It’s a bright Monday morning; the day is busy as usual. Rita is presently at Babcob Plc heading for Mr. Shola’s office. The proposed appointment letter given to her was a blank paper tucked in an envelope. She was filled with so much shame that Friday night that she didn’t bother opening the envelope. It was that morning she opened the envelope. She had left it in the bag she kept it that Friday without bothering to go through it. Her heart beats were faster now and her face perspiring as she approached his office. When she was ushered in, she didn’t even have the time to exchange pleasantries.
“With all due respect sir, I need an explanation to this” she exclaimed as she presented the envelope.
Mr. Shola just continued his work ignoring her.
“Why did you do this to me? I will sue you for this, I promise” Rita said.
Mr. Shola gave a scornful laugh. “What evidence do you have?” He looked up at her in disgust.
“We are already in the process of opening a new branch here in Zuba. We have gotten all the staff we needed excluding one. That position is very sensitive and we need a trustworthy Christian
just like the one we have in this branch for that position. I had to put you to a simple test when your appearance convinced me that you were a genuine Christian. When you declined my offer at the hotel, I was pleased. I thought I had seen who we have been looking for. But you surprised me when you returned to the hotel that night. You gave me the free license to do what l did. You were so beautiful that night, I couldn’t resist you. Now tell me, why are you professing to be a Christian when you are not? You are just sitting on the fence. When I see a rare opportunity, I utilize it perfectly. I’m very sorry, I didn’t know you could still be a virgin at your age. But as for the job, maybe I will have a rethink but am not assuring you it would be yours” Mr. Shola said.
Where Rita stood, the ground seems to be opening up gradually to swallow her. She didn’t know how she summoned courage to leave the office. She managed to restrain herself from shedding tears as she walked out of the company. She turned as she heard her name from behind her.
“Didn’t you see me? Or you don’t recognize me anymore?” The woman said.
It was Mrs. Funmi of OLA and Co. Ltd (her distant relative). Rita had just passed her by without taking note.
“Am very sorry ma, I didn’t see you” Rita responded apologetically.
“I told you to expect my call during the weekend, didn’t I” asked Mrs. Funmi
“Yes, you did. But I didn’t get any call” replied Rita
“You must be joking, I called several times on Saturday, and I even did yesterday. You didn’t pick up neither did you return my call” blurted Mrs. Funmi
“I…I am sorry ma, some issues came up” Rita said pitifully
Mrs. Funmi continued “Well, it’s a pity you lost it. We have being looking for a marketing manager for the company ever since the previous one resigned. I recommended you to the board and was asked to inform you to resume today”.
“Oh, thank God
, let me just go there right away” Rita cuts in.
“I’m sorry miss, you missed the privilege. I was asked to go for an alternative since you were not picking your calls; they weren’t patient. Well, we have a new marketing manager now. She resumed this morning. I’m sorry about this but I tried my best for you. I believe God will make another way for you” Mrs. Funmi consoled her.
The tears could not be restrained any more, it gushed down like a rushing tap. “This must be a dream, it can’t be real” Rita cried.
Rita knew she had lost favour from God and this may just be the beginning of her predicaments. How impatient she had been. Her set time was around the corner when she allowed herself to be deceived. She stopped a motorcycle as she headed for the church. She couldn’t bear being separated from God anymore. The guilt and burden in her heart were too much to bear. Just like the prodigal son, she has to go back to God. And this time around she is ready to constantly abide, nothing is going to stop her now.
Pearl was surprised when Rita walked in that evening beaming with joy. Maybe she had been wrong all the while. Earlier that day, Rita had been depressed. She doesn’t seem to understand what has been going on with Rita.
The peace and joy Pearl usually beams with anytime she is with her friends has since ceased. Each of them had become a one-man-riot. Not only has that been bothering her, the rumors of her past which had been circulating among the choristers in her church is another pain in the neck. Only God knows how many ears have heard the story
. How it started, she can’t tell but she kept suspecting bro Elijah must have done the broadcast. Thank God for her pastor who stepped in to put things in order, but the deed is done already. When she got back home that evening, she met no one at home neither did she have the idea of their whereabouts. Now Rita is back, her face is radiant unlike the way she had been for some days now.
Rita sincerely apologized for her behaviour. She opened up to Pearl all that had happened to her from the previous weekend up to that very moment. Though, Pearl listened in bewilderment, she was at the same time happy that Rita is restored back to God. Pearl gave a word of advice and prayed for her friend. She also made Rita promise that she won’t hide anything from her again.
It was midnight already and Caro wasn’t back from work yet. She didn’t drop a message neither did she call to inform them of her whereabouts, her lines were not connecting either. Rita and Pearl were so worried that they were alert at every sound hoping it will be Caro. They prayed for Caro’s safety before retiring to bed that night.
For four days, Caro was still missing. Rita and Pearl had gone to report to the police on the second day of the occurrence, their pastor was also informed. The prayer team also took it as a responsibility to pray for her safety and safe return.
Where could she be?
Story by Christiana Okafor (nee Afeme)
photo credit: Google