Total reading Time: 7 minutes

Nathan, biting his lip, looked to the side mirror and pulled to a stop, reaching Falomo. The woman dropped and was hurrying off, when he honked and handed her two thousand Naira―an afterthought. Last thing he wanted was her thinking he was a ritualist and that he wanted to hypnotize her. She refused the money first, but then took it and thanked him.

Driving towards the office where he’d meet Uche, his business partner and their clients, Nathan struggled to focus on the job they had at hand―the proposed design of a mixed-use tower. If executed effectively, it would be the tallest building in the whole of Africa, earning his firm an unprecedented reputation. A sad smile drew across his face―his mother would have been proud of him were she still alive. She’d have given him a pat on his back, grunting in pride, the way she always did when he came first in his class or won a competition. She’d have been pleased to see how he’d started an architectural firm from scratch and had grown it to a multibillion. The mole at one corner of his mother’s face came to mind and he remembered the cheery lilt that coloured her voice when she was excited. A wave of sorrow hit him. He cried within. Why God? My mother should be here with me―relishing life with me.

You can’t question the ways of God. God is good all the time.” Nathan’s mother’s reply whenever he asked about why his father died, came to mind, but Nathan brushed it off as he would a pesky fly. Her words came again like an avalanche which couldn’t be stopped:

“God knows every detail of our lives.”

“He is working everything out for us.”

“He loves us always.”

“Trust Him with all your heart.”

He felt a pull within but ignored it. If his mother who had lived her life loving God had died, why should he care about God? He had stepped into church only twice since his mother died, and that had been because Becky and some members of the fellowship had continued to pester him. He’d trudge to Church, his burdens shackled to both his feet and heart, but had given up going there as the meetings didn’t make him feel better.

Nathan parked in the lot and picked his bag and phones. He was stepping out of his car when he saw Uche pull into the car park too. 

“Bro, Sarah and the kids, can’t wait to hear the good news!” Uche said, as soon as got off his car. He gave a pumped handshake to Nathan and slapped his back in a friendly manner.

“I can’t wait to hear we’ve been awarded the contract.” Nathan responded, trying to match Uche’s energy but fell flat. 

“Man, are you okay?”

“Yeah, sure.” Nathan brushed off Uche’s question knowing he could start to badger him about having a woman tending to his needs and attending church.

“We have this family service on Sunday where we share God’s love―”

“Not again.” Nathan shook his head in annoyance.

“You’re my best man so you can get rid of me. Come and experience God’s love.” Uche feigned seriousness but Nathan knew he was about to say something say stupid. “And errr, Becky will be there.”

“Seriously?” Nathan laughed, slapping Uche’s hand. “You need help, man.”

Uche laughed too. He grew serious again―this time genuinely. “Please come to Church.”

No response. Uche shook his head, concern plastered over his face.


For the next one hour, Nathan and Uche  displayed the physical model ,3D animation,  schematics, floor plans and elevations of the proposed tower. A series of questions followed before a final approval from the chairman of the board, awarding the contract to Nathan’s firm. Handshakes afterwards, and Nathan and Uche reassured the board that they were working with the best hands they could find.

“Man, we have made it!” Uche said to Nathan reaching the car park, giving Nathan a firm congratulatory handshake.

“I know right!” Nathan stood by his car, Uche by his, in the parking lot. Who would have guessed that they’d design the tallest building in Africa? They had been making steady progress since inception—small victories at first but had later moved to bigger wins. The tower was the third of their major projects. The first had been the design of a shopping mall in Lekki, and the
second, an extension of the housing estate of an oil servicing firm. Years ago, Uche and he had been uncertain about setting up the company but had been enthusiastic. They had not envisaged things turning this way―at such rapid pace but had been willing to try; Nathan doing most of the brain work while Uche took advantage of his connections to land them major contracts.

“We should throw a party.” Uche joked, opening his car, suitcase in hand. “Go to a club and enjoy ourselves how we used to do in the good old days.”

“So your wife will roast me alive, right?” Nathan chuckled; since Uche got married he had stopped being a free man. His wife had placed a ban on nearly all his social activities.

“I will tell her you said she could roast people alive.”

“That’s not what I meant, you fool.” They laughed, and entered their cars, Nathan sending his greetings to Uche’s wife and kids.

The road back home was free, and in few minutes, Nathan was back on the mainland where he lived. He stopped by the supermarket to pick some foodstuff―melon, meat, pumpkin leaves,
some pepper, some essentials, and was on his way home. Pulling into his four-bedroom duplex, he waved at his gateman, Akpan who greeted him. Akpan closed the gate and took the bag of groceries from Nathan, chattering off in unclear Pidgin English. For the l sound he said r and
misused his tenses.

The creaner talk sey incase Oga want cook, she fit find cook for you.” Akpan took the key from Nathan and opened the door to the living room. He stood waiting for Nathan to go in first before following. Asking if Nathan wanted anything, he continued to chatter. “But I tell the creaner sey my oga nu want cook, because my oga fit cook.” Akpan opened a bottle of water and poured it into a glass cup. “Abi Oga?”

Yes thank you, Akpan.” Nathan downed the water from the glass cup and unbuttoned his shirt in relief.

Errrr,” Akpan continued to talk, scratching his head over and again, like a dog infested by lice.

What’s wrong?”

