“Do they need any good excuse?” Aisha asked rhetorically.
No they did not and I suddenly remembered the way Abdul usually expressed his hatred towards Aisha. I shook my head and cleaned my tears. She hugged me lightly and I told her to inform my children that we were leaving for home. My children joined me disappointedly as we took a cab against Aisha’s insistence on taking us home.
Back home I listened to how my children talked about Al-Saleh and Humaira’s toys and I silently prayed for them to have theirs too. I tried to push the Yakubu’s scenario behind me and move on. This was Wednesday as I waited patiently for Monday. My children and I stayed indoors. I went out once to withdraw some money from the little savings I had in my account to buy foodstuffs.
The weekend passed with nothing eventful apart from hosting visitors from my family house and seeing Yunus, whom I greeted with the expectation that he would ignore me but to my surprise he cheerfully responded and even asked the children to follow him out. I allowed him to take Imran and Ibrahim out while Khadija stayed home with me.
I woke up on Monday morning with great hope and anxiety; every call made my heart beat fast, but nothing from Nuhu and Sons investment. It was a huge disappointment. Aisha called, and the bad news made her sound disappointed. In the night I didn’t sleep, I spent the whole night on my praying mat crying to God. After the Subh prayer I didn’t know what happened but I suddenly woke up as my phone was ringing, due to the eagerness to answer the call, I pressed the reject button. I looked at the screen and saw about 12 missed calls from an unknown number.
I looked at the phone as if I was seeing it for the first time not knowing what I should do next. I held it praying that the call from the number would come through again. In fact, I needed my phone to ring not minding from where; I just needed to talk to ease the tension building in me. Then an idea stroked me to return the call. It was the operator’s voice that reminded me there was not enough credit to make the call go through. I picked my bag and ransacked it bringing out the contents. I found what I was looking for. I rushed to the children’s room and found Ibrahim and Imran sleeping but Khadija was in the kitchen preparing the breakfast.
After greeting me, I took over the kitchen while giving her N200 note to buy a recharge card for me. She quickly wore her hijab and rushed out. Few minutes later she was back with the card which I loaded. I left the kitchen for her to the sitting room and put the call through. An unfriendly female voice answered the call and wanted to know who was on the line. I introduced myself telling her I saw several missed calls.
“My name is Funmi Adebayo, the secretary to the General Manager of Nuhu and Sons Investment. I was instructed to call you to come over and pick your letter but when you could not pick our calls, the GM asked me to return the letter to him.”
“So what Ma? That's all for now.” She said, dropping the line. I didn’t waste time in thinking rather I rushed to the bathroom and came out in record time. In few minutes, I was already in the cab heading for Nuhu and Sons Investment. I was directed to the GM’s office and met Funmi sitting behind a desk swinging in a seat. I introduced myself again, but she asked me to go back that I would be contacted again. I smiled looking at her in the eyes informing her that I wanted to see the GM and hear from him, but she was adamant, telling me that the GM would not be able to see me as he was soon going for a meeting. I stubbornly told her I would wait, but she told me I could only do that in a visitors’ waiting room. She pressed a bell and a man in uniform rushed in as if waiting to be called in.
“Please Emma take this woman to the GM’s waiting room.” I got the nearest seat and sat, and Emma inched forward.
“Madam, you heard what Madam Funmi said.”
“I heard her so what are you waiting for that you didn’t take me?”
“Oya let’s go.”
“The only way I can leave this place is by you following her instruction. Take me!”
The man looked confused, looking from Funmi who was visibly angry to me. A bell buzzed, and she rushed to the adjoining door after about five minutes she came back to tell me that the GM asked to see me. I didn’t care to respond or ask any question but walked to the door I saw her coming out while she walked briskly to her seat.
I entered to behold another beautiful office but my mind was already full of the type of treatment I would receive from GM now that the Chairman was not here to come to my rescue. I greeted him with all the respect I could offer, he answered not looking at me.
“As we earlier promised you, your letter of appointment was ready that was why calls were put through to you but there was no response. I came to the conclusion that you are not ready for the seat offered you which is a sensitive post. We will review your appointment and offer you an appropriate position.”
“Sir, I think you should listen to my excuses before you draw your conclusion.”
“In this place, we don’t accept excuses, but results.”
“That was the same thought I had about this place too, but Sir, I'm sorry, you disappointed me.” He raised his head for the first time to look at me. He removed his classes, and my eyes held his. The surprise on his face was visible.
“Yes sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but the truth must be told. If you alter that letter I won’t accept the appointment. I met this company a great place but for you to be greater you have to keep to your words even to insignificant applicant like me.”
“Wonders shall never end.” All along GM’s eyes was with me with his mouth a little agape.