“Mum, does God still exist? “ Tehila asked while sitting on the kitchen island and fiddling with her teddy bear. Her legs bounced unsteadily showing her agitation.
Occupied with the dishes she had at hand, she stopped brusquely to turn to her daughter, thinking carefully and judiciously choosing her words “certainly dear, we’ve taught you that, since you were little”.
Within her, she knew where Tehila was going with this line of questioning and at the same time, she is exasperated, losing the will to keep answering this set of repeated questions.
Tears formed in Tehila eyes and her mother’s heart broke a thousand time over.
“Why did He let it happen then?”
That is the answer even her mother had found a long time coming to terms with.
“I guess because some things are meant to shape and test us on our Christian journey Tee”
Tehila shook her head vehemently “I think there is only a sadist we reverence as God”
Her mother starred at her speechless.
I hurt so much I cannot feel anything.
My pounding heart makes me scream
Psalms 38 vs 8 ERV
The sky was still dark, evidence that it was not yet dawn. Yet, a steady thump of Tehila’s feet was heard, in the otherwise quiet world except the sounds of chirping birds and insects echoing in the country road. She could not believe how far she had jogged till she broke into a run.
Restless, she seems to continually push her body beyond limits always attributing it to the excessive pump of adrenaline. The neighborhood was still with no sound, no littered refuse could be seen lying around, decent. Most importantly there were usually no reports of robbery in the community which made her feel momentarily safe. She knew that soon the fear she often experience when it was dark will surface. And, she was lanes away from her own home and neighborhood.
Tehila heaved heavily, hands on her bent knees by the roadside trying to regain her calmness and breathing. For a moment, she regretted her earlier decision to jog on the deserted country road at 2am. what had emboldened her was the fact that the neighborhood was relatively safe, that did not however stop her from taking along with her homemade chilli-spray for defense. She had learnt never to walk alone at odd hours without a tool of safety or self-defense.
She wondered how many people woke up that early to run, she however quickly came to the conclusion that they were many sleep deprived and damaged people just like her who would rather run miles to burn the pent up energy than to sit in depression or pace around sulking about their misfortune.
She always felt better in channeling her energy to better use like exercises. She wanted a win-win situation where she did not feel utterly defeated and drained without sleeping because of her nightmares, and staying fit.
“If only I could easily enjoy the calmness of the night in the arms of a sweet sleep just like everyone else” she muttered and cussed, regretting her existence as she had been doing for the past years and not feeling any better about it. It only made her feel more depleted.
No matter how she had tried not to think of those haunting negative thoughts, following the procedures of some notable self-help books written by best selling authors, she still found herself going back to the same old habit of feeling inadequate. She was glad that the exercises helped her stay fit.
The frequent nightmare had roused her from her sleep. Just few hours before setting out to jog at those odd hours, lying on her bed, she tossed and turned, her mind in turmoil and disarray, sweat breaking out on her body despite the maximum functioning of the air conditioner, it was the usual nightmare! Re-occurring again this night; at about 2am she gave up on sleep and got occupied with something else. And alas she found her comfort in the hands of her early morning jogging.
Fully dressed in a cardigan over a leggings, a pair of canvas to do with a an headset, she headed out. Jogging had always seemed to clear her head, it also helped to shift her focus to other things than her inability to sleep at moments like that, but she wondered why it wasn’t helping her this time around.
“Things change” she mused. She was an evidence of change itself and she didn’t like every bit of it.
Regaining her breathing pace, she checked her wristwatch and decided to head home. The sun was going to rise soon, she would be damned if she wasted time and arrived late at work.
Her home was situated in a decent neighborhood where there are no tales of robberies or any other vices. It was a residential area where people were homey, friendly, courteous and minded their business. It was a bit out of the hustle and bustle of the main city, which she loved dearly each time she comes home from work.
She had made a conscious effort in getting the apartment, with the help of her agent. Her happiness had no limits when she visited the house at her first meeting specifically meeting her taste, without hesitation, purchased it since it met all her requirements of a dream house.
