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    Episode Three

    “Ben, You know you have to stop playing games with Laila at some
    point. Enough of stringing her along; just break it off with her,
    Here we go again! I thought.
    My friend, Matthew always has something to say when we get
    together. We just had lunch together and we were catching up. He
    never misses an opportunity to jump to Laila’s defence as if she paid
    “Matt, let’s not do this now,” I said as I stood up from the dining table.
    “I’ve told you I need to keep my options open. I have to be sure if I
    want Laila, if I want Lola or if I want Dee.” I grinned. “Until I am
    sure, three of them remain my ladies. Besides, why are you always
    fighting for Laila and not the other two? They are also good women,
    you know.”
    Matthew took a bite of his apple. “Well, you have been with Laila the
    longest and she has not slept with you which by the way, I’m proud
    of her for being able to put you in your place concerning that.
    Secondly, she is the one who keeps bailing you out of trouble. She is
    a good woman, Ben.” He paused. “Listen, brother, you are wrong and
    you know it. I’m still not sure what she sees in you. I never knew it
    was possible to be so accomplished yet so insecure.”
    I lifted up my hands and shook my head. “Please don’t start with me
    on this again.” As I cleared the dishes off the table, I paused and
    looked at Matthew. “Hey, and what do you mean by you’re not sure
    what she sees in me?” I asked. “I don’t appreciate that comment. I’ll
    have you know I’m a pretty decent catch, Mr Smith.”
    Matthew smirked. “Tell that to the birds,” he said as he followed me
    into the kitchen. “I cannot believe I used to think like you before. You
    sound ridiculous.”
    I tapped his shoulders, and said, “Stop acting like a saint. You were
    once a bad boy.”
    Matthew looked at me. “Exactly! The key word is ‘were’. That’s a
    thing of the past. Once I became born again, everything wrong about
    me got right. Remember that’s why I broke up with Danielle? To start
    everything in my life afresh. My life has never been the same since
    We walked out of the kitchen and headed to the patio. “How can I
    forget?” I asked. “It was around the same time you abruptly ended
    our friendship. It’s a miracle that I get to see you these days. At first, I
    didn’t see you for almost 3 whole years, Matt.”
    Matthew took a sip of his glass of water and sat down. “Well I needed
    to stay clear of a toxic environment and besides I told you why I gave
    it all up but you were not interested. Don’t get it twisted; I’m still
    waiting for you to see the light.”
    I shook my head and said, “Not interested, Pastor Matthew Smith.”
    Matthew laughed a little too loudly and said, “Very funny. You don’t
    have to be interested. Trust me, you’ll come to a point when you
    wouldn’t see it as an option. In fact, you’ll be pushed to make that
    decision for your own good.”
    My facial expression was enough to let Matthew know how
    exhausted I was from his preaching to me. “Hold on, are you here to
    check up on me or preach to me?” I asked.
    He looked at me un-phased and said, “Both, actually.”
    “Okay, preaching over,” I said as I sat down across from him. “Now
    let’s get back to the checking up on me. Actually, let me check up on
    you, Mr Smith. How’s life?”
    A huge grin appeared on his face. “Life is great. Thank God. Since the
    promotion at work, I have been stretched a whole lot more but I
    enjoy it and most importantly, lives are getting changed each day.”
    Matthew has always been ambitious. In fact, he has always been a
    go-getter. He was one of those guys who joked around all day with
    everyone and then at night while we were all asleep, he’d be in the
    library studying his way to the top. We all wondered how he
    excelled in school while we crawled our way to a pass mark until I
    caught him sneaking out to study one night.
    He graduated with one of the highest grades in the entire
    Department of Engineering. He was one of the three fortunate
    Engineering graduates at our school to get a job at OXTEN, the
    largest chemical plant in the city, and he started out at the top. He
    never joked with his education and quest for knowledge. No wonder,
    it’s paying off now.
    I stared at him intently. “Every time I hear from you, you have either
    just been promoted or you got some type of award. There is just no
    stopping you, man.”
    Matthew looked up and said, “It is all God, Ben.”
    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “Seriously, why can’t you just say
    thank you? Everything is always about God.”
    He walked over to the edge of the deck. “Ben, I can’t separate myself
    from my lifeline so what do you expect?”
    Okay, that’s deep, I thought.
    “You need to quit your job and become a Pastor somewhere,” I said.
