The funeral was at noon.
I met Tony when I was just 21 years old and semi stupid. He was an executive at this firm I wanted to intern with. Tall , dark, handsome and ruthless was how he was described and none of it was an overstatement. He had pearly white teeth set against the richest chocolate complexion I had seen on any man, Nonso included.
Nonso dropped me off that day on his way to his parents’ at the office complex to attend the interview with the Human Resource Manager. We had spent the later parts of last nights going through cue cards and answering mock questions, I really wanted this internship and I was going to get it even though it meant I had to have Nonso bearing down on me and occasionally asking me to rephrase my answers till they were perfect. I was going to get this internship. I had ironed my dress, the most expensive one in my wardrobe, brought out my Kurt Geiger court shoes, put my weave into a single braid and wrapped it up in a silk scarf. I was ready.
I was not ready. Nobody told me the interview was going to be with Tony. No one told me his office was on the 10th floor. By the time I got to the sixth floor, I could feel my sugar level dropping. ”Nonso warned me o, these shoes were not made for practicality” I muttered to myself as I trudged on, If I had to crawl, I would get there before it was 10 am. I hated tardiness. Apparently, so did Tony.
”Ms Adoara , you are 2 minutes late” a voice said, more like whispered, to me. Before I could mumble an apology, he had started belting out instructions on who to meet, what he liked, what he despised, places he would need to be at different times of the day and how he hoped I would be able to keep up in those ”unreasonable” shoes. I was surprised. He had not even looked at me since I walked in, how did he know about the shoes? What was he talking about? I was here to be interviewed for the internship position not that of his personal assistant. As I was about to voice my dissent, he stood and handed me my employment letter. The salary and other benefits silenced me. That would be all.
I think Nonso was happier for me because a job meant I would be able to pay part of the bills in our shared apartment. I was just happy to get more than I had bargained for. Life was good.
Tony was a great boss and overtime became a greater friend, we were almost always together. I was privy to all his activities and he to mine . All. even the unsavoury ones. ”A great businessman is often ruthless” he would say and I agreed with him. He was a great businessman after all. If only I had known that the ruthlessness was not exclusive to other people.
Nonso and I started dating. Without the pressure of my unemployment, we really got to know each other and since we were already living together, the relationship blossomed in a short time. When I was not with him, I was with Tony. My life was centred around these two men. One day, the day I drove his car to work, I received a call from Nonso’s mum, he had been in an accident. He was in an Uber and both he and the Uber driver died on the spot. It could not be. The love of my life could not be dead when I was pregnant with his child. Only two people knew about the baby, Nonso and Tony… it couldnt be…
”They told me you are the guy to see”
The funeral was at noon.