhah fell on her knees and murmured a prayer to the God her master served.

“Absolve me, Jehovah.”

Rachel waited for a beat. An eternal silence, and turned. One by one, they left.

When she looked up, only her sons remained. Ever faithful to her regardless of who they were and who she was.

Bilhah wept. “Forgive me.”

 

 

TO WHERE THE WIND BLEW

 To Where the Wind Blew cover croppedCHAPTER 15

 

After church the following day, Ronke waited to see the pastor. She didn’t want to marry Kola, and yet she knew she needed advice on how to handle him. She refused to imagine what he could do to have his way with her. She was afraid he may take Modele from her. A man who earned a living by destroying opposition would not stop till he got what he wanted.

“What I will advise you is,” Pastor Matthias said, after she narrated her ordeal to him, and his wife. “You are patient with him. Preach to him and lead him to Christ. If he is being difficult, you can bring him to us but don’t dare him. Don’t fight or argue with him, and don’t give the impression you can win him in any way. We will be praying along for you.”

“In addition to what pastor has said,” Sis Rebecca said. “Prayerfully shine the light of the gospel to him. Your character and attitude can win him faster than any preaching. You also have to forgive him. You have to forgive your parents for what they did to you—”

Ronke broke down and wept. Sis Rebecca pulled the younger woman closer, and comforted her.

“We know you are hurting. We know. It is well with you. It is difficult, but you have to let them go,” she said gently. “As long as you continue to hold him for what he did to you, you will never be able to win him to Christ. You have to look beyond now. Think of the number of people that will be drawn to Christ if they know he is now born-again. Think of the number of demons that will lose their jobs because of him,” she said lightly.

“Exactly,” Pastor Matthias said.

Ronke sat up and tried to pull herself together. She pulled out a handkerchief from her bag and blew her nose into it.

“This is a very spiritual matter. You have a child between you, and that makes a whole lot of difference. You can’t just walk away forever. For the sake of that child, you have to forgive him. Besides, your offering and prayers may be hindered because of unforgiveness.”

Ronke sniffled. “Oh Pastor, it’s so hard for me.”

“I think this is where we have to start from,” Sis Rebecca said, looking at her husband. “We need to help her through the healing process. You have to be able to look beyond the evil done to you by Mr. Eiba, and your parents.” She massaged Ronke’s hand. “These things bottle up and prevent you from moving forward. You keep holding this grudge and you won’t be able to trust any man again.”

“I can’t marry him. God forbid. I can’t marry anybody.”

“Marriage is a different issue entirely. He has to give his life to Christ as you cannot be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Apart from that, you have to know if you are compatible. You have to be able to trust one another and most importantly, you have to hear from God whether you should marry him or not,” Sis Rebecca said.

Ronke sighed. “I haven’t yet preached to him. I get so confused anytime he is around me.”

“Try and relax. It’s probably because you are afraid he will make you do what you don’t want to do. You see, to catch a monkey, you have to act like one.” Pastor Matthias admonished. “Paul said to the Jews, he became a Jew, and to the Greeks, he became a Greek. You have to accommodate him, and relax around him. If he cracks a decent joke, laugh. Make him feel easy and let him talk freely with you.”

“Talking with me is the least of his problems.”

Sis Rebecca squeezed her hand. “Then loosen up and insist on discussing about your faith with him. Not snobbishly but with love. See him as an unbeliever. I believe that whenever you go for evangelism, you feel compassion for the people you meet and you pray for them, don’t you?”

“I do, ma’am.”

She smiled. “Good, so see him as such. Keep reminding yourself of only that, and also pray for him. God will help you, in Jesus’ name.”

Ronke’s tears threatened to return. “He wants us to tell Modele he is her father. I can’t. Modele will be so upset.”

“Modele is a very intelligent child and she will ask for her father that is if she hasn’t already,” Pastor said.

“She asked once. I told her father died before she was born. I didn’t know who he was at the time, so I just told her that to save the details.”