    He turned around and said, “I won’t mind that but I won’t do it unless
    God speaks to me Himself.”
    I jumped up and stood beside him. “Okay let’s not start that
    conversation again. Moving on. Who’s the lady in your life?”
    Matthew chuckled. “None at the moment, Ben. I’m actually ready to
    settle down but I’m praying and watching before I make a move.”
    “So there is someone?” I grinned. “Do tell.”
    Matthew shook his head and lifted up his hands. “Oh no. No telling
    going on. Not yet, anyway. When the time is right, you’ll be one of
    the first to know.”
    “So is this lady even aware? You’re just watching her from afar?” I
    Matthew smiled. “Yes, I’m watching. But that’s not all I’m doing. I’m
    praying, and I’m waiting. I want to be absolutely sure before
    approaching. I’m not interested in joking around, Ben.”
    I rubbed my hands together and grinned, ready to impart some
    wisdom. “Well, while you’re doing all that, let me give you some tips,
    He waved me off and snickered. “Thanks. But no thanks.”
    My eyes widened in disbelief. “Matthew! Come on. I’ve got 3 ladies in
    my life and they know nothing about each other. Won’t you want
    some advice from someone like me?”
    Matthew raised his eyebrows and placed his right hand on my
    shoulder. “I’m praying for you, Ben Manda,” he said as he laughed.
    “No offence, bro but unless I want to become like you, I would never
    accept any relationship advice from you. We both know I don’t
    condone what you are doing one bit.”
    I shook his hand off and walked over to sit down. “Okay, Mr
    preacher man. Let’s see how this your praying works out.”
    Matthew hummed a tune and laughed. “Trust me, my prayers don’t
    fail. They never have. They never will.”

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    Joshua John
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    Episode Four


    I once had the biggest crush on Laila.
    Since the day I saw her 8 years ago, she has never left my mind. I
    met her in the Student Union and stared at her intensely. She was
    beautiful and carried herself with such dignity. I was young but I
    knew a mature lady when I saw one.
    I walked up to her and introduced myself. She was new in town to
    attend law school. I asked for her number, which I didn’t get, but she
    insisted that I gave her mine. I never heard from her or saw her
    again until that day!
    That fateful day!
    Ben was so excited and wanted me to meet a law student whom he
    was so in love with even though he had met her just 3 weeks before.
    He brought her to meet a group of us at a restaurant uptown. As
    soon as they walked in, my heart stopped beating. There she was
    looking more beautiful than ever. She remembered me and gave me
    all the excuses in the world why she hadn’t called. It didn’t matter
    then; she was with my best friend and to me, that meant it was a
    closed chapter.
    I was a little angry that Ben caught her attention but I was
    convinced that she’d see through him and the relationship would
    end as fast as it started. My mind changed with each passing year,
    and I concluded that she was drawn to the bad boy, heartbreaker
    type of guy. I knew she had made a mistake but it wasn’t my place to
    get involved. Besides, my relationship with Ben was quite important
    to me back then. I knew all the things he was doing behind the
    scenes and I tried as much as possible never to be around her when
    they were together.
    “Why do women always sell themselves short?” I asked no one in
    particular. I was in my office staring out of my window.
    “Would you like me to answer that, sir?”
    I turned around to see Donna, my secretary. She’s worked for me
    since I joined OXTEN. She is effective but can be quite intrusive.
    “Donna, I didn’t realize you were there. Why didn’t you call or
    knock?” I asked.
    “I’m sorry,” she said as I stood up and walked around my table.
    “I called your phone several times but it had the Do Not Disturb sign
    on so it rang engaged. I actually have been knocking for a few
    minutes, sir,” she said.
    “That’s alright,” I said, stopping inches in front of her. “Is the
    boardroom set for my meeting?”
    “Not quite sir,” she said. “Mr Donjo will be late. He sends his
    “Fine. Let me know when he gets here.” I motioned for her to leave
    my office. “You may go Donna.”
    “Will do sir. Can I get you anything?” she asked as she made her way
    to the door.
    “Some iced tea will be perfect. And please shut the door behind you,”
    I answered. Once my door was shut, I began pacing around my
    office. “Matthew, get yourself together!” I said a little too loudly.
    The sound of my cell phone vibrating on my table distracted me. It
    was Naomi, a lady my brother introduced me to. He thought we’d be
    perfect together so I took her out a few times but we never seemed to
    connect well. I’ll return her call later, I thought.
