Ebuka walked down the school corridor like a floating mass of colors. He was that student that was the unending fascination of all the other students; the SS2 boy who had shining grades, a good rapport with his mates and even seniors, he was a spectacular striker on the football field. Even though he was a science student, he was one of the best press club reporters in Ekan High School. Whenever he walked across the field, down a corridor or into a class, everyone took an involuntary pause to stare- the ladies in admiration and the guys in envy cloaked with respect. Ebuka enjoyed the attention, he especially enjoyed pretending to not know that he was drawing so much attention.
But something happened last term that Ebuka really hated, an unwelcome discontinuation to his glory. His attention spot was taken by Godiya, the girl who joined their class at the beginning of the session. What made Godiya’s triumph all the more enthralling for others and more rankling for Ebuka was the fact that it was unforeseen. All through the term, the bespectacled girl lurked in the shadows like every other new student. She never contributed in class, she scarcely had friends and she never showed any emotion when she got back her test scripts. No one noticed her but when teachers started marking exam scripts, rumors started swelling. Seniors who were saddled with the task of recording scores were not talking about Ebuka as usual, they were talking about the new girl, Godiya.
Results came and Ebuka emerged second position. He was angry. How dare this new girl that was always bent over her desk in class, steal his spot light? This term, Ebuka was determined to redeem his image. Godiya was a foe. She was female and Hausa; a loathsome foe. But he couldn’t let anyone know how he really felt about her. If he was going to be able to defeat her, he had to study her first and he wouldn’t be able to learn as much as he needed of her, if he stood aloof. He had to pretend to be a friend.
At the beginning of the term, he had congratulated her and said something about how lovely it was to see a northerner who actually took academics seriously. He didn’t miss the chance to throw in a barb, ‘so rare, it’s almost unbelievable.’ Godiya had laughed and then she rattled on about how driven she was, how she was keen on self-discovery. She took liberties to list some of her favorite authors on the subject and some tips from their books. All of it irritated Ebuka. She was a peacock like him. The wave of her ego feathers was clashing against his, but he had to act like he was interested, thrilled even by her silly self-discovery nuggets. He had to suppress his irritation every time he sat with her at the refectory or sat next to her in the assembly hall. He feigned ignorance around her, asking her to teach him something, explain something, work a math problem, to understand her thinking pattern. She might have started suspecting that Ebuka knew more than he was posing to know, because last week when Ebuka asked her to explain a topic in biology, she squinted and said, “Come on, you’re a smart guy. I’m sure you’ll get it if you read it.” Ebuka made a mental note to be more tactful around her.
Ebuka saw two Junior students fighting over a keg of water. He approached them.
“What is going on here?”
“Senior Ebuka, I fetched water in my keg and this thief-”
“I’m not a thief!” The other boy bellowed, angry fists by his side.
“Take it easy. I’m listening.” The selection of new prefects was around the corner and Ebuka had his eyes on the position of the head boy. He really didn’t care about these dumb juniors but the school gave out forms to juniors to get their suggestions on the next set of prefects and so, Ebuka had to smooth ruffled feathers here and there to win their trust and favor.
“Senior, the keg is mine.”
Ebuka raised a hand to stop them, he was tired of their rambling. Just then, Mr. Anthony, the Chemistry teacher passed.
“Good morning, sir.”
“Good morning, Ebuka.”
“What are you doing?”
“Just resolving a little squabble between these boys.”
Mr. Anthony smiled his approval and nodded. Ebuka rejoiced in his heart.
“Get back to your class, you two.” He hadn’t solved their problems, but Mr. Anthony had seen him. That was enough for him.
When Ebuka entered his class, the first thing he took note of was Godiya bent over her desk beside the window.
Cunning girl, he thought. Anyone who didn’t know better would assume that she was sleeping. But Ebuka had studied her enough to know that there would be a book on her laps. What was she reading? Ebuka had to know. He approached her.
She lifted her head. “Ebuka, what’s up?”
Ebuka craned his neck a little to see what was on her laps. He was surprised to see a Bible.
“A Bible?” He chuckled. “whatever happened to self-discovery?”
Godiya smiled. “I’ve come to realize that in seeking God I’ll find who I truly am. My real purpose is only in the hands of the one who made me for his purpose.”
Ebuka sniffed a chuckle and picked the chair in front of Godiya’s desk. Thankfully, Hannah, the owner, wasn’t around. He straddled the chair and leaned his chin on the top of the backrest of the squeaky chair. “Interesting. When did you become a theologian?”
Godiya laughed and shrugged. “I like to be very pragmatic and honest with myself. After reading all those self-help books, which are great in their own right, I realized my yearning for discovering the essence of my existence was still not sated. Last month, a new neighbor moved into the flat downstairs. A pretty lady whose poise made me want to get close to her. I went looking for fashion tips, but Jesus was waiting to save me with his grace.”
“So, you learned this purpose and God thing from your neighbor?”
