Short story: The sheep’s skin

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I can’t count the number of times I heard the bell ring in the church, but I’ll always believe every Sunday is the same any time I hear that bell. So is this story, one which you probably have heard, experienced or even witnessed.
For the sake of this story, my name will be ‘I and me’ or any other word or phrase that will be referring to me. I wish to keep my name off the story and I wish not to pick a name from the baskets of this world, because if that name happens to be yours, then this story might as well be yours.


I love Tracy Chapman, not for the popular hit baby can I hold you tonight, but for my own hit track cold feet. I laughed at the guy in the song but at end I pitied him. If you owe that track, play it again, you’ll learn something that the guy in the song was just like everyman, walking and working to make a living , all for love and family. But that is not my story. It’s sheep’s skin and not cold feet.
We all have cold feet, especially when we want. For every stage in life comes a certain responsibility. No job, no money means you’d do everything you can to get both, but when the job and money comes, you have graduated from the stage of invisibility to an opaque man. Every light ends where you are, you either absorb or reflect them and doing both is still an option. That is actually when your life has begun. That was actually when my story begun.
Every good story starts from the beginning. My friend once said “every good leader starts from the church, the church is really like Lagos State of Nigeria, Centre of Excellence” everything, Owambe. Where I come from, the church must be your origin or you have chosen to be a nobody. The fate of People, communities are mostly decided in the church, so unless you don’t want to be one of the people taking decisions, you can be out there.
But I saw the church differently, it is a church to me, a place of worship, where I ought to be free to shout, sing and dance to the glory of no man, but God. This is a responsibility that came with being a Christian.
We grew up as children in this, till we are youths, finally waiting to become men through the glorious union of marriage. Now you’ll know why I loved the song cold feet. I’ll consider myself greedy when it comes to choice. I want the best at all times, although I do my best to work for it. This is my newest responsibility, choosing a bride. It looks like the beginning of everything in my life.
I met her in months into the year and that was it. Not that she has not been there all the while, just that I never looked with my heart. A tireless worker in the church, friend of the kitchen, good record as a student and everything else I could remember took her to the range of the best, which was exactly among my favourite things and people to call friends.
We started like a birthday gift, which was sure to come, more like the sun, sure to show my grand mother 12 noon. To me we were sure, perfect and destiny. But what’s our destination?
Christmas, one of the sweetest moments in the world, a moment when we forget that the birthday is for Jesus Christ and not us. The battle for the best gift and good cash became my responsibility, foolishly I never thought of a single gift for the baby Jesus Christ, and my family, all I thought was her, the one that warmed my cold feet.
A complete outfit, if you know what I mean, was my plan. A gown I’ve been admiring, a hand bag that’s big enough to take care of four days travel, pair of shoes and please I won’t talk about the undies and a muffler just in case cold comes. Aren’t that perfect? I haven’t bought it yet, it’s still in my thoughts, just what I’ve planned.
Just weeks to Christmas, a problem came up, it was my problem, mine alone to solve and I needed someone to be there for me, but who did I see, no one. My so called angel was gone, her feeble wings became strong enough to steer her away from me. She had feared the problem will suck away her Christmas gifts and cash and perhaps she had gone to it somewhere else to get them. It wasn’t really the best moments in my life, and instead of cold feet, I now played a song by Gath Brooks that says ‘sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the Man upstairs, just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care, some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”  It wasn’t really an unanswered prayer initially because I fought to get her back despite what she has done.
Now you must know that unknown to her, I’ve bought the gift, solved my problem and was waiting for her to come home like the prodigal son of the bible. She never came, instead she made claims of being busy. Then I realized I was alone.
Sometimes, God’s telling us to stop, but we find reasons to continue. I should have seen it all along, I should have seen that the labels on the smiles and her love were fake. Love’s really blind, or everybody plays the fool sometimes.
There’s sometime else she missed. A ring. Yes, I was going to ask her to marry me on Christmas eve, after making her wear everything that I’ve bought in a new hair style I should have probably paid for. I was going to say these words that I’ve been rehearsing “Honey, this is not just a new day, this is not just a new set of wears, they are witnesses to our love, they’ll show the whole world who you are to me, and to you, they’ll say how beautiful you make my heart.” I was going to pause here, watch her smile before proceeding. But come to think of it, what if she never smiles, or she never likes the stuffs I’ve bought. That’ll never happen, she must smile, she must love them because I always go for the best no matter what it takes.
“And now honey, I bought you something else, a ring, will you marry me”
I never got to say these words, instead when I called her, she said that I could not give her Christmas a meaning. I could have been heartbroken, instead I thanked God for the unanswered prayer. It’s a very long story cut short.
Sheep’s skin is the cheapest clothing among lions, always listen to the voice within to be sure because any time spent with them is wasted time.
Look at me now, I have a gown and other accessories in my wardrobe, a ring in my cupboard. Wish I could tell you my real name, but call me I or me, because I could be you, and I don’t want a bigger lion to come for them.

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