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Saturday, 19 March 2016

My Boss wants me as his Baby Mama! (1)



 One sees all kinds of stuff in this our city of Lagos. In my eight years of living in this big city, I thought I had seen it all. The good, the bad. The crazy and the absurd.

 That was until my boss sprung a big surprise on me some time ago...

 Let me tell you a little bit about my 'Oga' or boss. He's about 38 years old, a widower with a son. The boy, Michael is nine and in secondary school in the boarding house. My boss whom I will call Mr T for the sake of his privacy, is quite kind and considerate when he wants to.

 That is when you do your job very well without delays or mistakes. He's very thorough and demanding and hates things done in a tacky, untidy manner. You do that and you get some serious tongue lashing from him. Besides that, he is not a bad boss, just hard working and driven.

 Of average height, he has a slim compact body and a serious looking face; the only time you see Mr T crack a smile is when the company has won one of the numerous bids it pitches for contracts regularly from different organizations and governments. Or whenever his close friend, Danny comes over to see him. 

 To some people, my boss's demeanor and attitude make him seem aloof or a proud person. But having worked closely with him for some years, I know it's not pride, it was just his way.

 Ours is an engineering and construction firm that handles all kinds of jobs, mostly big. It was set up over a decade before by my boss and a friend, who later pulled out of the partnership to start up on his own.

 I have been with the company over two years now. I started out working as the P.A to the late wife of my boss who was running a foundation for widows and indigent children.

 After she passed on nearly three years ago, her husband kind of inherited me, moving me to his personal office as an Executive Assistant, (EA) secretary and sometime Nanny or 'minder' to Michael.

  ***

 I should have known from the way Mr T was acting that day that something was in the offing.

 He had returned from a trip from Abuja that afternoon looking quite cheerful, a clear indication that he had got another big job. He even stopped at my desk to chat with me before entering his office.

 Usually, he would respond to my greeting in a gruff manner, enquire if he had any urgent messages and march quickly to his office.

 But that day was different.

 After greeting him, he had stood, smiling genially at me, asking if everything was fine.

 Then, he removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes and gazing at me curiously said:

  "Have you changed your hairstyle, Mena? You look quite different. This braided style suits you better than the weaves you young ladies love so much. It makes you look like a brown Queen of Sheba." 

 Then putting his glasses back on, he walked calmly to his office. 

 My jaw almost dropped to the floor in astonishment at his words. 

 Did my boss just compliment me on my looks or what? Or were my ears fooling me? Did he just call me Queen of Sheba? 

 I quickly whipped out my small make up case and stared at my image in the mirror. I had had the braids done that weekend and it had taken hours of hardwork and patience on my part (its not easy sitting still for hours you know) to fix. Packed up in a ponytail, they were quite long and they cascaded down my shoulders like a dark, thick rope.

 I did not know what the Biblical Queen of Sheba looked like as I had never seen a picture of her. She must have been very beautiful though to win the heart of a king who was said to have been mesmerized by her.

 I put the mirror away with a sigh. Though I had been told I was pretty by admirers particularly men, I did not see how my looks could compare with those of the ancient queen.

 'Something must be wrong with Oga's eyes,' I mumbled to myself. Switching on the computer, I focused on my work and put the incident behind me.

 ***

The following day, my boss was his usual cool, calm, somewhat distant self. He arrived the office a little after 9 am and immediately sent for me.

 "Michael will be coming home for the Mid-term break from school in two days. Make arrangements to have him picked up. You might have to go with the driver," he instructed.

 "And inform the architects handling the hotel project in Victoria Island to bring their design before the end of the week. We have a deadline to meet and they are delaying us," he said briskly.

 Michael's school was in Ogun State, a short distance from Abeokuta, the state capital- it was one of those posh private schools for the rich who can afford the steep fees.

It was a long drive to and from the school and with the traffic on the road and everything, I was exhausted when I finally delivered him safely home.

 As the driver took his belongings into the house, I stood by the car, stretching my tired limbs. All I wanted right then was a warm bath and my bed.

