The First Date

(Hey. So this is the first ever “short” story I’ve published here… I’d really appreciate your feedback on it, thanks x. -S)      

He smiled at her. She smiled back, and wished she could calm her racing heart. She’d been waiting for this moment all semester.

He was Ivan Fiifi Deviens, this boy she’d been crushing on since he passed by her in the Chemistry class they shared. He wasn’t classically handsome, and he wore glasses that gave him a slightly nerdy vibe, but he had this really cute dimple that flashed when he smiled,  which was often, full pink lips surrounded by dark curly hair he couldn’t seem to tame by shaving, six-foot height and a lean frame with a whipcord grace that fairly had her drooling. His hair was bushy and often messy because he tended to run his hands through it, but the overall effect was more endearing than annoying – at least to her. And that’s saying a lot, because Ewuradwoa Clarke was the type of girl who ditched boys for reasons as shallow as using shorthand during texts.

For him, he’d wanted to talk to her all semester. But how could he when she was so darned intimidating? You could smell the money all over her as she walked in to a place. And goodness, she wasn’t just beautiful. She took his breath away. She was petite, with the curves of a goddess, skin the colour of creamy Cadbury’s chocolate, teeth so white they made fresh snow look dirty and hair that his fingers itched to caress every time he saw it because of how soft it looked. Tie all that together with the intelligent questions she asked in Chem class and answers she provided, and you had a girl who was waaaay out of his league, Ivan was sure. So he was more than a little surprised when one day, she came up to him after class and said, “Hi, my name’s Carlene Ewuradwoa Clarke but my friends call me Raj. What’s yours?”

Mr. Smooth that he was, the best he could do was sputter out, “Oh, errrm… my name is Ivan and my friends call me Ivy for short.” He could have slapped himself. Why would his neurons embarrass him like that? “Cute. But I think I prefer Van instead”, she responded with a teasing smile. He smiled back at her and said, “Whatever rocks your boat, princess.” And that was how, to Ivan and Ivan alone, Ewuradwoa Clarke became “Princess.” Even though she protested outwardly, it gave her a certain frisson of delight every time he whispered “Hey, Princess” to her the very next day, which is where our story starts from.

“So, ummm, I was wondering… what’s your Saturday look like?” “I don’t know… I’ll probably go home or something. Is there anything I could do for you?” Ivan swallowed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, actually. There’s this Ebo Whyte play at the National Theater this weekend, and I was wondering if you’d like to attend. Saturday at 4p.m I have an extra ticket and I thought maybe you’d like to come along…” his mouth burbled on like he was cursed with some kind of verbal diarrhea while he mentally willed her to say yes.

Raj was elated. Finally, he’d asked her out! But being Raj, she just smiled and said, “I’ll think about it and let you know the next time I see you.” She giggled inside as she saw his face fall and make a valiant attempt at recovery. “Oh okay, sure, cool, great. Uh… gotta go. I have a Physics class and that lecturer gets really wild when you’re late…” He’d begun to beat a hasty retreat. “Wait!” she called out. “Don’t you want my number?” ”Who says I don’t already have it?” Now it was his turn to laugh as her jaw fell slack in an O-shape. He raised two fingers to her in a mock salute and walked – well, really, swaggered off to his Physics class.

The next time he saw her was Thursday, the day of the Chemistry practical class. For some weird reason, that day they were both assigned to the same group. He didn’t bring it up during the titration. Neither did she. He didn’t bring up the date during the washing up of the glassware and post-practical clean up. Neither did she. He didn’t bring it up while the group did their laboratory report, or while it was being presented. Neither did she. By this time, he had concluded that she had either totally forgotten or she just wasn’t interested.

For Raj, she was more excited about the date than she let on. So it was with a grin that she tapped Ivan on the shoulder as he was packing his books to leave and said, “Hey, Van?” “Yeah?” he replied without looking at her. “I’d be more than delighted to go with you to the play on Saturday.” He turned so sharply that it was a miracle he didn’t get whiplash. ‘You would?’ “Yep. Totally. So when should we meet up?” “I’ll text you the details” he said with a smile so wide it could have split his face in two.

Saturday dawned fair and clear. Ewuradwoa started preparing as early as 1p.m. for the date. After much discussion with her roommate (and best friend since like forever), Chelsie, she settled on a taupe round-necked blouse with three layers of fluted sleeves starting from the elbow and ending almost at the wrist, which she paired with a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and three-inch-high strappy nude brown stilettos. For her  hair, she just parted her long jet black weave to the side, blow-dried it till it was stick straight and brushed it till it shone brighter than a diamond. A touch of light make up and our girl Raj was more than ready to take over the world.

