Step Back, Dad! (16)
Yay! It’s the 16th episode and it has been a fantastic journey of four months. A big thank you to both old and new followers. You have made this journey most pleasurable. If you are yet to nominate REDigion in the Nigerian Blog Awards, please click HERE and vote for your favourite blog in categories 8, 14 and 19 respectively. Please fill in the full website, that is http://www.redigion.wordpress.com. Your vote matters a lot. My tory don too much. Oya, let’s go episode 16!
OMG! It’s 5.30pm and Segun will be here any minute. I would not want him to meet me unprepared. He never liked being late to any occasion and always arrived well before the start. I jumped out of bed and dashed into the bathroom. I had dozed off earlier while reading Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love and it had been of great encouragement to me. If God could redeem a love that was torn apart by fear and turbulence of a past life, the He would so same for Segun and I, starting from the evening.
Few minutes later, I was out of the bathroom and in front of the mirror. I checked the time. 24 minutes left to make myself as beautiful as I could be. I would wear my lilac gown and match with purple accessories. Segun’s favourite colour was purple and I was out to look my best to please him. Well, if we were to rekindle our relationship, then I must give all it takes.
My phone rang and I picked it in a jiffy. I knew it was Segun on the line calling to tell me he was outside the gate.
“Hello, Segun. I’m almost through.” I spoke in a hurry. “Just give me few minutes and I will be with you.” Where are those shoes?
“Oh! Sorry… this isn’t Segun. It’s Tunde… I mean Brother Tunde.”
I froze. “I’m sorry. I thought you were Se… someone else. Good afternoon, Brother Tunde.” His call was the least I expected. This was the first time he would call. I hoped he would not take my consent to join him in the Children’s ministry as an opportunity to make unsolicited calls. Naaah, I will not take that.
He was quiet for a while before speaking. “Seems you are busy. I can call back.”
“No, no, I’m fine.” I bent to fit my legs into the shoes. “You can talk, please.” I could not have him calling me through the course of the romantic dinner.
“Well, I just wanted us to discuss some upcoming events we are planning in the church.”
Oh! That would be a long story and I was expecting a more important call. “Perhaps, we can discuss this later in the evening. How about I give you a call when I am less busy?”
“Okay… I shall be waiting. It is important. Please don’t forget.”
Gosh! I wish I could. He struck me as someone who would call if I didn’t. I hoped he was not allowing the little encounter we had this morning get into his head. If he was, he was a long way far from home. Nothing can come up between me and a children’s pastor who is at my father’s beck and call. I needed someone who could stand on his own feet. Someone like Segun.
I checked my phone and was a little worried Segun had not called. It was about 5 minutes to 6pm and I had a strange feeling something bad had happened. I dialed his numbers several times but he did not pick his phone. Now, I got more anxious and several thoughts ran through my head. Did he forget our date? Was he no longer interested? Was he safe? I sat on the bed and kept dialing.
Someone knocked and opened the door quietly. It was dad and he had a gentle look about him. “Can I come in?”
“You are already in, dad.”
“Oh, true!” He managed a smile and closed the door after him. His eyes took in my appearance. “You have an outing.”
I was not sure whether it was a question or just observation. I was not ready to ask either.
“Where are you going to, if I may ask.” He sat beside me on the bed.
“I have a date with Segun and he will be here any moment.”
I was sure he heard me clearly. “Yes, Segun. You have something to say against that?”
He cleared his throat. “Well, I have committed everything to God. I have promised Him I will be a better father. You are not the little girl anymore. You are old enough to make your own decisions.”
“That is good to know and I trust you will hold on to that promise. I love you, dad but I will not allow you to stand in the way of my happiness.”
“I know. It is my desire for you to be happy and not end up like me.”
“What do you mean? You were not happy with mum?”
“Well, I had a good life with her. She was the best woman a man could ever have as a wife, but I wanted something more that I could not get from her.”
“What was that?” Curiosity filled me.
“Well, I never really loved your mother like a man should love his wife and she felt the same way about me too. But we promised ourselves to hold on for the sake of our kids. I think we did a good job. See how beautiful you and your brothers have grown.” His eyes shone with pride. “I want you to marry for love and if God has told you, he has to be Yoruba, then who am I to say ‘no’? I would rather have you happily married to a yoruba man than see you cry if you go against your wish.”
