Step Back, Dad!’ (24)
Hello, friends. I apologize for the late posting of this episode. Had some internet/technical problems. Thank you for sticking through. Enjoy episode 24 and remain blessed.
I stood in front of a skyscraper, wondering if I had the courage to walk through the big gate. As soon as I had sighted the building, the energy in me to do what I had come for had evaporated. What if he no longer felt what I felt? What if my chance at love had gone? What if I made a complete fool of myself? Was I even supposed to do this at all? So many questions, too little answers…
I looked at my phone and searched for his name. A simple call would answer the riddle, but I was too much of a coward to press the green button, so I simply turned my back against the building, closed my eyes and counted the cost. What if he didn’t love me anymore? Well, life would go on, wouldn’t it? as a lonely, unhappy old lady. I didn’t want that. No. Neither would I want to be ‘rejected’ and swallow the humiliation that would come with it. For Pete’s sake, what kind of lady would walk up to a man and ‘propose’? I cringed at that very thought.
I took the decision of the faint-hearted. I took my first step away and another and another. My phone rang loudly and I stopped mid-way. It was him on the line and I did not know how to respond. When the call was about to stop, I managed to pick.
“Hello, Sis Chinwe. What are you doing in front of my office? I can see you right from the top floor. Did you come for something? Is everything okay with your father?” He sounded really concerned.
“Ermmm… sure. Everything is fine. I just came to… ermm….” What did I come to do again? “I was just passing by.” Really?
“Okay.” He sounded a bit disappointed. “Are you really sure about that?”
I want to see you, I almost screamed. “Yes. When will you be coming to the hospital again?” Perhaps I would be more courageous there.
“Maybe later today. You want me to bring you something?”
YES!!! Bring your love. “Ummm… anything you bring will be fine.”
“Okay. So see you later today. I have an urgent meeting now. Take care.” He cut the line.
I deserved a knock on the head. I just got an opportunity to make a decisive move and I blew it big time. Maybe I did not really deserve a second chance. I tried to hold back the tears as I traced my way home. Little did I know I would receive a shocker when I entered the house. The living room was sparkling and well arranged. The kitchen which was a little messed up as at the last I could recall was cleaned and smelt really fresh. Only one person had the key to the house and would have done this. Bro. Tunde. The man I was falling in love with. The man I was about losing.
I unlocked the door to my bedroom (I always locked it anytime I was away to protect my privacy from dad) and headed straight for the bed. I would use a couple of hours to pray. It had been a while I did that. So many distractions lately had taken me away from my ‘sacred place’. I had to find my way again. Thankfully, I had the house to myself. I switched off my phone. The world can wait while I commune with my God.
Later in the evening, I felt very much revived in the spirit. God had given me a promise and I would cling to it. Come rain, come sunshine, He’s got my back. I glanced at the clock. It was almost 7pm and time for me to head back to the hospital. I got dad some fresh provision and clothing and headed down straight away.
When I entered the ward, I met Segun alone with dad and they looked like they just had a heated conversation.
“Hello, dad…, Segun” I greeted with a suspicious look. “Is everything okay? Where is the Deaconess?”
My father straightened. “Everything is fine, my dear. My fiance just stepped out. Segun and I were just having a man-to-man talk.”
Segun greeted as he assisted with the luggage. “Hi, Chi. Good to see you. Hope you had a nice day.”
“Yes, I did.”
I looked at dad. He looked a little uncomfortable as he surveyed us. Something was on his mind and I knew it would be a matter of time before he spilled it out.
Segun excused himself. “I need to leave now.”
He looked like he was running from something. This was someone who would exploit every opportunity to be with me and here he was, leaving almost immediately I entered.
“But why?” I quizzed. “I only just came in. Are you running away from me?”
“Running away from the woman I want to spend my life with?” He laughed loud. “Not at all. I am the one to lead the single brothers’ vigil today and I do not want to be late.”
“Okay. Please pray for the single sisters o!”
