Valley Of Decisions (Story)
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August 9, 2018 at 10:08 am #1243331
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It is purely a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons (living or
deceased) are coincidental and a product of the author’s imagination.
It was a beautiful day in Baron and the weather smelled nice,
engulfed in the bloom of flowers and the brightness of the shining
sun. I had asked for a table outside but the café was full to the brim.
There were people everywhere so we settled for a table in the middle
of the café.
I was staring at the couple sitting beside us with their baby; they
looked so in love, giggling and holding hands. I smiled wishing I was
that lucky lady. The smile I had quickly faded as I turned back to
continue my conversation with my boyfriend. I had asked him a
very important question but he refused to give me the answer.
He looked up from his phone, stared at me for a few seconds and
carried on with whatever he was doing on his phone. I wanted to
grab the phone out of his hands and fling it as far away as possible.
Instead, I banged my hands on the table and said, “I am getting so
tired of you stringing me along Ben; enough of this. Do you want to
marry me or not?”
Taken aback, he looked at me like I was crazy but still managed to
catch the bottle of lemonade that almost fell off the table.
“Laila, look I have told you more than a thousand times that we will
get married when the time is right,” he said. “Stop putting pressure
on me, okay?”
I stared at him blankly and began to think about my life. How did I
get myself into this mess? This is not what I had in mind at all. I had
done everything possible I knew to do. I had spoken up, poured out
my heart, and even dragged Ben to every relationship seminar I
heard of, just to get him to commit to me.
Nothing seemed to work!
In fact, we had just taken a one-day road trip out of town to
Rockville, for yet another relationship seminar and decided to stop
somewhere for a snack as we headed back home.
We had already eaten but I told him I wanted us to talk about
something very important before we left. I needed to get this over
and done with.
His voice and the snapping of his fingers brought me back to reality.
“Laila! Hello! Did you hear me? I said are we good to go?”
I was upset at his utter disregard for my feelings, and before I knew
it, I was yelling, totally ignoring the stares I was getting from the
“I never put pressure on you! How many times do I have to remind
you that you need to meet my parents? We have been in this thing
you call a relationship for seven years and my parents don’t know
anything about you.” I paused to catch my breath. “If they’d never
spoken to you, I doubt that they’d believe you exist. Does that make
any sense to you?”
Ben looked around the cafe embarrassed as he removed his wallet
from his pocket.
He looked at me disapprovingly.
“I think it’s time to leave,” he said and sighed loudly as he opened his
wallet and brought out a few bills.
“Look, I’ve told you I will meet them when I am ready to propose to
you. You’re being a drama queen.” Ben folded his arms and leaned
back in his chair. “If that’s not good enough for you, too bad!”
I also leaned back as I let out a frustrated sigh, struggling to
keep myself from slapping him hard, right across the face.
“I’ve had it, Ben!” I blurted out. “You’re not going to keep playing me
for a fool. What do you mean by when you’re ready to propose?
Exactly how much longer do you need to make up your mind?”
I didn’t wait for his response.
I was close to tears and started talking loudly to myself as I placed
both my hands on my head. “Laila, why are you doing this to
yourself? Why would you allow anyone to treat you…?”
Ben stood up abruptly before I could finish my sentence, and just as
he was about to grab his jacket, I stood up and shoved him back into
By this time, I could hear some murmuring and giggling around me,
but I didn’t care.
He looked at me shocked and said, “You need to get yourself together
and stop making a scene. If I didn’t want to be with you, don’t you
think I would have gotten lost a long time ago?”
I sat down abruptly and picked up my fork, ready to throw it at him.
I was too slow. He almost knocked the table over trying to dodge my
“Stop asking me silly questions,” I yelled. “What about me? Are you
thinking about how all this makes me feel?” I laughed. “No! Of
course, you’re not. It’s all about Ben. It’s all about Benjamin Manda.
As long as everything is working out for you, his royal highness, no
one else matters. Not even me; the woman you claim to love,” I said
as I rolled my eyes dramatically.
I started to calm down as I noticed the puzzled stares from around
the cafe. I admit I shouldn’t have been so dramatic but I had taken
more than enough of this. I can be a drama queen sometimes but
anyone who knows Ben won’t blame me. He hardly takes anything
seriously. I could feel a migraine coming and my tears were getting
closer to the surface but I was not going to let this man make me cry
so I guess I felt yelling was a better option.
The baby beside us suddenly burst out screaming. That was my cue
to end this drama I was playing out in front of all these strangers. As
much as I didn’t want to, I finally succumbed to the irritated and
disapproving stares shot my way, so I lowered my voice.
