‘Step Back, Dad!’ (25)
The grand finale… 25th episode. Sorry, i could not post it earlier as promised. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Enjoy!
Like in the ‘Animal Farm’, all questions are equal, but some are more equal than others. There are those who need answers to the basic needs of life, and there are those that go beyond and affect the matters of the heart. This second kind not only makes your heart tremble with fear, but can also leave you depressed and unable to pick up the pieces. It also can leave you with a wholesome feeling of love and happiness. Right now, I hung in between and prayed I would end up in the happy part.
“Bro Tunde, you seem lost. You are yet to answer my question. I asked if you loved my daughter.” My father’s deep voice resonated round the room. “It is just a yes or no question. No one would die for it.”
I moved closer to the door and stilled my breath to hear the reply.
Bro Tunde coughed a little. “It is really not a simple question, sir.” His voice was a bit shaky. “I really cannot answer that.”
“Then why are you here?”
“To check on you.”
“Are you sure there is no other reason?”
There was a brief silence before Bro Tunde spoke. “Your daughter…do you think she would be interested in a person like me?”
“A person like you?”
“I mean… You know I am not her type. I am not very social or a people-person. I just like a quiet life with children and family.”
“And you think my daughter likes the social life?”
“Well, I have seen her couple of times and I believe she does enjoy the open side of life.”
“Does that bother you?”
“Well, maybe a bit.”
My father laughed loudly. “And you have not asked yourself why you are bothered.”
“Well, I am her leader in the children’s church. I should be concerned about her.”
“And that is all to it?”
“Yes… Yes, I believe so. Why are me quizzing me tonight, sir?”
Dad cleared his throat. “Oh! Am i? Please don’t be offended. I am just afraid.”
“I am afraid my daughter will get into the wrong hands. Don’t get me wrong. It is her decision to marry who she feels God says she should, but God speaks to me too and I have prayed regarding this and feel she will say ‘yes’ to the wrong man.”
Bro Tunde didn’t respond and dad continued.
“I know I shouldn’t be discussing this with you, but since you have indicated no interest in my daughter, then I can confide in you as always. Do you think I will be wrong if I tell my daughter not to marry Segun?”
“I think it is about what she wants, and not you sir. It is her decision to make. Talk to her. Know how she feels and what she wants. Perhaps, there are some things she is still hiding from you.”
“And you know them?”
“Well, I know she is a bit confused about what to do and I, on my part, have been sending encouraging messages. Been a while I did that, though.”
OMG! Bro Tunde had been the ‘phone evangelist’! That was a startling revelation. Why didn’t I ever think of that?
“That was thoughtful of you.” Dad commended. “I like your concern about my daughter.”
“Actually, sir. To be very truthful and please don’t be offended. I actually had interest in your daughter, but she called my bluff and I had to let her be.”
“No, I am not offended. In fact, I would have given my blessing if I had known that earlier.”
“Yes, but since you are no longer interested, guess I shall have to hold on to it.”
“Sir, don’t you understand?” Bro Tunde sounded frustrated. “This isn’t about my feelings. It is about hers. I know what God told me, but I cannot force it on her. I have tried all I could, but she kept pushing me away. Do you know how I feel every time I see her? She was my dream come true, but she KILLED THAT DREAM!”
“What are doing here? Are you going in or what?” A familiar voice shouted at me.
I jumped in fright and dropped the luggage in my hand. Tayo stood directly behind me carrying a plate of food and Mrs Folarin was behind her. They had come to see my father. This was the first time I would see Tayo visit the hospital. Without waiting for a response, she went past me and pushed the door.
“Good evening, Pastor.” She greeted in a sweet voice. “Hello, Bro Tunde. And oh! If you care to know, Chinwe has been standing outside for a while. Guess she didn’t want to disrupt your conversation.”
Gosh! This lady just kills me every time she got an opportunity.
I avoided everybody’s eyes and found a place to drop my grocery. This was no time to pretend I hadn’t been caught red-handed.
“Is that true, Chinwe?” Dad asked. “How long have you been standing there?”
I swallowed hard and faced them. “Long enough.”
Bro Tunde sighed loudly and picked up his car keys. “I have to leave.” He walked towards the door.
I walked towards him and blocked him. “Where are you leaving to?”
He stared into my eyes. “Anywhere, away from you.” He moved away from me.
He stopped and looked at me. My mouth was wide open, but nothing came out. I was too afraid to speak.
He moved to open the door.
“My daughter said you should wait, Bro Tunde. I think she has something important to say.” Dad stood up from his bed without assistance for the first time. He walked towards me and whispered into my ears. “If this is what you want, you have my blessing.”
“What’s happening here?” Tayo quizzed, but Deaconess Folarin shushed her up.
After some seconds, I could only say three words. “I am sorry.”
Bro Tunde shrugged. “For? You didn’t offend me.”
“I am sorry for treating you like a nobody.”
His mouth quivered a bit. “You were only being a lady. Most ladies do that. You do not have to feel guilty about that.”
“Were you really serious about me being your dream?”
His face was hard. “Never been more serious.”
“Can that dream still be revived?”
“That depends on the woman I loved and still love.” His voice shook a bit. “I have always loved you from the first time I laid my eyes on you on one of the days you came home for holidays. I had helped you carry your load upstairs, remember? You had looked at me with those beautiful eyes and my heart had been entrapped since then. Every day, my love for you grew deeper and as much as I tried to avoid you, I found myself coming closer. It killed me to find you with someone else, but I kept hoping that one day, perhaps I might be lucky. Guess that day would never come.”
