Everything has a cost
Women! They have always amused me. I didn’t know what wrong I had done. If anything, I was the one who was supposed to be mad at her for telling her sister about my job. I figured she knew I was going to be upset with her and projected. I wore a short and a vest with some slippers and went to the kitchen. When i got there, she had finished preparing supper. She put food on her plate and left me in the kitchen. I got the food too and went to join her in the living room.
“This is delicious,” I said.
She ignored me.
“I’m sorry,” I said after an awkward moment of silence.
“Was that hard to say?” She stared at me.
Whatever it was I needed to apologise for, I couldn’t figure it but I didn’t want to say anything lest an argument. We had our dinner and went to the bedroom.
“I’m sorry too babe,” Leah said.
“About?” I asked knowing what she was apologizing for.
“Huh Bryn,” she frowned pulling the sheets. “Turn off the lights.”
“No I’m just asking,” I turned off the lights and laid on the bed.
“I overreacted. I was overwhelmed. My sister seems to be going through a lot. She’s young and it hurts me seeing her like that. But I’m not Making excuses for talking to you like that, i was wrong, i shouldn’t have come out like that,” she sighed. “Forgive me?”
I was quiet.
“Babe!” she called.
“I dosed off,” I said jokingly.
“Are you kidding me?” she got up and pinched me.
“I’m kidding babe,” I laughed. “I understand why you reacted that way. She’s your sister and you care for her.”
“Thanks Babe, i love you,” she said laying back. “And Zoey loves you too,” she giggled.
“So we are going to stick with the name Zoey?” I asked.
“Yup,” she answered.
“Anyway I love you both.”
Following morning I woke up and Leah was on the treadmill exercising as usual. “You will go to labor on that thing,” I said getting out of bed. She didn’t say anything but continued exercising. I prepared myself and off to work, i went.
Before leaving, I assured her that I was going to do whatever it takes to help her sister. Perhaps i was going to use the resources at Agency X Corp; that’s what every man in my situation could have done; happy wife, happy life. “See you this evening babe,” i had said.
“Enjoy your day love,” she said.
I got to BOB & BOB and found some people queued up outside the office. Beside what we were doing, we were also trained to be actual plumbers and because of the influence of the agency, we had a lot of clients. I went inside and to my surprise, i found Mrs. Vimbuzi addressing our team. As soon I walked in, everyone’s eyes were on me. I changed my pace and walked faster to join them.
“As I was saying, the Agency will be disbanded,” Mrs. Vimbuzi said.
“What?” I shouted.
They all looked at me while Mrs. Vimbuzi didn’t care about my bewilderment. She continued. “Agent JamesX and OlivX, you will be assigned a new assignment and you have to report to headquarters this afternoon,” she turned her attention to MadamX. “Mrs. Daka, “Your services will be required at the head office.” She paused and looked at me. “Bryn,” she sighed. “ What do i have here?” she looked at me. “Iam sorry but we are letting you go.”
What she said couldn’t come at a bad time. I was still processing the fact that our agency was disbanded and she had to hit me with the letting go words, how cold can a person be? Everyone’s attention shifted to me. Obviously, they expected a dramatic scene like that from an African movie but there I was, staring back at them with a straight face completely shattered. I didn’t show how broken i was. My emotions were concealed. Honestly speaking, I could read everyone’s minds. They all felt sorry for me except for cold toilet. James and Olivia knew i had a wife and a baby on the way and losing my job would be devastating but how would Mrs. Vimbuzi have known? She didn’t even know me. Meeting her at the headquarters was the first. So thats what the disciplinary committee had decided to do; suck me. I deserved it i guess, I was careless.
“I’m sure there is something that can be done,” MadamX said in my defence.
“That’s the final decision of the disciplinary committee I’m afraid,” Mrs. Vimbuzi said. “I know he’s like a son to you but we cannot have immaturity in the agency; it’s costly. We have a lot of people to protect and having one of our own disseminating information carelessly will be the downfall of this company. We have been operational for over ten years and losing one agent won’t be a loss to the agency,” she said coldly. “Only thing he can do is clear his desk,” she couldn’t even look at me.
MadamX always came to my rescue and I was grateful for it but it was time to own up to my screw ups. At that point I knew nothing could be done. The heartless woman had made everything clear and there was no way she was taking it back.
“Alright,” I said turning away and headed to my desk. I could feel their eyes on me and that pissed me off. The last thing I needed was pity. “sh*t,” I thought about my wife. What was I going to tell her? I felt like skipping town but there was nowhere I could go. My bank account was as dry as a bulls bum. I had to face her.
