Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
“So, how did you find today’s fellowship?” Ope asked Nomnso.
They were seated inside the restaurant of Southern Sun’s hotel, in Ikoyi, and were enjoying their famous Sunday brunch. They’d all been to serve themselves their first course and the ladies had just returned with their plates. Kemi looked at her brother-in-law, a little nervous. She knew he was still trying to suss Nomnso out.
“Oh, I loved it. It’s not what I’ve been used to, but it’s so simple and refreshing. Do they do that every week?”
Ope nodded. “Usually. We try to let the Holy Spirit lead the fellowship and the worship.”
“Yes, and don’t you love how everyone is given a chance to contribute, and how it’s done so orderly? It’s the same way the early disciples held their meetings,” Promise said.
Kemi smiled. “Yes, I do. I also noticed that everyone calls everyone Brother or Sister, no matter their leadership position. That’s really cool!”
Ope smiled. “Yes, it is. It’s in obedience to Jesus, who taught us, in Matthew 23, that we are all brothers and sisters, and none of us should be called or call others by titles, such as Father, Teacher, Master etc. The Fellowship is really trying to honour God in the big and little things.”
“Yeah… I noticed that too. So, how do people become leaders?” Nomnso asked.
Promise and Ope attempted to respond at the same time, but Ope decided to let Promise answer. “Well, Jesus said that the greatest amongst us must be the servant. Those who seek positions for power will be humbled, but those who enter to serve will be exalted. The Lord will always elevate the leaders and, usually, through the respect the people show to their leadership.”
Kemi and Nomnso exchanged glances. “Wow, that’s so cool. We’re thinking of joining the church,” Kemi said.
“That’s great. There’s no formal way. Just continue to fellowship with us and find your place in service. We don’t like to refer to the fellowship as “the church”, because the Church is much bigger than our small fellowship. You can be part of the Church without fellowshipping with us. We just want to encourage everyone to follow Jesus and, for some, that will mean joining our fellowship. Let God guide you,” Ope said and smiled at Promise.
After that, Ope asked Nomnso about how his NYSC placement was coming along. They talked about a few things, including what Nomnso wanted to do when he was done with serving his country. He said he was keen to get work experience working as a civil engineer on a major infrastructural project, before launching out with his own company.
Ope smiled, “Sounds good. If you need help, my door’s always open.”
Nomnso grinned. “Thanks, Ope.”
It had been a month since Adania came and took Tommy, but the pain and loss were still so raw. Court proceedings had commenced last week, and Adania used Jamie’s past abuse of Amaka as her case against him sharing custody or even having any contact with his son. Jamie had the best lawyer his money could buy fighting the case, as they tried to prove that he was a changed man, after giving his life to Jesus just a couple of months ago. Though it seemed so convenient, it was his best fight.
Jamie had also expressed his concern that Adania had ill-feelings towards him and the baby, and needed to be supervised. However, he didn’t want the court to prevent her from having custody of her child, he just wanted joint custody, having already proven his paternal rights. Whatever the state of their relationship, he believed he had a lot to bring to the table for the well-being of his child, and it was in Tommy’s best interest to have his father in his life. They thought they had a good case, considering that Jamie had already put in some good work looking after Tommy, while Adania was in a coma. All she had against him was his past, and everyone knows that everyone deserves a second chance.
His lawyer had advised him to keep up the public image of a transformed man, a man of God, and ensure that he moved in the right circles and attended church faithfully, as though he too thought Jamie was pretending. Jamie had chosen to attend Jimmy’s fellowship, Salvation House, and was enjoying the fellowship and ministry there. Jimmy had already put in a good word for him and so everyone was very welcoming and supportive of him. It made it easier for Jamie to feel at home in the church and also focus on his spiritual growth too.
Today, after service, Jamie followed Jimmy and his wife home, and Fatima did her magic in the kitchen. Fatima had started following Jimmy to his church about a month ago. No one quite knew what prompted her decision to, but the three brothers were pretty excited about it and were all eagerly observing her for more changes. However, she continued to observe her Islamic worship with their regular prayers and congregational prayer on Fridays.
“How are you doing, mehn?” Jimmy asked his brother. Jamie’s eyes had that faraway look he often had these days. Jimmy knew his brother was going through a lot, and he was trying his best to be there for him.
Jamie gave a deep sigh. “I’m okay.” He smiled, but it barely touched his eyes. He sighed again.
“Thinking of Tommy?”
Jamie threw a quick glance at Jimmy. “Yeah… I miss him so much.”
“Yeah… Kids have a way of entering your heart and refusing to leave… It’ll all work out. I just know it.”
Jamie sighed. He really wanted to believe Jimmy. He rubbed his hand across his face, as a way of relieving stress, and took in another deep breath. “I really messed up.”
“Yeah…” Jimmy muttered, but then smiled. “But God is amazing, mehn!” Jamie turned to him, wondering where he was going with that. “I mean, can you believe where we all are??? All the changes we’ve made since last year?! Sometimes, I think of it and I’m just floored. First, God arrested me in May, then Jason met God in September, and then you have this amazing transformation over a few months, so that you gave your life to God in June… And now, I know something’s going on with Fatima too… Even Amaka gave her life to Christ! So, don’t worry about Adania. God will take care of her too.”
Jamie smiled. “Amen. But it still sounds too good to be true… I’m counting on a miracle, though. I guess, I’m also sad because I want more than Tommy… I want Adania…” he locked eyes with Jimmy and saw that his brother already knew. “But I feel like I can’t have everything. Even if she forgives me, I think I’ll probably have to let her go, like Amaka. That’s also been bothering me.”
