Sikira could not take it any longer. She momentarily lost control of herself and ran out of the petrol station like a mad woman. She stopped a bike and went home.
She was walking through the old rusted iron gate that led to her compound when she remembered Julia, the duty post, the manager and the supervisor who said he was coming down to see them. It was too late to turn back to the station as neighbors who had gathered to watch the fight made way for her to go in while all eyes were staring at her.
Julia stood in the reception for over ten minutes without taking any step. She couldn’t think or go anywhere, she felt dizzy and the office building appeared to be spinning on its wheel. Suddenly, she felt the urge to use the restroom. She ran to the receptionist’s desk and asked for direction to the restroom.
While in the toilet, Julia thought of the next thing to do as abortion was out of it because she had complications in her last abortion which was the eighth time she was doing. She had almost lost her life and the doctor had warned her never to attempt abortion again if she didn’t want to die. She decided to go to the human resource officer who is now her rival to tell her that she was also pregnant for Chief and see if the woman was sympathetic. She thought of Sikira and the numerous missed calls from her manager.
Immediately she stepped into the human resource officer’s office, her phone rang, She ignored the call and returned the phone back to her purse. When she lifted up her face, the first person she saw in the office shocked her.
Julia: “It is a dream”, she said to herself, her face suddenly pale and grave.
She rubbed her palms on her eyes to confirm that she was not imagining things and there, sitting and talking with the human resource officer was her manager whose call she had just ignored (Gbese re o!) . She felt like running back, running out of the office and even running out of the world but her legs could not carry her.
Manager: “What! Julia, what are you doing in my sister’s office when you are supposed to be at work attending to customers? I thought they said you were in the toilet?”
Julia: “Good evening, sir. No, good morning, I mean good afternoon, sir”.
Manager: “Save your greetings you wretched fellow! If you don’t start talking now, I will call my secretary to type your sack letter right away. Nonsense!”
Julia: “Sir, this madam here is my…my erm…her husband is…I want to inform her that…”
Mrs Antony: “Excuse me young lady, who are you and what did you say I am to you? Who allowed you in here and how dare you think that you can waste my time this beautiful Monday afternoon. Have you lost your mind? Now, get out of my office before I call the security to throw you to the dogs.”
Julia went on her knees and began to cry and beg, her tears flowed uncontrollably as the reality that she may have lost her job which is her only source of livelihood dawned on her.
Julia: “Madam, please you have to listen to me. Oga manager, help me beg your sister to listen to me. I am an orphan, my parents died in a car crash when my father was speeding to get my mother who was in excruciating labour pains to the hospital. My uncles took everything my father had and threw me out of the house when I was barely three years old. They said I was an evil child and a bad omen to the family. I was taken to an orphanage children’s home where a poor childless couple adopted me. I was subjected to all manner of child abuse and had to hawk from dusk to dawn all day so that my foster parents could feed. My foster father would come out every night when his wife was asleep to the store room which served as our kitchen and my sleeping space. There on the mat where I sleep, he would close my mouth so tight with his hands that I choked several times and rape me. I couldn’t tell his wife for fear of what she would do to me. I ran away from the house when I was seventeen years having endured the rape and ill treatment from his wife for ten years. Right now, I do not even know the name of my hometown. I am alone in this world, no father, no mother, no siblings, no aunty, no uncle, no relation…”
Mrs Antony: “What the hell has your story got to do with me? Am I the one who caused your father not to drive carefully, or did I send your mother to get pregnant, if she could not bear labour pains silently why did she get pregnant for the second time?
Manager: “I am going back to the petrol station right now, you and Sikira should come and pick up your sack letter tomorrow morning. You are fired!”
The manager left after hugging his sister with the promise that he would see her the next day; on his way to the door he shot Julia a piqued gawk biting his lower lips. She knew she had to do what she had to do for obviously her work with the filling station had come to an end. Going back to being jobless wasn’t an option.
Mrs Anthony: “ Young woma…”
Julia flung herself to the ground on her knees,
Julia: “Madam, I am pregnant for…”
Mrs Antony: “… and so? You may be pregnant for all the men in the world for all I care. This is not a charity organisation neither do I run a motherless baby home. Go look for the father of the bastard in your womb.”
Julia: “Have mercy on me, ma. I just lost my job because of this pregnancy, I have nowhere to go. I don’t mind living in your house as a maid, I will do whatever you ask me to do.”
Mrs Antony: “If you need mercy, call on God for he is the merciful one. Now, get out and search for the father of your child or get lost forever.”
Julia: “The father of my child is the owner of this company.” She dropped her head on the ground with tears trickling down and landing on the glass-made tiles in drops.
Mrs Antony: “What did you just say? Pregnant for?”
Julia: “Chief Antony Iwu,” She said with disgust in her tone.
Mrs Anthony eyes became bloodshot; veins strung out of her fore head like the strings of a bass guitar, the gnashing of the teeth gave her a monstrous look as she paced around like one who was practising the art of insanity. Julia couldn’t let herself be the loser here, she was left with the only choice of spewing the truth before Chief’s wife could carry out the threat of adding more misery on her by sending the security dogs after her. Moreover, she had to hurt Mrs Anythony’s pride; the woman was just too arrogant.
Julia: “I have already gone below my dreams of being Chief’s wife but I must not be a loser in this case, being Chief’s maid is my only option. I just lost my job with nowhere to turn to for help. Oh, how I wish the doctor hadn’t warned me against committing another abortion, I would have borrowed money from my other colleagues and gone for it right away, “ she shrugged and added, “ but on a second thought I wouldn’t abort even if I could, not after Chief and his wife treated me like some garbage parcel. All these rich folks they feel they can trample on toes without getting hurt right?”
Julia stood up, wiped her teary eyes and sat on a chair in the office waiting for her reaction. It was either they allowed her into their home or she’d cause a scandal in her marriage. Chief must pay dearly, she had concluded. If she was going down, their marriage was on the same flight too, was going to crash as well.
Julia: “this is just the beginning!” she whispered in a vicious manner.
… SEE Episode 4 Below You cannot afford to miss a piece of this unfolding drama that has taken a dramatic twist.
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