Episode 04 (Final Episode).
“Apply for a US Visa.”
I didn’t even bother telling Chinomso about this dream. Because how do I even begin? Apply for a US Visa? I was expecting a business idea or plan like that of my friend. Why was my case different? Why would God tell me to do something bigger than my imagination? No one in my family has ever gone abroad and besides, I didn’t want a repeat of what happened the other time. I would simply stay in Nigeria and open a uni-sex saloon. Besides I was certain that I would make it.
The dream came again and again, but I ignored it. After all, he once heard that the devil and even the flesh tend to manufacture dreams.
One cool evening in August, Chinomso came for a haircut and he gave me the shocking news.
“God has told me to tell you that you have a small mind. That how can he use you if you cannot think big?”
I turned off the clipper and sat on a wooden stool facing him. I gave a short laugh. “Why will God want to use me? I cannot be a pastor nau! I am a barber and a soon-to-be hairstylist.”
“You don’t have to be a pastor for God to use you. You can be a businessman like me or a career person. He wants to use his children Ekwere. Try to work on your mind because I am sure God is bringing something big your way otherwise he wouldn’t have told me about your small mind.”
I paused and my mind flipped back to the dreams I have been having. “When you talked about something big, I remembered that someone has been telling me to apply for a US Visa. This is the second month since the persistent dreams. I don’t think it is from God.”
He turned sharply in his chair. He was furious.
“Ekwere are you okay? Don’t you know that one of the ways to confirm if God is instructing you is when what he is telling you to do, seems too big or too impossible to achieve humanly speaking? If I were you, I would apply for the visa.”
I rose from the stool. “But you know what happened the last time I went for a visa interview. I was thrown out and almost locked in prison! I can’t afford to go through that phase again.”
“Then it means you have allowed your fear to win!”
I frowned. What did he mean by allowing my fear to win? “If you were in my shoes would you go?”
“Yes! And yes again! I will go as long as God has given me a backing!”
The rest of the bathing was done in silence as he refused to speak with me until I did what I was told to do in my dream.
Finally, I took the bold step that Esther took. If I perish, I perish. I applied for the visa and was told to come for an interview on the second week of the following month.
Fortunately, the day clashed with the day I was supposed to do my freedom from where I learned hairstyling. I went for my freedom first, then went for the Visa interview. It was then that I met a white woman with scanty brown hair. She had thin lips and thin eyebrows. I concluded that she must be wicked. But the reverse was the case when she threw on a smile and the interview went well. I was told to wait for a few hours after which my fate will be decided.
Finally, when I saw the look on the white woman’s face, I realized that something was going on.
“Congratulations Ekwere!” That was all she said before I started dancing.
I couldn’t wait to break the news to Chinomso and his wife but I was scared that what happened in Port Harcourt would happen again. But I still told him. He told me how excited he was. He also me to secure accommodation with one of his friends until I was stable.
I closed my business here in Nigeria and didn’t even tell my elder brother that I was leaving.
We boarded the plane and while we were comfortably seated, awaiting the pilot, a young white lady turned towards me.
“Are you Nigerian?” She asked.
I studied her soft feminine features. Her thick brow, thick pink lips, and completely light-skinned. I glanced at her silky long hair and for some seconds I wished that I could run my long fingers through her black hair to have a feel of it.
“Hello? I asked if you were Nigerian or South American?” She waved her slender hand across my face.
I drifted out of my reverie. “I’m sorry. I am Nigerian why do you ask?”
“Because you do not look too dark like most Africans!”
I became offended. “Not all Africans are dark.” I snapped.
“I don’t mean that- forgive me! I only meant to say that you are light-skinned than most people I have met. For instance, most of my relatives in Nekede are light-skinned! And I find that awesome! Dark-skinned is great too though but I never thought-” she continued.
I was lost in her last statement. What does she mean by relatives? Was she a half-bred like they were mostly called?
“Kedu?” I spoke in full Igbo now.
“Odinma.” She grinned. “I’m half Nigerian, half American. I’m Sara but you can call me Ijeoma.” She laughed.
Now she had my attention and we didn’t waste time bonding throughout the flight period.
Ijeoma gave me her contact address while I gave her my email address since I didn’t have a cell phone number yet. Chinomso’s friend Ebube was waiting for me at the reception.
Then he took me to his home where I stayed for 3 months until I established my unisex saloon.
I was based in New York City and sales were great. Initially, I had thought that I would have experienced racial discrimination but I didn’t. Everyone loved me including the Americans.
Soon, I was able to buy two stores in my name and named them, ‘God’s Best’. If you are indeed
Within a year, I got two other stores in America and got more people working for me. Then God told me to go into real estate which I did. I bought my own house and was able to propose to my white ibo lady Ijeoma.
It was while we were preparing for our wedding that I got a call from an unknown number. It turned out to be my elder brother’s wife.
“My in-law. It’s me your elder brother’s wife.”
I froze! How did she get my number?
“We thank God. I heard you were getting married. And I was like you didn’t tell me.”
I wanted to yell at her but something in my spirit calmed me. “What do you want?”
There was a brief silence.
“The guilt has been eating me up like your brother’s corpse in the mortuary. A few years ago when you told me that you supposed to travel with your boss and all of that. I didn’t want you to go because you were my husband’s younger brother.” Her voice shook.
I shook my head. I was supposed to end the call but somehow, I didn’t. “That was ten years ago. And I want to thank you for stopping me.”
“What? Look Ekwere I’m so sorry. I was just jealous and I wanted your brother to be ahead first then he can lift you not the other way round. You didn’t even come for your brother’s burial or talk about catering for his children.”
I released a small laugh. “You wanted to stop me but thank God you stopped me from having a short life without Jesus. Now I have an abundant and satisfying life. I sent you two million naira for you and the children’s upkeep. I will keep catering for the children from here. But please my one advice for you is, give your life to Christ because in him, are endless possibilities.” I ended the call.
I briefed Chinomso on the night of my bachelor’s eve. It was supposed to be a retreat night between me, God, and Chinomso. That night I presented a house as a gift to Chinomso. And he said,
“It pays to win a soul for Christ.”
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