Toyosi was at the nail salon getting a manicure. Her friends Moji and Idara were there, mostly to hear all about her date with the pastor. Moji was tall, dark and heavily-built, almost masculine. She however, had a pretty face and a soft smile that contrasted sharply with her frame. Idara was petite and fair. She had been married for three years before losing her husband to their housemaid, with whom he now lived in their mansion, while she was thrown out.
Both ladies were employees of the magazine that Toyosi wrote for. Moji was the chief editor while Idara took photographs and covered social events. Toyosi was tall, dark and slender. Her curvaceous figure was her asset as her facial features were average at best. She knew this and so she invested heavily in form-fitting outfits, most of them far above her knees; this ensured that her lovely legs got all the attention she very much believed they deserved.
“So, how did it go?” Moji asked.
Toyosi smiled, then winced as the salon attendant filed a tad roughly.
“Haba! What is that? Do you want to injure me? Iranu!” she cursed at the girl who was apologizing profusely.
“That girl is just silly. Oponu!” Moji cursed from her chair.
“You are sorry? In fact, get thee behind me, satan. You want to damage my nails when I have a date with my future husband? Get out!”
The girl rose, confused, wringing her hands worriedly. Their manager heard the commotion and hurried over to intervene.
“What’s going on here?” he asked.
Toyosi began to complain bitterly, ignoring the girl who was begging for forgiveness.
“Look at how she nearly filed off my finger,” she lamented, showing the affected member to the manager.
He took her hand and looked at it with all sobriety, struggling to keep his amusement in check.
“I am so sorry, Ma. Please, let her finish up. You are my best customer. Don’t be offended.”
“Let someone else do my friend’s nails please. All these girls! You never know with them. Husband -snatchers!” Idara muttered.
The dispute was not settled until the manager promised to discipline the girl by deducting one thousand naira from her salary. Toyosi then allowed her to continue with the manicure. The girl may have felt like crying but no one will ever know as she put up a brave front and took her seat at Toyosi’s feet.
“So what were you saying before that ebot tried to steal our joy?”
“My God will not allow anyone to steal my joy,” Toyosi snapped her fingers and waved them over her head. “As I was saying, we had lunch with the Onyemas and he was there. You know the guy is fiiiiine!”
“Fine is an understatement,” Moji concurred.
“He was just staring at me. I could feel him stripping me with his eyes.”
“Hmm. Omo dada! Did you go there to mesmerize him with this your killer figure?” Moji asked.
“I pitied him because of Pastor Onyema’s wife. Had I worn that my pink body con dress, he would have choked on his food.”
The three friends burst into laughter, oblivious of other customers in the salon.
“At least, he will be faithful. Not like that idiot I married,” Idara said.
“Forget that man. When you become internationally recognized for your photos, he will come begging,” Toyosi reassured.
“That is why I adopted a child of my own. Since these men are intimidated by my awesomeness, I don’t intend to beg them.” Moji made a hissing sound. She jiggled her gigantic bosom to elicit laughter and her friends laughed compliantly.
“Did you get some alone time with him?” Idara asked when they had calmed.
“No, I did not want to be forward. I don’t want to scare him off. Let him keep pretending to be shy. Once I get a ring on my finger, that shyness will be cured!” she boasted.
“Bad girl!” Moji laughed.
“You mean ‘Jesus’ girl’, right?” Toyosi retorted with a raised brow.
“I am sorry: Jesus’ girl. Please be gentle with him. I heard all these pastors are very good at … you know what.” Moji cleared her throat.
“I don’t trust you with that guy,” Idara said. “I hope you won’t jump on him?”
“Na prayer we go dey do for the marriage?” Toyosi snorted. “Remember I am close to the Onyemas? I am sure it is not by praying that Sis. Remi conceived their two children.”
“He has kept a clean record till date. Do not put him under pressure. At least you can wait till he proposes,” Idara advised. “If I find such a guy today, I will transform into a prayer warrior for his sake.”
“Wetin that one come mean? He is mine and I will not…”
“Not to worry. He is safe,” Idara waved her fears away.
“Calabar girls!” Moji laughed.
“Mbok! Can’t I tease my friends again?” Idara retorted.
“Toyosi, let this girl not offer to help you cook for that man, on any occasion…” Moji was saying.
“That’s enough!” Toyosi raised her voice. “Idara is not that kind of person.”
Moji’s phone rang, interrupting them. She asked the salon attendant to get it out of her bag and hold it to her ear as her nail polish was yet to dry. Tilting her head to enable her hear more clearly, she spoke into the phone.
“Yes, this is her. Take it to my house and leave it with the security at the gate. Did you not hear me? What is wrong with these small boys of today? You are a graduate of English Language, yet you do not understand English! Get off my phone.”
Idara and Toyosi did not ask who was at the other end of the line. They knew who it was. It had to be her personal assistant of three years, a man five years her junior who was unfortunate enough to be paid to receive the sharp edge of her tongue, daily. He doubled as driver, personal shopper, cook, office assistant and repair man. They did not pity him. They were of the opinion that women had been bullied for so long by the opposite sex that those who were able to avenge this injustice, should do so without remorse.
Ama was reviewing Pastor Allen’s itinerary for the month with him. They were seated on the set of sofas in his office. It was Monday morning. He had hung up his jacket and was now dressed in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and dark pants. His tie was still in place but Ama knew that at any moment, it would find itself flung on the coat rack, as was her boss’ custom. She often pitied him. A young man who was saddled with the burden of a large congregation; whose every move was watched such that he had no social life; whose parents died in his childhood, as well as his two siblings; who was now in a dilemma, having decided to renege on his earlier decision to die unmarried; and one whom she very much loved.
He noticed her watching him and raised his head. “Are you tired?” he asked.
“No, PA. I was distracted.”
“Okay, then. Let’s move the meeting with teenage church to next week.”
“You have moved it twice…”
“I have, um, you know…” he stuttered.
“You have a date?”Ama could not believe her ears.
“It is not a date. I have a meeting with the editor that PO uses.” If he were Caucasian, he would be beet-red. He averted his gaze, fiddling with his tie.
“PA, you met someone and you did not tell me?” she accused.
“I did not meet someone. We were having lunch at PO’s yesterday and he introduced her as the lady who edited his books. You know his books, “Ten Ways To Lose Money’ and the other one?”
“‘Every Man Should Serve God’. Yes, I know his books. That is not the issue. Why was she there, anyway? Is she related to him?” Ama scooted closer for the gist.
He scratched his head. “I don’t think so.”
“Why am I even asking you? Let me go and find Ovie. He will tell me what happened. I don’t have the patience to drag it out of you.” She rose and began to pick up her laptop and papers.
“Are we done?” He was bewildered.
“Is there anything you would like me to do for you?” Her voice was innocent, solicitous, but he knew that if he tried to stop her, he would have to put up with her sulking for the rest of the day.
“No, I believe we are done. Ask the kitchen to send me a roll.” He waved her away.
“I will, Sir. Please, excuse me.” She all but ran out of his office.
To Be continued.
Words in italics to be translated at the end of the series. lol
Cheers and do leave a comment. Dr. N