8 to 5 Ep06: Tale of two cities

Happy Wednesday, guys! You people like politics papa! Clearly Kofi Dubai got us some attention. If you can, I hope you are voting on the 7th. That is the citizen’s true power. Welcome to all my new readers and binge readers who have finally decided to catch up. I see you. 😉 Today’s episode is dedicated to the most amazing CPR, just because. 🙂 ❤

And now, on to today’s story…

What requires this much secrecy?

I never keep anything from Akwesi.

And why face to face, and not over the phone?

The questions were many.

Edem kept tossing them in his head as he turned onto the highway.

He was absentmindedly watching the crippled man who sat at the St Mary’s junction when the honking from the cars behind him jostled him back into reality.

He was meeting her at Korle Bu.

At least it was a public place.

But then again, it meant that anyone at all could see them. If the person told Akwesi, he would have to explain why he kept the meeting a secret.

But you are not doing anything wrong. Stop overthinking things. When all of this is over, we will probably have a good laugh about it and move on.

He could see her in his rearview mirror as he parked.

‘Dr Osam.’

‘Hi Edem! Thanks for coming.’

She smiled her sweet smile and leaned in to hug him.

So that is the flowery fragrance Akwasi keeps talking about. 

‘I keep telling you to call me Maame Esi. You sound like one of my patients.’

‘I am one of your patients, remember? That is how you met your Romeo.’

She laughed.

‘Sorry about the secrecy. Akwesi told me you guys were playing FIFA today. I needed to be sure that he would not see this message.’

Edem’s face had the ‘okay, I am listening’ expression. His forehead had burrowed into a quizzical look.

‘So I want to plan something nice for Akwasi. Dinner or a weekend getaway or something like that. You know him better than I know him so I am guessing you would know what is best. I also know you go through each other’s phones without asking so I needed to make sure that there were no traces.’

Edem was silently kicking himself for assuming the worst.

‘Something nice for Akwasi and it is not his birthday or anything? Woman after the man’s heart. Well, I think the getaway thing will work nicely. He likes roadtrips and stuff he can put on his Snapchat. But a whole weekend? I thought you were a church girl.’, he said with a teasing smile on his face.

‘A getaway doesn’t mean I will sleep with him, does it?’, she quipped back, with an equally mischevious smile on her face.

‘Well, my Grams has pounded this scripture in my head many times. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? – Proverbs 6:27. That applies here, doesn’t it?’

‘You are right. Your Grams sounds like an amazing woman.’

‘She is. Best woman in the world without a doubt. She has been waiting to meet the girl who has transformed Akwasi’s life.’

Maame Esi laughed again.

‘Looks like it is a date then. So we will probably go at the end of the month. Best Western, Takoradi. I will make up an excuse of needing to pick up something from my hometown or something like that. You are welcome to come along.’

‘Naah, three is a crowd.’

‘You are full of wise sayings, aren’t you? The Grams influence, I guess. You could come along with someone. Aren’t there any pretty auditor ladies in your office?’

‘Oh there are. They are just not available or not my type.’

‘We’ll work on finding you a pretty girl. You are a really awesome guy- you deserve the best.’

‘For Grams’ sake, please make sure she is Bible believing and tongue speaking. With a pretty smile. Like you.’

Edem instantly wished that he could scoop the words back into his mouth. He searched her face for a reaction but didn’t get one.

‘Right on it. We will find her. Best believe that! Thanks for coming, Edem.’

He saluted her with his right hand and drove off. When he looked in his rearview mirror, she was still standing there, waiting for him to turn the corner before heading back inside.


Unemployment.

It was like a curse.

Mawuli made it look like he had gotten used to it but he could still feel the burn from time to time.

He felt it when the boys wanted to go and have breakfast at Holiday Inn.

He felt it anytime he ran out of fuel.

He felt it anytime he had to ask Grams or Edem for money.

He felt it when he had to go to Edem’s place to use the wifi because he had run out of the Vodafone X bundle. That bundle sef- these days it lasted just 12 days. He was always dreading the ‘You have exhausted 90% of your bundle’ message.

His life was mainly ‘hand to mouth’, in Sarkodie’s words.

After National Service, most of his friends had found jobs almost immediately. He wasn’t in a hurry to go back to the 8 to 5 life, especially because he had spent most of his time at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs playing errand boy, buying atomo* and fried fish for the women in the office, picking up newspapers from the front desk and dropping them off at the offices of the various Directors. Yeah, stuff like that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that…

These days, he regretted staying at home. It felt like life was passing him by. Even some of the dumbest boys in their class back in Presec were driving nice cars and wearing silk ties. That skinny boy from Riis House even had the audacity to have a potbelly. And here he was with his iPhone 5S and a rickety Hyundai Pony.

And his ten fingers.

It wasn’t like he had not looked for a job. He had applied to every office you could think of, for all kinds of jobs- even jobs that didn’t exist. And yet he was still at home.

