[Fiction] Here for You  

Source: Internet

Here for You 

By John Ogunjimi 

I returned from the office exhausted from the day’s work and with files of unfinished business in my briefcase. My plan was to get home, have a shower, take a one-hour nap, and resume my office work, as I have had to do in the last two weeks. 

However, something unusual happened when I arrived home. My wife was home earlier than usual, seated in the living room coiled up like a cat in a carton with her gaze fixed on the television. 

“Hello, dearest,” I said, dropping my briefcase on a stool beside the couch. 

“Welcome home,” she replied, sitting up but without really looking in my direction. 

There was something about her reply that didn’t seem right. I could tell when my wife was angry about something, but this was not that. It was something else… Something I couldn’t explain yet. 

She slouched in the couch, shot me a brief smile and refocused her attention on the television. I moved closer and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “I love you,” I said. 

“I love you too.” She smiled and returned her attention to the screen before her. She was glued to it moving her eyeballs like one tracing a laser light on a projector screen. 

I shifted my stare from her to the television. She was watching the Sound of Music. 

“Great old classic,” I commented while removing my cufflinks. 

“Hmm,” she replied curtly. 

I made to move away but hesitated when I noticed she didn’t say anything or even look in my direction. Was something wrong, or was she just engrossed in her movie? I wondered. 

I came closer again, and this time I sat beside her. She sat up and placed her head on my shoulder. I put my arm around her, squeezed her shoulder gently, and stroked my fingers through her hair. She exhaled loudly like someone relaxing into scarce comfort, then she put one hand around my back and placed the other on my chest as if to feel my heartbeat. 

“Sweetheart, are you alright?” I asked. 

“I’m fine,” she replied in a way that didn’t sound any fine, her attention still on the movie. 

I paused for some seconds before trying to talk again. “If there is anything you w–” I was saying when she slid her hand from my chest to my mouth and stopped my lips with one finger. 

“Shhh. Everything is alright, my love. You don’t have to say a thing. I just need you to sit here with me, watch with me, and laugh with me.” She looked up into my eyes like she was expecting a consent. “Like old times, you know?” 

I nodded, took a deep breath, ran my hand through her hair again, and replied, “I’m here for you, darling. Like old times, I’m here for you.” 

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A Friend in Need (30)

A Friend in Need (30)

As Tayo’s Best Man, I was responsible for organizing the wedding reception. All hands had been on deck for the planning. Mrs Okafor had been very supportive, both morally and financially. Debby helped with the decorations of both the church and the hall to be used for the reception. Once or twice it had crossed my mind and I’d wondered if it would have been proper for Tolani to attend Tayo’s wedding if her studies had not taken her out of the country.

As I sat there in the church, I engaged my mind with thoughts of all that was to happen afterwards. I’d given certain instructions to the manager of the event centre we were to use. I silently prayed that all things would go as planned.

“Now, we proceed to the ceremony.” The voice of the officiating minister jolted me back to consciousness. Continue reading

A Friend in Need (29)

A Friend in Need (29)

As soon as we finished our final exams and convocation, Tayo applied to Firewall Engineering Company where he had his internship and was employed as a Graduate Trainee. Two months into the job, he was sponsored abroad for a 4-month training.

Mrs Okafor, after her maternity leave, resumed back to work with a promotion letter. She became the new Director of the Youth Counselling Centre after Dr Andrews retired. Though most of her duties were administrative yet she continued to influence and transform lives of young people around her. She took personal interest in cases of young people suffering from depression and various types of addiction.

Life literally flung us in different directions. Tolani didn’t allow being a single mother to hinder her from furthering her studies. She applied for and won a scholarship to run her Masters’ Degree overseas. When the challenge of caring for Ben came up, Maria, on hearing the news through Tayo, offered to take care of Benjamin in Tolani’s absence. Continue reading

A Friend in Need (28)

A Friend in Need (29)

“I’m not very good at story telling but I’ll try.” Tayo started, taking the centre position in the living room as we circled around him to listen. “It all started during one Sunday service in my second year; it was as if a sudden realization of Maria dawned on me. She had being in the fellowship all along and she’d being an usher too, but it was as if I was noticing her for the first time that Sunday. Honestly, it was difficult for me to concentrate on the remaining part of the service to the point that I had to caution myself and refocus on the preaching.

“The service ended that day and I went home thinking the feeling would go away. In unexplainable terms, my heart started yearning to see her again. I anticipated the next service more than my next meal. When I took it to God in prayer, I could almost feel the Holy Spirit sit beside me and was reading a recommendation letter about her to me. The more I tried not to think about her, the more I found myself thinking about her. My eyes began to open to certain things about her, like her dedication to God’s service, her love for orderliness, and her charming personality. Continue reading

A Friend in Need (27)

A Friend in Need (27)

I spent the greater part of the almost journey daydreaming again, since I wasn’t ready to share my cogitations with anyone. It seemed the road stretched longer than normal. The afternoon sun beating hard on the bus made the heat unbearable yet I managed to keep a radiant face as I listened to those who had things to say. As if in a conspiracy to prolong my suspense, the weekend travellers had caused a gridlock on the highway. But this isn’t the first time we’re passing through this route. I wondered.

When we finally reached our destination, I fronted the team. Tayo had suggested that we all meet at an eatery but I’d objected. “I would be better if we met at Mrs Okafor’s house. She may have one or two motherly pieces of advice to give.” I had said, partly because it was true, and also because I would get to see the one my heart longed for. Everyone had consented to my advice.

Maria watched me with suspicion as I made all the moves and I knew if asked, she could tell that something was fishy. Continue reading