Femi and Banke became instant friends. They rode on the same staff bus as they lived on the same route; Banke dropping off first before Femi. They discussed on their way to work and back home every day. In a short while, love found them and they became an item. They however had a dilemma. The bank frowned at couples working together. Femi needed the job if Banke was going to get married to him and start a family. He also felt it would be unfair for Banke to resign and become jobless just because she was getting married.
He thought about this situation for days and could only come up with one option. He reckoned that the option he envisaged was risky and could as well cost him his job, but he was ready to make an effort than sit and wait for whatever will be, will be.
During one of his lunch breaks, he walked up to Banke’s boss and asked for an audience with him. The man was in his late 40s and was known to be tough on his reports. Banke, however, never had any issues with him. If anything, he liked Banke and took her like a daughter. The man looked at Femi over the rim of his glasses and decided to oblige him. Even though within the four walls of the bank, Femi and Banke’s relationship was very official, her boss had taken note of her smiles reaching her eyes anytime they talked to each other. He knew there had to be more to their friendship but since they were aware that the bank frowned at couples working together, he had kept mute.
Banke’s boss asked Femi to sit down and state his mission. Femi went straight to the point telling Banke’s boss that he was about to propose to Banke and he needed a favour from him. Her boss had been shocked wondering how their personal lives was any of his business. Femi pleaded that he wanted Banke transferred to another branch of the bank. He had read up the company policy and found out that as long as couples did not work in the same branch, they could get married. He went ahead to mention that he knew that her boss considered Banke as his daughter and would be grateful if he could grant them that favour. Banke’s boss had been angry that Femi had such guts to discuss his personal problems with him. He therefore walked Femi out of his office.
Femi went home downcast. Was this going to be the end of their relationship? If he took the risk and resigned, he knew chances of getting another job was slim. Some of his friends were still jobless after two years of service to the nation. He decided to delay on his proposal to Banke until he was sure of what step to take.
Two days later, Banke was summoned into her boss’s office. He handed her a letter of transfer to a branch closer to her home. She had been both happy and sad. Happy because it meant she was closer home; but sad because it meant she would longer see Femi everyday as she currently did. She had no idea what had transpired between her boss and Femi. When she told Femi about the letter, he walked up to her boss and told him “Thank you”. He got a grunt in response and Femi wondered why the man put up such a hard stance when he was actually soft-hearted.
Months later, Banke became Mrs. Davies. Bola was born a year later and Banke got another job in a different bank just after her maternity leave.
Bola returns to school and prepares for her forthcoming exams. Her dad is gone and crying continuously was not going to bring him back. She decides to put her best into her exams as she wants to make him proud of her. And so, she did. Her results are the best in the school having straight A’s in all subjects.
Her mum advises her to choose the Federal University of Technology, Akure for her university education. It had been previously agreed that Bola would attend a private university but with Femi’s death, Banke did not think she could afford to bear the cost alone. They were relying solely on her salary. She also wanted her daughter closer home. They had just each other and needed to be there for the other. Most private universities were far away, so the University in Akure was the best option.
Even though Bola is not exactly happy about the decision to study at the Federal University, she acknowledges that it will be unfair to insist that she attends a private University. Besides, the death of her father had brought her and her mum closer and she was beginning to appreciate the relationship.
Bola gains admission into the Federal University of Technology, Akure to read Civil Engineering. She quickly becomes popular as they are just two ladies in the class of fifty students. A lot of guys try to befriend her but she busies herself with her academics and keeps them all at arm’s length. Her life becomes a triangle. When she is not in class receiving lectures, she is either among her co-members in fellowship or in her hostel reading. Her life revolves around school, church fellowship and hostel.
In her second year in school, she is walking out of the hall where students have gathered for fellowship one day when a guy walks up to her. “Hi Bola, my name is Gboyega”. He says extending his hand.
She looks at him and shakes his hand. “Hi”.
“I just joined the fellowship today”. Gboyega says. “I was looking around for a familiar face and I saw you”.
A group of girls walk by and wave at Bola. She returns the gesture with a smile.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think I know you, though. But I hope you enjoyed the service”. She says as she apologizes for the little distraction.
Gboyega smiles. “Yes, I did. We are in the same department. 500 level”.
“Oh. I don’t think I know anyone in final year”.
Two guys walk by and call Bola. She waves to them.
“I understand”. Gboyega says. “Looks like you have been a member of the fellowship for a while, everyone seems to know you”.
Bola laughs. “I joined immediately I came into school, so it’s not like I have been here forever”.
The last group of members are about leaving the hall and Bola decides it is best she leaves with them. She does not want to be left alone with a stranger. “I need to leave now. I hope you will be here next week”. She says as she walks forward.
Gboyega steps in line with her and replies. “Definitely. Now that I know there is a familiar face, I will be more comfortable”.
Banke laughs heartily as she gesticulates. “No one is going to bite you. You should be comfortable in the presence of the Lord”.
“Yes ma’am”. Gboyega says with a slight nod of his head. “It was nice meeting you”.
“Also a pleasure”. She says as she quickly joins the last group of fellowship members leaving Gboyega behind. They walk away together as they chat to their respective hostels.
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