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My being was pressed to decline as I lowered my head for a quick thought. For the first time in a long time my spirit agreed with my flesh on a decision, I have always had to battle through confusion to take a stand. Deep within me I couldn’t help but imagine how broken Keji would be. She was already suffering from a lot of physical and mental trauma she got from the accident, simply because she cared too much for Funto and I. Rejecting her before everyone that mattered to us would further drive her into a state of sane insanity. What would her mother think of me? Perhaps a coward, that’s the way it seem. It wouldn’t matter whether or not God thought she wasn’t my future wife but just my soul mate, to everyone present I will be rejecting her because she will live what’s left of her unfortunate life as a barren woman restricted to a wheel chair. Maybe that’s true. At the rate at which I was planning to say no it became evident within me that I wasn’t willing to fight for her like I would normally do. My self-excuse was that God is not a man, if He restored my redemption, maybe Keji was just my soul mate.
As I raised my head up to disappoint everyone who was counting on me to take Keji as my bride, it came to me like a flash. I remembered everything. How I’d promised her that she will be the mother of my child and I will be the father to ours. Why should we come this far to shatter her hope? I also recalled how nights before her demise Kike pointed out several reasons Keji was the perfect woman for me. Needless to mention the fact that Lizzy toned down our friendship for her sake. The most pressing of all the flashbacks were the final words of the lady in the bus who was reading the novel titled The Second Chance. She said,
“I think nothing should outweigh absolute peace and happiness. If it doesn’t add those two to your life, then it’s not worth it.”
With Keji I had both. That was all that mattered. I took a leap of faith and trusted God to understand why I had to agree to marry her. And if a bottomless pit is where this leap takes me, she is worth every drop, I concluded within me.
“Yes! Let’s get married.” I held Keji’s hands as I gestured my readiness to take her as my wife. All her pains seemed to suddenly have disappeared, she laughed with so much life. I have never seen her express so much joy. It was literally beauty from pain. The pastor stepped forward and began,
“I admire your strength and decision to do this in this trying time.” He referred to me, “most young men will bow out in moments like this. Indeed both of you deserve each other. But before we continue, I’d like to suggest, with the permission of our mothers present here, that if this has to be done then it should be beautiful. I think this should wait till Miss Keji is a lot better, and that’s in a matter of days, maybe weeks. Then we can hold a short service in the hospital chapel. I strongly believe that if we join our hearts together in prayer with faith, she will walk down the aisle herself. As the Lord smiled upon Sarah and Elizabeth, she shall not be barren.”
“Amen!” Keji’s mum approved. Mrs. Ogunmola was quick to add,
“That’s a good idea. I’m not sure Funto will be very pleased when he finds out daddy and mummy got married while he was recovering.”
We all laughed. Keji held her thought for some seconds before giving her consent to the new plan; she winked at me while caressing my hand with hers. Lizzy patted my back and whispered,
“I love you more for agreeing to this. Thank you Kunle, thank you.”
“I should be on my way now,” said the pastor. “Mr. Kunle, please come by the chapel on your way out. I’d like to discuss some things with you.” He shook my hand and departed the ward. In that defining moment I knew I wasn’t ready. The pastor’s suggestion brought me a huge relief, an emotional lifeline.
“There you are,” the pastor welcomed me as I stepped into the chapel. He was holding a counsel session with someone and so he requested me to wait for him to round off.
“I am so sorry for the delay,” he apologized when my turn to see him finally came. To which I responded “It’s no problem sir.”
“You told me to see you sir”
He continued, “The spirit of the Lord ministered to me while praying. Postponing the wedding was through the wisdom of the Lord. Sister Keji is not your future wife.”
“I knew it!” my thought screamed.
“It was revealed to me that she is just your soul mate. Don’t get me wrong brother Kunle. I am not saying she wouldn’t make a good wife, but she isn’t the one for you. Your fortunes are tied together, but not in holy matrimony.”
That wasn’t the first time I was hearing it, but I got more confused. I’m not sure of when, how or why it happened but I broke into tears.
“Pastor, what am I supposed to do?” I began to swing my head in slow motion. “The lady in question has made sacrifices for my sake. She has been my friend, sister and mother. I promised her I’d make her my wife. How can I possibly tell her she is no longer worthy of that?”
Then came the sermon, “Brother Kunle, the Lord we serve is a mysterious God. He is an unexplainable God. His decisions might appear strange to us, but it is always for the greater good. It is well bro.”
