I leaned against the tree, pensive. My head felt heavy clouded with thoughts.
“Oh God!,why does it have to be Maje?”. I asked God for the umpteenth time.
“Why not Lolade or Thelma?!”.
“Why would God choose Maje to be the woman for me?”
My heart beat rapidly at the mere thought of the proposal. I’m naturally a confident person. I mean I have addressed over a thousand people all at once, holding almost everyone hanging on my every word. Yet in issues like this one. I was everything but confident.
The last time I tried telling a girl I loved how I felt about her, I got a resounding slap. The kind that makes you forget your name.
Ok well, that was way back in secondary school. The memory is actually embarrassing enough.
I just hope I’m not asking for an upgraded version of that at this rate.
Ok, Maje is a good christain. She made up in attractive skin what she lacked in physical beauty. Maje has a very wealthy background, and a super thriving business.
For God’s sake,
 _I’m just a struggling entrepreneur. And I’m supposed to propose to her?!._
I’m not intimidated of course, I just don’t want to be insulted that’s all.
The Holy Spirit is backing me on this one and my best friend and Christian brother Dave is in too. Dave is a Pro at stuffs like these. He made sure to bombard my brain with enough measures on how to act like a Pro.
I’m not a smooth talker like him. I have a habit of saying things as they are, which according to him, women hate.
I played the rehearsed lines in my head, over and over, but it didn’t make the nervousness go away.
I looked up as she drove her Range Rover sports car in. I watched her park in her usual spot.
I stood up, straightened my shirt, and walked towards her car, despite my racing heart.
She had the windows wound up, she seemed occupied with her phone. I tapped the window softly. She turned to me, and opened the car door.
Stepping out, I noticed as her pointed heels gracefully settled on the interlocked floor. It wasn’t the shoes that caught my attention, if not the near flawless skin she had.
_”Could it feel as soft asit looked?”_
Her tiny but distinct voice drew me out of my musing.
“Eben, hi, you are early” she said with a smile.
This is definitely not the first time I’m seeing Maje, but maybe the first time I actually looked at her. That smile so beautiful it seemed to brighten her whole face, I was practically lost in it.
“You said you wanted to talk” she went on , still smiling, and that was my undoing.
The rehearsed lines one after the other, found their escape routes out of my brain, and that left me…well…blank.
“Maje, asides from the fact you have an attractiveness that can make a man look more than twice”.
Those were the first words that found their way out of my mouth, and my voice was surprisingly calm
I could hear Dave’s voice in my head screaming
*”Make sure to maintain eye contact!!”*
And so I found her gaze and held it
“…though not like a physical beauty..”
_”Wait, did I just say that????!!”_ I screamed inwardly.
She raised her brow in question.
“I mean…of course you are not exactly..” I cleared my throat
“Scratch that…” I said quickly, thinking of the best way to rectify my mistake.
“You know you have an attractiveness that…that.. can make a man..look more than twice”
“Are you seriously  repeating that same line”. She asked,
“I already said that? ” I foolishly asked. Her blank stare was answer enough
_”How could I repeat.., Oh, no!”_ I said in my head, feeling terribly embarrassed.
“What I’m trying to say is… I’m  certain you are the  woman God has chosen for me. I’m not after your wealth,neither am I intimidated by it. I think we would make an amazing team. I trust Gods choice for me” I finished at last. My baritone voice sounded confident to my amazement.
Her tone suggested she was bored and unimpressed. I swallowed hard.
“So you like me and want to marry me, that’s it?. I like straightforward guys like you. But you have a clumsy way of expressing your feelings. You sound like God practically flogged you to come to me. Eben, your words haven’t convinced me enough to pray about you. You don’t even seem convinced yourself”.
Her perfect articulation tickled my ears.
“All the same, I can’t promise, but I will try to pray about it”
“Thank you for your time” I managed to say.
I turned quickly towards the church, before I exhaust the little courage I had left.
“What would you like to order Sir?” The waitress asked politely.
“Just a bottle of cold water”.
With a curt nod she left. Thankfully Maje had agreed to meet here. The restaurant isn’t anything fancy, nothing like the exotic restaurants she was accustomed to. All the same the restaurant had exactly what I needed; they served one of the best Jollof rice and medium grilled drumsticks in town. Maje’s favorite. Plus such a serene environment.