Jimmy reached out to hold Jamie’s hand. “I know…and I wish I understood what you are going through right now. I was kinda lucky in love, y’know? But I think you need to put them both out of your mind right now, and let your focus be on God. Let Him be the one you want the most, and whatever happens, you will be at peace. Whether Adania comes around or moves on, you just want to know that you are where God wants you to be, doing His will. It will be hard, but the peace is incomparable.”
Jamie nodded. “Thanks. I appreciate the advice. I guess, it’s just a ‘one day at a time’ thing.”
“Yes, definitely. One day at a time, bro. And you’re doing good,” Jimmy said, drawing Jamie in for a hug. “I love you, bro.”
Jamie rested in his brother’s embrace, and a few tears ran from his eyes. He would trust God and rest in His grace. God was in control.
Michael was at their usual spot waiting for Temi to show up. Knowing that he was leaving tonight, and would be gone for many days, he was pretty eager about their meet-up. He really hoped she’d be able to come. He’d replied her text by fixing a time for them to meet, but she was yet to read the message, though it showed that it had been delivered.
He was already all packed and intended to leave for the airport after their little rendezvous. He even hoped she’d be able to ride with him, but he knew he was pushing his luck. Temi was determined about not getting caught. She said she didn’t want to muddy the waters of their divorce, and if Oyinda knew she had been unfaithful too, he might refuse to take responsibility for the breakdown of their marriage, which was her entire case against him.
Michael stole a look at his watch. It was past the time he’d given. He wanted to call her, and began to, when a message dropped on his WhatsApp. She’d finally read and responded to his message.
“Hey, Michael… I’m sorry I can’t meet you today.”
“I’ll talk to you later… Travel safe.”
Something was wrong… Michael noted how she’d addressed him by his first name, not even Mike. There was also no sweetness to her message. Not even “I’ll miss you…” Had she changed her mind? He swallowed.
There was very little he could do about that now. He couldn’t very well go to her house and stage a confrontation, before going for a long trip. He’d have to hold his peace and see how she responds while he’s in the States. He would also have to keep his trip as short as possible, so he could return and sort out what’s happening with his heart. He let out a huge sigh.
Tomi Oluseyi laid in bed, looking up at the ceiling and smiling, as she spoke to her dad on the phone. She’d spent yesterday with him for their fortnightly date night, and he had called to see how she was doing today. And also to spy on her mother.
Tomi giggled. “Daddy! Okay, okay, I will,” she giggled some more. “But this is the last time!”
She cut the call after saying goodbye to her father. She rose up from bed, deciding to go and find her mother. It was surprising that, though she lived with her mom, she had a much more intimate relationship with her father. Perhaps it was because he was compensating for his absence, but he made more effort to talk to her and find out what was going on in her life. Also, since her mother had been dating that footballer, she no longer had much time for Tomi. But Tomi tried to be understanding. She knew how lonely and unhappy her mom had been with her father, and how much in need of love she was.
She sighed. Sometimes, she wondered what her life would have been like if she had been a planned baby, and her parents were married and in love with each other. She’d had to grow up fast, and now stood like a mediator and even counsellor to both her parents. The only good thing about it all was that she knew now what she wanted when she grew up, and how to avoid getting in the same mess her parents were living through. She sometimes fantasised about becoming a marriage counsellor, with all the experience her life had given her.
The moment she opened her door, she heard the unusual sound. At first, it sounded like the moans her mother sometimes made when Dwayne visited them at home. But Tomi knew that Dwayne wasn’t in her house. He was rather loud, and she would have known the moment his car hit their driveway!
She listened closely and was able to identify the sound as someone crying. Her mother. She hastened to the door and leaned close. The sobs were louder and throaty. Her mom was crying, and Tomi felt so sad hearing it. Why was her mom crying? Did it have anything to do with Dwayne, or work or even her father? Did it have anything to do with her? She hesitated, before making the decision to knock once and open the door.
“Mom, are you okay?” she asked, when her mother looked up in her direction.
Victoria was shocked when her door suddenly opened and her daughter stepped into her room. She hadn’t heard the knock. She’d also been trying to keep her sobs down. She wiped her face with her tissues and turned away from her daughter.
“Hey, baby… Mom’s fine,” she said, trying to get herself together. She swallowed hard. Still looking away, she asked, “What is it?”
“I just thought I’d come and see how you’re doing. Dad called and asked about you. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Victoria nodded, cleaned her face a final time and turned to her child. She tried to smile. “I’m okay, dear. How’s your dad?”
Tomi walked towards her mom and sat on the bed next to her. “He’s okay. Do you want me to get you anything?” she decided to ask instead, rather than continuing to probe. She sensed that her mother didn’t want to talk about whatever it was that was upsetting her.
“No, baby,” Victoria said, pulling Tomi in for a hug. “Mom just needs a big hug! Thanks.”
They hugged and Victoria planted a kiss on Tomi’s forehead. After a while, Tomi rose up and left the room, looking back one more time to say “bye” by wiggling her fingers and giving her mom a small smile. Victoria returned her smile.
After Tomi left, Victoria got up from bed and went to her bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror. She didn’t look good.
But you wouldn’t feel nor look good either if you’d just found out that your boyfriend is having a baby with another woman! Funny how it seems like karma. She was the pregnant other woman when her ex-husband, Femi, was involved with Tolu. But she never knew it could hurt this badly. She broke down in tears again.
To be continued...
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