“There was a difference” Jamal pondered “the difference was that you could choose to go to church on Sundays or you could be the church every blessed day of your life; then again you could be both.”
The wide eyed girl of about four years clapped and giggled on her mother’s laps, as though calling his attention to the magnificence of the world around him, he winked at her and she giggled some more this time. Her mummy looked to see what was going on and smiled.
“I am smitten quite alright, your princess is adorable” Jamal remarked politely
The young mother who looked like mid-twenties beamed “Thank you.”
About that time the bus arrived at his bus stop. He alighted and headed for his church which was a stone throw. “It’s Sunday, I am the church going to church; funny.”
“You sure you’d be ok?” Mark asked for the umpteenth time as they approached her Hall.
This time it got Mikhail laughing, “Yes, I will be fine, Egbon.” Mark had been her rock since mom and dad’s news and departure to India. He parked his Avensis in front of her Hall. She looked at him and smiled,
“Right Sweet. You sure you’d be fine?”
Mikhail gasped and pseudo-punched her brother. Then she looked at him straight in his eyes, “No I am not fine, but I will be ok.”
“You can call me anytime you want to talk even if its in the middle of the night, I remain only a call away from you dear.”
She nodded and pecked him
“And don’t think too much, it’s all working out for good.”
“Ok Mark, run along now, you don’t want to be held up in the evening traffic.”
“Tamar Mission is derived from Tamar in the bible, David’s beautiful daughter whose brother Amnon raped. I am a Tamar alright but I have a mission…while we didn’t hear anything about her after the rape, it seems to me that I can go back and dwell in the trauma or I can really be a Tamar. Stop creasing your brows Jay, ask questions if you don’t understand.” Vivian spoke like a school teacher
He had asked her to tell him explicitly about the NGO she was coming up with but so far he seemed to be getting a bible study class “What does Tamar mean? You seem to be passing two ideas?”
“Tamar means Date Palm or Palm Tree… from research; a palm tree is so fruitful and useful from the roots to the fruits. In order words THE TAMAR MISSION can also mean THE FRUITFUL MISSION.”
Oh! Wow” he cooed
Jamal watched Vivian; it was as though she was a pixie girl unveiling her Christmas gift on the morn of Boxing Day. Her eyes danced as she talked endlessly about the plans. Jamal listened attentively, pitching his ideas when necessary, he looked at her.
Funny enough these days, he saw her differently; he wondered how they ever got so carried away; their days of dating seemed as ages ago. Vivian still a pretty girl, he saw her as a friend. Perhaps a very large part of him still blamed himself for what happened to her but his friendship with her was definitely not out of pity.
He cleared his throat and raised his bottle of water as though he was about to make a toast.
“I have met a few people in my little life; I must confess I got really carried away when I first met you, your dancing skills definitely left me allured. But that’s beside my point of toasting. You are a really strong woman and I really respect you.”
“Awh that touched me, Jamal, thank you” Vivian said as she dabbed her already smeared mascara
“Shhhh, you are disturbing my toast” he continued “Vivian, this toast is to you and your brain child…I believe she will impact lives…May you be Fruitful Tamar” she was giggling at his tease.
“So what’s the latest gist about the principal you went to see?”
Dotun tried calling again Mikhail, he was determined to see her, the last time he had heard from her was on Saturday morning when she had told him she’d be visiting with her parents for the weekend. Her phone had been switched off and his messages appear to have been delivered. Not that he was desperate but she had somehow found her dwelling place in his mind. She could be your worse distraction; his mind seemed to say to him. Focus, you are building Dessert Company remember. I need to see that girl, her smile; just to touch her face or something…I even called Soji his Mikhail twice already.
She picked the call “Hello, Mr. Relentless”
“So the Aliens returned your phone in one piece” he retorted
“They did, thankfully. How are you doing?”
“I will be fine when I see you and get an explanation for the thirty-nine missed calls”
Mockingly she said, “Why did I receive this one, I should have just let it become forty”
“Tell me, what happened?”
“Where are you?” She asked “could we meet at the Suya spot in about ten minutes”
“Er, ohk? Sure I’d be there”
He quickly stood up from his bed where he had been lounging, ignoring Soji’s quizzical look from his keyboard. “I need to enter school, Regina might come…I got her ping earlier though I tried discouraged her from coming… I wish you luck”
With that he ran out of the room before Soji could process what he had just said. Soji was no fan of Regina.
“Hey Princess” he embraced Mikhail like they were old time friends as soon as he saw her “How are you?”
“I am ok and you?” she didn’t sound as cheerful as she did minutes ago on phone
“Fine…Do you mind Suya or we should just sit?”
“Na, let’s just sit” she pointed at an empty bench in a secluded area.
“Ok, what’s up” he asked as soon as they sat
“My mum, she has been diagnosed with Cancer, Breast stage two and she will be operated upon this week in India” her voice shook as the tears poured out. She tried laughing “I had practiced saying this without the tears but it just seems to trigger my tear glands”
“I understand” he sounded so sincere
“I am so scared, I don’t want to lose her” more tears, she blew her nose with her pink kerchief
“Hey, who said anything about losing her? She will be fine” He pulled her into his embrace “Cry if it will relieve you but don’t think bad thoughts”
“Dotun, that’s funny, thank you” she
“Mikhail, I am here for you, you don’t have to give me an answer yet to my request. Let me know if you need my help anytime…I’d be your friend” He kissed her forehead “By the way, isn’t your test this week?”
“It is” she smiled at him. Though Mark had said he’d be there for her was comforting, hearing it from Dotun made a whole lot of difference.
Thank You for Reading.