REDEEMED (A SERIES) – EPILOGUE
WRITTEN BY JOY A. ADEWUMI
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The Girl with the Winning Smile,
‘Are you kidding me!?’ Doc exclaimed as he walked into my cellar and saw the shelves of alcohol that walled it. It was exactly a week since that first Sunday service and he’d come visiting straight from the church today. I was giving him a tour when I slipped on the fact that I had a cellar. He’d chuckled and asked to see it.
‘What?’ I asked sheepishly even though I had a feeling that I knew exactly what he shocked him.
‘You can’t possibly keep a room like this within reach and hope not to fall back into the habit of drinking someday. And I can tell you that the next time you take a sip of alcohol, you would realise just how starved of it you’ve been and all the reasons why you shouldn’t indulge would fly out of the window.
I scratched the back of my neck as I averted my face from his scrutiny. I knew he was right, and I’d definitely thought about his point before now, but for some reason, with alcohol being a huge part of my life, I felt sentimental about getting rid of it. I’d felt proud about creating a more impressive cellar than Otunba’s when I got this space.
‘You do know I have a good point, right?’ He asked and I nodded.
READ ALSO: THE LINK 1 (THE PRECEDENT)
‘And you do know the best way to get rid of a potentially dangerous situation is to stay away from triggers, yea?’ I nodded again and then he rolled up his Ankara sleeves as he smacked his palms together and said, ‘so, let’s get to work!’
My eyes widened in shock and I stuttered, ‘N-na-now? Like right now?’ He laughed at my reaction and replied as he clapped my shoulder.
‘Of course, if not, you might never get around to doing it till you give into the urge to drink again someday. See Roland, the Bible not only admonishes us to stay away from sin, but that we should stay away from all appearances of sin. That is, anything that looks like it. If this doesn’t, I don’t know what does. The surest way to fall back into sin is for you to allow the opportunity to sin meet with the temptation to sin. Now, you can at least deal with one of them, and that’s the opportunity to sin. Let’s get rid of it and give you a fighting chance when next you feel an urge to drink.
I bit my lips as I considered his words. He was right. I would miss this cellar, but there was no better time than now to let go, especially as I had some measure of support boosting my morale.
So, we got to work and got rid of every bottle in the cellar. I moved them to the living room, while Doc opened each and emptied them in the sink in my kitchen. I was to stay away lest I caught whiff of one and began salivating.
The plan worked, but each time I heard the stream of liquid into the sink, my throat constricted and I felt like a part of me was being poured into that sink. It was however a part of me that needed to go, because as attached as I was to my alcohol, I cherished and wanted my new life more and yet again, as I’d done repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, I prayed that nothing would sway from me this new life I’d gotten.
As we worked, Doc asked, ‘So when last did you hear from Otunba?’ I swallowed hard, not wanting to snap at Doc and not wanting to discuss Otunba either.
‘Doc?’ I called.
‘Yes?’ He answered as he stepped out of the kitchen and gave me his attention. He must have noticed the change in my tone.
‘Can we take this one thing at a time?’ I asked. ‘Today, it’s my cellar and I’m still dealing with that. Can the discussion about Otunba wait till another time?’ He nodded gravelly and replied after a short lull.
‘The thing is, some things are better discussed in person and due to my schedule, I’m unable to see you as much as I should. You have a point. But I have a number of things I plan to talk with you about today. I’m going to bring them up one after the other. Let me know which you are comfortable with and ready to discuss today.’
READ ALSO: GUILT-FREE (A SHORT STORY)
I nodded my assent to his suggestion and was glad for the gift of someone as sensitive and emotionally intelligent as this man.
‘So, that day, when you gave your life to Christ, you mentioned your sister. I know I said it was a private moment and that you were allowed to be quiet as you prayed, but you spoke up and I couldn’t help catching that part. It’s being weighing on my mind to ask, would you like to talk to me about her?’ I smiled slightly at him and nodded. This, I was comfortable with, at least to some extent. Doc nodded at me and walked up to me to pick a few more bottles before returning to the kitchen to continue his own division of the labour.
I spent the next hour telling him about Rowan as we worked and he listened with only a few questions here and there. I thought he would launch into a counseling session on the issue, but he encouraged me to talk to God more frequently about her. As frequently as I remembered her. And that was all! After that, we moved on to another topic- my association.
Three hours later saw Doc and me patting our bellies after a fresh sumptuous meal of Amala and Ewedu, whipped up by the one and only good doctor himself!
I could scarcely believe my eyes as I watched him prepare the whole meal from the scratch.
Usually I warmed whatever Mrs Ike or her daughter had cooked and stored in the refrigerator, but Doc had snorted at that and began searching through my fridge and refrigerator till he found all he needed, including a bowl of liquid ground pepper in the refrigerator and he had whipped up our meal, except the pot of Ewedu that Mrs Ike had made the day before.
