Kanyi plopped himself onto the couch after having some of Efe’s cooking. He replayed bits of the conversation with Kene. It had been a while since he had a refreshing conversation with a female, not related to him.
Suddenly he felt the flood of self-admonishing fill his thoughts “Maybe I should not have been so quick to extend an invitation to Kene…What was I thinking…STOP! Kanyi blurted out aloud.
Lowering his forehead onto his interlaced fingers resting on the dining table. “Lord God, Father in Heaven, please take charge and give me peace. Let me worry less and focus on you more.”
The prayer seemed to have calmed him down.
Kene called a few days later to thank him again but had to turn down the invitation because of a schedule conflict. Just as she was about to hang up, Kanyi said “Kene, if it is ok with you, after the festival is over, I would like to grab coffee or chocolate, your choice, and chat for a bit”
They arranged to meet up a few weeks after.
It was a cool Friday evening.
The parking lot was gradually beginning to fill up by the time Kanyi arrived. As he pulled into a spot a couple of cars away from Kene, he noticed her tugging at something. He stepped out once he got off the phone with the foreman on one of his projects and walked up to Kene.
“Kene, how are you doing?” Raising her eyes from smoothing out her dress, she straightened up. “Hey Kanyi, I am fine.”
“You seemed to have a little situation there with your coat?”
“Yes, it got caught in the door. How are you doing?”
“I am doing very well”
Kanyi held the door for the elderly couple walking out and for Kene to walk into Ozee’s Brew-in. The queue seemed to be moving at a good pace.
“Kanyi have you been here before?
“Yes, I have. I actually redesigned the space for the owner who is a client”
Kene was pointing to one of the three poster sized framed black and white photos of teacups hanging on the wall behind the order counter, “That right there is neat.” It had the inscription “My Cup Overfloweth”
Just as their order was about to be taken, they overheard a young couple mention that it was open mic night.
“Kene if it is too noisy we don’t have to stay.”
“Oh not a problem. I am curious to see what their open mic is like.”
“Staying for open mic, it is.” Kanyi was grinning.
They both enjoyed the performances. Kene was blown away by the singer’s rendition of William McDonnell’s “Wrap me in Your Arms”.
They chatted for another hour. Kanyi showed her some pictures on his phone of the festival; she gathered their portrait exhibition was a big hit.
As they walked to the car, Kanyi said “I know you have to be up early tomorrow. Thanks again for making out the time, to meet up.”
“Oh no thanks for making it possible for me to have my first open-mic night experience.”
“I am glad to hear that Kene.”
Kanyi hugged her and held the door of her burnt orange mini cooper “Everything in?”
Kene grinned as he shut the door.
“Please let me know when you get home”
They waved to each other as she drove off and just as he strapped himself in, his phone rang.
“Mom! Good evening or more like good night.”
“Either one works for me, my dear”
“Nnanna, you sound different. It has been a while since I have heard that special je ne se quoi in your voice.
“Nnanna” or “Nna” for short was his mother’s affectionate term for him, which meant “Father of my father”
A smile illuminated Kanyi’s face. “Mom, you figured all of this from just a few words?”
“My dear, you know I tell it like it is. You sound like you are on the road“
As the xenon lamps lit up his path, he took a left turn out of the parking lot. His phone had synced up with the Bluetooth connection allowing him to carry on his phone conversation with both hands on the steering wheel.
“Yes, I am heading home. I met up with a friend. How is Dad doing?”
“He is doing ok. We will be heading your way next month. We will spend two weeks with you, one week in SA and then the last week of our vacation back home.“
“Great! Send me your itinerary once you finalize your plans.”
“Nna, it is good to hear you sound this way. It has been a while and I mean it. My God in heaven will continue to guide and bless you my son with strength and wisdom, in the Mighty name of Jesus. Amen.”
“Amen. Mom. It is sort of odd to get a call from you on a week day, so does that mean I will not get my Sunday-Sunday?”
Thanks to his cousin Andima, his mother religiously called every Sunday to check on him. It took him a few weeks to catch on but finally it began to make sense when it slipped from Andima that she had inadvertently told his mom of his breakup with Minna.
