With the mention of the word God, it was easy to believe it, especially if it came from a man like Luke.
He wore a white shirt under a gray striped three piece suit. Bald and bespectacled, he portrayed a mature man, probably at his early 40s. He had a gold watch deliberately peeping from the sleeve of his shirt. And he smelt good, real good.
He had come to her place of work. She had thought he was a customer but he had stated he had other intentions ; to pass an important message to her which he would not reveal at her workplace, maybe at the restaurant on the mezzanine floor after her shift was over. He would wait for her there.
He was there at five, he had kept his promise. He had taken a seat at the mid table, sipping a cold soda. She walked to him, but before she said a word, he had already started to speak.
“Drusilla Lango, daughter to Pastor and Mrs Felix Lango, age twenty eight, doesn’t smoke, used to drink but stopped.” He said it, his eyes fixed on the ground and then he slowly moved his eyes from her shoes studying her body admirably, then looked up and said, “Thank you God!”
“Excuse me sir, who are you and what’s your message, and from whom?” Drusilla asked, irritably. He smiled at her , unaffected by her lack of enthusiasm even when he had said so much about her at a first meeting.
“Studied at The Catholic University, tarmacked in search for a job for four years until you got your first job at a dairy factory in your grandmother’s village where you only stayed for six months.” He said, with a wider smile now that he had Dru’s attention.
She was staring wide eyed at him.
“How come you know so much about me? Who are you?” She almost asked a second question but he was quick to answer her first.
“I am Luke Marasa. A friend of God. Please have a seat my dear.” He said as Dru took the next seat and looked at him impatiently.
“Drusilla, I have come here with a message that will change your life. That is how it’s supposed to be.”
“Ehe, I am listening.” She said as she waved off the waitress who had come to take her order.
“You see I am forty one years old, unmarried. I had decided to serve God and stay single until God told me I was better off with a wife. So I told him to direct me in his preferred way.” He sipped his soda to let his words sink in.
“So, where do I come in, in all that?” She asked.
He paused and looked at her for a few seconds, then took a deep breathe.
“God told me to marry you.” He finally announced.
Dru’s jaw dropped. She stared at him as he stared right back self assuredly until she finally found her voice.
“What if I don’t want to marry you?” She quizzed.
He shrugged his shoulders, “Well, you will have to answer to God for that. Drusilla, I can’t force you. I am not that man. I just listen to God’s voice, that’s all.”
“Where did you get all that info about me?”
He chuckled at her query and said, “I know so much about you, the good, bad and ugly that if I laid it all to you, you would be embarrassed and I would hate to make you uncomfortable. It was revealed to me when God directed me to take you as a wife.”
Drusilla leant on the chair. She came from a religious background. She had heard of people whose matchmaker had been God. It was not something new to her.
Recently her immediate family had started talks of her finding someone to settle with.
“Eeish siz, when are you planning to get married. I see wrinkles are starting to form on your forehead!” Her elder sister, married with three kids had joked. She had married her high school sweetheart. It was a sweet love story for the two.
“This one just wants to stay with mummy!” Her mother added. “Maybe it’s because she stopped breastfeeding at four years!” She said as the whole house exploded into a hubbub of laughter. She had joined in the laughter too.
“I hear the old man Babu Taabu is looking for a fourth wife, Dru, maybe you can consider….” Her eighteen year old brother was saying when she hurled a table cloth at him and the rest fell into another cachinnation.
They had never been serious. Drusilla knew that her parents did not mind having her around for as long as she could. Her father especially liked that she came home from work instead of renting a place for herself like her colleagues did.
Drusilla looked at the Luke guy who had come with the strange news. He was devastatingly handsome: tall, hunky and his dapper look was something else. He had an attractive confident allure that could be easily seen as arrogant.
“A penny for your thoughts?” Luke inquired, interrupting her thoughts.
“Mmmhhh…I was just thinking many things.”
“I totally understand. Maybe you can go think about it and we could meet some other time. Here is my number.” He said as he patted his pockets. “Oh No!” He hissed.
“What?” She asked
“I forgot my wallet in the car at the car wash. I hope those people don’t pull out anything from that wallet. Now I have to rush…Oh No…the bill! I have no cash with me.” He said as he looked around in confusion.
