‘Goodnight daddy, goodnight mummy.’ The children all echoed then went to their rooms.
The next day was Friday. When Mr Cole got to his office, knowing what lay ahead, he bowed his head on his desk and prayed to God. He asked God for grace to cope with whatever ensued as a result of the picture that had leaked. Thankfully, he already had his family’s support. After about an hour of getting to work, he was summoned by the school disciplinary committee.
There was an unexplainable calmness and tranquility he felt. He knocked the door leading to the office and was asked to come in.
The deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) academics, his head of department (HOD) and a third professor were seated. He stood before them fully aware of why he had been summoned.
The DVC academics was the first to speak. ‘Mr Dare Cole, I believe you are aware of why you have been summoned here.’ He opened a file before him without looking at Mr Cole. His glasses rested on the bridge of his nose.
‘Yes sir.’ There was remorse written all over his face.
‘It has come to our knowledge that you were involved in an illicit sexual affair with one of your students, Miss Funmilola Oni. What do you have to say about this?
There was silence. All eyes were on him.
Mr Cole prayed for God to direct his speech. ‘Everything that was said is true sir.’ He started. ‘I’m fully aware that what I did was wrong. I have apologized to Miss Funmilola and everyone that was involved and if given another chance, I promise that it will never happen again. I am a changed man now.’
‘What do you mean by you are a changed man?’ His HOD asked in a harsh tone. His eyebrows furrowed. He was a very strict man.
‘I have given my life to God and asked him to change me. Jesus now lives in me sir. I am not that man that was involved in those acts. I cannot do them anymore.’ Mr Cole told him.
There was silence. The HOD didn’t expect such an answer. He instantly felt uncomfortable in his seat. There was something about what Mr Cole had just said that pierced through his soul. Unknown to everyone that sat in that office, he had been having an affair with his secretary.
After a few more questions, Mr Cole was told that he would be called back later that day for the final verdict.
He left the office and went straight to his office. He thanked God for how things went and hoped for the best. He called his wife and informed her about how things went. She prayed with him briefly and they both agreed in prayers that whatever verdict they’d give, it would end well.
‘Where are you now?’ Mr Cole asked his wife.
‘I briefly want to see Mrs Dedeke, my Sunday school teacher. She has been trying to get through to me but I’ve not had the time to meet with her. So we agreed to meet for some minutes at her place of work.’ She explained to her husband. The past one week had been so blissful for the couple. They now spoke about almost any and everything now. No more skeletons in their cupboards.
‘That’s the woman you said never stopped praying for you and our family right?’
‘Yes o, in fact I’m so grateful to God for that woman. Her prayers really went a long way. I had no idea she was even fasting and meeting with the pastor to pray for us.’
‘Wow, God bless her. I’ll definitely love to meet her when we go to church on Sunday.’ Mr Cole said.
‘I’ll certainly introduce you to her. Anyway, I have to go now. I’ll call you when I get back.’ Mrs Cole was about stepping out of her office.
‘Alright dear, I love you.’
‘I love you too.’ She ended the call and smiled. She loved the passion that now burned between them. It was much more than she had ever experienced. Whatever feelings she shared with Emeka seemed like child’s play compared to it.
She placed a call through to Mrs Dedeke to inform her that she was on her way.
‘Alright sis. Just let me know when you arrive.’ She told her.
‘Will do ma.’ Mrs Cole ended the call.
As she drove into the compound of where Mrs Dedeke worked, she called her to inform her she was around.
‘I’ll join you in a minute.’ Was her response.
Mrs Cole sat in her car, waiting for her. She decided to turn on the radio to listen to what it had to offer while she waited. In the process, her eyes caught a glimpse of her image in the rare view mirror. She noticed a pimple on her forehead and took a closer look. As she did, something caught her attention.
She saw someone that looked familiar pass by. She wasn’t sure she saw right. She checked the side mirror to confirm who she had just seen.
‘Isn’t that Emeka?’ She asked herself as she turned around to see him for herself just in case the mirrors were deceiving her. She followed him with her eyes till he entered his black SUV.
‘Oh Lord, what is Emeka doing here? I thought it was HIV positive patients that come here to receive care?’ She wondered. Her pulse quickened. Reality dawned on her. She wanted to give excuses for him, ‘maybe he just came to see someone’, ‘maybe he is here on behalf of someone’. The more she gave the excuses, the lamer they sounded.
Just as she was battling with the thoughts, she heard a knock on the window of the passenger’s door. She turned to see who it was.
Mrs Dedeke was waving at her.
She alighted from the car and went over to greet her.
‘How is everything mummy Seyi?’ Mrs Dedeke always had that heavenly smile on.
‘Very fine, thank God. I’m sorry I’ve not been able to find time to see you. I told myself that even if it means me coming to see you right inside your office, I must make sure I see you.’ She laughed.
‘I understand. I’m glad to see you like this. You look bright, I can literarily see the glory of God radiating upon your life.’ Mrs Dedeke joined her in laughter.
‘I don’t know how to thank you enough ma. God really used you for us. We are so grateful. Our home was almost burnt down by fire we ourselves started but now, a greater fire burns in our home; the fire of God.’ Mrs Cole was grateful for the change every single member of her home had experienced.
‘We give all glory to God. And by the special grace of God, that fire will not burn out in Jesus name.’
‘Amen.’ Mrs Cole remembered the person she saw. ‘Please I want to ask a question?’ she raised her index finger.
