“Fate” – A Short Story

Bola Maxwell awoke to the jarring sound of her ringing cell phone. The clock on her nightstand said that the time was just 6:05am. When she looked at her phone, she recognized Ade’s number. She reluctantly accepted the call.

It had been a while, since their last conversation. Ade’s mum had made it clear that she did not approve of their relationship. She did not approve of Bola.

So, Bola had made up her mind to move on with her life. That meant limiting contact with Ade.

“Hello,” she greeted. Despite the fact that Bola forced a smile and he could not see her face, Ade could hear the hurt in her voice.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” Ade replied. “I am so sorry to have woken you up this early. We are getting ready to go to the Parliament Building … but Bola, please, pray for me.”

A part of her wanted to refuse.

Why should this, be her concern? She wasn’t good enough for Ade’s mum; why should she be good enough to pray with him about something so important?

Yet, she didn’t. She couldn’t. She just couldn’t bring herself to refuse.

Bola sat up in bed and said a few words of prayer for Ade. Then, she wished him well, with tears streaming down her face. On the other side of the line, Ade felt conflicted. He struggled with his emotions. He also tried to keep his grip on the phone, from slipping.

He was still as in love with Bola, as she was with him. He knew this, yet …

Then, Bola told him she had to go. She wished him well again and promised that she would watch the entire swearing-in ceremony. She would be at work, but there was a television set in her office cafeteria. All her work colleagues would be watching, too.

Two hours later, Ade was ushered into a waiting limousine, followed by his parents – the enigmatic Prof and Prof (Mrs.) Tejuoso. Together, they drove to the Parliament Building for the swearing-in ceremony. They were so proud of Ade, their first-born son. A respected lawyer, he had also recently been appointed to the position of Special Adviser to the newly-elected governor of the state. Ade would be sworn in along with the rest of the governor’s cabinet.

The program began right on schedule and the swearing-in ceremony went on without a hitch. Afterwards, the invited guests were directed to the reception hall for a stately luncheon.

Then, the new committee was expected to engage in a Q&A session with the members of the press who were present.

The first question was asked by a man in a blue suit, whose identity pass said he represented CNN. His question was directed at the new governor. “Your Excellency,” he began, “Congratulations on your new position.” Without a beat, he continued, “Sir, would you kindly confirm if it is indeed true, that you have a love-child you are secretly sponsoring and that her name is Bola Maxwell? When do you plan to acknowledge her before the whole world and tell us why you have decided to keep her a secret? What are your intentions towards her? Is the young lady aware that you, the newly sworn-in governor, are her father?”

It was a surprise that Mr. CNN had got so far with his questions. The security men hadn’t reacted with their usual speed. Perhaps, they were as stunned as everyone else. But they regained their composure and made to throw him out of the room.

But the governor disapproved. He signaled to them to leave the journalist alone.

He had decided to answer the questions.

“Yes, it is true. I do have a daughter named Bola Maxwell. I put her in an orphanage shortly after her mother’s death. I had to, because I couldn’t cope. Her mother died immediately after giving birth to her and I have been looking out for her, although she is not aware.”

There was a pause before he continued, “She has been well taken care of; I have seen to that. And it seems the time is now right for her to be told that she has a father in the governor’s house.”

Everyone was quiet, including Mr. CNN. He hadn’t really expected the governor to answer this really personal question. He was not surprised at the startled looks on the faces of many people in the room.

But he felt sorry for the governor’s wife, who looked like she was about to burst into tears. Maybe, she was just finding out about this. Or she may have had fore-knowledge, but never expected her husband to admit to it in such a public manner.

As for Ade, he was in a state of confusion. His mind was racing.

Were they talking about the same Bola Maxwell?

His own Bola – a governor’s daughter?

Was it possible? How could it be?

Bola had told him that she did not know her parents, as she was raised in an orphanage. It was not a secret that this was the reason his mother was vehemently opposed to his relationship with Bola. His mother said that she could not allow her first son to marry a girl whose background could not be verified. For goodness’ sake, the girl could be the child of anyone – including armed robbers, occultists, mentally challenged people or other unsavory or irresponsible characters. Why would any responsible, sane person leave their child in an orphanage? It was unfortunate for the girl, but she couldn’t risk her grandchildren having … any unsavory blood in their genes.

Ade also knew that Bola had been informed by the orphanage authorities, that someone had taken financial responsibility for her education. She had tried to reach theperson, out of curiosity and gratitude. But they wouldn’t provide her with any more information. So, she had left the matter of the person’s identity, alone. She preferred to believe that the person was an angel from God.

It was because of this angel’s generosity that she had attended the best schools that money could buy, all her life. In fact, it was at one of these schools that she met Ade.

Now, Ade looked at his mother. She looked like she was still in shock. He would wait till her shock faded.

What would she say, then?

Would she give her blessing to their relationship?

Would she even accelerate marriage plans, knowing that Bola was the governor’s daughter? After all, the governor had claimed Bola, publicly.

But there were also other questions on Ade’s mind.

How was Bola feeling, right now?

What would she say?

Would she still be interested in him?

Ade believed strongly that God would work things out in his favor. He was sure of one thing – he loved Bola, with or without this bit of good news.

What should Bola do?

Ibukunolu Ogunsina (Mrs)

Relationships Do Matter Columnist/Contributor