My eyes scanned the mail once more and I snorted in disbelief. I could not believe it. After the interview, I had left the venue felling rather surprised at myself. They had harangued me with questions but somehow I had managed to answer it poise and confidence I didn’t know I had. I also managed to leave the impression that taking care of a household was a good business position in itself what with making budgets and plans and good bookkeeping. They were all nods and smiles and definitely impressed with my technical knowhow. Or so I thought.
That was why I couldn’t understand this mail. It was a regret mail alright but the reason they were sending me the mail was because I was ‘overqualified’ for the position. Whatever that meant. So I had over impressed them with my skills? Maybe, I needed to be more underwhelming. Or perhaps it was just a line they used that to soften the blow of rejection. I decided not to think about it much; it was after all Apapa and I really did not want to go to work there. I deleted the mail and started another round of applications.
Ike had gone out to finalize the deal on the car and I was lost in the internet world when my phone rang.
An unfamiliar voice came on the line. “Are you Mrs. Chinelo Okafor?”
“Yes,” I hesitantly replied. Had they changed their minds and decided to give me the job?
“My name is Debra. I am a nurse calling from the Royal Flower Hospital., Lekki. Your friend Titi Lawrence is in the hospital and she asked us to give you a call.”’
I was stunned. I knew the hospital. It was within the estate. “Is she, is she alright?”
“She’s fine. She had a nasty domestic accident but she is stable now. She does not have anyone with her and that was why we asked her who we could call.”
I sighed. “Ok. I’m on my way.”
I drove out of the compound with mixed feelings. A call from Titi was the last thing I expected.
I found her very shaken with her head wrapped in a bandage. Her neighbor had found her and called the hospital for an ambulance. She was said to have fallen down the stairs and lost consciousness and when she came to, she made feeble cries for help. She was all alone in the house. Even before Titi told me herself, I knew better. He had pushed her himself.
She looked contrite when she saw me. “I didn’t have anyone else to call.”
I smiled. “It’s Ok. I guess I should have let you know sooner who I was.”
She sighed. “I didn’t mean what I said Chinelo. Since we met, you’ve been such a good friend to me. Not that I have any now. He took them all away,” she said her voice breaking off. “I’m sorry.”
I held her hands in mine for answer and all was forgiven.
She said it first before I did. “I need to leave him now Chinelo. I need to leave him now, and leave that house before he kills me. But I don’t have anywhere to go.”
And she explained to me how he had made it so she would be totally dependent on him. She had no savings of her own. She was alienated from her friends. Her parents were dead and her only sibling was in Canada and there was a bit of estrangement.
“I need your help Chinelo. I need to protect myself and my son. Please tell me what do I do?”
I opened my mouth to answer but nothing came out. I was in no position to help her. What advice to I give to such a person when my own affairs were in such a pitiable state? The thought of taking her into my own home was a crazy one. It couldn’t happen. Not the way things were at the moment.
“I don’t know Titi. I honestly don’t know.”