We got to Bro Daivd’s apartment some minutes past five O’clock. We met a handful of friends exchanging pleasantries and of course taking selfies. I spotted the celebrant on the left side of the room; he was flanked by two ladies as they posed for several shots.
He wore a brightly coloured and flowered traditional attire that complemented his dark skin; I hadn’t noticed the tall, dark and handsome man he was until now. His undoubtedly expensive wrist watch sent reflections through the standing mirror and I admired his brown loafers.
“Awwww, look who is here.” Bro David announced on spotting Titi and I as we made our way into his medium sized parlour, well lit and decorated. Everyone turned to see while we shyly sank into the sofa and he motioned for us to join him.
“Happy birthday Dave” Titi and I said almost at the same time; just as we planned.
“Wow, this is the first time you are calling me Dave and I am glad. You were always scaring me with that “bro” title.”
“It’s only for today o, just because it’s your birthday.” I teased.
“Wow, thanks. Now I wish everyday was a birthday.”
“I bet you do. This is my good friend and colleague Titi, we work in the same office.” I introduced Titi.
“Hello Titi, thanks for coming to celebrate with me; you are most welcome.”
“Nice meeting you and Happy birthday” Titi replied as they shook hands.
“Thanks dear. You girls look gorgeous. I am elated to have you here, I think we can start the party, now that you are here… but first things first, I must get a few shots with you guys. Camera rolling!”
We joined the league of “paparazzi’s” as almost everyone was either snapping or was posing and smiling, waiting to be snapped. All was part of the fun we had before taking our seats.
The MC cum moderator was Bro Vincent, our church member and he did a great job. He called one of the guests to say the opening prayer after which he welcomed us all and introduced the celebrant. He gave us room to ask him any questions we wanted. Toyosi was the first to ask and her question threw everyone into an outburst of laughter:
“Bro David, when are you getting married?”
He tried to avoid the question but everyone insisted. He finally gave his conventional “very soon” reply.
Chika threw the next question with reckless abandon. I laughed my heart out and wondered why every question bothered on marriage:
“What are the 5 qualities you desire in a wife?”
“Well, they are just three: She must love the Lord and his word dearly, she must be teachable and respectful to the core.” Bro David replied.
“Wow!” Everyone echoed apparently amazed at such noble desires.
It was a memorable moment filled with lots of laughter and fun as other questions followed. We sang him birthday songs and said our wishes while we were served with food and drinks. The choir did a little song for him using his name; this moved him to tears.
Pastor Jerry was present too and he didn’t miss out in the fun. At the end, he gave a brief word of exhortation, urging us to make the best of the years God gave us on the earth.
Bro David thanked everyone for coming after we said heartfelt prayers for him. His joy was unmistakable as we began dispersing.
“Nnenna, you guys made my day” he said as Titi and I went to present our gift and say goodbye.
“Awww…I really hope we did. Please have this little present, I was completely clueless on what to get for you. Thank God for Titi here, she actually made the choice. I hope you like it.”
“As long as it’s from you, I’ll love it.” He said, smiling broadly.
My stomach churned.
What was he saying? I had better not get ideas into my head.
“Thanks Dave for the threat, we had a nice time here and I really enjoyed myself.” Titi distracted us from the glances we were exchanging thus saving the day.
“Thanks for coming. I hope to see you more often.” David said still refusing to stop staring into my eyes.
“Happy birthday for the 100th time.” I mumbled, praying he looks away.
“Hahaha…It can never be said enough today, it’s just once in a year you know. And I can’t thank you enough.”
He walked us to the gate and bid us farewell.
As I turned off my room light to go to bed my phone beeped.
It was a text from Bro David:
Hello dearie, did I tell you you were looking splendid today?
Seeing you made my face glow, once again you made my day and I am grateful.
My heart was about jumping into my stomach when the second one came in:
Oh…I forgot to say goodnight lovely.
To reply or not to reply?
I was drowning in this dilemma when the waiting arms of sleep came to my rescue. I found myself still thinking of Bro David, or rather; Dave when I woke up at 5:45am the next morning. OMG! What is happening to me?
Everything was taking shape, the church I had once run away from was one I now loved with all my heart. It was my family and I loved everyone one just like I did my biological family. I knew I belonged and was accepted. I knew I was a part of the body- Christ’s body.
I noticed that though I wasn’t heading any unit or department, I still knew I was responsible to God and my brethren in prayers and in caring for them. I realized that the sense of belonging I craved for didn’t come from activities or events, but from connecting with one another, praying for them and caring.
I also realized that when I stopped complaining and started praying, people didn’t change instantly, but I changed. I stopped pointing fingers and began doing my part. I marveled at how God could use seemingly mundane things to connect us to one another and I loved it all the way.
It was past one week and I hadn’t heard from Fatima. I picked up my phone to call and she answered the very first time it rang.
“Hy Fati, it’s like you were holding your phone, you didn’t even allow it to ring properly.”
There was no reply.
“Hello Fati, wassup; can you hear me?”
All I could hear was gentle sobs.
PS: The series Christianese is coming to an end and another intriguing story begins shortly after. Stay tuned! Have you signed up? Let the wait be over already, you don’t wanna miss out. June is loaded to the core…