“Just go on. I will pay.” She said, he expressed a grateful look at her, like she had saved his life. He planted a weak kiss on her cheek and left her taking in his attractive cologne.
“Oh My God! What is all these!” She sighed as she leant back in her chair. Could this be it? She wondered. Drusilla had been unlucky in love. She had a long list of exes whom she had thought she had a future with at the time she was with each of them.
Her last boyfriend had broken her heart after he had gone back to his wife with whom they had seperated for two years. She wouldn’t have known were it not for the wife who had called her one evening.
“Hi, is this Drusilla? Ok. I am Brian’s wife. We are back together, you can leave him now. Thanks for taking good care of him.” She had briefly announced.
At first she had thought Brian’s wife was bluffing but when she asked Brian, the look on his face said it all. It was a look of shock, guilt and remorse. She had not needed any more confirmation. He had insisted that he was back for the sake of their child but not for his wife . Dru didn’t want to hear a thing. It was a tearful break up.
“Sorry sis, love will come to you when you least expect it.” Her sister had comforted her. Could this be it, with Luke? She asked herself again.
She called the waitress to pay Luke’s bill and left. She would first drive to the mall to buy some items her mother had sent her. As she walked in, she bumped into a man walking out. They were both very apologetic to each other as they laughed at the awkward moment.
“I am Mark.” The man said, extending his hand to her. He was short, just inches taller than her. He had a stout body that reminded her of her fat nephew. He wore a short sleeved shirt that had seen better days. His jeans trousers were not his right size.
“I have so much in my mind that I bumped into you. I am so sorry.”
“I understand. I thought I was the only one with a lot in my mind.” She laughed.
“You know, I would find it refreshing if you accompanied me at the mall’s cafe for a cup of coffee or something. It will be a good deviation from whatever is eating into our heads.” He suggested. It was a good suggestion.
Drusilla couldn’t stop laughing at Mark’s jokes. He was also candid with such mellow personality except for the way he swallowed his coffee loud and hard as he munched his muffin almost recklessly, spilling particles along. She wondered how her mother would have reacted at his poor etiquette. Her mother valued table manners.
He requested for her number.
“Damn!” She said. She hadn’t taķen Luke’s number, she remembered.
“Is everything ok?” Mark asked as he wiped off bits of cake from his shirt.
“No. I just remembered something. Here is my number. It’s getting late. I need to hurry before it gets dark.”
“If you want I could wait for you and book you a taxi.” He suggested as he placed some notes in the hotel bill booklet.
“Oh No,thank you. I already have a car.” She said.
“Ouch! Ok. I guess I have to up my game. The girls of today…drive themselves. Ok!” He said as she laughed at his response. Twenty minutes later, they bid each other good bye.
“Are you ok Dru?” her father asked as they had dinner.
“I am. Why?” She said, her mind had been replaying the day’s events.
“You are here with us, but only the physical, where is the rest of you?” Her mother answered.
“Mmmh…there is this colleague of mine. She told me some weird stuff today. A man came to her and said that God had sent him to her to marry her. I am wondering how that is even possible.” She lied, with an intention to know her clergy parents’ thoughts about it.
“It is possible. It happened to your aunty. ” Her mother answered, “Aunty Pat met your uncle Alex that way. He was directed to her by God and look where they are now, thirty years, still happily married.”
“But hadn’t the two been friends before?” She inquired.
“They were but with God’s direction, they created a relationship that led to marriage.”
“Dru, your time will come too. God favours the patient.” Her father advised. Her mother nodded in support. She wanted to protest but had a second thought about it.
The next day was a slow day for Cashier Drusilla. It was mid month, customers were broke waiting for end of month when they would trickle in the bank like safari ants, demanding for service from Drusilla and colleagues.
She would have been bored that day, sitting alone in the glassbox, browsing the internet to keep herself awake but not this day. She laughed, smiled and even made not-so-loud exclamations as they exchanged texts with Mark.
“Hello!” A voice from the other side of the glass box boomed. She smelt his perfume first.
“That text must have been really funny, I can see your last tooth!” He said.
Drusilla’s heart jumped. Would she lie to a ‘friend of God?’ Would God tell him that she was lying?