“Of course. You take 90% of our prayers as we want to change status fast.” He winked. Then he turned to dad. “Good night, sir. I will be back to check on you tomorrow.”
Dad waved with a hard smile and immediately the door was shut, he turned to me.
“So, have you thought about his offer?”
“Offer? Like business offer?” I was stalling.
“You know what I mean. Will your answer be ‘yes’?
“Well, I am still awaiting a go-ahead from God. Was that the man-to-man talk you had?”
“Well, yes, amidst other things. We needed to talk about the past. You know we had a slight friction because of his relationship with you.”
“So were you able to resolve the differences?”
“Yes.” His response was curt.
“Is there something more I should know?”
He cleared his throat. “I still feel reluctant about him in my spirit. Same thing I had always felt, but thought it was me who was too unwelcoming. So I decided to allow things happen without further interference. Then later, you told that you broke up with him and now he wants both of you together again. He actually came today to inform me officially of his intentions and I am interested in your final answer.”
“Like I said, dad, I am still praying about it. I am not about to give a hasty answer when I am not sure myself.”
“Take your time, my child, to pray. Marriage is a life-long project and you will be solely responsible for your decisions. Whatever your final answer is, make sure it is God’s choice or else you will regret it all the days of your life.”
“I know, dad, and that is why I am very careful now.”
“Just in case you are scared of giving Segun a negative answer, you can count on me to do it for you.”
I stopped what I was doing. “What did you just say? You want to help me? Thanks, dad, but I can do this myself.” What is it with fathers wanting to always be in charge?
“I am only offering my assistance.” He pointed at the bottle of water on the table. “Pass that to me. You know men can be stubborn sometimes, so if you need a tough hand to handle this, you know I’ve got it.”
“No thanks. I will do this ON MY OWN.” I emphasized carefully.
“Okay, I get it.”
I shook my head and wondered if he would ever really stop interfering. I was no longer the 6 year old he would carry on his shoulders to school, but I feared he still saw me that way no matter how hard he tried to pretend.
“Go to sleep, dad. I need to step out to get you more stuff. We are already low on provisions.” I picked a basket under the table and headed for the exit.
“No, I need to do some work before I sleep. You go ahead with whatever you want to do. I will be fine.” He placed a book in front of him and started writing on it almost immediately.
I shut the door quietly and headed down to the nearest grocery store. On my way, Segun called to get an answer and he was insistent on getting one urgently.
“I am tired of waiting, really.” He kept talking non-stop. “You keep postponing over and over. You know we are meant to be together, but you keep stalling. I have prayed and I believe God wants us to be together. I am ready to move to the next level. I need an answer today, please.”
“But…” I started to speak.
“There are no buts. I have been patient enough, Chi. I am under intense pressure here. I have sought your father’s permission and he has given me his blessing.”
“Because you got my father’s so-called blessing does not mean you got an answer from me, and you are not the only one under pressure, okay? I am too.”
“Then please take the pressure off us.” He begged. “Let us start something new, baby. I know you want this because I want it too.”
Did I really want this? Some months ago, I would have jumped at this, but now there seemed to be a dark cloud covering the horizon. So many ‘ifs’ have lined the edges and faith in what we had had run underground. But what if I was only speculating? I had to be more careful than ever.
“I will give an answer tonight. I promise.”
“Will be waiting and hoping it is favourable to us.”
My heart was heavier than ever. This night would be defining for me whatever my response was. They say a bird at hand is better than a bird at sea. And right now, the only bird at hand was urgently waiting to feed.
I quietly strolled back to the hospital, hoping that dad would have slept. I noticed the door was slightly open and I heard some voices from the inside. Dad was conversing with someone and the person’s voice was unmistakable, sending a shiver down my spine. I placed my hand on the door and was about to push when the next sentence made me pause.
“Do you love my daughter?” Dad asked with his strong voice.
I waited with anxiety for the answer. My heart pounded loudly as I awaited Bro. Tunde’s response. Perhaps the bird at sea had come home.