At 3:00pm, the arranged pick up time, there came a knock at the door as Raj was slipping diamond studs into her earlobes. “Come in,” she yelled. There stood Ivan, in a dark blue shirt rolled up to show his strong, hairy forearms and blue jeans that hugged his fit looking lower body. He’d also trimmed his hair, fading the sides in a look that made him look a little roguish but definitely suited him. He’d traded his wire-rimmed glasses for a pair with dark purple handles that looked infinitely nicer than the previous. In short, he looked really, really good.

“Ready to go?” he asked with a smile. She could only nod a yes as she grabbed her handbag, a large one in statement tangerine.  “By the way, Princess…” “Yeah?” she squeaked. “You look extremely pretty. But then again, I think that whenever I see you,” he admitted shyly. “Thank you, Van. You look good too.” By this time they’d reached Ivan’s car, a silver Honda. He opened the door and she sat in.

“What would you like to listen to, Miss Clarke? The news, music, jazz, classical alternative rock…” ”Anything you want chale.” The mellow sounds of Paapa hMensa’s music soon filled the car as Ivan expertly navigated Accra’s busy streets and in no time they were at the National Theater.

He took her hand and led her into the theater after showing their tickets at the door. However when they were seated, he refused to let go of her hand, gently stroking her fingers and her palm alternately. It made her mouth go dry and her heart felt like it was going to burst out of her chest, but before she could complain (like she even would have!), the play had started.

The first time he heard Raj laugh, he felt his heart constrict as though in pain. This girl laughed like a snorting hippo, but to him it was the sweetest sound he’d ever heard, second only to the sound the rice cooker makes when the rice was done boiling. And by the time Ewuradwoa had leaned her head against his shoulder, he was in heaven. He didn’t want the play to ever end and if only he could have her in this position by him forever he’d be content to die…

But end the play did and they had to leave. It would have been an understatement to say he’d enjoyed himself. The play was top-notch, as Ebo Whyte plays usually were, and the cherry on top was the privilege of having Ewuradjoa there with him. For Raj, she was virtually walking on air as they moved back to Ian’s car. Time seemed to speed pass as they chattered on excitedly about the play on their way back until finally they were back at Ewuradjoa’s door.

“Thanks so much for inviting me to the play, Ivan. I had fun tonight. ”Thanks too for coming. I really enjoyed having you around. Goodnight then,” he responded, backing away toward the corridor. “Uhm… Ivan? C’mere.” She tiptoed, caressed his cheek as she turned it toward her and planted a butterfly soft kiss on it. He drew back, stunned as she whispered “Goodnight” and shut her door, where, safely in her room, she shrieked in pure joy and prepared to update Chelsie on everything that had happened.

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People Call Me Crazy…

I see you withdraw, with pity and disgust in your eyes as you behold the tattered rags on my body and hair that has not seen a comb since before the time of John the Baptist; I was not advancing the kingdom but I was violent and  definitely taking things by force.

You could call me Strep pyogenes because my life is gray and I’m in chains,

Held in bondage for which there is no obvious liberation for me; shouting “Freedom, freedom” is just a way to “Shatta” the silence around me and add to the cacophony of loud voices echoing off the walls of my cranium; and those voices were many, for my name was Legion.

The only way out for me is death- and don’t you think I’ve tried? I wanted to die so badly I lived in tombs – trying to befriend the dead so that they would put in a good word for me with their new Lord?

Lord. It had somehow managed to enter my cochlea that there was a new kid on the block who was doing wonders. Would He be able to fix me in my brokenness? Would He be willing to be associated with me in my imperfections?

Would He be my only shot at any attempts of sanity?

I saw Him approach; and bolted toward Him – just call me Usain. I lay at his feet as He commanded the demons that held me bound to leave me. And as they left me, I felt peace like a river wash over my soul from the crown of my head down to the sole of my foot.

People still call me crazy. But these days it’s for a good reason. I can’t keep still; can’t stop talking about my Lord; can’t stop praising because I know where I was before he came to save me. I was lonely; He called me friend; I was naked; He clothed me with garments of praise and anointed my head with oil.

He put a new song in my mouth; a song of praise to my God; many will see it and not fear, and put their trust in Him!

 

-Sarabelle

LIGHT!

City on a hill, just how bright is your light? Is it shining bright like a diamond or it is the perfect advertisement for ECG when they’re at that intermediate place between completely taking their light and leaving it for you?

City on a hill, you’re there posting pictures on the ‘gram about how lit your life it; if we took that literally we’d end up stumbling on the pathway called life and injuring the tendocalcaneus, impairing our ability to be upright in more ways than one.

