Teniola is my name and I work in a multi-national company with a variety of businesses in her portfolio. I love my job-especially the part that allows us to have a one-hour break every afternoon.
Don’t get it twisted oh! It’s not that I like food so much but I need the break to chit-chat, make friends and distract my mind briefly from work- but of course the food is a good side-attraction(mehn… those caterers can cook anything ). Moreover, as soon as work is done for the day, I head home straight. I am not into much socializing because I use my weekends to catch up on the news, do my laundry, visit the saloon and sleep myself to stupor before another week starts. So you can understand why I love the break at work now uhn?

One fateful day (days you wonder what side of your body you got up with), I was at the cafeteria with Tunde. We sat at a table for two, ordered our preferred dishes and delved into consuming it like we were just finishing a 21-day marathon fasting. We were almost done with the meal before we paused to catch some fresh air, sipped our drinks and continued eating.

Well, that was not my first time of eating with him at the same table. We were just friends who meet at the cafeteria, exchange greetings and sometimes gist about our different departments. Just before I swept my plate clean, my phone rang;

Me: Hello

Caller: What’s up?

Me: I am fine

I continued the conversation excitedly, asking about every possible mutual friend and the caller does the same.

Me: He is fine.

Caller: greet him for me.

Me:  I will, thanks for the call.

I giggled as I ended the call and dropped my phone on the table.

Me: Tunde sorry jare, it was a colleague where I did my National Youth Service that called me. It has been a while we got in touch.

Tunde: No problem.

Me: thanks, so how was work in your unit today?

“Fine” he replied absent-mindedly.

Tunde: can I ask you a question?

My eye brows raised some notches up “since when did you start to ask for permission before asking a question?”

Tunde shifts uncomfortably in his chair “okay, so what did the person ask you that made you say ‘he is fine’?”

I smiled, somewhat taken aback.

I gulped down the remaining drink in my bottle, adjusted myself, folded my arms across my chest and said “the person asked ‘how is your bobo?”’

“Oh! Really?” he responded with some interest in his eyes while I blinked.

“Yes” I responded and remained quiet.

“So, who is your bobo?”

Here comes the dreaded question of the century. I muster the remaining strength left in the world and looked him straight in the eye,

“You na!”

He stares at me for what looked like an eternity, gob smacked for some half-minute or so.

Now, it is my turn to make him feel uncomfortable and I did that pretty well.

He finally recovers and asked “am I?”

“Are you not?” I replied as I stood up abruptly. End of break alarm goes off and I need to get back to business.

“What the hell happened today…that was a close shave!” I thought inwardly.

I got back to work as if nothing happened (at least nothing happened after all).

As work ended and I was closing the door to my office, a light tap on my shoulder jolted me and I turned round “Oh! Tunde, you scared the living daylight out of me”, somewhat relieved, I dropped my shoulders.

“Sorry, remember we have an unfinished discussion” he said pulling me away from the now-closed door.

“Do we? I was only pulling your legs, don’t take me so seriously” I replied.

“Teni, but seriously who is your bobo?”

“Well, Mr. Tunde, there is no bobo just yet!” I said as I threw both hands in the air, tilted my head sideways and made a face to him.

We continued walking toward the car park, silently, each of us soaking in that last piece of information.

When we got to the car park, I entered my car, told him goodnight and zoomed off while he stood there watching me with an expressionless face.

I barely gave it a thought throughout the night (I am a firm advocate of work should end at the office and not carried all around town).

Next day at the cafeteria, I entered and scanned the place. Tunde was sitting at our yesterday’s spot. I went over and sat across the table from him with my shoulders squared ready for any talk.

Me: good afternoon.

Tunde: good afternoon.

Me: what’s up?

Tunde: nothing much.

I ordered snacks this time and while I waited for the waiter, Tunde adjusted in his seat and leaned forward towards me “So Teni, why is there no bobo?”

I let out a deep sigh “Let’s just say I have not met the right person that I like and is also ready to make the commitment to me” I responded with a sad smile.

“What is your definition of right person” he said trying to put the ‘right person’ in an invisible quotation mark with his fingers.

I just stared at him, why can’t people not be intrusive. It is not your fault, I am 27 years old, beautiful, have a car and even own a mini-flat. I thought I would be married by now to Uchenna but his parents insisted that Yoruba girls don’t make good wives. Who knows what planet they got that ideology from anyway? To make matters worse- they said I was from Ogun State and that they are fetish people (which tribe is not fetish in Africa anyway?). Well, they prevailed on their son and I became ‘single and searching’ again after a three-year relationship. Now I have decided to live each day at a time and allow things to move at their own pace.

Tunde waved his hands in front of me “a penny for your thought”, he said to draw my attention back to the present.

“A trillion dollars instead” I responded with a fake grin on my face.

“You have not answered my question, Teni”

“Well, I will know when I see one”.

             

                  **********
As if given a cue, he plunged himself into full-time friendship with me for the next six months. We soon became an item at work. A lot of lunch dates, dinners and visiting places together and fun.
              

                **********

Today is my birthday and I was exceptionally beautiful -why won’t I? I have found love again. I had a smile plastered across my face throughout the day. I received so many birthday wishes from family and friends and even my ex!

I set about my work for the day with a high spirit and the time sped fast.

Break-time came and as usual I walked to the cafeteria with the mind of having as much fun as possible with colleagues.

The cafeteria was unusually empty; “what is going on…well maybe they were all stuck with work They will join me soon”. I said to myself  as  I moved toward the counter to place my order while backing the entrance.

By the time I carried my tray of food and turned, lots of colleagues trooped into the cafeteria carrying various gifts and shouted “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”  Birthday songs rented the air and I was stunned  “What! You have got to be kidding me!”

With wide eyes, I dropped the tray on the closest table and started hugging friends, shaking hands, collecting gifts and so on. Whaooo! I was totally dazed.

  By the time I was able to recover from the shock, I saw everyone looking at my direction with interest, “what is it again oh”,I thought turning around to see what was catching their interest. Behold, I saw Tunde on one knee and holding a diamond ring to me (I forgot to add that I love diamonds).

Tunde: baby, I am not in for much talk and you know it, will you marry me pleaseee?

I was stunned to say the least, for seconds, I just stared at him.

There were shouts of “oops” “ahh” “say yes” “Teni talk na”

I finally regained my composure and said “YES”.

Cheers and shouts rented the air as he scooped me off the ground. I covered my face  with one hand as they took pictures and though I am  dark-skinned, you don’t need a lens to see me blush.

He finally gently puts me down as people continue to take pictures.

“Teniola, I love you with all my heart and I promise not to break your heart like others” He whispered to me.

“Tunde, I love you too but you know what I love most about you?”

“What?” he asked with a questioning look.

“You are damn smart, you saw the green light”

Tunde looked confused “Was there a green light?”

“Oh, well” I said rolling my eyes as I carried my tray to a table.I have to eat this food so I will have energy to carry all the birthday gifts to my office.

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