I was dumbfounded. How could he change his decision so easily? I had expected a reprisal after my show this morning. Appeared God had answered my prayers after all.
My phone beeped and I nearly jumped. It was a text message from Brother Tunde reminding me not to forget. This brother was really getting on my nerves. I bit back my disappointment that it was not Segun and continued the conversation with dad.
“So I take it that Deaconess Folarin was the Yoruba woman you loved?”
“Is that obvious?” He laughed sheepishly. “We have tried to avoid our feelings for each other over the years. Mind you, nothing happened between us when your mother was alive. I was a faithful husband and would never even think of sinning against God. After I lost your mother and there was no other barrier, we got closer and you know how things happen.”
Of course, I knew. Love was not something one could keep running away from forever. I checked my phone again. Still no call.
“When is he supposed to pick you?” Dad asked.
“30 minutes ago. I am surprised he has not even called and is not picking his phone either. This is so unlike him.”
“Maybe he is facing some obstacles. He will soon be here or do you want me to dial his number too?”
“No, thanks. I really do not want you interfering at this stage.”
“I have a simple request to ask of both of you.” He spoke solemnly.
“Okay… what is it?”
“Can you please forgive an overzealous father?”
I hugged him. “Of course, dad. I forgave you from the very moment you walked into my room. I know Segun does too.”
“Good” He patted my back. “I feel a whole lot better.”
We continued chatting until I got tired of waiting for Segun to pick me up. He was an hour late and I doubted we would still go out. In fact, I had lost interest. To think I had high expectations for this evening…
Dad excused himself and as I stood in front of the mirror, I started undressing. Love comes with its own disappointment, right? Even when it is the kind that leaves you feeling a little worthless. How could he forget our appointment? I was so sad.
It was not until around 8pm that he called and I did not pick the first time. I could not resist the second. He had a lot of explanations to do and they had better be serious reasons.
“Hello.” I made my voice clipped and impersonal.
“My lady, I am sooooo sorry. You will not believe what happened.” He sounded tired and I was a little worried.
“What happened? Are you okay? Is everything alright?” Funny thoughts raced through my mind.
“One question at a time, baby. Yes, I am fine and everything is alright. You will not believe I slept off. I cannot believe it myself and I am ashamed.”
WHAT! “Slept off? You mean you kept me waiting endlessly while you were slept off?”
“I’m so sorry, dear. I know I must have hurt you. How about we plan for tomorrow evening? I can pick you up at your office and we go dine.”
“What happened to your phone? I have been calling.”
“My phone is on silence. Forgot to reactivate the sound after church. About my offer?”
“No, thanks. I will not be available.” Not tomorrow, not ever.
“I don’t trust myself. I may sleep off too and forget.”
The line was silent and I knew I had struck a chord. What kind of man would ‘sleep off’ on a date? The type that did not take his woman seriously.
“See, Segun. I wanted to give us a chance again but this is not starting well. I had looked forward to an enjoyable evening with you, but I doubt that will ever happen.”
“You are finally breaking up with me?”
“We had broken up from the very moment we took time off. I asked God for a sign and I think this is it.”
“I hope you do not regret this later.”
“Trust me, I will not. In fact, I feel a whole lot better about everything already.” Well, that was half-true. A part of me was glad I was free from the whole charade and the other wanted to cry ‘Lord, where do I start from at 28?’
“Well, it seems you have made up your mind and there is nothing much I can do. I wish you the best. We shall still remain friends, right?”
“Of course, friends we are and please can you forgive my father?”
“Well, I am glad I do not have to worry about him anymore, no offence meant. So I can hold nothing against him.”
I did not really like the way he spoke about dad, but I let it go. Tonight was for goodbyes, not tantrums.
A minute later, we were done talking and I laid down on my bed. I picked up ‘Redeeming Love’ and continued from where I stopped…
She glanced at him with a mocking smile. “Did God tell you to marry me?”
“Yes, He did.”
She was scornful. “He talks to you personally.”
“He talks to everyone personally. Most people don’t just bother to listen.”
I closed the book. Speak, God. I’m all ears.
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