Light is interesting. We know from elementary physics that it can exist as a wave and a particle. In wave form, it flows everywhere. It is the biggest boss known to man; as soon as it enters, it doesn’t say anything. Darkness flees like the coward it is and the light takes over the place like it was born to do. It exposes flaws we didn’t know existed, flaws the darkness sat on to make us think we were perfect, pathologies secondary to our sinful natures that we can prescribe the Balm of Gilead for. From a spiritual perspective we could argue a new theory for the particle nature of light, as it breaks chains, heals the sick… takes away burdens. It’s not for nothing that the opposite of heavy is what? “Light!”

In all this, we are reflections of the Son of God, the ultimate light. See how obvious it is in His name, he is the “Sun” of God, but even the Sun pales when He appears in His glory. Species reproduce after their own kind – so as He is so must we be. The world must see us shine for His glory, so that all the necrosis and suffering taking place can undergo  healing by regeneration, it’ll take a generation dedicated to God to fulfill this commission and that must be our primary intention, fixed in our minds by firm retention, to release the tension in the ropes of those in spiritual incarceration… this is our calling!

So city on a hill, how bright is your light? Does it draw men to it like a magnet or it repels them like like poles? Even as you aim your iPhone X at your lovely face looking for the perfect angle to be sun-kissed aim at being Son-kissed and letting the whole world know, without a shadow of a doubt!

-Sarabelle

Do You Know (What You Do To Me?)

Do you know what you do to me?

You’re not velocity but there you are, causing acceleration in my heart as time passes

You’re ubiquitous, all over the place, always in my space, but never really addressing me

It’s like we’re in this cosmic chess game, but it’s forever my turn and I really don’t know what move to make – “Wait”, that’s so “Awkward”.

Do I go in all hard, guns blazing? They’re asking me to shoot my shot, but it’s like Russian roulette: that one shot just might break my heart.

Do you know what you do to me? I really wonder.

As I’m here writing this, you’re probably asleep, and what are the odds that I’m a poltergeist walking your dreams?

Maybe one of these days, we’ll talk

but till that happens, I’ll keep shouting into the void until I gather the balls to come tell you how I really feel

Then again, 

baby,

Don’t hold your breath, ‘cos I’m female.
-Sarabelle

Love: Alone No More

(This piece was written with Phinehas Osei, on the occasion of the wedding of a couple who were once CCF members.)

Two are better than one;

Because they have a good reward for their labour.

For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:

But woe to him that is alone when he falleth;

For he hath not another to help him up.

Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:

But how can one be warm alone?

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him;

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

And they lived happily ever after.

Except, we are not told – when Snow White rides off into the sunset with Prince Charming, happily ever was Prince Charming leaving his shoes and his shirt lying around wherever he removed them. We don’t get to read that sometimes Cinderella burns the food. That Rapunzel and her Prince fought so hard to make their love work.

Because love, it is more than a series of happy idyll moments like a commercial – because those moments may be as transient as that same 30 sec commercial. Or whispered sweet nothings into your ear that leave you dissolving like sugar in water, honey, because talk is cheap.

Love runs deeper than that.

It may be represented in smelling his morning breath and not flinching away when he leans over to kiss you; not being repulsed when her hair and makeup are all over the place like a politician seeking re-election. There is an element of love in still calling her your beauty queen when extra paddings of fat begin to blur the edges of what were once sleek, smooth curves after one trip to the labour ward. Love is found in him still being your Prince Charming when his hairline begins to recede like the Red Sea moving at Moses’ command.

Love? It is the man who imagines slipping his arms around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and letting her know he couldn’t love her more. Because true love sees greying and sagging as the deepening of something sacred and beautiful.

But you see, we would leave the equation incomplete if we walked away without talking about the one who is in himself the definition of love. For what is all this if it isn’t a shadow of unfeigned love? Solomon said true love is as strong as death. Well I say true love is stronger than death. Because I have come to know true love represented by Prince Charming rushing in to rescue the Princess from the wicked witch was only a pointer to the one true Prince who rushed in to save us from the hand of the wicked bond master. So sometimes true love might look like sacrifices and forgiveness, like a weary, battered man carrying a cross up skull hill. Love is the God-Man hanging on a tree just by iron nails driven straight through the veins of the one who choreographs the lines of stars. We would come to realize love, and we would know it; as God’s back is rubbed raw by the bark of a tree, his heart ripped open by the snarl of the crowds, as the creator bleeds the resurrection of his creation.

Don’t get me wrong – there’d be butterflies. There would be candle-lit dinners. There’d still be moments when you’d be content to stare into each other’s eyes and let the silence do the talking – for words would be woefully inadequate to convey your love and appreciation for each other.

