Step Back, Dad! (11)
It’s another weekend and episode 11 is here. How far we have come! Thank you for stopping by every week. It’s been an honour having you here and this would not have gone far without you. E se pupo! If you missed the last edition, please click here. Enjoy!
My heart pounds like heavy thunderstorm as the next few minutes could change the course of my life forever. What would I do if Segun decides to finally break our long-time relationship? Would I just shrug and carry on or would my heart break into tiny, little pieces? The latter may obviously be the result. I really loved Segun, I still do; and I had felt he was the one God had destined for me to marry until lately when everything began to appear hazy and doubtful…when everything began to look like a dream almost shattered. Remain positive!
I sweated profusely as I waited for Segun to pick his phone. When I heard the operator’s voice, a cold relief swept through me, but it was only temporary when my phone rang immediately. I checked the caller. It was not a saved contact, yet it looked strangely familiar. I took in a deep breath. It was now or never.
“Hello.” I could barely recognize my voice. It sounded like a crackling chicken.
“Hello, dear.” The voice was deep and sleepy. “You are not yet asleep. It’s very late.”
Where would I begin? “Ermmm… Not feeling sleepy. Thought we could have a little midnight chat. How are you? Great dinner today.” Indeed.
“I see we are on the same page. My mind has not been off you since we parted. We really need to talk which was why I had to call. Yeah, nice dinner, but very uncomfortable atmosphere. ”
Well, I called first. I heard some faint music playing in the background. “Yes, it’s high time we spoke and settled things between us. Is that Don Moen you are listening to?”
“Don Moen? That’s Don Williams. You like his songs too?”
That was strange. Segun never listened to ‘non-christian’ songs. He had always preached vehemently against them and now… “Segun, when did you start loving Don Williams?”
“Don Williams has always been my favourite musician and I am not Segun.” The voice was a bit harsh. “How can you compare me with that cheat?”
OMG! “Steve?” Really???? Why was he calling me tonight of all nights? He was the least person I expected. To think I was actually chatting with Segun. They sounded so alike. Grave mistake! “Why… why are you calling me?”
“I told you I needed to talk to you, and the feeling that you thought you were speaking with the man who doesn’t love you like I do is degrading enough for me.”
I didn’t know whether to say I was sorry or he should get off my phone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was you.” I had to tread carefully. This was my boss’ son and he had the power to hire and fire. “I’m very sorry. I had tried Segun’s line earlier, so I thought he was the one calling back.”
“I see you are desperate to beg him that you could not even recognize your company’s CUG number when I called. Are you that cheap that you want to stoop so low before a man who flaunted his girlfriend before you today? A man whose engagement ring mattered little to you?”
OUCH! That went DEEP!
He didn’t wait for a response, but spewed on. “I am offering you love, respect, fame, money…name it. Everything to make you a complete woman and you are chasing after a church-flirt? I am most disappointed in you.”
Now, wait a minute! Because he was my boss’ son did not mean he had the right to talk-down on me. I would not accept that. “Mr Steve, with all due respect, you really do not have business with my private life. What goes on between my fiancé and I is none of your concern. Please leave us alone!”
My phone beeped and I saw Segun’s number. I needed to end this call.
“You are mistaken there, my dear.” Steve didn’t seem ready to leave. “You were my private business since the day I first met you on the stairway and you smiled at me. Remember? There was something about you that was different from any lady I had met before and I am not about to let any man treat you badly, not even your so-called fiancé. My offer still stands. Come with me and take my word when I say I will never ‘play’ you. I am for real.”
I was dumbstruck. I remembered the day we first met. We had shaken hands and I had greeted him innocently like a devoted employee. He had simply nodded and turned to the person behind me like I never existed. How would he have noticed an unsophisticated, church-girl like me?
My phone beeped again. “Please I need to leave now.” Enough of this nonsense.
“Segun calling, right?” He laughed derisively. “He probably is calling to call off the engagement.”
I refused to be goaded. “That is our business, not yours.”
“We’ll see. Good night, love.”
I did not wait an extra second before pressing the green button. “Hello, Segun. I’m sorry you were on hold.”
“Who were you speaking with for such a long time?” His voice was laced with impatience.
Oh my! A bigger trouble brewing. Lying seemed like candy right now. I fought the temptation. “A colleague from the office.”
The candy became more enticing. “I…ermm” How could I tell him I had been talking to the one man he would never want to hear about.
“Don’t lie to me, Chi.”
