“I just received a promotion letter detailing my new status as an executive director of my firm, isn’t that great mum?” Liz laughed, “My year of toil has finally paid off.” She sat in her office on the thirteenth floor of Finacorp Trust house twirling the cord of the earphone as she spoke with her mother.
Liz heard her mother’s sharp intake of breath. She perceived that the old woman was not excited at the news of her promotion and that the only thing that will delight her is a wedding announcement.
“Must you take this job?”
“Mum?” Liz furrowed her brow in objection; her heart sank at the realization that her achievement will go uncelebrated by the person closest to her. “I hope you are not telling me to reject the promotion I earned through years of hard work and dedication?Her voice had become edgy, upset that her mum could see no reason to be happy at her good fortune.
A chilling silence ensued at the other end of the air.
“Mum? Are you still there?”
“Liz, I have no doubt of your brilliance and rise in your career; I just don’t want you carried away by the temporal glamour of your rise in the corporate world. It will not last forever. The same people hailing you today will cast you aside if you cease to perform and produce results.”
“I know mum. But this is the opportunity of a lifetime, it is like a dream come true and I can’t let it slip through my fingers for any reason whatsoever.”
“Look,” Mrs. Brown began, “Don’t you ever let these people waste your life, youth and vigor to have healthy children.”
“But mum,” Liz closed her eyes in frustration, “how has taking this offer got to do with my ability to produce children?” Liz asked a bewildered look on her face.
“Don’t cut in while I am talking,” Mrs. Brown cuts in angrily, “Taking this job will make you so occupied that you will hardly have time for anything else, not to talk of having time to cultivate a relationship into marriage.”
“Oh mum, please don’t start again; I can’t just put a hold on my life because I am searching for Mr. Right.” She protested in exasperation.
“My dear, life has to be balanced without one aspect suffering, that is when you are deemed to be a success.”
“You are the greatest mum,” she stood up to straighten her suit “But I have to go now, I have to be in a meeting in the next ten minutes. Bye” She hurriedly closed the conversation to prepare for the meeting with the heads of departments.
Three hours later, as she walked through the exquisite floor of her office to meet Morin for lunch, she caught a glimpse of an elegant male form waiting to be attended to at the reception. She couldn’t help but notice the impeccable cut of his suit, the chiseled look and the sleek muscles which the clothing could not hide. In that same instant, he looked up and she hastily looked away and brushed past him indifferently.
This stranger reminded her so much of Matt. She is grateful to think of him without the usual accompanying pain. He has the same attractive chiseled frame of the man she passed by moments ago.
She remembered vividly the day she met him. It was at an investment seminar organized by the Securities and Exchange commission. He represented one of the reputable and leading investment firms in the industry, Versacorp Fund Managers Ltd. He was a few seats away and she couldn’t help but notice his eyes perpetually on her throughout the first session of the program.
She was helping herself to a glass of juice when someone tapped her on the shoulder. Turning, she was caught off her breadth to find the guy standing right before her.
“Hello, I am Matt Oladele and I represent Versacorp Fund managers. May I have the pleasure of knowing you?” At close quarters, she saw his good looks and confident gait as he stood, self-assured before her.
For a moment, she was lost of words but managed to murmur something back in response.
“I see you are with Chase Investments. Chase is our key competitor in the industry. So, what do you think of the move by Silver bank to take over Summit oil?” He continued.
From that moment, they became hooked to each other and inseparable. It was a dream come through and life finally became blissful. The two of them were an item in town as they were usually seen arms entangled, completely into each other in a world of their own.
The love story lasted for a year until her discovery that he was already married.
She remembered vividly how it happened.
They went for the year end dinner party organized by the stock exchange. About an hour into the party, someone shouted greetings behind them.
“Matt, long time, how do you do.” They hugged and exchanged greetings.
“I am good Wale, how are you too, it has been three years isn’t it?”
“Yea, up to that I guess, what of madam and the little one, or has there been another addition to the family?” Wale asked as his eyes lingered on Liz in curiosity.
Liz’s blood ran cold. She couldn’t be hearing right. She had to pinch herself several times to be sure it was not a dream. She looked at Matt. Their eyes met. Wale seemed oblivious to the tension around him as he chatted non-stop.
She looked at her shaky fingers and calmly rose to her feet. She politely excused herself from the gathering and made her way to the lift. Footsteps rang behind her and a hand touched her shoulders.
“I am sorry you got to know I am married through a stranger. I wanted to tell you several times in the past few months, but I was afraid to lose you. You were the best thing that has happened to me in a long time, I didn’t want you to leave me.” Matt pleaded.
“If you didn’t tell me for the past one year since we have been together, when would you have told me?” Her voice trembled. She squeezed her eyes shut, and trying to hold back the tears that is threatening to gush out of her being.
“I wanted to…to…………………”
The lift doors opened and she walked briskly away from him, holding herself back from screaming at him to back away from her. He followed her into the lift and held her gaze, his heart in his eyes.
“Hold it”. Someone shouted just before the door closed. Matt reached out, slipped his hands between the doors and forcefully pulled them apart.
“Thanks Matt.” A middle aged gentleman in blue brocade entered, and gave her a curt nod.
“Count it as nothing. Are you leaving the party?”
“Yes, my wife is recuperating from an illness.”
“I am sorry about that.” Matt replied, calm as the sea; no evident of the turmoil raging within.
Liz closed her eyes. She wished she could shot her ears to the idle conversation going on around her. Oh God, I can’t wait to get out of the lift and away from Matt forever. She thought, and held back a cry that was about to escape from her lips.
She counted as the lighted numbers on the lift wall finally reached three, two and one. The doors opened and she almost pushed down the middle aged man in her haste to get away from Matt.
“I am sorry, please I am sorry.” She paused for a second and quickened her steps, almost running, desperate to get out of Matt’s reach.
“I have no excuse, please let me explain.” He frantically followed her on the lighted street.
“There is nothing to explain, you know I will never date a married man, please go.” She hailed down a taxi driver passing by.
“No, I would drop you home, I brought here and it is my responsibility to take you back home; more so it is late.” He pleaded with her.
“Your responsibility towards me ended twenty minutes ago. I will find my way home; go home to your wife.” She shouted at him in anger.
“Please hear me out, there is a reason behind my action.”
“Nothing can and will ever justify your actions. I never want to see you again and don’t bother calling me.” Liz shouted as she entered the taxi.
That was the last day she saw him.
It later dawned on her that she never really knew him. He completely broke her heart. He made efforts to see her afterwards, but she rebuffed his attempts and made it absolutely clear that it was over.
To her, the relationship never happened, they never met. It was the most painful period of her life but she got over it with dogged determination and hard work. She threw herself into work and that commitment has taken her to the top of her career. I am not ashamed of my success and climb in the career ladder. I earned it. She thought and smiled, proud of her success and achievements.
I counted my losses and with love from family, I poured my energy into my career and thrived financially, allowed the past to rest and moved on. Now three years had gone by, and I am still very much happily single. Or am I? She wondered