We had just resumed from Christmas break and the beautiful memories that Nifemi and I built were one of the few things I held on. Nifemi, my younger sister, was the only person that kept me going even when the blue sky became black. The case of poisoning became the second misfortune in two consecutive months that struck Mr. Jibe.
A week before Christmas things went sour in office. I had arrived work late that Monday morning because I had to drive Nifemi to the airport. Avoiding the traffic in Lagos was impossible; the early morning rush hour could cripple my daily schedule. So I decided to leave home – Victoria Island – early, drop her at the international airport at Ikeja, as she was going to Abuja, and take my turn to work. On arriving office, at Ijora – besides Lagos state water corporation head quarters, from outside the office, I clearly heard Miss Ayomide speaking on the top of her voice. She rained curses like a possessed beauty queen – for she was beautiful, calling all the gods to her aid – she sounded like an angry Yoruba goddess, who is inviting her lovers to fight for her.
I crept quietly to my desk unnoticed, as everyone channeled their attention towards Miss Ayomide. After settling down, I checked the mails, and luckily we had a contract proposal from Philips Electronics Limited worth millions of dollars. It was after I had finished drafting and sending the condition for considering the proposal that Mitchell came to my desk and told me why Miss Ayomide was acting strange that morning, but not after she questioned why I came late to work.
Mrs. Ayomide had received pictures of her fiancé, Mr. Adebayo Jide – the M.D and another lady lying naked on the same bed from an anonymous sender, and in response to that she called of their wedding plans. Now, that is a bad news. As if that was not enough, we also lost the contract. It was one hell of a month for everyone in office, especially me, as Mrs. Terrie had her circumspective glutinous eyes zoomed on me because of the failed contract. So, it seemed like an angel of misadventure from Mother Nature paid the company an ugly visit for those two months.
After two days in police detention, Friday and Saturday, reality dawned on me.
Mrs. Kambili. Why did you mention my name to the police? I asked.
My daughter, I was asked if at the time of preparing oga’s tea, anyone came into the kitchen………. She paused.
Talk na. I dey hear you.
I told them no one did, but someone sent me… she continued and stared at me.
Wait o. you mean sey, dem think I poison oga tea, the time wey I send you comot go buy food for me? I asked and she nodded to the affirmative. Yeeh! aye mi! ah! Oluwa mi, esa nu mi! Then I broke down in tears.
Mrs. Kambili held and comforted me. I know you are a good girl and innocent just like me. She said. God will vindicate us soon. I have faith in him. She continued as I lay in her hands crying. My daughter, I have learned that pain weakens the body, but God strengthens the soul of the righteous, I know am not guilty, Jide is like a son to me, and every day I pray for him because he has made an impact in my life, since the demise of my husband.
Her words sent comfort all over my body, and all I could say was: thank you ma. For that moment I felt like I was with my mother. I’ve missed her a lot.
She used the back of her right palm to dry tears from my cheek, and said with a mild tune: in every situation give thanks to God.