I swallowed hard. “Well, you are right. Steve called me tonight and I initially thought it was you before I later found out it was him.” I let out a big sigh.
“I see. So you have been making midnight calls.” It sounded like an accusation. “Tell me what you discussed. I want to know every detail.” He sounded serious and while a part of me wanted to just tell him to let go and let us discuss the weightier matter, the tension in his voice made me do otherwise. So, I explained to him, leaving out the name-calling part.
“Do you still love me, Chinwe?” He asked very calmly.
That was not the response I expected. I had anticipated a ‘hot’ reaction. Did I still love him? What is ‘love’ really all about? Is it about just being happy with your partner when the times are good? What happens when it is tested during hard times? Does it change colour or becomes scratched at the edge? I realized suddenly that despite the trials our love has faced these past months, I still loved him. More than ever.
“Of course, I do.” I said confidently. “I love you, but so many things are going wrong these days and I’m afraid for us.”
“Yes, you are right. Let’s start with the dinner. I never knew the appointment was with Steve. C’mon! You should have told me.”
“Well, I never knew it would be that kind of appointment. I thought it was a business meeting. He practically asked me out and also called you up and we fell into the trap. He set us up.”
“Well, the deed has been done. It was a nightmarish dinner.”
“I agree with you. So, where did Tayo come in?” My conversation with Tayo floated in my head. “We had a stimulating conversation in the restroom.” I remembered my promise to Tayo not to divulge the details and the urge to spill was intense.
“I see. What was it about?”
“Just the usual girl talk. She was very supportive.”
“So how did she end up with you for the meeting?”
“Well, I invited her. I needed another company since my first choice was not available.”
I inhaled sharply. A substitute? And the only available one was Tayo? I controlled the anger growing in me. “Do you still love me, Segun?”
There was a little pause. “Why did you ask? Do you doubt me? You know I do.”
I was not comfortable with that answer. ‘Yes, I love you’ is not the same as ‘you know I do.’ I was not ready to push, but the green signal just blinked yellow.
I carried my investigation further. “We should go for counseling. Deaconess Folarin will be of great assistance.”
Tunde smirked. “The Deaconess? I am not going there with you. Look for another person we can meet.”
“Why not?” I urged on. “Is there something I should know? Tayo mentioned her during our discussion.” I blurted out without thinking.
“Oh really? What else did she say?”
Oh! She said you were a liar and pretender and you told her you never loved me!!! “Nothing much. What is it with the deaconess?”
“Ask your father. He is in a better position to tell you.”
“Why don’t you tell me instead and stop beating about the bush?” I was tired of being the ball.
“This is not a phone talk. We really should meet and talk. How about dinner on Friday?”
“I have a couple of meetings.”
“With Steve? Do not take me for a ride because I chose to take things calm with you tonight. How many of these dinners have you been having with him without my knowledge?” He was clearly agitated.
“Excuse me? I never…”
“You accuse me of the same thing you are guilty of. You have even stopped wearing our engagement ring and the way he kept looking at you really made me sick. He even insisted on driving you home and you agreed eagerly. Is there something you should tell me?” He was practically shouting now.
“There is nothing between…”
“I really don’t want to listen to your usual excuses accompanied with your annoying ‘I am right’ attitude. That is something Tayo will never do. She accepts her faults and apologises. You don’t.
That hurt. “Now you are comparing me with your new-found love, eh! I bet you tell her things you have not even told me. Why don’t you just state plainly that you want to break off this engagement and stop pretending you love me?”
There was a deafening silence before he spoke quietly. “Is that what you want?”
The turning-point question.
“I…I don’t know.” Many ‘ifs’ ran through my head, leaving me completely confused. “I need time to pray. We should take time to seek God’s face and see if our being together is part of His plan for our lives.” That was the only option I could think of.
I could feel his tension through the phone. “I will give you the time you need. I also will take time to pray. A lot of confusion is at work now. But just know that if you still want us together, you will have to make a decision above Steve, okay?”
I could not respond. I was tired. I just wanted to be alone and cry into my pillow. I placed the phone beside me and did not know when Segun cut the line. A tear slid down my cheek and my heart suddenly felt like a stone was placed on it. I knelt beside my bed and brushed every object aside as I laid my head. My God, it is you and me tonight. I am kneeling in the midst of prayer. I am lonely and weak. I am in dire need of your comfort and love. Hold me close, Jesus, please hold me close and never let me go.