‘Hello Dabra, can you hear me?’ Nana’s voice pricked my eardrum.
‘I’m listening,’ I whispered.
‘Please, speak up; my battery is almost flat,’ Nana’s voice resonated with a tinge of impatience, ‘can you hear me?’
‘Dabira, can you please come to my house tomorrow?’
I hesitated, unsure of the response to give.
‘Please, I need you in my house tomorrow,’ she repeated.
‘Okay ma,’ I answered mechanically.
And before I realized the implication of my speedy response, Nana hung up.
Is this a trap or something? I paced about my room.
Perhaps someone had misinformed Nana that I was her husband’s mistress…and now, who knows what she is up to?
Would anyone ever believe my innocence?
‘Dabira!’ a voice from the back of my house jolted me. ‘Please go and switch off your generator, the light is back.’
Nkoli’s absence from school the next day further heightened my fear.
‘Nana Mbadiwe has skillfully plotted a very perfect script to ruin me!’ I expressed my fears to Adaora.
‘Fearful thing!’ Adaora remarked, ‘if I don’t know you too well I would think you’re dating chief Mbadiwe.’
I was silent. Staring at Adaora just reminded of Sara Aguilar, in the movie, The Woman of Steel.
‘Don’t worry, Dabira, I would accompany you to Nana’s house,’ she stroked my back lovingly, ‘two are better than one.’
‘Oh, thank you.’
‘What are friends for? Please pull that awful expression off your face; you are not mourning anyone.
Adaora’s company that day soothed me as we both proceeded to the home of the Mbadiwes.
A maid ushered us into the large sitting room of the Mbadiwes. And while we both waited for Nana’s arrival, I marvelled at the exquisite design of the interior decor.
‘The architectural design is out of this world!’ Adaora whispered echoing my thoughts.
‘This is paradise…’ I paused suddenly as a tall huge lady sauntered in.
‘Good afternoon ma,’ Adaora and I both greeted Nana.
‘Good afternoon,’ she replied as her eyes roamed from me and back to Adaora.
‘You must be Dabira, she pointed at me.
‘Could you please tell your bodyguard to excuse us?’
Adaora frowned at the remark.
‘She is my colleague,’ I quickly added, ‘and her name is Adaora.’
‘I see,’ Nana nodded, as she turned towards Adaora, ‘young lady, my business is with Dabira. Kindly follow the staircase behind you to the guest lobby downstairs.’
‘Yes ma,’ Adaora’s voice fell flat.
As soon as Adaora was gone, Nana led me into her bedroom.
If she was a male, I would have thought differently. Whatever her motive was, the fact that I came with someone gladdened my heart.
‘I’m sure you’re wondering why I brought you into my bedroom,’ she spoke in response to my perplexed expression.
‘Let’s just say that I trust you that much even though I’m just meeting you for the first time. Now, straight to the point. I have a thriving fashion business. I’m into the exportation of African attires; Venezuela to be precise. But unfortunately, just recently, my sales delegate resigned without prior notice. Now, my business is facing a major setback.’
Where do I come in? I pondered while she continued with the rest of her litanies.
‘Mabel was a very devoted staff; and now she’s gone, I don’t know if I would ever find a reliable replacement easily,’ she ended with a tinge of sadness.
‘What a pity!’ I uttered mechanically.
‘Dabira, I don’t need your sympathy!’ Nana’s tone rebounded, ‘do you think I invited you here to be pitied?’
‘I’m sorry, ma.’
‘You had better be. I want solution, Dabira, I need a replacement for Mabel, period.’
I stared into blank space racking my brains for a quick remedy to assuage the older lady’s concern.
‘Dabira, are you ready to work for me or not?’ her question threw me off-balance. But before I had the chance to speak, she added simultaneously.
‘I doubt if your present salary can take you to your desired promised land. Now, picture yourself working as an international sales delegate, and being paid with hard currency notes…
Hard currency? My heart skipped like a wild goat.
‘I would give you some time to ruminate over this mouth-watery job offer,’ she rose to her feet, ‘please excuse me; I would be right back.’
No sooner had Nana left the room than a familiar baritone voice resounded from the doorway.
‘Darling, I’m home!’ Chief Mbadiwe suddenly flung the door open.
‘Good…good afternoon…sir,’ I quaked.
‘Am I dreaming or what?’ Chief Mbadiwe pulled the dark spectacles off his eyes.
‘Dabira, what are you doing in my bedroom?’
TO BE CONTINUED…