Friday, 25 April 2014

A Rule of Love 3

After the one year mandatory Youth Service, Chinelo and Othuya returned to their homes after singing the song veni vidi vici. Othuya resided with his family in Port-Harcourt where he schooled, a young man from an average home where all expenses could be met, although they did not have so much in excess, nevertheless he did not lack anything, his father was a lecturer at the University where Othuya graduated from, his mother was a teacher in a secondary school a little far away from their home which accentuated the reasons why they were both strict-disciplinarians.

Othuya had only spent a month at home after the completion of his service year when he received the good news that bright afternoon, he laid on the sofa in the living room watching a soap opera on the television, he wore a white singlet and a black trousers, he had a trousers on because their house help was somewhere around the house he could only leave a short–knickers on his body if he was in his room alone, or when there was no one else at home. As he laid on the sofa, his phone shrilled from where it was being charged, he jumped to his feet to pick it before it stopped ringing. It was his dad calling; he quickly pressed the answer button.

“Hello dad!”
“How are you???”
“I am fine sir!” Othuya answered
“Your uncle just called my office now, to tell me your application to the company he retired from has been granted, and you are to resume, the first Monday next month, congratulations,” Othuya wanted to say a loud thank you God, when he realized his father had dropped the line, that was one thing his Father was notable for; precise and concise, nevertheless he knew his father was also excited at the news, since he also could not wait for his return back home before he relayed the news to him.
“Thank you Jesus!!!” He screamed as he dropped his phone, he was so glad at the news he received, he rolled on the tiled floor a number of times as he sang praises to God.
After a while he jumped to his feet and reached for his phone again, he wanted to tell Chinelo the good news.

“Hey!!! Chinelo,” Othuya started to say immediately Chinelo said hello.
“Guess what???” he gleamed with joy. Chinelo smiled, she knew it was only exceptional news that could spurn such joy she perceived from him.
“I am all ears dear….”
“Hallelujah” Othuya shouted.
“Praise the lord!” Chinelo replied, “But you have not told me exactly what God has done you know?” Chinelo chuckled.
“My employment letter has been sent in.”
“Waoohhh, for this God is our God!!!” Chinelo exclaimed.
“Yes indeed he is our God!!!”
“Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee…” Chinelo started to sing a hymn, and then Othuya chorused it along with her, “…how great thou art, how great thou art.”

…………………………………………………………………….

The company that had just employed Othuya was in Cross Rivers State, Calabar precisely, by the end of the weekend Othuya had arrived at his Uncle’s home and resided there for a short period, and by the end of his fourth month at his work place he rented an apartment. He enjoyed the few months he had spent at the company although he was still undergoing training that would last six months.

Four months into his stay in his apartment as a Bachelor, he got a call from Chinelo who was still back in Lagos where she lived with her family; she did not have a job yet, and now she was preferred for an interview in one of the companies she had applied to. The particular company that had summoned her for an interview had their head office in Cross River state with branch offices in some other part of the country.

The mail containing the message for the interviewing had just reached her that day, and she deemed it fit to tell Othuya since that was where he resided now.
“Hey dear,” Chinelo started to say once Othuya picked up his phone.
“How are you doing?” he replied.
“I am fine, thank you and I miss you, you know?” Chinelo added.
“Huhn!” was all Othuya muttered, he was always cautious of the language he used with Chinelo over the phone to avoid anything defiling as he thought, since the scriptures confirms that it is not really what you take in that defiles you but what comes out of you.

“Huhn? Is that all you have to say?” “So you didn’t miss me, I have told you to loosen up young man, God is not waiting somewhere upstairs to send you to hell at the slightest sin,” she giggled, and continued almost immediately “anyway I called to tell you that I will be travelling down to Calabar, I have been preferred for an interview at Real Finance Bank,” she announced gladly, Othuya took in a breath before he replied gladly, “Wao, we thank God and I pray you get the job in Jesus name.

