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Faysol Oluwakemi: God Is in the Delay

As the year 2019 came to an end, my girlfriend at the time broke up with me for a reason that felt (and still feels) so triffle. We’d been in the relationship for 7 years and so, when she called it off, it was a huge blow for me. I carried along the pain into 2020 and it almost set the tone for how I’d define the year.

I work as an OAP/MC/Entertainer and I was billed to anchor a friend’s wedding on Boxing Day, 2020. Part of preparations for the event required that I visit the venue of the event in order to plan my strategy for entertaining the guests. The groom and I agreed to meet at Eleyele by 9am and head to the University of Ibadan, the intended venue of the ceremony on the 21st December 2020. On the said date, I waited for the groom’s call. At 11:30am, I called him a couple of times and, eventually, he picked up. From the tone of his voice, it was obvious he was busy. “Ẹ̀gbọ́n Ema bínú mo need láti sort àwọn nkankan ni” (bros pls I’m so sorry, I needed to quickly sort some things). He pleaded that by 12 noon he will leave his location.

With the groom not leaving his location until noon, I decided to wrap up a few things at Ologuneru. I got to Eleyele around 12:35pm and, still, the groom was not around. I had other things to do but I needed to get the venue visit done and over with. I was very displeased by the groom’s failure to meet up with scheduled time for meeting but I waited nonetheless. At 2pm, I checked into the nearby Mosque for the Zhur prayer. The groom eventually called around 2:20pm and we met up. He was with his big brother and together, we all headed to the alumni hall, University of Ibadan, the venue of the wedding.

When we were done checking out the venue, we began to talk about life, just random talks. One of the managers of the hall joined us too. While we were together, a beautiful black slim lady began to head in our direction. She wore a free-flowing gown and her hair was fully covered in a scarf. It was so obvious that she was a Muslim sister. As she got to us, I greeted her: “Salam Alaikum”. She reciprocated the greeting, and continued on her way. When she was walking back, the manager of the event centre called out to her and jokingly said she should greet us very well. She did.

We started asking her questions and introduced ourselves too – that was how I knew her name, Maryam. When she said she was into the fashion business, the men whom we were together joked that I could run adverts for her on radio. That day we exchanged contacts and, in the night, we chatted on WhatsApp. It was during the chat that I got to know that the next day, December 22, was her birthday and she’d actually come for a photo shoot inside UI. As a friend, I wished her a happy birthday on my show which she tuned in to and appreciated. Afterwards, we kept things simple: chats and calls only.

Early on in the friendship, I observed that my new friend was intelligent. Sometimes, in conversations, I will ask some questions or bring up certain conversations just to see how well-rounded she was intellectually and I was very impressed. Her elocution too was dope. Despite my busy schedule, I made the time for us to talk, and know more about each other. I observed, as well, that any time we were on the phone and it was time for prayer, she’d wrap up the conversation and encourage me to go pray too. That religious quality, along with other things, made me start to like Maryam.

In March 2021, her brother was getting married in Ifo Ogun State and so she recommended me to her family as the perfect MC for the wedding reception. I spoke with her mum on the phone for negotiation and I was considerate in the deal, especially when I found out that her mom was a fan and listener of one of my shows. I had a room reserved for me at a hotel but I couldn’t arrive early on the Friday before the wedding. Maryam was worried and wouldn’t stop calling me till I got to the hotel around 11:40pm. She made sure I checked in before she slept that night.

The next day, at the venue of the reception, I was introduced to some of the members of her family including her parents. I did my job and I got the audience entertained. The event made me closer to her family and some of her siblings. When I noticed this friendship is likely to end well, I prayed over it and I sought God’s guidance.

As a single guy, my dilemma was finding a girl who will take me as I am not what I have, I tested her with a whole lot of things and she passed! After like five months of our friendship, I summoned the courage to ask her out. I told her my mind and, to my surprise, she respectfully declined. Her reason? She said she just like me as friend and nothing more. I tried to convince her to give me a chance, maybe she might develop mutual feelings for me. She refused.

Upon her refusal, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I don pass my boundary. We carried on communications but things had, somehow, stiffened between us. The closeness we had before I expressed my feelings had shrunk but we talked nonetheless. After a couple of weeks, I still let her know that I truly loved her and that my intentions were noble and that I’d like to marry her. This time, she told me that she didn’t love me, and that I should drop the idea of me and her being an item and just be content with us as friends. From then on, she bro-zoned me: she began to call me Elegbon àgbà (Big bro) any time we talked or chatted.

With her last direct response, I’d intended to settle for just friendship but the way I felt about her wouldn’t melt away, instead it kept growing. A week to the 2021 Ramadan, I brought up how I felt about her and I told her to also pray and think about it; for me that was going to be the last time I would ever raise the topic with her. She said she’d heard me and that we should leave things the way they were between us and just trust that God would guide us, if ever we would be together.

During that Ramadan period, dating and marrying her was my 3rd prayer point. One morning in the second week of Ramadan, we were chatting and I asked her, “Maryam, how far with the prayers you said you’ll make regarding the matter I’ve been discussing with you?” She went offline for a while and when she came back online, she replied: “OK, let’s give it a try”. That day I was just doing giveaway anyhow cos I was so happy.

After my 7 years relationship that ended in tears, I had made up my mind that the next relationship I find myself won’t be too long and I had the target of a year of both friendship and courtship except if the lucky woman needs some time to round up her education or NYSC. My philosophy aligned with Maryam’s perspective on relationship and marriage, and I was so glad about that – I didn’t let her know this.

December 2021, I carried my family along to do the needful with her family and I was officially introduced. On the 28th May 2022, the dream came true as we got married in the presence of friends and family. I cast my mind back to that day when the 9am meeting didn’t work out till after 2pm. It looked like I was being delayed but God had a plan. Sometimes when you’re delayed in life, you never know what God is planning for you.

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