It wasn’t that he didn’t have money. Edem gave him a stipend of 600 cedis from his own salary every month, but he didn’t like depending on him. He wanted to be his own man. Edem was the best cousin a guy could ask for- kind, humble and reliable. That was why he always tried to be there for the guy whenever he needed him. It was the least he could do after everything the guy had done for him.

He had thought of starting his own business but he didn’t have any solid ideas yet. He didnt want to become like the guys who started a business simply because it was in vogue. Delivery. Food. Stationery. Music. He had thought of everything.

Okay, everything except makeup.

He just wanted a job- any job.


‘I just want to resign.’

Kevin scowled at the waste basket as if it was responsible for all his problems.

He was due for leave this year. After 6 months of probation and a year of working without leave, he was finally eligible for a break.

Working in a bank wasn’t as glorious as it looked on the outside.

Nice car, patterned neck ties, expensive perfume, leather shoes, a nice 2 bedroom house fully furnished. He even had the latest Samsung KU6600 TV and a brand new Beats by Dre Pill+. He was living THE LIFE.

That was what the outsider saw. This life came with long stressful working hours, restrictive dress codes, loans with great rates which were really handcuffs in disguise, no free time and other stressful banker life issues. He was really hoping for that break so that he could go to ‎São Tomé  or somewhere quiet. When he put in the request, he thought it was a done deal.

Apparently not.

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your email. I will however not be able to grant you the leave proposed because we are understaffed at the moment. Secondly, you are only entitled to 20 days and you have asked for 27 days off.

Kindly revise.

Best,

Cecilia.

Everyone called her Abrewa Cece.

She was the pain in everyone’s neck. She was always standing at the door at 7:45, casting a judgmental glance at everyone who strolled in after 8am. She also had a look for the ladies whose skirts were too tight, or whose blouses were bursting at the bust. She was also the colour prefect, sticking to her black and white clothes and scowling at the shades of green, pink and burnt orange that the ladies tried to sneak in. She had her eye on how many leave days everyone was entitled to and she didn’t seperate compassionate leave from regular leave.

‘Ah the work, ibi your popi in own?*’

The only thing that made coming to work worthwhile was Maku.

Damn, that woman was a breath of fresh air.

And her husband was a very ungrateful man.

How he could ignore all that goodness and act as if Maku got pregnant on her own amazed him.

He looked over at her desk.

She was lost in thought again.

He loved looking at her anytime he caught her unawares.

Her smile, her haircut, her sense of fashion, her shoes, her perfume.

How could a man not be happy to have a woman like her in his life?

He who wants does not get, and he who gets does not want.


Maku’s phone buzzed.

It was Robert.

‘Hey, I know I haven’t been a great husband lately. I am sorry. You deserve better. Let’s talk tonight, okay? I will get some food and ice cream. I know you have weird cravings when you are pregnant so lemme know if anything tickles your fancy. I love you.’

Her heart was pounding.

She re-read the message three times and typed her response.

‘See you tonight. I love you too.’

Her roommates were right. When you love a man, all you need is for him to make an effort.

All is not lost.

She knew that this was Robert’s olive branch.

It made her heart swell with joy. It also made her heart hurt from the memories of the last few days. Her tear ducts started working.

These pregnancy hormones, she thought as she blinked back the tears.

She was having the most overwhelming feeling. It was a mixture of joy and pain.

Bittersweet, that’s what they call it.

See you next week!

*atomo- sweet potato

*ibi your popi in own? – is it for your father?

28 thoughts on “8 to 5 Ep06: Tale of two cities

  1. today me too i will comment some..lol…just when i was getting engrossed the episode had to end..Madam ad3n??? lol..nice piece as always 🙂

    Like

  2. nice piece Keni!!!
    i have been looking forward to reading this all day
    that Vodafone notification tho*90% of bundle. ….* :-/ lol
    after french orals exam and hearing french all over…this feels rewarding
    Go Keni
    you never fail to deliver!

    Like

  3. A weekend getaway not a bad idea at all🤗 and the msg from Robert 😊lovely. Hope it’s not gonna be a 9-day wonder thing. Lovely story…..next week is sooooooo long😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah. See the way you nearly gave us a heart attack concerning Dr. Osam and Akwasi. As for Mawuli, the less said, the better. He has iPhone 5S and he’s complaining. He should sell it and start a pure water business.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not the only one who dreads the Vodafone X notification after all, *sigh*… Why do I think Robert has something up his sleeve? Getting food and ice cream is surely a decoy, definitely a decoy… Now the looooooooooooooooooooong wait has begun

    Like

  6. Yaaaayyyyyy!!! the ST MARY’s junction!! brings memories. Keni you are a great writer. i can’t wait till next week. Hopefully i wont get the 90% notice on Wednesday!!

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  7. Oh!! It ended. Please don’t let Maku suffer any longer. Don’t let her husband suggest any silly thing like abortion or worse. Please

    Like

  8. Oh!!! Keni how could you just end like that. I literally shouted oh! My roommate thought something was wrong. But anyway you did it again Great piece..

    Like

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