I leaned forward and began to whisper. “Don’t call me a drama
queen, Ben. I just want to be sure of this path that we’ve been on
since Noah started building the ark.”
He suddenly burst out laughing like he had heard the joke of the
century. His laughter was aggravating my migraine and I seriously
reconsidered holding back that slap. He took a sip from his glass of
lemonade and looked straight at me. “I am done talking about this,”
he said. “Since you’re obviously not in a hurry to get back home, let’s
talk about something else. How’s that employment discrimination
case you’re handling?”
I couldn’t believe him. He dismissed me just like that! I waved him
off. “I don’t want to discuss that with you,” I said. “We are not done
with this conversation. You think I don’t see that you are brushing
me off again?”
Ben knew I loved my job as a lawyer and I could talk about it even in
my sleep. Anytime he wants to change the conversation – which is
often, he begins with my cases at work. Many times, I fell for it but I
made up my mind that not this time. I was done with him treating
me like a little child he could wind around his little finger.
I looked him straight in his eyes, channelling every emotion I felt in
that moment to him, and said, “I am giving you this ultimatum for
the final time, Ben. My parents will be here in 2 months and I expect
you to do right by me or…”
He slammed his glass on the table and pointed his finger at me. “I
would advise you not to finish that statement, Laila Ocheng. I won’t
take that from you.”
I was about to respond when my eye caught a waitress storming
towards our table. At that moment, Ben stood up, grabbed his jacket,
flung the cash on the table and stormed out without saying a word to
I called out to this man who had chosen to make a complete fool out
“Ben! Don’t walk out on me! Let’s end this conversation here. Ben!
I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me, ma’am. It’s time for you to
leave. You are being a nuisance to the customers here.” She stood
there with a scowl on her face and her hands on her hips.
I began to pack my things together. “Me? Leave? A nuisance? How?” I
asked. “I was just trying to have a conversation with my boy…”
She cut me off with the wave of her hand. “Yes, we all heard. You
have spent seven years with him and you have nothing to show for
it.” She said this while rolling her eyes and shaking her ring finger in
my face. I didn’t miss the laughter that erupted from the two ladies
on the other side of my table. I wanted to shrink.
I stood up. “I won’t dignify that with a response; otherwise I may end
up in jail tonight,” I said. “Excuse me,” I angrily muttered as I
intentionally brushed past her, and scurried through the café,
towards the door.
I stepped outside and began to walk to where we had parked the car,
Bay 7. I remember because that is how long I have wasted on Ben. 7
years of my adult life; and just like the waitress said, I have nothing
to show for it!
I was fuming so much on the inside that I didn’t realize I was at bay
13. I walked back to bay 7 and I was greeted by an empty parking
bay. “Where is the car?” I screamed to no one in particular. I refused
to believe that Ben left me here, over two hours away from home.
I paced back and forth between the bays in disbelief and looked
around, hoping the car would magically appear with Ben in it. There
was no sign of him.
I stood in the middle of the parking lot, looking helpless. I couldn’t
hold back the tears anymore. I lowered myself to the ground, leaned
on a car and let the tears flow.
Every. Last. Drop.
I don’t know how long I sobbed uncontrollably for but I didn’t stop
until I was interrupted.
“Excuse me. Are you alright?” I looked up and saw a gentleman
standing in front of me, handing me some tissue.
I stood up and began to dust myself off. “Uhm. Yes, I am just fine.
Thank you for this,” I said as I reached for the tissue.
I was too embarrassed to say anything more so I walked away from
him as quickly as I could. He called out to me but I ignored him.
I suddenly stopped and frantically searched through my handbag for
my cell phone. I called Ben, and it rang for what seemed like an
eternity before he bothered to pick up.
“Hello!” he said hastily.
“Ben! You have got to be kidding me,” I said in disbelief.
He let out a frustrated sigh.”Laila, what do you want?” he asked.
If I could grab his throat through the phone, I would have. “Are you
serious?” I yelled. “Ben, you left me here in the middle of nowhere.
Are you insane? How do you expect me to get home?” I asked.
He had the nerve to laugh. “Okay, I will come back for you if you
promise not to nag me over this again.”
I dropped my shoulders. “Ben, I wasn’t nagging you. I only asked you
the same question I’ve been asking for a long time. If you are no
longer interested, just tell me and we can break up. Isn’t that part of
what we learnt today?”
He sighed. “I need more time, Laila. I don’t want to rush into
More time, after 7 long years? I thought to myself. However, I didn’t
have the energy to get into another pointless row with Ben. At this
point, all I wanted was to get home. I just needed him to come back
and pick me up. “I hear you, Ben. Can you please come and pick me
up?” I dryly asked.
