I see her through the window, laughing graciously, occasionally placing her left hand on her chest, playing with the buttons when the laughter dies down, then on her face when she burst into a new one. Mira is trouble and something tells me that she knows it. She basks in the glory of her lithe skin, big brown eyes, rosy cheeks and the whiteness of her teeth. Everything she wears accentuates her boldness; she’s beautiful to a fault.
She works men with the simplest things. Her smile swiftly turns them into subordinates, at the beck and call of her charm. She knows it and she enjoys it. The other day, she arrived late, and she flashed a smile towards the director who diverged his speech to how the government should do something to ease traffic on the roads. It’s all a lie. She’s always picked up and dropped like she’s a county minister. She gets first-class treatment in every room we step into and it bothers me.
She opens the door and her fragrance sweeps through the entire room. This is the thing about her, you can never ignore her presence.
“Is it just me or the men working in these offices are nuts?” she asks.
“Why?” Ochaka one of the senior staff asks.
“I went to lunch at the restaurant across the street only to find that three men had paid for my lunch.” She responded. I wanted to scream “Lies!” But I kept quiet. Mira thinks herself better than everyone, perhaps, it’s the reason why she thinks all the men are sexually interested in her, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were just peddling lies.
“Did you eat these said lunches?” The director asked.
“I would never! It’s just so disgusting that these men think they can wow women with free food. Does it always happen?” She asks, pulling a seat next to the director.
“I wouldn’t know if it does, because you are the first person to bring our attention, that the staff is making such advances to you.”
“I really hope it’s not the case. Could you imagine if they approached an underprivileged, poverty-stricken lady with self-esteem issues? The havoc!”
Drum rolls, please? Anyone! I’m havoc. The poverty-stricken, underprivileged woman? I’m here! Mira’s gaze almost makes me believe that she knows something about my relationship with the poor girl. When I got the opportunity to intern at the county government, mama told me that it would open doors just not for me, but for the entire community. People at church greet me with so much respect and ask how the governor is, and if fertilizer prices will reduce. I bask in this glory and shake hands with elderly people more often than before. It’s given me a new status in society, one that I intend to keep for as long as I can. I even get row seats at functions, and my mother says they get special treatment because their daughter works for the government. Oh! The joy it brings her.
Charlie, my long-time boyfriend, has been pestering me to get him a job at the county as a firefighter. Mama has not stopped asking if I met someone better, that has expressed interest in me that I would like to bring home. She’s reminded me, severally, that it’s my responsibility to ensure that electricity is made accessible to our home, now that I have access to the Governor. “Do whatever it takes,” she tells me. She’s also, in not very explicit terms, said that there’s better fish in the lake, and Charlie is not my type anymore. He knows it, but he sticks around with the hope that I’ll get him a job. I haven’t tried, and neither do I intend to, if he were smart, he would have known this by now.
It’s Mama’s advice I leant on when the Chief Officer for Energy asked for my number by the corridor a month ago. Mira hadn’t joined us at that time, and I enjoyed all the attention. He complimented me at the slightest chance, sent me money for lunch and even offered to take me to Kampala on weekends for shopping. I was nervous at first, and I still am, but I have to do whatever it takes. It’s already paid off in financial terms. Mama likes her new Ankara fits, it’s all she wears to her Chamas.
The secrecy of our affair has been surviving, till Mira came. She walks around, accusing men of being sexually interested in her and offering her gifts. It bothers me because I used to be Mira. The girl cared so much for her social image until life happened. I want to pull her aside and whisper in her ears that this is life, you have to take whatever it offers you and run away with it. I want to tell her that I went on a work trip with the director to secure myself a job at the end of the internship and her constant yapping could jeopardize it, but I’m afraid of what her sentiments will be. Even now, as she goes on about the men that have paid for her lunch, I interrupt because I refuse to believe that the Chief Officer might have made a move on her.
“Who is that you mentioned again?” I quip.
“The Energy chief officer. He even asked if I’m willing to shift to his office and work from there,” she responds absentmindedly.
“I don’t think that’s true!” I interject.
“Because it can’t possibly be true. I went to school with his daughter,” I responded defensively.
