THE ADVENTURES OF TOLU (T.A.O.T)
EPISODE 43 (THE PENULTIMATE)
By my calculations, we should have graduated, but because it was a federal university in Nigeria that does not always give what they promise and graduate when they are supposed to. We were in our 500 Level. The relationship was on going, and the no-sex principle was still very strong. Though we have been able to break some of the touch barriers over the years. But still, we were committed to our decision not to be involved in any sexual relationship.
Pastor and Mummy were still in the dark as far as the relationship was concerned. Everytime we go home during break, we tried to hide it as much as we could. But we were going to graduate soon. And after graduating, should marriage not be one of the next things to consider? Is there any way you can marry a girl without the consent of her parents? Since there is none, we both just had to face our fears and open up to Pastor and Mrs Alakija.
My performance was quite good academically. I was going to graduate with a ‘Second-Class-Upper’. Dammy was doing even better. She was going to graduate with a first class. My department was more demanding than hers. But that’s not an excuse for me not doing as good as she did. Dammy is very brilliant no doubt. We wrote our final exams, and the results were released. After the final results were released, Dammy dropped to Second-Class-Upper, and I maintained Second-Class-Upper. That was how Dammy and I graduated with the same grade division though her CGPA was still higher than mine. Dammy was unhappy about her dropping, but there was nothing we could do. It was not as if what she got was bad afterall.
Our convocation rolled in and it was big. People, family, and friends came over for the convocation as we were taking pictures. Each time I took a picture with Dammy, I knew in my mind that we were taking pre-wedding pictures. Elijah was already becoming a big-boy. As expected Mummy cooked jollof-rice and ‘Amala’. It was such a beautiful day. I just knew in my heart that the next event was going to be a beautiful wedding of Tolu and Damilola. As for Demilade and Feranmi, they graduated a year before me since they were doing a four-year course. Since we were separated in part one when we moved to different places, we have held a good bond of friendship. Aliyu and I were not so close. Maybe because he was a direct entry student.
We got home before I was mobilized for service. I had no choice but to wait till we get my ‘call-up letter’. Dammy was also waiting to be posted to the Nigerian Law School so that she can be called to the bar and become a certified lawyer. I was really praying that Dammy and I should be posted to the same state. As we were waiting for the next phase, Dammy and I planned to open up to her parents no matter what. So that we can know what to do next if they go against us. Dammy begged her Dad and mum for a meeting with me. The only person in the house that was excluded from the meeting was Elijah…
Pastor: So what do you want to discuss with us. We’re listening.
Dammy: Daddy! Mummy! Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. I know you would have been wondering wether I don’t have any man in my life at my age. But Dad, Mum (facing her mum) I don’t know how to say this but…
Mummy: (Interrupted) Tolu is the man in your life abi?
Me: (I was really shocked that Mummy said that. Maybe what we kept was not a secret afterall)
Pastor: (Smiling) Honey! Just allow her. Let her tell us.
Dammy: Ehrm… Ehrm… Ehrm. Yes mum, Tolu is the man in my life.
Mummy: Look at you! What we plan that the father should not hear, at the end of the day, the father will still have to intervene. Tolu, it’s your turn to talk.
Me: (Trying to postrate)
Pastor: No, don’t do that. Please sit (pointing at the chair)
Me: (Sitting) Daddy, Mummy. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. Actually, we have kept this as a secret for my sake. I didn’t want to dissapoint you sir. I know how much you’ve tried for me sir. I have already become like a son to you that Dammy and I are almost like siblings. Daddy, Mummy, I love Dammy and she loves me too. If you will allow, we would like to get married. All we need is your blessing.
Pastor: (Pastor sat upright as if he was going to start a long speech). We give all glory and honour to God. When he says something it comes to pass. I came back from church one day, when my wife came to tell me that she is suspecting that you both are in love with each other. As a man or God. I could not handle it carnally. I went to the lord in the place of prayer and God told me that it is his will that you both will get married. If I told you about it, it might be like I was prospecting what doesn’t exist if you guys had not started. So I told Mummy what God had told me, and since then. We’ve been praying for God to order your steps so that you don’t derail from the right path. And that his will should be done. This is the Lord’s doing. You both think it’s your doing but it’s the Lord’s doing. The goal of Any father is to see that the will of God is fulfilled in his children’s life. And I’m happy that this is happening.
Mummy: God is good…
Dammy was really happy, she ran to her mum to give her a hug. I prostrated, and Pastor stretched his hand towards me to raise me up and gave me a hug. That was how Pastor and Mummy supported our relationship. I was very excited, but compared to Dammy, I was not excited at all. Tears of joy were rolling down her cheeks. She couldn’t just control it.
Two months later, our posting was released. I was posted to Osun state, and Dammy was admitted to NLS Abuja. I was really sad. I wanted to be posted to the same state with Dammy. But since it didn’t happen, and it’s for less than a year, I accepted fate. I didn’t know it was blessing in disguise. I accepted and went to obey the clarion call. I was the first to travel. Dammy was supposed to start early the following year. My bus had to pass through ‘Challenge’ in Ibadan. I can remember staying at that bus-stop to collect three thousand from a lady like over 7 years ago. Now, coming back, and passing through that bus-stop as a graduate of Civil-Engineering is quite a turn around. On getting to the place. I went to the Orientation Camp where I stayed for two weeks. I met people from all works of life. At least I can categorically say that I met people from all the 36 states in Nigeria. Well, it was a beautiful experience and we did all sorts of fun stuff together. From running to swimming in the mud and all sorts of stuffs that we made memories from. After that, I was posted to a public secondary school in Oyo town to teach Physics. The Monday I was supposed to start, I didn’t start, because I wasn’t feeling too well. I went on Tuesday, and headed to the principal’s office. On getting there, the man was quite friendly. He asked for my name. “Tolu Williams sir!” I answered. “Mr Williams, I already have a wife for you. There is already a miss Williams here. A new Corp member was posted yesterday. She teaches account.” He said, laughing. “No sir, I’m already engaged.” I bursted into laughter. “Welcome to our school”. He said stretching his hands towards me. I shook hands with him. He took me to the staff room introduced me to other staffs and showed me to the table allotted to me.
“I know one miss Williams. I know one Dunni Williams. That’s my sister. But it can’t be her. It can’t be her. I’m very sure. How did she even go about it?” I started thinking and contemplating. When we got to the staff room, the Account teacher was not there. Not quite long after, the bell for change of lesson was rung. A teacher beside me started talking to another. “I’m going to give those SS2 students an impromptu test today. They won’t know what will hit them. Let me go and check if Aunty Dunni is still with them”. The lady beside my table said, standing up and leaving the staff room.
First it was miss Williams, now it’s aunty Dunni. I could not help it, I stood up and followed her quietly. She entered the class and aunty Dunni came out immediately. Indeed it was Miss Dunni Williams. I could still recognize her. Though the face had gotten more mature. She had grown to be so big and to be more beautiful. “Dunni Williams!” I shouted, not minding what people around were thinking. Dunni looked at me, she rushed towards me. Stopped when she got to me and said; “Tolu Williams?” She asked me. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”. She hugged me immediately, and started weeping. I could not hold my tears too. “Let’s go somewhere and talk please, we are in public. Let us not create a scene”. I took Dunni to a very quiet place in the school. We didn’t even care whether or not we had a class to teach. I asked her too many questions that she didn’t even know what to answer. She started her story…
TO BE CONTINUED…