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I planned to assign Gregg a book reading during his next session. It was time he learnt about love.
I was scrolling through Google search results for “Best Love Books” when my secretary jumped into my office. The broad grin on her face told me there was no emergency, she was only excited, and whatever caused the excitement must have been huge, for she’s a fat girl. Fat girls don’t jump into offices outside the influence of adrenaline. She held out her left hand to me, still jumping.
“He asked me to marry him!” she screamed.
Then the gold ring with a little diamond stone sparkling from her ring finger made sense. Is that all? Is that the reason you dashed into my office like that? I was going to ask this but I smiled instead and said how wonderful it was that she would be getting married. I was slightly disappointed by the news because I had thought perhaps the President of the country was waiting at the reception as our new client.
“It was during lunch today. He said to meet him at Double Four. When I got there I could not find him inside. I was worried that he was running late but my phone rang just then and it was him. He said I should tell any of the waiters my name and they would show me to the table he had reserved. Before I could ask further questions, he hung up the phone. I signaled a waiter and I thought I saw his face break into a smile when I told him my name. He led me to the table and disappeared. I took out my phone to call Gerald again to find out where he was but then the waiter emerged with a covered dish. He placed the dish before me and started to walk away. I feared he had mixed up orders and called his attention. “It is compliments of the house Ma, open it. It’s very nice” he said and left. I opened it and there it was. Someone tapped my shoulder from behind. Gerald was on his knees sir!”
She had tears in her eyes when she finished. I went around and hugged her; she burst out in tears on my shoulder. What a huge mistake! I should have given her a handshake instead. Her makeup will soil my fancy shirt. It occurred to me then that she was the right person to find Gregg a book on love.
“This is great news dear. Congratulations. You know the amazing thing? Just before you dashed in here I was searching for a love book for a client. And in this ambiance of love you have going on; you are the perfect person to recommend a book”
“In this ambiance of love, I should get the rest of the week off. Not more work” she chuckled.
“Oh sure! After all you are engaged. Women who are engaged don’t need paychecks do they? I need a list of titles by close of business tomorrow.”
“I’m on it!”
“Congratulations again dear. It’s always a delight when a fat girl finds love.”
“Are you calling me fat?”
“No honey. How could I? I think you are slim actually. Despite what the scale says.”
“I will tell Gerald you called me fat”
“And I will fire you”
She was still grinning as she shut the door behind her. I could see her happiness from the way her wig bounced around her head.
“Let’s leave marriage for now”, Gregg said
“I don’t want to pester you on this matter dear. I know marriage should not be rushed into. But I want you to think about it. No one has plenty of time my dear.”
“You said you don’t want a Yoruba girl. All the girls in Lagos are Yoruba”
His mother laughed long and hard at that.
“I have said you can bring any one, even Japanese! But choose carefully. Don’t end up like your brothers”
He wanted to say that it was not his brothers who chose wrongly but their wives. He hesitated. Then he said it.
“You are right Gregg. I want you to be different. Respect a woman. I wonder why your brothers do not respect women. Your father respected me. You know this. But I know you are different.”
Did she really wonder? Should he clear her doubts and tell her the whole story? She played a huge role in it. She and her husband were the cause of it all. How could she not see that? Why would she wonder? He should check with the shrink before he had such a conversation with his mother.
“I want to come to Lagos Gregg. I want to come and see you. You keep postponing my visit. I will show up in two weeks and call you to come and pick me from the airport. Let me see if you will leave me there.”
“Mom I’m working. I won’t have time for you. I said I will come home when my leave commences in a couple of months.”
“Couple of months? You’ll see me in two weeks my dear.”
There was no point fighting it.
“Bring uwpa for me.” Gregg said.
“You know I will.”
“That was my mother” Gregg said as he returned to his seat at the table.
They had rushed their lunch to begin work on Keysa’s guest list for her party.
…the story continues
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