GOD IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Anike went over the conversation again as she headed towards Ikeja mall where she was meeting Siju. She couldn’t believe nor did she understand any of it.

Amira wasn’t in her league at all, she was better than that girl in all ramification, she fumed. She had not only graduated with a better CGPA but she was also more beautiful.

Amira was just a plain girl who had practically struggled through school. And if any of that did not matter, how about the fact that she had talent and Amira possessed nada? She was a sculptor, and a great one at that, if she could say so herself. The only problem she had with it was how to get people to believe in her art and patronize her more.

So she couldn’t fathom how Amira could have gotten engaged and she had yet to find someone to call her own. The worst of all, as far as she was concerned was that she was also jobless. At least if she had a job, there were chances she could meet someone. But there she was stuck at home while her two best friends – she wasn’t so sure of them any longer – were getting on with their lives.

Anike, Amira and Ejura had been really close through their four years in the university. They had been so close they had been nicknamed, ‘the three musketeers’. Being in the same department had also cemented their friendship. Even after graduating, they had defied all odds and remained friends.

And of the three, Anike was the best academically and physically. That was probably why she couldn’t imagine why their lives were moving along fine while hers remained stagnant. Ejura was working in a media firm, had gotten the job immediately they finished school and six months ago, they had attended her wedding. Amira’s case was even worse in her opinion, the job and engagement had come about the same time.

It was just last month Amira had informed her about the job. And just last night, her boyfriend had treated her to the most romantic dinner before popping the question. Something had to be wrong with her, Anike mused, there was no way her life was moving on a roller-coaster otherwise.

She was so pissed at life. It was totally unfair to her because she knew if there was anybody who deserved a good life, it was her. She was beautiful and intelligent for crying out loud.

She was still in a huff when she sat down opposite Siju at the KFC outlet at the mall. Siju noticed her mood immediately and commented on it.

“Nothing jare, I’m just not in the mood,” Anike answered to Siju’s question. “Amira got engaged last night sef,” she continued in spite of herself.

Siju was a mutual friend; she had been her roommate in school and knew her friends.

“Really,” Siju said with delightful surprise.

“Yes o. I’m happy for her but I don’t understand why it had to be that guy. He doesn’t look good at all, and he stays in a rented two bedroom apartment. I mean who does that these days? Where will they lodge guests? But whatever makes her happy. I just don’t understand why she is rushing to get married. I’m sure Ejura is wishing she is single, she still jumps Danfo all over the place and she is married with a job.”

“When I get married, then it has to be with the best there is, can’t settle for less. I don’t understand why girls these days rush into marriage. I mean she should enjoy the job she just got. I’m happy for her and all and I’m definitely not jealous but the truth is the truth,” she finished with obvious venom even though she tried to conceal it.

Siju gave the expected the ‘hmm’ and ‘oh’ but kept mute throughout the spiteful monologue. Anike was not fooling anyone, she was obviously jealous; it was as transparent as glass. If she didn’t know the kind of person Anike was, maybe she would have been fallen for the ‘I’m happy for her, I’m not jealous of her’ line but she knew better. Knowing better than to feed Anike’s shallowness, she changed the subject seamlessly.

However, seated on the table behind them was Mr. Adejo, a gallery owner, who wondered about the beautiful young lady yapping non-stop and clearly full of envy.

Two weeks later, Mr. Adejo decided to go in search of the sculptor he had heard about, Anike Rahmeen. His curator had told him about her and showed him some of her work and he had been impressed. He had decided to give her art a place in his next exhibition.

Usually errands like this should be handled by his scouts or even the curator but he liked getting a firsthand feel of the artists that showcased their work in his gallery. His secretary had set up the meeting earlier and since he was a man that found formal meetings overrated, they were meeting in Mama Cass. He was talking to her on the phone for easy identification as he entered the building when she waved to call his attention.

Immediately he sighted her, he recognized her as the lady spurting envy few weeks ago at Ikeja mall and he determined at that exact moment that she was the last person he wanted to do business with. As a lover and developer of art, he believed art had feelings and he couldn’t see how such an envious and bitter person could communicate the right feeling he wanted in his gallery.

He would just go over, he decided, have a nice meal and wiggle his way out of having anything to do with her.

Many of us behave just like Anike; shallow and without foresight. We do not realize that if good things are happening to people around us, it only means God has gotten to our neighbourhood. What you should be doing is rejoicing and preparing because you know it is just a matter of time before He gets to your house.

He who laughs lasts actually laughs best, it’s no cliché.

It would do you no good if He gets to you to bless you and instead of finding joy and preparedness; He is greeted with bitterness and guile. How are you preparing for God in your neighbourhood?

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