Teniola woke up in the middle of the night. It was 1am UK time. She was palpitating really fast. She couldn’t go back to sleep. She looked at her husband who was fast asleep. She crept out of bed, trying not to disturb him. She picked her phone up and wanted to call her sister but decided not to scare her. Instead, she picked up her bible and began to make some positive confessions.
In Nigeria, at Jade’s house, in Timothy’s room, the child struggled for breath. It was 2am Nigerian time. He wanted to shout so he could alert his mother but he couldn’t. He began to wriggle.
Jade lay in bed, thinking of what had become of her life. Henry was not back home yet. She had tried to call him several times but he kept cutting the calls. She needed no soothsayer to tell her that her husband was either at a bar or drinking with friends, or at a hotel with some girls.
He came home at about that time, and she was alerted. She walked out of the bedroom and as she approached the staircase, she heard her son’s voice. She pushed his door open and he lay on the floor, sprawled out.
Femi looked away, as Tola asked him the question again.
They had been seeing each other for some time, and he had thought it was time he took things to the next step. He didn’t want to lose her to a faster man, and he was getting tired of his family’s clarion call to get married.
At first, he had to admit the reason he had stayed away from any emotional contact with any woman was because of Jadesola. He had been badly hurt, especially because he had loved her so much. He had thought the best of her. Not once would he ever have imagined that she could leave him. He could never forget her words. Several times in the good days of their relationship, she had said she would never leave him no matter what. The day he had proposed to her, she had cried and promised him nothing would ever come between them. Not good things, not bad things. Not good moods, not bad moods. One time, she had been really sick, and he had not left her side for one day. He had promised her that through sickness, he would always be her health. Through poverty, he would always be her wealth.
Maybe he was to blame for a part of it. He had been the one who had kept her in the dark about his accident and about the surgery. He had begged Yemi not to say anything. Maybe he should have carried her along. But he had been scared she would panic and leave him. Perhaps it was when he let jealousy and self-pity get the better part of him and he had gotten so angry and caused the miscarriage. He had tried to imagine what the baby would have looked like. A combination of him and her. He would have her beautiful eyes, and pointed nose, and his strong muscles. But he had brought an end to that life in his rage.
Yemi had consoled him and told him to forgive himself, that it wasn’t his fault. After all, Jade had said it herself that she didn’t love him anymore.
Tola smiled at him, and held his hand, as he fiddled with the diamond ring he had given to her.
“Femi, I’m not rejecting this. Of course you know I love you.” She said.
“Then why are you not taking it? You know you women are just something else. You want to leave me too, like Jade did right? What is it? Am I not good enough?” He ranted like a depressed child.
She was upset that he compared her to his ex, but she was calm. Femi had never found that trait in any woman. Tola just never seemed to get angry. Whenever she was upset, she smiled, and calmed him down…and it made him feel like the smaller immature person.
“That’s my point exactly,” she chuckled. “Are you sure you don’t want me to be a replacement for your ex?”
Femi looked at her.
“Replacement? Jade is not an issue here! I love you, Adetola.”
“I know you do. And I know she’s not an issue with us. But I don’t want you to carry this baggage into a new life with me and you. I want you to sort whatever issues you have with her. I think the issue is that you still carry a grudge for what she did to you. You need to let that go.” She said.
He stood up and paced then looked at her.
“How do I do that? The grudge still eats me up. I don’t want to let her occupy that half of my heart, even if it’s not love. I want it to be exclusively yours.” He said, looking very confused.
“You should go pay her a visit.”
“You’re not breaking her home. You’re just mending your heart. We have got enough plastic limbs. We don’t want a plastic heart.” She teased.
Femi laughed. She was so amazing. Once upon a time, he would have flinched at that joke, but he laughed at the way she said it.
“I love you so much. Thanks for being so understanding.” He said.
“So, go do what you have to do, and bring back my diamond before I change my mind,” she laughed.
She watched him as he kissed her forehead, then picked up his phone. She guessed he wanted to call his ex, so they could talk. She had thought of visiting Jade with him, but she wanted him to do this in his own way. She knew her heart was sick with worry. What if old feelings came back? Maybe she was foolish for asking him to go see her. What if he came back to say he was in love with Jade and couldn’t marry her anymore. Perhaps she should have taken the ring so that he would remember he had a commitment.
His phone rang out loud.
“Hello Yemi,” He said, then he went silent.
“What is it, babe?” Tola asked, rushing to his side.
“Daddy. He had a heart attack. I have to go to the hospital.”
Teni checked in at the Heathrow Airport. She had decided to take a straight flight to Lagos, instead of connecting from Birmingham to Amsterdam, and Lagos. Her husband hadn’t liked that she just decided to pack some things and go to Nigeria just because she had a bad dream about her sister. She had a family now and needed to be around for them. She had pleaded with him and promised she would not stay too long away from home.
She wondered if six hours would not be too long before she got to see Jade. But there was nothing else she could do. She had wanted to call, but the Holy Spirit had given her a specific instruction to be physically present with her sister.
She prayed all through the flight, except for times she slept off. She usually couldn’t resist plane food. She was one who loved to eat a lot, especially free food. But she was on a fast. What lay ahead was way more important than food. She wouldn’t be an Esau.
By the time she landed, she was so tired, and needed to actually take a bath and eat something. Her tummy growled, and she longed for her mother’s customized efo riro. She had told her mom she would be coming home though, so she had sent the driver to pick her up at the airport. The driver was taking her home to her parents’ house, but she felt really uncomfortable in her heart. She picked up her phone and dialed Jade.