“You know you can rely on me for anything,” Mrs. Daka said whilst we were packing.
“I’ll be fine, you’ve done enough, really,” I said.
“I will see if I can find you something to do to support your family,” she said.
There was no way I could turn this woman down. She had me wrapped under her wings. I was like a chick and she was a hen. For some reason, she felt responsible for me and my wife. I knew the more I refused her help, the sooner my wife would know I got sucked. Whilst packing, I decided not to tell Leah I had lost my job until I found something to do and I had to quickly.
While i was talking to Mrs. Daka, James and Olivia were talking with Mrs. Vimbuzi. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but from their facial expressions, it seemed serious. They watched her talk and nodded their heads in agreement. I felt sad. They had their jobs while i had lost mine. I turned to Mrs. Daka and asked, “Any idea what they are discussing?”
She looked at me and said, “Finish packing Bryn. You know I’m not allowed to tell you anything about that.”
“Oh right, i no longer work here,” I said in frustration. After a while, Mrs. Vimbuzi left and i saw James walk to me. “There comes trouble,” I said Silently while Mrs. Daka looked at me and nodded.
“What happened back there?” James asked standing at my desk with a proud face as if telling me how much of a failure I was. I knew he didn’t come with good intentions but to mock me. “What did you do? Is it about yesterday? The committee?” he probed further.
“You know that thing called confidentiality?” I asked sarcastically.
James looked at me blankly.
“I bleached some of it. Apparently I didn’t know what was going through my head and told a couple of people,” I threw a box in frustration. “Why they hell am I even telling you this man? You are not even my friend.”
James knew what I said was true. He wasn’t my friend. If anything, I knew he was happy I was off his back. He could now be screwing Olivia all he wanted without anyone prying into his business. I was somehow making them uncomfortable i could tell.
“Easy,” Olivia said stepping towards us. “It’s not our fault you lost your job. Had you been careful, things would have been different. Suck it up Agent,” she rolled her eyes and looked away. “And please grow up!”
Olivia always had a way with me. She had that effect on me that sent me down to hell. She made me feel inferior and I hated it. The only person who managed to do that was Leah. Perhaps, it was what every woman did to a man. I could not say anything to her because Mrs. Dakas eyes were on me carefully studying me anticipating my next words. I played it cool and let it slide.
“Goodbye, tell your wife I will pass through next week,” Mrs. Daka said.
“She will be happy to see you, she’s been asking about you,” I said and walked out of the office slowly been hit with reality that I had lost my job. It was still early in the morning. Somehow, I was finding it hard to accept the fact that I no longer had a job. Mrs. Vimbuzi had taken away the pride I had as a man. Now the only thing I had to my name was that I was going to be a father; a jobless one for that matter . I hated myself.
“Home early?” Leah asked while packing some baby clothes.
“No assignment today,” I said resting myself. “They told me i can have a day off,” I lied.
“That’s good I can use your help around the house,” She said.
How I hated that. I didn’t have to show it because the last time I did, I found her crying in the bathroom. I asked her why and she said, I was being a bad husband, whatever that meant. Driving home, I thought of going to an opened Bar but I couldn’t do that because it was too early to start drinking and Leah hated beer. Her telling me about helping around the house made me question my decision of coming home.
Surprisingly, we had fun cleaning the house. In fact, I was the one doing the cleaning and she was cooking. I was her gossip mate. Spending that day with her made me realise how much she had to tell me. It ranged from the neighbours, the market, what Mr. B does to his wife and her relatives. Talking about relatives, my wife’s sister came crying again at our house. I was getting fade up with her drama. She had to ruin a perfect day Leah and I were having.
“It’s getting worse,” Triza said. “My husband didn’t even come home last night.”
Leah and I looked at each other. For some reasons, I felt sorry for her. Her husband was making her suffer and he didn’t seem to care.
“You have to do something Bryn,” Leah looked at me making a face that made me shiver. I felt sick in my stomach. Not because of the face she made but because the only thing they thought I had that could help them was no more; my job. I had even planned of using the resources of the agency. All day, I had forgotten that I had lost my job and in that moment reality dawned on me. “Baby,” she even held my hands.
“Please Bryn,” Triza begged weeping.
What can you possibly do when two women gang up against you? One busy making you feel less of a man and the other emotionally blackmailing you. I felt rat-trapped. I had to impress Leah. I had to do right by her sister and since everything has a cost, this came at a great cost.
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