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  “You have to push to get it” Rev Wisdom hollered, “Life don’t give you what you desire; it gives you what you fight for”.

Mr Will thought about his wife Emotion, she would have been standing on her chair right now matching Pastor Wisdom’s Amen for Amen and Halleluiah for Halleluiah. He really missed her in the service, her elbowing when the Rev would say “nudge your neighbour” or “give someone a high-five”, she took everything so literal. He hoped she and the girls wouldn’t kill each other before they returned from their summer vacation. The girls were sometimes irritated by her drama; he could almost see them rolling their eyes at Emotion’s outbursts.  The boys had readily agreed to stay back and hang out with him when they learnt he wouldn’t be able to go for the vacation with them this time. Will’s neighbour nudged him, bringing him back from his reverie; he refocused on Pastor Wisdom who was now rounding off his message which was when he said all the good stuff. He stretched his head upward scanning for the boys sitting somewhere in the front row, he hoped that they took notes, so he would get the scripture verses from them later. He could always depend on Determination to take precise notes; Quitter would start and give up when he couldn’t keep up with Rev. Wisdom’s pace, and Stubborn? It would be a miracle if he took notes at all.

After the service, they left the car at the church parking lot and strolled to the burger joint down the street for an afternoon out. Will had promised the boys a takeout; he was just too tired to defrost the stew Emotion had left in the deep freezer. So there he was; the guy who takes his three boys to a burger joint on a Sunday afternoon for lunch. He knew he should feel a little bit ashamed of himself, but he didn’t care, he wanted an easy way out and he was going for it.

As a cute teenage waiter took their order, Will could not help but notice that the three boys were stealing glances at the girl, who as it seemed was enjoying the attention. He had discussed with Emotion about when to give the kids the talk and they had agreed that they’ll do it bit by bit to avoid the danger of getting them interested in sex while trying to teach them how to avoid it. Yet, as he tried to read their body language, he wondered whether they were not already too late.

Sucking in his breath, he made up his mind that now was a good opportunity to chip in a lesson. He had earlier decided to always be ‘the cool Dad’, the one the kids reached out to when they faced challenges. As the trio watched the waiter retreat, Will sat up
            “Cute isn’t she?” he asked
The three heads swung back with such force he was sure there would be a neck sprain later.  
“What?” asked Determination who usually spoke for the boys. At fifteen, he was extremely mature and Will was confident of great things for him.
“I said she’s cute” Will repeated while trying hard to supress the laughter that was trying to kick through his serious expression.
“That skinny thing,” Quitter said, “She even looks like a boy”
“That’s absolutely untrue,” Determination defended, “she is cute and I like the way she speaks and carries herself”
“Whatever,” Quitter muttered under his breath rolling his eyes.
“If she’s so bad, why then were you staring at her” Will taunted. He wanted to get a reaction out of Quitter.
“I wasn’t” Quitter snapped defensively
“You were, you were,” Determination argued. “You even smiled at her,” he said persistence creeping into his voice. Determination didn’t like to be wrong and Will knew he wouldn’t let it go until Quitter admitted he liked the teenage girl.
Quitter now red with embarrassment glared at his brother and snapped “I said I don’t like her and I am not interested in her, is it by force?”
“Are you sure that’s how you feel, because when she comes back, anyone who is interested can talk to her”
“And say what?” Quitter asked his scowl dampened a little bit by a glint of hope in his eyes.
“Well, considering that our order is large and would not be covered at once, you could say, ‘hey, can I help you get the rest of our orders?’”
“And if she says no?” Quitter asked now wide-eyed.
“You persist and say something like, ‘It’s not a problem really, I just wanna help” chips in Determination and Mr Will looked at him, knowing it wasn’t the first time he had hit on a girl. Maybe he and Emotion were a little late afterall.
“And if she still says no?” Quitter asked moving his weight from one side to the other.
“You follow her all the same, with or without her permission” snapped Stubborn who had remained out of the discussion, watching the basketball game on the mute TV hanging up the wall opposite their table.
Everyone stared at him. Stubborn and his twin sister Stoic at thirteen were the babies of the house and they were the ones Mr Will was most worried about. They were reserved almost to the point of recluseness. They excluded themselves from family gatherings whenever they could and were both dangerously independent. Stubborn never asked for help or advice and wouldn’t even take any when offered. He did only what he wanted, and once his mind was made up, it was almost impossible to change it. Mr Will felt sorry for him now, because without his shadow of a sister, he must feel like a fish out of water.
“Come on” everyone chorused and Stubborn simply shrugged and went back to watching the TV.
“Come on son,” Mr Will addressed the uninterested Stubborn, “you can’t force yourself on a lady, its impolite and rude, you have to find a polite way to convince her to give you a chance. You can’t always get what you want by bulldozing your way through.”
The lecture was interrupted by the waiter who returned with half their order. As she proficiently placed the food before them, everyone including Stubborn stared at Quitter whose head was bowed watching his feet tap against the table. As the girl placed the last plate and was about to retreat, a voice stopped her
“Hey! Can I help you bring the rest of our order?”
Mr Will’s heart sank, it was Determination. He had really wanted Quitter to man-up to this one.
“No, that won’t be necessary” the cute girl replied with a sweet smile, and Mr Will realised that she wasn’t just cute, she was holdup beautiful. “Besides, my manager won’t like that at all” she said
“Don’t worry about that,” Determination was already on his feet, “just tell him I insisted and you didn’t wish to offend the customer. Customers are always right, right?”
She chuckled lightly “ok sir you win”
He truly won Mr. Will thought, because from his vantage point his boy just got hooked. He wondered if this would be the feeling when one of the boys told him they were getting married. His heart swelled with pride and he was almost joyful when he caught the pained expression on Quitter’s face, his first son who was barely keeping from tearing.
“Why didn’t you go for it, son?” Mr. Will asked
“I didn’t want to” he replied “I’m not interested”
“But your face is telling me otherwise, I can see that you wish you had”
Watching his son struggle with his feelings, Mr Will’s heart went out to him.
“You remember what the Pastor said today? You have to make an effort for what you want in life boy, nobody would hand you your desires on a platter. You would have to risk losing and take a stand. I know you are afraid of being rejected, but guess what, we all are. You have to look your fear in the eye and still go ahead with what you want to do. And let me tell you a secret, most of the time, your fears don’t come to pass.” 
At that moment, they saw Determination coming back with his new friend who was no longer wearing the orange jacket and black skirt uniform but a flowery sundress. They were both grinning from ear to ear, carrying two trays definitely containing more than they ordered for. Putting the trays down, Determination pulled up a chair for her, and as they sat Mr. Will raised his brows at his son for an explanation.

“I hope you don’t mind Sir” the pretty girl blurted out, “Your son went to my manager and told him that you asked that they let me off because I look pale and would pass out if I continue to walk up and down. He told him you were a doctor and would check me up. Considering I would be off in an hour, my boss didn’t have any problems letting me go. He even threw in some extra dishes when Determination here…,” who’s smile was as bright as  a twelve noon harmattan sun “told him that you would have sued the restaurant for sending a sick staff to work but that you changed your mind because it was a Sunday and you’re just coming from church”

This drew a burst of laughter round the table, even Stubborn chuckled despite himself.   Mr Will knew he should reprimand his son for lying, but he was too proud of him to keep a serious at this time.

Determination beamed as he made the introductions “So, this is my father, Mr Will, my elder  brother, Quitter a.k.a Q and little brother Stubborn.” taking a deep breath with some fanfare, Determination presented, “everyone please meet my friend Success”

At the end, determination always achieves success
Kanayo aniegboka (kani)

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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