Kasiwe held Naomi in her arms. She had arrived a few minutes ago, breaking down immediately she saw her.
“He says it’s over. He is serious about getting a divorce.”
“Come on, he’s just upset that’s all. Let him have his little tantrum, he’ll get back to his senses.” Kasiwe comforted her.
“He left just after the meeting. He took his clothes and left.”
“Naomi, get a hold of yourself. You know for a fact that Mwamba cannot leave his children. Not after fighting for Peter like he did. He will be back.” Kasiwe rubbed her shoulder. “Besides, it would be such a bad thing if he left now would it?”
Naomi was confused with her friends statement. ‘What do you mean by that?”
“Well, you have been complaining about him of late. How he doesn’t measure up as a man anymore. Well this is your chance to be free to find someone better. That is unless you want to remain the breadwinner.”
“Come on Kasie. You know Mwamba has a lot to offer. Besides I love him!”
“Love doesn’t pay the bills honey.” Kasiwe walked over to the kitchen, returning with a bottle of red wine and glasses. She poured them both generous amounts of wine, handing one to Naomi who downing it all in a single gulp. “Whoa, calm down.”
Naomi took the bottle from Kasiwe and poured herself another glass. “I’m going to teach that bitch a lesson. She won’t steal my man from under my nose.”
“Stop crying. No man is worth your tears. This is your chance for freedom. Get out there and live your life as if he never existed. You’ll see how he’ll come running back to you.”
Mwamba looked around the small room he had rented at a guesthouse. It would be home until he could find something better. In the mean time he needed to focus on gaining Mrs Igobi’s trust after the incident. Tamara had managed to convince her to meet him for another meeting. This time around he would see her from her home in Lilayi. Mwamba used the rest of the weekend to improve on his pitch and convince her that he was the best man for the job.
Monday morning, Tamara picked him up from Downtown mall. It was the first time they were seeing each other since the incident with Naomi. An awkward silence was maintained throughout the drive, with an occasional comment about nothing in particular.
The Igobi farm was spectacular, in all aspects of the property. The house was hidden behind pine trees that spun close to a hectare. The house itself could be mistaken for a lodge or small hotel.
“It was initially built as a lodge.” Tamara explained as if reading his mind. “But after uncle died, aunt Mary decided to renovate it so she could love here. She’s always loved the property.”
Mwamba nodded in acknowledgement, the anxiety of meeting Mrs Igobi again prevented his from speaking. Tamara parked in the car park in front of the house. The door opened before they could even reach it.
“Welcome.” Mrs Igobi called to them. She looked younger than she had a week earlier. It could be because she wore sweat pants, unlike the suit on their earlier meeting.
“Thank you ma’am.” Mwamba responded, praying that growling of his stomach was not as audible as he feared it was.
Mrs Igobi led them through a long passage to her office. A huge portrait of her husband covered one wall, while some family portraits covered another. After exchanging pleasantries, Tamara excused herself to give them privacy.
“Mr Chiti. I read through your proposal and I must admit I’m very impressed. If you can pull of half ov what you claim are capable of doing for my company, I believe our company will make its mark in the country.” She took off her reading glasses, placing the file she had in the table. “My main concern right now is your private life. If I’m to make you director of my company, how will will I be sure that your wife will not be making such outbursts in my office or as you attend to clients?”
Mwamba took in a deep breath. “I apologize again for what transpired earlier. I will be honest with you. We have been having some problems. But we are working on sorting them out. All I can do is give you my word that such an incident will not repeat itself. I know its alot to ask but I ask that you let me prove to you what an asset I can be for the company.”
“Are you having an affair with Tamy?”
“No ma’am. She is a friend and has never been anything more.”
“You should know a married man having a female friend will always bring problems with the wife.”
“Yes ma’am.” Was all he said in response despite wanting to add more.
“How soon can you start work?”
“I have to give a months notice at my current job. But I can start in two weeks as I have leave days pending.”
“Great. Then I will see you in two weeks. We will start with finding an office first. Then proceed to hiring the staff you will need. Meanwhile, I will email you the contract and offer that you can read through and sign off once satisfied.”