“I want that dream revived. I want to be a part of it.”
Did I just say that? That was mighty courageous, but I had just realized what I wanted all along and I would not let that slip past me again.
“Did I… Did I hear you clearly? Please…can you..re…repeat what you said.” Bro Tunde stammered.
“If there is still a chance for me with you, I will like to take it hook, line and sinker. Yes, I want to be with you.”
“What of Bro. Segun?”
“He is not in God’s plan for me. You are.”
All those dreams, all those scripture passages… God had been pointing me to the answer I needed most, but sought least… a diamond in the rough.
“I don’t know what to say.” Bro Tunde was confused. “I am overwhelmed right now. Kindly excuse me for a minute.” He walked out of the room.
“Hello, Segun. “ Tayo spoke excitedly into her phone in a corner. “You will not believe what just happened. Your Chinwe just got engaged to Bro Tunde and…” She stopped talking when she saw that all eyes were fixed on her. “WHAT?” She asked and continued chatting like we were not there.
I shook my head in disbelief. She would never change, but inwardly, I was thankful she had taken that burden off me. Telling Segun off was something I was not looking to and now I didn’t have to worry about that anymore, or so I thought.
“You want to talk to her?” Tayo sounded irritated as she walked up to me with her phone. “Take. Segun wants to speak with you. He never believes anything I say.”
I hesitated and wondered what I would say. When Tayo noticed my reluctance, she pushed the phone into my hand.
“What did I just hear?” Segun barked into my ear. “You are engaged or what?”
“Wait, let me explain…”
“I do not need your useless explanations now. I am coming over to the hospital right now and you will explain yourself. You kept me waiting all these months to repay me with this? You and your father think you can make me a laughing stock?”
I was pissed. “Now, hold on Segun. You talk like I owe you a favour to say ‘yes’ to you. Who do you think you are talking about me and my father like that?”
I felt someone stand behind me and I turned to see my father’s angry face. He stood akimbo like he was ready to pounce. He beckoned at me to give him the phone, but I refused.
Segun continued ranting. “I can talk about whoever I want to talk to. If you think I am letting this go just like that, you are mistaken. Both of you will pay for this.”
“There is nothing you can do…” I retorted. “Now, I can see who you really are… a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I am glad I am not spending my life with you.”
Dad could not take this anymore. He snatched the phone from my hand and spoke in the coldest voice I had ever heard. “Now, listen boy. My daughter said she doesn’t want to be with you, or is it by force? And as her father I am in total support. Listen carefully, I do not want to see you near her, and if you do anything funny, I will deal with you. I am not speaking as a pastor now, but as an angry father who is very protective of her daughter. Stay away from her. Have I made myself clear?”
There was no response and dad shook his head. “He cut the line on me. I knew there was something fishy about that boy and I am glad I followed God’s direction. I never would give my blessing to such.”
The door opened and Bro Tunde came in with a bouquet of blue daisies. He walked up to me and handed them over. “This is for you. I wish I could express my feelings more to you. I am not much of a romantic person.”
“These are beautiful…” Heat filled my face. “I love daisies. How did you know that?”
“You wore one to the church two Sundays ago. I reckoned you loved them and I am glad I’m right.” His eyes were bright and hopeful. “Would you like to go out to dinner with me? I already made a reservation at Raddison Blu. Yes, I know the painful memories that place brings, which is why we need to erase them and replace them with beautiful ones.”
“Yes, she will go.” Dad answered before I could gather my thought. “In fact, she can also go tomorrow and next.”
“Daddy!!!” I smiled. “I can answer for myself okay?”
“Can I tag along?” Tayo asked. “I mean I promise not to disturb.”
“No, you will stay here with me.” Deaconess Folarin answered sternly. “Leave the lovebirds alone.”
Tayo sulked. “Okay. I lose again.”
Bro Tunde stretched his right hand towards me. “Are you ready?”
What a question! I had been ready for a long time. “Ready if you are…”
He placed my hand under his arm and slowly led us out of the room. I took a peek at dad and he was all beaming. I had never seen him happier in a long while. He finally had his way, didn’t he? LOL. I clutched Bro Tunde’s arm tight. A new chapter of my life had just begun and I had never felt more at peace. There was nothing like waiting for the right man God had chosen to come whisk me away. To think he had been right in front of me all along, but I was too blinded by the past. Well, the past is past. The future awaits and I am walking into it by faith. The moon is out. It’s going to be a romantic evening… And, if you walk past the Radisson Blu Restaurant and you see a lady, with a blue daisy tucked in her hair, having a lovely time with a gentleman, please stop by to say hello.
Little kisses around my neck jolted me back to reality and I inhaled the fresh scent of my husband.
“You have not slept, baby. You are keeping too many late nights lately.” He placed a kiss on my cheek.
“I know, Love. Just finished the last paragraph.” I yawned loudly. “Will join you now.”
“Step back, dad?” He asked with a sleepy voice.
“Yes. The final episode.”
“Yay!.” He jumped out of bed and joined me at the table. “So, what happened?” He asked excitedly.
“You will have to read it yourself.” I opened the drawer and brought out a book.
“What’s that?” He picked it up and scanned through it.
“Oh! That’s the next story on the line.”
“Hmmmm…. Through The Eye Of ‘Faith’… I like the title. When will you start this?”
“You sure the baby will allow you write well?” He caressed my protruding stomach.
I placed my hands over his. “I am sure she will.”
I raised my head and stared into my husband’s eyes and knew we were meant to be together forever. There is nothing like doing what God wants. I am glad I did.