I glanced at Doc once again as I cleared the table and shook my head.
‘Where did you learn to cook like that?’ I asked.
My parents gave birth to only boys and I’m the second of three. I can still hear my mum saying she was going to domesticate us as good as any girl ’cause she wasn’t going to raise liabilities under her roof.’ Doc replied and I laughed.
‘I grew up that way developing a craze for homemade food and aversion for junks, so regardless of how tight my schedule is, I always make time to cook for myself and eat something fresh from my own kitchen when the occasion allows.’ I shook my head again and laughed.
‘Good for you. If Mrs Ike resigns tomorrow, I’d automatically be at the mercy of restaurants in town.’
‘You should learn to cook then.’ Doc advised and I nodded.
There was a comfortable silence for a few minutes, then I said, Doc, you know, I’ve been thinking, why intercession? How did you find yourself in that ministry?’
Doc smiled and replied, ‘Right from my undergraduate days, I’ve always had issues combining working in one session or the other in church with academics, or so I thought. Until one day, I heard a message that spoke about struggles and habitats. I learnt that day that just as no organism struggles to survive in its natural habitat, so also, when we are right where God has ordained us to, we wouldn’t struggle so much to thrive. Then, it was laid on my heart that the reason I was struggling so hard to balance my academics with my ministry was because I was in the wrong place. That day after the message, there was an intercessory session, and there and then I found the conviction of my ministry. Whether in groups or individually since then, I’ve never struggled to combine what I contribute to God’s kingdom with my secular life. Somehow, everything simply falls in plac
READ ALSO: THE LINK 2 (COMING CLEAN)
‘Wow! That’s great. I wish-‘
Ping ping! The doorbell rang, interrupting both my train of thought and my words and I knew it had to be either BJ or Hamid. I hoped it was BJ. I really yearned to introduce him to Doc, because since I got Christ in my life, I’d wanted him to have the same experience.
‘Excuse me, let me get that.’ I said as I walked to the door.
‘Yea, how can I be of… help…’ My voice trailed uncertainly as I stared at the lady standing in front of me. Why did she look so familiar and how had Hamid allowed a total stranger in without my consent. That was until I saw Hamid standing uncertainly to the side. What was happening here? The lady just stood there staring at me, her features looking so uncertain.
‘Hamid?’ I called, trying to make sense of what was happening.
‘Ehm… Oga, she-‘
‘Wow! I can’t miss this resemblance even in my sleep.’ Doc commented as he joined me at the door, interrupting Hamid’s words.
I blinked rapidly at the sight in front then as I realised why she looked so familiar. I was staring at a female version of me. Then, it hit me! What?! No! Or could it be?
I wondered if my eyes were doing a number on me. Of course she looked older than the fourteen-year-old I remembered, but it was the same face, the exact same one I had been searching for these past thirteen years.
My knees buckled and I grabbed the door to handle to keep upright. Doc’s sturdy hands grabbed my arm and steadied me.
‘Hello!’ Doc greeted the beautiful, tall and brown-skinned lady that had inherited the signature Kalejaiye’s slimness.
She swallowed visibly and replied Doc’s greeting with her gaze still fixed on me.
Oh my word! The voice! The exact same voice as thirteen years ago with just a touch of huskiness. My breath caught in my throat and ignoring the curious look Doc sent my way in my peripheral vision, I croaked, ‘Sis Temi!’
She swallowed again and nodded vigorously as one tear created a glistening path down her face and then more followed in quick successions!
‘Ah!’ I groaned as a strange weight settled in my chest and I hit at the area to get rid of it.
Doc apparently figured out what was happening and while I bent over to get over my shock and sudden dizziness, he did the courteous thing and invited her in, while he guided me to a chair.
Rather than sit though, I looked up again at her and blinked rapidly as I moved closer to her. Before I knew it, I was in the arms of my big sis, bawling like the twelve year old that had missed his older sister and only sibling right after losing his Mum, and was at the mercy of his alcoholic and inattentive father.
READ ALSO: THE LINK 4 – FINALE (MOVING ON)
I bawled hard and I felt her embrace tighten as she also released herself to the sobs that now wracked her slim frame.
And as we stayed that way for what seemed like forever, I wondered how my life that had seemed upside down for the past thirteen years had somehow turned itself right-side up in just a couple of weeks.
Then it came to me…
Matthew chapter 6 verse 33, it was a verse Doc had asked me to memorise because it would guide my decision making on more occasions that I might anticipate as a Christian.
Now, it made sense.
‘But see ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you.’
And one of those things happened to be the one in whose embrace I was being cocooned at the moment.
My long lost big sister, Rowan Temisansire Kalejaiye.