Mwamba wanted to tell her he was ready to sign off immediately. Whatever offer she had was definitely better than his currently salary. “Thank you,” he said instead. “I assure you that I’ll work beyond every expectation that you have.”
“I will hold you to that!”
The weeks that followed Mwamba punished himself with work. He managed to rent out a four roomed space which divided into a reception, a meeting room and two offices. He would share an office with the finance manager, while the other office would be shared by a sales representative, marketing representative and accounts assistant. It was easy to hire all the people he needed to fill in the positions. We sort out those who he had worked with before that he knew he could trust. All, with the exception of the finance manager Nerbert, we still unemployed after losing their jobs with Mwamba a few years earlier.
Mwamba engaged Dorica as Admin Assistant placing her at the front desk. He had a gut feeling that the company would grow exponentially than Mrs Igobi’s expectations as long as everyone took their role seriously and worked exceptionally. The new position gave Dorica a pay rise from her previous job.
Every evening, Mwamba would spend time with Peter and Milda until they went to bed. Only after would he leave to go to his room and the guesthouse. Naomi, taking Kasiwe’s advice, decided to ignore Mwamba all together and concentrate on her new found freedom. She begun with attending every single cocktail hosted by the hotel. At one of these events, Jefferies asked her out for a drink after the function and Naomi readily agreed. For the first time, she flirted with him without holding back. If Mwamba was going to cheat on her, she might as well get some action too.
The following month Mwamba started working full time for Igobi and Sons. The contract came with housing allowance and a work vehicle. Mwamba quickly found a 3 bedrooms house. He was anxious to have Peter and Milda visting him. Dorica readily accepted taking them to Mwamba’s on weekends. Mwamba had initially thought Naomi would resist but she found that the arrangement gave her more free time on weekends without having to worry about their children..
“Daddy, can I move in with you?” Peter asked once day.
“No son. I know this hard. Especially for you who has to juggle three homes. I promise you that it will get better eventually.”
“So I still have to go to Lwipa’s house?”
“Hey, I know you have more respect for your elders than that.” Mwamba disapproved of Peter calling Lwipa by his first name. “Despite everything, that man is your father. You need to respect him”
“He doesn’t even care about me.”
“I’m sure he does. He just needs to get to know you better. And you him.”
“But henever stays home when I visit.”
“But your mummy Wezi is there. And she’s nice.”
At the mention of Wezi, Peter’s eyes lit up. “She is awesome. She taught me how to make banana bread last I was there.”
“Daddy, even me I want to go with Peter to his other house and eat banana bread.” Milda whined after hearing Peter’s excitement.
“Well, Peter can just make the banana bread for us right here.” Mwamba laughed. Conversations with his children were the best part of his day. He enjoyed how complex their conversations were becoming as they grew older and their interests widened.
“I don’t think he’s coming back home.” Naomi complained one day to Kasiwe. Naomi sat on a stool in the kitchen while Kasiwe worked on the food to be served that evening for a networking workshop being hosted at the hotel.
“Has he sent over the divorce papers? ”
Naomi shook her head. “Then he will come back. Had he been really serious about divorcing you, you would be in court by now.”
“So what do I do? Should I confront him about it?”
Kasiwe laughed. “You are so naive sometimes Naomi. What he wants is for you to grovel on your knees and beg him to return.”
Naomi laughed. “As if I would dare degrade myself like that. Where would my pride be?”
“Exactly! If I were you, I would still continue to ignore him. Besides Jefferies seems to be smittened by you.”
“Like who wouldn’t, hey? I’m a babe. Yet some men what to take me for granted.”
“Those men are not worth it my dear. You deserve to be treated like a queen. If he cant handle the heat, he shouldn’t be in the kitchen.”
Naomi laughed out again. “You and your kitchen phrases. Anyway, I have to go see how the decor is coming along.” She blew Kasiwe a kiss before leaving the kitchen.
Minutes later Kasiwe received a message on her phone. Using the tea towel that hug from her apron to clean her hands, she picked up her phone, smiling after seeing its contents. Immediately she forwarded the message then went back to her cooking.
Truth of the heart episode 38 & 39