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Valley of Decisions episode 5

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Valley of Decisions

Episode Five

 

LAILA

 

“I hope when mum and I are there, we’ll be receiving some good

news from you, Laila.”

“Sure, dad. I always have good news.” I tried to sound upbeat through

the phone.

My dad sighed. “You know what I mean. It’s about time we meet this

mystery man of yours. We have heard too much about him and we

are beginning to question his seriousness about you.”

My parents would be here in two weeks. Instead of feeling excited,

I’m anxious!

“Daddy! He is serious about me. We are serious about each other. We

love each other. Trust me when I say you will meet him this time.”

My dad chuckled. “As what? A fiancé or a friend?”

I began to pout over the phone. “Come on dad. Give me a break. This

isn’t easy for me.”

“I know,” he said. “I keep telling you that you deserve so much better.

In fact, I’ve told you this for too long, Laila. I feel as if you’re forcing

this relationship. Mum and I have never put pressure on you.”

“I know. Thanks, dad.” I said. “You and mum have been so

understanding. I am sure of what I am doing and you both will love

Ben when you meet him.”

Dad took a deep breath. “If you say so, Laila. We are praying for you

all the same. We want you to make the best decision according to

God’s will.” He paused. “Listen, Mum says she would call you back.

She is on the phone with your sister.”

“Okay dad. Talk to you soon. I love you.”

“Love you too, Laila.”

I hung up the phone and shut my eyes tightly. Talking to them gets

much harder these days. Each time I pray, I get the signal to break it

off with Ben. I know Kiki is right; I’m afraid of being single. I’ve been

acting as if singleness is a disease or something.

I dialled Kiki’s number. She picked up after the first ring. “Hello, sis.

How are you? We were just talking about you,” she said.

“We? Who is we?” I asked surprised.

Kiki laughed. “Tim and I of course.”

These two have been inseparable from the day he came to church

with her. Even though she refused to let me meet him, I kept my

eyes on them during the service and as they walked out of the

building, I popped out of nowhere, much to her dismay. He, on the

other hand, found it very funny. We chatted for a bit and I was so

impressed by him. In fact, I loved him for her a whole lot more when

I met them for lunch the next day. I leaned over and told her, “Sis, I

give him an 8/10.” She was shocked and looked at me worried. I said,

“You know there is always room for improvement, right?” That made

her relax!

“We’re at MIDAS and I was telling him about some shoes I’m sure

you’d love to have,” Kiki said, bringing me back to the moment.

I laughed. “Please buy them for me as a token of your love.”

She laughed harder. “Girl, get out of here. How are you doing?”

“I’m good, just finished talking to my dad. It was draining as usual.

They are anxious about coming down and not meeting Ben… again,” I

said.

Her voice got louder than it needed to be. “Laila, listen to me well.

Please do whatever must be done to get him to see them. Tie him up

and keep him bound in your condo if you need to. I mean, if it were

up to me, he’d be history by now but since you’re so bent on hanging

on…”

I could hear Timothy’s laughter and I was embarrassed. “Ugh, you

don’t need to let your boyfriend know my business, Kiki! I already

know I’m desperate. No need to announce it.”

Kiki sighed and lowered her voice. “I’m sorry, Laila! It breaks my

heart to hear you talk like that though. You’re not desperate. I think

you need to see how amazing you are then you’d know that a guy

like Ben is not worthy of you. I feel like I’ve done everything I can to

show you that this is not worth it.”

I chuckled. “I know. I know. I need help at this point. But I need God

to send me a word. Show me a sign. Something. Anything to let me

know what to do, you know?”

I knew Kiki was frustrated with me at this point.

“Girl, remember He also gives us choice and it’s our decisions that

determine our experience to a great extent.”

She paused. “I won’t say I told you so but it was obvious from the

beginning. You chose, Laila. You chose to stay there and let Ben

trample over you. Right now, I need you to make the decision to get

out of it.”

I felt the tears drop from my eyes. “Kiki, you’re out,” I said. “I’m sorry.

Call me back when you’re alone.”

“Laila, I am always here for you and I’ll come over tonight, okay?”

Kiki said. “Do you need anything?” she asked.

I suddenly giggled. “Well, it’ll be nice if I get a pair of shoes as a gift.

I’m sure I’ll feel a little better.”

Kiki laughed loudly. “You, my friend, are something else.”

I chuckled through my tears. “Well, you asked. Say hi to Timothy for

me. Bye.”

I hung up before she could respond.

 

LAILA

 

Knock! Knock! Knock!

I opened my eyes and noticed that it was 3 am.