That was when I got very emotional and pissed, “I know it is well sir. Even when I lost my mother, my brother, my sister and got raped, all I heard was it is well. I think I have heard enough of that phrase for my lifetime. What should I do? How should I tell her and everyone that I am no longer interested in marrying her?”
The man of God in an attempt to be diplomatic made me more furious, “I am only the messenger. I have delivered as sent, the best we can do is to pray to God and ask him for guidance and wisdom.”
“Seriously!” My voice became louder. “Are you saying God sent you with the problem and not the solution?”
I waited for a response but all he did was hold the bible to his chest and nod like he was in a trance.
“If that’s the case, why didn’t you say this in the ward?”
“Take it easy sir” he appealed to me.
“Take what easy sir.” How can one possibly take a difficult situation lightly? “You are the only one that can make this easy pastor. Only you can save me from this dilemma by telling Keji and her mother. Else, this burden will shove life out of me and send me to hell.”
“That is not your portion in Jesus name. I will talk to them.” The pastor finally said what I wanted to hear.
“Good! Very good!” I stormed out of the chapel before he received another yoking revelation.
I sat beside Funto while he slept. I wasn’t sure of when the pastor will talk to Keji and her mum, but I was sure I didn’t want to be around when he did. I had already taken the day off work; the only reasonable place to be was with him. That was after I had strolled around the hospital premises for hours in a bid to distract myself. The more I tried not to think about it, the more I did. When life wheels your way a burden bigger than your expectation, you can never be man enough. I wept silently, like a baby.My phone rang. Lizzy. I swiped the green indicator and cleared my throat to hide my teary voice,
“Where are you?” She inquired,
“I am with Funto.”
“Okay” she continued, “I have very good news. Do you want me to come over? Or should I go ahead and break it to you.”
The depression I felt in that moment made me a little uninterested, I didn’t even try to guess what the good news was about.
“Either option is fine,” I replied nonchalantly. “I could really use good news now, so you can as well go ahead and say it. Except you’d get here in the speed of light.” I struggled to make a light joke.
“What is wrong with you Kunle?” she sounded concerned. “I don’t like the way you sound.”
“I will be fine. What is the news?”
She continued, “Firstly, I am pregnant.”
“Congratulations dear.” I sounded excited. It was good enough for me. She deserved every bit of the joy she could get.
“Now the main news.” She cut short the excitement.
“Go ahead please”
“Apparently the X-ray that showed there was a shift in Keji’s spinal cord was a wrong one.” I stood up with urgency,
“Calm down Kunle, I know that is unprofessional. I already sent a report to the CMD’s office reporting the blunder and…”
“Give me the good news baby. Give it to me baby,” I cut in ecstatically, risked sounding a bit sexual.
“Keji’s spinal cord is fine. She will walk in no time. The numbness she is currently experiencing is as a result of the surgery, it is temporary. Her ribs only needs time to heal.”
“Yes!” my scream woke Funto from his sleep. I could feel Lizzy’s joyous mood through the phone. I was practically dancing. I snapped out of my theatrics and quickly asked,
“Is there any chance that the scan of her womb was also a mix up?” The response I got was that of the disconnect tone.
I diverted my attention to Funto was remained quiet.
“How are you son?” He remained quiet, “Mummy is fine and daddy is here for you.” I reached for his hand but he shrugged me off. I tried to pat his head when he yelled at me,
“Go away! Go away!”
I was shocked at his behavior. Maybe he was still in pains; I attempted to excuse his actions. I sat down beside him and he wouldn’t stop screaming, “Go away!” this time louder than the previous. The nurses rushed in and ejected me from his presence. I was bothered. This is absolutely strange
“Sorry about that” the doctor said.
“It’s fine. He is my son. I guess he was just in a bad mood.”
“Yes. Have you ever experienced this type of behavior with him before?” the doctor asked.
“No” I gave a swift response.
“How does he behave generally?” he further inquired.
“He is a great boy. Some days he is reserved, other days he is overly excited.”
He wrote some lines on Funto’s case note and when he was done he removed his binoculars glasses and said to me,
“I am afraid your son is suffering from maniac depression, a condition that affects his moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. It is a form of mental disorder. In clear words, he is bipolar. What you just witnessed is his breakout episode.”
“Jesus is Lord!” I exclaimed with serious sarcasm.
Written by Femi Fragile (Twitter: @fragiletimbzz | IG: femifragile)
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