I rode the treadmill for like ten minutes non-stop before I slowed down a bit to catch my breath. I wiped my sweaty face with the towel hanging round my neck and looking up, I saw him standing, gazing at me with his mouth twisted to the side- Tony! My heart skipped a beat! What was he doing here? I obviously would not like him seeing me all sweaty and manlier in the new sportswear that I just got as I got registered in the gym center. What was he doing here? Just then, still mouth agape, he started clapping , What for?
“Bravo!” he exclaimed as he clapped on, walking closer to me. I smiled sheepishly.
“Good evening” I said, wishing the ground could open and swallow me up. The students’ comments were obviously getting at me. I felt inferior and unworthy.
“Good evening ma” he said, smiling too.
“What’s with the ma?” I was almost getting furious. He saw it and smiled.
“I was only joking but really, you are my boss o. See how you handled a treadmill so perfectly like a man!” he said, still smiling.
Even you Tony! What’s with this man man thing that everybody is talking about today? Obviously not Tony should be saying this right now. He should just keep quiet and not allow someone feel bad continually like this. It’s just not fair! He smiled and came over.
“Would you love to train me on how to use the treadmill?” he asked, looking deep into my eyes so much that it hurt.
“And who says I am a gym director or something?” I spat out I hope that was not too rude.
“I just love this stature of yours and now I know the secret. You work out!” he said, smiling widely.
“I don’t work out. Since I left the NYSC Orientation Camp about 6 years ago, I had never done any rigorous exercise.” I retorted Get that into your skulls before insulting me!
“Wow! That’s so beautiful o. We have very few girls that have this kind of stature and for real, its wonderful” he said and I looked into his face. Was he joking right now? Just trying to console me right? I had never had inferiority complex and it wouldn’t start now but I just wanted good words from Tony and I shockingly seemed to be getting it.
“Really?” I asked to be sure and he smiled.
“I am serious. You just need a little trimming down and you would be oh my goodness, gorgeous! The treadmill choice is just fine” he said further and I smiled It was looking real. He seemed to like me, right?
“Thanks” I managed to say and he smiled.
“It’s okay. I have a question please” he said and I looked up at him.
“What?” I asked anxiously.
“How old are you?” it was so sharp and concise. Very blunt guy!
“Are you for real? Asking for my age out of the blue? Did you ask with the intent of receiving answers from me?” I asked and he pouted childishly.
“Please one, please two, please three” he said, childishly and I couldn’t help but laugh out loudly. What a very playful guy he was!
“Tell me yours and I will make my addition or subtraction” I said and his eyes widened.
“Addition? Oh, because I look this small shae? I definitely would be older than you” he said and I looked into his face. I chuckled, I was beginning to like him more. He saw me as younger than him and not his mama…Nice one!
“I guess everyone can see that underneath your muscular genetic build-up lies your very young age” he added and I mesmerized. This guy is good jhur!
“Ok, guess my age” I said, sweetly and he looked at me, squinting and biting his lower lips.
“Hmmmm, you would be 25 in few months’ time?” he asked and my mouth came open widely.
“What! You have been stalking me?” I almost screamed.
“Stalk? Wasn’t it just an innocent gentlemanly guess I made as instructed by you? God does not lie, does he? ”
“Of course not!” I replied “If I wanted to know your age, I could just ask God and He would tell me, right?” he asked again but I was speechless.
Talk to God? Could this mean something? Why would He be so concerned about my age that He would ask God?
“I didn’t say I asked God o. Don’t get me wrong. I just guessed. Now, let’s treadmill a bit before I would leave. I am on call this evening.” He said.
“Your age?” I asked and he smiled as he settled on the belt “Just call me egbon” he said and I chuckled.
“For real!” I said, trying to conceal my excitement He’s older than me! Sweet sweet, oh sweet! Joyfully, I took a hold of the machine horns, pressed the button and on and on, I ran on spot. I’ve got to shed off this fat so that I would look gorgeous for…any man… Or Tony…. …the only man that had seen the best in me and had voiced it out!
Oh my God, if it is Tony, just speaking to him about me. I still don’t know how to hear you well. Most times when I really sit, kneel or lie down to hear God speak to me, the only thing I feel rushing into my ears would be air! Nothing more! But I really did want Him to talk to me…or Tony if my heart wasn’t in the right condition to receive the best from God.
