Wunmi was dusting the last piece of furniture. She had been washing and cleaning since the children left for school. Her employer, Abedo had just left as well. As she finished her duties for the morning she allowed her thoughts rest on her madam.
Abedo had always tried to show her some kindness. Kindness that Wunmi believed was born out of pity. Wunmi saw it in Abedo’s eyes four years ago when she first came to Abedo’s home. She saw it when the man from the employing agency that allocated her to Abedo’s household told Abedo her story. She had wished she could run away and disappear from the face of the earth at the time, but her family needed her to get the job. She was eleven years old then but had already become a breadwinner. The man from the agency retold the story of her violation like it was not important, like it was an everyday occurrence for a young child to be molested. Abedo had looked alarmed and had looked at her with a long pitiful look. It did make Abedo very kind towards her but Wunmi felt and still feels it was too big a price to pay for Abedo’s kindness especially when it came with that look.
She saw the look when Abedo gave her money to help her ailing mother who was back in the village last year. She saw glimpses of the look every time Abedo lost her temper with her and realised she might have raised her voice a little too much.
Wunmi felt there were other things that Abedo could have done to help if she really was as kind as she purported herself to be. She could have sent her to school or got her a lesson teacher. She knew Abedo and her husband could afford it. Then Abedo would not have to talk to her like she was an imbecile especially when she spoke in English. She hears Abedo talk to other people in English. She spoke in her normal voice, not in an annoying over-enunciated way like she did with her.
Abedo could have visited Wunmi’s mother when Wunmi told her that her mother was unwell. Instead, Abedo had given her some money and the weekend off to be with her mother. It had hurt Wunmi to leave her mother that Sunday evening, but she had to be back to work the next day to get the children ready and clean up after everybody as usual. She did not think that Abedo really cared how her mother was faring. So when Wunmi received the phone call from her uncle three days later that her mother had died, she knew deep in her heart that she would never forgive Abedo for not giving her the opportunity to be with her mother at the time of her passing. Immediately, Abedo had given her more money and two weeks off to be with her siblings in the village and to give her time to sort out the funeral arrangements for her mother with her uncle. But Wunmi felt the time-off came too late.
On her return to the city, Musa the gateman stopped her immediately she stepped into the compound with her bags. He told her that Abedo had looked miserable and sad for a week after she left. Wunmi was not surprised. Abedo must have missed her helping hand. But as Musa continued talking, Wunmi realised that he thought Abedo had been sad because Wunmi had lost her mother. So while Musa was exalting Abedo’s kindness and empathy, Wunmi was wondering how pretentiousness Abedo was and did not realise when she walked away from Musa the source of the offending information, in annoyance. She was calm by the time Abedo came back home that evening. But her resentment had doubled.
Wunmi put away the dusting pads and went to her room. Her room was one of the biggest in the house and was almost as big as the master bedroom. It was three times the size of the room she slept in with her brothers in her village and it always felt lonely despite all the furniture in the room which included a 20 inch TV and a small fridge. She laid on the bed and switched on the TV. As the TV came on, her phone rang. It was Rita. She smiled at Rita’s first three words.
Rita had shouted into the phone “I am pregnant.”