The waitress returned,
“Don’t forget what I told you when I came in”.
“No problem sir”, She said, nodding in understanding.
I drank some of the water, the chilled content cascading down my stomach. The events of the past months filled my thoughts as I reclined in my seat. Starting from the day after I proposed to Maje,…emmm…scratch that… I can’t exactly call that a proposal.
Anyway the day after that, I told Dave about how it went, and he couldnt stop laughing, whatever was left of my ego just deflated. A week later, with a bruised ego, I told Dave I was done with the whole thing. Interestingly, Dave was having none of that.
 The memory of our argument played, still very fresh.
 “What do you mean by you are giving up?!” Dave said in an angry tone
“I’m done with this whole thing, what else can it mean?!” I replied in a matching tone.
“Is this some kind of joke?!, have you forgotten so soon how many times you heard God and the confirmations from me and Pastor Dennis!!!” He said, raising his voice.
“She’s probably not the woman for me, I must have heard God wrong!!” I replied angry at his annoying persistence.
 “Look, her wealth aside, Maje joined our church some years, shes not a stranger. She’s a woman of God, I mean a woman on fire for God with heart of gold. She’s intelligent, prudent, passionate about her vision,which is in line with your vision.!!!” He said glaring at me.
 “Is it my fault she doesn’t like me?!”, I shot back.
 “Is it her fault you didn’t give her a reason to?!” He blasted.
Hit by the force of his brutal but accurate honesty, I shot him a pointed look, enough to shut him up. He didn’t.
“God is giving you such a priceless gift, and you are just going to toss it away carelessly!”
“If its from God, why do I have to make too much effort!!” I shouted angrily.
“Oh yea!, its a two way thing bruv!, God has played His, you had better play yours and stop letting your ego dictate for you?!”.
“This has nothing to do with my ego!!” I said walking out angrily, but knowing fully well I was lying to myself.
Desperate for an ally, i needed someone to tell me what i wanted to hear. That Maje was not the woman for me. I had told my mentor to pray about Maje, but he was out of the country. He had sent a mail, i finally had time to access it. I could trust whatever it is he had to say. He is a spiritually thorough person, and so I was guessing he would kick against this whole Maje issue.
Hope rising, I clicked on the mail, and read it.
“Hello Eben, how are you. I prayed, and even fasted, regarding the issue of the sister you told me about. Maje.  I am beyond convinced God has chosen her for you. Nevertheless, I still suggest you hear from God yourself. Pls take care.”
_”Unbelievable!!”_, I screamed inwardly!,ever since I decided to stay off Maje’s case, first the Holy spirit seized my peace. Second, Dave wanted to let all hell loose!, and my mentor, was all in too!!!. I rested my head on the desk, sighing in frustration.
 I knew I heard God right about Maje, but her rejection had wounded my pride, coupled with the fact that I was clueless about how to approach her again.
 I swallowed my pride and asked Dave to help me again. And like the pro that he is, he put me through. He taught me to play my own part too.
I studied Maje, her passion for child evangelism, which was my vision too. I remember during one of  the church child evangelism outreaches. Our target was a small village, the children looked dirty, rough, everything unpleasant. Maje had carried one of them so excitingly. Despite her lovely dress clearly stained, she didn’t even care, instead she played with the child.
The child grinning from ear to ear. The lenses of my mind focused, my soul took a snapshot that automatically saved into my heart. We effortlessly evangelized that day, because she had won them over with love. She has magnetising attributes.
She is kind, thoughtful, hard working, humble, she even has an active sense of humour. I found out she didn’t depend on her parent’s wealth to succeed. She put in so much hard work, and resilience to make a name for herself.
I then realized Dave was right, and God was beyond right. Maje is a gift, she is every bit my own woman, and I was foolishly going to let fear and ego lead. I had found out what she loved from her favorite color to food, to hobbies. We had spoken over the phone a few times, though it appears I was just”a friend”, she was almost totally disregarding my…..well….”proposal”.
I took some more water to seemingly calm my nerves, I had to admit, a bit of nervousness tugged at my heart.
