“WILL YOU MARRY ME?” (1) SHORT STORY
This fictional short story series explores the issue of spontaneity vis-a-vis hearing from God. The context used is the acquaintanceship between two National Youth Corps members, Obinna and Tonye, which suddenly became an engagement. The story is funny and thought-provoking. Would really like you to tell me your views about the subject at the end. And kindly share the story widely on social media. You are blessed!
“WILL YOU MARRY ME?” (1)
See me see trouble oh! The type of wahala I entered today, I don’t know who arranged it: God or the devil. I’ve been worried about so many things in my life before now. Things like: Will I ever credit English? Will I ever pass JAMB? Will I graduate with my mates? Will I get a job after school? Note that I didn’t say a good job. Any job at all to get me off my parents’ back to start with will be welcome. Thankfully, that is still some months away as I’m yet to finish youth service. But none of the foregoing can compare with the turmoil going on in my heart right now.
I woke up early as usual. After praying, as I was doing some push-ups, something urged me to go outside. I am serving in the Works Department of a university in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, and all the corps members with the institution are quartered in the same compound. The house is a rectangular structure with eight self-contained rooms on either side and four at the rear with a back gate. In front, we have the main gate, a huge lounge with comfortable armchairs, a TV set and games like chess and checkers. My room is at the rear and as I stepped out, I saw Tonye, a fellow corps member, drawing water from the well in the middle of the compound.
Seeing her in the early morning light, her fair complexioned skin glowing beneath the sleeveless, navy blue blouse she was wearing, I was enthralled. A flowered print wrapper was tied around her waist. I gazed at her for some seconds while she concentrated on pulling up the tin of water and emptying it into her bucket. Before she lowered the tin again into the well, she looked up and saw me staring. I said “Hi” so softly I was certain she wouldn’t hear. My voice was all but gone as I stood mesmerized. She smiled and I couldn’t hold myself anymore.
In a few swift strides, I was at the well. I held the rope the tin was dangling from and whispered again, “Let me.” She flashed another dazzling smile my way and released her hold on the rope. After a few dips, during which we exchanged more shy glances and smiles, I had filled the two buckets she brought to the well. The next step should have been to offer to carry the buckets, or at least one of them, to her room. Instead, I took her hands in mine and right there by the well, I whispered, “Will you marry me?”Impulsive behaviour can be good or bad depending on who's pulling the strings spiritually. Click To Tweet
I need to back up a little and tell you a bit about myself and Tonye. I studied Electrical/Electronic Engineering at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, while Tonye read Library Science at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. Although we might be termed friends in a loose fashion, we are more like acquaintances and that is only because we live in the same compound.
You see, Tonye and I don’t often see eye to eye on issues, especially spiritual matters. Although we are both Christians, she is evangelical while I am pentecostal. On several occasions, she has teased me about my speaking in tongues and belief in miracles. Once when she was sick, I came to visit her with my bottle of anointing oil. I meant to pray and anoint her but she said if I wanted to be useful, I should go to a nearby pharmacy to have the prescription she had just got from a doctor filled. On another occasion, I said that God told me to preach to someone, she laughed and asked me where I saw God to talk to me. She argued that the Bible has clearly instructed us to preach the gospel, that there was no need to claim I saw a vision on the subject. The matter generated a heated argument among the rest of our colleagues that day.
So while Tonye and I were getting to know each other along with the other residents of our lodge, we weren’t exactly the best of friends. But clearly something was different this morning. I’d casually admired and complimented her on her looks and dressing in the past and she’d done the same to me, but an invisible force had drawn us together today.
“Yes, I would love to marry you,” Tonye breathed, throwing her arms around my neck.
“Are you sure?” I asked. Whatever had taken hold of me seemed to have relaxed its grip just a bit and I was wondering where the proposal of marriage came from and why Tonye, rather than laugh at me as usual, had accepted.
“Well, true it seems premature, but I think that this was meant to be.”
“Yes, well, I’m not saying that God spoke to me or anything like that but I dreamt last night that you proposed and I accepted,” she replied, disengaging her arms and stepping back to regard me.
That didn’t seem like a good reason to agree to marry someone seeing that dreams can come from different sources, some of them very deceptive, but I didn’t tell her that. I was wondering the implications of what had just transpired and how it would affect our relationship. Amazingly, I didn’t think of backing out and washing my hands off the matter but I was concerned about the feasibility of the union, the details involved. Details like we had no jobs waiting for us anywhere (we’d chatted about our job prospects once), details like how this agreement will change our relationship.
“Hellooo!” Tonye called. “Are you still here?”
“Sorry, you know that this is a very big step. We will need to talk more about it later.”
“Sure,” she replied and bent down to lift her buckets. I picked them up before she could, she thanked me and we moved towards her room. After we went inside, I dropped the buckets in her bathroom and came out, wringing my hands. I was uncomfortable that we were alone inside her room.
“I’m not gonna bite you,’ she teased. I moved towards the door but she drew me back and pecked me on the cheek.
“Thank you,” I said, feeling foolish and escaped to my room.
(Related: “What Have I Got Myself Into?”)
As I entered my room, my skin was still tingling from where Tonye touched me. I was glad today is a Saturday. I was going to fast and pray to understand what was happening to me. Was I under a spell or was I supposed to marry Tonye? Even if the answer to the latter is “Yes,” why the sudden proposal? We are still serving our country. Marriage requires steady jobs and money, neither of which we have. And why didn’t she reject my hand? Why would she dream about this and I, with no idea that she did, come out and play exactly according to the dream script? Contrary to Tonye’s ideas, I do hear from God, so I’m going to get to the bottom of this mystery. But as I vowed to do this, I had no idea that further complications were coming so soon.
-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2018
Hi! This is my favourite part, where we talk about the story.
Tell me, do you often act impulsively or are you a dedicated planner?
Would you share any occasion/s when you acted impulsively? How did it work out for you?
How would you respond to Syrie James’ assertion that, “Some of the most thrilling things in life are done on impulse”?
What do you think of the story so far: the guy’s sudden proposal, the lady’s acceptance, her dream …?
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