I was rounding up from my eatery when Phil came in.
This was the third day after coming around with his sister.
He was not with Kachi, his kid sister. He came alone.
My girl, Halima went to attend to him but he asked to see me.
I went over to where he sat, he was pretending to be watching the cook show showing on television before I came.
“, Good evening sir… welcome to M’j Eatery. Here is the menu, kindly go through it so that we will know what to serve you… we’re here at your service sir..
I said sounding all official, like a serious minded business woman.
I overlooked his confused eyes. He rolled them at me without saying a word.
I try not to look or act too friendly. I was treating him like a customer.
he kept blinking his eyes to really understand what I was upto.
Phil was dumb founded at first when I moved the menu closer to him and asked him to check it out and tell me what exactly he wants
“Keji, please stop. we need to talk…I want to see you, in private. When do you close from here or resume…
“, Please Sir, I’m right here. You can talk to me about whatever you want…
“Cut the act off Keji. How’s your schedule? We need to sit down and talk and is definitely not here… please.
He was acting all serious and wasn’t ready for my business attics but I was having fun with it.
So I continued
“Sir, I’m always here. This is my business place and only place you can see and talk to me. please sir, what is it you want to talk about or you want me to do for you…
He sighed frustrated. Looked up at me and said. Calmly.
“What is up with you referring to me as “sir? Don’t you know my name again… and what’s all this business attitude you are portraying…? uhmm… alright Keji. two can play this game right? I’m in then.
He pause and smile before continuing.
“….Please madam, I’m searching for job…I heard there’s vacancy here. Don’t turn me down because I desperately need this this job. My whole heart depends on it.
I almost laughed out loud with the humor in his voice.
He pleadingly rubbed his two palms together, all with seriousness.
“There is no vacancy sir. You can’t work in this kind of place because of your high class. go and look elsewhere, No space is available…
“Don’t do this to me madam. Please don’t or my heart won’t be able to survive another disappointment… another heart break…
He paused, bent his head for sometime laughing.
He later looked up at me.
He looked from my hands, to my face, my eyes down to my mouth then back at my eyes
He gasped out and said smiling
“… is there no vacancy at all… for me? I can wash plate, I’m a good dishwasher. I can sweep and clean, I can run an errand for you my adorable madam. If there’s none here then employ me to be your houseboy at home. I will make sure the house is clean and prepare your favorite meal… what do you say to my request ma’am?
I began laughing so loudly, he curved a smile as he watched me laugh.
“… when are you closing tonight…let me also be your driver and take you home.
I told him that I was almost rounding up but he doesn’t need to do that.
Phil waited until I was through for the day. We left together.
He opened the back door and try to usher me in as a driver.
I ignored him and took the front seat beside him.
We didn’t say much during the ride. He only asked that hope my day wasn’t too stressful and I told him it wasn’t.
It was around 10pm I got home. I usually close from the eatery 10pm and sometimes gets home by 11pm
But because of Phil I decided to closed 9:30pm today.
It was a 30min drive to my house.
“I will like us to talk Keji…not now because is quiet late. You need to go and rest from hectic day. Can I come around tomorrow…
“No, I will be at the shop.
He stared at nothing for a while before saying
“Okay then. No problem Keji. I assume you don’t want to have anything to do with me again… do you?
I didn’t answer him as he turned to look at me.
“Thanks for the ride Phil. I need to go inside now.
He nodded as I stepped down. He didn’t drive away immediately until I entered inside.
I sat hard on the chair, relaxed my head and shut my eyes.
I don’t know if I will ever let go of the feeling I have for Phil.
Sitting close to him makes all the memories and emotions to come rushing back.
I don’t know what exactly he wants to talk about, I assume is our past events which I want to leave behind me.
I don’t know if he has another woman in his life
I still don’t know if he still loves me like he used to. I don’t want him to lead me on and I will end up getting stranded along the way.
I have been asking God to help my everyday work with him. To purify me so that I will be good enough to the one who deserves me and that’s only if he destined me to marry.
A man like Phil, is hard to find. I don’t know if i will ever be good enough for him.
What if he continues to judge me due to my past.
I do not want to rush into a relationship because of my weaknesses which includes, loneliness, age and many other factors.
I want to be fully ready before God and before man so that I can be a wife my husband will be proud of and good mother to my children.
If I wanted to rushed into a relationship I could have, even before meeting Phil again.
I had men I would have consider but I felt I wasn’t ready and they did not fall into the kind of man God will want me to settle with.
Is not about high taste or standard is about having someone who will push me to do better, who will help my walk with God. Who will love me truly and encourage me both me in prayer.
Phil falls perfectly into this category but I was neither good enough for him nor in perfect line with his core belief
Through him I have not only discovered myself, I have also find my purpose and strengthen my walk with God.
Phil is the man that brought out the best in me and such men can only be God sent to humanity.
The following morning, I was getting ready for work.
