Sandra left Aunty Jessica’s office as quickly as she could, she was afraid aunty Jessica may try to persuade her to change her but her decision had to be a refusal except she wanted to watch another horror movie at home. Looking confused and dejected with head bent down and hands behind her back Sandra headed down the stairs quietly like she had just lost someone close and dear.
She shook her head severally as she got to the reception and bade the receptionist goodbye. As far as she was concerned, Aunty Jessica might never call her or help her with anything again.
Jessica watched Sandra from under her glasses, her eyes in the company of her entire body watched and literarily led her out of the office. Jessica placed both hands on the table filled with so many files as she helped herself to get on her feet. She walked towards the window area as she watched Sandra walk far away till she disappeared into the thin air. Pulling her two lips and querying them at the tip of the lower lip, Jessica tried to imagine what Sandra’s reaction would have been if she knew how much money was in store for each representative from each country to kick-start their businesses in any country of their choice. Wiping off the disgust on her face, she managed to let out a sheepish smile as she returned back to her desk to resume her work once again.
No girl has ever rejected an offer from Aunty Jessica, they jump at it like a kitten would jump at the sight of a rat, and she thought and sighed. Jessica picked her phone from the truckload of files lying on her table, dialed a number “Please get me Sandra smith’s file now” she said as she returned back to her work.
Sandra boarded a bus just opposite Jessica’s office and while she sat down quietly at a corner, she imagined herself on a plane en-route Germany or did she say Spain? She thought as she smiled to herself. She imagined the number of white women or even men who would be in attendance as she played the pictures accurately in her mind. “How I wish”, she spoke quietly to herself. The bus dropped her off at her bus stop and as she began to trek down to her shop, a childhood friend of hers Rebecca sighted her from afar and ran to catch up with her.
Rebecca and Sandra had been friends since childhood, they weren’t exactly close but when Sandra mentioned names of her friends, Rebecca’s name always came up. They attended the same secondary school but Rebecca dropped out after she got pregnant for one of their tutors, one of whom she was involved with. The tutor denied ever having any affair with her and though the teacher being one of the most diligent to work was retained, Rebecca was expelled.
“Where you dey run to” Rebecca asked Sandra as she leaned with both hands on her knees to support herself as she tried to catch her breath after catching up with her friend. “From where you show nah”? Sandra obviously surprised to see her friend asked, as she continued walking while her friend literarily ran behind her back. “I am already late for work, she responded, “I can see that already” Rebecca replied as both women walked briskly towards Sandra’s shop.
Jessica bit the pen in her hand as her eyes stood fixed on the ceiling like answers were already there just waiting to be read as she thought of Sandra’s refusal. “I know what to do” she spoke finally.
Sandra got to her shop at about 11 am. It was her usual norm to open as early as 8.am every day except on Sundays. She felt a sudden tingling in her stomach as she tried opening the door, “this is unusual” she thought quietly to herself as she looked around for all her customer’s.
She always had people waiting for her, her business had grown to be known by every lady around the area and even from the other neighboring communities. People now called in to book for available spaces and on a daily basis, she recorded a customer base of almost ten people from the start of the day till night falls. She quickly opened up and began to tidy things up as Rebecca joined hands with hers to get the place ready for customers.
Minutes rolled into hours, no one showed up and Rebecca wouldn’t stop talking either. She needed the time and space to think, she hissed several times in just a few minutes and Rebecca didn’t even notice anything strange. “Hmm” she sighed as she picked up her phone to call her first customer who had booked the 8 am space. To her dismay, none of them picked their calls. She even called those who had booked for the next day and everyone seemed too busy to pick the calls. At that point, Sandra knew something had certainly gone wrong.
– Bunmi Olaoke