Episode One: Who is this AHDU?
The first time he saw her was the evening he arrived Lagos for the annual youth convention. The journey from Ibadan had been unbelievably lengthened by a dense traffic that left him hissing and whining. By the time he got to the camp, the preacher was already about half way through the sermon and this irked Olujimi Demetrius. How many times in the past had he received the accurate word for him from the opening charge? How much had he missed?
He hurried to the auditorium with the bag he packed for the weekend, as he approached the large arch of light the hall was, he could see the spill over crowd seated under canopies as they watched the sermon from screens. He hissed and exhaled. The crowd increased yearly and he wondered if the whole camp would be enough to carry the programme in the coming years. He was annoyed by the fact that he would have to seat outside. What he wanted was a firsthand experience. He hated the fact that the people outside laughed at a joke the pastor cracked 2 seconds after those in the auditorium laughed. If he wanted to watch the programme from a screen, he would have stayed back in Ibadan, lay on his bed and stream the live video on YouTube.
It was while he busied his mind with how to sneak into the main auditorium and stand at the back till the evening session was over, that he felt a hand on his shoulder and the warmth from those neatly trimmed fingers spread over his body.
She was an usher about three inches shorter than him, with a pink scarf of a matching colour to her pearl drop earrings deftly cinched, a black blouse tucked into a black flare skirt that had white embroidery on its fringe and brilliant, liquid eyes. He turned to her and for the next five seconds of silence, Demetrius wasn’t sure of where he was. Yes, she was attractive but how his pulse picked had to be beyond her looks. Come on, fine girls come a dime a dozen these days. How could he feel so drawn to a person he was just seeing? He never believed in love at first sight, he thought it was just ridiculous to see someone and just claim to love them. But there he was.
“This way, sir” Her deep yet feminine voice called him back to the present. She led the way. Did I just taste honey in her voice? How can one even taste voice? How can honey even enter a person’s voice? Deme, get sense o! Deme, je k’ori e pe o! (let your head be correct o)
He followed her, deliberately limiting his eyes to her white red bottoms. He liked the luster of her shoes that made it tether on the brink of silver and that too was weird. He never noticed things like that on a regular day. Deme, get sense! Na God you find come here no be woman! But who says I can’t see God and woman? I can kill two birds with one stone in the Holy Ghost. He smiled, amused by the conversation on in his own head. It could even be God showing me this honey dripping ush- Deme! Get sense! In all thy gettings, get sense!
The lady smiled as she pointed Demetrius to his seat. He tried to control his smile so he wasn’t grinning like an idiot as he mumbled ‘thank you’. He settled and shifted, very aware of the usher’s presence and gaze. What is this, ntori olorun? He didn’t look at her but when she turned around, he knew and it was then he let out his breath which he had been holding without knowing. Now, he could hear the preacher again.
Over the next two days, Demetrius put in efforts to always look good, he brushed his eyebrows and beards when he dressed and he made sure to wipe dust off his shoes as soon as he noticed it, for he knew neither the hour nor the moment he would run into Aunty honey dripping usher. Of course he didn’t admit to himself that he was putting in efforts for her sake at least not until the whole convention was over and everything came back to him as one huge demeaning joke. He didn’t make the mistake of telling his friends, Collins, Dabere and Dare of what happened at the convention, else they would have ‘yabbed’ him till he was sore.
But it was a funny joke. Did he think he had found love? Recalling how he carefully searched out a vast crowd to find a lady whose name he didn’t know made him shake his head. Deme, you really need sense.
The convention was awesome, if the fact that Aunty honey dripping usher disappeared without leaving a trail was left aside. The worship sessions, sermons, bible studies, floor group discussions and alone with God moments were indeed replenishing. Demetrius came expectant and God was true to his word, his righteous expectations were not cut short. One thing God kept hammering for him during the course of the meeting was that he was set to do a new thing in his life, one that shall be obvious to him and everyone around. From Isaiah 43: 18-21, he had misguidedly thought Aunty honey dripping usher was the new thing. Well, it would seem he was wrong.
Demetrius got back to Ibadan and his life continued normally, his job working him to the bone, Friday Sunday school preparatory classes, Wednesday evangelism outreaches and every usual thing except that, Aunty honey dripping usher (AHDU) lingered on his mind. He had been attracted to different ladies at different times, but each time he didn’t feed the emotion, it died a death as natural as its birth. But he hadn’t even seen AHDU the second time, he didn’t know her name, yet she was so strongly etched on his mind, he could still remember her red bottoms, the floral pattern on her scarf, her snowy sclera. It would fade with time.
But it didn’t. When after two months, AHDU remained on his mind, he became worried and decided to present the whole matter to God.
“God it would seem there is more to aunty honey dripping usher o, she’s been on my mind and I feel something undeniable for her. Is this you? Lord guide me to your will. You have promised to lead me with your eyes, so father please help me to be sensitive to your leading. If this is not from you, I’m willing to let it go by your grace. And Lord if it is-” He smiled. “Baba, if it is you, let me know. Bring her my way again. I thank you because as a child of the kingdom of light, I shall not walk in darkness.”
The scripture from Isaiah dropped in his Spirit again and with it came a great peace and knowing that she was the one.
…Behold I do a new thing now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it?…
After jumping and singing to himself, he sat on the bed, panting. “God, na your hand e dey o.. how I go see aunty honey drops again?”
Days mounted and so did weeks, yet Demetrius saw no trace of AHDU, he got pedantic at some point, but he reminded himself to trust in the Lord. He said he would do the new thing, it was the Lord that would do it. So he chose to rest in the Lord and start preparing himself for a relationship. He started reading books, he binged on all eight parts of Michael Todd’s ‘Relationship Goals’ sermon series. When the church organized a singles weekend retreat, he attended with body and heart. If the Lord was ready to send a rain, he would busy himself pending the time the rain came with digging trenches.
And then, three months after the convention, she walked right into his territory, her steps ordered by God, pretty much like Eve’s into the Eden.
That Sunday he sat at the end of his pew closest to the aisle and listened as his church pastor preached a message on ‘The Working of the Holy Spirit in a Believer’. Then, he heard quick taps on the tiled church ground, distracted by the footfalls he turned. The first thing that caught his attention was the pair of white red bottoms. His breath caught. He glanced up, slowly, hopefully. He saw the ankle-length red gown crisscrossed with navy blue and finally he saw the mildly made-up face. It was AHDU!
“Gloorraaay!” He screamed, giggling as though the pastor had dropped a major rhema, meanwhile he only asked the church to open a scripture. Heads turned in Demetrius direction, including AHDU’s, he was embarrassed.
When first timers were being welcomed and asked to introduce themselves, He was glad to hear that AHDU would be joining the church. He stood up from his seat, and went all the way to the last pew column to welcome her with a handshake. He whispered her name to himself, testing it on his tongue.
Cheers to love and a new fiction series. 😁 I hope you get to enjoy and be blessed by this story.
Also, I want to appreciate a major person in my life and writing/ blogging journey whose birthday happens to be today. I love you mum. ❤..
Episode One: Who is this AHDU?