Gloria covered her head with the pillow to drown out the sound of her phone alarm.
It wasn’t working.
She eventually reached for her phone to hit the snooze button.
“Ten more minutes”, she hissed under her breath.
“Can’t I just continue sleeping?!”
She jumped out of bed as she remembered what day it was. Promotion Interview was today!
She reached for her phone to read her Bible passage for the day:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”
“Thank You Lord for this timely word, just what I needed to hear”
She spent the next few minutes worshiping God and praying.
It would indeed be a great day, she thought as she picked out her new suit.
She had to impress the panel; nothing must go wrong.
She got into the shower and got ready for the day, trying hard not to disturb her husband who was still fast asleep.
She peeped into her children’s room on her way out. They were still fast asleep; just a few weeks before school resumes.
She gave Peace, her maid instructions for breakfast for the kids as she made her way out of the house, hurrying to beat the traffic from her home at Surulere to her office at Lekki.
“7:48“, the clock on the dashboard read as she eased into an empty space in the parking lot of her office complex.
Thank God for a good day; it couldn’t have been better. The promotion interview went even better than expected, Gloria thought, looking forward to good news. She walked briskly to her car in the parking lot, hoping for a traffic free journey home.
Gloria turned as she heard footsteps behind her. It was a junior colleague.
“Good evening Madam Gloria”
“Where are you off to?” She asked, knowing he didn’t have a car yet.
“Waiting for my neighbour to give me a ride home”
“Okay then, have a lovely evening”
“Thank you Madam Gloria. Oh, here he comes”, looking beyond Gloria.
“Good evening Sir”
Gloria froze. “It can’t be him now! Why is he here?”, she thought as she turned to make sure.
“Madam, you know Oga”, beamed Ade.
Her heart threatening to burst, Gloria put herself together. “Yes I know Uche. He’s a friend”, she tried in her calmest voice.
“It’s good to see you again”
“Same here”, she stuttered.
“What are you doing here?”
“I work in the building, 3rd floor”
“Madam, Oga owns the law firm on the 3rd floor”
“Oh, really?”, she asked again. Now, she thought, “I am definitely beginning to sound like an idiot”
“Anyway, don’t let me keep you gentlemen, I need to get home”
“Okay Gloria, have a good night. By the way, you look great”
“Thanks”, she muttered, as she got into her car and drove out, her heart still pounding.
“I really need to put myself together! I can’t keep acting like a complete idiot in front of Uche, especially if I may be seeing him more often.”
Traffic was light, and she got home in 30 minutes.
“Hey Babe, how was your day?”
“It was good. My promotion interview went really well. I am sure I scored great points with the panel”
“I trust you now, smart babe”, Alex said, beaming with pride.
“Thanks sweets”. “Have you had anything to eat? And where are the girls and Peace?”
“Yes, I got us something to eat on my way home. Peace is in her room and the girls are also in their room, getting ready for bed”
“Thanks dear. You’re such a blessing”, planting a kiss on his lips.
“This came for you”, she looked up as Kemi, her colleague, handed her an envelope.
“I don’t know. Some guy from the 3rd floor dropped it for you before you got in to work”
She immediately knew who it was from before she even looked at it.
“Oh, thanks”, she said as she collected the envelope and dropped it in her drawer.
“Aren’t you going to open it?”
“Later, I am quite busy now”, not wanting to open it while her colleague eager for gist, still stood there.
“Okay o. I’ll see you later then”
“Thanks Kemi”, as she shut the door.
“Hello Glow”. He was the only one who called her that, drawing a smile from her.
“I’d like to talk; can we meet for lunch?”
“Nothing major, just to catch up. I’ll meet you in your office lobby for 1pm”
“Hmmm. Lunch with Uche! What will we discuss? After so long?”
She made up her mind not to go, as she dropped the note back in her top drawer and forced herself to concentrate on the day’s work. It wasn’t working.
After about two hours of the struggle, she just decided to go for lunch with him. After all, it was just to talk,not like it was a date or anything serious. And they really needed to talk anyway.
Once that decision was settled, it became easier for her to focus on her work for the day and time flew by.
“There’s someone waiting for you at the Reception”.
She was so engrossed she didn’t even hear the door open.
“Who’s that smashing guy?”
“Don’t even bother, he’s married”
“Why now?”, Kemi said, looking a bit disappointed.
Gloria carried her bag, and was getting ready to leave her office.
“I need to step out for a while, I’ll be back soon”
“Won’t you be having lunch with the girls?”
“Not today, I have an appointment”
“With that smashing guy?”
“His name is Uche, and Yes, I have an appointment with him”, Gloria said trying to hide the blush that had started on her face.
“Uche? Your Uche?”
“He’s not my Uche!”
“Sorry, I mean your Ex?” “What is he doing here?”
