Ever since I got this job, nothing ever enticed me like the fact that no one seemed able to read my boss. As her secretary, I was supposed to pride myself on the ability to relate well with her, but that was not the case.
At 29, Ms. Alberta Shawn was the youngest CEO on the board of Directors of the prestigious Roycliff Group of Shareholders, one of the most advanced dealers in stocks and shares in the country. That made her respected and put her in the “category of potential partners” seeing that she was single, and very beautiful, and very often approached by the “creme de la creme” of the finance industry. But that was by the side.
Perhaps what struck me most was her nature- she was so motherly, and never acted like a boss. She always greeted me with a smile, asked about my welfare, and my relationship-of which I was sometimes too shy to tell her about my occasional squabbles with Ryan, an occurrence that always made her smile-a priceless display of her white dentition and the single dimple on her left cheek that would have made me drool with awe had I been a man. But her eyes still remained the most mysterious thing, for even in their brightness, which her glasses did little to hide, there was always a distant, well-hidden glint of-pain? sadness? I could never tell. I just could not understand why someone so wonderful was not yet settled with an equally wonderful person. Especially considering the fact that Ms. Alberta had been a pivotal person in mine and Ryan’s salvation, it boggled my mind and I yearned to ask her why she did not have “that special person” in her life yet. At the same time, my brain always slapped my mouth to mind its business, so the question got lost in my heart all the time. But I still hoped to ask her one day.
I often accompanied her to her mini-outings with friends, on her request of course. And when they all talked about men, gesticulating with manicured nails to emphasize how much of “scum” men could be, relaying personal experiences and passing judgement on different guys they had been with, Ms Alberta never said a word. When asked for her opinion, she would simply take a sip of the cinnamon tea she so loved and say,
“I don’t think they are all the same. Depends on the circumstances” which will always be met with “Gurl, you weird. C’mon! Cut that out”, “you keep saying that! You need to get you a first-hand experience of these scoundrels”, “’bout time we saw that young man, ‘Berta. 29 ain’t 25, baby-girl. You have the dough, you need a man”, to which she would simply smile, and look away. I don’t think the ladies ever paid enough attention to her when she did that, but I always saw that look- distant, well hidden pain. Sometimes our eyes met and would look away, embarrassed at being caught, to which she would always give her “it’s okay” smile.
One fateful day, she had forgotten her purse in the office, and kindly requested me to bring it to the cafeteria. I took the purse from her table and rushed out, only for me to hit my left leg against the door, and in a split moment I was hugging the floor and tasting the velvet rug. Muttering under my breath, I gathered myself from the floor, only to discover that the contents of the purse had spilled. Mortified, I hurriedly began to assemble the objects back into her purse. That’s when I saw it.
-to be continued.
Efunnuga Henrietta Adedayo.