“Well, now that he has surfaced, it’s a new story altogether, I feel you should hold on a little and settle your relationship with him, first. If he is going to be reasonable about it, then you can both call Modele, and tell her the truth. It may be traumatic for her, but you will help her to get over it and come to love her father,” Pastor said.

“I agree. Don’t tell her yet,” Sis Rebecca said.

“Thank you very much, sir and ma’am.” Ronke went on her knees to show her gratitude.

In her heart, she wasn’t fully satisfied with their advice. If only they knew who she was dealing with. Kola was not only coming around Modele, his advances at her were beginning to get at her. What if he prevailed over her, and she agreed to marry him? Did she love him? No! How could she think such a thing? It was wrong to marry an unbeliever. It was wrong to marry Kola, she resolved.

Sis Rebecca pulled her into a hug. “No problem. Keep us informed about this in case there is any new development. We will come to your aid immediately. It is well with you.”

“We are praying for you too. Once it is settled in the spiritual, it will be brought into physical manifestation in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.” Pastor stood. “Shall we pray?”

The couple both held her hands and launched into a lengthy prayer.

 

SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – 4 SIMPLE PUNCTUATION TESTS

280516Choose the correct sentence in the following:

The answers precede the test but don’t cheat. Lol.

  1. A) Go South two streets and turn left.    B)  Go south two streets and turn left.

 

  1. A) No, sir, he has not arrived.     B)  No, Sir, he has not arrived.

 

  1. A) “When,” I asked, “will you get paid?”     B)  “When,” I asked. “Will you get paid?”

 

  1. A) “Go now!” I said. “They’re waiting for you.”     B)  “Go now!” I said, “they’re waiting for you.”

 

  1. Correct Answer: B     Go south two streets and turn left.

Explanation: The word “south” is a direction here, not a location.

 

  1. Correct Answer: A     No, sir, he has not arrived.

Explanation: The word “sir” is not capitalized unless it is part of a name like “Sir Goodluck Jonathan.”

 

  1. Correct Answer: A     “When,” I asked, “will you get paid?”

Explanation: The word “will” is a continuation of the quote so doesn’t get capitalized.

 

  1. Correct Answer: A      “Go now!” I said. “They’re waiting for you.”

Explanation: Both of the quotes are independent clauses so the new quoted sentence must, therefore, start with a capital letter.

 

TO WHERE THE WIND BLEW

To Where the Wind Blew cover cropped CHAPTER 14 (May 26, 2016 post)

 

The rest of the day was fun all the way. Church was canceled as Ronke couldn’t bring herself to break Modele away from more than fifty children making her day. Ronke remembered the sweet chin-chin and jollof rice meal they would have had, and looked across at her daughter, enjoying the kind of celebration she really deserved. Modele had never had a birthday party in her life because Ronke had never been able to afford one.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Kola murmured, staring doggedly at her.

She sighed “Nothing.” And walked off to join the party.

They played all the party games, dancing chairs and competitions, and Modele made new friends. Ronke was also introduced to most of the mothers who’d come with their children. These were high-class, professional, and sophisticated women, and Ronke couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated and naïve.

They took pictures, shared party-packs, and after over two hours of tremendous fun, rounded off the party. After all the guests had gone, the ‘family’ stayed back and chatted over the events of the party.

Kola stared endlessly at Ronke, and she wondered what was on his mind. She knew she couldn’t keep a smile off her face, and she had never seen her daughter laugh so much in all her young life. She couldn’t remember when she also had a good laugh last. The past seven and a half years of her life had been laced with so much grief and pain she often wondered what it was like to be problem-free.

Ronke however, still felt uncomfortable with the way things were going. She had a strange feeling Kola had come back to take his daughter, and he was going to use an irresistible method to do it. He was going to win her through pampering.

By the time they got back to Ronke’s house, Modele was asleep. Kola carried her in and tucked her into bed while Kade and Ronke carried her gifts in.

“Thanks for giving us a very wonderful time,” he said, outside at the car, as she saw him off.

“I should thank you. Modele has never had so much fun in her life.” She blurt out before she could stop herself.