“I will talk about that when I get back” “Can I go now please?”
“Okay o, hmmm. Have a nice time. I am waiting for all the gist when you get back”
“Na you sabi”, Gloria laughed as she stepped out.
“Hi Uche”. Why must a man look so good?
“Hi Glow. Are you set to go?”
“Yes”, Gloria wanted to leave her office lobby as soon as possible. She knew her office could be a gossip mill, and she didn’t want to be a topic for feeding the mill.
“Where are we having lunch?”, Gloria asked.
“It’s a surprise”.
“I thought this was just to talk?”
“Of course, just to talk”.
“Can’t we just have lunch across the road?”
“Across the road? For my Glow? No way.”
“I am not your Glow!”, she came out a bit too harshly.
“Whoa. Just kidding. It’s still a surprise though”
“Okay then. I don’t have all afternoon, I don’t own my own firm yet”
“Don’t worry your pretty head, I won’t take too much of your time”.
Gloria relaxed a bit as they got into his car. She was impressed, the interior of the car was so neat, and it had such a lovely smell.
She shot him a look.
“Sorry, thanks dear”
“You’re just a case”, she said laughing. He sure knew how to get her all riled up.
They chatted as Uche drove.
“So, how’s your wife?”
“Any kids yet?”
“Yes, I have two kids, a boy and a girl”
“Wow, nice one”
“What does your wife do?”
“She works for an Investment Bank, she just started work there a month ago”
Gloria was glad the conversation was on safe grounds.
“Enough of me. What about you? How have you been?”
“I have been very well. Thank God”
“Work and all?”
“I have missed you, you know”
“Where did that come from? Missed me? After how many years? Abeg o”
“I mean it. No one can ever make me feel like you did”
Gloria swallowed the lump in her throat. “Really? Well, that’s rather late now, don’t you think?
“Well, I know, I just wish…”
“What? That things could change? Well, that’s impossible”, Gloria raised her voice.
“I am a happily married woman and I have a family now and so do you. So, can we just forget about all that?”
“I am sorry, it’s just that I never stopped loving you”.
“You never stopped loving me! You allowed our relationship of three years to fizzle out just like that. Just how much did you really care? Please don’t even go there.”
By this time, the traffic was crawling.
“Glow, I am so sorry. The pressures of studying abroad especially with the financial constraints were just too much for me to bear. But, you also were guilty. You couldn’t even wait for me for a while.”
“Please, don’t even make me feel bad”, Gloria managed in a shaken voice.
All the pain and hurt she felt when things fizzled out between them hit her again.
By this time, tears were already running down her face. She never did deal with all her feelings, she just tried to move on. She still hurt so bad.
“Uche, please I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I don’t think lunch was a good idea, I shouldn’t have come”
“Glow, please don’t say that. I really am very sorry for all the pain I caused you. I really tried to get in touch with you after my Masters program, but by the time I could get in touch, I was told you were already planning your wedding. I did not want to be an intruder, so I just let you be.”
“I still love you Glow.”
“You can’t love me. What about your wife?”
“I just got married to her because you were already married. It’s you I love and not her”.
“Please take me back to my office. I can’t do this”
“Okay, Glow. I am sorry I waited this long to get in touch. I was so sure you didn’t love me anymore”
Gloria’s heart screamed, “I loved you so much, I only managed to move on when God ministered to my heart that Alex should be my husband. It took so long for me to begin to accept God’s will for my life. Uche, why didn’t you look for me now?” She couldn’t bring herself to speak out the words.
“Just take me back please”, she managed instead.
By this time traffic was already free. Uche turned the car around and headed back to their office complex.
They drove on in silence as Gloria fought to put herself together.
They drove back into the car park and he caught her arm as she tried to come out of the car. “I am sorry Glow, please forgive me”
“I have forgiven you Uche. I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to see each other like this anymore”, she said as she made her way out of the car.
She put herself back together. She didn’t want anyone wondering what the matter was.
“How was lunch today?”
“Fine”, she faked a smile.
“Tell me all about it”.
“Not now Kemi. I have a lot of work to finish before the day runs out”, trying to dismiss her.
“Na wa o. Anyway sha, you will sha give me the gist later”.
“Guess who I saw today sweets”.
“You know I don’t like to guess now. Just tell me.”
“Uche? Which Uche?”
“Uche, your Ex?”
“Where did you see him?”
“I saw him at the mall last Sunday evening but I completely forgot to mention it to you”.
“And now I discovered he works in my office building”.
“How come? I thought he was in the U.S.?”
“He just relocated to Nigeria and he owns a law firm on our 3rd floor”.
“Wow. So he now works close to you?”
I just couldn’t bring myself to tell my husband that I had agreed to a lunch date with Uche!
To Be Continued…
This post was first published on www.deardaughterofgod.com