‘Okay? What is it?’ Mrs Dedeke was all ears.
‘I understand that whatever goes on here stays here. I mean, it’s against your ethics to discuss details about patients. But I saw someone who I know and I was wondering why he was here. As if he was here to see someone or is actually a patient.’ Mrs Cole just had to get it off her chest.
‘Well a lot of people come here for different reasons so I can’t say.’ Mrs Dedeke had to be as confidential as possible.
‘Okay, I understand ma. It is well.’ Mrs Cole sighed. She said a silent prayer in her heart, thanking God for delivering her from the claws of the evil one. She was so close to being a prey. If not for God’s divine intervention, she might have contracted HIV.
They wrapped up their conversation and she left.
On her way, she had a leading to call Emeka. She didn’t understand why. It made no sense to her. They had not spoken since she left him in the hotel room that day. He had tried reaching her but she stopped picking his call. She believed that the best way to be totally delivered from him was to cut off. She, therefore, could not explain the leading she was getting to place a call through to him.
She initially resisted the thought but it persisted and she perceived it was the voice of God. She parked her call, brought out her phone from her bag and dialed his number.
He picked on the first ring.
‘Hello Funke.’ There was a harsh tone in his voice.
‘Hi Emeka, good afternoon.’ Mrs Cole wasn’t sure the reason why she called. She hoped that as they spoke, she’ll understand.
‘What do you want from me Funke?’ His voice was raised and much harsher than before.
Mrs Cole was speechless. She didn’t see that coming.
‘Was it not bad enough that you left me in the hotel room, you stopped picking my calls too?’
‘It was not my fault, I…’ she tried to explain herself but was cut short.
‘Funke please spare me the lame excuses. Let this be the last time you ever call me.’ He snapped at her.
‘Emeka why are you talking like this? I did what I did because I realized my wrong and I wanted to make things right.’ She tried to explain herself.
‘Did you say make things right? Make things right my foot. Why didn’t you make things right those many years ago when you destroyed my life and made me fall into the arms of prostitutes? Why didn’t you make things right before I got so loose and contracted HIV? Why Funke? Why?’He fumed.
Mrs Cole couldn’t believe her ears. She was shocked to her bones. Thoughts of guilt and condemnation began to creep in. She almost started blaming herself for all that happened to him when she heard the voice of God again, this time around it was telling her not to allow the devil sow seeds of guilt. She immediately remembered two scriptures. The first that says if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature old things are passed away, behold all things have become new 2 Corinthians 5:17 and the second which says there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1.
‘Emeka I had no idea all these happened to you and I am sincerely sorry but…’
Before she could complete her sentence, he cut her short again. ‘Please keep your apology to yourself. You are just lucky I didn’t succeed in my plan to sleep with you. Fuck off.’ He hung up on her.
Mrs Cole was dumbfounded. He phone fell off her hand, her mouth was left open. She placed her hand on her head. ‘Oh Lord, what if you hadn’t delivered me.’ She wondered. She felt a fresh wave of gratitude to God. She was definitely going to tell her husband when she got home so they could thank God together.
Later that evening, shortly after she got home, her husband also arrived from work.
‘I have been expecting your call? How did it go? What did they say?’ She threw all the questions at him all at once.
A smile broke out on her husband’s face. It went very well. It could have only been God.’
‘Praise God!’ Mrs Cole jumped up. ‘So you don’t get to lose your job. God is faithful.’ She was so happy.
‘He is.’ The smile on his remained but wasn’t commensurate with the news he had just shared. There was something different about it.
His wife noticed something was off, she sat down beside him. ‘You get to keep your job right?’ she asked.
‘I was fired and there is little or no chance that any university will take me not with the history I now have.’ He told her. But his countenance was still on the bright side.
‘Dare I don’t get it.’ She shook her head, confusion was written all over her face. ‘If you lost your job, why are you smiling and sounding as if all is well?’
‘Because God has made me realize that even though I might have lost this job, He has been so merciful to me and given me another chance to do a greater job.’ He told her.
‘What job?’ Mrs Cole wondered.
‘A job I once failed at; being a father and a husband. I am so confident that even though things didn’t go the way we hoped, God will make a way for us. He’ll take care of us, He always does.’
Mr Cole’s words brought so much peace to the storms that were about to start raging in his wife’s heart. She sat back in her chair and smiled. ‘We don’t know what the future holds, but we are confident about the One that holds our future.’
As they sat, and allowed God’s peace fill their heart, Seyi ran into the sitting room with the broadest smile on her face.
‘What is it? What happened?’ Her mother returned the smile.
‘Mummy, Sope just called me to tell me my name and her name were among those shortlisted for post UTME to study law.’ Seyi jumped with excitement.
‘Congratulations my dear.’She hugged her. You’ll do great. I have a feeling God will use you to reach out to Sope and many more in that school with the love of Christ.’
‘Hmmmm I pray so o.’ Seyi clapped her hands.
‘That’s great. God has already started his wonders.’ Her dad said.
‘Yes daddy He has. Thank you Jesus.’ Seyi shouted.
Bimbo and Bayo heard the shouts and came out from their rooms. They didn’t know exactly what was going on but they saw everyone happy and jubilating. They too joined in the celebration.
Thank you for following Burning Coles! I trust you were blessed and ministered to. Please take a little bit of your time to comment and share one thing you learned from this and what you thought of these series.
God bless you
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