The Dean’s Office (Part 6)

Read Part 5 of the Dean’s Office

Dr. Smith hid a bottle of whisky in one of the cabinets in his office. This morning, he took some ice cubes from the freezer compartment of his tabletop fridge and put them in a mug. He preferred to drink from a mug to prevent any nosey colleague or student who may budge into the office from detecting the content. He poured the whisky, sat on the chair and placed his long legs on the table. He swirled the drink in the mug before gulping it down. He knew it was only 7:30 am and drinking on an empty stomach was not healthy but he couldn’t help it.

Shirley – the thoughts of that woman never seem to leave him. What started as a joke in the dean’s office is now gnarling at his whole being. He now yearns for her as he had never done before. This feeling is new to him. He hasn’t felt anything this strong for any woman. In the past, he deceived women to get what he ‘wanted’ but the feeling he is developing for his co-worker is new. It’s not only about her looks or the manner that she carries herself – there is something about her that he cannot point out. He wants her in a way that scares him and would not mind doing anything to get her. He does not doubt that he is in love with her. Someone’s wife.

Dr. Smith’s phone rang and interrupted his thoughts and speaking of the object of his fantasy,

“Hello, Shirley. I was thinking about you,” he said

“I hope they were good thoughts,”

“It depends on what you mean by good thoughts. Anyway, have you made any decision about my proposal? Is that why you’re calling?”

“I am calling to remind you that it’s your turn to facilitate tomorrow’s seminar for the graduate students,” she said.

“I know. I have it in my diary,”

“Great. Do you want to have dinner with me sometime next week? Will Monday be ok?”

Dr. Smith couldn’t believe his luck. He wasn’t expecting that. Was he hearing clearly? It’s a joke. Oh, Finally! Shirley is coming around.

“Wow! Of course. Of course,” he said

“So 5 pm, next week Monday, at the University’s Lodge. They have a new restaurant that serves only local dishes,”

“Yes, I know about it,”

“I have a surprise for you as well. Remember to look and smell nice,” Shirley laughed teasingly before hanging up.

“Whoop! Whoop!”

Dr. Francis Smith got up to do the victory dance. He couldn’t believe his luck.

***************

Sundays are used to be special. That was the only day in the week the family drove together in the same car – Shirley would be in the passenger seat, the children at the back and I will be driving them to church. The conversations were light and the gospel tunes played on the radio always serenaded the atmosphere while we made the half-hour journey.

I still haven’t gotten over what Shirley did to me the other day. The atmosphere was conducive for us to have gotten intimate till she came up with that lame excuse. She neither apologised nor said anything about the incident when she returned from work.

“That is my current favourite track,” Shirley said, reaching forward to increase the volume of the radio.

Ye obua mi, ye obua mi,” she sang along to Joe Mettle’s new tune with her eyes closed.

“Have you heard that song before?” she asked.

I kept my focus on the road and ignored her question. She caught the drift and kept mute with her question still hanging in the air. I clutched the steering wheel as I made the sharp turn. I am sure my jaws and knuckles were equally clenched. I stepped on the brakes abruptly when the church’s security team directed me to park. I got out of the car, waited for the children and escorted them to the Sunday School. When I returned, I didn’t bother looking for Shirley. On a regular Sunday, I would have preferred sitting right by her and during the sermon, I would hold her hand. Sometimes I passed comments about how nice her hair was or how pretty she looked. It was such a beautiful feeling but this Sunday is different. I’ve been hurt by her actions and I prefer to sit as far away from her as possible. If she wants to pretend everything is fine between us, that is ok. She should continue living in her dream. She has called for war and that is exactly what I am going to give her.

…….to be continued.

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Book Review: Karen Kingsbury’s ‘Oceans Apart’

Have you ever read a story that made you so sad that you actually shed tears? That was the situation I found myself in when I read Karen’s Kingsbury Oceans Apart. The story was so moving that most of the pages had me in tears.

