“Hello Ada.” Ify sounded excited over the phone. “How are you?” She gushed.
“I’m fine.” Ada replied wearily, setting her handbag on her desk she sank into her chair. She had just arrived her office when Ify’s call came in already that morning, she had put three hours into getting the twins prepared for school and dropping them off at school before driving to her office at her flagship store of Ada’s; her fashion retailing chain stores. “Wassup?” She could tell Ify was bubbling with information.
“I can’t guess Ify, it’s too early in the day.”
“Ok. I just heard from my source at GO, there’s a new Managing director!!!!!!”
“Ok……..” Ada said slowly, she was wondering where the conversation was headed.
“You won’t believe who it is.”
“Obviously.” Ada muttered dryly under her breathe. She was still very much uneasy with this newly restored friendship between Ify and herself. If Ify thought for a moment that they were back to being bffs, she had another think coming.
“Did you say something?” Ify asked.
“No, nothing, go on…”
“When I heard the name, it triggered my memory and I was quite surprised to confirm that it was one and the same person I knew. Can you imagine that?”
Ada sighed wearily, hoping sometime soon, Ify would get around to mentioning the name of ‘the person’.
“Ok, I can tell the suspense is killing. Its Ike Phillips, can you believe it.” Ify squealed.
Warning bells went off in Ada’s head. Ike? Ike Phillips? She made the connection! The Ike Phillips that had pursued her relentlessly back in the university? Small world really. Or was it? There was a nagging suspicion somewhere at the back of her mind. What was with all this reappearances from the past? It all seemed too ‘convenient’.
“Ada?” Ify called her attention to confirm she was still on the phone when the expected excitement hadn’t come forth.
“Oh, I’m here. Congratulations!” she responded on autopilot.
“It’s not me you should be congratulating, its Ike who has got the job.”
“You appear not to be yourself this morning, is all well?” Not waiting for a response, she went on. “Anyways, you’ll have the opportunity to thank him yourself, as I’ve called him and scheduled a lunch date for tomorrow morning.”
Ify sounded so pleased with herself, even a total stranger will be wary of such glee, Ada thought to herself. “I’m sorry, this week is off for me, I’m swamped.” Ada apologized. She was receiving a shipment this week, and everything had to be cataloged and sent out to her four showrooms in Lagos and one each in Abuja and Port-Harcourt.
“Oh stop it Ada, aren’t you the boss, you should be able to take time off work if you want it. You’ve got to eat lunch, so let’s do it together. Its just two hours max.” Ify attempted to cajole her.
“Yea, but part of being the boss is putting in extra effort. I’m receiving goods this week and cant afford to be out of the office.”
“Oh goody! You’re receiving stock this week, when can I come and shop?”
“Uhmm anytime.” Ada replied slowly. Now they were bffs and Ify wanted to shop at hers? The Showrooms had been open for Five years and Ify hadn’t ever been in any of them to her knowledge.
“Ok, I tell you what, after lunch tomorrow, you and I will return so I can shop.”.
“The goods are coming in tomorrow, can’t leave tomorrow.”
“Ok, the day after?” Ify persisted.
“The end of the week.” Ada conceded, resigned to the fact that Ify wasn’t going to let go till she had agreed.
“Goody!” Ify squealed.
Ada could mentally see Ify doing a victory dance. She rolled her eyes. Ify hadn’t changed, and she had best not forget it.
“Ok, so about that other thing; the shrink thingy, you didn’t get back to me?”
“Yeah about that; the feedback I got mostly was about all these self styled relationship/career coaches and offcourse the religious leaders. I’m not sure I’ll trust either of them, so I’m still working on the contact of professional counselors. I should have a few by the end of the week.”
“Ok, thanks. Uhmm Ada, I’ve wanted to say this for a while, and….. i’ve actually tried to avoid saying it. You know me; I’m not the bravest person there is, but, it needs to be said.” Ify paused and exhaled loudly. “I really am sorry about how I acted these years, believe me I never really hated you or was against you marrying big daddy, it’s just; my husband was against you, and I felt supporting him against you would prove my loyalty to him. I’m so very sorry, and have regretted everyday of it.”
Ada was disarmed and speechless at Ify’s apology. Ify never apologized. Rather than apologize, Ify would just go on and try to show her apology in actions more or less, rather than say the words. Ada didn’t know what to make of this new turn.
“Ada, you still there?” Ify asked after the silence stretched.
“Yeah.” She replied. Her voice creaky and clouded with emotions. Ifeoma had been her very best friend from childhood. They had met in secondary school, and had been more sisters than friends. Ify’s family had practically adopted Ada as a daughter and they had equally been amazed when Ify’s attitude changed towards Ada. At the time, everybody admitted it was a bit weird best friends becoming step mother and daughter-in-law, but it hadn’t warranted the much hatred and scorn Ify had exhibited. Ify had introduced her to her late husband and his family as her best-friend and sister during Ify’s marriage rites to Mark Okeke, and Ada had in-turn informed Ify from the first day the late George Okeke had contacted her and Ify had encouraged it. She had kept Ify updated about their relationship, and Ify had been the first person she had told when George asked her to marry him and Ify had rejoiced with her. Only for Ify’s attitude to change the next day and she had point blank declared that Ada couldn’t marry her father-in-law, and when Ada didn’t heed her warning, she became her biggest enemy. Second only to Mark in her hatred level. So, for Ify to apologize; after seven years…….. Ada desperately needed this apology to be sincere. She believed there was some truth to the allegation that Ify had been acting out a script orchestrated by her husband. Not giving herself the opportunity to pick it apart, she cleared her throat and said; “Its ok Ify, I forgive you.”