But on the days when there is burnt food and he is almost unlovable, please remember that the deal isn’t really about falling in love, as much as it is about committing to love.

You are alone no more. They say if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. I mean, go-to-get-her! You found her. And as you start this journey of life together, we wish you the very best, asking that the Lord himself unfolds the story of your life to the glory of his name.

Today you marry your best friend. The two of you become one. May the journey ahead bring you the very best of God’s goodness and faithfulness. You are alone no more.

 

-Sarabelle x Phinehas

Breaking Up With EDD

Dear Edd,

You’re the most amazing guy I’ve ever met, the perfect definition of romance. You’re sweet and funny and kind and you listen to me no matter what. You have my back so much that you put my vertebrae to shame and you’re on my mind so much that I may have to change my name from Sarabelle to Cerebellum. When I’m with You, my heart becomes highly perfused and my face is always lit with smiles.

But Edd,

I can’t do this with you anymore. And I’m sorry that I have to give you the classic line about “It’s not you it’s me” but it really applies here. Because you see, Edd, I am possibly the worst girl for You to have chosen to fall in love with. I hurt You so much on a regular basis that I’m surprised that you haven’t thrown sulphuric acid at me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cheated on You and seen the pain in Your eyes. They say men don’t cry, but Edd, I’ve seen you weep so many times that your tears could easily bring an end to dumsor yes it’s that shocking.

Edd, please don’t even try to convince me otherwise. I’m really sorry, Edd, but this is for the best.

So yeah, I let Edd go. And He left a huge, gaping hole deep in my mediastinum. I became full of emptiness and pain became my daily bread. After hurting Edd so much I was determined to let the world see that I was fine without him, little realizing that the fine I was paying for His absence was just not worth it.

At a point lactate began to build up in my tissues and I got fatigued – call it anaerobic glycolysis because Edd was the air I breathed. So I decided to call a halt to this whole strike because lightning would have shown how dark my life was.  And so, I swallowed my pride, even though I risked having it lodge in my piriform recess… and placed a call to Edd. The funny thing was He’d never left! He was there all along, waiting for me to come back to His arms. Edd reminded me of a promise we’d made when we started dating that He would never leave me nor forsake me, and that He’d love me till the end of time. He held me close to him and gently whispered reassuring somethings not sweet nothings to me, reminded me of how much of a queen I am to him.

Like I said at the beginning, Edd, you’re amazing. You’re sweet and funny and I will not let my insecurities get in the way of what we have. And as time runs forward, I become certain that nothing can come in the way of what we have. No scissors are sharp enough to cut between us, because this time, what we have is built on the Rock.

I love You so very much, Esprit de Dieu.

Always,

-Sarabelle

 

 

 

Teleiotes, the One who Finishes

(Teleiotes is a Greek word that means “finisher”.)

It’s appropriate that Jesus is called Teleiotes, the finisher. After all, He was a carpenter. But this kind of finishing is more important than varnish because even that will vanish with time. When the trappings of this life and all its sorrows are done, what will begin to count, like a child in KG, is how you finished and what you finished with. Because that is what will be weighed in spiritual KGs when it’s all said and done.

Jesus may not have worked for Food and Drugs Board but He is the standard. He stood taller than Everest, and we can for ever rest in His finished work. But see, He finished well because He didn’t left life’s distractions spring on Him and catch Him by surprise. No, He was prepared like a dish of stew, but this time ready to conquer rather than be conquered.

You say He was God, and so He must have had it easier. Jesus was every inch man. He had desires. Testosterone pumping in His veins, and puberty during his lifetime. He may have had feelings for a beautiful Jewish girl with warm brown eyes and long silky black hair. Yet in all these things, like a concave mirror He had only one focal point: to be the light so that one day, multiple images of Him would be formed on the principal axis of life.

Jesus knew where He was headed, and every part of His body was involved in this race set before Him that was more complex than a four set Venn diagram. Day by day He was reduced slowly to nothing even as oxidation took place in His cells: chained to His destiny like a prisoner in His cell. He kept His eyes on the prize. Suffered a humiliating death. And at three pm on Good Friday, He could confidently say, “It is finished.”

Life is a race. And Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, yes, but also our fate, is the one who set the pace. He did it, before us, and was successful. And we have an additional benefit to His suffering: He sits at the right hand of God the Father, interceding on our behalf daily. So it’s time to stop the ADIDAS life, because ADIDAS is no life at all. Instead try to be an All-Star in this race before as you go through the Converse seasons of life. Finish strong!