“I’m sorry about that. I’m sure some things can be done to erase such a bad record,” he said lightly. “Hope we didn’t mess up your plans too much, knowing you had wanted to go somewhere?”

“Not at all.” She refused to disclose all they had wanted to do was go to church for the weekly prayer meeting.

“Ronke, I want to see you again.”

“You know that cannot work between us.”

“Anything can work. Look at us, we are a perfect family. Modele and Kade have hit it off so well, and you and I—” He took her hand in his, and stroked it gently. Ronke tugged at it.

“I’ve really missed you… all that time.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her palm.

She pulled her hand away from his and changed the subject. “How far with your lawsuit? I hear the case has been adjourned again.”

“That case is going on well. The first suit has ended. In fact, this is almost a new suit altogether,” he said, and arched an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you were following the case.”

“Don’t mind me.” She snickered. “I have been following it up rather unconsciously, though.” She shrugged to cover up her lie. “I didn’t know it had been wrapped up.”

“Legal stuff. I don’t involve myself in them. My lawyers handle all the details. I have a business to build.”

“So, you won, right?”

“There are no winners and losers. It’s not that simple, really. All I can tell you is that what I planned has been achieved and I am getting away with most of the grievous offenses. See, I weigh this thing in naira and kobo and I am not losing a dime out of this.”

“Congratulations, then.”

“Well, thanks.”

“I have to go in, it’s late,” she said.

“Sure.” He leaned forward and caught her mouth in a fast, calculated kiss.

Before she knew what was happening, he was getting into his car, where Kade had sat patiently waiting for him.

“I’ll see you soon,” he mumbled, and while she stood there, confused, he drove off.

Ronke knew he had come back, but she also knew she wouldn’t, couldn’t, take him. She shivered at the very thought of what he could be up to. Her trembling hand went involuntarily to her lips, and she shuddered. Her war had only just begun.

Kola did not waste time. He was at her door the following evening. She wasn’t too surprised.

“I’ve wasted and lost so much time that I can’t imagine being away much longer,” he said.

Immediately he settled down, he got occupied with Modele. He looked at her school books and spent most of the evening familiarizing with her. Ronke went about her own business, preparing for church the following day. Once in a while, she stopped and watched them, put in a word or two, or simply passed by. After dinner, he told her some stories, and then tucked her into bed, before joining Ronke, where she washed the dinner plates.

“She keeps calling me ‘uncle.’ I can’t bear it. We have to tell her the truth,” he said quietly.

“She’s too young. She’ll just get confused,” Ronke said.

“She’s intelligent. She knows what it is to have parents. And she knows all her friends have fathers and mothers.” His voice hardened. “Don’t play games with me, Ronke.”

“I know my daughter better than anyone. She’s not ready for this truth.” She packed up the plates and started arranging them neatly into the cupboard she kept outside for that purpose.

“When will she be ready?” he asked, his voice clipped.

“I don’t know.” She walked back into the sitting room. Kola followed her.

“Will it be better for everyone if we get married? She’ll just naturally adapt,” he said.

“I can’t marry you. I said that before.” She stood in the centre of the room and faced him.

“Why?”

“You’re not born-again, and you’re…” she faltered. “I don’t want to marry anyone.”

“Not even for the sake of your daughter? I am her father.”

“A proud one. You seem to have forgotten the circumstances.”

He faced her squarely. “Please. Will we forever be talking about the circumstances? Can’t we move on with our lives?”

“We don’t have ‘lives’ we are moving on with. I can’t marry you. I’m sorry.”

“Ronke, you don’t want me to take you up on this.” He came to stand a few inches away from her.

She looked up at him and shivered. He towered above her. She told herself that if he tried to kiss her again, she would slap him, God help her.

“Are you threatening me?”

He stared for a moment and pulled her into his arms. Ronke struggled.

She panicked. “Let go of me!”

“I don’t threaten people, Ronke,” he whispered dangerously into her hair. “And people don’t dare me!” He let go of her.

She ran to the door, to put as much distance as she could between them. Her voice quavered. “Please leave my house now! And don’t ever come here again.”