    Just about everyone, from my mother to my Pastor has the perfect
    lady for me. The pressure can be overwhelming! I sighed heavily and
    walked over to my window, staring blankly. “Holy Spirit, I need Your
    help. I’m trusting you to lead me,” I said.
    “Sir, the meeting is ready to begin.” I turned around abruptly at the
    sound of Donna’s voice. “Donna! Please learn to knock before you
    come in,” I said frustratingly.
    She sighed. “I did sir. Again, there was no response. I’m sorry to
    startle you.”
    “Fine. Please learn to wait for an answer before you come in,” I said
    as I reached for a folder and a pen. Let them know I’ll be with them
    shortly. Place the iced tea on my table,” I said as I adjusted my tie and
    suit jacket in front of my full-length mirror. She placed an oval tray
    on the edge of my table and hurried out of my office, almost
    slamming the door shut. As I watched her leave, I couldn’t help but
    laugh out loud.
    I took a sip of my drink and made a beeline towards the door.
    Note to self: I’ve really got to stop daydreaming in the office!

    “Laila. How are you? I’ve been calling you all day.”
    “I’m alright Ben,” I answered dryly. “I’ve been busy preparing for the
    meeting I told you about.” I snickered. “As usual, I’m sure you forgot.
    I’m on my way to the office right now.”
    “Please don’t start, Laila,” Ben said. “Are we still on for dinner
    tonight?” He sounded frustrated.
    “Sure,” I said.
    “Good. I’ll pick you up at 8. See you later. I love you.”
    “Yeah, you too,” I said offhandedly and hung up.
    Lord knows Ben is starting to irk me! My parents will be here next
    month and he’s still not assured me that he would meet them as my
    I’ll deal with that later. I was already late for my meeting and my
    boss was very unhappy with me.
    I was led down the hall and into a boardroom; the meeting was in
    “I’m sorry I’m late,” I said as I stepped in. “The traffic was incredible
    and I was sp…”
    Mr Donjo, my boss interrupted me. “No explanation necessary right
    now, Miss Ocheng. Just sit.”
    I did as I was told and just sat.
    I hurriedly removed some folders from my briefcase and placed
    them on the table.
    While the presentation carried on, I felt someone staring at me and I
    glanced back. That looked like Matthew Smith, I thought.
    He smiled at me and I smiled back.
    That caught the attention of Mr Donjo, who looked at me
    I sat up but I couldn’t help but wonder why in the world Matthew
    was here. He looked F-I-N-E too, I thought.
    When the presentation was over, Matthew made some comments,
    which made me realise he was the Vice President of OXTEN. I was
    I couldn’t tell what the conclusion of the meeting was because I
    stopped paying attention and watched his every move. I was not
    focused. I had not seen this man in years and he looked more
    handsome than I remember.
    I wondered what happened to him. Each time I asked Ben, he just
    told me that Matthew found God and lost his way. If this is what
    losing your way after finding God looks like, count me in!
    I remember him getting a job here but you don’t become VP of
    OXTEN just like that. Good for you Matthew, I thought.
    “Miss Ocheng, we are waiting for your thoughts. Hello.” Mr Donjo
    was staring at me… again.
    I cleared my throat. “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. What did you
    My boss let out a frustrated sigh. “I said this presentation has been
    thorough and robust. However, I need to know what you think about
    the section on dealing with employee grievances.”
    Okay! I really should have listened. If I heard a single word, that
    would have helped but I don’t even know what is under that section.
    I will have to wing it.
    I smiled. “I thought… Sir… it was thorough and robust.”
    Mr Donjo stood up. “Yes, Mr Smith just said that. Even I just said
    that. Any additional thoughts, Miss Ocheng?”
    If my skin was lighter, I would have turned red. I stood up. “Oh. I
    agree with all remarks and I have nothing further to recommend,
    sir.” I knew I was going to get an earful back at the office.
    “Okay, Mr Smith. Without further ado, it looks like we are ready to
    do business with your company. We will take the entire document
    back and read through one more time and then come back to you
    with our final feedback.” Mr Donjo said this while staring at me
    I am in big trouble, I thought.
    I didn’t miss the opportunity to smile at Matthew as I followed my
    boss out of the office and out of the building, sheepishly.
    As we walked out of the OXTEN building, Mr Donjo turned around
    abruptly causing me to almost bump into him. “Miss Ocheng, I don’t
    need to know what you were thinking about in that meeting but let
    me remind you that daydreaming was not in your contract.”