-Sarabelle

For Leaving’s Sake

(This piece was written with Phinehas Nana Osei, on occasion of our leaving Campus Christian Family, our church on campus.)

 

We may all be believers but this year not all of us will be leavers, believe us!

This is for us, a goodbye. But I ask you, what’s good about a bye when I won’t be by you? Why sing a swansong when you know that it’s your last? Why not cut out your vocal cords instead, symbolic of the cords that break in the parting of our physical presence?

This is the beginning of the end… or an end of the beginning. The birth of a new era, thrust out of the comfort of this place, into a cold, unfeeling world. The world has no welcome for those who don’t want to play by its rules; if you refuse to stand by its standards, you’ll sit in strange situations

Fare thee well you say. Well life isn’t fair! If I had my way I’d stay. Man must move and pick, Movenpick that which is necessary for his purpose to be accomplished. To become that golden vessel that only kings may sip from, you will have to be battered into shape, and it will not feel like butter sliding smoothly over your body, no, try rocks thrown at the very center of your being.

It’s time to walk out and put into practice the theory of four years.For four years I’ve been playing this concert in the solitude of my prayer closet, for four years I’ve been fine tuning the sound controls of this with Technical, reading about it via Library and now I’m here. But I step out knowing that with God beside me and His arms beneath me, I’ll walk on water and not sink, drink poison and not die, step on snakes and not be hurt. For every step of mine is ordered as though life itself was a restaurant and God is a chief waiter. And they that wait on Him…

Shall renew their strength! So now it’s time. Time to say Goodbye. So long, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu. We leave you to God. Till we meet again. Godspeed.

-Sarabelle x Phinehas

Blood Agar on a Good Friday

(Blood agar is a growth medium used for culturing bacteria.)
Dear ladies,
 Jesus wasn’t the kinda guy that you would stop in the street to stare at twice. He wasn’t the kind of guy that you would nudge your bestie and say, “Ooh he’s fine!” because He wasn’t.

    And men’s wing, 

    Before you judge the ladies for being shallow, if you had met Jesus at the men’s swings of life’s playground, you would have shunned Him. Because He wasn’t a daddy’s boy but He was always talking about His Father’s business. 

    Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. The codons of His life would have read “start codon-GUG-TAG-AUC-stop codon” :Grief Upon Grief To Appease God As Ur Cost -the price we could never have paid.

    You know how James Bond is double-oh-seven and never seems to die? Well, Jesus God lived for double-three-three years and in the end He did “dye”, even though He didn’t work for Woodin, on a wooden cross. For me. For u,v, w, x, y all the way to z. But I digress.

    You see, on Good Friday, Pontius Pilate should have just stuck to eating pie late. Funny enough he did not eat that pie, but he washed his hands-off of Jesus’ blood. He had Him whipped-by His stripes we are healed. But the world musta thought we were talking about a zebra crossing because it walks all over Jesus’ sacrifice, His blood that ran rich red a river of redemption for wrongful sinners.

    Blood agar on a Good Friday, was Jesus petrified? Did He feel fear as His death drew near, like dy/dx approaches infinity? 

    So Brit Spears may not have been at this “show”down to eternity, but the Roman soldiers were, and they sure knew how to use their spears. They pierced His side-blood and water gushed out, out of His belly rivers of living water.

    The sun set at three-the second of the Trinity breathed his last-it was finished.

    Led to the slaughter like a sheep, His blood was shed for me. Richer than any blood agar Microbiology could use to culture Staphylococcus aureus, His death has transcended culture, and time, and place and still is relevant today.

    For in death we see life, to quote Anatomy. In Jesus’ death is there full life, for He rose again. And He may not be the conventional liver surgeon, but in exchange for deLIVERance He wants your heart. The One who was beaten and broken longs to make you whole.

    Hearken to His call, for He loves you so. 

    Have a Good Friday.
    -Sarabelle

    Mark Me Friendzoned

    …And so I avoid eye contact not because I don’t want to see you. In reality I want to stare at you. Memorise each and every single contour of your handsome face. Absorb the picture of you. Your beautiful cheekbones. The rich dark brown of your eyes. The arch of your perfect brows. The winsome flutter of eyelashes that any girl would kill for. The reggae of your laughter that causes my heart to rock and roll.

    No, I avoid eye contact because I’m afraid you’ll see my heart. I’m afraid you’ll see the depth of emotion and feelings I have for you. And I’m afraid their intensity will cause you to run hard and fast away from me. And I can’t have that.

    So I’d rather suck up the friendzone and suffer silently than to bare it all and left bereft. 

    Self preservation is such a pill, dear God.
    Sarabelle