“Don’t call this place a house.” He headed for the door. “It’s a shack, a rat-hole, and God knows I can’t wait to get you and my daughter out of here. No kitchen for goodness’ sake!”

She fought tears. “Thank you. I’m poor. It’s alright.”

“It’s not alright.” He flung around, his jaw twitched. “Ronke, marry me.” He softened. “Please.”

“I just can’t understand why you are so insistent about this. I must not want what you want.”

“Is it all about this born-again thing?”

“Partially.”

“I worship God, I go to church, I pay…”

“You also get drunk, and attempt suicide.” She cut him off.

His face darkened and he looked down briefly, somewhat defeated.

“Think about my proposal.” He glanced at her, and left the house.

Ronke held her breath, and only relaxed after she heard his car zoom off. She sank to her knees and burst into tears. She hated him! She hated all men!

TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – #BABOON PINCH BY INCH

baboon-47367_1280Stingy didn’t begin to describe him.

He wouldn’t even buy good things for himself. He checked every price tag. We walked up and down several isles comparing costs. This was meant to be fun but I just got so tired.

We’d left the food court far behind without eating because he decided we should shop first.

I was tagging along with my bestie to the Mall of Africa, newly opened biggest mall in the continent, and so excited we were going to spend till we’re spent.

My friend had subtly warned me to hold my credit but I thought she was teasing. Her guy was one of the big boys in town, and heir to a banking business. I wasn’t the greedy type, and really had planned to buy only an item, a shoe. Coming with them was just for the free ride, and the company.

When he asked me to pick anything I liked, I was elated. So my friend was wrong. Still, being the cautious, well-trained human I was, I picked a good shoe I couldn’t afford on a one-time expense, but something I could agree to pay for over a few months.

He laughed. “Isn’t that pushing your luck?” He looked at my shoe.

My friend grabbed the tag. “It’s not too bad. Five hundred.” She winked at me. “I plan to pick two of those.” She blew him a kiss.

“Wrong plan, my dear. Everything is in budget.”

I yawned for no reason. They’d better not fight over money here. Gosh.

When we finally got back, I dropped into the couch in our shared condo. We’d ended up not eating because the food court was far behind, and he had an appointment. After trekking hours all over the mall, I had my shoe, which I almost paid for but my friend insisted he did. You know that feeling you have when you want to bite yourself for taking something you shouldn’t have. I hated him, honestly. Over something worth just about fifty US dollars?

My friend was saying something and I tried to pay attention.

“…so he’s gone to buy us fast food.”

I hated fast food and she knew. “I’ll pass, darling. Wake me up for church.”

That would be tomorrow morning.

 

I call this #baboon – tight fist. The most painful part is he won’t let you give. It’s bad enough that he’s not a giver, he is also stingy to himself, to you, and he wants to change you to him. Ah, I couldn’t cope with this baboon. No.

But you have to, I guess.

All the best in your love.

 

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – #BILHAH

BilhahSweet incense burned in the prince’s tent. Only the finest perfumes of the Arab lands were used in Jacob’s family.

Bilhah approached her heart in her mouth. She clasped the wine skin to her chest and breathed in.

“I come with peace, Reuben, prince of Israel.” Bilhah stood at the entrance of the tent. “Zilpah asked I bring you wine.”

“Come in, Bilhah. You sound like you are about to enter a lion’s den.”

His lazy words followed by the chuckle turn her stomach. Once upon a time she thought he was the most handsome man in all of Israel. She saw the way young women crooned around him.

As a slave, she had no right to fall for anyone, least of all her master’s son. Her wishes made her lose concentration.

She flinched. When had he approached. He touched her arm. “Come in.”

His soft words were meant to alleviate her fears but they aggravated it.

“This is not right, my lord. I belong to your mother’s sister.” She could plead at least.

His mouth traced kisses over her face. She wished she could relax, wished this was another life, and he was another person.

“And your—father’s bed.”

“You are a bond-servant in my father’s household, Bilhah. Don’t argue with me.”