Chapter Nineteen: Okwan

Okwan was closing up the restaurant when Belinda walked in. She was wearing a black pencil skirt a white chiffon blouse and was in nude heels that gave her the upper edge as she walked. She hugged her briefly and pushed back the door to welcome her. Belinda helped her stack the plastic chairs before sitting down.

“I haven’t seen you in a while Belinda, how are things?”

“I miss you Okwan. You know while I worked here there was no office drama but it seems I have found myself in the middle of a battleground there. How are the girls? Do they follow your instructions?”

“The tiny one does, but the dark one is a pain. She served a customer ugali-matumbo and brought back fifty shillings instead of a hundred. I almost slapped the money out of her, but I sent her packing instead. I cannot work with thieves.”

“I am sorry to hear that.”

“Okay, speak up. Something is bothering you and given the fact that you did not come here with the skinny thing that talks too much, I have the feeling that you are unhappy.”

“I moved back home.”

“Mesh told me about that last week.”

“Okwan did you ever have the feeling that all’s lost at a particular moment? I mean, when Jeff talked to me, he asked me to go back home but not to him and not as his wife. He put the children first and something in me felt like we were done. We could never work and live as happy family. I found out yesterday that Michelle is pregnant. Okwan, I cried. It was the first time I cried until I fell asleep. Do you want to know what hurt me the most? It’s the fact that she sent me screenshots of her conversation with Jeff and he was telling her he loved her while he was telling me she was nothing. Okwan, what did I ever do to deserve all this?”

“Have you talked to Maureen about this?”

“No, she would not understand.”

“Do you remember the woman she invited to your apartment two weeks ago?”

“Akinyi? Yes, why?”

“Well, I cannot step on a thorn and keep my mouth shut. Akinyi is Michelle’s sister.”

“No”

“Yes, you were drunk to see the similarity, but I saw it the moment she walked in and the truth is, Maureen is a sneaky devil, but she is a good person. I don’t know if it was her way of getting Akinyi to understand how far her sister had gone in destroying your marriage, but it is what it is.”

“No, why couldn’t she tell me?”

“She has not told anyone. I overheard their conversation as we were leaving that night. So, has Jeff said anything about the baby?”

“No, he has not.”

“Good. Let him be Belinda. You started this new job, concentrate on that, make some money and save enough for your children.”

“Okwan, he took me for a fool and look at me, all this time, I thought that maybe we could work things out. He says sorry now but does the opposite the very next minute, how could I not have seen it Okwan? And Mesh knew all this. She knew about Michelle and even introduced her elder sister to me, like we were friends! How could I have been so stupid Okwan? How could I have been so blind?”

“You are not stupid Belinda.Do not put yourself down for a man’s mistakes. He is the one who cheated. He is the one to bear the consequences of straying. You did your part and you have an even greater part to play, so pick yourself up and keep moving. By the way, I expect to see you here on Saturday, we are catering at some funeral and I know you could use the cash. It’s a lot of work but you can make something more than you did earlier.”

“Thank you Okwan. You are a true friend. Let me get to the house now.”

“Think about it Belinda, you are a good person and you should pick yourself up and keep going.”

Chapter Eleven: Belinda

The meeting was scheduled for ten o’clock in the morning. Belinda hated being late, but not as much as being unprepared, which she was. She looked at the time by her wristwatch and let out a shaky breath. Maureen waved at her as she approached the reception and smiled, “You are not late, don’t worry, I delayed the interview as much as I could.”

It had been two months and Belinda had found it impossible to stay away from Okwan’s restaurant. Okwan was hesitant about diversifying her client base but with Maureen and Belinda’s endless pleading, she’d given in and allowed them to set up a whatsapp group. They shared the weekly menu and received orders for deliveries via the network. Okwan would watch as Belinda neatly served the food, arranged the plates and took many photos only to share one of each on the platform.

They agreed that Okwan would receive the money while Belinda made all the deliveries to schools and offices within the town. Maureen offered to share her marketing skills to help them reach out to more people. They shared the profits.

Maureen waited for Belinda right outside the office building. She walked on ahead of her and Belinda followed. “I did not want them to know that I knew you. Our HR can be such a pain sometimes. So, how did it go?”

“They asked me a lot of questions and said they will call me when the time is right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, why are you surprised?”

“It’s just that the position needs to be filled immediately and I thought they would tell you whether you got it or not. It’s not like they interviewed the whole world for it!”

“Do not stress yourself. If it’s meant to be my job, it will.”

“I do not believe in that. If you want something you go after it with everything you’ve got. You do not leave it to the universe, if I did that; I’d not be where I am today. Ehe, tell me, how are you holding up?”

“I am fine. Jeff stopped asking me about my whereabouts. He pretends not to notice me when I am in the house. Schools are closing soon and I don’t know what I’ll do.”