I told Ijeoma outrightly that I wasn’t going to go and serve them drink by the pool side.
She turned and looked at me like I just spoke Latin.
I decided to repeat myself.
“…I guess you didn’t understand what I just said. I’m not taking the drink to the pool again today. Find another way to humiliate me because I’m not going.
She laughed out sarcastically.
“I guess you are also tired of this job? You can aswell go to your quarters, pack all your baggages and leave. your presence is no longer needed here Keji since you can’t do simple task that your superior asked of you. Then be gone…byeee…
“Superior nonsense….” I said laughing out my frustrations.
“…madam superior you don’t have any right whatsoever to say those things you just said. You are not my employer and we’re all staffs here. Because you are an older staff does not give you any edge over me or right to treat me like I fall from ape planet. Find another person to take the drink to them today or go by yourself… you are not handicapped. Leave me the hell alone Ijeoma and if you can’t stand my guts then take the matter to whoever you wish to. I’m sick and tired of your wide mouth and dirty attitude towards me…
I dumped my apron and cap on the kitchen table and stood.
she came to stand in front of me like she was ready for a fight.
“Is quiet clear that you are tired of this job. You are actually very stupid, So because of a man that can never be yours, a man higher than your class, a man who is your boss, a man even finner than you, a man with a high taste you want to quit your job. You disobeying my orders means this job no longer means anything to you. Your obsession for the boss wants to drive you crazy to the extent of making you misbehave? You really want to start dragging a man with the main Queen herself, our very own Amy…Amarachi the real daughter of the soil, our small madam. You are as foolish as your name sound. For the last time, take this drink to them or watch me go and report you to madam?
I stood without moving or even bothering to reply her.
… fine. I take your silent as a disobedience to the job you signed up for. No long talk, just go and start packing your bag…
She was talking and walking out of the big kitchen when Stella stepped in and asked her what was the problem again.
She started narrating to Stella how I refused to take drink to the boss and his woman because I’m jealous and she was going to madam to report me for such unprofessional behavior.
Stella asked her not to go that she will take the drink instead to them.
She wanted to start arguing with Stella not to do it instead to allow me carry out the task but Stella insisted.
“Two of you should learn how to work together. Enough of all this unnecessary fight every time. Keji, we don’t mix work with pleasure, you have to leave emotions aside and carry out your given task very well. But is okay if you don’t feel emotionally balanced for today’s work. if you are not strong enough for today’s task then return to your quarters and take a rest…I and Ijeoma can handle everything on our own.
I thanked Stella and was about to leave but ijeoma outrageously refused me from leaving.
Stella has to speak to her before she let me pass.
After two days I was ready to face anything and anyone.
This job actually means more to me than anything.
I can’t loose it because of what I feel for Philip.
Letting go and moving on maybe difficult at first but I know I can do anything I put my mind to.
Ijeoma was surprised when I came to apologise to her.
“I’m sorry for my outburst the other day Ijeoma. That was really uncalled for but let me excused my behavior on not being emotionally okay. I’m fine now and ready for any given task.
She whined her wide mouth in a mocking way but I took no offense.
“You just realized that no matter how you try to win over the boss he won’t still give you a second look. He doesn’t even know if you exist and can never…ever be yours even if our beautiful Amara wasn’t in the picture. You suddenly realized all of this and decides to give your head some sense. Good for you but this your apology still doesn’t change the fact that you are a disrespectful “onye ofe mmanu” we are not friends…my friendship is very expensive and a person like you can’t afford it.
I smiled and replied her
“Is okay Ijeoma. I wasn’t asking to be friends with you. apologies and seeking for friendship is two different thing. since we work together, is very much required of us to be coordinated and be at peace with each other so that we don’t end up burning down the entire house with the ignited fire of malice and hate. I respect the boss and his woman and nothing should come in the way of my job. And lastly…for the record, I’m proud to be “onye ofe mmanu” Stella told me the meaning and she said everyone which includes you eats food prepared with oil. So dear Ijeoma crediting it to a particular tribe is quiet crazy. Probably because we do more than the other tribe but whichever way I’m super proud of that and it still wouldn’t reduce my personality or add anything to your ego…
I smiled all through with every word and it peppered her even more.
It was time for breakfast that morning so I went to set the table after I finished addressing Ijeoma.
She wasn’t ready to let my words slide, she always wants to get back at me.
“You see what I was saying? You are very proud disrespectful and annoying human. Is probably why they named you Keji. I don’t need your dirty apology or anything you got to offer because you are…
I couldn’t hear the rest of the things she said as I walked out of the kitchen.
I was setting the breakfast table when Amara came down.
I greeted her cheerfully.
“Good morning Miss Amara, hope you slept well?
She smiled exposing her well arranged gap teeth.
“Yes, I slept well and you?