“Aaah…what brings you here Luke?” She said, opting to play it safe.
“Hmm?” Confused Dru.
“Your phone number. In fact, let me put mine in your phone.” He said as he requested for her phone. She hesitated first but gave in although reluctantly to stop him suspecting she had anything to hide. She hoped he wouldn’t scroll through the message compartment.
“Ok. Done, Let me beep my phone. I will call you in the evening so that we can have a conversation about what we discussed yesterday.” He said, she nodded and he blew a kiss at her.
She watched him leave, his hands in his pocket, strutting out with a self assured gait. He had a black turtleneck that day and a coat in burgundy colour, matching with a pair of black fitting trousers. His Italian shoes neat and well taken care of.
“Damn! Is that your new catch? He is fine!” Her colleague came in excitedly.
“He is a customer!” She tried to lie.
“Really, I didn’t see any paper transaction between you two and what customers blows kisses to the bank staff!” Caught in her lie, she joined her friend in a whispered chuckle but was interrupted by her phone’s message tone.
“We will talk about that hot guy later!” Her colleague whispered and left.
The message was from Mark. She had known so much about him through his texts. He was the fifth born of ten, the first boy after four sisters. He had joked about how his parents had hunted for a second boy after having four more girls.
They must have been searching for a spare boy just in case I don’t please them enough…lol
He also revealed to Dru that he was a writer. He was writing a book whose topic he wasn’t sure of, he had said in jest. She laughed at how casually he approached life.
That evening, she lied to Mark, she would be in a meeting so she couldn’t reply to any of her texts. He said he totally understood.
But if your meeting ends early, you can text me, I can multitask. Writing and texting at the same time is easy.
She laughed as she put her phone in her handbag in preparation for her date with Luke.
He hadn’t ordered anything that day. He pulled her chair as the waitress came to take their orders. She saw the waitress look at her enviably as Luke kissed the back of her hand.
He ordered for her and himself, a milkshake for each. She hated milkshakes but she did not want to disappoint him.
He moved closer to her, held both her hands and asked her to close her eyes. She was surprised at his next actions. He prayed. In the prayer, he thanked God for directing him to such a beauty. She almost grinned as the man of God uttered endless praises about her to God.
The two had a quiet evening date. Luke wasn’t like Mark, humorous and talkative. Luke and Dru’s conversations revolved around family, work and God. She knew Luke would make her parents happy and proud of her.
For months, she continued seeing the two men. They both made her happy in different ways. Luke made her proud. He turned heads and she liked the way women glared at her with green eyes as she walked with him along the streets.
She also liked his devotion to God. He attended church every Sunday and would speak enthusiastically at the sermons he had been asked by God to deliver to the congregation. She couldn’t attend his church because her parents needed her too in their church to count offering and keep it safe.
Mark. He made her laugh. He was so easy to talk to. She liked how he talked about his writing, passionately and ambitiously. He could also read her well, her emotions and moods and would lighten her up when she was down. Luke’s answer to her low moments was prayer.
Drusilla had asked her friend and colleague to help her decide. Her friend, Wandi had seen Luke too many times for he often came at their workplace to see Drusilla. They had met at hotels, the three of them, and he seemed like a good guy for Dru, according to Wandi.
Wandi would meet Mark for the first time at the mall hotel he and Dru first met. Mark had never come to her workplace. Dru liked it that way, lest he met Luke coming to see her and she would lose them all.
The two ladies waited while sipping some juice.
“That’s him, he is coming!” Dru said as she fixed her eyes on the table.
“Wait, what? The one in a Grey Tshirt and Acrylic pants, that’s the one putting you in such a dilemma?” She said, concealing a laughter that was struggling to explode.
“Hello ladies!” Mark greeted them. At first Wandi stared at him with a condescending attitude but with time, she saw that X factor that Dru had seen in him. Mark had a magnetic feel, you wanted to stay around him and listen to his jokes and his comically and beautifully narrated stories. By the time he left, Wandi was in Dru’s state of quagmire.
“Well, I have a suggestion about who you can leave and take.” Wandi said, grinning at her friend.
“Shoot! I am listening!” Dru answered, hoping Wandi had a final solution to the tight spot she was in.
