A Friend in Need (12)
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: … a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
There are Bible passages that you may not fully understand their import until you find yourself in a position to apply them. That moment, in Mrs Okafor’s office, was the moment I truly understood what the wise king wrote. I understood that you could still be very wrong even if you were asking a right question, if you ask at the wrong time.
I had been thinking about what Tayo’s decision would be about his relationship with Tolani, and I planned asking him about it. I remember they’d broken up, but I wanted to know if it was temporary or permanent since he seemed to be very fond of her in his writings. Perhaps, I should have asked Tayo before we ever got to meet Tolani face to face.
Tolani’s reaction was appalling. She got up from her sit with a rage I didn’t expect. The beauty of her face shrank into surly facial expression. ‘Anger indeed makes one ugly.’ My hand reached for the button…
“DON’T!” She hollered. “Don’t even dare touch that button!” I withdrew my hand quickly.
“Do you think you can fool me? Or, you think I don’t understand where this is going.” Immediately she said that, my error dawned on me. They obviously had not talked about getting married to each other and all the no-sex-before-marriage things he wrote in his journal were products of infatuation. Possible reasons flooded my mind: ‘Maybe she’s still angry with Tayo for what happened. Or, could it be Tayo who didn’t want her anymore because of the mistake they’d made? Or, wait! What does she mean by “where this is going”? Hope she’s not thinking we came here to propose…’ I had to speak out to save myself immediately.
“No, Tolani. I’m very sure it’s not what you’re thinking.” I stood up to make myself clear.
“Sit!” She barked at me. I just made matters worse. I obeyed as quickly as possible and sat like a guilty pet awaiting its owner’s judgement.
“How did you know what I was thinking? Tell me. How?” I was flummoxed. When she saw the confusion written all over my face, she left me and turned to Tayo.
“So this was your plan. Right? Walking up to me and talking about Physics all that time; walking me home and buying me lunch; paying me visits and pretending to be ‘just a friend’. Poor me!” While she was busy ranting, I quickly pressed the button. In fact, I pressed it repeatedly to make sure Mrs Okafor heard it wherever she was.
“How did I not see this coming?” Tolani continued, “I know now, only that it’s too late. Now I know what your plan was: you wanted to marry me but you needed to be sure I wasn’t infertile, or that you were not sterile. How dumb I was! Now that you have proven your point, you brought your friend here to propose on your behalf…” She busted into tears. Tayo remained speechless.
Just then, Mrs Okafor walked in.
“What is going on here?” Tolani was already in tears while Tayo’s head hung low. Mrs Okafor turned to me, “Femi, talk to me. What happened here?”
“It’s all my fault. I am very sorry. I guess I said something wrong.” I turned to Tolani to apologize.
“Stay away from me!” She said in anger. Facing Mrs Okafor, “Did you know about this too? And you agreed to it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Tolani. Will you calm down while we talk this over?” She suggested.
“Ah! Tayo, so you tricked her too? Shame on you! Shame on you! How could you be so heartless? How could you do this to me? Tell me why. I mean, of all the people …”
“TOLANI!” Mrs Okafor shouted, “I’m sitting right here and you’re acting this way? I said, sit down and let me listen to what happened.” Tolani sat down on a separate chair, sobbing in sporadic intervals.
“Yes, Femi, I’m listening. What happened?”
To be continued…