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Port Harcourt
Thursday, July 25, 2024


What on earth was she doing standing in our boardroom? How was I supposed to survive the next four weeks working closely with her without attempting to strangle her at least once? I could tell she recognized me too and the feeling of hate was mutual because her facial expression changed as soon as she spotted me. I felt like dragging her by the collar of her stupid skirt suit and kicking her butt out of the boardroom in grand style. But, since I hadn’t yet won the lottery and wasn’t ready to lose my job, I just sat in my chair, pretending nothing had happened, as my boss continued his endless introductory speech.I had to wait after the meeting to chat with her and my boss; as if that wasn’t bad enough, we had to exchange numbers, and I was appointed to give her daily feedback on the project. At that point, I felt like nothing could get any worse. My boss might have as well taken out a gun and shot me in the head. I had to pretend to like her so he wouldn’t suspect something was wrong.

Fast forward to later that evening. I was driving back home when my phone rang—it was Nancy Bello. I tried racking my brain to figure out what she possibly could be calling about since the project with our company hadn’t even begun. I couldn’t think of any reason, so I picked up. “Hello,” she began with an evil laugh, “it feels good to know I can reach you whenever I want. I’m sure you must’ve heard about me before now, so I will get straight to the point.” Please do, I thought to myself while she continued.

“I thought I should let you know a few things about me so we can have a better working relationship,” she said, pausing. “I’m listening,” I replied, urging her on.

“I hate it when people take things that belong to me,” she said with a more serious tone. “So do I.”

“I’m glad we share the same views,” she said. “That’s why I’m asking you to leave Nonso alone. He doesn’t belong to you—”

“I think I’ve given you enough time to talk! Since you’ve refused to say anything sensible, I’m afraid I will have to hang up.” “Suit yourself,” she said. “But if you don’t do what I ask, I will make your job a nightmare.” “Kindly call me only during business hours from now on,” I replied, ignoring what she said, “I won’t be taking any calls from you afterward… have a good day!” I hung up. I would’ve loved to give her a piece of my mind, but she was a client, so I knew better than to do that.

She must be a joker, I thought to myself as I drove home. I’d planned that I wouldn’t end things with Nonso anymore, mainly because of her threat. I would love to see how she planned to make my job hell for me.I was surprised to see Dad’s car parked at home when I drove into the house later that day. I’d avoided him since the awkward incident at the bar, so we hadn’t seen each other. After my eventful day, I wanted to have girl-talk time with Mum. I needed motherly advice on my recent predicament, so I stopped by the main house before heading to my quarters.

I met the door to her room open when I got upstairs and was surprised to find her lying in bed when I peeped in. I thought it was unusual, “Mum, are you ok?” I asked, stepping inside the room. I knew I wouldn’t be bumping into Dad because they each had their rooms. By the way, I don’t fancy the idea of husband and wife sleeping in separate rooms. I feel it gives room for gaps in the relationship. If I ever get married, my husband and I will share a room no matter how big the house is, and if he insists on us having separate rooms, I’ll make sure one of them doesn’t have a bed so we’d be forced to sleep together. In my opinion, it was part of the little things that made my parent’s marriage go so sour. Before we moved into the new house, they both shared a room and a bed, so even when they fought, they were forced to see each other and eventually sort out their issues when they went to bed.

When we moved, there was a lot more space, and Dad thought it was a good idea to have separate rooms so there’d be more space to keep their belongings. The problem was that whenever they fought, instead of being forced to reconcile, they’d go off to their rooms and not talk to each other. Sometimes that went on for days, especially since they were walls apart and weren’t tempted to have any makeup sex.

Mum seemed to be in a trance. She was lying so still and wasn’t responding. I was beginning to fear that she might have had a stroke until I tapped her hard on the shoulders, and she jumped, startled. I heaved a sigh of relief. Honestly, I don’t know why I thought of a stroke of all things. I guess it’s because her elder brother had just suffered one last week, and he was hypertensive like her.

A stroke is a medical emergency that happens when blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced drastically, causing brain cells to die in a matter of minutes. People with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, are obese, or older are at a higher risk of stroke. Possible signs of a stroke include someone suddenly being unable to move their arms or legs on one side of the body. They may also have difficulty talking or understanding what people are saying to them, or their speech becomes slurred. In some cases, facial expressions on one-half of their faces remain frozen, or their mouth droops sideways when they smile.

If you witness any such signs, the person must immediately be rushed to the hospital for prompt treatment to minimise brain damage.The good news is my mum wasn’t having any of them, so she was fine; I was only being paranoid. The bad news was that Dad asked her for a divorce, handing me the papers when I asked her what the matter was. “Divorce? After 38 years of marriage?” I asked, staring at her in disbelief. She just nodded and kept staring into space. It sounded ridiculous to me. I didn’t understand why anyone would invest so much time and effort into a marriage only to ask for a divorce after 38 years. “Why is Dad doing this?” I asked, collapsing on the bed beside her.

“He plans to marry his younger mistress,” she replied, trying to hold back her tears. “He says her parents won’t consent to her being a second wife, so I have to go.”

My jaw dropped open when she finished her sentence. Younger mistress? Dad? Marriage? Everything she had said made no sense to me. Although in a split second, a picture of my dad and Teni flashed through my mind. I sincerely hoped it wasn’t what I was thinking.

Find out what happens next in Episode 9

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