Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Difficult but Possible

“Come closer,” Uncle Pat told Mina who was sitting opposite him from his table. He wore a sly smile on his face.
She stood up meekly and walked up to the side of his seat. He motioned her to lean on the table.
“What was it you were saying, my dear?” He trailed his hand from her hip to her tights sending sensuous feelings through her. She shifted uncomfortably but did not stop him. She tittered.
“Uncle, don’t tell me you didn’t hear a word of all I said.”
“I did. But I like hearing your voice,” he laughed dryly.
“Well,” she continued, “I’ll be finishing my NYSC next month. I’m looking for a job. Please can you get me a job in this organization or with one of your contractors?”
“That’s not a problem at all,” he said in amazement. “I can do anything for you. How much do you think they will pay you?”
“Uncle, I am fine with ten thousand naira a month. All I need is a steady income and a job to take me out of the house each day.”
He laughed a long sardonic laugh.
“I have an offer for you.”
“Really?” she asked excitedly. Impulsively she jumped on the table to make herself comfortable.
“Yeah. You know my wife doesn’t have a son for me. I want you to be the mother of the heir to all I have. I will give you a million naira to start up a lucrative business, a house and a car. Every month, I will give you twenty thousand naira to take care of our son. What do you think?”
The excitement was drained from her face. Her sudden confusion was reflected on her face as a thoughtful countenance. She slid slowly from the table and ran her hands through her hair.
“A million naira” she echoed in her thoughts. “And twenty thousand a month? More than the salary I dream of. My! What an opportunity!”
“Is that how you want to live for the rest of your life? As a mistress? Alone knowing that the man in your life is not truly yours? A slave to the demands of someone who sees you as an object?” That was another chain of her thoughts.
“But could it be any better? Who says you could ever get one million naira in your life? Have you got ten thousand naira to call your own? Say yes to Unlce Pat. Life could not be better.”
“Just a little effort, a little hope, a little faith, and a little patience before your story will be different!”
She could not bear the conflicting thoughts within her.
“Uncle, please give me some time to think about it!”
He stood up and pulled her closer to him. He stroked his hand down her back. He was so close that she could smell the mixture of mint and cigarette that came out of his breath. She could see the hunger in his eyes. She could feel how much he wanted her.
“You are beautiful,” he whispered huskily, “I want to bring out the best in you.” He leaned forward to kiss her but she turned her face away.
“Uncle, please stop,” she said. It was a soft plea. Some part of her wanted him to go on. She had never felt like this before.
“I want to make you happy,” he said and held her tight.
She found herself wrapping her arms around his neck. A sharp knock on the door made her extricate from him quickly.
“Uncle I have to go now. I will call you when I have made up my mind. I will surely think about it.”
She straightened her short skirt and button one of her buttons that had loosened with the contact. As she reached for her handbag, he dove his hands into his pocket.
“Transport money for you,” he said, resuming his sly smile.
“Thanks.” She always looked forward to the transport money. It came in bundles of new notes.
The second knock on the door was welcome for he was about to give her a peck.
“Talk to you later,” she said and walked away quickly. When she opened the door, it was the secretary. The both of them exchanged looks of rivalry.

She got back to the apartment she shared with an NYSC colleague. As she walked into the bedroom, she saw her flatmate singing happily while making some notes from a magazine.
“Today is my lucky day, Mina,” said Mildred her roommate.
“Please tell me some good news to brighten my day. I am already glad because this is the first time you’ve been hearty since the heartbreak four months ago.”
“When one door closes, windows and gates open,” she said giggling.
“Tell me about it,” Mina urged her friend. Both ladies sat on the bed to talk.
“You know that guy that wanted to date me for months?”
“Which one?” Mina asked teasingly. “There are so many of them that flock around beautiful Mildred!”
“I am talking about the old married man without kids.”
“Oh! Of course I know him. The one we met at the gym.”
“Exactly! He made a fantastic mouth-watering proposal today. He told me he will give me one million naira to start life after NYSC and he wants me to have a child for him. He promises to take care of me, give me a job, buy me a house in Abuja, and give me a comfortable life. Isn’t God wonderful? Afterall the heartbreaks I have had, God has brought a saviour to me!”
Mina did not share the same excitement as Mildred. The news was too coincidental.
“You are joking, right?” Mina stammered quietly.
“I’m not! Five hundred thousand has been paid into my account today and I have the details of the transaction. I can show you!” she reached for her handbag.
“Don’t worry,” Mina stopped her friend. “I am just shocked. I had a similar proposal today from Uncle Pat.”
“And you said…”
“I told him I will think about it. And I thought about it. I am scared. I cant do it.”
“Don’t tell me that all along I have been living with a silly slack girl. Uncle Pat that has been giving you money every other weekend? That nice man that can take care of you? You don’t know what you are losing. If I was the one, before he finishes his sentence, I will say yes.”
“I wasn’t convinced in my heart. I did not feel at peace. It seemed like a blessing but I am not sure that is what I want for myself. So I have decided to wait a while.”
“You don’t know anything about life. I am sorry for you. Please excuse me let me continue making the list of items for my new house.”
“Come on, Mildred. We are talking. I need your opinion.”
“Follow your heart so that when it back-fires, you have only yourself to blame. I’ve got stuff to do!”

Six years later
“Mina, Daddy needs to be flown out of the country for a major operation. This came so suddenly and I need a huge sum of money to fund his trip. Please can you lend me some money?” Mildred was talking to Mina on phone. “I know you were planning a surprise vacation for your husband and daughter, so I will appreciate any little thing you can do.”
“What do you really need? Just say it as it is.”
“We need two million naira. One million is to show we have something, so we can get a visa quickly. The other million is for his treatment and the cost of the trip for himself and mom who will be taking care of him. I cant think of who else to talk to under such short notice.”
“God help me,” Mina muttered. It was a huge demand. She thought for a moment. “Okay, what are your account details?” She took them down as Mildred called the numbers.
“Beautiful Mildred, I am contributing five hundred thousand towards Daddy’s treatment. My brother will pay the two million into your account this week. Pay back only One and half million.”
“Thanks a lot, Mina. I knew I could always rely on you.”
“What are friends for?”
“Before you drop the line, I want to tell you something.”
“I am all ears.”
“You took the right decision six years ago. I watched you struggle and turn down many offers like Uncle Pat’s. Today, noone will ever know what you went through. People will think it had always been rosy. I am so happy for you.”
“I will always remain grateful to you. You gave me the best advice then – follow your heart. That’s why I am where I am today.”
“I’ve had the children whom I thought will be the solution to my problems. But my life isn’t any better. The man has children in all parts of the country. There is nothing special about the 2 I had for him. And he is still married to his wife while I am a miserable mistress. The guy I fell in love with could not marry me because his mother openly disapproved of me. I envy you. Maybe I should have waited. What do you think?”
“I think that the God of a second chance is not done with you. It is never too late to go back to Him.”
“Thanks dear. I will keep you posted on Dad’s progress…”

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