Monday had started out brutal for Daren and as he kept staring at the pile of files on his table, he concluded that he would break down if he continued receiving more stress punches. The files were much and each needed the same level of urgency as the other. He had passed them on to his secretary to attend to but she had been too preoccupied with other tasks he had assigned to her that she forgot to attend to them. He had a lot on his plate as well being that it was the season of accounts reconciliation for most of their top clients. He had to do the final vetting according to his company’s policy before the final results were delivered to their clients. He checked his watch; it was almost time for lunch with his Mom so he hibernated his computer, took his car keys, his phone and his tablet before leaving. Mom was a time keeper. A minute’s delay could tick her off and she would start calling his phone non stop.
As he drove, he recalled the events of two weeks back. The place, the scene, the sound, the people, the costumes, the ambiance, that girl…, that shy, unsure stripper with skin like caramel and slightly parted lips panting slowly with every move she made. The scent of her skin when she … The view of Marcopolo drew him out of his reverie. He drove into the spacious compound and saw Mom’s car with the driver napping inside. He smiled at the sight as he walked into the Nigerian version of a Chinese restaurant. When Mom had told him about the place, he had laughed at the thought of what a Chinese restaurant would look like in Lagos but looking at this one now, he was impressed. Though, very spacious, the Decor of gold mixed with red gave the place that Chinese feel except for the fact that there was no Chinese song playing in the background so he was still conscious of being in Lagos.
He saw Mom sitting pretty and straight like a Queen at their table. She was looking out to the water front through the full length glass windows beside their table. Daren smiled fondly. This woman; this beautiful 60 year old Hausa woman with the body of a 40 year old and the mind of a 25 year old, this strong woman was a rare gem. To people; she was cold and unfriendly but to him she was everything he could ever wish for in a mother. She was warm, strict to a fault but overly caring. Although sometimes, she put up the front of an overbearing slave master to their staff, he knew it was all an act to curtail any form of insubordination. He loved her and respected her decisions especially those she made for their family and even when she was the third out of three wives she had the reigns to her husband’s businesses.
Daren laughed this time when she turned and saw him. She stretched out her hand to him and when he took it, she gave him that heart warming smile that always made her look more youthful.
They ordered for long bean noodles, prawns and some side dishes to go with. As they ate, they talked about the business. Then Daren recalled he had asked for an assistant before arriving Nigeria so he reminded her.
“Don’t tell me that Lagos’s short of hard working youths who aren’t competent enough to be my assistant Mom”
She took her time to chew before responding. “Well, you never can tell unless you test them. We actually had quite a number of interviews the month before you arrived but we weren’t satisfied with the candidates”
“How many were they?” Daren asked
“About a hundred or more”
Daren sighed. Dear mother, always hard to please. He shook his head in amusement before saying;
“Okay, ask the HR manager to send me the CVs of the top twenty. I’ll look through myself and call for another interview.”
“Don’t worry son, we’ll handle it” she said in her conclusive tone before sipping some water but Daren wouldn’t let it slip so he insisted.
“No Mom. I’m being swallowed by work and I need an assistant ASAP”
She sighed in defeat cos she knew her son. He could go ahead and call for the interviews without her anyways. He was just as stubborn as she was so she decided on compromise.
“Alright. We’ll do it this way. We’ll call the top twenty this Friday and then you’ll be a part of the selection committee so that you can decide for yourself. But I must warn you, you won’t be so much impressed.”
Daren rolled his eyes and said; “At this point, I’ll take that chance. Tomorrow it will be. John should send me the CVs at the close of work today, I’ll look at them overnight, the candidates will be notified tomorrow and the interview will take place on Wednesday. By Friday I want an assistant so I can live long. That’s final Mom. Now let’s talk about something else”
She looked at him narrow eyed and they both burst into laughter at the same time. She threw the napkin at him before saying, “If you aren’t so strong headed then I’ll conclude that you aren’t my son”
Daren winked at her.