“Would you be coming to the choir practice tomorrow?” he asked as he slowed down in his exercise.
“I don’t think so” I said and he pouted.
“Are you avoiding somebody?” He asked and I threw my head up in the air. This guy’s spiritual antenna is dope!
“Yes I am” I replied and he chuckled.
“Me?” he asked and I almost fell off the treadmill as I held my breath . How could someone be so blunt, huh? He laughed.
“Hmmmm, I am really not scary person o. I always enjoyed choir practice whenever you are around” he said and my heart started pumping more than required plasma.
I always did avoid people that are very unapologetically blunt. This was someone that I had never spoken a word to in that choir room. He was always busy listening to and counseling different ladies that had ran to him for counseling. Ladies liked to cling to his side too much! So what was he saying now?
“I am talking gibberish?” he asked and I nodded in affirmation. He laughed.
“You remember the day we had the choir concert shae?” he asked and I nodded I remembered pretty well. He performed a very beautiful duet with Abigail, Mummy Pastor’s housemaid and it was the bomb!
“What shirt did I even wear that day?” he asked, walking in the treadmill while I still jogged.
“You wore a green shirt on a black trouser at the beginning but you thereafter changed to a white shirt and a blue trouser. At the end, it was one nice Ankara shirt you wore” I explained on and on, gasping for breath as I breathed heavily. He stopped on the belt.
“Do you notice if I used cuff links that day?” he asked again, maintaining a serious face as if to remember something important. I didn’t need to rack my brain before spitting the response out.
“Yes. It was different cuff links sha. You used silver ones at first and then ruby colored ones afterwards with matching ties” I said again. When I did not hear any sound, I stopped on the belt too and looked at him. He looked really dazed, mouth suspended “What?” I asked, quite shocked, breathing heavily from the long period of exercise. He looked on at me, still dazed “Now, who is stalking who?” he asked, still looking dazed.
Blood ran through my veins from head to toes and I was covered in embarrassment. I scrambled for words and found none. He tested me and caught me read- handed even to his own amazement. Oh my God! Should I get angry? Or mad? Or cry? What was the best thing to do right now dear Savior? I watched him as he walked gently away. I stepped down from the treadmill and sat on a raised part of the gym center, my head bowed low. I felt a touch on my shoulder “Take” Tony said. I looked up to find two bottles of water in his hands. That was exactly what I needed. Should I collect it? No! my pride answer. I looked into his face and his urging smile made me to constipate immediately I collected it hurriedly and gulped down almost half. There was a grave silence between us. What was on his mind right now? His phone rang and he received it.
“Yes Abigail…what? Jesus!… do you know what you would do now, just use a pillow to raise her head. Will join you in a jiffy…oh my God!” he exclaimed, cleaned his face with the towel round his neck and looked at me “I am sorry. I’ve got to go”
“Isn’t that Mummy Pastor?” I asked and he nodded.
“Yes she is.” He said as he walked to the door hurriedly. I followed after too. What could be wrong with Mummy Pastor today dear Savior? What? My phone rang It was mummy pastor!
“This is Abigail ma.”
“Yes dear, is anything the matter?” I asked .
“Its mummy o and daddy is not around” her shaky voice rang in my ears. Was she crying? I dropped the call.
“Was that Abigail?” Tony asked and I nodded.
“Let’s use your car. Mine isn’t here now” he said and I nodded I didn’t even know that he had a car. As Tony drove with a great speed, I could only pray for God’s mercies and a safe journey.
“Should I call the pastor?” I asked Tony and he shot me a one in town look.
“No please.” He replied and I looked shocked What does he know that I didn’t? Nice one!…now, I remember. He was the one I saw climbing the stairs to attend Mummy Pastor that last time. He must know what was wrong with her.
“Tony, what exactly is wrong with mummy?” I asked and he shook his head.
“Whatever it is requires our urgent prayers for God’s intervention” he said and concentrated on the driving. Oh what a curt answer! There really must be a problem and that exactly was what I didn’t understand. God, please intervene and keep mummy pastor for us. “Visit her marriage and her family oh God because I really do not understand anything that is going on round me now” I lamented silently. But I knew that it was just a matter of time and all would be clear to me!
>>>It continues still<<<<
The Candle In The Wind~Epidode 9