“Don’t forget that I am pastor and a pastor’a wife o, Mrs. Irabor, Bimbo Odukoya protested mildly, as our star struck photographer clicked happily away. Modelling was definitely not Bimbo’s thing, but she still gave it her best shot. “You promised you would let me see the final selection of pictures before you print this edition”, she reminded me again.
“Yes, I remember”, I re-assured her, raising a fist to my left breast in the manner of one making a pledge. She smiled; smiling was as natural to her as preaching from the pulpit. And when she wasn’t deliberately smiling, her eyes did so all by themselves. Whoever said the eyes are a gateway into the soul must have had this preacher woman in mind. You could almost gaze into her soul if you stared long enough into those baby-radiant eyes.
“Is this the last shoot?” She asked so sweetly , after another tedious round.
“We’re nearly there”, I lied. I couldn’t tell her we were only halfway there, now, could I?
This was obviously a new experience for her but tedious as it was, it held a special fascination for her. And when we eventually wrapped it up two hours later, she could only applaud the team’s effort. We left her house with that good feeling of accomplishment. She definitely was a woman with a lot of soul. It had taken nearly all of six months to get to that day, but it was really worth it in the end. The pictures are bound to cause a stir we had in mind. The devil obviously couldn’t bear to see us so happy- and had maliciously thrown a spanner in the works, leaving us with a whole batch of fuzzy pictures and a sinking heart. And guess whose unenviable job it was to ask the pastor for a reshoot? And so with utmost reluctance and some trepidation, one fine afternoon in January; months after the first shoot – I finally called Pastor Bimbo.
“Hello, this is Betty Irabor”, I said as she picked the phone. I tried to sound chirpy, hoping to infect her with my overly cheerful mood.
“Hello Mrs. Irabor, I was just thinking of calling you. I now have the hard cover of my book you wanted”.
“Oh, thank you”, I said; dreading that moment when I would say: “I’m afraid I have some bad news!” (I found my voice soon enough). “What is it? No problem I hope? Is everything all right?” I thought of a million ways to make it easy for us both, but decided to cut to the chase and spill it out.
“You know those pictures we took?” I began, like a child trying to tell a tall tale.
“Yes?” She said, not quite sure where the conversation was heading. “They didn’t quite turn out right”, I moaned.
“You mean all those lovely pictures ? It means we have to do it all over”. It was a statement.
“I’m afraid so.” (That was too easy, I thought.)
“Ok. When do you want to come for the re-shoot? I am travelling next week and will be off again, as soon as I return. We can schedule a date for Tuesday… Sorry I have a meeting on that day. Let’s see, maybe Wednesday…no, no … I just remembered that I am in church all week. No, Thursday is my counselling day!”
Mercifully, in between all that, we finally found a window for a re-shoot. And against all odds, she finally graced our cover in March 2005 – and what an edition that was. We sold out!
In a way, this is a tribute of some sort on the anniversary of her gracing our cover. And it just seems like a good time to say I am happy our paths crossed, even though it was brief. Those shoots gave me a chance to know her better – no longer was she just a familiar stranger on television. RIP pastor Bimbo. We miss you.
Welcome to March … my favourite month, perhaps because it is my birth month! Oh! God! The big one is next year, but unlike when I turned 40 and was apprehensive and moaned about not having any reason to celebrate, now I feel all ready to hit higher grounds and embrace my authentic self. Incidentally, this is one month when I tend to articulate my aspirations. Could this perhaps be because it’s that one month when “I feel a stirring within?” March is also the month when I tend to suck out the poison from my life and detoxify my mind. I can feel my level changing o and who knows, I might just put pen on paper and author a Bestseller; not that I have written a page of it yet! But you know how God works; if he plants the idea, we will definitely weave it!
Source: Morning Dew by Betty Irabor (First published in 2008)

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