Read Episode 3 here
Read Neither Do I here
His phone rang out loud, jolting him from his reverie. It was Ife.
“I guess you are stuck in traffic as usual,” she said. He detected humor in her voice.
“Traffic? Not at all o. I’m currently eating pizza at Dominos,” he joked. As if on cue, the truck beside him honked loudly and they both burst into laughter.
“You didn’t tell me that Dominos is now on third mainland bridge o,” she said, still laughing.
“Ife miiiiii.” He was so fond of her now.
“How was your day,” she asked.
“Busy as usual. How about yours?”
“Stressful, but God takes the praise. Matt, when are you taking me to see that movie I told you about na? Sally was making fun of me at the office today, saying that I’m the only one in Lagos who is yet to watch the movie.”
Well, she’s lying, because I haven’t watched it too,” he said lightly.
He sensed she was pouting. Whenever she did that, she looked charming.
“I’ll take you to the cinema very soon, okay?”
“Very soon can be in fifty years’ time o. Let’s go this weekend, pleeeaaaasseeeee”
Matthew smiled. Ife could very well go to the cinema on her own, but he knew she wanted them to spend time together, and he appreciated her effort.
“Okay, we’ll go on Saturday.”
“Yaaaaay! She exclaimed in delight. “Thank you.”
“Anything for you my love.”
“Ife mi, let me call you back when I get home, okay? The traffic is easing off and I want to concentrate on the road.”
“Alright dear. Drive safely. Love you.”
Matthew arrived home at a few minutes past 9pm. Josiah was reclining on the sofa, watching the network news. Josiah lived in Ibadan, but he was currently running his Masters’ program at the University of Lagos. Whenever he had lectures or exams, he usually stayed over at Matthew’s house, as his house was just a twenty-minute walk to the school.
“Hey!” Matthew greeted as he walked into the sitting room.
Josiah looked up. “You’re welcome Matt.”
“How was today’s exam?”
“It was awesome. I give God the glory. How about you? How was your day?”
“It went well. Nothing special.”
“I prepared yam and egg sauce. Hope you don’t mind?”
“Really?” Matthew’s eyes lit up in relief. “Thank you. I have been racking my brain on what to have for dinner.”
Josiah mumbled a response and turned his attention to the Plasma TV before him. Matthew walked to the room and began to undress. He was exhausted, and all he wanted was a good night’s rest. He was in the shower when he heard his phone ring. He already knew the caller, so he finished up quickly and jumped out of the bathroom. He loved talking to Ife. Every conversation was like medicine to him, soothing his nerves and calming his soul.
When he proposed to her, he half expected her to turn him down. They had been friends for over six months and he had been praying about settling down. Ife kept coming to his mind’s eye but he suppressed the thought. Ife had an advantage over him in many ways.
First of all, she got to know the Lord at a tender age, and this helped her live an almost perfect life, unlike him that carried baggage from the past. Secondly, she earned more than he did, almost double his salary although he knew it was never going to be an issue for her. Also, she was a goal oriented, extroverted and outgoing person and this put her on the spotlight on many occasions. He, on the other hand, had decided to live a quiet life after he repented. All that mattered to him now was following Jesus and making an impact in his little corner. They were different in a lot of ways, yet so compatible.
When he finally had a release in his spirit to go ahead with the proposal, he hesitated for a while. He didn’t want anything to tamper with the beautiful friendship they shared. His mentor encouraged him to go ahead if he was sure.
“The worst you can get is a No,” he had said. “And the best you can get is a yes. So, drown the voice of your fears and take the step of faith.”
On the day Matthew proposed, he did not beat about the bush or whisper sweet lines. He was direct and intentional.
“Ife,” he had said. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you and I have talked to my Father about my feelings for you. I believe you are His will for my life, and I’m not ready to play any games.” He took a deep breath.
“Ife.” He looked straight into her round eyes. “Will you marry me?”
He expected her to act shocked or surprised, but she did neither. She stared at him, unblinking.
“Matthew Oreoluwa Coker, why do you want to marry me?”
It was the first time in a long time that anybody had referred to him by his full name. He leaned on the table.
“I want to marry you because I believe you are God’s best for me. I believe you were perfectly made for me. In the short time that I have known you, you have given me the gift of priceless friendship and I don’t want it to end. I see a future for us together, shining the light of Jesus in every corner of the earth and raising His banner high. I see us raising godly offspring who will bruise the head of the enemy. I see myself standing beside you while you receive international recognitions and accolades, to the glory of God. I see us fulfilling God’s perfect plan for us, together.”
He leaned on the table and took her hand in his. “I see us running this Christian race together and receiving a golden crown of glory at the end of it all.”
“I want you by my side forever, Ife. I want to…”
He looked at her in confusion.
“Yes, I will marry you Matthew.”
Surprise and then relief washed over him. He didn’t expect a swift response, and certainly not an “on the spot” response.
“Surprised right?” She asked.
He nodded his head.
“I knew from the first day we met at the business conference.”
He opened his mouth in shock. “What?”
“As I prepared for the conference that morning, the Lord told me I would meet my Prince Charming there. I was giddy with excitement. I was eager to meet the blessed young man.” She laughed.
“Immediately I saw you during the ‘meet and greet’ session, the spirit of God bore witness with my spirit. This is the one. I was intrigued.”
“Wow” was all Matthew could say.
“I decided to flow with the friendship and see if the day would come when you would catch the signal.” She winked at him.
He giggled. “You didn’t say a word about it to me.”
“Of course. Were you expecting me to walk up to you and say ‘hello Matthew, the Lord said you are my husband. Marry me now!”
He burst out laughing.
She tapped him on the hand playfully. “It is not in a woman’s place to do that. All I needed to do was watch and pray. I spoke with my pastor as well, and he is aware of everything so, you can see that I was prepared for this day long before now.”
Matthew bent his head in gratitude to God. When he lifted his head, his eyes shimmered.
“Thank you for saying yes, Ife. By God’s grace, you will never regret your decision to walk with me.”
This happened about three months ago and in that space of time, they had discussed practically everything possible. Everything, except Matthew’s secret. He had tried a few times to open up, but on each occasion, his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth. He then consoled himself with the fact that some secrets were better off left as secrets, and what Ife didn’t know wouldn’t harm her.
Then, the nightmares resurfaced.
Thanks for reading. Episode 5 comes up next!