One of Tope Alabi’s worship songs was playing. I was singing along while getting ready for work.
I heard a knock, checked the time and it was just few minutes to 6am
I went to the door and checked through the security nuts and it was Phil.
I opened up.
“Good morning Phil…
I greeted warmly.
“Good morning… Sorry I came too early. Couldn’t sleep last night and needed to catch you up before you leave for your shop. All I did was to brush my mouth before rushing down here… can I come in?
His eyes looked so puffy, I assume is the evidence of not sleeping well last night.
The sound of the music was getting to the door.
“….do you have someone inside? Maybe I… I should leave… didn’t mean to disturb or interrupt anything…
He looked at me with a straight face before taking a step backward.
“Waiiitt. Come inside…
He paused and probably contemplating.
I opened the door wide and he gently stepped in and went straight to the sitting room while I was trying to lock up the door again.
He was already sitting
I turned down the volume of the music and turned to him
“…it was obviously the music sound that made you assume I had somebody in here. Not that is a crime, I can have anybody I wish to but ever since we ended things I have never had another man coming and going as he please.
“We” what do you mean by “before we ended things?. I didn’t end anything… you did. You returned my engagement ring, selfishly refused to see me. You didn’t even find it worthwhile to hand it over to me by yourself… you gave it to my secretary with the excuse that you were rushing to somewhere. You never returned any of my messages after then. You travelled and changed your line so that I can’t reach you…I saw your ex coming around after you ended things with me… you, you…it was all you Keji. Don’t get me involved in any of that…
I put on a smirking face and looked at him.
I sat down in another chair.
“I agree, totally that it was me. What would you expect me to do…eeh Phil? You refused speaking to me after what happened with Luke. I have to let go because I felt unworthy of you. I can’t force you to forgive or love me like you used to. I thought I should save you the trouble of finally breaking up with me… which was why I returned the ring. I did things I can’t boost off and letting go off you was the hardest decision I have ever made. And mind you, I had nothing to do with Luke except when I asked him to come over and pick up the jewelries that I sold…
He looked at me puzzled.
“You sold the jewelries?? Why……
I quickly interrupted
“I had to because I needed money to add to my shop. I had money but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t in need of the luxuries so I have to sell it back to Lukemon. Not with a worthy price though but the money went a long way for me. I’m sorry that… that…
I breathed in because I really don’t know what I should be apologising for.
“…. Phil, I needed to take my mind off you so I traveled to stay with my Mum for some time. I wanted to become a better woman. A woman who truly fears God and depends only on him. A woman of honor, substance, dependence, virtues and a woman others can emulate from. And that was what led me to discovering myself. I’m happy…yes I am. My happiness used to be focused on men…I had a lot of things that used to weigh me down but I’m gradually letting go. I want to be a woman my husband will be proud of if God happens to approve of such. I’m leaving it all in God’s hands as I focus on my business…
There was silent for sometime and he later said.
“Keji, I was truly impressed when you told me about your business. it was wow. You are doing absolutely great. I’m happy…truly for the new and better woman that you have become. I really miss you…so much. Are you seeing somebody…at the moment or considering somebody…
“I’m not seeing any one but I’m considering somebody.
He was silent again and I didn’t bother explaining further.
“I am too… I’m considering someone…
I try not to look at him when he said he was also considering somebody. I felt deeply wounded and had this strange sad feeling all of a sudden.
Phil was about getting into another relationship and forgetting that I ever existed. Maybe he is already in a relationship.
This was probably his way of saying goodbye. I should live with anything the future brings.
“… Keji…. Keji. I still love you. I really do with all my heart. You are always on my mind and I have not been able to let go. You are the one I’m still considering and hoping we can start again. I don’t know if I sound awful but that’s the reason I couldn’t sleep last night. I want my woman back…
I finally looked up at him before releasing a sigh of relief.
“…Do you still love me…?
I moved uncomfortably on my seat.
“I don’t know Phil…I don’t know what I should feel or what I supposed to say to that. I don’t want to walk on same lane as before. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I have avoided deep emotions all this while and I’m fine. Having a man in my life haven’t been too favorable. I don’t want to stir up the stilled water again. I’m doing fine without the whole love drama…
He moved closer to me, I quickly stood and stepped away from him.
He moved to where I stood, slowly yet carefully touched my arm.
“…i want you Keji. You don’t have to hold back or hide your feeling if you truly love me. I hope with God’s help this second phase… will yield better result. I’m not promising that their won’t be potholes like your former street…
I laughed quietly while he smiled.
“…but another ride with you will be a journey to remember for good. With God by our side… because is not by our ability…but by God’s grace. We will make it together and better. Keji, please…no other woman appeals to me like you do. My parents and everyone miss you. They want to see you again. I told them you returned my ring and traveled…i couldn’t bring myself to tell them what really transpired between us. My Mum tried calling you that period but your number wasn’t going. I also tried for several days but to no avail. I have to come to a conclusion that if you are truly the woman for me then God will bring you back at the right time.