“Of course not! Nna. Take care.”
No sooner had Kanyi slipped his phone into his pocket, as he stepped into the hallway of his three level condo townhouse, it vibrated.
Kene: I am home. Thanks for a great evening. I really enjoyed myself.
Kanyi: Glad to hear that and you are welcome. The pleasure was mine. Hopefully we can do it again sometime in the near future….Have a great week.
Kene: Sure, maybe when my schedule clears up in about a month.
Kanyi: I will hold you to that. Good night.
A Few Weeks Later
Kanyi’s parents were in town visiting him. They just got back that Saturday evening from a day trip out of town. As he emptied out the contents of his pocket onto the dining table, he noticed a few phone text messages had come through.
Jide needed the festival coordinator’s phone number. The second text was sent a couple of hours ago. It was from Kene and read:
“Hey stranger, it’s been a while, I hope all is well with you? Take care”.
He started typing a response: “Hello, Kene what a pleasant surprise.” I had…”
switching over to the keypad, he punched in Kene’s phone number and she answered on the second ring.
“Hey you! how are you doing?”
“I am doing well.”
“I just saw your message. My parents and I just got in from a day trip to Liberty ”
“How was it?”
As he strolled down the hallway, he took both steps at once to his bedroom.
“Refreshing. We walked around a bit, took in some of the historic sites and got a late lunch. I am enjoying having them around. But enough about me, what’s up?”
Kene’s trip had been cancelled. They agreed to meet up the following Sunday for brunch. Kanyi would pick her up after Sunday service at the local Ikea store parking lot.
“Let me put in my disclaimer, it is a hole in the wall but the brunch is to die for”
“Ok then it is settled. Kene good night”
Kanyi walked into the kitchen that opened up into his family cum entertainment room. His mum was stretched out on the lounge chaise. She took Kanyi up on his offer and settled for a glass of water.
As he handed the glass to her, she spoke up, “Kanyi I could not help but notice how your eyes lit up while you were talking to whomever…”
“Mommy the Mama!! the one and only double Oh-seven!! Nothing ever gets past you.”
His mum sat up, but still starring at the floor. Raising her head, she took a quick sip of her drink and stared right at him.
“Do you like her?”
“Hmmm… I enjoy talking to her and her company but I am somewhat hesitant and at the same time excited at the possibility of getting to know her even better. However, one thing is for sure, my approach is going to be different.”
“Mom without going into all the details, these past few years I have not honored God in my relationships. I mean with my girlfriends. After my break up with Minna, I thought things over and made the decision to be intentional in my relationship with God”
“Kanyi. I am so glad to hear that you have come to that decision on your own. I must say there were times I was this close to expressing a few concerns but I respect that you are grown and the best I can do is pray rather than worry. I do not know what happened between you and Minna but I know that as long as we continue to seek His will for our lives we have nothing to worry about. God only desires the best for His children but we His children sometimes settle for less because it seems or feels easier to give into instant gratification, rather than wait patiently for his direction.”
She reminded him that in Psalm 37:4 the Bible teaches us that Our Father in Heaven gives us the desires of our heart when we take delight in Him.
“My advice to you is to lift it up to God in prayer, including your interactions with this lady…what is her name?”
“Don’t walk in fear or let the previous experiences hold you back. He will provide you with answers along the way. May you continue to seek His face in all your ways; May my Father in Heaven, if it is His will for you bless you with a wife; not just a wife, but one that fears God above all things and will be a suitable helpmate Amen.”
“Amen. Mom, what is amazing is irrespective of how many times one hears these words of wisdom; there is something about receiving such reinforcements from fellow believers of Christ that is refreshing and encouraging. Thank you.”
Just then his father walked in. “Am I walking in on a private moment between my darling and her Nnanna?”, he teased. They all laughed.
“Dad I hope your legs are feeling better”.
“Yes they are. I just need to keep them elevated for a while. All that walking around in Liberty must have worn them out.”
His mum looked at his Dad with warmth in her eyes as she glided over cupping and gently rubbing his hand in hers.
(to be continued)