PROVOCATION – LESSONS ABOUT INTEGRITY

52 ways cover stripI thought Lola was acting weird in the office. I wasn’t so sure. She had recently taken in and was a bit cranky but I thought she was taking it too far. I took Alhaji’s daily newspaper from her office without telling her. I had never done that before. But I thought she wouldn’t mind. I thought wrong.

She didn’t only mind, she was mad! She barged into my office and after shouting a few profanities, stomped out. I was stunned. Without knowing how to calm her, I quietly returned the newspaper, troubled.

During lunch break, I noticed she didn’t leave her office. I didn’t have appetite and I was so troubled by her attitude. Lola was my sweetest friend in the office.

“Lola, could I have a word with you?” I peeped in and asked.

“Leave the doorway, if you want,” she said sulkily, refusing to meet my gaze. I came in fully, and took the seat in front of her, gingerly.

I said, “Lola, sorry to bother you but I’m still upset about what happened this morning in my office.” She looked at me with a scoff. “I have to be sincere with you, these days you’ve been so mean. At first, I thought it was the baby…”

“Eeh heh, please. Don’t use your mouth to blacklist my baby.”

“Lola why? What have I done to you?” A tear slipped off my eyes before I could stop it. That did Lola in. She was shocked at my display of emotion.

She said, “Oh, are you that upset?”

I nodded, trying to tuck my sore emotions in.

“Hah, sorry o,” she said with a pinch of spite.

I swallowed hard. It had to be something I’d done. “Please if I have offended you in anyway…”

“No, you have not offended me in any way…” she cut in rudely, and then softened her voice, “but I cannot just sit by and watch you mess around. You call yourself a Christian, don’t you? Maybe I haven’t the right to challenge you.”

“Mess around? How?”

“Don’t feign ignorance. Everyone is talking about you and Alhaji. Is it proper, as a child of God to be dating another woman’s husband?”

I went pale with shock. I started saying, “I can’t believe…”

She raised her hand to stop me. My mouth drooped in mid-sentence. “Save your breath. You can’t be my friend anymore. Who knows, when you finish with Alhaji, you’ll pounce on my husband,” she said with slight.

Tears pooled in my eyes. I swallowed to keep them from dropping. I had to pull my emotions together. What a life? To think that Lola, of all people would say these terrible things to me.

I said, “Lola, can I talk?”

She replied with a shrug and to show her disinterest, turned to her computer and idly opened solitaire.

“I am not dating Alhaji! We went to that award dinner together only once. Maybe he has such intentions, I don’t know. He asked me to escort him to First Bank Manager’s 50th birthday party. I declined because I had PTA meeting in Adaora’s school and I would be too tired by the time we were through. About a week later, he asked me to follow and help him pick a gift for his mother at Jewel’s. I did. Besides that, nothing. I feel nothing for him. And I thought you know me better than this. This is Alhaji for goodness’ sake. Lola, you know him. He gets on people suddenly and before you know it, you are back in the crowd!”

She knew what I meant. It hurt that she didn’t figure it out. She looked up at me and sighed.

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“I am sorry,” she said. “I’m so glad there is nothing on your part. Alhaji’s not innocent at all. He does get on ladies suddenly but he also makes advances at them. At least I know he did it to me. I resisted. You’ll be shocked to hear this but Chioma told me he lured her into his bed, a Christian. Alhaji has no respect for any woman. You have to be careful. Keep your head above water. Avoid his gifts most especially because he has ulterior motives. If he hasn’t asked you to sleep with him, I can bet he will…”

“He has,” I whispered.

Published as 52 Ways to Provoke God. Get your copy here

 

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