Read Chapter 26 here
“Hello Daddy,” I greeted him, immediately he answered the phone. I had been surprised to see two missed calls from him. He never calls during the weekday, especially not during work hours, so I knew it must be important.
“I’m sorry I missed your calls. I had meetings almost all day today, and didn’t notice you called till I was on the bus home,”
“So, you are home now?” He asked.
“Yes, I am,” I answered. “Is everything okay sir?”
“Omoteniola,” He started.
Oh oh, that’s not good,I thought ruefully. Daddy never calls me by my full name except I’ve messed up. What did I do now? I wondered
“What is this I’m hearing about you going around begging Omololu’s parents?” He asked, his tone firm.
Shit, I should have known telling my brother was a bad idea, I thought, rubbing my eyes in frustration. I’m going to kill him.
“Erhm, Daddy, that’s not true at all o. I’m not going around begging anyone,”
“I see. So you didn’t go to Akure last weekend to beg?” He asked, his tone sarcastic.
“I did,” I responded, subdued. The man has all the information, so lying was not an option. “But we only went to speak to their Pastor. In fact…”
“Was it not to ask this Pastor to beg them to allow their son to marry you?” He fired at me, interrupting my explanation. “Abi, Teniola? Isn’t that so?”
I remained silent, unsure how to respond. Do I say no and insist that we had only gone to have a conversation with the Pastor? Or say yes, and admit that I had gone to beg. Neither would save me from the tongue lashing that was coming.
“What is wrong with you Teniola?” I heard Daddy ask, sounding disappointed. “You are my daughter, my very priceless daughter and you sell yourself short like this?”
“Daddy, I promise you, I’m not selling myself short,” I said.
“But you are! You are,” He insisted. “When your brother mentioned that you went to Akure, I was curious. I thought oh, she must be meeting with Omololu’s parents but I also wondered why you didn’t mention it to your mother or me. So I teased your brother that since only he knew of your trip, he should be prepared to choose the wedding date.”
He chuckled darkly, and continued, “Imagine my surprise when he said ‘let’s hope the guy’s parents accepts her first.’ I think he thought we knew, else he wouldn’t have said it, because it took your mother almost fifteen minutes of playing the guilt card before he opened up about what has been happening”
“I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to bother you and mum with it” I muttered my apology.
“They are supposed to come to beg for you, Teniola,” He continued as if I had not spoken. “They are supposed to come to us and ask for your hand in marriage, not the other way round. That boy will be lucky to have you as his wife, and if his parents cannot see that, then to hell with them!”
I kept mute, listening to him. What was there to say? He is right, in many ways than one. But he was also disappointed in me, and that broke my heart. If there was one person I try never to disappoint, it is my dad.
“Have you forgotten who you are, Teniola?” He asked, and continued before I could answer. “You are a queen! That’s how your mother and I raised you. And no queen begs to be crowned, not when she already wears a crown of her own. She never begs to be chosen or accepted. Those who are smart and lucky enough identifies her value and work to deserve her. And you are also my daughter, and no daughter of mine will beg to be married!”
“I’m sorry daddy?” I interrupted, sighing deeply. “I promise you I’m not begging. Omololu and I just thought if we could somehow show them that their opinion about mummy’s people is wrong, then they would come around,”
“Then let Omololu speak to them,” He said in a tone that tells me he was shrugging. “Let him put his house in order and then come for you. Your brother told me about their ridiculous prejudice against your mother’s people, but that has nothing to do with us. It’s either they respect and trust their son’s choice or they don’t. You will not force yourself down their throat, do you understand me?”
“Yes sir,” I answered.
He sighed as if he was suddenly exhausted, “Teniola,” He started again, this time softly. “I don’t want you thinking that I’m obtuse about your feelings for that boy. I personally like him, he has a good head on his shoulders and I would give my blessing in a second if he asks for your hand. But you are ours, our daughter, and my priority is making sure that your emotions are not blinding you.”
I nodded, blinking back a treacherous tear “I know sir. I just didn’t want to give up on him without a fight.”
“I can respect that, but no more begging. If they do not want you for their son, that’s okay, you will find another. Don’t you know that if you beg to join their family now, you may always have to beg to stay? Neither I nor your mother would be part of that rubbish.”
“I understand,” I simply said. And I do understand yet I sat wondering if he also understands how hard dating is. The very thought of starting over sickens me. This Pastor must not fail o, I thought, shivering at the thought of the current dating pool.
“By the way, what’s the name of the church his parents attend? The one you went to in Akure?” I heard Daddy asked.
“Errhm, I can’t remember exactly, but it was an Anglican church. It’s quite close to the university,” I responded.
“Oh, they are Anglican. And I know an Anglican Pastor in Akure o, he was one of the boys I taught during my short time teaching after NYSC. I ran into him a few years back at a party and he mentioned pastoring an Anglican church in Akure,”
“Oh,” I muttered, wondering what his old student turned Pastor had to do with me.
“Lanre, that’s his name,” He continued. “I’m sure he would know this pastor you met, and he can help me find out about your boy’s family,”
“Sir?” I questioned, confused at the new turn of the conversation.
“Ha, do you think I will not try to find out about the family you want to dash yourself to?” He hissed. “What’s the name of the Pastor you met jare?”
“Adeoti sir. Pastor Adeoti,” I answered, my face scrunched up in frustration. Everything was getting out of control, and I couldn’t see what good my dad poking around would do.
Adeoti ke? That’s Lanre’s surname too now,” He chuckled, obviously finding humor in this current mess. “If it’s Lanre, it’s even good. Abi you don’t think so?”
“Very easy sir?” I mumbled, suddenly tired to my bones. The stress of the day was catching up to me, and the conversation wasn’t helping.
“Good,” He said. I imagined him nodding in satisfaction. “I will call him tomorrow, and let you know,”
“Yes sir. Good night sir,” I said, faking a yawn.
“Pele, okay bye,” He responded.
“Eat before you sleep o,” I heard my mum say just before he ended the call.
I should have known she was listening to the conversation, I thought, rolling my eyes.