The restaurant door opened, I looked up, she had  arrived on time. Not a second earlier, not a second later. My heart beat faster.
Our table at the far end of the restaurant, gave me the advantage of watching her without her even knowing. And I did.
She wore a lovely red dress, it was casual, but it had a distinct touch of class. Maje might not be a head turning beauty, but she had an aura that commanded attention. She wore dresses with colours that complimented her skin seamlessly. Making her skin all the more alluring.
She spotted me quickly, and smiled, my heart doubled its pace,
_”Oh my God, guy calm down, its just a smile”_, I screamed inwardly.
She pulled a seat
” I’m sorry I’m late” she said smiling so sweetly, all the more magnetizing me.
_”Late?, I thought she was on time.  Am I already losing it?, what sort of effect is she having  on me dear Lord”_ I asked myself,
“You must have been caught up with work”, I said regaining composure.
 “Yes yes, sorry”.
“Would you like to order now? “
“My stomach thinks so”, she said and I smiled.
I saw the waitress from my peripheral vision and so I nodded in her direction, she got the message. Maje and I went on with small talk. The waitress came as planned, with our dishes. I could see the surprise flicker on Maje’s  face as she looked at the what dish it was. She looked at me in question, with the  “how did you know?!” look
She took the first spoon, I was waiting, almost staring, hoping she would be satisfied with it. She chewed, savouring the taste.
“Oh my, this is delicious!”, she said after a few spoons. I exhaled softly in relief.
“Like this is really good”, she said carefully cutting into the grilled drumsticks.
 I took a few spoons myself, but I knew I had to say what was in my mind, before it consumed me.
“Maje, let me tell you a little about me”, her expression showed interest.
 “I’m a child evangelist, I love God, I believe in hard work and determination, I’m the second son, I have five brothers. I’m a fashion designer and I have my own growing business”. She listened with rapt attention, boosting my confidence.
Dave’s words popped in my head, “pour out your heart, don’t hold back, just be yourself unlimited”. And i resolved to do just that,
“Maje, yes God chose you for me, and Honestly God couldn’t have chosen better. You caught my attention you are still  holding it. I don’t know the right words, or the perfect lines”.
She had beautiful big eyeballs, so focused on me they seem to draw me in. I knew I was falling fast. I hurriedly said the next words before her presence finally mesmerizes me.
 “Actually, no perfect line can describe what I feel about you. I can’t even put in words the leaping of my heart when I think about the possibility of spending forever with a vision carrier like you. I can’t wait to wake up with you, make your smile everyday..”, she tore her gaze from mine, my heart soared.
I was hitting the wall. I pushed harder, baring my heart.
“I don’t have all the money in the world, but I’m willing to work hard to take care of you. If you reject me a thousand times, I’m ready to chase you a million times more, I’m not planning to let you go Maje”, she finally found my gaze again, oh my, a  heart melting gaze.
“Marry me Maje” I said with such tenderness, that caught me off guard.
We held each other’s gazes. Suddenly she burst into laughter. The sound was melodious, yet I couldn’t enjoy it, why exactly was she laughing, I questioned myself. Was I blabbing all the while. Then she began to clap softly, I’m confused!, I screamed to myself, watching her drama.
She leaned forward, her faces inches from mine,  I couldn’t think straight.
 “Eben, way back, before you even came to me, I had prayed about a life partner. God chose you for me. I knew. Countless confirmations, but I wanted you  come to me first, I wanted you to find me. I told God to make you willing to chase me, and He did. I dont want a man coming to me because he was obligated to marry me. I want a man that’s willing to actually want to be with me. You just proved that, Eben. And yes, I would marry you”. She said flashing me the brightest smile, my head felt light.
I slowly processed everything . I felt exhilarated, overwhelmed, excited, blown away all at once.
“You would marry me Maje?!” I asked, wanting to hear her say it again, to be sure I was not imagining things.
“Yes yes, yes” she said excited.
“You are amazing Eben, you are man of God, with confidence”, she said beaming.
“You just made me the happiest man on planet earth”, I said finally finding my voice amidst the emotions swirling in me. In contrast to my calm smile, my insides were screaming
_*”I MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”*_

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