Isaiah 43:4 NLT
I am the only person in the church. I came back after the service. His picture is still propped up the altar. I stare at his tight lips, and his bushy eyebrows. His small eyes, made smaller by the thick lenses of his glasses and his clean-shaven face. My tears are flowing freely. I look towards the ceiling.
‘What are you trying to say?! God!’
I scream some more. And then some more, until I can’t quite move. I begin to crawl towards the altar, and my mind travels back in time…
…I was seated in his office, twiddling my thumbs. I was quite uncomfortable under his intent gaze. He intertwined his knuckles on his desk, and rested his chin on them using his elbows as a prop. He tried to smile, but that got lost in transit. I chuckled. He leaned back in his chair.
‘I am pleased with your work on the Marlima Shareholder’s Agreement. Impressive. You have grown. And, you are brilliant.’
‘Thank you, sir.’ I imagined my head had doubled its size. Then I couldn’t help the fat grin on my face.
Then there was an awkward silence, because he sat there just staring. And I was trying really hard to look at every other place in the office than his face. I cleared my throat. This seemed to break the spell.
‘You need to relax in the chair.’
‘Thank you sir.’
‘So, do you have any complaints? Anything we could improve upon? You like the informal mentorship structure?’
‘No, sir. Everything is fine…’
‘Have lunch with me.’ Well, that was unexpected. Wow. This was huge
‘I have watched you grow. You are beautiful and smart. You are kind. You look out for other people. You are a hard worker. And you have been nothing but an asset to this team.’
‘Thank you very much, sir. You have been an excellent teacher. I wouldn’t have come this far without your skillful guidance, sir.’
‘Call me John.’
‘Sir. I apologise if I have sent the wrong signals. I am sorry. I consider you a…’
‘Please. Please don’t me and you and father figure in one sentence. Please. I could tell you a lot of things right now. This is not a joke. I have considered this carefully. Let me convince you.’
‘Sir. But Sir, you are married.’
The phone rang. He picked it and spoke into it. He turned to me.
‘Conference call with Albourg ltd by three. Get Seun to set up. See you later.’ I got up to leave. He came around to my side of the desk. He placed his hand on mine for a few seconds. Then he stepped back.
His soft, ‘think about it’, dances in a small corner of my mind for the rest of the day…
My blocked nostrils bring me back to the present. I blow my nose noisily and get on my knees. I try to dust my black jumpsuit to no avail. I sit on the last step of the altar and lean on the entire flight of stairs. The roughness of the rug on my skin reminds me of his voice in the shower. I miss him terribly. I look towards the altar.
‘Oh God! Help me. I need You or else I may not survive this.’