“So he would never do that. Stop thinking that when a man looks at you, they are thinking about sleeping with you. These are people’s husbands for crying out loud” I answer.
“I’m not surprised that you are on his side,” she responds, focusing her gaze on the laptop In Front of her.
“What do you mean by that?” I ask.
“You look like the type,” she says, her eyes rolling.
“The type that sleeps with men and covers your tracks,” she says amidst another eye roll.
I shot up, ready for a physical fight because I desperately want to prove to everyone in the room that I’m not ‘the type.’
“Everybody calm down! I hope everyone knows that relationships and any form of intimate affairs are prohibited around here, “the director warns, giving me a stern look. We go about our work the rest of the afternoon in silence, but resentment is gutting me down. Sakina has been staring at Mira the entire time, trying so hard not to speak. She finally does when the four-wheeler pulls up at the parking lot and Mira starts packing her bags. It’s these perks that she enjoys without having to work so hard that make it easy for us to resent her. The fact that she doesn’t have to try, but we, on the other hand, have to put up with the demands of the men in senior positions.
“There has been talking about you by the way,” she sounds like a child, whispering. One that peed on herself and is asking for a mother’s help in public.
“Are you talking to me?” I ask, my heart racing.
“No. Her,” she turns her face to Mira.
“Go on,” She offers. I could tell, since the first day Sakina resumed her maternity leave, she doesn’t like Mira. I know deep inside, we both admire how openly sexual, opinionated and canny she can be at times, and it intimidates us. She effortlessly interacts with our male counterparts and expresses dislike and discontentment in an instant.
“The staff on the upper floor, the deputy governor’s office say they see you flirting with married men, mostly when you are heading out for lunch,” she says with her bingo voice. The “I gotcha!” The moment that would make me feel good about myself.
“Pssst…that’s stupid. They greet me and I respond to their greetings.”
“That’s not what they think though,” I add.
“Well, Sakina, tell them they think wrong!” She says dismissively.
“Even if I do, they’ll still come for you. They have been planning to.” I laugh, so loud that everyone in the room can tell the malice in my voice.
“Sakina, I’m not sleeping with anyone’s husband, matter of fact, their husbands are harassing me. Do I need to show you the naked pictures these men send on my phone? Or should I have my parents tell you about the Chief Officer driving to our compound at night to offer gifts and pretend to want to mentor me? Mr Director, give me directions please!” Mira rants and everyone is quiet, watching her.
The silence is so deafening, I assume everyone can hear my heart beating. I know she’s right because the Chief Officer has sent me his naked pictures several times, asking me to send mine in exchange. I’ve taken pictures off the Internet and shared them with him more than once and it irritates me that he thinks I enjoy it. I’ve been keeping the pictures so that I can use them for blackmail, but now I want to delete them, to clear all the evidence of our conversations.
“Mira is right!” I say and I regret it almost immediately. But I have to do what I have to do, to cover my tracks. Everyone has turned to me, and I have to force words out of my mouth.
“These men have been harassing me too, I’ve just been so afraid to share it with you,” I say.
“Thank you, Caro. The rot in this place is troubling.” Mira says. “I hope we can talk about this in-depth tomorrow, bye for now,” she adds as heads for the door.
I sink into my seat, questioning myself. At the back of my mind, I know I have gone out with the Chief Officer, not for the gains mama keeps on talking about, are for the community, but because I thought it would make me feel better than Mira. Now that I’ve learnt she has never put herself in such a compromising situation, I feel lesser about myself, even though I got into the affair long before she got here. I have created this monster in my head as Mira, competing against her, how wrong have I been? I owe myself an apology, and I have to start by figuring out, where did the rain start beating me?
Office Drama – I’m Falling In Love With My Coworker But I Have A Wife And Kids Part 2
The Hunter Hunts The Prey: The Governor’s Affairs Love And Politics Don’t Mix Part 1
My Wife Was Having An Affair With Her Employee Part 1
An Office Affair Landed Me In The Hospital
False Accusations Of Sleeping With The Boss To Get Ahead
My Boss Set Me Up With A Client Who Made My Life Hectic
I Set My Mum Up On A Date With My Boss