Category Archives: My Free Reads

Purely fiction. My short shorts

Divine Connection

Power of a Name

Suru Lere, Nigeria

Renee woke up with a jolt. She glanced over at the clock  on her dresser. She was late. She threw off the blanket and scurried to the bathroom. She barely had 60 minutes to catch the bus, to make it in time for her ten am interview. Her 1994 Mazda had packed up-for good this time. As much as Renee missed “Bestie” – that was the pet name she gave her car-it had served her well.

Twenty five minutes later, Renee closed her front door and  turned the lock. She smiled, I’m going to make it in time. She was almost at the bus stop when she noticed her portfolio was missing. That’s just great! There was no way she could go for an interview when she didn’t have clips of her work.  She was a journalist for goodness sake and needed samples.  It was barely 8 am and the sun was already on full blast.  She wiped off the beads of sweat that had formed on her forehead. Renee sighed as the bus speed by. With her shoulders drooped, she started the ten minute walk back to her apartment.

###

Renee’s jet black hair was disheveled, the after effect of wind coming in from the broken window of the taxi she had chartered. She cringed when she thought of the one thousand Naira she just shelled out for the ride. Now she was down to just a thousand to her name. She had no choice if she wanted to make it in time. Renee dashed into the restroom to check  her appearance, the interview would start in twenty minutes. She used a damp handkerchief to wipe her face down, perspiration had made her dark skin even darker. She brushed her hair and applied a layer of lip gloss. Since she had the taxi to herself, her Ankra knee – length skirt and immaculate white blouse didn’t have any creases. As she exited the restroom she ran straight into a lady. Papers flew everywhere, Renee bent down immediately and began gathering the papers.

 “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking.” Renee made an attempt to put the papers back in order. Renee stood to her full height of five feet six and looked at the woman. Her mouth flew open,so did the lady’s. They both squealed. They hugged each other for what seemed like eternity, rocking back and forth. Renee was the first to speak.

“Ha, good afternoon Ma.” Renee curtsied.

“Dumebi, where have you been. I’ve been looking for you,” The woman said. Renee smiled, it had been a while since anybody called her by her Igbo name. She had no other family calling her that since both her parents were the only children of her late grandparents

The woman continued,” When I came back from America, you had moved out of your house and nobody had your contact. How are you?”

Renee glanced at her watch, she had two minutes.” Aunty Pam, can I have your card? I have an interview now.I’ll call and explain everything.” The woman handed Rene her card. Renee thanked her and ran toward the elevators.

###

“Young lady, you are late,” her interviewer said.

“I’m sorry sir. I had a minor mishap down stairs…I’m sorry sir,” Renee said. She watched as the man looked at her portfolio. He had a disinterested look in his face. Not again, not again. Since her parents death two years ago, things had gone from bad to worse. She lost her job, got evicted from her Victoria Island apartment,she no longer had a car, even Kachi- her long time boyfriend- had broken up with her. Renee had tried in vain to get a job until this opportunity came along. Lord please help me. She let out a labored breath. Had she not run into her mother’s best friend-Dr. Mrs. Coker- Uwakwe- downstairs she would have been on time.

“Eheen, your work looks good but-“

Renee knew where he was going and cut him off. “Mr. Wale, please,look again. My work is good. I can even get you a reference from Dr. Mrs. Coker-Uwakwe.” Renee noticed Mr. Wale perked up at the mention of Aunty Pam’s name. He was suddenly interested.  Hmmm, she was on to something.

“Which Dr. Coker- Uwakwe? The one of Hope Medical Center in Lekki?” he asked.

“Yes Sir.” Renee knew for sure she had his attention now. She spent the next twenty-five minutes bragging on her relationship with Aunty Pam while the man took another look at her work.

###

It had been five days since the interview. Renee was on her way back home from buying bread at the corner kiosk. Mama Bisi’s kiosk was the only one that allowed her to run a tab.  She was miserable. Just when she thought things were looking up, the devil had started again. MTN,the local phone provider, was having problems with its lines so she hadn’t been able to speak to Aunty Pam. Renee had no idea where she lived now, since she moved from her Lekki house. The card she gave her, had only a phone number on it. Renee had managed her one thousand Naira well, but was now down to fifty. The future was looking bleak. She heard the blaring of a motorcycle horn and she stepped out of the way. She was about to turn onto her street when the cyclist stopped next to her.