“You could give me Luke, don’t get me wrong, Mark has a very likeable character but I would hate to be seen with a man who wears like that. Take Mark, give me Luke. Simple.” Wandi said as as she shielded her face from Dru’s dramatic threat to throw her glass at her.
“I wish, but remember Luke was directed to me by God.”
Wandy drooped her shoulders at Dru’s response then she shot a frightened look at her.
“Dru, I really think you should go to Luke. Maybe Mark is a temptation from Satan to stop you from fulfilling God’s wish?” Wandi inquired.
Dru thought for a moment. She felt scared of losing Mark. If only she could have them both.
“You are probably right. After all, he is the one who has talked about marriage. Mark has never. And the investments we have made, what would happen to them…”
“Wait, are you already investing with Luke, what more do you need, he is the guy!”
“Maybe. It’s just that, I can’t get Mark out of my head. His jokes and perception of life just intrigue me.”
Wandi couldn’t help her solve her problem. But Nature would.
She was buying some groceries when Mark saw her car parked outside. He waited for her a few metres from the store.
Then she saw them. Luke was in her company holding her by her waist and she seemed comfortable with his hands close to her body. Mark watched them and suspected that he was being taken for a ride. He hated to jump to conclusions, so he thought it was better if he confronted her there and then.
“Babe!” He called out.
Dru stopped in her tracks. She looked at the caller’s direction hoping that she was dreaming. She saw him.
“Did that guy call you babe?” Luke asked. Dru looked at Luke then at Mark. “Do you know him?” Luke continued, getting agitated. By now, Mark had moved closer . Dru saw the hurt in his eyes. She didn’t know what to do. But the two men did, they left her standing outside the grocery door tears flowing from her eyes.
She thought she had lost them all because none of the men reached out to her after that until a week later.
He was standing there, on the other side of the counter, with his killer look and attractive fragrance.
“Luke?” She said.
“God told me to forgive you!” He stated. She couldn’t stop saying sorry but he said that he had decided to forgive and forget about it. She was grateful but a part of her had hoped that Mark would be the one to forgive her, but he had closed any communications with her, her calls had even been blocked. Dru couldn’t erase from her mind the look of betrayal that he had shot at her when he saw her and Luke.
“Let’s focus on growing strong together.” Luke interrupted her thoughts. They planned a date that evening at their usual meeting spot. He blew a kiss at her and turned to leave.
She watched him as he walked out of the bank still glancing and grinning at her. Dru almost laughed at him when he bumped into a woman who had been making her entrance into the bank.
“Hey, watch where you are going!” She shouted then she saw his face and seemed to recognize him.
“Thomas? Is it really you Thomas? ” Drusilla heard the woman saying.
“Excuse me woman, you’ve got me all mistaken for someone else. Excuse me if I may leave now!” Luke angrily said as he quickly walked out of the bank.
“You lying son of a b…!” She screamt at him but the security guard sternly stopped her. She noticed the huge attention she had captured and straightened her dress, brushed her hair with her fingers and walked to one of the tellers. Dru was the lucky teller.
“Hi madam. How may I help you?” Dru asked.
“I am here to make a deposit, please.” The woman replied.
Dru served the woman as she garnered courage to ask the biting question.
“Madam, may I ask, what was that scuffle all about?” She asked hoping she had structured her question in a most indifferent tone.
“Pssst! That guy is a fraud. He wants me to think I am mad, that I don’t know him because he has shaven all his hair and is now doning a pair of spectacles.” She replied , her face expressing rage.
“Is that so?” Dru asked , trying to remain calm and uninterested.
“Trust me girl, he preys on single working women, charms them, pretending to be very God fearing and then he disappears leaving the poor women with nothing but huge debts.” The woman responded as she closed her handbag, ready to go.
“Such an evil man, did he do that to you?” Dru pushed on, her heart beating but her face composed.
“No, but he did it to my sister. She even sunk into depression.” The woman replied and then leant close to the glass separating them then whispered, “I just wish I had a gun, I would do this to him…” She pointed two fingers to her head, “Twaaaf!” She exclaimed and laughed then strutted out of the bank and left a stupefied Dru.
-TO BE CONTINUED on 20th September-