I was indeed happy to hear him say all of that. I couldn’t even hold back again or hide my feeling of excitement.
I went into his waiting arms.
“I missed you so much…
He said as he held me closely to himself.
“I miss you too Phil…I replied quietly.
He released me from his arms, looked into my eyes and said.
“I love you Keji… with all my heart.
“Same here”. I replied.
“If you truly love me Keji, then say so not “same here”. Say it boldly to my face…
“I love you Phil… can’t stop loving you. You indirectly made a better and Godly woman out of me. I’m forever indebted to you… I thank God for bringing you my way. I love you truly… with every fiber in me.
He smiled and pulled me into another warm hug.
“Can I kiss you? I brushed my mouth already before coming here…
he whispered to my ears making me to laugh so loud.
“Of course you can. But just a little kiss so we don’t trigger any other thing… hope you understand?
He also laughed out loud for the first time.
“Yes ma’am. He finally said.
And we had a short kissed but as he released me, I felt like he should have extended it.
I guess he also wanted the same as he immediately cupped myself and kissed me dearly.
It was longer and satisfying.
He dropped me off at my office that morning. Although I was late but the place was already open by my staffs.
During the next weekend he took me home to visit his people.
His parents were happy to see me again.
Stella, Seun and the rest.
I met Kachi, she couldn’t hide her excitement.
“Nne, you are back? You are really looking good o. I thought that the boss finally dumped you… don’t take it personal, It was just a thought.”
Ijeoma said when she saw me.
I flashed her a smile.
“…but to be truthful I was happy. I even celebrated within myself when you stopped coming and no news of you again. Any time we ask the boss about you he will just say you are fine. At some point he started ignoring the question. I knew right then that sand has entered the garri. But… anyway sha. Let me say I’m happy that you are back… but I will advise that if the relationship won’t work out stop forcing it or forcing the boss to love you. He has obviously collected his ring from you because you don’t deserve it. His mind maybe on a classic pretty Igbo Lady… I’m only advising you like my sister o. No hard feeling…as you can see that I like Seun, she is hardworking and respectful. So this is not because you are onye ofe mmanu… this is just me wanting the best for the boss. And… also you. Please think about my advice. A bia ram na Udo! (I come in peace)
I sighed and walked away from her. I’m too grown for Ijeoma’s banter.
Phil later came and told me to follow him.
I did, he took me to a big sitting room.
While I sat waiting in the biggest living room right in their house which was located downstairs.
I saw his parents, Kachi and the staffs coming to take their seats with a fat grin on their faces.
Even Ijeoma, Stella and Seun were seated.
I wondered what was going on.
The terrifying dream I had in the past flashed through my mind.
I quickly rejected it still on my mind.
Kachi came to sit beside me.
I whispered and asked her what was going on.
She said I should watch and see.
“I want you all to witness this special event. I’m happy that Dad and Mum… Kachi is seated here. Thanks to all the staffs in this room for honouring my invite. I don’t want to bore us with long speech… I’m heading straight to the point. Look over there, who do you see?
He pointed towards me. They all chorused my name.
“…That’s good… thank you all. Everyone of you knows her and also knew she is my most desired lady whom I love so dearly. My first proposal was just me and her alone. On that note…I officially want her to be my soul mate in front of you all…
He went on one knee. I was battling with shyness and blushing like a new bride.
My heart beat was fast.
He asked me to come and stand in front of him. I did.
Everyone cheered on.
His parents, Kachi were grinning from ear to ear.
The staffs were even jubilating more than me.
Ijeoma has this strange face and would have walked away if not for the fear she has.
Phil brought out an engagement ring. The same old one.
My very old engagement ring that I was so used to and it was hard for me to let go and slip it into the envelope letter that I returned to Phil.
I felt tears gathering up my eyes as I looked at Phil on a knee and stretching the ring towards me.
… Keji, today in front of my parents, my sister and this entire household staffs that has become a family to us, will you be my bride… my soulmate, my wife, mother of my kids and my forever friend?
I swallowed hard before wiping a tear.
My legs were even shaking, my hand sweating.
I can’t believe that I’m standing in the midst everyone which includes his parents and Phil is asking me to marry him.
My birthday is coming up again, how fast the year runs and God was about to give me the best birthday gift ever.
It was indeed a special kind of feeling that made me want to scream “praise the Lord”.
I breathed deeply and then said.
“Yes…I will marry you Phil.
The whole house echoes with jubilation.
Stella and Seun with other female staffs were jumping and dancing as if they were the ones that Phil just proposed to.
Phil slide the ring gently into my waiting finger.
He stood, pecked my forehead before drawing me into his arms.
Another uproar of congratulations was roaming the whole air.
some were giving us numerous round of applause while others were shouting jubilantly.
Our wedding plans began in another different sweet dimension, right from here.