I entered the shop, fell on my knees, and started praising my maker. That was so close, I almost died. If not for God and the young man, I would have been dead by now. I had already said ‘thank you’ to the guy outside, but I was not sure if he heard me. I was not sure if thank you was enough, considering what had just happened.
I stood up and said aloud, "Thank you, Jesus!"
A masculine voice from behind me said, "Thank you, Lord!"
I turned and discovered that it was him – the one who saved me.
He smiled broadly at me; very handsome, had a sturdy build, had dimples, and had pink lips.
"I'm James. You are?" He asked, breaking the silence.
"Fifehanmi," I answered.
"I must say, you look beautiful."
"Thank you, sir."
"You called me, sir? Don’t be deceived by my suit? Come on, we're mates."
I chortled, liking his sense of humor, Alright, James."
"We can be friends, can't we?"
"We're friends already," I answered, feeling free in his presence.
We laughed together, and I got to like him even more. He’s a very lively person.
"I should be on my way to work," he said.
"Alright, thanks once again, James."
"Aww, you don’t have to thank me over and over again."
I snickered at his sorry look. I smiled, watching him leave. But then he turned and said,
"Pardon me, Miss.” She asked, "Can I get your phone number?"
"Yes, you can."
We exchanged contacts, and he left.
Fifehanmi is a very attractive young woman, and I easily fell in love with her at first sight. I got out of her stall and I met the heavily pregnant woman with a gentleman old enough to be her husband waiting for me by a Mercedes Benz.
They smiled as they called me. I went to meet with them.
"Meet my husband, Frederick."
"Good morning, Sir."
"Good morning, friend. I'm so grateful."
I smiled, "Just be grateful to God. I possibly couldn't have done that. God pushed me to do it."
"All the same, you saved them. You don't really know how much you've done," Frederick said, "I'd like to thank you with this token."
He stretched out a brown envelope to me. I looked at it, smiled, and shook my head.
"Sir, I didn't do that for money."
"I know. Their lives are even more precious than money."
"Thanks for appreciating the help, but I cannot accept this money. Seeing them alive is enough for me."
Frederick sighed, withdrawing his envelope, saying, "A man of your kind is rare to find. Thank you very much."
"You're on your way to work?"
"Yes, I work at Hildases."
"Our ways are different, I'd have liked to convey that to you there."
"Don't worry, sir."
Frederick got two thousand Naira notes from his breast pocket.
"You must not reject this; it's your cab fare," Frederick said.
I smiled, collected the money, and thanked him before leaving the market for my place of work. The faces at work were not friendly on arrival. I knew a ton of them were jealous of my superiority, but I did not care. I maintained my dignity and would not have a hand in their plots. They hated me for making it hard for them to carry out different evil schemes.
"Boss asked you to see him as soon as you arrive," Tolu, a dark girl on the second floor, said.
"Alright," I replied.
"Enough of your incompetence," Tolu said.
I stopped on the raiser, "You say?"
She gave an innocent look and said, "I said you look good."
"Rubbish!" I spat.
I heard her laugh with the other two.
"I don't blame you; you are just too daft."
"We'll, you will soon find out who's daft," Gloria said.
I left their presence, greeted the guys at the working unit, and they responded with their 'noses'. Who cares anyway?
I was on my way to my office when Tolu's words rang in my mind, "Boss asked you to see him as soon as you arrive.”
I turned toward my boss' office across the lounge. Feyi greeted me with her everyday frown. One would think she is a sadist at first sight, but she is not; she has a really good sense of humour, though she is very serious at work.
"Frownie, thumbs up for you."
"You look extra stunning today."
"So unserious! You seem not to be concerned about your lateness. You arrived several minutes past ten, crying out loud."
"Please don't cry out loud, lower your pitch."
"Did you just call me a bitch?" Feyi asked, feigning anger. I knew she heard me right.
"Chineke! When did I say that?"
I didn't wait for her reply, I hurried to 'his' door.
"Are you walking out on me?"
"See question! Like you're some Empress."
My heart raced as I got to the door. Would the boss be angry? Could these folks be plotting something evil against me? Why would that blabbermouth of a girl say they'd soon know who's daft between me and her?
As if he knew I would knock... Just as the first knock sounded on the door, he summoned me in. I opened the door, entered, and gently closed it behind me, then walked up to him. I stood before him at his table.
"Good morning, Sir," I greeted.
He returned the greeting with his eyes still fixed on the files on his table. There was silence in the room for a while. He signed a file bearing Hildas' stamp. He picked up a piece of paper that I had taken for an empty sheet from the table and stretched it towards me. "Have this!" he said.
I did not expect it to be a sack letter due to the way it was presented, but it actually was.
"Sack letter?" I stuttered.
"Yes, you're fired!" He said.
I can't be... I can't be... I can't be — I kept repeating these words in my mind until I finally voiced them out. "Who does this belong to?"
He looked up at me, maybe surprised, and said, "Who exactly do you think you are? You can't be sacked, right?"
"But sir, what did I do wrong?"
"Reports about you have become too much for me to bear, such negligence!"
"What reports? I've been serving with all my might!"
"And you've not been paid, have you? What of your lateness?" He asked, dropping his fountain pen and resting his head on the head rest. "You've been arriving late, what of today?"
"I've not been arriving late! Almost everyday, I get here earlier than most of the workers. Gloria has the attendance logs."
"I'm very sorry, but there's nothing I can do about this?"
I slapped the table with the letter, leaving it behind. He seemed unconcerned as he returned to the files. I chuckled. "I can't believe you're doing this."
I felt so bad, how am I going to face those outside? What am I going to tell those at home?
"Why please?" I asked, hurt. "Isn't this your office, and all these entirely your father's?" I moved my fingers through my hair and roughened it up, "God!" I mumbled.
I knew Feyi was actually not one of those who plotted my being sacked. Her concerns were genuine.
"I served that guy with all my strength and prowess."
"Only a liar would say otherwise. You work better than everyone here."
I left Hildas with my briefcase. Almost pushed to tears with the taunts and mockery from my colleagues. Outside the company, I looked back at it and shook my head as I remembered how much I sacrificed to be a sedulous worker. Now, all quickly forgotten or what do I say?
My phone rang at that moment; I checked the caller and sighed. It was Jake.
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