‘Dabira, is this really you?’ Chief Mbadiwe walked towards me, smiling.
As he drew nearer, a familiar cologne wafted around my nose. Why on earth did I honour Nana’s invite? That lady must have craftily written the movie script now unfolding…
‘Please I need an explanation…what are you doing in my bedroom?’ Chief Mbadiwe repeated.
‘Nana…I mean your wife…she invited me to…’ the rest of my words drowned in my confusion.
‘My, oh, my!’ Chief Mbadiwe uttered.
Nana walked in few minutes later. hugging her husband excitedly, she whispered something to him. Chief Mbadiwe flashed a smile which I sensed had no real depth; the kind which left me with the impression that he was just getting to know about her plans.
Nana opened her purse and handed me some crispy dollar notes.
‘That’s for your transport fare,’ she smiled, ‘more to come, if you dance to my gallery.’
My eyes shone like a torchlight. My initial misgiving about Nana suddenly vanished.
‘Thank you, ma. God bless you,’ I uttered all in one breathe.
‘You’re welcome. That’s just a tip of the iceberg. By the time you start working for me, you would be swimming in money.’
‘Dabira, my wife needs an honest person to work for her,’ Chief Mbadiwe added, ‘from every indication, I believe you are the best candidate for that job.’
Every other thing Chief Mbadiwe said afterwards fell on deaf ears. The impact of the foreign currency notes was gradually taking its toll on me. Suddenly a stronger passion overpowered me.
Dabira, What becomes of your teaching career? have you considered the impact of your departure on your students?
‘Your school can always hire another math teacher,’ Chief Mbadiwe intruded into my thoughts.
‘You need not worry,’ he continued, ‘soldier come; soldier go; the barracks still remains.’
‘The ball is in your court,’ Nana stressed, ‘if you are contented with the meager pay you earn as a secondary school teacher, then forget about taking the job.’
Nana’s sarcasm notwithstanding, it was not a bad idea anyway to be paid in foreign currencies.
‘I’m giving you just two weeks to decide, after which I would assume you’re not interested in the job,’ Nana ended with a note of finality.
‘I would get back to you soonest, ma.’
Ignoring me, Nana pulled her husband closer and began to caress his back.
‘Dabira, I guess by now your ‘escort’ would be bored of waiting for you downstairs,’ she sniggered.
The message was crystal clear; Nana was done with me.
‘Goodbye ma; goodbye sir,’ I uttered as I dashed out of the room.
Adaora heaved a sigh of relief the moment I joined her at the guest lobby. The expression on her face was as though she heard the entire conversation.
On our way home, I narrated the outcome of my meeting with Nana. In all I said, Adaora did not reveal a trace of excitement; not even the news of the gift of the dollar notes ignited a flicker.
‘Adaora, are you still angry at the way Nana treated you?’ I reminded her.
‘No,’ she replied casually, ‘I hope you’re not considering the job offer?’
‘I would think about it…’ I bit my lower lips.
‘There is nothing to think about. Firstly, Chief Mbadiwe has a crush on you…suddenly his wife got your number and invited you to her house…and then magically, she is already promising you the entire earth if you work for her! nothing seems to add up. Dabira, quit being naive; grow up!’
‘Adaora, please don’t be sentimental…’
‘I beg your pardon, Dabira!’ Adaora exploded in rage, drawing the attention of other passengers in the bus.
Realizing the scene she caused, Adaora, immediately threw her gaze out of the window of the bus. A period of ten minutes passed between us without a single word.
Finally, our bus took a detour and alighted at the first bus stop. Adaora alighted and muttered some words which I presumed implied a ‘goodbye.’
Was it a mistake in bringing Adaora along with me?
TO BE CONTINUED…