A Friend in Need (19)
Tayo couldn’t return with us. When I greeted his dad, he didn’t say much to me but Tayo had told me he had to see his mom, and so he wouldn’t be journeying back with us. He would come later in the day if he could still make it, or wait till the next day. After finding out that I’d known earlier, did Tayo’s father still trust me? I wondered. As soon as we got back on the road, I wanted to spill all the questions in me but I had to start from somewhere.
“How did it go in there?” I asked.
“It went as expected.” Mrs Okafor answered, knowing I would want to ask more.
“What does that mean? Fine?”
“Obviously. It was fine. At least, you didn’t see us running out of his office with our shoes in our hands.” We all burst into a roar of laughter. “But seriously,” she continued, “His dad was heavily disappointed in him. He didn’t know when a tear began to roll down his cheek.”
“Really? But, what and how exactly did you tell him?” I made my curiosity known.
“To start with, he knew I was coming.”
“How?” I was puzzled. “Did Tayo call him before you got there?”
“I doubt that. He couldn’t have had the courage to do that. When I got to the secretary’s office, I asked to see the pastor. The woman behind the desk asked if I had an appointment and when I said no, she told me the pastor had been expecting me. When I met the pastor, I introduced myself as a youth counsellor in a neighbouring state and asked him why his secretary said he’d been expecting me.”
The pastor said the spirit of God had informed him that he would be having a visitor other than one of his regular members, but had kept other details from him. The pastor was eager to hear what she had to say. Mrs Okafor said she told him Tolani’s side of the story; how she committed immorality with a young man, got pregnant, planned to abort the pregnancy, but changed her mind after coming to her for counselling.
The pastor was excited and had commended her effort. He’d also asked if the lady in question needed further spiritual help, and that he would be willing give it in any way he could. It was then she told him that it was the young man involved who needed help at the moment, not the lady. She told him the boy said he had repented of his sin and was forgiven by God, but didn’t know how to tell his parents or secure their forgiveness.
Pastor Adekunle, still unsuspecting, had volunteered to help the young man; he’d thought the boy’s parents were members of his church and that it wouldn’t be difficult to plead with them on behalf of their son. “If God has forgiven the offender, who’s man not to forgive?” She said, quoting the pastor.
She’d asked if she could call the boy in. The pastor had agreed, and that was when she called Tayo to come join her. When Pastor Adekunle saw Tayo through the transparent wall, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He had asked Mrs Okafor if that was a coincidence or that was the person she just called. On receiving confirmation that it was Tayo they were expecting, it hit him as a big blow.
As Tayo joined them in the office, he’d quickly prostrated and started begging for forgiveness. Mrs Okafor had sat there watching how the pastor would react when he discovered that he had bound himself with his own words. He couldn’t say anything for seconds until he sniffed and bowed his head to hide the tear that was rolling down his cheek.
She had excused herself from them for some minutes so they could have the father-son talk. She hadn’t heard what they talked about but she could see from the other side that he ranted for some minutes while Tayo remained prostrate on the floor. At a point, Tayo had knelt down while he seemed to be explaining things to his father, then prostrated again and started pleading. Later, Pastor Adekunle had opened the door and called her back inside.
He’d thanked her very much and asked for an opportunity to meet the lady as soon as possible. And then, other things followed.
“That was a great feat you performed, I must say.” I commented when she was done. “In a nutshell, he had to take his own counsel.”
“Yes.” Mrs Okafor replied. “I actually saw that coming.”
“As a professional counsellor,” I asked, “have you ever been in a situation where you have had to take your own counsel to others?”
“All the time, my dear. All the time. Just this week I had to do that. When I had the accident and lost my unborn child, I thought of what counsel I would have given if it had happened to someone other than me, then I took the counsel. It’s hard and painful at times, but over the years I have trained myself to do that. If it wouldn’t work for me, then I shouldn’t expect it to work for others.”
“That is impressive.” Debby said.
“And instructive.” I added. I’d just learnt an important lesson that I wasn’t going to forget anytime soon.
By then, we were already approaching the bus stop where I was to board a cab to my hostel. I alighted at the stop and waved them goodbye. Tayo’s parents came the evening of the next day to meet Tolani. They promised to take full responsibility of her care and the baby’s. Mrs Okafor said she’s decided to do that already, yet they insisted.
The following week, Tolani was delivered of a bouncing baby boy. The child was christened Benjamin Boluwatife Adekunle. Tolani remained in the Okafors’ apartment where Tayo paid her occasional visits.
Tayo became regular in church again. Our friendship was renewed, I was an ‘uncle’, Tayo was now a father and life continued. I was glad that everything had returned back to normal … until Tayo and I fell in love with the same person.
To be continued…