    I felt like a little schoolgirl who was being told off. “Sir, my sincere
    He cut me off. “Like I said in there, no apologies necessary. It must
    not happen again. I expect you to go through the documents
    thoroughly for the rest of the day and give me your contributions by
    9 am tomorrow morning. No excuses, Laila.”
    When Mr Donjo addresses me by my first name, warning signs go
    off in my head. Careful Laila, I thought.
    He motioned for his Personal Assistant to give me the folders, which
    I reluctantly collected. “Will do, sir. No excuses. Have a good day.”
    Without a word, Mr Donjo entered the back seat of his car and his
    chauffeur sped off.
    I stood there looking like a lost sheep. Where do I even begin? How
    in the world am I supposed to finish reading a 500-page document
    before tomorrow morning? The thought of it made me groan. “This is
    going to be a very long night, Laila. This is what you get,” I said to
    As I began to walk towards my car, I heard Matthew call out to me.
    “Laila Ocheng! Talk about a pleasant surprise,” He said.
    Talk about wrong timing, I thought. I felt dishevelled.
    “Hi, Matthew Smith.” I tried to smile widely. “I didn’t expect to see
    you here today. I had no idea you still worked here. And look at you,
    VP. Good for you!”
    He reached out for the folders. “You mean you didn’t know?” he
    asked. “I thought Ben might have told you.”
    I rolled my eyes as I handed the folders over. “Ben?” I asked as we
    walked towards my car. “Ben is… never mind.” I didn’t want to start
    anything I couldn’t finish.
    Matthew got the hint. “I’ll walk you to your car,” he said. “You never
    checked on me anyway so how would you have known?”
    “No comment,” I said as I chuckled. I pointed to the OXTEN building
    and said, “You have done really well for yourself though.”
    We stopped by my car and I opened the door. “Yes. I’m grateful for
    the life I have,” he said. “I should say the same about you,” he said as
    I took the folders from him and placed them on the backseat. “I didn’t
    know you were at Donjo & Mitchell law firm. The cream of the crop
    in this country is connected to your firm, you know. You’re a boss
    lady,” he said.
    I waved him off and laughed. “I’ve been with them for a while now…
    Looking to become senior partner someday hopefully.”
    Matthew leaned on the car and smirked. “Well, that’s if you still
    have a job.”
    I shoved him.“What does that mean?”
    “Mr Donjo didn’t seem too pleased with you today,” he said as he
    I shrugged my shoulders. “Oh don’t worry about him. We have this
    special love-hate relationship. He always comes around.”
    He laughed again and his laughter sounded like sweet music to my
    ears. I found myself staring at him intensely until he cleared his
    throat, which brought me back to the moment. “Well,” he said. “If
    you do lose your job, just remember you know a VP in this city who
    can get you a job in a hurry.”
    I air punched him and said, “Good joke. That’s my cue to leave. It’s
    been nice catching up. I have a pile of work waiting for me.”
    His smile vanished as I hurriedly hopped into the driver’s seat.
    “Wait, how can I get in touch with you?” he asked.
    I looked at him and said, “You know where to find me.”
    He nodded his head and took a step back as I shut my car door.
    Without another word, I drove off but I didn’t take my eyes off
    Matthew Smith in the rear-view mirror!

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    Episode Five


    “I hope when mum and I are there, we’ll be receiving some good
    news from you, Laila.”
    “Sure, dad. I always have good news.” I tried to sound upbeat through
    the phone.
    My dad sighed. “You know what I mean. It’s about time we meet this
    mystery man of yours. We have heard too much about him and we
    are beginning to question his seriousness about you.”
    My parents would be here in two weeks. Instead of feeling excited,
    I’m anxious!
    “Daddy! He is serious about me. We are serious about each other. We
    love each other. Trust me when I say you will meet him this time.”
    My dad chuckled. “As what? A fiancé or a friend?”
    I began to pout over the phone. “Come on dad. Give me a break. This
    isn’t easy for me.”
    “I know,” he said. “I keep telling you that you deserve so much better.
    In fact, I’ve told you this for too long, Laila. I feel as if you’re forcing
    this relationship. Mum and I have never put pressure on you.”
    “I know. Thanks, dad.” I said. “You and mum have been so
    understanding. I am sure of what I am doing and you both will love
    Ben when you meet him.”
