When the Right Person Happens…
A Short Story by Joy A. Adewumi (Spirit Pen)
‘Yo, sis!’ Josh hailed as I walked into my parents’ house around seven o’clock on Friday evening after a tough workday and a gruesome ordeal with Lagos traffic. Lagos traffic on a normal day is no joke, but Lagos traffic from the island to the suburbs on a weekend is even worse. It was usually as if everyone lived in the suburbs but worked on the island, and they were all going to their respective homes, at the same time, on Fridays, for a reprieve from the week’s hustle.
I slouched in exhaustion as I flung my handbag on one sofa and sunk my tired weight into another. I glanced through tired half-shut eyelids at my twin who had an impossible combo of concern and amusement on his face. The dude had always been weird like that. ‘Wipe that annoying look off your face, it’s increasing my stress level.’ I mumbled.
Josh bellowed in laughter inciting a bubble of tired laughter from my throat too. With a sigh, I smiled and cuddled more comfortably on the chair. It felt good to be home. It had been almost a month if not more. Apart from the fact that there was always extra work to catch up on, on the weekends, I seldom came home to my parents’ place in the suburbs because the mere thought of the traffic was always enough reason for me to rethink. When Josh said he was going to be in Lagos this weekend, however, not even the traffic could stop me. Amazingly too, I didn’t have any carryover of work – a rare occurrence. Josh was running his Master’s at the University of Ibadan and worked concurrently at an insurance firm there.
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‘You know, if I knew being apart from you would make me miss you this much, I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to get out of your hair.’ Josh said with an indulgent smile.
‘Hey! Is someone getting cheesy?’ I teased, kicking his shin lightly with mine from my seat not far away from his.
He returned my smile and shrugged, ‘Happens to the best of us.’ Then he took his laptop on which he had been typing steadily off his legs and turned to me. ‘You know what you need?’
‘What?’ I asked, smiling because I knew what was coming.
‘A hot shower.’ I totally saw that coming. Josh was the average annoying sibling, but he was super sweet whenever he felt like it.
‘I made Amala and Efo riro, your favorite.’ I jerked up from my half-lying position. It was from shock. My jaws dropped and I blinked uncontrollably.
‘Since when?’ I asked, narrowing my eyes at him, once I got control of them.
‘Haba! Don’t be dramatic. I wasn’t that bad before. You reacted just like mum did when she walked in on me preparing the meal. She said to film your reaction when I tell you I cooked. Y’all are just overreacting.’ Josh whined.
I laughed. I bet mum must have wanted to stay back and make sure Josh did not burn down the house, but couldn’t because of the weekly pastor’s meeting she had to attend in church with dad. ‘Yes, you were bad. No, terrible. You were terrible.’ I argued.
‘My boiled water was quite nice, and you know that.’ He retorted and laughter bubbled strongly from my lips. He joined me with a chuckle and commented, ‘It feels nice to hear that laughter that sounds so much like mine. You don’t know how hard it was to convince people that my laugh is nowhere as boisterous as yours. No one would believe a girl could produce a laugh similar to mine. I have to record it when next you laugh.’
‘I know, these things called genes, ehn? Plus spending nine full months in the same confinement with another person does that to you.’ Josh rolled his eyes at me. ‘But wait, Amala and Efo riro. Seriously, you have to tell me, since when? Dude, you could barely steam rice without causing a mishap. And I’m talking as recently as last year December. It’s been how long since then, three months? Four?’ I asked wanting to hear how the transformation happened.
Josh folded his arms across his wide midriff and leaned back as he said, ‘Four and a half, madam. And well, I’ve been going steady with my cooking lessons since the start of the year.’
‘Wawu! Wonders will never cease.’ I clapped my hand thrice and hiked my eyebrows in disbelief. Then I mirrored his posture and asked, ‘So, what happened to you?’
With a sigh and a smile, I didn’t always see on his face – a dreamy smile birthed from deep pleasure, my brother said, ‘Well, the right persons happened to me.’
‘Whoa!’ I exclaimed as I jerked forward on the chair, eyes wide and my mouth open wide in perfect ‘o’.
‘Wait, madam! Stop getting ahead of yourself. I said “the right persons” not “person”. Always-’ He was saying with a grin when I cut him off with a flick of my wrist.
‘Baba, don’t get me started jare! It was yesterday they gave birth to me, abi? See, men don’t wear dreamy faraway looks with big grins when they’re talking about random people or even random women for that matter. You might as well have said “the one” happened to you. It means, at least one of these persons is the right woman. So, was that why you came home?’
‘Partly,’ he said, shrugging and smiling.
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‘Josh! You couldn’t even give me the courtesy of going first. I am the female twin for Pete’s sake!’ I whined
‘Madam, you’re already getting ahead of yourself again. I didn’t say I came home to tell mum and dad I found a wife.’