Chinelo added still smiling, “Amen so I will see you this weekend, take care of yourself, we will talk in the night,” she ended the call still beaming with joy.
Othuya smiled to himself as he dropped his phone just beside him on his bed where he laid in his room, there was a feeling of joy that filled his heart each time he spoke with her, just as he adjusted his pillow to tilt his head on it, a thought flashed across his mind.
“Was Chinelo planning to stay at his place for the weekend, although she has never come visiting, because he discouraged it each time she suggested it, Othuya visited her home a number of times anytime he travelled to Lagos. Othuya started to think of what to do since Chinelo would be spending some nights in Calabar.
………………………………………………………………………………

“It’s alright, we are going to alight here,” Othuya announced to the driver that  drove  himself  and Chinelo. “Is this  your  house?” Chinelo  asked  as   the  cab  man  pulled  the  car  to  a  halt  in  front  of  a  hotel, “not  really." Othuya  answered  as  he  opened  the  back   door  of  the  car  where  he  sat  close  to  chinelo.  The  cab  man  was  already  out  of the car  by  man,  he  had  opened  the   boot  of  the  car,  and  pulled   out  Chinelo's  medium  sized  bag.  Othuya  went  behind  the  car,  lifted  it  and  walked  along  with  Chinelo  into the hotel,  Chinelo  was  dazed  all   through,  she  kept  mute  as  she  followed  Othuya  to  the  receptionist  who  said  a  number  of  things  to him and  exchanged  an  amount  of  cash  for   a  key  with a tagged  key  holder  with  othuya.  “Let's  go,”  “Othuya  signaled  as  they  headed  for  the  stair  way.  They  finally  reached  a  room  at   the  end  of  the  corridor  with  a  brown   door,  the  number  on  the  key  tallied  with  what  was  on  the  room  door.  Othuya  gently  opened  with   the  key  and  pressed  the  doorknob,  he  stepped  in with  Chinelo  following  suit.  

“Welcome  to  Port  Harcourt  Chinelo,”  this  was  the  first  time  any  of  them  would speak  since  they  alighted  from the  car,  “thank you very much, but……..”Chinelo  started  to  say, “but  what?”  Othuya  answered,  he settled on  the  four feet  bed  in  the  room,  while  chinelo  was  still  on her feet. “Have  your  seat and let  me get you something  chilled  to  drink. “Hold on Othuya, it's  just two night I will be spending in  Port Harcourt, I thought  I will be  staying  over at  your apartment since you will have  an extra room,” she  said  leaving  her  mouth  open. “Oh  no! chinelo  you  cannot  stay  in  my  house,  it's  not  right,  if  we  intend  to  abstain  from sex  before  marriage  then  we  must put laws and principles around our actions, let us not try to play smart,the devil maybe wicked or even powerless, but he is not foolish as some think, those who fell, in previous times did not plan too, greater  and  better men  than  us  have  fallen  on  this  road,”  Othuya  stood to his feet with  his arms on her shoulders.

Chinelo really appeared sullen, she had planned that the weekend was going to be a time to get closer to her fiancé, all he knew about him majorly was that he was a spiritual and commited brother, she felt there were still some things she needed to know, does he snore while sleeping, is he a dirty person, how does he manage his apartment, she thought this time would afford her that knowledge about him, but No! Othuya had stabbed all her plans prematurely.
“Alright then, so be it,” Chinelo concluded since she did not want to appear like a carnal Christian, the two love birds chewed the fat with each other a few more hours before Othuya returned to his apartment when it was getting late since he did not have a car yet.

……………………………………………………………

The next day which was a Sunday, Othuya was going to pick Chinelo up at the hotel where she was lodged, so that they could attend his church service, it was the branch of the Church he attended back in Port-Harcourt, Othuya had left his apartment a little bit late and was quite in a hurry because it took a while to get a cab heading towards his church place.

Chinelo was all dressed like she would dress to her church on a Sunday, She wore an armless grey dress that barely reached her knees and released her neatly done hair over her shoulders. Once her phone shrilled, she knew Othuya was waiting outside the hotel, she hurriedly slid her foot into her high heeled shoes one after another, picked up her purse that was on the mattress, and rushed out of the room before Othuya reminded her that lateness is not a virtue.
Immediately she reached the hotel gate, she found the cab parked right in front of her, she noticed Othuya who immediately flung the door open, as she stepped into the car she noticed Othuya left his gaze on her with his mouth wide open, he was definitely taken aback by her resplendence, she appeared beautiful in the dress.

