“Come on, Katherine, I don’t see the part of a cleaner, is that a surprise?” Kelvin dropped the company customized fountain pen on the closed file before him.
Her gaze lingered on him before her response. “No.”
“Every child always has a dream one time or the other of being somebody in life and there is a point of realization. I think that should be happening to you.” He sat forward. “Don’t tell me it was to be a cleaner.”
“It wasn’t and I had a dream.” She replied flatly.
He couldn’t read from her facial expression and that was strange because he prided himself on being able to. “What happened?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t share.”
Stupefied, he stared her and reviewed his thoughts.
This was the first genuine care she was getting and refused to be carried away. There was always a price. When she was about to begin reciting in the states of the country and their capital to pass time, he spoke.
“Since we agreed there is no part of a cleaner in you, I came up with something.” He pressed a button on the intercom. “Precious come in with it.” He sat back. “Sometimes, problem and disappointment usually turn to be blessing in disguise.”
Katherine agreed but didn’t believe it.
Precious knocked on the door before she came in.
The look Katherine gave the DG and his secretary who held an envelope was frantic.
“Give it to her.” He instructed. “Katherine, please open it.”
Anxiety bedevilled her as she unsealed the envelope. Her mouth opened and closed it a couple of times. “Letter of appointment as a secretary.” She muttered with eyes still on the paper.
They both nodded when she eventually looked up. “What have I done to deserve this? I have no formal training on this.” She directed her gaze to Kelvin.
“Being principled to reject what should be rejected. After all, that’s what brought you to my notice in the first place. You may not understand the impact of your decision to stand out on this company but you’ve saved it, in a way.” Kelvin told her. “For me and what have seen of you, you’re able or to elaborate it well, well able to be a secretary.” He gave her a warm smile. “You will be learning from Precious, she is one of the best.”
“Thank you, sir.” Precious beamed.
“You’re going to work hand in hand with her for the meantime.” Kelvin expatiated.
Katherine closed her eyes momentarily and swallowed hard. ‘This is a surprise that… that…” She placed a palm on her forehead.
Precious couldn’t fathom why she was not jumping from excitement.
He saw pain, repressed pain when she opened her eyes.
“This is unexpected and considering the level of transit.” She chuckled and bobbed her head from side to side. “I don’t know how to express my appreciation, thank you so much, sir. Thank you, Precious. Can Precious excuse us, sir?”
“I believe I can. Excuse me, sir.” Precious exited the office.
“Please don’t misunderstand me but I’ll be pleased to know the price I have to pay.”
“That’s brilliant, Katherine.” His face lit up. “Don’t prove me wrong by being diligent and faithful.”
“Diligence and faithfulness, yes, but I want to know the main price I have to pay.” Her eyes probed his.
His forehead creased into a frown. What was she talking about? Then like a bolt from the blue, it hit him and he had to bite his lower lip to prevent fits of laughter. “I am not a pot that chastises a kettle for being black. I am giving you this opportunity from the conviction I have and the sincerity of my heart.”
Silence prevailed as Katherine looked down at the letter. “I will take the post, thank you very much, sir.” She lowered to her knees.
“No—no—please stand already.” He stood. “Pick your uniforms from the clothing department, take the rest of the week off and resume on Monday.”
“Thank you.” She gave a faint smile.
Kelvin nodded and she left.
He remained on his feet as his mind tangled with thoughts of her. He had seen that lack of trust and pain in her eyes.
Precious rounded her desk to meet her.
“Are you taking the job?” Her eyes searched her expression expectantly.
She didn’t know anyone so selfless. “Yes, Precious.”
“Yes!” Precious hugged her. She and her boss had sat to decide the matter and she was elated it worked. “I’ll shift my chair and move yours close so I could start feeling your presence before Monday.” She grinned.
Katherine smiled and took both of her palms in hers. “You know what, Precious?”
“What?” She was still smiling.
“If you keep up with your behaviour, you will go places.”
“Thanks. I am happy for you.”
Precious peeped at the lobby leading to the DG’S office before taking Katherine’s hand. “Let me see you off to the elevator.”
Katherine knew she ought to be swimming in happiness. For the love of raspberries! How many cleaners became secretaries? Not mere secretary but to the very boss himself.
She shook her head, nothing was going to put the thrill in her. She had lost count of the number of arms of flesh that had failed her a long time ago.
When she told the head cleaner, she had given her all her blessings and added she was going to miss her. She smiled in remembrance. She had not seen the assistant chief security officer, Mr Sayo that had ushered into the premises of the company. Hence, she hadn’t told him. They were both the closest to her.
Though the appointment was baby steps to what she hoped to achieve in life, she looked forward to Monday as she gathered the mass of her jet black hair into the hairnet. Afterwards, she plopped down on the bed and picked her Bible.
All she wanted was God’s will. She was going to pray for the DG so things don’t get sour and for grace in her new place of assignment.
She closed her eyes and searched her mind for the best worship song.
Aisha hit the brass knocker. “Kafee, can I come in?”
“Yes, mum.” Kafayat reached for tissue to wipe her face but wasn’t fast enough.
Her mother ambled in and caught a glimpse of her act. “Sweetheart…” She sat on the bed. “What is wrong?”
She wiped her tears with her palms. “Nothing, mum.”
“How can you be crying and say nothing is wrong.” Worry creased her brows.
“Do you know, mum, that…” She sniffed. “Dad and I made plans for his birthday celebration—that should have held today.” Her shoulders started to shake as she sobbed.
Tears ran down Aisha’s face as she pulled Kafayat into an embrace. She’d had a good cry at the early hours of the day when she had woken up with the knowledge. Her dearly beloved husband was no more.