My madam is not necessarily the easiest person to work for. She has her moments and can be outright crazy. I have come to understand her and her crazy mood swings and we have our ways, we know how we roll.
About six weeks ago, she told me her best friend was coming from Abuja to visit and that we had to prepare specially for the visit; clean up the house from top to bottom, get the guest room on the first floor ready, stock the house with her favorite foods. My crazy madam went overboard during the days leading up to the arrival of her friend. One moment she wanted the red curtains and the bed pushed against the wall, the next, she wanted the bed at the window and the curtains hanging in the other guest room, which had to be taken down, washed, ironed and then hung up. And of course she changed her mind like five million times. Then she decided I had to wear a uniform and changed her mind and said I looked like a “trendy maid” in my regular clothes.
At first, I thought it was all in a bid to impress her friend and show off but as the arrival date drew closer, I realized that it was more of feelings of insecurity, and you could tell that she was somewhat intimidated by her friend. She became even more impossible to live with and practically drove me up the wall.
When Mrs. Monica (like she asked to be addressed) arrived, everything went fine for a few days before it all started to go pear shaped. She started out really nice and sweet and she even said please and thank you all the time. Then she just seemed to wake up one day and started to complain about everything, even when it was perfect and of course my madam would blow a fuse at every little thing. One day, when Mrs. Monica complained that her móí-móí was too hot and had scalded her tongue, my madam dragged me into the kitchen by my ear and told me the story of my life. She said I was trying to ruin her reputation by disgracing her in front of her friend and that I wanted to make her the laughing stock of the town. I desperately wanted to tell her that laughing at her was the last thing on my mind, seeing as my ear was about to fall off. When we went back into the dining room, Mrs. Monica smiled at me and asked if I could please warm up the móí-móí as it had gone cold while she was waiting for us to come out of the kitchen. You should have seen the evil look my madam gave me, as if I was the one who had wasted a good half hour cussing in half a dozen different languages.
One time, Mrs. Monica taught me how to make omelets and she was so pleased with my finished work. She told me I was a natural and how we were going to have such a great time trying out recipes. Next thing, when my madam got back home from work, she told her she was tired and famished from doing “all that work in the kitchen”, imagine! And she would do all these things with a sweet smile on her face and you would wonder if your ears were deceiving you or if you had suddenly gone senile.
Two days before she was to leave, she asked my madam to let me accompany her on a shopping trip. After visiting practically every shopping mall in Lagos and every exclusive store, we went back home and spent the night and the next day packing up her luggage. Again, she did the about face thing and was really pleasant during the shopping.
Every time she got herself a snack or drink, she insisted I have something too. She even asked for my opinion on what gifts to buy her nieces and grand children. While packing, she reminisced about her youth and all the places she had travelled to and she told me these amazing stories about these amazing places. She even showed me pictures on her phone. By the time she left, I had forgotten about all the issues she caused with my madam and I really started to miss her. That was until she called my madam and complained to her that she was really dissatisfied with my work and that I hadn’t packed up her luggage properly.
My madam went into a fit of rage like I’ve never seen before, throwing things and telling me the story of my life. She abused me, abused my mother and everyone for my village join, and then threw me out that night. Even if she no fire me, me sef I go carry my leg waka commot. I don tire jàre. As I was walking to the bus stop with my Ghana-must-go on my head, wondering how I was going to return to my mother in the village, a car pulled up beside me. The driver’s window came down and lo and behold, it was Mrs. Monica’s driver who had been around with her on her visit. He gave me a phone and said Mrs. Monica wanted to speak with me. I reckoned that if she was also going to start abusing me and my mother, she sha couldn’t attempt to throw a knife at me through the phone.
“Omoladé,” she said without any preamble. “I want you to come and work for me. There’s a plane ticket to Abuja with your name on it…”
Photo Credit: Dreamstime