“Excuse me, do you know where number 1495  Kings Lane is?” the man asked. He was an Express Mail courier.

“What’s the name on the letter?”she asked. It was her address but she wanted to be sure. The cyclist confirmed it was her house he was looking for. She signed for the letter and he left. Renee opened the letter, her eyes bugging out as she read it. She got out her phone. Maybe MTN is okay now, she thought. She dialed Aunty Pam’s number eager to share the news with someone. Her face cracked in a smile when the phone was answered on the first ring.

“Aunty Pam, good afternoon.” Renee curtsied even though she knew the lady couldn’t see her. They exchanged pleasantries and Renee quickly gave her a summarized version of what she had been through the last two years. Then Renee  shared her good news, her mouth opened, she couldn’t believe the coincidence. Aunty Pam had saved Mr. Wale’s daughter life years ago. The young lady had just been involved in an accident and needed surgery. Mr. Wale was just starting out in his career and had no money to pay for the procedure. Aunty Pam had stepped in and the rest was history. The man owed Aunty Pam a favor. Which apparently, Renee cashed in on when she unknowingly dropped Aunty Pam’s name.

The End

 Renee dropped Aunty Pam’s name and received favor. Have you tried dropping the name of Jesus Christ today? Why don’t you speak to your situation and drop the name of our Lord? Tell whatever it is messing with you that you are a child of the most High.

John 14:14 “You may ask anything in my name and I will do it”

Philippians 2: 10-11 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

©Unoma Nwankwor 2013

Photcredit: google.com

This material is not to be reproduced or copied except with permission of the author.

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He’s Silent and I’m Mad…

stock-footage-woman-praying-in-churchPsalm 42:9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

Patricia walked into the massive church. The cool air that kissed her face was a welcome change from the scorching sun that had punished her soft light brown skin during the ten minute walk to the chapel that was close to her office. She quickly covered her wild curls  with a silk scarf and made her way to the altar. Patricia stared at the massive cross, tears started to form in her eyes as she remembered the price Jesus had paid for her salvation. She knelt and bowed her head.

 For the past couple of months she spent her lunch break here. She remembered the look of love and admiration  on his face when he kissed her good-bye. Recently she had begun to feel unworthy of his love. Why should he love her this much when for three years she hadn’t been able to provide him the one thing she knew he wanted more than anything;  a child. Despite what he said, she saw his face light up anytime he was with his nieces or the boys he coached on the weekends. Why was her own case different?

 Her tear ducts had a mind of their own as she began to sob uncontrollably.  She stood up and began to pace back and forth across the altar with her arms wrapped around her slender five foot two frame. Her strides becoming more forceful as her anger rose. After several minutes, she began to speak. “Father, I have fasted and prayed that now I don’t even know what else to say. I’ve cried so much that the tears no longer flow. I’ve been hoping for as  long as I can  remember. I’m struggling Lord, I’m struggling to hold on. Every Sunday I go to church and hear the testimony of others, all around me things seem to be changing or moving in the right direction for others but my prayers seem to be hitting some kind of wall. You’re silent Lord and I’m angry.” 

Patricia or Pat as her husband fondly called her felt a sudden chill in the room. She turned around and the sanctuary was  empty. She was tired. It was barely twelve thirty p.m. and the energy seemed to be sapped from her. She sat in front of  the altar in silence, her anger now subsided. After about fifteen minutes, she got up, dusted off her skirt and began making her way out. She didn’t have it in her to pray today. As she approached the last pew, she saw a man seated close to the aisle.

“Good afternoon, I’m sorry. I didn’t know there was anyone else here,” she said. He wasn’t the Pastor she remembered here maybe he was new. Oh I hope he didn’t hear me venting. She thought. The man smiled at her then scooted over making room for her to sit close to him. She sized him up, looked at her watch, she had just ten minutes to spare. Patricia looked at the door unconsciously seeking the nearest exit.

“Sit my daughter,” he encouraged. She sat down cautiously.

