‘Dabira, remember me when you get to your kingdom,’ a fellow teacher teased me as he strode towards the principal’s office.
What kingdom? And as though to corroborate my thought, another teacher in the nursery section, tickled me from behind.
‘Miss Dabira, congratulations!’
‘Over what?’ my eyes widened.
‘I saw it all…’ she lowered her voice, ‘I’m a woman, you know. That guy is a big fish; don’t lose that golden opportunity…’
‘But Ada, can’t you see he’s a married man?’ I flaunted my defence, ‘I’m a Christian…’
‘Oh, please spare me the rest of the details. Dabira, Chief Mbadiwe is one of the big shots in this neighbourhood. You must be so lucky to command his attention…’
‘Ada, my faith doesn’t accommodate dating a married man!’ I retorted.
‘You’ve got to face the bitter truth Dabira, you’re not getting younger, anymore.’
Ada’s last statement dealt a terrible blow on my mind. Although I’ve heard my mother say similar words in the past, yet Ada’s remarks made me very nervous.
As I later prepared my lesson notes in my apartment that day, my nervousness persisted.
Grab this offer at this injury time! a thought crept into my mind.
No. I’m a born-Again Christian! I countered the thought.
You’re a loser! the voice persisted.
‘Really?’ I voiced out my thought and gazed into the mirror beside me.
‘Am I really a loser?’ I soliloquized into the mirror.
Finally, I slouched into my bed, buried my head under the pillow and cried my eyes out. The scenario that night, took me back to the incidence which happened a couple of years ago at Ibadan.
I was on my way back from a job interview one afternoon and as I was just a few metres away from our house, I noticed a Jeep pulling out from the building. Nothing unusual crossed my mind other than the fact that our landlord, who was a car freak had bought another car.
Maami and my younger sister Jumoke were both in the sitting room when I arrived. And after the usual greetings, I went straight into my room, slumped onto the bed, very tired.
‘Maami, why are we still hiding this news from Sis Dabira?’ Jumoke’s voice filtered into my ears.
‘My dear, it’s not yet time to disclose anything yet,’ Maami responded.
‘We have to be careful in this matter,’ maami answered, ‘you know your big sis doesn’t even have anyone in her life yet…’
My heart bled, I needed no seer to discern what was going on. Beyond the fact that Jumoke brought home her fiancée, maami’s manner of approach unleashed the fountain of tears from my eyes that day. My pillow became my only succor…
The sound of the telephone jerked me back to reality. It was hard to believe that it was already 10.00pm; solid good hours frittered away bemoaning my single state.
While I wondered who the caller could be, I suddenly realized that I had an unfinished business with my school Principal, Mrs. Ako. The workaholic lady was the kind of person who irrespective of the time of the day, could call any of her staff.
Although the thudding on my head that moment was unbearable, yet the dread of Mrs. Ako made me reach out for my phone inside my bag.
‘Hello, good evening ma,’ I began in a slightly quaky voice.
‘Hello, good evening, my Angel…’ a masculine voice replied.
‘Please, who’s this?’
‘It’s me – Chief Mbadiwe…’
My heart sank!
What does he want from me?
TO BE CONTINUED…