Jade panicked to and fro the hallway of the children’s’ ward in her night gown. She didn’t care if anyone was looking. Henry hadn’t bothered to come to the hospital with them. Perhaps he was even happy that the child was dying. He never really loved the boy the way a father was expected to. She sat on the chair again, and then thought to call her mother. She didn’t know who else to call. She wasn’t really on good terms with Henry’s people. They had the same attitude to her child like Henry did and his mother had even accused her once of bringing another man’s baby into her son’s home.
The nurse walked up to her and told her they needed to go to the reception.
Femi rushed into the hospital with Tola. Yemi ran towards them as she sighted them.
“He’s in the theatre now with the doctors. They are working on him.” she said, trying to be calm.
“It’s going to be alright, you two.” Tola said, and held both Yemi and Femi’s hands. Yemi smiled, and Femi nodded.
“So we can’t see him yet?” He asked. Yemi shook her head.
Tola saw the pretty but tired looking lady that walked into the reception from the children’s ward. She was wearing just her night dress, with no bra on. Then she heard Femi’s voice.
He released his hand from her grip and walked down to meet the lady. So that was Jade. Her fiancé had walked up to his ex who was pretty and wearing just a nighty with no bra on.
Jade saw Femi and burst into tears. He held her and she clung to him, weeping.
“It’s okay, Jade. It’s okay.” Femi said softly, patting her back.
Tola looked at Yemi and smiled.
“Why are you standing here? Another woman is holding your man!” Yemi said.
“Well, he has a choice.” She smiled, and walked out of the hospital to sit in the car.
Jade had Femi were now sitting in the big couch at the reception. Yemi still stood where she had been.
She narrated everything that had happened and how she had found her son sprawled out on the floor.
“He can’t walk! He has a disease. Maybe God is just punishing me for what I did to you!” Jade cried.
Femi held her hands, searching for what to say.
“I’m so sorry this happened!”
“Femi please forgive me. I need you to forgive me, please.” She went on her knees. “I just want God to have mercy on that poor boy.”
Femi pulled her up.
“Jade I don’t hold anything against you anymore!”
And he wasn’t lying. Seeing her in that state had consumed his heart with pity, not grudge, and not love. Just the same pity she had felt for him back then.
“He will be fine, okay. I need you to just believe. Because that’s what I’m doing. I’m also trusting God for my dad’s health. I will join my faith with yours, and I promise you he will be fine, okay?” He said. She nodded.
He looked behind and beckoned on Yemi to come. She went towards them reluctantly. But when she heard her old friend’s ordeal, she burst into tears.
Jade’s phone rang.
“Teni,” Jade said, trying not to sound panicky.
“Where are you? Are you okay? I need to see you.” Teni said.
“See me? Are you in Nigeria?” Jade said, checking the number her sister called with.
“Yeah I am. Where are you?”
Jade paused. Then she gave her the address of the hospital.
And these signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them. They will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth? Says The Lord. Shall I who cause to bring forth, shut the womb? Says the Lord Your God.
For thus says the Lord, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced on her knees.
Teni held her tired sister’s hands, together with Femi, Yemi, and Tola who had joined them. They had moved to the car park, because the nurses had said it was against hospital policy to pray at the reception.
As Teni prayed hard, fear crept in. she knew it was from the devil.
“Have you healed anyone before? Have you healed yourself times when you were sick? Don’t embarrass yourself and your lord.” The voice said.
She knew that was not a still small voice from God, and she said “Get behind me satan!”
Jade and the others hadn’t even heard her. They had been engrossed in praying.
Teni knew she had never healed anyone before, but she felt God woke her up with that dream and asked her to come to Lagos for a reason. She left the prayer circle and went into the hospital, and found the child’s ward. He had been induced, and he had some tubes on him. There was a nurse there, but she had fallen asleep. Teni walked in and stretched out her hand to lay on the boy.
“If you cast out demons, and you are not clean yourself, Teniola, I will embarrass you. You lied to your husband last week when he asked you for some money. That’s a sin too, no matter how small. Leave the boy, and go back to Birmingham.”
She was about to repeat “Get thee behind me satan” but she kept mute. She wouldn’t give the devil the glorification or respect to even exchange words. She went forward, negating every doubt.
“God, Healer, Father of all flesh, please bring healing to this child!” She prayed, as she laid her hands on him. She shut her eyes, praying and praising God in faith for recovery.
Henry had driven to the hospital. He hadn’t been able to get any rest of mind. As he parked, he found his wife with a group of people, in a prayer chain. He walked over, and held Jade’s hand. She opened her eyes, and saw him, then tried to retrieve her hand, but she let it go, and let him join in the prayer.
It was Teni’s voice that alerted them. She was screaming. They ran into the hospital, and into the ward.
“He called me Aunty Teni! He spoke fluently, and he is awake!” She screamed. Jade dashed in and held her child like he would soon go back into a coma again. The doctor was there, a little confused. The child had hardly been alive about an hour ago, and now he was sitting upright and talking. He said he wanted to wiwi and Jade had rushed to get his crutches but Teni had said they should let him walk. He wobbled at first, and Jade’s heart broke. She cried as the boy struggled, but he eventually walked himself to the bathroom. Henry then walked in to help him.
“Oh God! Oh my God!” Jade cried, as the doctor told her they needed to re-run tests on him again. The doctor himself was surprised.
The doctors came back with a clean bill of health!
Jade adjusted Timothy’s bow tie. He was the ring bearer. Femi was finally getting married to his sweetheart, and truly, the sweetest woman Jade had ever met. She smiled at Femi’s father, who was now recuperating, but healthier than he had been before. The old man had always teased Jade that he couldn’t wait to see Femi’s expression when she walked down the aisle. Just that this time, she wasn’t the one walking down the aisle.
It was Tola.
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