‘These are really nice fabrics-great quality. I wonder what quality of clothes your Madam must have left in her wardrobe if she can afford to give these ones out to you’ Kunbi’s mother mused.
‘Hmm’ Kunbi replied.
‘My daughter, are you okay?’
Startled, Kunbi looked at her mother. ‘Yes Mummy, I’m fine’.
‘It’s just that…you have been washing that tumbler for almost five minutes, so I was concerned. Are you okay? Did anything happen at work today?’
‘Work? No, Mummy. Where’s Daddy?’
Kunbi’s mother stared at her for a while, before replying, ‘It’s the Champion’s League Finals today, so he’s gone to watch football at the Estate viewing centre’.
‘Okay. Let me have my bath, I will come and help you with dinner’. Without waiting for a reply, Kunbi dashed out of the kitchen to her bedroom, as she remembered her confrontation with Dr. Osifo.
Kunbi heard the front door close, followed by footsteps which were interrupted by a phone ringing, a generic iPhone ringtone.
She stepped out of the girls’ room into the corridor which led to the sitting room, and found herself eavesdropping on Dr. Osifo’s conversation.
‘My dear, don’t worry, let me just get the file…I will handle her…no, she’s harmless…no, she won’t tell my wife…yes, we’re still on for next week…’
Kunbi tiptoed back into the room, wondering what to do with the information which she had unwittingly acquired.
She began folding the girls’ laundry when she heard Dr. Osifo walk into the master bedroom. After what seemed like an eternity, she heard the door of the master bedroom open and close, followed by footsteps which grew louder until they stopped in front of the girls’ room.
‘Kunbi, how’re you?’ Dr. Osifo stood at the room’s entrance, clutching a green file and not making an attempt to come in. He was a tall man and he seemed to take up the entire door frame.
‘I’m fine Sir. Good Morning’. She was unable to make eye contact with him, and kept on folding the clothes.
After a moment’s hesitation, Dr. Osifo walked into the room and sat on the chair in front of the computer, directly opposite where she stood folding clothes which were in a heap on the bed close to the wardrobe.
‘I came home to pick up a file for my conference; I forgot it at home this morning. I’m on my way to the conference with my colleague, the lady in the car’.
Kunbi nodded, not knowing what to say. In the few months that she had worked for the Osifos, this was the longest that Dr. Osifo had ever spent talking to her. He was usually distant, always in a hurry to leave the house. Her overall impression of him was that he was good-looking but boring, like he had the personality of a pair of socks.
Kunbi wished Mrs. Osifo would come home as soon as possible from her work trip so that she didn’t have to deal with this awkwardness.
‘I know that you must be judging me right now’.
Kunbi looked up at him, his handsome features perfectly arranged into a sombre expression which felt contrived to her. He reminded Kunbi of her ex-boyfriend, Ehi. Ehi’s gaze on her had always seemed unfocused, like he was looking through her for someone else more interesting. She had broken up with him earlier that year, and he had barely responded with a lukewarm ‘let’s try again’.
‘Sir…it’s not my place to judge you’. Kunbi picked up the pile of folded clothes and placed them on a shelf in the wardrobe.
Kunbi turned around and found Dr. Osifo still staring at her, and she wished that she could be anywhere else but where she was at that moment.
She took a deep breath. ‘If you don’t mind, Sir, I want to go and tidy up the kitchen’. Dr. Osifo nodded, stood up and left the room. Heaving a sigh of relief, Kunbi walked to the kitchen and started to wipe the counter surface which did not really need to be wiped when Dr. Osifo appeared suddenly at the kitchen’s entrance, startling her.
‘I know this is a lot to ask, because I know that you are loyal to my wife…but I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention what you saw today to her’, said Dr. Osifo.
Kunbi stared at him, thinking that this was probably the only situation where he would ever speak to her in such a deferential manner.
She shrugged. ‘Okay Sir’.
‘If you can keep that promise…I know that you have been experiencing financial difficulties. I promise that I will pay your fees for your last year at the University. Please think about it’. Dr. Osifo’s countenance was imploring but his eyes held a resolve that showed that he was willing to do what was needed to hide his adultery.
Satisfied with his proposal to her, he turned around and left for his conference with his kissing colleague, and Kunbi heard his car door open and shut firmly. She imagined him telling the lady in the car, ‘Don’t worry, I have offered to buy her silence. Our secret is safe’.
Kunbi stood rooted at the spot, not knowing how she was to respond to being offered a bribe since it had never happened to her before now.
***Part 3 will be up on the blog next week***
© Ivie M. Eke 2017.