“Yeah, plus, it’s only logical. If God created us, why seek the essence of our lives outside him?”
Ebuka nodded. He’d always felt a little off balance whenever he thought about the course he wanted to study in the university. People urged him to follow his passion and abilities. But had vague, noncommittal passions for many things. He’d considered Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, going into large scale agriculture and a myriad of other career options, yet he always felt like there had to be something or someone beyond himself that would define the direction and purpose of his life.
“I think you have a point. So, what part of the Bible do I have to read to know my path in life?”
Godiya smiled. “First things first, you need to be born of God. You must be born again. Accepting Jesus is the first step into fulfilling purpose.”
That was how Godiya ministered the gospel to Ebuka and got him saved, right there in their class while they waited for the next teacher to come in. After school that day, Godiya took Ebuka to her neighbor. The lady’s name was Zemaye and Ebuka had to agree with Godiya, the woman was beautiful. She served them fruit juice before she started expounding scriptures to Ebuka on the new creation man and the realities of the believer. Ebuka sponged in her words, realizing only then how parched his soul was. This was refreshing, living water. He looked at Godiya. She smiled at him and in that moment, something gave way in him.
It was at that moment that he started seeing Godiya as someone other than a foe, he observed for the first time how nicely curled her hair was, how her aquiline nose glimmered in the draft of sun rays that filtered into the room from the window. All these were passive assents somewhere in his subconscious, the center stage of his attention was on what Aunty Zemaye was talking about. But the subconscious assent came to fore later that day when Ebuka was in the bathroom, having his regular evening shower. He felt a sudden urge of desire for Godiya. He wanted to see her again, wanted to talk to her. When he got out of the bathroom, he picked his phone and sent her a funny sticker on WhatsApp. While he waited for her response, he savored her profile picture. She was wearing mufti and fancy ear rings, not the regular full stop ear rings she wore to school, she also threw in a little make up. She looked exotic, his interest grew.
They chatted late into the night and picked off where they left off the next day. Over the next few weeks, sparks of emotions and lust were flying at a high rate. Red hot sparks that neither of them was prepared to handle, especially now that they were born again. Both of them had had romantic partners in time past, with whom they did snack dates, snuck bathroom kisses and did the things most of their mates did without any qualms. But now Ebuka and Godiya were sanctified children of light with restless hormones. What were they meant to do? They didn’t know how to bridle their emotions or at what point a bridle was necessary and so they went with the flow.
One day, they were in Zemaye’s living room having a Bible study as usual. Zemaye paused, looked between the two of them and told Godiya to excuse them.
“I want to have a word with Ebuka alone.”
Godiya stood reluctantly, unsure of the cause of the sudden pause. After Godiya left the living room, Zemaye turned to Ebuka.
“I want you to answer me in simple, honest words. Are you into Godiya?”
Ebuka stared, face deadpan. He said nothing.
“How far have you two gone?”
“Please talk. I need to know.”
Ebuka sighed. “I can’t get her out of my mind.”
Zemaye shook her head and stood up. She went to meet Godiya in the kitchen.
“Godiya, you like Ebuka don’t you?” Zemaye didn’t wait for a reply. “I see the way you look at each other. Don’t lie to me.”
Godiya sniffled. “What kind of believer am I? I preached to this guy only to start lusting for him.”
Zemaye sighed and shifted closer to Godiya. “It’s natural to get attracted to a guy at your age, the attraction in itself is not sinful but what determines if it will be sin or not is how you handle it. Listen, God wants you to have control over your emotions by the help of the Holy Spirit, never the other way round.”
Ebuka entered the kitchen. “So, what now? Am I barred from coming here?”
Zemaye turned to him. “I’m not going to reel out a list of dos and don’ts to you but I need the both of you to be accountable and responsible. I will see you individually, moving forward. The proximity between you two is a contributing factor to this whole thing. Like I always tell you, you have been bought with the high price of Jesus’ blood, now you have to honour God with your mind and your body which are God’s. Do I make myself clear?”
Ebuka sighed. “You won’t give us punishment and rain brimstone?”
Zemaye laughed. “Who am I kidding? I was once young. I know how these things are, but I also know that you are not just purposeless teenagers driven by hormones, you are saved and set apart carriers of the Holy Ghost. So let the Holy Spirit, not your emotions be your guide. And please, open up about things like this as quickly as possible. It’s safer for you. This is a delicate and pivotal period in your life. The choices you make now can go a long way to mold and model your future.”
Ebuka and Godiya nodded.
“Now, you have exams to prepare for. Godiya, you home. I’ll see Ebuka off.” Zemaye said, patting Godiya’s shoulder.
A people of purpose must live purposefully.
We don’t just do things because it’s the norm in our society or because it feels like the best fit based on popular opinion, no matter how harmless it seems. If we are living to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, then we must be intentional about taking each step in line with his will.
Kindly share this short story with a teenager. I believe it will be of help to them.