Synopsis

Kiahna, a flight attendant and young Christian dies in a plane crash leaving behind her seven-year-old son who neither knows his dad nor any family member except an old babysitter who takes care of him when his mum is away. Before her death, Kiahna kept a will (she updates annually) which included finding the father of her son, Max if anything happened to her. The father of her son, Connor is a happily married man in another State, with two daughters who had had a one-night-stand with Kiahna about eight years ago. He never met with Kiahna and had no idea he had a son till he was contacted by Kiahna’s lawyer a few days after her demise. Kiahna’s will was for Max to spend two weeks with Connor and after that, Connor could decide whether he wants to adopt Max or not. The quest to meet with the his dad, the tremor which shook the Evans family after they discovered Connor had a son and the emotional roller-coaster Max had to endure after meeting the Evans was what made this story a touching one.

The Good

This book was easy to read and the author carried the reader through the story quite effortlessly. The over 300-paged novel was generally sad, particularly when it was told from the perspective of seven-year-old Max. The simplicity and purity of his thoughts and actions were generally beautiful and moving. Some people may think Michelle (Connor’s wife) may have overreacted when she discovered her ‘almost perfect’ husband had cheated on her and even had a son and to even make matters worse, had kept it a secret all these years. As a married woman, I think Michelle’s concerns were quite legitimate, especially, when you have had no cause to mistrust your partner.

The Bad

Worldviews are not black or white. There is always that grey portion that sometimes prevents people from distinguishing right and wrong behaviour immediately. The manner in which the characters accepted their faults made the story a little unbelievable. For instance, Kiahna easily accepted that Connor was married. She simply allowed him to go and made no attempt to contact him to even inform him of his son. In her heart, she loved Connor (how she fell in love with a man she spent just a day with is another puzzle to be solved later) and that prevented her from loving any other man (rolling my eyes ). How Connor easily accepted the son he had no idea about without much questioning was a little disbelieving.

I also felt Max was portrayed just too perfectly – he was only seven years. His speech and mannerisms were sometimes unconvincing and too advanced for a little boy. Nonetheless, the story was great.

Recommend or Nah

The broader theme of love and forgiveness in relationships is portrayed well in this story. Karen Kingsbury magnifies the importance of forgiving one another no matter how difficult it is. She also highlights the need to spend time daily with God to know his voice and where He is directing you.

I recommend it to anyone who is having a hard time forgiving a loved one for a mistake they committed. This book is also for people having second thoughts about their faith in God – that is, whether to continue listening to the voice of God or taking matters into their own hands.

Have you read this book? What was your impression? Share with us in the comments section!

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The Dean’s Office (Part 5)

Read Part 4 of The Dean’s Office.

“Can you believe that? He proposed we start a relationship and if it works, I could leave Jimmy and get married to him,”

“What won’t I hear in this world?” Adwoa, my best friend asked.

“He is really attractive but his boldness scares me,” I said.

“I always hear that people with high IQs have some form of mental illness and this may be a classic case,” Adwoa said, in between laughs.

“Don’t say that,” I reprimanded but couldn’t stop laughing at her assumptions.

Adwoa and I have known each other since Senior High School. We were in the same house and dormitory but while I read Business, Adwoa was a Visual Arts student. We met again at the University and somehow found ourselves in the same Hall. Even though we’ve been best friends, Adwoa and I are as different as night and day. I have always been studious while Adwoa knew how to create the right balance – she studied when she had to and partied hard as well. She has been the life of every party and somehow managed to pull me along to most of the events she was invited to.

“We need to meet for lunch one of these days,” I heard Adwoa say.

“Yes. We need to.”

“I could come over to campus. We could go to the staff cafeteria. Who knows? We may bump into the sexy Dr. Smith who has been eyeing my m-a-r-r-i-e-d friend,” she said bursting into laughter once again.

“Don’t be like that, Adwoa,” I said feigning sadness and hoping Adwoa could catch the tone over the phone and stop teasing, “I could introduce you both. Two single crazy people.”