    Dad took a deep breath. “If you say so, Laila. We are praying for you
    all the same. We want you to make the best decision according to
    God’s will.” He paused. “Listen, Mum says she would call you back.
    She is on the phone with your sister.”
    “Okay dad. Talk to you soon. I love you.”
    “Love you too, Laila.”
    I hung up the phone and shut my eyes tightly. Talking to them gets
    much harder these days. Each time I pray, I get the signal to break it
    off with Ben. I know Kiki is right; I’m afraid of being single. I’ve been
    acting as if singleness is a disease or something.
    I dialled Kiki’s number. She picked up after the first ring. “Hello, sis.
    How are you? We were just talking about you,” she said.
    “We? Who is we?” I asked surprised.
    Kiki laughed. “Tim and I of course.”
    These two have been inseparable from the day he came to church
    with her. Even though she refused to let me meet him, I kept my
    eyes on them during the service and as they walked out of the
    building, I popped out of nowhere, much to her dismay. He, on the
    other hand, found it very funny. We chatted for a bit and I was so
    impressed by him. In fact, I loved him for her a whole lot more when
    I met them for lunch the next day. I leaned over and told her, “Sis, I
    give him an 8/10.” She was shocked and looked at me worried. I said,
    “You know there is always room for improvement, right?” That made
    her relax!
    “We’re at MIDAS and I was telling him about some shoes I’m sure
    you’d love to have,” Kiki said, bringing me back to the moment.
    I laughed. “Please buy them for me as a token of your love.”
    She laughed harder. “Girl, get out of here. How are you doing?”
    “I’m good, just finished talking to my dad. It was draining as usual.
    They are anxious about coming down and not meeting Ben… again,” I
    Her voice got louder than it needed to be. “Laila, listen to me well.
    Please do whatever must be done to get him to see them. Tie him up
    and keep him bound in your condo if you need to. I mean, if it were
    up to me, he’d be history by now but since you’re so bent on hanging
    I could hear Timothy’s laughter and I was embarrassed. “Ugh, you
    don’t need to let your boyfriend know my business, Kiki! I already
    know I’m desperate. No need to announce it.”
    Kiki sighed and lowered her voice. “I’m sorry, Laila! It breaks my
    heart to hear you talk like that though. You’re not desperate. I think
    you need to see how amazing you are then you’d know that a guy
    like Ben is not worthy of you. I feel like I’ve done everything I can to
    show you that this is not worth it.”
    I chuckled. “I know. I know. I need help at this point. But I need God
    to send me a word. Show me a sign. Something. Anything to let me
    know what to do, you know?”
    I knew Kiki was frustrated with me at this point.
    “Girl, remember He also gives us choice and it’s our decisions that
    determine our experience to a great extent.”
    She paused. “I won’t say I told you so but it was obvious from the
    beginning. You chose, Laila. You chose to stay there and let Ben
    trample over you. Right now, I need you to make the decision to get
    out of it.”
    I felt the tears drop from my eyes. “Kiki, you’re out,” I said. “I’m sorry.
    Call me back when you’re alone.”
    “Laila, I am always here for you and I’ll come over tonight, okay?”
    Kiki said. “Do you need anything?” she asked.
    I suddenly giggled. “Well, it’ll be nice if I get a pair of shoes as a gift.
    I’m sure I’ll feel a little better.”
    Kiki laughed loudly. “You, my friend, are something else.”
    I chuckled through my tears. “Well, you asked. Say hi to Timothy for
    me. Bye.”
    I hung up before she could respond.


    Knock! Knock! Knock!
    I opened my eyes and noticed that it was 3 am.
    “Who in the world is banging on my door at 3 am in the morning?” I
    asked myself as I glanced at my bedside clock.
    “Laila! Laila! Laila.” I heard someone screaming my name and
    recognized the voice.
    “Kiki?” I jumped out of bed, ran down the hallway and swung the
    door open.
    Sure enough there she was with a wide grin.
    “Kiki! What is wrong with you? Why are you yelling out here like an
    insane woman at this early hour?” I asked.
    She walked past me dragging some bags. “Do you know how long I’ve
    been ringing your bell and knocking on this door? I told you I would
    come over, didn’t I?” She looked at me confused. “Why in the world
    are you dressed like this to sleep?”
    I looked at my outfit and realized I was in my fitness clothes
    including my trainers.
    “I planned on going to the gym but I dozed off,” I answered. “Why are
    you so hyper at this time, Kiki?”
