“You have successfully completed your training. You will be on probation for one year. Kindly ensure you sign your contracts before you leave. See you on Monday,” the training officer said.
The team of twenty-five young ladies and gentlemen almost screamed with joy. In the face of high unemployment levels, finding a job with a major firm is a cause for celebration. They would have a guaranteed salary at the end of each month, a chance for career progression, health cover and access to credit facilities. Never mind that they would be working twelve and thirteen-hour shifts on some days; it was better than unemployment.
Many in the group were in their late twenties. Most of them were unwed, but several were dating. I don’t think you understand the toll some jobs take on your social life until you’re in that position. Although shifts differed, on any day you needed to go to the office, you would spend at least three to four hours in total in traffic. The working hours ranged between eight to twelve hours, and on some days, you needed to be in the office for thirteen hours.
Given the work schedule and commuting routine, most of them opted to spend their day off resting. The pay wasn’t enough for many of them to afford outsourcing cleaning help, so their day off also included doing laundry and cleaning up the house. There was hardly time for anything else.
Emma had been dating Jack for two years before her new job, but with the hours, they hardly had time to spend together. Jack began cheating two months after she started this job, which ended their relationship. Society often points out that a girl must settle down before age thirty, and Emma could hear the clock ticking. The occasional remarks from aunties questioning why she hadn’t yet brought someone home, only worsened the situation.
Like many companies, there was a strict policy against fraternizing in the workplace. It meant the pool of potential suitors was limited, with hardly any time outside the workplace. Emma decided to try out online apps, but it was soon apparent that many guys couldn’t keep up with her work schedule. So she abandoned the dating apps.
Later, while on leave, she decided to visit her friend, Joy. Coincidentally, Joy was also hosting her friend Daniel. It almost felt ordained. Daniel had been looking for a girlfriend for quite a while. He wanted an educated girl who was good-looking, not too outgoing and wanted to settle down. When Emma appeared, Joy wondered why she had never thought of hooking them up. Daniel had the qualities Emma was looking for, or so they thought.
Days after meeting, they went on their first date.
“Joy, why hadn’t you told me about Emma before this? She is exactly what I am looking for,” Daniel texted Joy.
On the hand, Emma couldn’t stop thanking Joy for introducing her to such a wonderful man.
All was well in paradise until the storm started brewing. Two months into dating, Daniel decided to start paying Emma’s rent. After initially resisting, Emma agreed. Daniel said that he didn’t believe in his woman paying bills. Given the nature of Emma’s job, she would spend several nights at Daniel’s place so that they could have a chance to bond. One night over, three nights over, and she now needed closet space in his house.
Daniel had a cleaning lady who would come weekly to do laundry and clean. The cleaning lady had seen Daniel’s women come and go. On one particular day, after Emma had been around for a couple of days, the cleaning day came. Emma was at work but had a few clothing items in the laundry basket. She had no idea that the cleaning lady was coming, but in any case, she thought this would have reduced her workload during her day off.
As the cleaning lady went about her business, she casually remarked,
“I see we have a new lady,” she told Daniel.
“Yes, we do,” he said with a smile.
“Yeah, this one is even leaving me bras to clean,” the cleaning lady said in a lower tone, murmuring to herself but loud enough for him to hear.
Mission accomplished. Daniel heard her. It stirred up problems. Daniel was the kind of guy who liked having his friends over, hosting them and showing off his woman. Emma didn’t mind spending time with his friends, but it soon became a problem because most of her off days were now spent entertaining his friends, cooking for them and cleaning up after they left.
Emma liked going out occasionally, but Daniel insisted on staying indoors most of the time. It now felt like they only did what Daniel wanted. Whenever she brought it up, he made it sound like she could go out on her own, but he also reminded her that he was taking care of her financially, but she wasn’t treating him like a king.
When the cleaning lady made the remark, Daniel told her that she needed to be doing their laundry. Emma didn’t have a problem with that at first. Given all Daniel was doing for her, she thought it was only fair if she took up more feminine roles in his house. As fate would have it, there were system failures at their workplace, so they needed to work for longer hours. She didn’t even get an off day that week.
She was so tired by the time she got home that she could hardly eat without dozing off. In her wisdom, she asked Daniel to call in the cleaning lady that week because she was too tired, but she would pay for the services. The suggestion was met with a lot of hostility, but he obliged and paid for the services himself. A few weeks later, after the issue brought up issues again, Emma suggested that she could get a washing machine using her savings so that it would be easier for her to clean the clothes even with a hectic work schedule.
“Who is going to buy the washing machine?” Daniel asked.
“I will babe since it’s my duty to ensure we have clean clothes,” Emma said.
“So you’ll be carrying my dirty laundry to your place?” Daniel asked her.
“No, since I’m at your place most of the time, I’ll just bring it there,” Emma said confidently.
“Emma, let me be very clear, I will never let a woman buy any household items in my house or our house for that matter,” Daniel said.
“But babe, I come back so tired so I can’t do it all together and you don’t want me paying your cleaning lady and you also have a problem with paying her. It doesn’t cost you a thing and it makes work easier for me,” Emma tried to explain.
“I take care of all of your financial bills but you can’t take care of laundry and you also have a problem with hosting my friends. You’re just a lazy city girl who can’t take care of her man and yet you claim you want children,” Daniel said in a demeaning tone.
Emma didn’t have time to respond as Daniel hung up right after that. Days later, Daniel would complain to Joy that she didn’t tell him that Emma was that lazy. On the other hand, Emma couldn’t understand why Daniel took offence to her suggestion, yet she wasn’t asking him to contribute towards the purchase. She went for clothes from his place, hoping to ask for an explanation. She found her things packed in a bag, and Daniel had placed the bag on the seat near the door. The message was clear.
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