“I wouldn’t mind that at all. Let’s meet for lunch and make sure to introduce me to that hunk of yours,” Adwoa said.

“Sure. We’ll talk later,” I said and hanged up.

***************

“Oh Jimmy, you shouldn’t have gone through this length just to surprise me,” I said.

“It’s been a while since we did anything like this. You’ve been busy,” Jimmy said.

“I know and there was no need for you to remind me,”

“Ok. Haven’t you been busy? Anyway, let’s not spoil the moment with this argument – I only decided to surprise you with this brunch basket and what do we have here?” Jimmy asked as we walked around to the other side of the table to shift the cover of the cane basket to reveal its content.

“There are crepes, toasted bread, vegetable salad, ham, baguette, freshly squeezed orange and pineapple fruit juices, grapes, spicy chicken wings and what again do we have? Red velvet cake. Wow. I know you’re going to love this cake. There is enough to feed you and your colleagues. You don’t have to go out for lunch today,” Jimmy said.

“This is really beautiful and thoughtful. I truly appreciate it,” I said.

“Are you going to try any of the items in the basket or you are going to stand there and cry?”

He took the disposable knife and cut a thin slice of cake onto a plate and put it in front of me. He then walked quickly to the door to fasten the latch. Jimmy came around the desk to where I sat, bent over and gave me a kiss – gently at first. He held my hands and pulled me up towards him and kissed me again. He pulled me tighter into his arms and looked into my eyes.

“I miss you. I miss my wife. I miss this and I miss us,” he said almost breathlessly. He continued kissing me while his fingers frantically went behind me to locate the zip of my skirt. Realising what he had in mind, I quickly held the zip to prevent him from bringing it down.

“No Jimmy. Not here. Not in the office. My office. Anyone could walk in on us,” I said.

“But I have locked the door,” Jimmy said.

“But the dean has spare keys?”

Jimmy pulled back and stared at me bewildered.

“The dean has spare keys?” he repeated. “Does he go round opening the doors to offices of members of his staff? Are you even listening to yourself? Shirley. Too many excuses. You are either tired, not in the mood or giving lame excuses,”

“You don’t have to shout,”

“Yeah. I know. I won’t shout but I am so tired of your excuses,” Jimmy said while picking up his phone and car keys from my desk. He walked straight to the door, pulled the latch, looked at me once more and said,

“But the Dean has spare keys. Oh! Shirley,” and with those words, he walked out of the door.

I sat down in my chair, looked at the basket of goodies Jimmy had brought and started sobbing. No weeping was more of what I was doing.

“What was I thinking?”

…….to be continued.

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No Tears for Mike

When his dad died, mum thought taking care of him and his little sister would be a big problem and when dad’s brother adopted him, another relative took his sister away too. Mum assured him that was for the best and Mike believed her.

The uncle who took him away was well-to-do and all he needed was a ‘son’ who would eventually take over his business. His wife hadn’t succeeded in giving him the son he had always dreamed of. Every seed from his loins resulted in females – all five of them and Mike seemed to be the answer to his prayer. He was going to be trained to take over Uncle’s empire.

Mike did not have enough time to mourn his dad – the man who had been strong, his role model. Thanks to mum and the uncle who never ceased promising him heaven on earth, he will never mourn his dad.

Being separated from his sister and mum was hard to bear. Be tough, his uncle kept repeating. You are a man and must be strong. It’s only girls who cry thus, Mike tried to hide his tears for the dad he had lost and his sister and his mum. In just two weeks, he was encouraged to forget about them for they belonged to his past.

He tried to be tough, just as his uncle wanted him to be. He tried to be respectful also. He wanted to love his new sisters but all that was met with a lot of resistance. His new sisters and their mum eyed him suspiciously. To them, Mike was just a gold-digger who had been sent to take over their dad’s business. They never saw him for the 12-year old boy that he was.

