September 17th | Cable Connections
“…if you know the extension of the person you wish to speak to, please dial it now.” Instructed the pre-recorded message on the other end. “Otherwise, press one to be connected to the swit…”
Esohe tapped the number one button, cutting off the recording mid-way. She barely heard the transition and the next thing, a cool, cultured voice sounded in her ears.
“B & I. Good morning. How may I help you?” It wanted to know.
“Good morning.” She greeted. “I’d like to speak to Mr. Williams, please.”
“Mr. Williams is out of the office until Thursday. “ The cool tones informed her. “Do you wish to speak to another partner?”
“No, thank you.”
With no luck getting through to him during the weekend, her to-do list this morning had only one item on it; find and talk to Eddie.
For the next few minutes, she debated with herself the wisdom in calling Seyi. What sort of message would she be passing on about his boss’ relationship? Was it even a good look for Eddie and herself?
But she was desperate; so she dialled his number before she convinced herself to ditch the idea.
This was going to be awkward; he’d certainly sense something was amiss. Right now she was past caring what he’d think; she needed to know where Eddie was.
“Good morning ma.” His response was prompt, answering before the first ring completed its cycle.
“Hi Seyi.” She kept her voice upbeat. “How are you?”
“Very well. Thank you, ma.”
“Mr. Williams, where is he?”
“He took a few personal days off. To attend to a family matter.” The younger man’s words surprising her.
“Oh, I see.” She spoke slowly. “I hope it’s not serious, this family matter.” In a feeble attempt to discover what it was.
“I’m not sure, ma. He didn’t go into specific details.”
“Does that mean he’s out of the country, then?”
“When was the last time you spoke to him?”
“How is he?”
She willed him to have the presence of mind to offer her Eddie’s number because she didn’t know how to go about asking for it without raising his eyebrows. She was already certain he was finding this conversation weird and didn’t want to put him in a more uncomfortable position. “Okay. Thanks.” Reluctantly, she broke the connection.
She didn’t hesitate to dial Ifeanyi’s number next.
“Esohe, can I call you back?” He asked her immediately he answered her call. “I’m in the middle of something.
“Where’s Eddie?” She asked in a rush.
“In the US. Something about his mum. Later.” He hung up.
What about his mum? She wondered. And how long had he been away? Around the time his communication with her waned? After their last encounter at the bar and grill? Over the weekend? What about his mum? Something as grave as to warrant a trip? Was she okay?
“Why didn’t you say anything about this before now? We talked on Saturday.”
“At what point was I supposed to have told you? When we were discussing next steps for Osayu? Or Folarin’s impending showdown?”
“You should have said something!” Esohe snapped, her frustration overwhelming her in that instant.
Ifeanyi hadn’t followed through on his promise to call her back in the morning. Neither had he answered or responded to any of her calls thereafter. She had waited all day, with nail-biting patience, to hear from him. He finally called her just before night fall.
She couldn’t believe Eddie was going through something so personal while dealing with her own issue. And he was all alone without her support, even if it was the knowledge that she was there with him in spirit, knowing that she cared and…her anger at Ifeanyi slowly dissipated, as the reason for Eddie’s annoyance at her dawned like a mist.
In the middle of something he’d predicted, she’d deprived him of the support expected from a loved one. To proverbially hold her hand through it all, even if it was just the knowledge that he was present – physically and psychologically – every step of the way.
On the other end of the line was silence; Ifeanyi uttered not a word. Whether due to her sudden outburst or something else, she was unsure. But for his light breathing, she knew he was still connected to her. The moment was instructive of her next words.
“I’m sorry, Ifeanyi.” She spoke in a now subdued tone. “I over reacted. I shouldn’t have spoken that way to you.”
He sighed. “I’ve had a long day. Can we talk about this some other time?”
“Wait, please.” She implored, sensing she didn’t have much time left with him.
“I don’t have the details, if that’s what you’re going to ask.” He broke in, a slight edge of impatience could be detected in his voice now. “And I have not discussed it with him either. I’ll check my email later to see if he has volunteered any information on her condition.”
“Okay. Thanks. See you on Wednesday.”