“But why didn’t you inform us before now? Besides isn’t it too early? Why not wait a little bit?” Pearl questioned Rita.
Rita was dressed for her outing as it’s already 6.30pm. She had just told Pearl and Caro that a friend invited her for an evening program in her church. That was the most presentable lie she could come up with. How would she tell them she was actually going to see Mr. Shola, and in a hotel for that matter.
“Sorry, I didn’t tell you earlier, I just made up my mind to go for it few hours back. I have to go now because it will start by 7pm and I don’t want to miss any part of it” Rita replied Pearl.
“Well, if you say so, there is no problem. But where is your scarf?” Pearl questioned again.
“Oh thanks, I almost forgot that” Rita said dashing off to the room to take her scarf. She gave Pearl and Caro a hug before leaving. While in the taxi, her heart was not at rest as she feared anything bad happening to her. Just then Mrs. Joy called but she deliberately refused to pick her call. After three attempts, Mrs. Joy sent her a text message which reads “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way”. By this time, she was already at the front of Ebo hotel. As she alighted the taxi, she assured herself nothing was going to happen to her. She called Mr. Shola who told her to meet him at room 9c. As she knocked on the door of the room, Mrs. Joy’s text message kept ringing in her heart. Mr. Shola opened the door and welcomed her; he offered her a drink which she declined.
“Sir, I have come for the appointment letter; you told me I will get it today” Rita snapped. Mr. Shola amidst laughter showed her the appointment letter.
“You need something and I need something; so you scratch my back and I scratch yours” Mr. Shola said in a business-like tone.
Rita gazed like a confused person. Mr. Shola pointed to the bed smiling mischievously.
“Am very sorry sir, I can’t do this” Rita said as she stood up to leave.
“Maybe you need some time to make up your mind, I will be here waiting
for you when you are ready” Mr. Shola assured Rita as she turned her back to leave.
As Rita stood waiting for a taxi, someone called her name from the other end of the road. She had walked a little bit further from the hotel to board a taxi. She recognized the face immediately the lady crossed the road to meet her.
“Oh my God! Rita, how are you” the lady said as she hugged her.
It was Esther, her roommate while in school. Esther was wayward on campus; that has not changed now as it is still evident in her dressing. Rita learnt Esther is presently a production manager in one of the textile companies. She is also getting married in a months’ time to the son of a famous politician. Though Esther sympathized with Rita concerning her current employment status but didn’t fail to express how disappointed she is.
“I know you to be God fearing, so why would God do such to you”, Esther expressed.
Rita boarded a taxi when they parted ways. She kept recalling the words of her aunt “you can always go back to God for repentance”. It was resounding in her heart. And then in a moment, she remembered all that Esther told her about herself few minutes back.
“Oga, no vex I beg. Take me back to Ebo hotel” Rita told the taxi driver.
Pearl and Caro had just finished gazing at each other. Caro had slept off on the sofa and suddenly woke up with a yell. It’s obvious it was a dream. Pearl’s look was that of a person who had caught a criminal while Caro’s look was like that of a criminal caught red handed. Caro had been having recurring bad dreams. This one was indeed dreadful. She saw herself being forced to dig a grave, after which she was being pushed inside.
“I think it’s best to pray about it” that was all Pearl could manage to say as she knew there was no need asking.
As Caro stood up and walked to the bedroom, the bell ranged. Pearl headed for the door while Caro waited to see who it was. The two ladies welcomed Rita who was utterly insensitive to their greetings. When Pearl asked about the program, she just nodded and went into the bedroom. The two ladies left at the sitting room exchanged glances as though signaling the other to go find out what the problem was. Caro took the lead with Pearl following behind. By the time they got to the bedroom, Rita already wrapped up herself on the bed without minding to change her outfit.
“What’s the problem? Why are your eyes red and your face swollen? Have you been crying?” Caro asked.
“Nothing different from what you know, I promise I will be fine” Rita replied. She turned her face towards the wall. The two concerned ladies understood she wanted to be left alone and so they let her be.
The tears flowing from Rita’s eyes were so uncontrollable. What on earth have she done? She had thought she would adjust immediately but it is not as she had thought. She had lost her pride in a flash just for an ordinary job. How would she face God? She was warned, wasn’t she? She willingly walked into the den of lion and allowed the lion devour her. She kept wriggling like someone in pains. That night was the longest night she had ever witnessed. The following morning, Rita was not her usual self. She was so conscious of everything around her. A great fear already engulfed her. She shivered at the slightest noise. She had indeed lost her peace with God. She couldn’t do her quiet time that morning nor did she have the appetite to eat. Her friends tried all their best to make her speak up, but that didn’t work. She had no stamina to speak to anyone nor to answer her phone calls; not even the persistent caller, not even her Aunt. She just laid on her bed deep in thought.
Story by Christiana Okafor (nee Afeme)
photo credit: Google