Illusions – Episode 1
© Jennipher Duru
It was rainy Monday morning. Barbara was just getting ready to go to work, when the rains started.
‘’Oh just right! So now I am trapped at home on the day that I am supposed to give a presentation at work’’ She sighed as she sat down in the living room, waiting for the rain to reduce its intensity.
Barbara was a typical, simple town girl. She worked as a Sales Assistant at a popular electronics company. She was a brilliant and charming young lady from a low class background: her parents weren’t fortunate enough to have a lot of money. They both decided to go back to the village once their two children had enrolled in University. Barbara had a twin brother, Bernard, who was running a small tech business in town. She rented a small flat in the suburbs of the capital city.
The rains continued, getting even heavier. Barbara was getting frustrated. She had to make a sales presentation that particular morning. Her flat was quite far from the main road, and during the rainy season, the place became inaccessible because of the bad roads, making taxi drivers to avoid driving their cars in the mud.
‘’I definitely don’t want to go through the rain even with my umbrella. Otherwise, I might end up falling in some ditch!’’ She thought to herself.
Suddenly, her phone rang. She reached for her phone in her bag. It was Patrick! Patrick was one of the Company’s clients. He was an intelligent, successful young man (in his late thirties) who had fallen for Barbara. He worked as a Project Coordinator for a UN Agency. She had met him during an Open House day organized by the Company. It was more of ‘’love at first sight’’. And from that moment, Patrick had tried his best to hook Barbara to his charm to no avail, as Barbara insisted that they remain friends for the time being.
Barbara: Hi Pat, Good morning
Patrick: Hi sweetheart. How are you?
Barbara: I am doing fine thanks and you?
Patrick: I am well too, I just miss you though. Where are you?
Barbara: I am trapped at home because of the rains. Once the situation improves, I will be heading to the office.
Patrick: that’s why I called, actually. I thought you might need some help. I am not far from your house and it would be a pleasure to pick you up and take you to the office, if you grant me the honor, of course
Barbara: oh Patrick, you speak with so much diplomacy! Of course you can.
Patrick: OK sweetheart, I am coming right away………..
Barbara rushed to the door as Patrick parked his car. Patrick was also rushing towards her with an umbrella.
Barbara: Oh no, you don’t have to leave your car. I have my own umbrella
Patrick: I am a perfect gentleman baby. I can’t allow you to go through the rain alone. And besides, you have too much luggage with you.
Barbara laughed as they both rushed to the car. On their way to the office, Patrick made her laugh with his funny jokes. As usual, as she got off from the car, he asked if he could pick her up after work and go for dinner. Barbara was hesitant, but because of his importunity, she gave an affirmative answer.
Patrick went back with a feeling of joy “I can’t wait for my plan to work tonight” He thought to himself
‘’Hmm, I can see that things are moving forward between you and lover boy’’ Carol giggled as Barbara walked into the office.
‘’Jeez, carol, so you have been spying on me right? Barbara said, rushing to her desk to prepare herself for the presentation.
‘’Of course I have. I was staring at both you from the window as you told each other sweet words before he left’’ Carol answered.
They both laughed. Barbara had met Carol when she joined the company. Carol worked as the Human Resources Manager for the Company. She was a well to do and fun loving person.
The presentation went well. Barbara was pleased that it was all over. The potential customers seemed to have been pleased with the offer. Barbara was summoned by her Line Manager, Charles to come to his office immediately. The look on his face put a lot of questions in Barbara’s mind. She followed him quickly to his office.
Charles: Barbara, I know that it has not been long since you joined this Company. However, I must say that my team and I are really pleased to have you. You have proved to be a very brilliant Sales person. Our potential customers were also pleased with your presentation today that they decided immediately to sign a one-year contract with us.
Barbara: oh dear Lord, thank you!!!
Charles: yes indeed! You did a good job. That is why we have decided to make you part of the Sales Advisory Board. To this effect, you will be sent on 5-day a training in London next month. Your salary will also increase by 60%. Please get your travel documents ready. Get in touch with the admin department for visa procedures.
Barbara: Oh my God! Thank you so much. I am so excited.
Barbara left Charles’ office with so much joy. It felt like a dream. She quickly rushed to the ladies’ toilets, and, locking the door behind her, she fell down on her knees and said
‘’Lord, I thank you. I know I am not worthy of your love, but you have never ceased to amaze me. I return all the glory to your name for this new door you have opened for me’’
Tears ran down her cheeks as she got up. She remembered all the hardship she had gone through. She remembered how her parents had sold the only house they had in the city in order to send their two children to university.
It was almost time to leave the office when Barbara received an sms from Patrick stating that he was outside their office. Barbara quickly packed her bag.
‘’Hey Barbara, we really need to celebrate your promotion. Let me take you out for dinner tonight’’ Carol said
‘’Oh I am so sorry dear Carol. I am afraid I have some plans this evening’’
Carol rushed to the window.
‘’Hmm, now I understand! He is already there waiting for you. I am glad you have finally given this man a chance’’ she said jokingly
‘’No, Carol, it’s not what you think. Patrick and I are just friends. He invited me for dinner this evening and that’s all. Nothing more’’ Barbara responded.
“Well, if you say so, though I am not very convinced. So maybe we can schedule our dinner for tomorrow’’ Carol continued
“Oh my! I will be at church tomorrow evening. Let’s make it the day after tomorrow, ok? Barbara said
Carol nodded. They both gave each other a hug and Barbara left.
“Hello pretty young lady” Patrick said as he pushed the door open for Barbara. Barbara gave him a peck and they drove off. On the way, she narrated to him about her promotion. Patrick was so excited
“You deserve it baby, you really do” he said
They both arrived at ‘Lafaelle Restaurant’. It was a chic French restaurant. Patrick opened the door for her and held her arm as they entered. The place was absolutely beautiful and romantic with a lot of tourists having fun. There was also a live band playing the song “Another day in Paradise” by Phil Collins.
Patrick sang along. They were directed to a seat near the window by the waiter. Upon seating down, they were offered the menu to choose from. Barbara looked at the menu with amazement. The food was definitely expensive! But she kept it to herself and ordered some ‘poulet fermier rôti frites’.
It wasn’t long before Patrick spoke, sounding very serious “Baby, I know that you have told me many times that we should just remain friends. But I need to be very sincere with you. I cannot just be your friend. I am in love with you and I want us to upgrade our friendship. We have known each other for close to a year now and I just can’t take it anymore. I love you and I want you. Please give me a chance. I am not perfect, but one thing I can promise you is that I will try my best to be the best to you”
Barbara was perplexed. She somehow felt sorry for him. It was true that he has been running after her for close to a year now, and if he wasn’t a serious guy, he definitely would have given up a long time ago. And besides, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
“Pat. I am really sorry for making you go round circles. You just have to understand that I try to be very careful with relationships after the heart break I endured some time back. But hey, I think we can give it a try and see how it goes” Barbara responded.
Patrick stood up from his chair and gave Barbara a long hug. He reached out to his pocket and gave her a little gift box.
Barbara, who seemed to be so shocked said softly “oh no, I hope this is not what I think it is Pat! We are just starting, I don’ think it’s yet time to give me an engag………..”
Patrick did not allow her to finish “just open it darling”
She opened it. It was a beautiful golden necklace. Barbara was relieved. They both laughed as he helped her to tie it around her neck.
“I bought it for you in Dubai during my trip last month. I was waiting for the perfect moment to give It to you, and today couldn’t have been a better day” Patrick said.
To be continued