Valley of Decisions
“Well, Mr Smith. I look forward to this business relationship we have
just begun. I know for sure there will be no regrets.”
“Mr Donjo, I share the same sentiments. Thank you for accepting our
terms, and thank you Miss Ocheng for reading through the legal
docvments and making all necessary changes.”
Laila and her boss came by to give their feedback and sign all
relevant docvments. This is one of the greatest moves this company
has made till date; my boss will be pleased. Donjo & Mitchell is the
most reputable law firm in the city with strong expertise in the
chemical industry. Having them as our legal representatives gives us
a clear advantage in accessing the most lucrative deals.
Seeing Laila was pure delight. I was tempted to call her up for lunch
or dinner, since the last time we saw but I have had to constantly
remind myself that she’s still in a relationship with Ben and it’ll be
wise not to get in the way.
“Mr Smith, you’ll have to excuse me, I have to leave so I can catch up
with another appointment. Miss Ocheng is capable of answering any
questions that may arise. I will be in touch,” Mr Donjo said.
“That’s alright. I look forward to speaking soon, Mr Donjo,” I said.
Mr Donjo and I shook hands and said our goodbyes. As soon as he
stepped out, I focused my attention on Laila.
I sat down next to her and my heart was gradually picking up the
“So how have you been, Laila? It’s been such a pleasant surprise
bumping into you and now doing business with your law firm. It’s
really strange how life turns out.”
She laughed. “I know, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ve been great, Matthew,”
she said. “Working hard and trying to catch up with clients here and
there. I love my job so no complaints from me. Then there are
church duties so that takes up a lot of my time too.”
“And you and Ben?” I asked.
Her countenance changed. “Ben and I are ok. We are working on a
lot of issues. We will see where we go.”
I cleared my throat. “Well, I hope you both work it out.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “Anyway, how about you? How is the
Mrs? The Kids?” she asked.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Laila! I know you can’t see a wedding band
anywhere on my fingers.”
“It doesn’t matter, Mr Smith,” she said as she began to place some
files in folders. “Isn’t that the trend these days? Husbands and wives
with no wedding bands. So to avoid getting into trouble, it’s better to
ask than to assume. Plus we haven’t had a decent conversation in
I leaned back in my seat. “You’re right. Well, I am not married. And, I
do not have any children. Not yet, at least. I do look forward to
having a family sometime soon. My career is wonderful. I’m enjoying
my growth as a Christian. I’m sure at the right time, the Mrs. will
She looked at me in disbelief. “I know there are many women around
you. No woman in her right mind would pass you up.
I released a hearty laugh. “Well, there are but it doesn’t make them
the right one. I want the right one. Not just any woman.”
“Okay. Well, I wish you the best in everything,” she said as she stood
up and began to put her folders in her briefcase.
“Thank you. So what church do you attend?” I asked as I also stood
“It’s called HeavenBound Bible Church,” she said. “It’s a wonderful
place. I have grown so much and there is always a word there to lift
“Wow! HeavenBound huh? I would need to visit sometime,” I said.
“You should. Let me know when you want to come by. How about
you?” she asked.
“It’s Redemption City. It’s a great place.” She looked surprised. “Wait.
Redemption City? That’s the one with Pastor Austin Mackrel, right?
He is on TV. I watch him all the time. So you attend that church?
That’s nice. It looks massive. I would get lost in there.”
I chuckled. “It is huge. I felt that way until I got more involved. Don’t
laugh but I’m in the church choir.”
Her eyes widened. “You? The Choir? Since when do you sing? Plus…
no offence but you don’t look like you can sing at all.”
I bent over like my gut had been punched. “Ouch! Why does
everybody say that? Is there a certain look for a singer or something?
I’ve always loved to sing. Call it a hidden talent or something.”
She touched my arm lightly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. You
just seem too serious to be in the choir.” She crossed her arms. “I
guess it is a hidden talent then. I don’t mean to be stereotypical but I
would have thought you’d be doing something more… Macho,” she
said as she laughed.
I faked a surprised look and took a step back. “Macho, huh? Deep
down inside I act like a little girl.”
She closed her briefcase. “Ha, ha! Matthew, you’re a jokester. Well, it
would be good to hear you sing someday.”
I grinned. “Uhm, we’ll see about that,” I said.
At that moment, her cell phone rang and she scrambled through her
handbag in search of it. “Hello. Oh hi, mum. I’m good thanks, just in a
meeting. Okay, enjoy your flight. See you soon. Bye.”
“Your mum is coming to town?” I asked as she hung up.
“More like my parents,” she said as she walked towards the door.
“They want to spend some time with me and meet Ben. Hopefully.”
