Thank God it’s Friday! Wheew! I’m looking forward to the weekend, I need to put up my feet and finish a film I’ve been trying to watch and also finish a novel I’ve been reading. I hope you’ve been enjoying the series so far. Please feel free to leave your thoughts about it here in the comments section, on Facebook or send me an email.
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P.S: What are you doing this weekend?
A week has passed and Dayo is still not talking to me. Worse still, I’ve not spoken to my boys and this frustrates me. I don’t know how they’re doing or if their father is carrying out his anger on them. Their school is on a break now and I’ve arranged to have them be at Mrs Adeniyi’s, a close neighbor, while their father is at work. But she would be suspicious if I asked to talk to them, she’s a close neighbor but not that close. The only option I have to is to call Bimbo and hope that she knows how they’re doing.
“Hi!” She answers chirpily.
“Hi, how’s everything?”
“Fine, Sola is back home…”
I roll my eyes, the last thing I want to talk about is her husband.
“I’m sure you’re happy. I need a favor please.”
“Okay… what is it?”
“My boys have been on my mind, can you keep an eye on them for me please?”
“Of course. They’re even right here!” she laughs.
“They are?” My eyebrows crease in confusion. “But they’re supposed to be at…”
“They said they got to her house and she wasn’t home.”
“I was surprised too. Did you arrange for the woman to watch over them?”
“Yes, that’s what we agreed on.”
I’m very confused, could Mrs Adeniyi have forgotten about our arrangement? If so who would watch over the boys for the next three weeks?
“Hey, are you still there?” Bimbo asks.
“Yes, I just don’t know where… what to do about this!”
“Why are you so worried? They can stay with me, except you think I can’t take care of them….”
“No that’s not it. I’m just worried that they would disturb your work…”
“My children are home too so it makes no difference.”
“But three weeks…?”
“It’s fine! Would you like to talk to them?”
Soon I’m talking to my boys and asking them how they’re doing.
“Daddy has been very quiet,” Tomiwa says.
“Oh I’m sure he’s just tired.”
“And he shouts at us.” Dotun says sadly.
“Mummy when are you coming back?” Tomiwa asks.
“Yes, mummy you come back and Daddy can travel.” Dotun reasons.
I laugh in spite of myself. “It’s not that easy dear.”
I manage to pacify them and then hang up. Am I really doing the wrong thing? I’ve overwhelmed with guilt and worry, what is going to happen when I return home? I wonder who I can even talk to about this. Uju. I send her a message and hope that she reads it soon.
“I don’t even know what to say.” Uju says to me later in the day over the phone.
“Why is he so hell-bent on you not taking this job? What’s he really afraid of?” she says more to herself.
“Uju I don’t know o. I really don’t know what his problem is. You know I took your advice and decided to talk to him about getting something better for himself.”
“And what did he say?”
“You won’t believe it. My husband wants to open a wholesale shop, Dayo wants to start selling milk and sugar! I mean what kind of man did I marry? I wanted to cry as he spoke, can you imagine something so ridiculous?”
“A wholesale outlet. But Remi, it’s not really a bad idea…”
“Ehn? What did you say? What is not a bad idea? Are you trying to be funny?”
“Uju? Are you alright?” I ask angrily.
“Think about it Remi. He can sell and he knows the ins and outs of the business…”
“I know Dayo, he’s too laid back to do business properly. He’ll probably give people goods for free. And how am I supposed to even introduce him? This is my husband Dayo, he sells milk and sugar.”
“No, no, no, Uju! Don’t even try to reason this out. How would you feel if Kevin says he wants to start selling milk and sugar…?”
“I will support him.”
“I’m serious. If that’s his dream, I will support him and try to help him grow the business to its fullest potential.”
“You’re just speaking English!” I hiss. “Hey God!” I cry, holding my head with my other hand.
“Remi! Snap out of it! You need to stop seeing this business idea as inferior. Work with him, if you think that he needs help in an area, then help him. And they don’t just sell milk and sugar do they? They sell other things…”
“I don’t really care!” I yell, exhaling sharply. “Look Uju, I called you to help me find a solution to this problem, not compound it by suggesting that I encourage this nonsensical idea of selling milk and sugar.”
“All right, if that’s how you see it…”
“That’s exactly how I see it!” I hang up and toss my phone on the bed.
“Sitting in your lavish home in Ikoyi and telling me to go and be selling milk and sugar!” I mutter, stomping off to the bathroom to take a cold shower.
In spite of the situation back home, I have managed to do an excellent work for Greenland Ltd and as I hoped, they want to retain my services.
“Can we consult you from time to time while we work to make your work with us more of a permanent nature? I’d really like you to be a part of our research team, we could use someone as resourceful as you.” the head of the research team, Mr Weju asks.
I try to contain my smile. “Of course!” I reply.
I have two more nights to spend here in Kenya, and Dayo still hasn’t spoken to me. I’ve packed my bags in preparation for my flight. I miss my boys sorely, I can’t wait to hold them and confront Dayo’s pettiness. Feeling edgy and unable to settle down with any of the programs showing on TV, I head for the lounge, I think I just might find one of my colleagues there.