Tehila’s home has always been an escape abode and a safe haven for her which she made sure has enough fire alarms and security locks. The few people the only set of people that comes around visiting are her parents . she had no friend and she needed none. she resolved that she did not want to be liable for someone else security. They had often joked that she was being paranoid over her security . She’d always huffed and said “you don’t know the value of security till you need it”.
Reaching home, she put in her codes on the lock, got in and shut the door after her. She went to the kitchen, removed a bottled water from the refrigerator, leaned against her cabinet and gurgled the water languidly. Enjoying the feel of the cold water in her throat after her run.
Involuntarily, Her mind went back to her life before that night, she was living a happy life with her family, good friends and everything was perfect till things took a plunge for the worst. Their lives had been so perfectly planned out even as kids, there were long term goals that had been written and she was disappointed that Treasure couldn’t fulfill any of them. The hurt enveloped her again.
So many things have lost appeal to her over since then, her life a monotony of activities that she felt she had to participate in, in order to make her parents happy though within her, she was numb and dead, she wished many times she could let go of the guilt which has been living with her for far too long, of the pain but for a long time she had buried all those feelings, knowing that it was worthless and won’t take her anywhere “Maybe I’ll die unhappy” Tehila said while sighing and resigning again to her fate.
Tehila walked slowly to her room and sat on the edge of the bed and turned off the music that was playing from her iPod. She went through her itinerary for the day drafted on her mobile and sighed, already tired with the activities of the day that hasn’t even begun.
She loved her job, but it was so demanding. Most times, she wished she could take a break but she knew that taking a break will only dredge up bad memories she has been suppressing. she would rather constantly, over and over again get herself distracted than loosen up for a free time. She mentally cautioned herself from slugging into those dark places of her memory.
Music blasting from her speakers as she went on to have a shower and get ready for the day. She hummed along with the music playing and danced freely to the beat of the music, at the same time wondering when she’ll ever find peace and fulfillment. Growing up, she had thought that with all her achievements she will be happy by now. But, she had been in for a rude reawakening by nature.
She pondered on her life and sighed again, she had the dream life that many could kill for. A good paying job, comfortable and modest accommodation with two cars, large chunk of money in her savings and parents who dotted on her. She closed her eyes and Treasure’s face once again hunted her and she quickly opened her eyes, mopped her body and started dressing up. She couldn’t sit around and mop, she had decided to close her mind and heart concerning that and it had to stay that way.
Looking at herself in the mirror donned with a white camisole, tucked in a black skirt which had just enough slit at the back which didn’t make her look slutty with a black suit top and a red six inches heel Jimmy choos shoe. Tehila was convinced that she looked beautiful in addition to her hair packed up in a tight bun which always screamed professionalism. With a minimal makeup always content with just a slight touch of a brown powder on her face and nothing else. She always wore that charming smile that was a facade and held her demons at bay. Assuring herself she looked beautiful and professional which was what she was aiming for.
Tehila grabbed her bag, put her laptop and iPad in her laptop bag, put off the speakers, made her bed, carried her car key and headed to the sitting room where she dropped them carefully and went to the kitchen to see what was available. She opened the fridge and realized that she was running out of stock. She made a mental note to get some supplies on her way home. She quickly made scrambled egg to eat with toasted bread and tea. She washed everything when she was done because she had a liking for a clean kitchen and generally a clean place, she grabbed her things, locked the door and drove out in her car.
Perks of being single and independent are because she does anything she wishes to do, sometimes stay up late at work, returning home anytime she wanted, though, she barely had a social life. She remembered how she and Treasure had always wished they could grow up fast and have a place of their own, live life and enjoy. Though she sometimes missed being with her parents, and having them fuss over her.
Alisson her secretary stood up to help Tehila with her things as she made way into her office. Tehila always felt somehow happy each time she stepped into her office. It was her one dream that she didn’t allow to die that day. She worked for one of the top housing agencies as an architect and she loved every bit of it. The joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they finally see their dream house or building was always the highlight of her career for her.
