“I do … Not” – Episode 7
“Every operation has a short cut,” the AutoCAD instructor was saying. “Tap ‘L’ and hit the ‘space bar’ to activate the line tool,” he added. “Done…?” he asked the trainees. Everyone acquiesced except Donald. “Young man … young man…” he called again, tapping Donald’s desk.
“Yes … yes sir…” Donald stuttered, snapping out of his reverie.
“What’s the last thing I said?”
“Err … you said … err …”
Everyone in the class was giggling when the instructor waved him off and repeated his previous statement.
This wasn’t the first time he’d been lost in his thoughts; thoughts of Catherine. Less than a week in the Bishop’s home and he knew he was in love with her. That girl is amazing he thought. No, amazing is an understatement. There has to be a more befitting title, something more appropriate. Err … magnificent? Err … let’s leave it at amazing.
They had bonded on a covalent level. It just happened naturally. She wasn’t like some of those self-conceited silver spoon girls in Port Harcourt. She was graceful, yet down to earth. She had that aristocratic look, but there was nothing haughty about it. She was very easy to talk to, and Donald sure knew how to talk.
He had bonded with the Bishop and his wife too. Where his own parents were aloof and uptight, the Obuhs were charismatic and jovial. Unlike the senior Horsfalls, they commanded a respect borne out of love and admiration, not fear. Apart from the opulence, the Bishop’s home exuded a warmth Donald did not experience at home.
They’d had a long talk last Thursday Evening, the day Chinedu traveled. The Bishop had asked him everything; what he was currently doing, his immediate and future plans. Donald explained that he was studying Mechanical Engineering and had just completed the one year industrial training to round up his OND at Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori. He’d also applied for and was awaiting admission into PTI – Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun.
To keep him busy during the vacation, he planned to do a training course on AutoCAD. Bishop Obuh nodded his approval and promised to enroll him at NIIT, the number one ICT School in Lagos.
His first Sunday at the Headquarters was absolutely wonderful. The fully Air-Conditioned 1500 seat auditorium was an architectural masterpiece. From his seat at the altar, the Bishop looked like a god while the choristers, positioned adjacently, were like his angels. When they sang it was heavenly.
He spotted Catherine in her purple robe. Even though every chorister wore the same thing, the Bishop’s daughter stood out. He decided then and there that he was going to join the choir. Back in Port Harcourt he was assistant choir director/organist so it was only right that he joined the HQ choir. No, Catherine wasn’t the motivation. Who’re you kidding? his truthful self chided. Catherine was 80 percent the motivation.
He didn’t even know he was staring until she sighted him and grinned. He smiled and winked. The choir was singing Dietrick Haddon’s He’s able and out of the 20 voices singing soprano, he could swear that he picked out her voice. The decision to join the choir solidified. All he could think of was a duet with her. A duet that ended with a kiss, and…
“…please share the joke with us…” the instructor repeated.
Donald started. “Huh…?” he asked, puzzled.
Everyone in the class busted into laughter. Everyone except the instructor.
“You’ve been smiling like a Christmas goat since. What is amusing you?” the instructor repeated.
Christmas goat? Who uses corny lines like that in this 21st century? Donald mused. “Sorry sir,” he blurted. “I … sorry sir …”
“If you don’t want to be a part of this program, why did you spend all that money for the tuition?” the instructor fired. “You will not drag us behind. The next time you constitute a nuisance, I’ll send you out.”
See me see trouble o, Donald thought as he nodded. How can I constitute a nuisance in my quietness? All these Lagos people sef …? He peeped at his neighbor’s computer screen and tried to duplicate what he saw on his. He glanced at the time; 3:23pm. 37 more minutes and she’ll be here. He was suddenly excited. They were going to be together again. She’d drive to a nearby football field in a street with very low traffic and hand the wheels over to him. He’d practice till 5pm, then they’d head back to the house or to the church, depending on what day it is. That had been the routine since he started the AutoCAD training.
Amongst her many gifts, Catherine was a natural teacher. She was patient, considerate but firm, and her explanations were always easy to follow. Only yesterday, he was doing 30km/hr on a minor road when a dog suddenly ran into the road. He panicked and stepped on the throttle instead of the brake. The panic doubled as the car lurched forward. He looked down to see where the brake pedal was again. He did not realize he had switched lanes until Catherine calmly commanded, “eyes on the road Donald!” He looked up and swerved just in time to avoid an oncoming vehicle. He finally stepped on the brake and the vehicle stopped just as the front tire bumped the pedestrian kerb.
“Pheew! That was close,” Catherine had said, grinning. “Stupid dogs won’t look left and right before crossing the road.”
Donald was stunned. He had expected her to collect the keys and never let him drive again, or; a tongue-lashing at best. But there she was, making a wisecrack. His love for her increased geometrically.
He nodded as she added, “No matter what the traffic situation is, never take your eyes off the road. Where your vision lies, that’s where you’ll land.”
Donald smiled and mimicked her; “where your vision lies, that’s where you’ll land. Sounds like one of those lines preachers use.” They both grinned.
“Thanks Kate. I …Thanks.”
“Let’s go,” she waved him off.
As he reversed and reentered the road, he made a resolve to improve by all means possible. He would do it. He would make her proud. And when he finally drove in that terrible Lagos traffic successfully, he would give her the tightest hug ever, and kiss her, and …
“…I said leave my class,” the instructor repeated.
“Huh …” Donald started, flummoxed. The whole class erupted in raucous laughter as he gradually returned to his senses.
The livid instructor yelled, “I SAID LEAVE!!!”
Donald wanted to plead but one look at the man’s face changed his mind. He sneaked a peek at his watch – 3:53pm. She’ll be here in a bit sef he thought as he hurriedly gathered his belongings and scuttled out of the class….