“Dedicated to my cousin Yewande, for every time you made me laugh with your tales”
Sweat trickled down my face, the only things that kept the office ventilated were a small standing fan and small window. The fan sputtered every five minutes or so. Files were stacked against the four walls of the small office from top to bottom, making the stuffiness palpable. I fanned myself with a piece of folded A4 paper, as I worked on the stack of files on my table.
A client, who had no business being in my office walked in smiling. I say he had no business, because he did not come for any sane reason. I did not return the smile.
“Lepa ti ko ni imi,” he said.
The heat was smothering and I was on my last nerve, and there he was calling me some senseless nickname. I paid him no mind.
“Ahn ahn na,” he said “can’t you hear me, am I not the only one that calls you by that name?”
I frowned; perhaps that would make him go away. It did the opposite. He pulled the chair opposite me and sat down.
“Shey you go give me your number na? So we can hook up sometime.”
He winked at me.
“Okay, Okay, I get it. You don’t want to give a stranger your number abi? But I’m no stranger. Am I not the only one who calls you Lepa ti ko ni imi, so when you hear that name, you would know its me.”
I kneaded my temple muscles, I was in no mood for this nonsense. How in heavens name did giving me a nickname make us acquaintances.
As if on cue, by divine comedy, my boss shouted my name. I had never been so glad to hear her scream out my name in her high pitched voice, as I was at that moment. I stood up without saying a word and went to her office.
I ensured I stayed at her office for a long while, making unnecessary comments and bringing up unnecessary issues. After thirty minutes, my boss got tired of me.
“Shade, you can leave now”
I smiled, enough time.
“Thank you ma”; I replied giggling.
She just shook her head as I tool off.
I returned to my office and fortunately, he was gone.
About an hour later, another client walked in, one I had never seen around. He sported dark shades, an afro and a grey coloured suit.
He stopped on his way midway to my desk, removed his shades, smiled then resumed walking, with what he probably assumed was “swagger”.
“Baby, I like girls with this your physique”; he said using his hands to draw my physique in the air.
I sighed. Oh brother, here we go again. I wondered what kind of soap I used to have my bath that day, that caused all this attention.
“Good afternoon sir”
“What may I do for you?”
“How about taking me to lunch?”
I was taken aback.
“Take you to lunch? Shouldn’t you be the one taking me?”
“Okay, we’ll go together, then I’ll pay for your meal, while you’ll pay for mine.”
I shook my head and laughed. This one was funny. I felt some of the tension ease off. One of my senior officers stuck his head through the door and I beckoned at him.
“Mr Bello, please come and tell this man that I am your third wife O.”
“Third wife? You’re my second wife”; he replied holding up two fingers.
We all burst out laughing. When Mr Bello left, the guy pulled his chair closer to my desk.
“Baby, I’m serious, I……”
He paused as his eyes fell on my desk, and grew larger. I wondered what was wrong and looked down at my desk to see what he was staring at. It was my phone, I had used one of the pictures taken during my engagement as my wallpaper, it was a picture of Deji and I sitting together in brown and cream coloured traditional attires.
“I’m really sorry”; he said raising his hands “I had no idea you were engaged.”
“Its fine”; I replied smiling. ” I really should stop forgeting to put on my ring.”
“Men, but that’s a real bubble buster.”
Just then, Boma, a colleague of mine walked into the office.
“Shade, how far na?” she asked. Then she looked at the man seated opposite me. “Ah Oga, how is that your daughter na?”
He went mute, then his face turned red and no, I am not exaggerating. He ignored Boma’s question and his eyes were everywhere but my face. I felt sorry for the guy, but it was all too funny.
Boma tapped the guy.
“Oga, how your daughter na?”
I winked at her, but she didn’t get my message. The man quietly stood up and walked out of the office.
“Shoo.”; Boma hissed.
“Him dey try to toast me ni O.”
We both laughed out.
I made a mental note at that moment to ask my mother if she changed my bathing soap.