Arriving early each day to work was not easy because of the traffic, more reason she liked leaving her house quite early. Prize Agency was located in the midst of the city which accommodated other business premises. The city always seem too busy as if everyone was rushing especially in the morning.
She sat on her swivel chair while Alisson powered her laptop, prepared her coffee, and served her. Tehila nodded her appreciation as she took a sip. Her office was modest and airy with top of the art furniture. It afforded her view of the city looking through her window.
Alisson stepped back eager to get on with her own tasks “anything else?” Alisson asked.
“If there is an update on Mr. Ray’s contract you inform me, and that’ll be all Alisson, thank you” Tehila replied, already opening a file and concentrating on it. Alisson curtsied and left.
Hours later, Tehila being engrossed in her work didn’t pay attention to the repeated knocks o her door. At the the third reprise, her attention was caught, gently rubbing her neck, she lifted up her face from the documents in fromt of her with a gentle voice she answered “come in”.
Mr. Prize, owner of The Prize Agency where she worked waltzed in followed by a young man that seems unknown or better still, strange to her. Though eager to know who he is and his mission in her office that early morning.
“Well, hello there Ms. Joshua”
Tehila looked up smiling on hearing the voice and stood.
“Good afternoon Mr. Prize, please do sit” Tehila said while motioning at the seats in front of her, Mr.Prize extended his hand for a handshake while Tehila took it, all the while smiling, she also shook hands with the young man in Mr. Prize company, the trio sat after the exchange.
“Soft drinks?” Tehila asked and Mr. Prize declined.
“Nah, I could easily drink in my office if I was thirsty” Tehila rolled her eyes at the humor and they laughed. She had always enjoyed a friendly and cordial relationship with Mr. Prize even though he was her employer and she did not know why because she was closed up.
“I came to discuss with you”
“I was wondering what brought the mighty Mr. Prize to my office” Tehila replied while beaming and relaxing back in her seat, Prize laughed while sitting up. Mr. Prize loved the fact that Tehila was never afraid to speak her mind to him, though she was still respectful while doing so. He turned to his companion.
“Here’s my nephew Mr. Praise Joshua”
“Is it a mere coincidence that he shares my surname? I guess I would not be able to reject anything you came to say then” Tehila said while smiling at the young man who grinned back at her.
“Maybe….” Praise answered drawling and Tehila couldn’t help but notice that the young man was good looking, exuded confidence and had a nice accent in his voice, she always had a dislike for accents but was surprised at how good it sounded coming from him, she turned her attention back on Prize who looked between the both of them with a smug smile.
“He’s fresh out of the university, served his father land and with a brain like his I decided to make him join the company, he’ll be interning under you as the H.O.D of architecture, he is just going to be under your wing for 3 months to learn the ropes then as times goes on we will decide the next step to take. ” Prize explained.
“Can’t he be under any of the other officers here Mr. Prize?” She was uncertain of the whole idea of having an intern.
“You are good at what you do and I want my nephew to be under your tutelage because believe me Ms. Joshua but you both have a lot to learn from each other, consider it a favor I’m asking and I’ll sure owe you. Good day Mr. Praise” Prize said while moving towards the door.
“excuse me sir?”
“you know my rule regarding this, need I ask why? “ she queried clearly agitated.
Prize beamed and Tehila mentally knew that she won’t like whatever he was about to say “in every rule, there is an exception. See him as the exceptions you’ll be making for a long time. Good day” he strode from the office and Tehila starred at his retreating form and the closed door. Trying to let everything he had said sink in.
“Well, where do we begin?” Praise asked, snapping her back to reality and, she faked a smile, putting on her best poker face.
“Eager to start already?”
“What can I say?” Praise asked, leaning back with a shrug. Tehila knew within her that her life was about to change, she could not shake the feeling off, maybe for the better she hoped and she was more surprised that she was eager for it.
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