He took his time to respond. “I need you to promise me that we won’t
have this conversation again for some time, Laila.” Hesitantly, I said,
“Whatever Ben, it’s a deal.”
Ben’s black Nissan Altima appeared behind me in what seemed like
less than a minute. He parked the car beside me and unlocked the
car. I was still very upset and it showed in the way I opened the
passenger door, jumped in and slammed the door shut.
He had a wide grin on his face, which I found very irritating but he
didn’t seem to care. He reached behind my seat and gave me a
bouquet of red roses – my favourite! “I’m sorry for driving off. Please
forgive me,” he said.
I took the flowers, leaned back and closed my eyes. “It’s fine. Let’s go,”
I said. Remember I have my dentist appointment and I need to make
it to church in time for the service this evening.”
I looked at him. “I promised Rachel that I’ll sit with her twin babies
while she joins the choir.”
His grin turned into a frown. “Yeah, yeah! I know you have to get to
church,” he said as he reached for his sunglasses. “You do know that
once we get married, you will have to slow down on all your church
Oh no, I thought! We’re not about to start another round on this long
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I wouldn’t let him push my buttons
for a second time today. With all the calmness I could muster, I said,
“Look, Ben. As I have told you time and again, not even you can
separate me from some things.”
“We’ll see about that, Laila Ocheng,” he said.
He put on his sunglasses, increased the volume of the song on the
radio, and sped off before I could respond.August 9, 2018 at 11:09 am #1243349
August 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm #1243367
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August 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm #1243380
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August 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm #1243382
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“I don’t know why you keep investing your time and energy into that
waste of space, Laila. You deserve so much better.”
“Kiki, I won’t take that from you. I know you don’t approve of this
relationship, but please don’t talk about Ben that way.”
My best friend, Kiki and I were spending some time together at her
place before heading out to dinner. We were in her bedroom
rearranging her closet, as I gave her an update on my journey back
from the seminar with Ben. She didn’t like Ben, and she never could
hide it, even when he was around her.
She rolled her eyes. “Whatever! I hope that for your sake, this
relationship is worth it in the end. You both are in completely different
worlds. You are a Christian, he claims to be one. You are doing well as
a lawyer; he is still playing games, claiming to be a media mogul. Both
of you are just not on the same level.” She flung some clothes into her
laundry basket. “You keep acting as though he is the last man on earth.
You need to make the decision to kick him to the curb before he does it
I chuckled. “I hear ya, Pastor Kiki,” I said. “I see no ring on your finger
and you don’t have a man but you know how to dish out relationship
advice like an expert.”
Kiki dramatically held her stomach and bent over like she had just
been punched. “Ouch. That was a low blow sis, but I’ll let it slide,” she
I playfully blew her a kiss and laughed. “I didn’t mean it,” I said.
“Anyway, what do you think I should do?”
She rolled her eyes again. “You know what you should do Laila, I
don’t need to tell you. At this point, you need to do what you need to
do and make room for your heavenly baked hubby.”
Kiki smiled sheepishly, which made me look at her strangely.
“What’s with that smile, Kiki?” I asked.
She giggled. “Can’t a girl smile sheepishly for the fun of it?” she
asked, as she playfully shoved me.
“Uhm, no you can’t,” I said. “And did I just hear you say heavenly
baked hubby? Really, Kiki?”
We stared at each other for a few seconds and burst into laughter.
“You are something else,” I said as I sat down on her bed. “Anyway, I
want to say you’re right but at the same time, I’ve put way too much
into this relationship. Breaking it off is easier said than done.”
Kiki walked into the bathroom, shaking her head like she had some
kind of revelation. She popped her head out of the door and said, “It’s
fear that’s stopping you, my friend.”
I smirked. “Really Kiki, Fear? I am not afraid of anything.”
She walked out of the bathroom, shaking a nail clipper in her hand.
“You are afraid of being alone, Laila,” she said. “You have been with
him since you were 23. You don’t want to be above 30 and single.
You have also invested so much into him, and you want your
I walked to her bedroom window and stared blankly. “Kiki, I have
been with him for so long; I’ve given him so much, I’ve even
graciously saved myself for him. Do you know how hard that has
been? He has been good to wait for me.”