After four years of living with his uncle, he no longer remembered his mum or sister. Neither did he dwell on memories of his dad. They were now tiny figments in his adolescent brains. His mum and sister never got in touch and he never attempted to look for them either. That was what Uncle said. Now, he has stopped trying hard to love his sisters because any attempt to get close was met with fierce resistance. Expressing love was a thing for girls, anyway.

No form of emotion was expected except viciousness because he was a man. He must be tough if he wanted to manage the over 300-fleet of cars owned by his uncle someday. He no longer missed anyone from his past -not his dad, nor mum nor little sister. Missing them was not permitted because that made him a girl and girls could not run businesses. He needed to be tough to own his uncle’s businesses and tough was exactly how he was going to act.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 4)

Read Part 3 of the Dean’s Office.

“Those guys at the back. Yes – one is in a red shirt, the other is in a blue-checkered shirt and the third is in ermm – that should be black or is it a deep blue short sleeved shirt. Don’t look back. I’m talking to the three of you. What’s funny?” I asked.

“Madam, please it’s nothing,” the one in the blue-checkered shirt responded.

“Since the three of you are excited to be in my class this morning, I’m certain you have an answer to my question,” I said. “Explain the concept and features of Value-Base Management.”

After a little bit of hesitation, the one in the black short sleeves stood up.

“Madam, please, Value-Based Management (VBM) for short, is the management philosophy and approach that enables and supports maximum value creation in organisations, typically the maximum of shareholder value. VBM encompasses the processes for creating, managing and …”

“Awesome. That’s wonderful. I think this young man deserves a clap. What is your name?” I asked.

“Madam, please I am Nana,” he responded.

I could still hear some murmurings and giggles from his friends.

“I cherish students who take time to go through the course outline and read ahead of the class. Nana that is five (5) additional marks for class participation,”

“Thank you, madam,” he responded. He whispered something to his friends which drew more laughter from them.

“Some of you would never touch the course outline till it’s revision week and I am waiting to mark your exam scripts,” I said, attracting laughter from the entire class.

“You’re laughing. Don’t forget I’ve also been a student once and I’ve been lecturing for close to six years. I know what you do with my course outline and as Nana rightly described, Value-Based Management or VBM for short is a management philosophy…”

********************************

The Dean’s Office

“Do you not respond to calls or call back when you miss calls,” Francis enquired.

“Hello, Francis. What a nice way to acknowledge my presence.” I responded.

“Did your phone display my attempt at reaching you?” Francis continued.

“Who calls a married woman at 11 pm? Were you expecting me to respond? Besides, I did not save your number on my phone the other day. Let’s just assume I did not know it was you,”

“I take it that you do not answer calls from numbers you do not know. What if it’s an emergency?”

“What if my husband had answered the call? What would you have said it was? An emergency from a colleague at work? At 11 pm? Congratulations Dr. Smith. That was smart,” I said, beginning to lose my cool.

With that, I walked away leaving Francis on the corridor. I took the shortest route back to my office before causing a scene. Immediately I sat, I heard a knock on my door.

“Come in,” I said.

“It was not my intention to call so late but I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get thoughts of you out of my head. I find you attractive,” Francis began immediately he entered my office.

“Dr. Smith, what exactly do you want from me? ” I said with all the calmness I could gather.

“I would love to get to know you better if you would give me the chance,”

“Know me better? In what sense?”

“Is it possible for us to be fffriends? Which could lead into a relationship? Possibly?” he asked.

“Wow! Wow! That is enough. Can you leave my office?”

“We can start by getting to know each other better. I promise to behave myself till you decide whether you want to leave your husband and be with me or not,”

“This is the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard my entire life. Dr. Smith, please leave my office and I mean it this time,” I said, while I stood up to prepare to escort him out. The audacity. This man is too bold.

“I can’t seem to get you out of my mind. Just think about my proposal and give me a call when you have a response,” Dr. Smith said before leaving my office.

…….to be continued.

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