“Who in the world is banging on my door at 3 am in the morning?” I

asked myself as I glanced at my bedside clock.

“Laila! Laila! Laila.” I heard someone screaming my name and

recognized the voice.

“Kiki?” I jumped out of bed, ran down the hallway and swung the

door open.

Sure enough there she was with a wide grin.

“Kiki! What is wrong with you? Why are you yelling out here like an

insane woman at this early hour?” I asked.

She walked past me dragging some bags. “Do you know how long I’ve

been ringing your bell and knocking on this door? I told you I would

come over, didn’t I?” She looked at me confused. “Why in the world

are you dressed like this to sleep?”

I looked at my outfit and realized I was in my fitness clothes

including my trainers.

“I planned on going to the gym but I dozed off,” I answered. “Why are

you so hyper at this time, Kiki?”

“Well, I went home and then remembered that I was supposed to

check on you,” she said as she made her way to the guest room.

“Since it’s Saturday, I decided to just come over and spend the

weekend with you. Yay!”

She stopped midway and did a little dance.

Though I was still grumpy, I had to laugh. I was glad she came. I

needed my best friend. “Thanks, sis. You are simply the best of the

best,” I said as I followed her.

“I know,” Kiki yelled from the bedroom. “Come, let’s talk.”

“Talk about what?” I asked. “Ben and I had a huge fight before I dozed

off. I called him back to apologize and…” She threw the bags on the

bed and spun around.

“What? Laila! That’s enough. I will break up with that loser for you if

you don’t do it yourself. Look at you! You are beautiful, you are

accomplished, and you are phenomenal! Why are you doing this to

yourself?” Kiki looked like she was fuming.

I sat down on the bed, sulking as I took off my trainers.

“Who’d want me again Kiki? There are so many 40-plus single

women out there and many of them became like that because they

let go of what they had.”

Kiki opened one bag and began to pull out her clothes. I could tell she

was frustrated with me. “So tell me, my friend; is it better to be

married and miserable or single and full of life and satisfied and

fulfilled and joyful and just plain enjoying your life?” she asked.

I walked to the mirror and stared at myself. “I would rather be

married, Kiki. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be left out.”

Kiki stood behind me and put her hands on my shoulders. “Laila. You

have to stop looking down on yourself. It’s not healthy. Obviously

Ben really did a bad job with your self-esteem.”

I spun around angrily and raised my voice higher than needed. “How

can someone who doesn’t even know God, help my esteem, Kiki? I

can’t believe it has taken me 7 years to realize some things. How

stupid could I be?”

Kiki took a step back and put both hands up like she was

surrendering. “Okay, first of all, calm down. Secondly, you, my friend

are not stupid. It happens to the best of us. Better late than never,

right?” She held my hands. “Besides, what does our Rev Israel always

say? ‘It doesn’t matter how long you may have been on the wrong

path; what matters is that you make a U-turn and get on the right

path’.” She pulled me close and gave me a hug. “Now it’s time to make

that U-turn.”

I furrowed my eyebrows. “I don’t remember that but then again, I

haven’t really been paying attention in church lately.”

“Or attending! I was told,” She said as she lightly shoved me and

walked towards the closet.

I crossed my arms. “What? Why in the world would they tell you?”

Kiki laughed. “Well Miss Ocheng, everyone’s been looking for you

and asked me.”

I slowly walked to the bed and sat down. “I guess I felt spiritually

drained and embarrassed. Kiki, I really just wanted Ben to change.”

Kiki began to hang some clothes in the closet. “That never happens!

Besides if a person changes because of you, that change is not

genuine or permanent. Come on, you know that!”

I sat there quietly staring at my best friend as she hummed a tune

and put her belongings together. “You always know what to say. I’m

sorry for snapping at you,” I said.

She laughed and waved it off. “No big deal. Your emotions are

everywhere. You’re forgiven but don’t you dare make it a habit, girl.”

I laughed. “Yes, ma’am.” Kiki changed into her pyjamas and playfully

jumped on the bed. I almost fell off!

“You know what I’m thinking Laila?” she said as she leaned on me.

“After you break up with Ben, you need to be single on purpose for a

little while. Get to really know God’s love for you. Get to know

yourself better. Become content just being on your own with God.

You have relied way too much on Mr Benjamin to the point that you

have to have him in your life to feel validated. But you know that is

a big lie.”

I didn’t want to hurriedly accept her words so I dryly said, “you’re

probably right.”

Kiki positioned herself next to me and put her hand on my shoulder,

giving me a side hug. “I’ll tell you one thing; I’m happy you haven’t

slept with him. I don’t know how you’ve done it but I’m glad you

never gave in.”

