It was around 7Am on a Saturday morning when the sound of the rain had woken Zuba up. The drops banged the roof overhead summoning her to stand by her window and observe the outpour from the skies. With the cup of coffee nearly burning the palm of her hand, she took long sips as she waited for Mr. Gihu to wake up. Oh, how sweet he looked asleep! With one arm reaching for the left side of the bed and his mouth half-open, she felt guilty for depriving another woman of this view on such a quiet morning. Not just another woman though, Mrs. Gihu, his wife. She quickly brushed aside those thoughts and focused on how the day was going to go. She was finally ready to pitch her idea to him after months of putting it all together.
Her phone vibrated on top of the nightstand, interrupting the train of thought and waking up the man in her bed. It was from Butoyi and it said:
Mabuja, I found her address. 7.30PM @ QP
She smiled at the screen.
Mr Gihu must have caught that as he asked, “Who’s texting you this early?”
“My boyfriend,” she said
“You some else young girl!”
Not so young, she thought to herself, but did not bother replying to his remark. How ironic it was that married men were always the most jealous of lovers! On any other day she would have stood up to him, but she was seconds away from asking him for a life changing opportunity.
Thanks B. See u, she texted back.
All she needed to do was convince her boss that she could take on her own project at the Network and bring in more viewers. It had taken her hours of research, surveys, and several interviews with the population to find out whether such a TV show would be something the viewers could benefit from but also get entertained by. To avoid looking unprofessional about her presentation given the setting, a folder with all the background details had been sitting on her desk for days.
After gathering all the courage within her, Zuba announced, “I need a favor.”
No response came from the man underneath her bed sheets.
“Not really a favor,” she added “more like an upgrade.”
Mr. Gihu opened his eyes in surprise and sat up straight on the edge of her bed unsure of what upgrade she was referring to as there were a few he could think of himself. Zuba walked over to her bureau where the folder was neatly placed and handed it to him.
“I want to produce my own show at the network. This is all the background research I have done. Our current viewers are 62.9% women and most of them are between 11 and 40 years old. My show will be about reconciling women in general but mainly mother-daughter relationships. There has been an increase in teen pregnancies and abortions this year. There is so much potential if given the chance. I want to start with a pilot episode and from then you can decide whether you want to keep it rolling or not.”
Mr. Gihu flipped through the pages before finally asking, “Have you checked with our finance and production departments if something like this is feasible?”
“Yes, but they wanted me to first run it by you before giving me a number or a definite answer”
There was a thorough documentation of the who, what, when, and where for the pilot project.
“You have my permission but before it goes on air, I would like to watch it in advance and we can probably start diffusing it in November. Our sponsors will be here in two months so if you can manage to get me a tape of the pilot episode early August, we could go somewhere with this.”
For a moment she stood in front of the man, thrilled about what she’d heard but anticipating the aftermath.
“What will you want in return?”, she asked.
He ignored her question and instead stood up to rest his arms on her lower back while planting soft kisses all over her. She pushed him away and managed to get as far from his warm embrace as she could. A few feet away from him was better than inches as she could focus on getting her thoughts together. Zuba did not want her feelings to cloud the fact that Gihu was a man after all and even though he had been nothing short of nice to her, she still had to be careful about her every move.
“No really,” she insisted, “I’m curious to know what you will ask in return.”
“Why do you always assume I am trying to blind side you? I am granting YOUR request.”
“But why?” she asked.
“Why not?” he replied with confusion written in bold over his face.
A moment of silence prevailed as Zuba watched the rain pouring on her garden. To think that such volume of water falling on an almost weightless plant was needed for growth was mind-blowing. Zuba liked to learn from nature whenever she could as it was the only stability she had known. It did not change nor take different forms but only reinvented itself throughout the year; at its core, nature was still that years later and for as long as she had been alive unlike everyone else in her life.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“What do you mean why am I here?”
“Why do you do this when you’ve got a wife and kids at home waiting on you?”
Mr. Gihu decided he needed to use the bathroom at this point hoping that when he got back, the normal Zuba would be there ready for round two. They both knew he was trying to not have this conversation but by the look on her face, she was not going to give up.
“We agreed from the beginning that my marriage was off topic and besides do you really want to know?” he said, “You must stop reliving your past and projecting the dysfunction onto me. I have enough on my plate already.”
“You better watch your mouth sir,” she snapped, “you are paying no bills here and I could care less about being fired!”
“See right there! No one is talking about firing you, but you must think of the worst-case scenario all the time. It’s a defense mechanism and you have to get that checked.”
Mr. Gihu had some years of therapy under his belt, but was in no position to act like a saint as he was fighting his own demons too. His presence in that room was testimony enough of his mental and physical state.
Irritated that he was in a vulnerable spot, he added then quickly regretted it, “I am not one of your exes, your family members or even your mother who abandoned you at God knows what age. As far as I am concerned, I am the only one here with you.”
“And what is that supposed to mean? That you deserve an award now?” she said as she lost her cool, “GET OUT NOW!”
He did not try to fight her as there was no way he would win this other than giving her the space he knew she needed. On the other hand, Zuba had to learn to share less during pillow talk but for now all that mattered was that she had a month to potentially turn her life around.
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* Chapter Two *