"He is awake doctor. And he is smiling."
I opened my eyes slowly to see the person shouting beside me.
"Jesus wait! Come now. What did you say?" I started screaming as I imagined the person beside me running away to be Jesus.
It was then I realized the environment was strange. I was tied with a lot of wires to my bed.
'What is this?' I asked myself.
Oh! Oh! On the sudden realization that I was in a hospital, I laid back and closed my eyes.
The person soon came back with a doctor. He examined me and I heard him tell the person beside me it was okay to talk to me for only thirty minutes at most.
Who is that? The voice sounded
familiar anyways and I began to wonder.
I heard the person call me as i felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.
That name startled me. Only Uche called me that to delibrately annoy me. He knew I did not like the name but I had once given up on it when I realized, Uche would never stop calling me that.
But, he had been out of the country ever since we graduated from the university and I haven't heard a word from him since then.
I opened my eyes and sat up quickly.
"Uche?" I asked for confirmation.
"How far na, old boy?" He greeted.
I couldn't help but wonder how much he had grown. With his obviously good looking expensive shirt and blue jeans with a kind of sandal I had once priced in a supermarket worth #100,000, Uche must be in money. I concluded.
"I dey ooo", I answered as I struggled to find my voice. "What are you doing here? It's been ages", I inquired.
"Honestly, I dont know", came the answer.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean my heart started longing for you for some months now. It was strange because I do remember my Ladinchin boy most of the time but, this longing was so special that I had to pray about it and the Holy Spirit lead me to come back to Nigeria to fetch you. You have a good certificate and with my help, by God's grace, you'll get settled in no time."
"Uche! What are you saying? Are you serious? You mean, I should follow you back to the U.S."
I could almost start doubting my ears.
"Ladinchin. See, when you recover, we should go shopping. I will get your ticket and visa on Friday. So, we should go sooner."
"How did you get my passport first of all?"
I needed to know.
"In a blue file. You placed it on your table. You did not lock your door when you went on the walk, remember?"
"How did you know I went on a walk?"
"Your neighbours told me they saw you walking aimessly opposite the post office with no shoes on. They started calling you but you gave no response."
"Oooh! I feel so tired", I complained loud.
"Sorry. Rest." Urged, Uche
"How did you know my address in the first instance?"
"Ladinchin, rest. We will always talk later. But rest now."
"I don't know how to thank you."
"Please, don't. Just thank God for your life. Get well soon. See, I have gist, ehn. But, I am hungry and I have to go now. I am staying at a hotel actually." He smiled widely.
I smiled ruefully.
"I missed you Uche."
And I did as I remembered back then. Uche and food! I smiled again at the thought.
"Let us pray Ladinchin."
Uche said and i jerked out of my thoughts.
I replied as Uche led the ten minutes prayer. He smiled as I said the last amen.
"Take care boy. I have to go." Uche said as he stood up to leave.
"Thank you Uche. I don't know how..."
"It's okay. Save it boy."
Uche interrupted jokingly.
"Okay. Uche, are you married?"
"Ladinchin?!" He screamed and laughed simultaneously.
"Bye", I said.
I closed my eyes and laid on my back, remembering the events of the day. The walk, my talk with God and then, most unexpectedly, Uche! I smiled as I drifted to sleep.
I was discharged two days later.
As Uche and i stepped out of his car to go into my house, the neighbours ran to us to welcome me. I smiled as I hugged and greeted everyone, responding to their greetings.
I stepped into the house and I observed that it looked well kept. I was about to ask how. But...
"I employed the services of a cleaner to take care of the house whenever I am around."
Uche offered the explanation .
"Oooh", I said. "Thanks Uche."
"Anything for you ol'boy."
"And she is pretty", Uche added as he noticed I was looking at Rhoda's picture hung on the wall.
I nodded and sat down.
"She was an ebony with white set of teeth and a dazzling smile with a heart big enough to accomodate the whole world."
I said thoughtfully.
Uche smiled and said:
"She looks it."
I was still lost in thought when a knock came on my door.
I jerked out of my thoughts and looked at Uche who looked at me as well before heading for the door.
I recognized the man immediately. Who would not? The short man with a wiry smile who said he found it comfortable to call me Pastor Ladele despite the company's etiquette.
"Welcome, Mr. P.R.O." I said as I gestured him to sit.
He greeted me well and said he had a letter to give. Uche collected it from him, opened it and read it.
He passed it to me without saying a word. I was dumbfounded while I read it.
Can you imagine? Here, is a company I had faithfully served for eight years and was accused of theft and money laundering publicly, now apologising here in a letter that there was a mix up and the culprits had been found, that I should please resume work with all my salaries and dues for the past four months paid to my account.
I smiled, went inside, brought out a paper and pen and wrote a letter back to the company, thanking them for the money even though they shouldn't have worried about repaying it and also assured them that, they have been forgiven. I told them I won't be resuming back due to personal reasons.
I signed it ,folded it neatly and put it into an envelope and gave it back to the man.
"Thank you Willy." He nodded as he left.
FIVE YEARS LATER.
I peeped out of the window to look at the busy road on Texas street.
'Thank God I am on leave today', I mumbled to myself.
"Darling", I called
"Are you going to stay long in the hospital tomorrow?"
"Yes, Love. I have a lot of appointments tomorrow. But, I will be back early enough to make dinner", Sarah replied.
"You and these your patients, ehn."
She smiled as she winked at me across the room.
I smiled back!
I am graced to have met her. Really graced to have been acquainted with her. More graced to be a part of her life and greatly graced for her to be called my wife.
I remembered meeting her in a singles' confrence organised by Pastor Uche. She was in the backup group for the praise session. A second look at her informed me. Right there, I heard God's voice saying: "She's the one!"
I pretended as if I didn't understand.
"What do you mean father?"
God said again; "I said, she's the one. Your wife."
After a lot of convincing and advise on my part, I still felt the scar of Rhoda left behind. But thank God. How would I have missed this young, beautiful, intelligent, most caring Phisiotherapist? A woman of God.
I am still grateful even after two years of our marriage that, I hadn't missed her and will forever be grateful for that.
Emmanuela crawled to the room while crying. She had obviously looked for me in the living room.
I pecked her as I carried her in my arms.
"Stop crying baby. Daddy don't like tears."
I said to pet her.
And then, she smiled. A smile which reminded me of the walk and the talk I had with God five years ago.
I took a look again at Sarah across the room and Emmanuela in my arms and my present job and the life I am living here.
Then I thought, I was so naive arguing with God. He sure knows better.
"Thank you Jesus for everything."
I said as I picked my phone that was ringing and cleaned the tears that started forming around my eyelids.
"Hello? Yes. It's Dr. Ladele. The President of LSO company."
This is a message and not just a story that should be passed across to all believers.
Thank you so much for reading.