“I don’t what you are going through nor will I pretend to know how you feel but there is a God who does….”

 “I don’t know about that..” She scowled. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to sound angry, I’m just frustrated,” she quickly explained. He must think she is a bad Christian for being angry.

“Don’t apologize. There are many instances in the bible where great men and women of God felt that God was silent. They were angered by it and expressed it. Hannah expressed it when she went to the temple to pray as if she were crazy, David asked God countless times why He had forsaken him. Elijah asked God to end his life but God wouldn’t, the list goes on and on. So its ok to have feelings BUT, and here is the key always remember, that as Christians, we should be steadfast and have  the ability to perseverance as this brings about good character. ”

“Don’t be weary in doing good. Your due season might be taking way longer than you expected, He might seem silent and it is ok to get upset, but the key is not to STAY in this state. Every time David asked God why He was forsaking him, he never ended it with the same anger or depression he started the Psalm with, he ended it with Praise!!! Acknowledging the fact that He is no lesser a God in confusion than He is in a state of peace. We owe it to God to praise Him in all circumstances, His grace is sufficient and will give us strength while we wait for our due season   “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:19.”

Patricia breathe a sigh of relief and bowed her head, placing her face in her hands. After a few moments she let out another sigh and lifted her head. He was gone! She panicked and stood. She picked up her bag, and the piece of paper that fell from on top of it. She crumpled it in her hand and hurried out of the chapel, not looking back or stopping until she got to her desk.  What  just happened? Who was that? She opened her fist to look at the paper she had been too scared to read. In bold writing was

 Therefore boast all the more gladly about your weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on you.

 What are you waiting on? Be encouraged!

Blessings,

Unoma

Stepping Stone

steppingedit“Excuse me, excuse me  coming through” I raced through the airport, the announcer had called the final boarding call for my flight. I was about to miss my flight due to all the prayers my family insisted on having which if you ask me where excessive. Missing this flight was not an option I was willing to entertain; I had to get out of this country and fast.

Oh no.I thought as I approached the escalator ; there was an out-of-order sign positioned right in front of it. Only in Murtala Mohammed airport would there be such a shiny  escalator that almost never worked. Only in ‘Naija’ and the funny thing was that no one seemed to complain, or raise an eyebrow but as usual we all adjusted to not having a working escalator at the airport. I am still proudly Nigerian but the reality is that we still got work to do!

Speaking of reality, it was my reality that the man I gave my everything to was really moving on. My mind flashed back to the day I walked into the Domino’s Pizza  in Ikoyi to pick up my mouth-watering pizza, I just happened to buy the latest  gossip magazine from the vendor standing by the door. My eyes widened when  there, plastered on the front page was Nedu; he was getting married.  My mind went back to that day a year ago  that my  world came crashing down.

I wanted to keep it a secret and sometimes wish I did, but I loved him too much not to tell him. My bible also said that whatever was done in the secret will surely come out to the light. On that fateful, beautiful evening he whipped out the ring I had been waiting on  for a while. I remember  he went on bended knees about to give what I thought would have been the most unforgettable proposal there was.  Right before he spoke, I had to open my big mouth. I told him the truth I had known all along; one of my tubes was blocked making the possibility of me having a child slim to none.

Just like that a relationship that spanned six years was gone down the drain. He suddenly was very busy at the office, then he gradually stopped picking my calls or replying my text or bbms. All the signs where there,  he had changed somehow, he was no longer my Nedu. I wasn’t going to go down like that.  Gathering up the nerve I decided to go visit him. I was confident we could talk this out, after all there were other options available.  I called and he said he wasn’t back from Abuja.  Since I had a key, I quickly packed an overnight bag and headed to his house. I was going to surprise him.  I intended to spoil him; cook clean and tidy up for him. He would get a feel of what he was missing when he arrived tomorrow afternoon.

The air was sucked out of my lungs when I arrived and his car was parked in the covered parking space. Wishing for the best while making a thousand excuses for him in just a matter of seconds, I approached the house and could hear laughter. Ringing the bell, I waited and then the door opened. The opened door brought me face to face with Toyin. “Honey who is it” questioned the voice I had become so used to hearing; Nedu.