Kiki walked over to her bed and sat down. “He has been good to
wait? Laila, do you hear yourself?” She smirked. “Okay friend, if you
Right from the day Kiki met Ben, she told me, “Sis, he’s not yours.” Of
course, I didn’t appreciate that because I thought she was being
judgmental. While we were in law school, all I heard from her was
‘let him go. He’ll only do you more harm than good’. And he really
has, if I am being honest with myself. In the past 7 years, Ben has
been no stranger to getting into some kind of trouble. Each time, he
apologized and seemed remorseful but within weeks or months,
something came up again. According to Kiki, being with him has
made me age faster than I should; she says I look 10 years older than
“Hello! Earth to Laila Ocheng. Are you listening to me at all? You look
lost in space,” Kiki called.
I chuckled. “Oh, I’m sorry, Kiki. What did you say?”
“I said enough about Ben,” Kiki said. “So, I met this guy a few days
ago who asked me to go to lunch with him on Sunday. I agreed but I
made him promise to attend the 9 am service with me, first.” My best
friend suddenly jumped up began to dance in front of her mirror,
grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t believe it!
“A ha!” I said. That’s why that silly smile was on your face earlier.”
She stopped dancing and chuckled. “Maybe,” she said.
“Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you blush like this, Kiki,” I said
excitedly. “This must be something serious. How come you’re just
telling me about him?”
She looked at me in disbelief. “Uhm let’s see Laila, maybe because
you’re always going on and on about that loser… sorry, Ben. There
was no way I could tell you about… drumroll, please… Timothy.”
“Oh la la, Timothy,” I teased. “So, tell me all about him. I want to
know what he looks like and what he does. Oh wait, how did you
Kiki laughed. “Okay, Miss Lawyer. Slow down. I didn’t hear you ask
if he is born again. Shouldn’t that be one of your first concerns?” she
I took a sip of my drink on her dresser and rolled my eyes. “Yeah,
yeah, yeah. Men will always bring some kind of drama with them.”
Her smile faded as she stared at herself in the mirror. “No. Not this
one Laila,” she said. “I’ve been praying about him and watching him
and this looking good. Very promising.”
I walked over to her. “Praying about it? What for? That’s over the
top. Start the relationship first, girl.”
She kept her gaze in the mirror and said, “Oh no, missy. I would
rather be sure before stepping into a relationship that could lead to
I put my hands on my best friend’s shoulders. It was time to tell her
the truth. “Look Kiki,” I said. “I’ve invested 7 years of my life into my
relationship, hoping it’ll get somewhere. What makes you think that
yours will be so straightforward?
Kiki shoved me and walked back into the bathroom. “Where are all
these low blows coming from, Laila?” she asked raising her voice.
“I know you’re hurting but please give me a break. I made the
decision not to jump into any relationship until I am fully ready and I
shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that. Besides, I don’t need to be in
a relationship for 7 long years just to be sure.” She sighed. “I didn’t
say I was getting married to him tomorrow. It’s still the early stages
and I want to be sure before every step. Please don’t take your pain
out on me.”
“You’re right, Kiki. I’m sorry,” I said as I sat down on the bed. “So…
when do I get to meet him?”
“I’d rather you wait,” she answered. “I want to spend a bit of time
getting to know him better before I start introducing him to
everyone.” Kiki walked out of the bathroom with some nail polish
remover and cotton wool as she sat beside me.
I was staring at her in confusion. “Everyone?” I asked. “I didn’t know
I was in the category of ‘everyone’. That’s not right, Kiki. At least I
should meet him and tell you what I think.”
She took my right hand and began to clip my nails. “Laila, just relax.
You will meet him when the time is right. Don’t pressure me, okay?”
She looked at me. “Anyway, so where are we going for dinner? Can I
choose the restaurant?”
I stared at my hands. “Okay that’s fine; but what’s all this for? I didn’t
ask for a manicure,” I said while wriggling my free fingers.
Kiki released a hearty laugh. “First of all, because I’m a good friend,
secondly, your nails look like claws and this nail polish is chipping
off.” She grinned. “Thirdly, it’s time to change the subject, and
fourthly, I recommend we go to that brand new expensive Italian
I furrowed my brows. “Okay, that still doesn’t make sense. Why
exactly have you decided to give me a manicure, Kiki?”
Kiki began to recoat my nails with the same beautiful bright pink
colour already on them. “Well, because I also recommend that you
foot the bill tonight and I’m hoping that my act of love and service to
you will make it happen.”
I laughed out loudly.
Kiki picked up her cell phone and began to make a call. “I’ll take that
as an ‘okay’. It’s a good thing I have their number on speed dial.”
I shoved her lightly. “You, my friend are so sneaky,” I said as she
made a reservation for two.August 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm #1243410
August 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm #1243422
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August 9, 2018 at 8:13 pm #1243509
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