I followed her. “Wait! This is finally about to happen? Wish I could be
there. Why did it take this long though?”
She rolled her eyes and stood by the door. “Don’t act like you didn’t
know, Matthew. I am sure Ben has filled you in on that.”
I put my hands on my chest. “No! He never did. I… Never mind. I just
hope it works out this time,” I said.
She smiled faintly. “Like I said, hopefully.”
We stood there staring at each other and the silence was deafening.
“Anyway, Matthew it was really nice catching up with you,” she said
as she walked out of the office towards the elevator. “I hope we can
do so again sometime soon. I have to make my way back to the office
and then head to the airport to pick them up.”
I followed behind her. “Same here, Laila. Will you need any help
with picking them up?” I asked.
“I have it handled thank you. My friend, Kiki will be joining me.”
I touched her arm lightly. “Wait. The same Kiki who was in law
school with you? Wow. You both are still friends?”
She laughed. “Yes! It’s the same one. Kiki is the best. I couldn’t let her
“That’s great, tell her I said hello,” I said as I pressed the elevator
“I will, Matthew. Thank you.”
“Laila, please keep in touch,” I said as she walked into the elevator.
“Will do. Have a good afternoon, Matthew.”
“Thanks. You too.”
I kept my eyes glued on Liala Ocheng until the elevator doors were
“Laila, I have to tell you that if dad and I don’t meet Ben tonight as
planned, I will never accept him as a son in law. Remember that.”
I rolled my eyes as I walked to my kitchen. Here we go again, I
thought. We’d been sitting in my living room for the past hour
chatting about everything and nothing, and my mother managed to
keep Ben out of the conversation. “Mum, please relax,” I said as I
walked into the kitchen. “Do you want anything from the fridge?”
She kept her eyes glued to the television but I knew she had a whole
lot more to say.
I stared at nothing in particular in the fridge, waiting for an answer.
Ben and I talked about this visit and he promised to show up tonight.
I’m only hoping he keeps his promise… This time.
I felt a migraine coming on.
My mum looked my way and finally asked for some cold water. “I am
very relaxed, Laila,” she said gently. “I just want you to know where
we stand. A man that has no regard for my daughter is not worthy
of her. You’re an adult who allowed this to happen to you,” she said
as I handed a glass of water.
She drank some water then continued. “If it were up to me, I would
have ended this a long time ago.” I heaved a sigh. “I understand mum
and you will meet him and love him,” I said half-heartedly.
It was time to change the topic.
“Are you and dad still up for going to the mall this afternoon?” I
asked. No matter how upset she is, she never passes up a trip to the
mall. “Sure, she said. “I’ve told him he needs to take me shopping
“And I’ve told you that shopping is the last thing you need.” I turned
around abruptly, at the sound of my dad’s voice. “Dad! You startled
us. I thought you went jogging,” I said.
“I did. I just got back. This neighbourhood is really beautiful, Laila,”
he said as he sat down on a barstool.
“Oh, It is, dad. I like living here.” I smiled at him sheepishly. “Anyway,
mum may not need to go shopping but I do. And I nominate you to
sponsor it,” I said as I sat down next to my mum.
He chuckled. “Let me think about it. I hope dinner plans have not
changed for tonight. I am expecting to finally see this mystery man.”
I rolled my eyes. “Like I have told mum, relax, daddy! He’ll be there.”
“Okay. If you say so,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders and stood
up. I also stood up as quickly as I could. I’ll be right back,” I said as I
picked up my vibrating phone and walked towards my bedroom. It
“Hello!” “Hi, Ben. How are you?”
“Hey, Laila. I’m good. You?” Ben asked.
“I’m alright. My parents were just grilling me about you,” I said. “I
Hope you’re still up for dinner tonight.” I tried to sound as excited as I
“Ben. I know you heard me. You didn’t forget, did you?” I asked with
an irritated tone. Ben sighed. “How can I forget, Laila?” he asked.
“Who forgets threats? Look, I actually called to reschedule.
Something has come up that I need to deal with. Can we move it to
I began pacing around my bedroom. “Really Ben? This is not right!
I’m done with all this!”
Ben was quiet for a few seconds then spoke calmly. “I’m sorry, Laila.
This is really important. I just won’t be able to make it tonight. I need
you to just be understanding right now.”
That migraine was coming on stronger, I felt like I was about to pass
out. “Fine! I’ll change the reservation to tomorrow night,” I calmly
said. “Just don’t make a fool out of me, Ben. Be there and…”
He cut me off. “Look! I will be there like I’ve said a thousand times,”
he said sharply. “I… I have to go now.” With that, he hung up.
I plopped down on my bed, facing the ceiling. What am I going to do
if he doesn’t show up?