Our eyes were glued to one another. Both expressions clearly different, hers had a hint of guilt but somewhere in there was a smirk; mine was filled with despair and shock. My worst fears were confirmed when he appeared, wearing a white T-shirt and his lounging pants. He was no longer mine. He was oozing of nervous  energy, he couldn’t be that nervous as he didn’t waste time locating Toyin’s waist. When he wrapped his arms around her waist, I felt like I was punched in the gut. My best friend and my man. How wicked could the world be? She was the one I cried to, laid out all my problems to. Too much the bear, the last thing I heard was” Amaka, wait I can explain”

That was a year ago; it was time to turn over a new leaf. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and get busy. I had goals, dreams, and visions for my life. I was not going to pine away anymore, if God gave me a husband in the process, glory be to His name. Now on my way to the USA , I  could see new possibilities and was grateful. My godparents were gracious enough to send for me when my parents had complained about my inability to get over my heartbreak.

My dad had been a faithful driver to the Omojola’s. During those years an unlikely friendship had blossomed.  They were bonded together by the fact that both men married the love of their lives. These women were their  soul mates  and they loved them  but the unions were still  childless even after five years of marriage. After ten solid years, God blessed my parents with a child; me. Since his employers still didn’t have one of their own my parents decided to share and that how they became my godparents. They had been blessed with riches but didn’t have the one thing they wanted; children.  The Irony of life.

I got to  the gate just in time, I scurried to my seat in the plane, securing my hand luggage in the overhead compartment, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was determined not to blow it, my life may not be where I thought it should be but it is not over. U S of A, here I come.

Six Years Later……….

“Sir are you still here? I asked you to let me reschedule for you for another time” the secretary said as she came out of the office belonging to her boss.

“What kind of question is that? Of course I’m still here.  I had a 2pm appointment and I have to see  him today” Looking at his watch and taking note of the time; 430pm. He was  frustrated.  If only he could finally get to see him, it would be his big break. He has been trying for what seemed like ages to get an appointment. He finally did and now this.

A friend had referred him here; the man had relocated from America a year ago and was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the literary arena. If anyone could get a book sold; Dr. Igwebuike could. His wife was quickly losing patience in his inability to breakthrough as a writer; something he promised her he would do when he stopped working two years ago. They had run out of their savings and he needed a miracle.

The secretary was about to respond when her attention shifted to the door, following her direction, he saw a women trying to break up a squabble between two kids, it didn’t take him long to see they were twins.

“Welcome madam” the secretary said genuflecting even when the woman had yet to lift her head to acknowledge her.

“Thank you dear” the woman said lifting her head as she had managed to get the kids to quiet down.  With each kid on her side she approached.

They made eye contact; he stood up and walked towards her

“Amaka?” he said in shock

“Nedu?” She said equally shocked.

“What are you doing here?” He asked

“This is my husband’s office” she answered, just then the door behind them opened and   a man who had a close resemblance to the American actor Boris Kodjoe , standing  at about six-foot four walked through. He was dressed in a well starched native attire and before Nedu knew it, the kids flew out of Amaka’s hands and ran to him shouting “Daaaaaaaddy”. He picked them up and twirled them around. As he approached, Nedu was blinded by the glow of love between both of them. He planted a wet kiss on her lips as if no one else was in the room. Releasing her he said  “Hey honey ready to go?”

“Oh I’m sorry Mr. Okam” the man said turning to him. “I was tied up that’s why I told my secretary to give you another appointment.” he explained

“Please make another appointment and we will see what we can do” the man said. With one child one each arm, and his wife’s arm around his waist, Dr. Igwbuike turned around and left. When they got to the elevator Nnamdi looked down at his wife with all the love in his heart, she was his heartbeat and he knew without a doubt he was hers. Then he asked “Honey, you two know each other?”

“Yeah babes, he was one of stepping-stones that brought me  closer to you” she smiled as the elevator opened

“Failure/disappointment is another stepping stone to greatness”

photo credit: opera.com

(c) 2013 Unoma Nwankwor

This is a work of fiction. No part of this story should be reproduced without prior permission and referencing me as the author.