“Do you think that Dare would grant me the opportunity to attend the programme?” I asked Toni waving an invitation card before her. Toni raised her head slightly and took a quick peek at the card. “You will have to see for yourself, you are very new here and a function would be regarded as inappropriate”, she replied. “I have never missed it and I don’t intend to now”, I replied and left for Dare’s office. “Morning Dare” I said. He nodded. “I would like to be excused from work tomorrow”, I said. “Are you feeling ill?” He asked without looking up, his gaze was totally fixed to his laptop, who does he think he is? He should have at least looked at me. “No, but I have a very important function to attend”, I replied. “What function can be more important than your job here”? He asked staring at my hand. At least, he is looking at me now. “It is a service for my mother”, I replied. His look was now very stern. “Is she a clown?” Why would she want a service? He asked, looking irritated. Listen to me, if you go for it, you can kiss your job goodbye, he added and faced his laptop. I flung the card at him in utter disgust, “it is a remembrance service for my late mother, and I quit”! I yelled and walked out.
“Cheer up honey”, Jake said as he wiped my tears. “He called my mother a clown”, I mumbled. That Jerk! “He doesn’t deserve your tears”, he replied. “I don’t want to work here again, take me away from here Jake”, I said. “We would clear your desk tomorrow”, he replied, opening the door for me. I sat in the car feeling awful; Jake smiled at me. Jake’s smile came as a relief, there was something “kind” about his smile. We left for his place. I will get you something to drink; he said and left for his kitchen. I stared at a picture of Jake and I on our graduation from High School. “How could he still keep such a picture?” I thought. I had no idea where mine was, and moreover, I thought the picture looked boring. We were just two youngsters leaving High School and looked quite nervous. I snapped out of my thoughts as he returned with a can of soda. “I want to start my driving lessons this weekend”, I said. “I am not tired of driving you around”, he replied handing me the soda. I know, but I want to be able to drive myself around and not wait on my office stairs for about twenty minutes like I did today, I said. “That was an emergency, if you had called me prior to the time, you know that I would have been there”, he replied. That is the typical Jake Martin-Oje reply. I have to put an end to his “over protectiveness”; although I can’t really say that Jake is over protective. “But I don’t want you running here and there for me”, I said.” Moreover, I don’t like your new ‘beamer’”, I added with a light smile. “What will ever satisfy you”? He asked with a wide smile.
“Brethren, we are gathered here today for the 20th remembrance service of late Mrs Danielle Williams…” I watched the priest go over the formalities. I found it hard to shed a tear, maybe it was because I never really knew her, but as I stare at her grave like the past years, I feel drawn to her. She died on my 1stbirthday, she was trying to bake my cake when she heard me cry, she rushed to me but on her way, she slipped and hit her head and that was the end of my mother and my birthdays. My father never celebrated any of my birthdays and when he told me how she died, I vowed never to have fun on my birthday, anyways, and today is my birthday, my 24th birthday. My mother’s remembrance service has always been held on my birthday, so that was enough for me to feel sad and forget ever having fun. “What is fun by the way without a mother?”
“Happy birthday”, Jake whispered into my ear. I nodded without a smile. Jake always tried to make me happy on my birthdays; he always baked me a cake, which I always dropped at the cemetery after the service. The cemetery was soon empty, Dad and his guests had left, leaving Jake and I and some anonymous figures paying their last respects. I stared at my mother’s grave; my mum would have been 50 if not for her unfortunate death. I dropped the cake and tears flowed down my eyes. That is the part where I always had to shed the tears, it felt special in a sad way to present the cake we never baked on my 1stbirthday. “Would she eat the cake?” I asked Jake with a smile. His amused grin broadens and he put his hand on my shoulder. I faced the grave and dropped a flower. “I am sorry for your loss”, a thick voice said with a musical British accent. I turned round to see Dare Ade-Cole in a tightly fitted black suit; I nodded and faced her grave. “Take the week off, see you on Monday”, he said and walked away. I turned back and watched him leave. “You might need a minute alone” Jake said. “I will be by the car”, he added and left.
“A 24thbirthday needs to be cherished and spent well”, Jake said as he drove. “That rule doesn’t apply to me”, I replied. “Here we go again Darlene, for how long will you allow this to continue?” He asked. I gave no answer to his “rhetorical question”. He obviously knew my answer, why was he asking? “You cry every time on your birthday, I honestly think that you should tell your Dad to change the remembrance date”, he said. “I want the remembrance left on this date”, I replied. He sighed deeply. “I get it”, he said and drove on.
Watch out for episode 7. In case you missed 5, click here.