Finally the power was back. The awkwardness had to end. Lunga and I where taken around and introduced to everyone and how things worked. It’s a good thing I wore flat shoes. We walked for a good hour but when we were done I think I knew my job thoroughly. I just wanted to go back to the office and by the looks of it so did everyone.
When I got back I had a missed call. I did not recognise the number that had called me. I don’t call back numbers I don’t know. It’s a waste of airtime so if they wanted me they would have to call me back. Besides I was too busy at the moment. Orapeleng was now at my desk and she wanted to talk! After all that really.
“I am sorry about what went down earlier on. There are always politics in the office and you might not see it because you are the one being accused but a lot of the girls here are always nervous when a new girl comes into the office!”
She said to me. What kind of job environment was this where being female meant you had to be scared of who could be sleeping with the boss. I had counted on my return and they were right when they said the ratio of male to female was three to one. My problem however with this was that if the company had the opposite in numbers people would complain saying the company favoured men to women. What is wrong with having a female dominated company? Is this not what we as females should be wanting? I just could not understand the pettiness. What’s worse, it was other women questioning it!
“I don’t know what I did to make you think that of me. If you look at me there is nothing extra ordinary about. I am literally just another girl. I would have understood if I was prettier maybe or had so much attitude but I don’t know hey!”
I said to her. I am honest with myself and no, I don’t feel sorry for myself. Facts are facts, there are women who walk into a room and men just start running around trying to get her attention. It’s those women you find in the gym, the home of single women and on Date My Family. Then they are women like me, no one looks at us the first time we enter but whats great about us is that usually we are the ones that get the ring because we actually have more than just good looks. So for her to think I was his type just by my entrance the girls had really gotten it twisted.
“I am sorry about that. Please don’t tell on Boipelo and please speak to your friend not to go to his father. I know he has already said he will let it pass but I am just making sure. We were best friends from high school and would really be sad to see her go!”
She said. Maybe I was reading into the wrong signs I don’t know because I had already said I wouldn’t. Only now could I check in my desk. This man was brave. What if someone opened my desk and stole it? O wait, I could say that to him. He would be none the wiser. I had to remind Lunga that we were shopping today.
I was scared to put the money in my bag for fear of it being stolen. Our offices were next to some shops and my bank was there so I snuck out and ran to deposit it. I was also conflicted on whether or not I was going to put my mum debt by using the account like she had asked me to. Did not seem fair.
When I got to my desk again my phone had rang again. It was the same number. This time I decided to call it back.
“Ah thank you for calling back. It’s Refiloe, Aurelia gave me your number and said I could trust you!”
She said. Ok then if this was not awkward then I don’t know what is.
“Yes what can I do for you? Your husband is not in the office!”
I said to her. Don’t know why I told her that because she had not asked me that.
“No thats fine. I am not calling for him, I am calling for you. Is there a way we can meet today and talk?”
She asked me. She sounded so calm but I could not for the life of me think of what it is I had done nor what she wanted.
“Ok that’s fine. When?”
I asked her.
“Now I am outside! I know my husband is not her e o don’t worry.”
Ok now I was feeling set up. This could not be good. I told her I was coming out just now. When I went to the car I half expected Aurelia to be there because they were always together but she was not. It was just me and her and I really wanted to turn back. When I got to her car she did not come out meaning I had to go in. This was cloak and dagger stuff. She drove off with me as soon as I closed the door.
“I have to be back soon. Is everything ok?”
I asked her. She looked calm but I could see she was anxious about something. This was so awkward.
“I just needed to have a personal chat with you, woman to woman please!”
She said. This woman had never approached me. She had made a beeline for Aurelia when we met and always made me feel like excess to requirements.
“I don’t have a problem with but no offence ma’am, could you not have asked me over the phone? I am always available!”
She said she was taking me for a quick lunch she said and all I had to do was sit there and listen. It was obvious she wanted something big I asked why she had left Aurelia behind and she said she felt it best she had this conversation without her as the fewer the people who knew it the better. What if she was trying to fire Aurelia? That thought made me smile because I maintain that those two should never work so closely together in any case. Maybe this was a conversation I had to have with her since she was and giving me an opening.
“Aurelia is working on a project and she is in a shoot as we speak. She won’t need me for a few hours so she does not even know I am here so I would appreciate it if you don’t tell her we met!”
She said, “But she gave you my number!”
I said. She explained that she had lied to her and said it was because she could not find her husband. What a weak excuse but if Aurelia had not seen that then she deserved to be lied to.
“Did this woman know about Aurelia? Was this why she wanted to sit down with me?”
I asked myself panicking now because she was being overly mysterious for no reason. At the shops we went into one of the cafe’s where she order a tea (not even coffee) but green tea. She asked me what I wanted and much as I was hungry my stomach was in knots because I was so scared of hearing what she wanted to say. Married people have issues. Most of them when you look at them they don’t even look happy and looking at her I could see the stress lines through the thick layers make up. Let not people lie to you about the beauty of marriage without giving you the other side!
“I need you to do me a favour and please call me Refiloe!”
She said to me with a now serious look on her face. What was with people asking me for favors. It’s like I was either the only trustworthy person left in their lives, the most desperate or the most deceitful.
“Yes maam, sorry Refiloe, what would you like me to do for you!”
I asked her.
“I think my husband is cheating on me and I would like you to find out!”
I wanted to laugh out loud. I should have seen this coming. How many times have you heard that statement that the wife always knows. Men think they are so clever keeping in the shadows but this reality is real. I was not about to tell her with who. I felt bad for her though because if all the office girls knew he was a cheat imagine how much they were laughing at her as well. Every time she walked into that office I know how women are, they laughed! She thinks she is high and mighty when she can’t even keep a man. That’s what we say right.
“Refiloe… do you realize that you asking me to spy on my boss and if I lose this job getting another one will be next to impossible as I will not have recommendations!”
I told her and I was not wrong either. Which company executive would hire me knowing that I could do so much damage?
“And why me?”
I asked her. She hardly knew me she explained that I was the oonly one she had in that office to tell her who was in and out of his office. Why was I being put into the middle of everything though. The husband wanted me to seduce his son so he could stay way from Aurelia, the wife wanted me to spy on the husband, the son wanted me to make my friend who was having an affair with his father to get in good books with him. That’s enough to confuse anyone! What a twisted family but the scary part is that in all this, the only constant was me! I was like a link.
She took a sip of her coffee and said,
“I never said you will do it for free! According to our prenup, if my husband cheats and I have evidence, I get 60% of everything and that my dear means if you give me hard evidence I will give you not less than five zeros!”
She said looking at me straight in the eye.
Fuck the friendship!
Did I just say that out loud?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for publishing ‘Wasted’s letter and thank you for the responses im sure she would have appreciated. My name is Lee and ‘wasted’ was my friend and i feel sad to let you know that she passed on last Thursday (fire). I would like to pass a message to both men and women alike that things are not what they used to be. Pray for your lifes and of those who are in your life cycle because what was happening with my friend was a sore sight. Had tried to talk to her out of the on n off with this guy but we always knew she would be back with him. I do not know why because at times she would burst out crying about that n one could feel her sadness but she would always go back. I dont know what made her to be like that and i urge people to pray. I dont very much like to be all spiritual but with her case it needed some of that intervention. People need to speak up or forgive than live a life of uncertainity and regret.
We are sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. Life is short and precious. Our prayers are with you, her family and friends. She is with God now let her rest…
Mike and Thozama