Oby, the fair skinned Igbo beauty and my colleague in the research team is eating a pie all by herself.
“Nawa o Oby, you’re really enjoying yourself.”
“Yes o, I deserve it. We’ve worked so hard in this country.”
I laugh as I sit beside her. “I agree. At least they’re paying us well.”
“And feeding us well!” She replies raising a forkful of pie to stress her point.
“Won’t you order for yours?” she says.
I rub my stomach, in spite of the work I’ve been doing here, I’ve actually gained some weight. “Maybe not, I think I’ve added some weight.”
“Ehn ehn? My dear you better enjoy your life before you go back to cooking your own eba and amala.”
I think she has a point. “Okay o.”
“Good evening ladies.” Someone says just as I turn to look for a waiter. It’s Mr Martins. The smile on my face freezes for a moment.
“Good evening.” Oby replies with a wide smile, looking at him appreciatively. Mr Martins is hard to ignore.
“Good evening.” I say with a forced smile.
“It’s good to see you again.” he says.
I can feel Oby’s eyes on me. “You know him?”
“Yes, he’s my…”
“Old friend.” Mr Martins finishes for me.
Oby smiles again at him. “Please join us.”
“I wouldn’t want to intrude…”
“No, you’re not intruding on anything. Abi Remi?”
“No.” I say. ”You can join us.”
“Aren’t you ordering for your pie anymore?” she asks.
I’ve forgotten about that and also lost my appetite but I say. “Ah yes! Let me go and look for a waiter.”
“Please order for a cold drink for me too.” Oby says.
I get up to leave.
“Don’t you want anything sir?” Oby asks.
“No, thank you and please call me Sola. I’m Sola Martins.”
“Hmm… Sola Martins… thank you for introducing yourself, even though Remi didn’t bother to.”
“Oh I’m so sorry!” I say as contritely as possible.
“It’s okay, I understand.” She says with a wink.
I go off to find a waiter and gather my thoughts. I can’t believe that Mr Martins is here again. I thought that I was rid of him. I find a waiter and mumble my order, all the while thinking of what I can do to escape this situation because I know that Mr Martins’ intentions towards me are not entirely pure. There’s something about his smile, touch and words that leave me with an uneasy feeling. It’s hard enough for me to control the fact that I am attracted to my neighbour’s husband. Knowing that the man in question might also have the same feelings towards me is a recipe for disaster.
Back at the table, I find Oby and Mr Martins in an animated conversation. Oby has always been good with drawing people in, she’s very likeable.
“Where have you been?” she asks.
“It took me a while to find a waiter.” I lie, taking my seat.
“So, Oby here was telling me about your work.” Mr Martins says, looking intently at me. “She says you’re very good at what you do.”
I smile at Oby to avoid looking at him. “Aww… Oby, I’m touched o.”
“Please stop being modest!” she waves her hand dismissively at me. “You know you’re good at what you do.”
“Remi has always been a smart person.” Mr Martins says.
I glance at Mr Martins briefly. Since when did we get on first-name basis and why’s he trying to create the impression that we actually know each other?
“So you people were talking about me?” I say still focusing much of my attention on Oby.
Our order comes and I concentrate on it, leaving Mr Martins and Oby to talk. After I’m done eating I execute my exit strategy.
“I need to go. It’s time for me to talk to my boys and their Dad.” I say looking at my watch.
“Ah ah, stay with us now. They’ll understand.” Oby says.
I shake my head. “Sorry, I have to go. I’ll see you around.” I say to Mr Martins, knowing that my response to him would seem strange to Oby but not caring.
I’m watching a documentary on penguins when there’s a knock on my door. I struggle into my trousers and head for the door, Oby probably wants to borrow something. I open the door, it’s Mr Martins.
“What are you doing here?” I ask without even thinking.
“How did you know my room number?”
“Oby told me…”
“What are you doing here sir?” I ask again, feeling angry about this much unexpected intrusion.
“I just want to talk…”
“I’m sorry, I know this is awkward but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind just talking with me…”
“What is there to talk about?”
“I just want to explain why I told your friend that we were old friends.”
“You don’t have to explain…”
“Are you sure? You looked a little unhappy about it…”
“Of course I was unhappy about it, why didn’t you just tell her the truth?” the more I think about it, the angrier I become.
“That’s why I was hoping that we could talk.”
“There’s really nothing to talk about. Don’t worry about it.” I’m actually curious to hear his explanation but I know that I cannot let this man into my room.
“Really?” he asks looking surprised.
“Wow, you’re a very mature woman…”
I smile uncomfortably, willing him to go away. “Thank you sir.”
He shakes his head quickly. “Sola, please call me Sola.”
“I’m not sure your wife would appreciate that.”
“I’ll tell her it’s all right.”
I purse my lips and decide to be blunt. “I’m sorry s… Mr…” It really feels odd calling him by his name. “I really need to get some sleep.”
“You’re chasing me away?” He says with a wry smile
I smile. “I need to get some rest.”
“All right, we’ll probably talk tomorrow?”
This man is going to be here tomorrow? Oh dear! “Yes.” I reply having no intention of seeing him or having anything more to do with him.
“All right then, goodnight.”
I shut the door firmly behind me.