    “Well, I went home and then remembered that I was supposed to
    check on you,” she said as she made her way to the guest room.
    “Since it’s Saturday, I decided to just come over and spend the
    weekend with you. Yay!”
    She stopped midway and did a little dance.
    Though I was still grumpy, I had to laugh. I was glad she came. I
    needed my best friend. “Thanks, sis. You are simply the best of the
    best,” I said as I followed her.
    “I know,” Kiki yelled from the bedroom. “Come, let’s talk.”
    “Talk about what?” I asked. “Ben and I had a huge fight before I dozed
    off. I called him back to apologize and…” She threw the bags on the
    bed and spun around.
    “What? Laila! That’s enough. I will break up with that loser for you if
    you don’t do it yourself. Look at you! You are beautiful, you are
    accomplished, and you are phenomenal! Why are you doing this to
    yourself?” Kiki looked like she was fuming.
    I sat down on the bed, sulking as I took off my trainers.
    “Who’d want me again Kiki? There are so many 40-plus single
    women out there and many of them became like that because they
    let go of what they had.”
    Kiki opened one bag and began to pull out her clothes. I could tell she
    was frustrated with me. “So tell me, my friend; is it better to be
    married and miserable or single and full of life and satisfied and
    fulfilled and joyful and just plain enjoying your life?” she asked.
    I walked to the mirror and stared at myself. “I would rather be
    married, Kiki. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be left out.”
    Kiki stood behind me and put her hands on my shoulders. “Laila. You
    have to stop looking down on yourself. It’s not healthy. Obviously
    Ben really did a bad job with your self-esteem.”
    I spun around angrily and raised my voice higher than needed. “How
    can someone who doesn’t even know God, help my esteem, Kiki? I
    can’t believe it has taken me 7 years to realize some things. How
    stupid could I be?”
    Kiki took a step back and put both hands up like she was
    surrendering. “Okay, first of all, calm down. Secondly, you, my friend
    are not stupid. It happens to the best of us. Better late than never,
    right?” She held my hands. “Besides, what does our Rev Israel always
    say? ‘It doesn’t matter how long you may have been on the wrong
    path; what matters is that you make a U-turn and get on the right
    path’.” She pulled me close and gave me a hug. “Now it’s time to make
    that U-turn.”
    I furrowed my eyebrows. “I don’t remember that but then again, I
    haven’t really been paying attention in church lately.”
    “Or attending! I was told,” She said as she lightly shoved me and
    walked towards the closet.
    I crossed my arms. “What? Why in the world would they tell you?”
    Kiki laughed. “Well Miss Ocheng, everyone’s been looking for you
    and asked me.”
    I slowly walked to the bed and sat down. “I guess I felt spiritually
    drained and embarrassed. Kiki, I really just wanted Ben to change.”
    Kiki began to hang some clothes in the closet. “That never happens!
    Besides if a person changes because of you, that change is not
    genuine or permanent. Come on, you know that!”
    I sat there quietly staring at my best friend as she hummed a tune
    and put her belongings together. “You always know what to say. I’m
    sorry for snapping at you,” I said.
    She laughed and waved it off. “No big deal. Your emotions are
    everywhere. You’re forgiven but don’t you dare make it a habit, girl.”
    I laughed. “Yes, ma’am.” Kiki changed into her pyjamas and playfully
    jumped on the bed. I almost fell off!
    “You know what I’m thinking Laila?” she said as she leaned on me.
    “After you break up with Ben, you need to be single on purpose for a
    little while. Get to really know God’s love for you. Get to know
    yourself better. Become content just being on your own with God.
    You have relied way too much on Mr Benjamin to the point that you
    have to have him in your life to feel validated. But you know that is
    a big lie.”
    I didn’t want to hurriedly accept her words so I dryly said, “you’re
    probably right.”
    Kiki positioned herself next to me and put her hand on my shoulder,
    giving me a side hug. “I’ll tell you one thing; I’m happy you haven’t
    slept with him. I don’t know how you’ve done it but I’m glad you
    never gave in.”
    I smiled. “Yeah me too. Well, the fact that you were always in my
    business about it didn’t help either, missy.” Kiki burst out laughing.
    “Yeah I was too nosey but it’s paid off, right? Look at you, you’re
    intact!” she said as she gave me a standing ovation and sat down.
    I rolled my eyes. “Intact? Really, Kiki?”
