Rosie tossed and turned on her bed that night, unable to sleep. A thousand thoughts swarmed around in her mind. Some were great, others not so much.
“Doesn’t this sound a little too good to be true?”
“What if he’s lying to me and just wants me in his bed?”
“He looked honest, besides a man like him can get any girl on my level without resorting to deceit.”
“What about love?”
“Do I feel anything remotely close to love for this man?”
“How can I? I just met him.”
“Sometimes, love takes a back burner, especially when you have goals. This man can make my dreams come true.”
“What if I never love him?”
“I’m sure I will, in time. Besides, which is worse? Living with a man I don’t love and achieving my other aspirations, or waiting for a love that may never come and achieving nothing?”
“I shouldn’t forget I already agreed to marry him. I should just suck it up and go through with it.”
“Why did I agree to this?”
“What were my options? This is in my best interest.”
“Life is one funny thing with a twisted sense of humor. Why can’t it just give me what I want without asking for something difficult in return? Why didn’t I just meet a guy who is as rich as Mr. Johnson and unmarried? Why didn’t I meet a man who sweeps me off my feet and I fall in love with him at first sight? Wouldn’t that be a whole lot easier?”
A knock on the door of her one room apartment startled Rosie out of her thoughts. She had moved out of her uncle’s house when she started the meat pie selling business and had been living alone since then. She received a few visitors, but never at night. She looked at the clock on the wall which read 10:30 pm and sighed. It was unusual for anyone to be paying her a visit at this ungodly hour.
“What if it is an armed robber?”
The thought scared her initially but she quickly relaxed as she processed it. An armed robber wouldn’t need to knock when he can shoot the door off its hinges.
She heard the knock again, louder this time. She knew she could just pretend to be asleep and the person would go away but her conscience stopped her from doing so.
“What if it’s someone who is stranded and needs my help?”
“Who is there?” She called out.
“It is Frank from the ministry, madam.” A masculine voice responded.
Rosie recognized the voice, it was indeed Mr. Frank, the messenger Mr. Johnson sent to invite her the other day. But what was he doing at her door at such a late hour?
She got up from her bed and tied a wrapper around her frame. She didn’t want him to get any ideas if she opened the door with just her night clothes on. Once she was appropriately decent, she walked to the door and opened it.
“Good evening, madam. I am sorry to bother you this night but Oga asked me to give you this letter.” He said, once he saw her standing in the doorway.
“Good evening, Mr. Frank. Thank you, but couldn’t you have given it to me in the office tomorrow? It’s really late, you know?” She stated, accepting the letter from him.
“Sorry, madam. Oga gave me this letter around 7 pm but I had to take food to my wife in the hospital before coming here.” He replied.
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope the situation with your wife is not very serious.” She stated, with a concerned look on her face.
“Not at all, madam. My wife just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. She is only in the hospital for the required observation by the doctors. She will come home with the baby this weekend.” He replied with a proud grin.
“Wow. Congratulations! This is great news. But you didn’t tell us in the office.” Rosie stated.
“Sorry, madam. You know it is not very easy on my salary level. If I tell everyone in the office, I will be expected to buy refreshments in celebration and that is money that can go into buying baby food.” He replied.
“Of course. I understand. Well, thank you for bringing my letter. You should be on your way so you can get home before morning.” She stated.
“Sorry, ma. Oga said I should collect your reply letter and bring it to him.” Frank stated.
“No, please. It is already too late. Tell Oga I will bring my reply to him personally.” She assured him.
“Okay, madam. Goodnight.” He replied, stepping away from her door.
Rosie stepped back into her apartment and locked the door. She flipped the letter so she could view it from both sides.
“I wonder why he didn’t send this letter to me in the office.” She thought, tearing the envelope open.
I find myself compelled to write these words to you at this hour.
I know this might sound untrue, but there are no lies in the words I write here, I assure you. I thought deep and long about the proposition I made you today in my office and quite frankly, I have never made such an offer to anyone before. I do not know what pushed me to make you that offer but whatever it is, it keeps me deeply troubled…
Rosie looked up from the paper and sighed.
“Is he planning to back out?” She asked herself in her thoughts.
It would be the worst case of ‘hope dashing’ if he planned to back out now. Just when she thought she had finally found a way out. Just when she thought the gods had finally looked down at her with compassion.
She understood how life worked and the fact that nothing came freely to anyone. Her people even had a popular saying that corroborated that knowledge.
Nothing goes for nothing.
She wasn’t getting his sponsorship for free, so why did he want to take it back now?
“Perhaps he doesn’t find me desirable.” She thought.
She was going to toss the letter aside in disappointment but decided to finish reading it. It really wouldn’t hurt to know his reason for wanting to back out. Maybe she could make a counter offer.
“Just read the letter already!”
Rosie’s eyes rested back on the letter and scanned the words which made up each line.
I do not want this to be a mere contract.
I find you desirable and feel very deeply for you and as such, I cannot bring myself to have you on condition. I will like a relationship with you… A real one.
I understand if you find my words difficult to believe, or if you require some time to think things through. Please know that I am asking for a chance to have your heart. All your demands from my earlier proposition will be catered for because they fall under my responsibilities as the man in your life.
At this stage of my life, I have learnt many things. One of it is that a letter is not enough to make a young woman give her heart to me. As such, I humbly ask that you give me a chance to observe me for yourself, under informal conditions. I want you to meet the man I am outside the office.
I request your presence this Saturday at the Troupe Museum. Please grant me the pleasure of your presence as I look forward to spending time with you.
Rosie read the concluding part of the letter four extra times. She couldn’t believe the words. She didn’t know why, but she was more than willing to give this a shot.
“It seems life’s sense of humour isn’t so twisted after all.” She thought to herself with a smile.