Errr, Oga…”

Nathan looked at Akpan and almost shook his head. Why did he entrust the safety of his house to this village man? He hoped one day he wouldn’t return from work to see that he had done something stupid. “What happened?”

Errr… I tell the creaner sey if she find better girl with better home training, no be all these
Ragos girls, correct Efik girl, she fit bring am for you Oga…” Like the volume of a stereo
regulated by a knob, his voice dimmed to a mute seeing the straight look on Nathan’s face.

No vex, Oga.” Akpan apologized and scuttled off to his station by the gate.

Nathan hurried to his room and changed into his home clothes. He returned to the kitchen and started to cook egusi soup, seasoning the meat first. He turned the gas on low heat and left for the living room where the English Premiere League showed on the TV. Manchester United no longer had their good records as they lost matches, sold their players and refused to buy any. The football club annoyed him―he was so ashamed he was die-hard fan. How could small unnamed clubs like Wolves be defeating them? He hissed, ranting when Lingard slipped like jelly fish. “Just look at him. Get up my friend! See who we are spending money on. Buy good
players, the management will not hear!”

The smell of boiling meat drifted from the kitchen and filled the living room. Nathan took a break from the football match and went to the kitchen to continue cooking. Frying blended pepper and onions with oil, Nathan mixed the melon and meat sauce with the skillfulness of an adept, and with boiled water turned eba―swift and smooth. He molded the eba into a cylinder using a rolling pin and served it on a china, large chunks of meat by the side. Taking his iPhone, he snapped the food, smiling at his masterpiece. If it wasn’t for Architecture, Nathan would have had a blossoming career in culinary art.

Nathan’s phone rang and seeing it was Becky, he decided he’d serve his food first as their call could take a while―they’d talk while he ate. “You should see what I made.” Nathan said, returning Becky’s call. “Should I send you a picture?”

Oya naa.” Becky laughed, asking what he cooked. “Hehehe it’s beautiful. You are making me hungry.” Children screamed “Aunty Becky!” at the background, crying, another laughing, so Becky apologized and asked Nathan to hold on while she asked the children what was wrong.

“I’m back.”

“Your sister’s kids came visiting?”

“Yes, for the weekend. Said she needed some break.”

Nathan laughed, since Becky moved to Lagos about a year ago following a work transfer, her house had partly turned to a daycare for her sister’s kids. It had been while she was shopping with them at a mall, Nathan had bumped into her. They had shared a hug as old time friends
who hadn’t seen in years, and Nathan asked if the boy and girl tugging at the basket in her hand were her kids.

“My sisters’. They came visiting.” She smiled and Nathan remembered how she pestered him with that dimpled smile in school. “Nathan have you eaten? Okay, there is service today. Should
I send someone to call you?” Nathan would promise to come but wouldn’t, and the next week when she saw him in their faculty, she’d playfully accuse him of going back on his word. “I looked for you.” Nathan would say he left before the service was over and Becky would smile again, shaking her head. And almost ten years after, Becky remained the lady who smiled and coaxed him to come to Church.

Heaving a sigh, Becky gave an exhausted laugh. “An aunt got to do what an aunt got to do.”

They did small talks about work, life, her recent trip to Dubai and then Becky brought the topic of Church which Nathan decided to ignore. “So, you didn’t buy anything for your boy, and if it were me, I’d have bought something for you.”

“Really, what did you buy for me during your last trip to Sweden?”

“Chocolates and a perfume.” Nathan cut a ball of eba and swallowed.

“I can’t remember.” Becky teased.

“How will you? Better give me my goodies before I send my boys.”

“My men will lock your boys up.”
They chuckled a while before Becky confessed that she’d bought him a shirt and a cap. “But you have to get them in Church; Sunday mornings are the only time I’m free and that’s when I’m in Church.”

“You’re a cow, Becky.”

“And you’re a goat.”

“But Nathan,” Becky grew serious, her voice quiet, “Don’t you think it’s time for you to start to live again?” Nathan had told her about his mum’s death back then in school, and though she encouraged him to trust the Lord with all his heart, Nathan had strayed from God. When Nathan didn’t reply, Becky added. “God wants you back. He wants you to find joy again and make the most of your life.” Nathan laughed, pretending Becky’s words didn’t sting as much as he’d like to admit. They ended the call, agreeing on the time they’d meet so he’d get his shirt and cap.

Continuing with his meal, Nathan thought on Becky’s words. He knew she was right but didn’t want to admit. Why didn’t God heal his mum? Why hadn’t God listened to his prayers when he emptied himself to him? The pain of the loss which he managed to put away, started to surface
again, and with it, was a gnawing feeling clamping his chest so hard, he could swear he was having a heart attack. “Why God? Now everyone wants me to come to you. Where were you when I needed you?” He never wanted to hear anything about Jesus, but the more he tried to ignore the thought, the more God seemed to be ripping his heart out―right from within his chest.

12 thoughts on “To Live Again (II)”

  1. I love your attention to details and how you have done your research- I bet any architect or Man U fan would be able to relate…
    Also, I love the pace of the story…God bless you..I pray God heals hearts with this story…We await episode 3..

  2. This is why I don’t really like watching series. The anxiety and suspense😃.
    Anyways we’ll be anxiously awaiting part 3.
    Great job Rume 👍

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