The rains carried on all morning. That kind of rain that drizzles a whole day and never wants to stop. Thin and soft, the sky flat blue and boring.
I missed seeing your face. So, I called off the suspension at the office, just before the rain began.
Everyone stared at me as I ordered for more kitchen wares to be replaced with the ones you and Shola broke.
Shola thought I did it for her, so she came to me in my office and knelt at my feet.
‘I know you’re doing this for me sir, I can’t explain how grateful I am for this kindness. I swear to God, that black coffee girl slapped me first, she abused me and tried…’
‘Shola, get up,’ I ordered.
She stood on her feet and stared at me confused. There were tears in her eyes.
‘The next time you try to belittle Kini, I am not gonna let you work here any longer. You caused others to leave, she won’t leave. She will work here, and leave when I want her to. You’re not the boss, I am.’
She looked at me in shock. Shocked to see that this wasn’t about her. It had never been about her.
‘Thank you sir,’ she said calmly and walked away.
Then you came in with the cup of coffee I’d ordered, and from the aroma, I knew it would be good.
‘You shopped for new flavors?’ I asked.
You shook your head. ‘No. I read more about coffee, I learnt new ways to make it nicer.’
Your gaze met mine.
‘You won’t be a coffee server in a few weeks to come. We’re having you for a photoshoot. And you’ll be paid for it. Padi will give you a form to fill, so, you will be doing two jobs. Serving coffee and showcasing you to model for other brands. You have the physiques. You’re what modeling agencies want now,’ I reeled off.
You looked at me confused, yet, there was excitement all over your face.
‘How did you know that I’ve always wanted to be a model?’ you asked, smiling at me.
‘You’re a model. All you need is someone to push you to the market, and that’s it. That’s what I wanna do.’
‘Thank you,’ you said.
I nodded at you, I knew you were indeed grateful, I saw the joy in your eyes and I knew what this meant for you.
You made me. You gave me a trainer and groomed me to be the super model I’d always wanted to be.
My first catwalk on the stage of Twilight auditorium was just awesome. I caught your gaze in the crowd of thousands of people. I saw the way you stared at me.
Night had already fallen when I finished that job. Padi and the new wardrobe manager Debbie led me to where you parked.
‘Boss wants to talk to you,’ Padi said as they left me with you and said, ‘Goodnight.’
You were mute for a while, staring at my weird makeup.
‘The owner of House of Kads wants to meet us tomorrow for you. You’ll come early to work, prepare coffee for everyone and get settled in time to meet her.’
‘Yes sir,’ I said calmly.
‘Come in, let me drop you off,’ you said dryly as you walked into the car.
You’d stopped talking about liking me. We drove pass the long Lagos traffic in silence. Only the loud and boisterous voices of the gala and sachet water sellers were heard.
When you dropped me at my house, I’d expected you to hold my hands as before, or try to kiss me. But you didn’t do any of that. You simply said, ‘Goodnight Kini and make it early to work.’
When I came down from the car, you didn’t even wait, you sped off like you were going to see some other woman.
I was right, there was some other woman. Debbie, the new wardrobe manager. That
loud girl. Yeah, she was slim as I was, chocolate skin and beautiful and I knew she would catch your fancy.
It’s been three months and a half, and you kept acting like a boss to me, and no more as the man who’d wanted me in his life forever. A few months ago, you wanted me so bad, what happened?
The next morning, I was ready to meet the owner of House of Kads. After I’d finished serving coffee, I walked out from the kitchen and took the stairs instead of the lift, thinking in my heart, that at every corner, there was a possibility of meeting you. But I met no one, everyone preferred using the elevator.