Step Back, Dad! (9)
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Ever been in a daze with your head spiraling in space? Time stops moving and there is no sound except that which comes seem to come from a million miles away. Then you have to blink and fight your way back as you realize your heart is about to explode.
“Hold on.” I raised my hand. “Go one point after the other .” I struggled to keep my mind on what Tayo was explaining. She was giving too much at once and my fragile heart was at the verge of crumbling.
Tayo snapped with impatience. “Have I been wasting my time all along?”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that everything is too much for me to take at once. Please, I beg you.” I did not want to push her too far, yet I needed to feed off everything from her. That was all what this was about. To get to the root of what had been bothering me for weeks.
Tayo sighed deeply and glanced at the door. “You know the men will be waiting for us.”
“I am sure they can wait for another ten minutes.”
When she saw my determination, Tayo gave up and went towards the door. She shut it and rested her back on it to make sure no one came in. Her voice lowered a bit. “Segun should never know about this and I am telling you this on a sister-to-sister basis, okay?”
I swallowed hard. “Okay.”
“You remember the last time we spoke in church? I told you to be careful, didn’t I?” She didn’t wait for my response. “Well, you see, there are many things happening that you, even as the pastor’s daughter, do not know. You are so engrossed in the choir and with Segun that you do not know there is fire on the mountain and you are in the middle of it.”
Get to the point! “Okay.” That seemed the most appropriate answer as I tried to control the urge to yank the info out of her.
She spoke in a conclusive tone. “Well, Segun is not going to marry you, no matter what you do.”
Bombshell one. “What! How…wwwhat do you mean? ” I stammered.
“I know it is hard for you to accept.” Tayo’s face was filled with concern. “But that is the bitter truth. He does not love you. He said it to me himself. You do not want to spend the rest of your life with a man who doesn’t love you, do you?”
My hands drew into fists. “What a liar you are! You want him for yourself, don’t you? That is why you are trying to feed me with lies, but you see, you are going to lose big time.” I pointed my finger at her. “Big time.”
Tayo gave a little laugh. “Who is in a battle with you? Definitely not me. I am not the one in the fire, you are. I am not the one sticking to a man who doesn’t love me, you are, and most importantly, I am not even interested in this guy when there are better prospects out there.”
‘Excuse me? You are not interested, yet you are on an outing with him and you jump at the slightest opportunity to be tagged with him. Are you listening to yourself at all or you are just plain dumb?” God forgive me! But she deserves it.
Strangely, she didn’t take offence. “Well, what can a girl do? We are in a competitive world and not many good opportunities out there, so you grab the ones that come and make the best use of them, at least until better ones come along.” A strange smile crept up her face.
OMG! I could not believe my ears! All these coming from a ‘christian sister’? “Are you listening to yourself at all, Sister Tayo? For Pete’s sake, that notion of yours is very unchristlike. You are the Assistant Pastor’s daughter and…”
Tayo hissed. “Oh, please! That is just a title. Being the Assistant Pastor’s daughter does not guarantee a good husband. I have to do my own part too. Work my way to the top. I am not daddy’s little girl like you.” She teased.
“But why with my Segun? What did I do to deserve this from you?”
Tayo clapped her hands in derision. “Listen to yourself speak. ‘Your Segun’… Can’t you get what I have been saying? Segun doesn’t love you! Are you so naïve and blind that you cannot recognize the truth even when it punches you in the face? Oh! These gullible sisters!” She shook her head. “Open your eyes. The world is not as rosy as you think.”
“No, it is you that should be ashamed of soiling the church of Christ with your ungodly act. I have often wondered why you are always doing your ushering work in front of the church. One would think you are a dedicated worker, but I see through your façade. Advertising your ‘assets’ for the highest bidder.”
Tayo looked pained. “At least, I am not the one who will be broken hearted when she finally discovers she had been played all along. I am on top of my game. Yours is about to end and you are on the losing side.”
That stung hard. Really hard. “That’s enough. I am not doing this anymore.” I stepped towards the door.
She blocked me. “Oh no! I am not finished yet. I decide when this conversation is over.”
We were like warring lions on the field, trying to protect our territories from being invaded and we assessed each other’s strength and weakness with wary eyes. Only one winner can emerge.
She continued. “When I told you to be careful, I was not even referring to Segun. I was referring to someone else and the force is the one flaming the fire.”
“Ha! I see.” I braced myself for the worst. “I now know who I should be careful of and she is standing right in front of me.”
Tayo laughed hysterically. “You never cease to amaze me with your gullible conclusions, but then it is you, isn’t it? I should not expect better.”
I bit my tongue from blurting out the insultive word on my mind, but did not succeed. “Well, I cannot imagine a worse devil I should watch my back for.”
Tayo inhaled sharply. “At least, this ‘devil’ is kind enough to be her sister’s keeper.”
Sister’s keeper? Right now, she was doing a terrible job of that. “So which other devil should I be careful of?” I needed that information badly, though I pretended to be disinterested.
“What! This is no guessing game and you have wasted my time enough. Please get out of my way. I need to leave.”
“Okay.” She gave up. “You are such a bore. It is not everyone you should talk to when you face difficulty. The Bible says we should try every spirit.”
“Ha ! Now, you are quoting scriptures.”
“Listen to me.” Her tone was more serious. “She is not who you think she is. She manipulates people to do what she wants and she has got her hands around Segun. Her desire is to see you and Segun never get married.”
“Who are you talking about?” I asked as she was beginning to sound like a deranged person to me.
It was my turn to laugh. Bombshell two. “You are kidding me, right?”
“Ladies, are you okay in there?” Bro Tunde called from outside the door. “Your food is getting cold.” I could barely recognize his voice.
“We are fine and will be out in a minute.” Tayo responded. Then she looked at me. “Don’t say I did not warn you. The devil you know is better than the angel you do not know, right?”
It was simply unbelievable. “You want me to believe our trusted Mrs Folarin is behind all these? You are despicable, Tayo and I will report you.” I trusted the Deaconess with all my heart. She would never stoop low to do this. She was the ‘mother’ to all spinsters in the church.
“Well, that means you will be playing into the hands of your enemy. I hope one day you will appreciate me for who I am.” Her hands went to the knob.
“I am done. That is the end of our discussion and like I said, this never happened. The ball is now in your court and whatever you choose to do with it is none of my business. By the way, that boss of yours looks very ‘take away’.” She winked. “Can you be your sister’s keeper? I will need his number later.”
My mouth moved but nothing came out.
Tayo smiled. “Good luck to you, Sister Chinwe.” She opened the door. “After you.”
I checked my face in the mirror. Now was not the time to look forlorn. I adjusted my hair and my clothes and applied some cream I found at the sink. The Chinwe that left the table is not the one returning.
Everybody, prepare for war!