Becoming (Episode 5)

Becoming Kassy: Miss Nice Girl

Kassy saw the head poking through the door of the corps members’ staff room – a tiny building with open squares for windows and barely enough furniture so the corps members had to share tables two or three to one. She ignored the tsking sound coming from the door, concentrating a little more than was required on the test script she was marking. Zero over ten. Typical.

“Kasarachi!” the person finally called out. She must have gotten tired of trying to get her attention quietly. Kassy looked up, pretending she hadn’t seen Mrs. Okoye standing there all along. Mrs. Okoye gestured for her to come. Kassy bent in her seat, pretending to put on her shoes, as she rolled her eyes. What did this woman want now? She stood and went to meet Mrs. Okoye at the door.

“How is it my dear?”

Kassy nodded. She had learnt that words only encouraged the talkative Mrs. Okoye. This conversation would be carried out as silently as possible, at least on her part.

“I can see that you are busy. What are you then doing?”

“Marking,” she mumbled through barely moving lips.

“My dear, you are too much. Well done, o,” she said, with her patronizing smile. She lowered her voice to a whisper and continued. “Eh, my dear, there is something I need you to do for me. You see, the father of my husband’s cousin just died. They are doing his burial at Abakaliki, and they made me the head of the women’s planning committee. I’m the one handling everything; food o, uniform o, transport, souvenirs… everything! The burial is next week, so I want to travel so I can prepare.”

Kassy could tell by now where the discussion was going.

“So you will help me, ehn,” Mrs. Okoye continued. “You will help me to teach my class throughout next week. Principal must not know o. I have asked my friend, Mrs. Nnanyelugo, I’m sure you know her. She will mark my name in the register. We Igbo teachers, we need to support ourselves, or things will be very hard for us.”

Kassy made all the right noises, all the while feeling like she was about to explode. As if she didn’t have enough trouble already teaching her own classes.

“Thank you, o. I will bring you souvenirs and dried meat from the burial. Ask the students; they will tell you the topic I stopped at. God bless you, my dear.” With that Mrs. Okoye rushed off.

Kassy let out a deep breath. She suspected she would be getting much more than she was signing up for.

As she entered the staff room, she saw Aghogho approaching, her hand white with chalk and her face wearing that frustrated look all corps members inevitably wore after a session with the students. She told her what had happened with Mrs. Okoye and Aghogho promptly berated her.

“You, I don’t know whether it is over niceness or mumuness that is worrying you. You keep letting these lazy teachers use you. Trust me now, if I were the one I would tell her where to put her dried meat and souvenirs. Rubbish!”

Kassy laughed. “Haba, it’s not that serious…”

Her phone started to ring. She glanced down at the screen. Honourable was calling.

Becoming Yinka: ‘Old acquaintances, New friends’

“You need to push me, Yinka.” His boss’ voice echoed in his head. What does that even mean? Push me. Was this some sick joke? He wasn’t born yesterday, in a normal situation and with a normal person this would be more or less considered flirting, downright suggestive even. But this wasn’t a normal situation, and Mrs. Ogundipe-Davies was not normal either. First of all, she was his boss, secondly she was married, thirdly and most importantly, she was ‘iron lips’. How would he even begin to go about flirting with her? He was no novice in the art of wooing women, but his expertise did not extend to cold-hearted aliens.

Sigh.

Suddenly the prospect of him getting the job as the head of the new department seemed very bleak. No. He wouldn’t allow it. He would at least give it a try. He’d be damned if he allowed Dickson win this one without a fight. He wondered if the boss had made Mr. Ifenkwe the same offer. He imagined the bumbling idiot sitting there with his mouth open and a dumb expression on his face. He chuckled to himself. No, he’d go along with it. He had worked too hard to get where he was. So what if he got a little help getting on that next step? He wouldn’t be the first person to do so.

He sat there in his dark living room, not bothered that PHCN had done the deed as he had gotten lost in his thoughts. He couldn’t be bothered with getting up to turn on his generator. He flipped the card that had her private number between his fingers as he planned his next move.

Yinka watched as she walked into the restaurant with an air of confidence. He couldn’t blame her, with looks like that, who wouldn’t? She looked as elegant as always in a black kimono with grey prints that highlighted her eyes and contrasted with her light skin. She had her hair pulled back in a bun and had a pair of silver drop earrings as her only jewellery. She looked absolutely breathtaking; he wondered how she managed to hide it so well at the office. If she looked even half this good at the office she would probably have to swat off men like houseflies. Maybe that’s why she acted so cold all the time, to ward off the attention. He didn’t have time to ponder on this last thought for too long though. She was already at the table.

“Good evening ma’am”, he said as he got up when she got to the table. He waited for her to be seated before doing same. The smile on her face said she appreciated the gesture. Score one for him.

“Good evening Yinka, but please don’t call me ma’am, not if we plan on having fun tonight” she said suggestively.

Usually, he would be jittery right now but he had already downed two blue lagoon cocktails to help take the edge off. He smiled back and signalled to the maitre’d to come over.

“So what should I call you then?”

“Amelia would be fine, thank you.”

“Amelia it is then”, he said smiling like a child.

The maitre’d arrived just then signaling an end to this introductory banter.

“Good evening Mr. Balogun…” Yinka was glad his tip paid off. He had come in two days before to book this table at the corner away from public view and bribed the maitre’ d to act familiar with him. He hoped his boss would be sufficiently impressed and see him as someone with fine tastes, not a young man who lived off indomie and bukas.

The maitre’d turned to Amelia “Good evening, Senhora”

“Boa noite senhor”a

“Ah, você fala português?”b

“Só quando eu respiro”c she said with a soft laugh.

“O que você gostaria de beber?”d

“I’ll have a pina colada for now”

The maitre’ d turned back to Yinka.

“….and for you sir? The usual?”

“Yes Oliver, a blue lagoon would be just fine”

Yinka looked confused and slightly perturbed. Amelia noticed the expression on his face and laughed even more.

“Don’t worry your pretty head, my mother’s part portuguese and taught me the language of her people quite well”

“I see…” he was even more fascinated by this woman who was supposed to be his boss.

“Okay, so I’ve told you a little something about myself. Now its your turn to return the favour.”

“Gladly…” Yinka responded. So they talked; about work, their family backgrounds, friends, beliefs, everything. He was quite surprised at how charming she was when she lost her ‘iron lips’ persona. He became comfortable with her, like she was an all friend.

And so it began….

 

a-        Good evening sir

b-       You speak portuguese?

c-        Only when I breathe

d-       What would you like to drink?

Thank you for reading! Becoming is an original series created by the Communications Department of Joshua Ville. Look out for Episode 6 next week!

 

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