‘So near, yet we seem very far apart from each other,’ Adaora shook her head as she approached my work desk the following day.
‘Whose fault is it?’ I looked up at her vindictive expression, ‘you’ve been snubbing me the entire time.’
‘Dabira, I’m sorry for my coldness,’ Adaora bit her lower lip, ‘but truth be told, I care much about your happiness, and I won’t see danger lingering around the corner and just watch you falling headlong into it.’
‘Danger? You call working for Nana a danger zone?’
Adaora nodded and held my arms tenderly. The feeling of her motherly warm touch notwithstanding, my mind remained as tough as a steel.
‘Are you speaking based on prophecy or is it your fantasy at work?’ I looked straight into her eyes.
‘Have you discussed it with the Lord?’ Adaora’s question dominated mine, ‘Dabira, you’re a spiritual being, remember?’
‘If it isn’t God’s will, then He wouldn’t have allowed the opportunity to come my way,’ I defended.
‘Oh, my God! Dabira, can you hear yourself?’ who has bewitched you?’
‘Nobody. Adaora, you’re only being biased.’
‘I am not biased!’ Adaora’s voice resonated, ‘I have this uneasy feeling that you’re treading on dangerous waters. Please, why not seek the face of the Lord first before accepting that job.’
‘Enough! I know what I want!’ I raised my voice before I realized it. ‘God is interested in my financial liberation just as He is in my spiritual wellbeing.’
‘There is a way that seems right to a man…’ Adaora left the bible quotation uncompleted.
‘The end thereof leads to death,’ I completed it for her.
‘Adaora, I know what I’m doing.’
‘Nobody would ever harass the Alakija’s family anymore,’ my mother bragged over the phone, the moment I informed her about my new job.
‘Let’s just give thanks to the almighty God,’ I responded in excitement.
‘One more thing Dabira,’ my mother continued, ‘with your new status, you should be able to get any man of your choice!’
I hung the phone with a feeling of emptiness. Mama’s last statement struck me. If money could get a lady a husband, how come most of the so-called celebrities of our time are still single?
Nana invited me over to her house two days later to fathom my travelling papers and other logistics. Nkoli was unhappy I was leaving her school, and even when I informed her I would be working for her mother, she was still not satisfied.
‘I won’t get to see you as much as I wanted,’ she frowned.
‘Excuse us, Nkoli!’ Nana signaled her daughter to leave, ‘aunty Dabira and I have a whole lot to do today.’
‘Don’t worry Nkoli, whenever I’m back in the country, I would always be with you.’
The activities that day took almost the entire day leaving me fatigued afterwards.
‘You have to spend the night in our apartment,’ Nana insisted, ‘responsible ladies don’t walk alone when it is dark.’
I nodded a partial affirmation. It was not a bad idea after all. Chief Mbadiwe was out of town that weekend; and so, there was nothing to worry about.
‘This is part of your induction into the world of affluence and class,’ Nana smiled as she ushered me into the cozy guestroom.
‘If you need anything, just press the bell on the wall,’ she added.
‘Do have a lovely night rest!’
‘Thank you, ma.’
Anyone who sleeps in this room would surely have sweet dreams. I pondered looking around the cozy room. With my eyes shut, I envisaged the life that awaits me abroad.
That night was the longest I had had in my entire life. Eventually, I dozed off.
The sound of the heavy rainfall at the middle of the night woke me up suddenly; but amidst the sound of the rain, I heard a strange sound towards my door.
Who could it be?
Rats? How possible in this beautiful room?
Afterwards, I heard the creaking sound of my door.
‘Madam Nana!’ I called out in the dark, but no response.
A flashlight beamed towards me and revealed a tall figure by the door.
I clung tightly to my pillow; too shocked to speak.
TO BE CONTINUED…