“Hey!”  Chinelo had to say to call back his drifted attention, “Oh I am sorry,” by now the taxi had moved.
“Good morning, how are you doing, you look beautiful.”
“Thank you.”
Immediately he dropped the complement, it occurred to him he only made the comment not considering the decency of her dress, “but Chinelo…” he started to say, “What is it???” she darted a surprised look, perceiving what he was going to say, “Don’t you think you appear scantily dressed, Othuya wore a big white Shirt tucked in a brown pant and a black belt on black shoe.

Chinelo did not make anything out of his comment but simply added, “And you are excessively dressed, they could make two of your normal size from this shirt you have on!!!” Othuya did not take her comment lightly and frowned at her statement. “That’s not funny you know,” he was teed off, by now they were at the first gate of his church. He quickly pulled out his purse and handed over some naira notes to the taxi driver, and stepped out of the car.

“But you still need to cover your head at least or something,” Chinelo dismissed his statement and walked behind him to the church entrance. Just as they were ushered into the church, people turned around and looked at Chinelo as she appeared awkwardly dressed from the rest of the church members and again she dismissed the attention, people were more astonished that the very vibrant  and strict Othuya was the one such lady accompanied, while some others assumed it was a mere coincidence.

The service rolled on and it was time for the minister to preach, the preacher led a short prayer before he started to quote some part of the scriptures.
“1 Corinthians Chapter Six and Verse twelve, Open your bibles to that part of the scriptures quickly,” and he started to read aloud after inhaling a deep breath.
“Just because something is technically legal does not mean it is spiritually appropriate, if I went around doing whatever I could get by with, I would be a slave to my whims... the message version,"he inhaled a deep breath again before he continued to speak      

“We are heavenly minded people in this church, and we will not lose sight of our target,” people adjusted on their seats as they listened on with rapt attention. I see some people scantily dressed on my street and in other churches and everywhere around, people with armless and transparent dresses specially the females, it is not because we do not know where these dresses are sold, it is just because we are sane and know that people must not see such indecent apparels on us, we understand the dotted line between modesty and indecency, and we know better than to cross it.

Chinelo was beginning to feel very uncomfortable on her seat, Othuya looked at her frequently and noticed her uneasiness, but he could not do anything about it, ‘had the pastor come to attack her?’ she thought.      
By now she understood why Othuya behaved the way he behaved in the family house during their service year, she realised how stringent his Church doctrines were, the setting was so primitive indeed, with women with obviously raised shoulder pads in their wears, and same for men who wore jackets, it seemed like her Church in the 80's, she looked around the Church building to distract herself from the Preacher's piercing message.

Did she want to marry into this kind of settings? Where she had to put on apparels covering her entire skin, everybody remained silent throughout the whole message unlike in her Church, where the preacher got an exciting answer at intervals, this was the exact opposite of her Church, while she still drooled on her thought, the Preacher's voice returned her attention suddenly, “shall we rise to pray?" He announced.
Immediately, the congregation stood to their feet, as the Pastor led a song, some Choristers stood behind the microphone stands and chorused along, Chinelo suddenly noticed there was no drum set, except a piano, the knowledge of that shocked her, ‘is there such Church in Nigeria without a drumset, her Church even used the local drum which is normally hung over the arm, praise time in her church without that drum was not fulfilling, the Church chorused the song along solemnly, Chinelo waited hurriedly for the end of the service, she could not wait to jump out of the Church auditorium.
Once the grace was shared, she hurriedly found her way out of the Church, she heard someone call out for her,“Hello Sister..."but she ignored the voice and walked out.

.................................

By the time they arrived at the hotel room, Chinelo was still reminiscing on her time at the Church, Othuya sat on the chair in the room, silence enveloped the room, “Chinelo..." Othuya interrupted the silence, he knew Chinelo was moody because of the Church service today, he ignored the atmosphere, and went on to speak, “Chinelo, WILL YOU MARRY?" Chinelo flashed a surprised look, he was on his feet by now, he did not hold any ring in his hand, he just said the word as plain as he could.
...................................To be continued............