I smiled. “Yeah me too. Well, the fact that you were always in my

business about it didn’t help either, missy.” Kiki burst out laughing.

“Yeah I was too nosey but it’s paid off, right? Look at you, you’re

intact!” she said as she gave me a standing ovation and sat down.

I rolled my eyes. “Intact? Really, Kiki?”

“Yes, intact. Or would you prefer whole? Undefiled? Unmarked?

Unbroken? Take your pick,” she said as she giggled.

I looked at her in disgust. “Ugh,” I said.

She shoved me lightly. “I’m serious Laila.” Hello! I’m not a virgin,

remember? Do you remember how I was so full of regret and

shame? And how I cried for several weeks back in school?” She

laughed. “You did everything you could to make me feel better but I

literally felt like my life was over. I felt God wanted nothing to do

with me because I messed up.” She chuckled. “It was knowing and

receiving His forgiveness that helped me get over every feeling of

guilt. I guess that’s why I was really determined to help you stay on

track.”

I elbowed her. “How could I forget? It was such a tough time for you.

That’s when you really got serious about God and dragged me along,”

I said laughing. “I remember exactly where we were when

everything changed for you. It was at Bible study, remember?” She

looked at me keenly as I continued. “When Shawn and Linda talked

about the forgiveness of God. They said if we confess our sins, God is

faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all

unrighteousness. They said we literally become brand new.” I

clapped my hands excitedly. “Oh remember they said God is not

interested in condemning us but in correcting us and that He doesn’t

abandon us when we need him the most? I think that’s what got to

you.”

Kiki burst out laughing.

“I’m serious Kiki,” I said. “After that statement, you leaned over and

told me, ‘That was for me, Laila. No more feeling condemned’.” I took

her hand in mine. “I remain thankful for that day, Kiki,” I said.

She looked at me wide-eyed. “Laila Ocheng! You remember all that?

I’m speechless.”

“Of course I do, Kiki. It was a very important time in your life. And

you’re a very important person in my life. I’m glad you’ve been here

to help me through everything. I mean, I know I’m still a work in

progress but you’ve been a great influence.” I smirked. “Frankly, I

think I may have slept with Ben a long time ago if you weren’t such a

busybody.”

“Hey!” She yelled as she shoved me. “If that’s your way of saying

‘thank you’, you’re welcome.”

We smiled at each other and hugged tightly. I stood up and pulled

her up. “Okay enough about my drama. Let’s go get some ice cream

while you give me the scoop on you and Timothy. You guys have

been hanging out so much. This is serious. Go Kiki,” I teased. Kiki

blushed and started to do a little dance as she twirled out of the

bedroom. “Wow, Laila. It has been fantastic. He is just wonderful and

I love the fact that he is all about God; just what I need. Any man

that genuinely loves God will never have a problem loving me freely.

Plus we have both prayed and are convinced this is it.”

“I’m so happy for you, sis. You really deserve it,” I said as I brought

out some bowls and spoons from the dishwasher. “Truth be told, I

used to wonder how you were so happy being single for so long. I

guess all that was preparing you for such a time as this.”

She grinned widely. “You got that right. In fact, I feel like Queen

Esther” she said as she handed me the tub of ice cream.

We both began to laugh uncontrollably.

“So, Queen Esther, what’s the plan now?” I asked as I scooped some

ice cream.

“We’d love to get married soon, Laila,” she said as she sat on the

barstool. “There’s really no point in putting it off. I would be lying if I

say God has not been good to me… to us.” She put a spoonful of ice

cream in her mouth. “I mean, we’re actually talking about so many

things that we naturally would have left until later.”

I could feel her excitement. “I am excited for you. As your chief

bridesmaid, keep me informed,” I said, as I sat down next to her.

Kiki rolled her eyes. “Really? Couldn’t you even wait for me to ask?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Why ask when I already know? Anyway,

this thing about Ben, where do I go from here?” I asked.

Kiki walked over to the living room and sat down on the

sofa. “Listen, Laila,” she said. “I’ve learnt that anytime I feel a

reservation in my heart about anything… or anyone, I need to get

away from that thing or person as fast as I can.” She sighed as she

picked up the remote control. “Sis, you know that word you have

been asking God about? I think it came somewhere in our chitchat

this morning. You, know exactly what to do and I’m praying that you

do it sooner rather than later.”

I remained silent as Kiki flipped through the channels. It’s strange

but I actually felt lighter. Like some heavy load had been lifted off

my shoulders. I thought back on what she said about being single on

purpose. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right.

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