She was a very good friend. One I was endeared to by her smile. Her smile was angelic. It was heart warming, soothing and healing. In fact, it was therapeutic. She was not so graced with feminine quality. I could say she was as straight as a ruler, just with slight curves that made people know she was a lady. The only asset she had was this glorious smile that attracted people to her.
Her name was Tiwalade, but the inner caucus, calls her smiley Tiwa. I think I have to describe this smile so you can get a little glimpse of what the smile looked like. She had a round face, and her eyes were small and cute. Her nose however seemed to be out of proportion, but it added to the beauty of the smile.
Her smile was often broad, with her 32 in full glare, and her dimple was like a deep hollow. With her smile came a radiant glow in her eye, it always shown brightly at all times.
Hers was not ordinary because with that smile came an healing force that could cure any wounded heart. I’ll tell you how we met, but let me tell you the secret behind the smile. I knew smiley Tiwa to be a Christian, not just Christian by name, but one who had the life of Christ breathing through her.Her walk and work with God was from an unforced rhythm of grace. Hers was a ministry of spreading wholeness and wellness through her smile. In fact that was how I met with Christ.
I used to live a wayward life right from my second year in the university. I was influenced by my roommates then, and I got addicted to the promiscuous life they introduced me to. Despite being a braggart and one who had the outward charisma, I felt empty inside. Gloom was written on my face, but I often covered it up with heavy make up and all the bling bling. I knew Tiwa from afar. She was in a room adjacent to mine. I noticed the simplicity in the way she did everything, and I could perceive the fragrance of joy she always had on.
I had just performed an abortion, and I was really distraught. The guilt that tore at my heart, and the tormenting cries of the foetus flushed left me restless. I was pacing the corridor when I saw Tiwa approaching, her smile plastered on her face. All the guilt fled, and the voices seized almost immediately.
A sudden calmness swept over me as she moved closer to me. I could not understand myself, but for the first time in I don’t know, I walked up to her, crying and begging her to give me her secret. She was surprised, but she took me into her room, still smiling as if she did not notice my countenance.
I narrated my ordeal to her in bitter tears. At that point, I hated myself for the life I had lived. With teary eyes, I still saw her glowing smile and I was all the more comfortable, and felt at peace in her presence. She spoke to me, but I didn’t hear whatever she said. I was enthralled at her smile and I was wondering what could make someone smile so much like she had no problem.
When she was done talking, I asked the only question on my lips. “What’s the secret of your radiant smile. I felt so at ease the moment I saw that smile.”
“It’s Christ, she responded. He alone made this happen. I was once in your shoes, but now, I’ve got that one thing that can never make my smile fade, the Man Christ.”
“Lead me to Him.” I said, tears flowing like a fountain. “I want to smile. I want to have the kind of life and joy you have.”
The rest they say is history. I have a broad smile too, but mine is not as angelic and soul lifting as hers. You may be wandering why I write about her in the past. Sadly, she’s long gone. She made one mistake, one terrible error of judgment that took her smile and eventually took her life.
Gbolahan was a hunk. Tall, light skinned with a soul lifting smile. Though his did not meet up to that of Tiwalade, his was also heavenly, though no dimples graced either sides of his cheek. He was a member of the church I used to attend before meeting Tiwa.
I left the church because a whole lot of things were not in tandem with my new found faith. Things that was clearly spelt out as sin in the Bible, was watered down, and were simply glossed over as weaknesses. You could count only a few good men in the church, that’s why I moved on to a church that could feed me spiritually.
I barely knew Gbolahan. I used to see him from afar, and I was somewhat drawn to his smile. By whatever way, Tiwalade met Gbolahan. I can’t remember full details of how they met, but I know they clicked. They both had angelic smiles with varying degree. They seemed to be a perfect match; while Gbolahan was tall, Tiwalade was a little down to earth. The attraction was there, and their relationship hit the ground running.
I began to see red flags in their relationship, but I kept mum at the first. I had a strong impression to tell her, which I did. Times when they were together, Gbolahan often flew into rage, and calmed down with a smile which often melted her heart and made her ignore his irrational behaviours. It continued like this, but Tiwa was so blinded by love. Three years after they met, they got married after several warnings to which Tiwa gave a deaf ear.
Tiwa was ready to give anything to God, but she could not think of handling her marital affairs over to God. She believed God might not give her her taste, besides, Gbolahan ticked all the boxes of her expectations in a man. The only problem he had was his rage at the slightest provocation. She believed that it was a mere weakness, and with time, he was going to change.
The first rude shock Tiwa was slammed with was the realisation that Gbolahan was a far cry from who she taught he was. There was more to him. Behind the ‘angelic’ smile was a devil. Gbolahan had always been an alcoholic. He was not only addicted to bottles, he was also addicted to anything in skirt. If he could see a guy in skirt, I’m sure he will chase hard after him.
Tiwa knew she was in for something serious for the rest of her life. Any little thing she did got Gbolahan provoked. The smile she was captivated by was replaced with a scornful and derisive laughter anytime he hit her. He was more joyful whenever she was in pain.
Within the home, he was venomous, while he transformed to a harmless dove when they were out together. Tiwa knew how well to play her roles, but within those smiles was a bleeding heart. Her healing smiles suddenly turned plastic. Her unfeigned smile was now a faux.
To worsen the situation, he refused a divorce proposal she brought. He said God hates divorce and marriage is for better for worse. Not only that, he gave her a merciless beating for bringing up the suggestion.
Tiwa continued like this for five years. At the time she confided in me, she had completely lost her smile, both the real and the fake. She was a shadow of herself. She made me know how Gbolahan was gladdened and rejoiced at the fact that she gradually lost her smile.
The next thing I heard about her broke me. I knew she was already doomed and too far for mercy to reach. On a Saturday morning, she was too weary and tired of who she had turned out to be. She ended her life. She had been taking slow poison for some months, but it did not accelerate her death.
On that fateful day, she ended it all. We found a note addressed to Gbolahan that read, “woe betide you for stealing my smile, my healing power. I healed others but I could not heal me. See you in Hades where you belong, bastard.”