‘You said-’ I was trying to remind him of his words from earlier, but he cut me off.
‘I know what I said. I came home partly because the weekend was a bit free and partly because I wanted to gist you.’
‘Oh!’ I said nodding sheepishly and grinning. ‘Oya, nah! Gist away! Abi you need special permission for that one ni?’
‘You’re no more tired?’ He asked teasing. Why was this guy playing hard to get after whetting my appetite?
‘Me, tired?’ I asked, feigning innocence.
Josh laughed loudly and said, ‘Chai! Joy, gist no go finish you. First, I meant it when I said ‘persons’. When I got my self-con, I needed a roommate, so I let my pastor know. He said he had just the right person. I hoped it really was the right person. Turned out Pastor couldn’t have been more right. Jide is amazing, trust me. He just finished his Master’s and got an admission to begin his Ph.D. From his spiritual life to his social interactions, to the way he handled his job and even academics. I was getting goals left, right, center.’
‘You?’ I asked in unbelief. ‘You hardly get fazed by other people’s lives. I thought that was me.’
‘Exactly, right? Now I acknowledge that we are probably more similar than we initially thought.’ He answered shrugging.
‘That’s scary.’ I chirped.
‘C’mon, it’s not that bad.’ Josh laughed.
‘Dude, we wear the same faces on our heads, never mind that we’re of different sexes. We laugh the same way. Our mannerisms are the same. We used to finish each other’s sentences. How more similar can we get?’
‘Fine, you made your point.’ He said nodding and raising his hands in a sign of surrender, then continued, ‘So, as I was saying, I was really inspired. Jide rarely eats out. Cooks like a culinary school alumnus. He spends more time during his quiet time than anyone I know who has to go to work every morning. I mean, he wakes up as early as four am, to get a head start. In Ibadan oooo, not Lagos. And that’s not it for the day oo. That was not terribly surprising at first, I was sure he was one of those who didn’t have a social life, until I realised that not only did he have one, it rivaled mine.’
‘Yours?’ I asked bewildered, finding it hard to believe this character my twin was painting. ‘Dude, you know everyone around there is to know. I bet you’ve made all the friends there is to make despite being in that place for just over six months.’
‘Exactly, sis. Also, not only does he know people, he’s so close to them that he’s always attending one function or the other every other weekend. And that’s after filtering and selecting ooo. Like, how many people can one person possibly know so well as to get a personal invite to their engagements?’ Josh gushed and I shook my head in disbelief. ‘Then, I began wondering. How could one person seem so self-sufficient and but still display a complete dependence on God? How could one person with his own busy life and schedule find time to impact so many people, positively? How was it possible that despite how amazing he was, he was still constantly in hot pursuit of self-development? More so, how could so many people have so much good stuff to say about the same person, like, seriously? Sis, honestly, for the first time since I could remember, I saw how lacking I was and felt disgusted at how satisfied I was with my faults and shortcomings. Also, for the first time, I walked up to someone else and asked how he did it.’
‘No way!’ I asserted. ‘There’s no way I’m believing that.’ Josh always had this complex of being satisfied with his person and was always saying if God wanted him anyway else, He would have made him with a desire to pursue such things. It was the same reason he never made the effort to learn so many basic survival skills like cooking because he tried his hands at it once and concluded it wasn’t for him. It always irritated me because I believed many things he failed to work on and learn were just to suit his selfish desires. It was the reason I was finding it hard to believe that this same twin of mine not only coveted someone else’s lifestyle but also asked for help.
‘Yea, in retrospect, I now see how terribly laidback and spoilt I was. Jide let me know that the first step to being a better version of yourself is knowing and acknowledging that, because of human nature, we’re all innately lacking. He said it behooves us to see our flaws and faults, acknowledge them and work on them, regardless of how hard it was. He said as much as we are lacking, we also possess an innate ability to be whoever we desire to be. This is the same ability that makes it possible for us to be as good at anything as we set our minds to. Then I saw exactly where I’d missed it. I saw that my mode of thinking was fundamentally flawed. Then he went on to say, if we combine that understanding and desire to be better with an understanding of God’s desire for us to be better versions of ourselves every day, we might very well be unstoppable. He said, sometimes, he just wants to give up trying so hard to be a better person, and at those times if he didn’t have the knowledge that God indeed required him to improve every day, he might have given up. But the fact that beyond his personal desire, he knew he was fulfilling God’s will and had to continue, that coupled with the grace he drew from the Throne every day, kept him going.’
‘Wow! Wow! Okay… I never saw it that way, either. I just knew you had to put effort into certain things in life and not just be laid back because you want to avoid the hard work. I never imagined it was this deep.’ I admitted.