    “Yes, intact. Or would you prefer whole? Undefiled? Unmarked?
    Unbroken? Take your pick,” she said as she giggled.
    I looked at her in disgust. “Ugh,” I said.
    She shoved me lightly. “I’m serious Laila.” Hello! I’m not a virgin,
    remember? Do you remember how I was so full of regret and
    shame? And how I cried for several weeks back in school?” She
    laughed. “You did everything you could to make me feel better but I
    literally felt like my life was over. I felt God wanted nothing to do
    with me because I messed up.” She chuckled. “It was knowing and
    receiving His forgiveness that helped me get over every feeling of
    guilt. I guess that’s why I was really determined to help you stay on
    I elbowed her. “How could I forget? It was such a tough time for you.
    That’s when you really got serious about God and dragged me along,”
    I said laughing. “I remember exactly where we were when
    everything changed for you. It was at Bible study, remember?” She
    looked at me keenly as I continued. “When Shawn and Linda talked
    about the forgiveness of God. They said if we confess our sins, God is
    faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all
    unrighteousness. They said we literally become brand new.” I
    clapped my hands excitedly. “Oh remember they said God is not
    interested in condemning us but in correcting us and that He doesn’t
    abandon us when we need him the most? I think that’s what got to
    Kiki burst out laughing.
    “I’m serious Kiki,” I said. “After that statement, you leaned over and
    told me, ‘That was for me, Laila. No more feeling condemned’.” I took
    her hand in mine. “I remain thankful for that day, Kiki,” I said.
    She looked at me wide-eyed. “Laila Ocheng! You remember all that?
    I’m speechless.”
    “Of course I do, Kiki. It was a very important time in your life. And
    you’re a very important person in my life. I’m glad you’ve been here
    to help me through everything. I mean, I know I’m still a work in
    progress but you’ve been a great influence.” I smirked. “Frankly, I
    think I may have slept with Ben a long time ago if you weren’t such a
    “Hey!” She yelled as she shoved me. “If that’s your way of saying
    ‘thank you’, you’re welcome.”
    We smiled at each other and hugged tightly. I stood up and pulled
    her up. “Okay enough about my drama. Let’s go get some ice cream
    while you give me the scoop on you and Timothy. You guys have
    been hanging out so much. This is serious. Go Kiki,” I teased. Kiki
    blushed and started to do a little dance as she twirled out of the
    bedroom. “Wow, Laila. It has been fantastic. He is just wonderful and
    I love the fact that he is all about God; just what I need. Any man
    that genuinely loves God will never have a problem loving me freely.
    Plus we have both prayed and are convinced this is it.”
    “I’m so happy for you, sis. You really deserve it,” I said as I brought
    out some bowls and spoons from the dishwasher. “Truth be told, I
    used to wonder how you were so happy being single for so long. I
    guess all that was preparing you for such a time as this.”
    She grinned widely. “You got that right. In fact, I feel like Queen
    Esther” she said as she handed me the tub of ice cream.
    We both began to laugh uncontrollably.
    “So, Queen Esther, what’s the plan now?” I asked as I scooped some
    ice cream.
    “We’d love to get married soon, Laila,” she said as she sat on the
    barstool. “There’s really no point in putting it off. I would be lying if I
    say God has not been good to me… to us.” She put a spoonful of ice
    cream in her mouth. “I mean, we’re actually talking about so many
    things that we naturally would have left until later.”
    I could feel her excitement. “I am excited for you. As your chief
    bridesmaid, keep me informed,” I said, as I sat down next to her.
    Kiki rolled her eyes. “Really? Couldn’t you even wait for me to ask?”
    I shrugged my shoulders. “Why ask when I already know? Anyway,
    this thing about Ben, where do I go from here?” I asked.
    Kiki walked over to the living room and sat down on the
    sofa. “Listen, Laila,” she said. “I’ve learnt that anytime I feel a
    reservation in my heart about anything… or anyone, I need to get
    away from that thing or person as fast as I can.” She sighed as she
    picked up the remote control. “Sis, you know that word you have
    been asking God about? I think it came somewhere in our chitchat
    this morning. You, know exactly what to do and I’m praying that you
    do it sooner rather than later.”
    I remained silent as Kiki flipped through the channels. It’s strange
    but I actually felt lighter. Like some heavy load had been lifted off
    my shoulders. I thought back on what she said about being single on
    purpose. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right.

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