08 Sep More than a Woman (Part 4)
The man who brought the job offer stayed away from the confrontation between her and her boss. He watched from a distance and didn’t say anything in the argument, or tried to settle it because he didn’t want to incur her madam’s wrath and insults. He signaled to her they needed to go.
She came to the realization she wouldn’t be allowed to say anything in her defense. She was also sure her boss would never forgive her. Not even if she decided not to leave at that point. Feeling very sad, she left her madam to pack up her few belongings which she wrapped up in a large piece of cloth. When she was done, she balanced the load on her head and carried her daughter in her arms.
She felt for her boss because her boss relied on her. Her boss could do without her cleaning skills to an extent, but her job as a stay-in staff who cooked and cleaned before any one of them are awake in the morning, and continued doing so after all of the others are fast asleep in the night was going to be difficult to replace. She was also her best cook. But she had to leave for her and her daughter’s future.
She had placed all of her hopes on this man promising a better job and pay. She knew if she doesn’t meet his boss’s expectations, and she gets turned down, she would have nowhere to go to. She was sad and depressed as she left with the terrible curses of the worse kind being rained on her.
All through the short journey to the place of her potential new employment, she couldn’t relax, not even for a few seconds. She prayed to God in every way she could for this to be her breakthrough. Even if it isn’t, then at the very least, let the terms not be worse than the place she just left.
When they arrived at the compound they were going to. She was overawed by everything. She had never seen a house like that before. It was grander than anything she had ever dreamed of. To her, it was a palace for gods and kings.
She couldn’t stop looking around when she entered the house. She looked at herself and shook her head at her fate. She looked and felt so much out of place she cried. She lost every bit of hope the owners would employ her. She couldn’t see any reason why they would want to employ someone like her.
The owner of the house, a septuagenarian had lost his wife years ago and all of his children lived abroad where they had all been since they travelled there to study at different universities. When she came before him, she knelt in greetings as she had been trained to do to her elders.
“Please get up, get up,” he told her in a kind voice.
“Thank you, sir.”
“This is the cook I told you about sir,” the driver said from where he remained standing to one side.
“Oh okay,” he said as he pushed his glasses up his nose to take a proper look at her. “Please sit down.”
His kindness brought tears to her eyes.
He asked her a few questions about herself, including about her daughter. The question about her daughter brought more tears to her eyes.
“Please don’t cry. I’m sorry if my questions are making you uncomfortable, but I need to know who I’m bringing into my house,” the man said.
His continued kindness made her cry even more. She saw no reason why a man like him would be kind to her. She felt wretched. “I understand sir,” she managed to say through her tears.
He gave her time to calm down. When she was ready, she told him everything about herself.
When she finished, he told her not to worry. As long as she worked well for him, she would be well paid and she could keep her daughter with her. When he told her what her starting salary would be, she screamed in surprise before she could stop herself. It was more than thirty times what she earned at the restaurant.
“What’s the problem?” the man had asked in worry.
“No… nothing sir. I’m very sorry sir,” she managed to say through her tears.
The man looked from her to his driver as he wondered why she had screamed. His driver shrugged in response. “Okay,” the man said. “In three months’ time, if I like your services then I’m going to increase it.”
This time she could only cry more tears of joy.
“How old is your daughter?”
“Three years, sir,” she managed to reply.
“Then she should be in school. Is she in school?”
She could only shake her head from side to side to say no.
“What did you say?”
“She said, no sir. The child hasn’t started school yet,” the driver answered on her behalf.
“Okay. From tomorrow she would start school. I will take care of it, outside of your salary of course.”
At this point she could take it no more. With tears streaming down her face she slid off the chair onto her knees to thank him. She prayed for him and assured him she would never let him down.
“We’re going to see,” he told her before he turned to his driver. “Show her to her room and instruct her on everything which is expected of her.”
To be continued…
By Oluwaseyi Olusanya