By Treena Kwenta
Hi readers! At any given time, trust nanny to be on Sebâ€™s side. After the bombshell from Michel that Seb wanted me to put up Peace, the lady â€˜on trialâ€™ from Jos, I confided in nanny and asked her her opinion. As for me, the request filled me with horror. Was it because Seb bought the duplex for our children and me that he feels entitled to use it to house his guests?
â€œAh, madam, please donâ€™t see it like that,â€ protested nanny. â€œOga must have a very good reason for asking us to allow the woman to stay here while in Lagos.â€
â€œSorry, nanny, I donâ€™t share that view. Iâ€™ve thought the whole thing through and it just doesnâ€™t make sense that he should involve me in any way about housing his lover.â€
â€œAre they lovers yet, madam? I thought they have only just met.â€
â€œHow naive you are, nanny! So, you really believe that Milwanâ€™s father would invite the woman he had chosen out of the three he saw, down to Lagos without trying her out first.â€
â€œItâ€™s possible, ma.â€
â€œIt isnâ€™t, nanny. Letâ€™s not see innocence in Papa Milwanâ€™s invitation for the lady to come to Lagos.â€
That kept her quiet for a moment, then she said I could be right, and that Seb wouldnâ€™t ask the woman to come if he hadnâ€™t had some pleasure with her which he felt could be developed.
â€œExactly, nanny. The question is; should my place be the venue for a continuation of that pleasure? Certainly not!â€
â€œBut madam, where would he send a woman whoâ€™s in Lagos for the first time? He canâ€™t ask her to stay at his place because his fiancee is there, and youâ€™re the closest person to him in Lagos that he can ask such a favour.â€
â€œYou seem to be building up a case for yourself, nanny, but have you ever heard of a place called â€˜hotelâ€™?â€
â€œAh, ma, decent women donâ€™t stay in hotels!â€
â€œWhat do you mean? Iâ€™ve stayed in hotels many times, here in the country and abroad. I donâ€™t have a relation to stay with everywhere I go on holiday or for a conference. Itâ€™s very old fashioned to think that no decent woman would stay in a hotel. Hotels are no longer mainly for indecent things, nanny. Yes, you canâ€™t control what people who lodge in hotels do with themselves, but not everyone who stays there should be seen as doing indecent things. Papa Milwan can lodge this his female guest in a hotel, and he can go meet her there.â€
â€œWonâ€™t people conclude that theyâ€™re meeting there for er, er, something indecent, ma? I think oga is too big for that. He knows many important people.â€
â€œWell, Iâ€™m not going to worry about that, or what he may or may not do with a woman there. He was using hotels and guest houses all over the place when we were still married. You know that.â€
â€œYes, madam. Thatâ€™s why I donâ€™t think he should lodge this woman there and have to go there again.â€
â€œHas he stopped using hotels as meeting places for his women, nanny?â€
â€œEr, er, well, I donâ€™t know, madam. Canâ€™t we just help him out this once, since heâ€™s never asked us to house anyone, male or female, before? Or, is it the reaction of his madam that weâ€™re uncomfortable with?â€
Nanny knows me well. She knows that I hate to be thought of as a coward. But I didnâ€™t take the bait this time and so I didnâ€™t defend my stand in not wanting Peace as my guest. I simply turned the page of the discussion.
â€œThanks for your view, nanny. I really appreciate them. Letâ€™s go to sleep now and wait for Papa Milwan to contact us. Luckily, weâ€™re still on â€˜shut downâ€™ in my place of work, so, I donâ€™t have to get up early.â€
â€œBut madam, what if he doesnâ€™t contact us before Michel brings the woman from the airport tomorrow afternoon? Isnâ€™t it best to let oga know how you feel about his request now, so that he can make alternative arrangements?â€
â€œThatâ€™s a sensible advice, nanny. Thanks. But letâ€™s keep calm. If as Michel said, Belinda is keeping all Papa Milwanâ€™s phones, it means I canâ€™t hold such a discussion with him even if she takes the phone to him when I call. He knows that Iâ€™m expecting his call since I rang off before he could take the call I made to him today. If Michel brings Peace here before Papa Milwan contacts me, Iâ€™ll simply ask for the woman to be taken elsewhere. I donâ€™t have to allow her into my premises. I pray it doesnâ€™t get to that, but I donâ€™t want to disturb my sleep worrying about all that. Good night, nanny. Please go and lock up.â€
I took a nightcap of hot chocolate drink and retired with a nice old fashioned Barbara Cartlandâ€™s romance novel. I struggled to keep awake for Sebâ€™s call, and I even placed all my phones by my pillow so that I wouldnâ€™t miss his calls, but none came through by midnight, so, I allowed myself to slip into sleep. I slept like a log and woke up refreshed.Â I could hear nanny moving about downstairs, and soon she appeared with a tray of sandwich toast and coffee. Bliss. I allowed myself to be fussed over, as she brought over my housecoat and helped me into a chair.
