If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut up! The seemingly harsh words of a woman I called mother echoed in my head as I sat staring at the woman who I was made to believe held my fate in her hands. In front of me was a supposed harmless being born of a woman; her little pieces strung by the careful act of a man. The corn rows on her head couldn’t be missed for they kept getting in the way of her pen as she scribbled holy knows what even after I had explained my purpose for being there.
Her hazelnut eyes batted like one of those characters right out of a children’s book distinctly highlighted by eyelashes that appeared not hers. Her long claws for a nail annoyingly tapped on the glass table as her mouth yapped away. Her fine tailored suit appeared expensive or could be #MadeInNigeria as social media has gone crazy about #BuyAba.
All that didn’t matter to me now as I smiled sheepishly wishing she had a sneak peek into the melodrama slowly playing out in my head. Then, she would have found out she was the only active character none befitting of a ‘Juliet’.
At this point, I had to ask myself, why should I speak only when I have something nice to say? How do I even determine what is nice when my fair lady was cruel to me: not a chance to yet again explain the purpose of sitting in front of her. Why can’t I speak when I don’t like the way I’m being treated? Why can’t I say not so nice things when I’m angry? Why can’t I express my true feelings and give my candid opinion in every situation I find myself? Why can’t I give advice, solicited and unsolicited whenever it pleases me? Why… ‘Madam, you may leave now’. Those words brought me back to reality as I briskly got up and headed for the door with a deep sense of relief I didn’t have to go through some more torture!
‘Madam’, I turned with fire in my eyes, about to lash out and give her a piece of my mind. Is it a crime I came to look for a job in her company? ‘When will you like to start work?’ The words I heard sounded ridiculous and unreal. ‘Did you ask when I can…?’ ‘I did’, she cut me off and the rest is history.
This morning in my office I sit again and rock the chair as my usual ritual which I have been doing for the past two years. This time, I remember my mother’s words and laugh at a question I posed in my head that ‘evil’ day; waiting for the perfect moment to unleash. One that could have changed the course of my destiny: Shall I speak now Madame?
Image Credit: Maplewood Library