‘Step Back, Dad!’ (19)
This past Thursday was officially the most embarrassing day of my life. All my shakara had vaporized into thin air. I was caught between excusing myself and disappearing into the restroom or just sitting down there and moping into the air. To make matters worse, I did not even know the answer to the question the interviewer just popped up. How was I supposed to know, in details, the achievements of the company in the last decade? Okay, I admit. I did not do enough research on the Company, but why did that question have to come from no other person than ‘Bro Tunde’, the man whose advances I had shunned overtime.
I listened as the other interviewees mumble their answers and it looked like we were all in the same dilemma. Think, girl, think! I had always prided myself in finding a solution to any problem and this would not be any different, not when my dignity was at stake. I would pick what the other two had stated and work around it.
“And you, Miss…ermmm…” The interviewer scanned through his file.
“Chinwe.” How dared he pretend he didn’t know my name. Ha! I see. He was obviously teasing me. I would play along.
“Miss Chinwe.” He stared at me squarely without any form of recognition. “Tell me what others haven’t mentioned.”
Oops! I could not pretend I didn’t know the answer, so I started with “Like earlier mentioned by my counterparts….” And did the best I could.
Some minutes later, we were seated outside the office, awaiting the final decision. As far as I was concerned, I would not be selected. I had fumbled and disgraced myself completely and even the interviewer’s disgruntled response had proven that. So much for feeling fly!
The secretary walked up to us with a smile on her face. “Thank you for your patience. You may leave now. We shall reach you latest tomorrow if you succeed.”
Quietly, we picked up our belongings and found our way out of the building. On my way home, i checked my phone several times to see if there was a message or call from the Company or even from the boss, but there was none. Why did I feel disappointed? I got what I deserved.
By Saturday evening, I had given up hope. By now, the company would have made their choice. I had to carry on with life. God obviously had a better plan for me. Also, I would not have to work with Bro Tunde. Truth was deep down within, I felt something for him; something I would rather not explore. I had trodden that path before and got heart-broken. Working with him every day would be too dangerous for me. Too dangerous.
Dad came home from workers’ meeting that evening, looking so elated. He had a sparkle around him and I wondered what was up. He kept telling me to hold on till dinner when he would let out the surprise.
When it was time, he sat quietly in front of me and held my hands in it. He then raised them up and kissed them. “My dear, there is something I want to discuss with you, two things actually.”
I sat straight and my heartbeat went faster. “What is it, dad?”
“Well,” He cleared his throat and his lower lips trembled a bit. “I want to take a major step and need your support more than ever.”
“What step?” I was afraid.
“I want to ask Deaconess Folarin to marry me.”
I swallowed hard. “Isnt…isn’t that too early?”
“Well, considering we have come a long way. Plus, I really need a wife. Don’t get me wrong, you have been doing a good job taking care of me, but a time is coming when you will have to go and start your own family. Then I will be alone.”
I thought hard. Starting my own family was not happening soon and now that dad had finally decided to take the bold step, where would that leave me? Alone, no doubt.
“That means I would have to leave this place for you newlyweds.”
“No.” He squeezed my hands. “This place remains your home. You can stay with us till you get married. That is how things are to be normally. You are to be married from your father’s house.”
I sighed. Living in the house was not the problem. It was living with the Deaconess. Things had not been particularly smooth between the Deaconess and I, since I had caught her red-handed in her manipulation. She was partly to blame in the breakup of my relationship with Segun and here she was, about to take hers to the next level. She would become my stepmother and the thought of seeing her with my father was not appealing. I was not ready for this. I would have to leave the house, but to where?
“The second issue is ermmm…” Dad had a mischievous smile to his face.
“What is it?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Someone asked me for your hand today and I feel very honoured.”
I laughed hard. “I see you are working hard on marrying me off too, dad. Don’t worry, God will do it at his time. Let’s get you married first.”
His face became serious. “I’m not joking, Chinwe and I think you should give this person a chance.”
“Whoa! Some months ago, you were on my neck to break up a relationship and today, you are practically begging me to start a new one. I do not think I am ready for a second heartbreak with whoever it is.”
“Even if it is the children’s church pastor? I have seen the way you behave around him and I really think there is something between you two.”
“Bro Tunde?” I jumped up. “Excuse me, dad but that is the last person I would ever want to marry.” How dared he go behind my back to do such a thing! “Did I tell you he was the one who interviewed me on Thursday?”
“Really??? You didn’t. You only told me you did not perform up to their expectation. Isn’t that God at work? Tell me, did you know he was the one you would meet?”
“I never knew. He was the last person I expected. He… He looked so different…so…so..” I was short of words.
“Handsome?” My father teased.
I stopped pacing. “Handsome? He isn’t in the least handsome.” Liar! My heart had skipped the moment I saw him and it had been a difficult time keeping his face out of my mind. He had looked completely different from what I had been used to… sophisticated, relaxed, handsome and completely in control…
“You know God speaks in different ways that we may even consider weird. It is for us to discern and know what exactly He wants us to do and do it.”
“You mean God is telling me something?”
“From the little I know, this brother has always popped up in places least expected. You joined the children’s ministry at the least inclination from him, you attend an interview and there you meet him again. Baby, I believe God is saying something.”
There was a prolonged silence. Could this really be true? Had I been too stubborn to realize what God was saying or was this another round of manipulation?
“The food’s getting cold, dad. We should eat.” I led him back to the table gently.
As we settled to eat, dad spoke quietly. “I want to propose tomorrow after church and I will need you to stay close when I do the needful.”
“Don’t worry, dad. I’ve got your back.” I smiled assuredly.
But who has got mine? I thought dreadfully. I was not looking forward to church. That would mean meeting Bro Tunde face to face since the interview and the shame would be too much for me to bear. I glanced at the clock. I soooooo was not looking forward to tomorrow. I should fake a sickness or anything that would make this shame go away. Life is, indeed, not fair to me this time.