“Same here” I replied.
“Please call me Amara. I love your skin color. Brown skin girl… your skin like pearl, best thing in the world…! this Beyonce’s song was referring to your kinda color not ladies with excessive skin tone. When they say black is beautiful they were actually referring to your type….
I laughed out at the shower of praise before saying.
“thank you Amara. You are making me blush like a little kid…”
“But is true. I saw you the other day and asked Phil about you and he said that you a friend and also a staff. That’s great! I appreciate good thing when I see one. Please don’t tone your skin for any reason…it makes you unique and special. Please, what’s your name?
She asked. I was full of smile when I replied.
“Thank you so much Amara. Every of your word means a whole lot to me. My name is Morenikeji but please call me Keji to avoid bitting your tongue”.
She laughed out before saying.
“Keji is cool. I will be honored to include you in my bridal train when the time is right…is just about six weeks from now. Beside, I will be leaving today… back to my family house so that I can continue planning for my upcoming wedding from there. I will get your number so that we can talk on phone…is that okay Keji?
I nodded still with a smile.
“Congratulations. I will be very honored to join your bridal train. Let me know whenever you are set…I will be a phone call away…
She suddenly came and hugged me.
My heart was a bit heavy when she mentioned her wedding. But Amara is a sweet soul. Her selflessness is incomparable. You can’t possibly hate her. One may probably dislike her without getting to know her, maybe out of jealousy but knowing her closely cancels all manners of ill thoughts
As she was hugging me Ijeoma just appeared. She saw us hugging and frowned.
“Haaa… Keji you haven’t still set up the breakfast table since? Don’t you know your level….why are you hugging our small madam? This lazy girl…you are just full of nonsense. You are trying to hang your coat where you don’t belong…
Amara shunned her immediately.
“You are really mannerless… Why will you talk to Keji in such a way? I’m actually the one hugging her and not the other way round. My name is Amarachi and I will appreciate if you address me as such not “small madam”. Keji is my friend and I won’t tolerate any form of insult directed at her. Please be guided. What you just did is totally wrong and that got to stop. Bullying your follow colleague shouldn’t be tolerated at all…no matter what. Anyway, since I and Keji are obviously engaged in a conversation you can aswell set up the table. I see nothing wrong in helping out when needed…
Ijeoma began to apologise at same time tries to defend herself and talk down on me again but Amarachi wasn’t ready to hear of it.
She asked her to set the breakfast table and Ijeoma had no choice but to do that.
Philip came down from upstairs to have breakfast. He is really handsome and always dresses smart.
Amara greeted him first but he wasn’t all cheerful like he used to.
“Sleepyhead good morning. Hope you had a pleasant night rest?
Amara said to Philip cheerfully.
“Yea… yeah I did. I slept a bit late though. Had a little work I needed to round up. How are you this morning? I don’t know you were already up. I didn’t want to bother knocking on your door… thought you were still asleep. I could have arranged breakfast in bed though…
Amara laughed out before replying him.
“I have been up since 5am. I was Skyping with Nunu till the full break of the day.
“Ohh! Good then. Com’on let’s eat..”
That’s all he said.
He turned to looked at me and I quickly greeted.
“Good morning Phil”.
“Good morning Keji”. He replied before taking a seat on the table.
Amara went to sit beside him. He poured hot water into his tea cup and also poured for Amara.
They both make a beautiful couple, no doubt about that.
I’m gradually getting used to letting go.
Especially now that I know Amara better and the special way she treated me makes me surrender totally.
I returned back to the kitchen.
Ijeoma came again at me.
“That your Yoruba charm will not save you no matter how you try to renew it. You want to buy over the heart of everyone and poison theirs against me…it won’t work for you Keji onye ofe mmanu….it won’t work. My God will disgrace you. Mother Mary and all the angels will fight for me. That your evil charm will be exposed soon. My enemies won’t succeed no matter how they try. Bring your charm I will Soak my chaplets inside water and pray, after three days you will be disgraced. Just watch and see…
I just gave a heavy sigh and continued my morning duty which is to serve breakfast to everyone.
When is Lunch time and dinner time I will carry out my duty effectively.
I will do it cheerfully, with a happy smile and continue to glow like never before.
If that’s the charm Ijeoma is talking about then I will continue to renew it.
I really don’t know the color of Ijeoma’s problem neither do i care anymore.
All I have to do is to be happy and forget whatever makes me sad.
I know I’m thirty and going to thirty-one. My mates maybe a bit ahead but some of my mates are either in the morgue or burial ground.
I have many reasons to be grateful.
Age is just a number and Ijeoma is less of my problems.
At the right time God will make my path to cross with the right man. But that’s if it’s His will for it to be so.
Untill then I will continue to be the best that I can be.
To Be Continued….. . . .
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