 "Aunty Mena, aren't you coming in?" Michael asked. I had picked up my hand bag and a shopping bag containing some items I had bought on the return journey to Lagos.

 "No, Michael. Not today. I need to head home. It's getting quite late," I replied, smiling at him. 

He was a fine looking boy, a miniature of his father, complete with a pair of small glasses. Glasses seemed to run in their family for his late mother also wore them, though mostly reading glasses.

 "You should join us for dinner. The driver can always take you home anytime," a voice behind us said.

 We both turned to see my boss standing by the open door of the house.

 "Daddy!" Michael called, going to embrace his father. They chatted for a while then the boy went inside the house.

 I was about to decline the offer to dinner when my boss added:

 "For Michael's sake. It will be nice to have a female figure at the dinner table on his first day back from school."

 He was right. I often felt bad for the young boy, growing up without the love and care of a mother.

 I followed him silently inside the house, where we joined Michael who was already seated and waiting impatiently.

 Most of the conversation during the meal was between father and son, with my boss looking relaxed and more cheerful than I had seen him in a long time.

 Michael was complaining about the food at the school stating: "This stew is sweet. Our Cook is better than the school's chefs. Their food is tasteless!"

 His father smiled wryly and said:

 "Perhaps, we should send Cook over there to be preparing your meals. Or what do you think, Mena?" he added, turning to me.

 "I'm sure, Michael will love that," I rejoined with a smile.

 "Daddy, you'll really do that? Wow, my friends will be so jealous!" he said excitedly.

  "Hey, don't get carried away son! I was just joking. Besides, it's all part of your education. It will teach you that life is not always rosy, that you have to learn to cope with whatever situation you find yourself in life..."

 After we had eaten, the boy went upstairs to prepare for bed while I waited in the living room for the driver to take me to my home in Surulere.

 A short while later, my boss came in.

"Let's go," he stated, heading for the door.

"But sir, I thought the driver would drop me," I said.

"He's been on the road all day. He looked tired so I told him to go home. What's the problem? Are you afraid of my driving skills or what?" he said, smiling wryly at me.

 "Of course not, sir," I said, following him outside.

 Being a weekend, the usually traffic jammed Lagos roads were relatively free. We chatted a little as we went. Then as we approached the Stadium area on Western Avenue, he asked:

 "Mena, did Michael say anything to you on your way from his school?"

 I turned to look at him curiously in the dim light of the car.

 "Like what sir?" I enquired.

 "You know, like missing his mother, wanting siblings and such stuff..." he said.

 "Actually, he said if his mother were alive, she would have been visiting him in school like his friends' mothers do on visiting days. And I told him the next visiting day, I'll remind you on time so you can come see him," I told him. 

 He was silent for a while, then he said:

 "You know, there was something he said the last time I called him in school that got me thinking. He said he wished he had a younger brother or sister to play with."

 "Its expected, being an only child," I said. Then, seeing that my boss was in an unusually expressive mood, I stated boldly:

 "I know sir, that it's none of my business and you might say I should keep my views to myself. But I think, maybe, it's time you considered getting a new mother for Michael. The boy's growing fast and he needs a mother figure in his life. Forgive me sir, if you think I'm being rude or ..." I waited, mentally bracing myself for an angry retort from him.

 "You are right. It's actually none of your business," he said abruptly, though there was no anger in his voice. "And you sound just like my mother. She has been pestering me to remarry, that I can't mourn my late wife for ever. She doesn't really understand. No one does..." he said a bit mysteriously.

 Then he added: "You know what, I've been thinking of doing something about the situation. And I think you cd help me in actualising my plans."

 "Me? In what way sir?" I asked with some curiosity.

  We were approaching my street and he stopped the car a few meters before the main gate leading to the street.

 He turned to me in the car and began to speak, making a proposal that was so unexpected, it was a miracle I did not pass out from shock at his words...

 To be continued tomorrow. Don't miss the rest of this brand new series of Mena, her eccentric boss and his strange requests!


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