‘Well, now you know.’ Josh said. ‘I took in his words. Prayed a lot for grace, still do, every day, for the desire and will to be a better version of myself. Then I submitted under Jide’s tutelage to learn stuff that could be learnt. Like cooking.’
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‘Awww… Wow! So, the person I’m looking at right now is a revamped Josh.’ I cooed.
‘Yea, revamped and improving, in every sense of thinking.’ He smiled brightly and I felt glad for him. Of course, I got my own take-home too, and I knew I was going to be talking to God that night longer than usual. But…
‘Wait! So, what about the lady?’ I asked suddenly. Josh laughed in our signature boisterous manner.
‘Hmmm… About her, nothing much act-’
‘Don’t even get me started!’ I threatened. ‘Nothing much to tell, abi? You that teleported to dreamsville the other time whilst thinking of her.’
‘Okay, okay, fine! Madam, your blood too dey hot. Na ordinary gist o.’ Josh joked and I rolled my eyes. ‘Okay, Jide might have inspired me very much, but when I met Jola, I found a huge motivation to be an improved version of myself every day.’
‘Kai! Awo lo! (A great man has fallen!)’ I jumped up from my seat, raising my hands and placing them on my head. ‘Josh, you needed to see and hear yourself just now. Man, you’re gone!’ I laughed uncontrollably.
‘Drama queen, that’s what you are.’ Josh retorted but was unable to help a peal of responding laughter. Both our big laughs filled the room and it felt great.
When we had both quieted and calmed down, Josh continued, ‘I’m actually serious, you know? Like, have you met that kind of person-’ he released a deep breath and continued, ‘-that makes you want to be as good as God will help you be because you just want to be the best for them?’
I shook my head in disbelief, my twin really was in love. But as serious as that moment was, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tease him, ‘Are you trying to rub it in?’
Twinnie snapped out of dreamsville and stuck his tongue out at me. Ugh! Immature much? Then he continued, ‘If it was someone else saying it, I would have thought it cheesy. But being the one smack right at the centre of it, I’ve realized that what they say about love is true after all. It makes you do, think and say things you’d never have imagined you could, before falling. Jola is many things and till tomorrow, I’m unable to find one word that does her justice, but for the sake of conversation, I’ll leave it at ‘amazing’. Just remember that’s a gross understatement.’
Josh was literally waxing poetic and he probably didn’t even know. I raised my hand up, intertwined my fingers and placed them on my head as I looked up and cried, ‘God, when?!’
The annoying human being was laughing again at my theatrics, holding on to his stomach. Then he said, ‘Soon enough, soon enough, twin. Be calming down.’
I rolled my eyes at him. ‘Well, looks like IB was a great move after all. I mean, look at you, two amazing people in your life, within the space of just half a year. I can only imagine how far you have come.’ I said, smiling.
‘IB apparently was the will of God, because when you’re right at the centre of God’s will, He makes all things that pertain to your peace and progress to meet you right there.’ Josh replied shrugging.
‘Oh, boy! My brother is not just waxing poetic, he’s waxing scriptural too, huh?’ I teased, smirking.
‘Be careful, someone might think I was a pagan before now.’ Josh mock-scolded.
‘Someone like… Jola?’ I asked, winking.
Josh sighed, shaking his head. ‘You’ve found a new weapon, haven’t you?’ He asked, referring to the fact that thenceforth, I was going to use Jola to tease him to no end.
‘Dude, you have no idea.’ I whispered, feigning a menacing tone.
‘I don’t know what to say to you. Just come and eat, it’s been a full hour and a half. You too like gist.’ He said as he glanced at the time on his laptop screen and stood up.
‘Yes o! Let me come and see what has become of my brother’s cooking skills. It’s been insinuated that I’m in for a pleasant surprise.’ I replied as I stood and walked behind him to the kitchen. He simply shook his head at me. ‘By the way, since when did you and Jola become an item?’ I asked as we entered the kitchen.
Josh switched on the electric bulb and said, smiling sheepishly, ‘Two months. Best two months of my life.’ I groaned as I held on to my head. ‘What?’ He asked, laughing.
‘Are you really going to keep rubbing it in? Intimidating me because you’re in a relationship and I’m not.’
‘Well, it is the least I can do if you will keep teasing me about it every step of the way.’ He said as-a-matter-of-factly.
I narrowed my eyes at him and said, cocking my head, ‘Okay, then. Game on!’
He smirked back as he fished out a warmer that I believed contained the Amala and replied, ‘May the best twin win!’
I hope you enjoyed ‘When The Right Person Happens…’
My quick prayer here is that, whether you need to meet the right person that would inspire and motivate you to be a better you, or you, as the right person, need to meet that person whom you would inspire and motivate to be better, let there be a divine connection right now in Jesus name. Amen.
Yours in improvement,