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Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Husband and his London Mistress (3)

Two weeks later, he found me a position at his place of work. It was a part-time job which would require my working three days a week for half a day. 

 Henry explained that it would give me time to take care of the home unlike a full-time job that would take up too much of my time. I was quite happy with the offer and the following week, I resumed work.

 The care home, not too far from our home in South East London was in a two story building with a large, expansive garden that looked neat and well cared for.

 I was given my duties which involved taking care of the elderly residents assigned to me. Shelly, an experienced co-worker, helped to oversee my work. 

 She was a few years older than I and had been working at the centre since it opened.

 "I was one of the first staff employed here. So, there's nothing I've not seen here," she disclosed as she took me round the facility.

 Maybe because of their age, some of the residents were quite demanding, and could be petulant too, always requesting for one thing or the other. 

 Working in that centre opened my eyes to a certain aspect of the society: the way they treated their old people. 

 Some of the residents, who had relatives hardly saw them. Some would visit once a month or so while others only at festive periods especially at Christmas. Many had no relations at all. I found it strange coming from a culture where children, grandchildren and other relatives were the main caregivers for the elderly ones in the family.

 "It's strange. And sad too to see such old people with no children or relatives to look after them," I told Shelly one day about three months after I started work. 

 It was around noon and we were in the small room where some of the staff used to relax in between their duties. 

 Shelly and I were having drinks and some snacks. Apart from a colleague of ours, we were alone in the room.

 "That's the way it is in this country. Once you get old, you end up in a place like this. That's why I don't want to grow old here. I want to return to Nigeria before I get to that stage of life," she stated, taking a sip of her tea. 

 "Things aren't easy back home, you know," I pointed out.

 "I know. But here's no paradise either contrary to what people believe back in Nigeria. Things are tough here too especially since the recession. Okay, the infrastructure is fine and things work but you have to pay for everything. 

 You pay so much tax and so many bills, at the end of the day it's like one is just working to pay bills," she grumbled. 

 It was a common complaint among the people I had met so far. Henry too was always grumbling about the bills that kept coming regularly.

 "These people won't kill me with all these bills o!" he had said a few days earlier when I had shown him a new stack of letters that been quietly slipped in through the slit in the front door.

 The centre was managed by a lady named Milly. She was slim-built and fair-complexioned. She was born to a Nigerian father and a British mother so she was what we call a 'half-caste' back home. 

 Henry introduced me to her the first day I resumed work and she received me in a very cool manner. 

 That day, I thought it was probably because of pressure of work that accounted for her attitude. But her manner towards me did not improve at subsequent interactions. In fact, I had the feeling that she positively disliked me and I wondered why as I didn't know her before.

  "It's like Ms Milly doesn't like me," I said to Shelly.
 She glanced at me quickly. "Why do you say that?" she asked.

  I shrugged.

  "It's just a feeling I have. She barely responds to my greetings. And there was even a day she actually hissed when I greeted her at the reception. Is that the way she behaves or is it just me?" I asked.

 "She's not normally like that. In fact, she's actually quite nice to the staff and residents though she could be strict too," she noted. 

 Then seeing the confused look on my face, she added:

 "Look, don't let it bother you. As long as you are doing your work well, there won't be any problem. It's just that..." she began then stopped.
I looked curiously at her.
  "What?" I queried, taking a big bite of my chocolate cake.

 Before speaking, she glanced round the room. The other woman had left and we were alone.
  Turning to me, she said quietly:

 "Look, I know it's none of my business but I've grown to like you as a sister and I think you should know what's been going on."

 "What are you talking about? What is it?" I asked curiously.

 "You see, it's like this," she said, then drawing close to me, she began to tell me a tale that left me so confused, I could not move from my seat for a long time. It involved my husband, my boss Milly and what happened between them when he newly arrived the country...

What did Shelly tell Abby about her husband? Don't miss the juicy details tomorrow!

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