TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – EFE WINTERS
He twitched and for the first time in two years, I sincerely wished, prayed, begged God he didn’t recognize that name. I had grown accustomed to it, the twitches, cringes, and plain old look of disgust.
Some just walk away. Others have the effrontery to question me.
“How could you?” “What did you plan to gain?” “You could have just shut your mouth.” “Deal with it, jor!” On and on and on. Those had not bothered me.
Amazing that instead of getting bitter, I grew strong. Wasn’t that what the truth did, set you free? Whether the people who heard liked it or not.
“Dave Isibor.” We shook hands and he held on to mine. “Your name sounds awfully familiar. Did you live in Lagos four years ago?”
I smiled. Diplomacy. Sure I lived in Lagos till two years ago when the heat grew too much and I relocated to Port Harcourt where I had more friends and family than foes. Many had advised me to not move.
“People will think you are running away.”
Well I was. He who fights and runs lives to fight another day. I was fighting so many other days here, worshipping in a small church where they all accepted me despite my reputation or lack of it. My small scale business did well, and I could pay my bills. What more did the renowned Efe Winters want in life?
Two years like yesterday.
“I lived in Lagos till two years ago.”
He smiled. Oh, such gorgeous smile. “I know you then, by reputation.”
Blunt. “Or the lack of it.”
He smiled wider. “Pleased to meet you.”
He was cutting me a huge deal. Someone important to the future of my business. Of course, it had become a taboo for me to express likeness for a man. Knowing who I was, or am, or supposed to be. Another Monica Lewinsky. Another little fox that spoils great vines. Hmm. What did I not hear my name changed to? Sha, it is well.
I smiled. “I’m glad.” I brought out my proposal.
He looked at it, and didn’t touch it. “Can we talk over dinner?”
My mouth dropped open. Of course I didn’t need any endorsement. In fact after the scandal that set me free, despite the talk, I didn’t have interest in any male.
“This is business,” I said.
He frowned. “I know. But I’m more interested in the dinner.” He shrugged. “Please?”
“I’ve not done dinners in a while.”
I struggled. This wasn’t easy for me. I was attracted to him, something that had not happened in ages. He was a business contact, someone who had investment interests in my fashion business. But at the moment, I needed his attention, so I shrugged.
He chose the dinner location. We had a fun night. And he asked to see me again. To another dinner to talk business. Which didn’t happen again because he asked for another date.
I later learned there wasn’t meant to be any business talk. Someone had done this match-make. Someone had been tired of the hard life I subjected myself to. No socials. No relationships. I was almost a nun in the church.
My friend and sister had told him to meet me. They’d told me he was a businessman looking for investment in small businesses. Of course, they didn’t tell him my name. Or who I was. Just that the only reason I’d agree to meet him would be to discuss business. And he played along, a bachelor looking for a good woman to marry. I’d say my loved ones had a good sense of humor. I don’t know how many out there thought I was a good woman. Not that it mattered.
Courting Dave helped me to move on. Like most Christians who heard when the story of the silly girl and big pastor burst, Dave had shrugged it off. But meeting me, falling for me, loving me, and later marrying me taught us both many lessons.
God can indeed use anything, anyone, to confirm his truth. All he (God) needs is a yielded vessel. If it’s the truth, God will sort the rest.
Dedicated to Ese.