Nanny may be illiterate, but she has the French culture in hospitality, and she knows precisely what to do to make the boss comfortable. Michel had tutored her well. Thank God.
As I savoured my breakfast, I noticed nanny hovering around me. This was unusual as she normally disappears after setting down my tray, and would come up later to take down the tray and do the room. This special treatment is limited to the holiday period as I normally take my meals in the dining room.
â€œNanny, thanks for the meal. You have something on your mind?â€
â€œEr, itâ€™s oga. Er, have you heard from him? Is he coming here today? If he is, Iâ€™ll have to go down to the market to pick some items for amala and ewedu. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll like some. Is he coming?â€
â€œOh! Frankly, nanny, Iâ€™ve forgotten all about Papa Milwan and his request. Here, let me check my phones to see if thereâ€™s a missed call from him.â€
Nanny brought over the phones, hope written all over her face. When I told her that there was no missed call on any of them, she looked baffled.
â€œMadam, should I ring Michel to find out if…â€
â€œFind out what, nanny?â€
â€œWhen heâ€™s supposed to bring the woman from Jos here.â€
â€œNanny!â€ I called sternly. â€œEnough is enough! Letâ€™s not tie ourselves into a knot over Peace, Michel, Papa Milwan, etc. This week is the last week of the year. Letâ€™s spend it thinking of ourselves and loved ones. Papa Milwan knows what to do. Iâ€™m not going to fret about that. After lunch, Iâ€™ll go down to Festac to see auntie Becky so that I can use her swimming pool. All Iâ€™ll say is that you shouldnâ€™t allow any stranger into my house in my absence.â€
â€œAlright, ma,â€ answered nanny in a low and dejected voice.
I chilled out at Beckyâ€™s for several hours, without any word from Seb or Michel, or even nanny. On my part, I resisted the urge to ring her to find out if Michel had come with the lady. â€˜No news is good newsâ€™ I told myself, as Becky and her husband told me stories of deliverance that occurred in their end of year crusade in Ibadan. Healings galore, they claimed. I was impressed. I was on Festac bridge on my way home when Sebâ€™s call came through.
â€œTreena, where have you been and what have you done with your phones?â€ he asked heatedly. â€œIâ€™ve been trying to get through to you all night and all day.Â I just couldnâ€™t get through.â€
â€œAsk the service providers,â€ I told him calmly. â€œMy lines were open. So, how are you?Â Michel said you wanted to talk to me about something.â€
â€œYes. Belinda seized my phones as she normally does at this time of the year, to prevent what she calls â€˜illegal callsâ€™ getting through to me. You women have funny ideas sometimes. Hm! So, I asked Michel to ring to seek your permission for a guest of mine to stay in your chalet.â€
â€œYou mean my chalet in your place in Ikeja?â€
â€œYes. You may not be living there, but I canâ€™t put a guest there without your permission. Coco is still in the other chalet, so, yours is the only one suitable as I couldnâ€™t ask the lady to stay in the main house.â€
â€œWhat lady is this, may I ask?â€
â€œYouâ€™ve met her. Itâ€™s Peace. I thought I should humour the family further by allowing her to come to Lagos on a visit. Michel went to collect her from the airport. You donâ€™t mind if she stays in your chalet, do you?â€
â€œNo, I donâ€™t, but just this once. My things are there and I wouldnâ€™t like anyone messing around with them.â€
â€œMichel said so. Heâ€™s locked up all your things, and left only one room open for Peace to use. Iâ€™ll bring her round to your place tomorrow since youâ€™re still on leave.â€
â€œYouâ€™re welcome, Seb.Â Er, what about Belinda? Is she comfortable with this visit?â€
â€œPapa and mama rang her up to tell her. She stormed out of the house. Iâ€™m sorry, but how does one oppose oneâ€™s parents?Â Sheâ€™ll come round. Meanwhile, I have a guest on my hands. I have to ensure that her five days here are pleasant.â€
You see Seb?