After Ify left, Ada and Ike chatted like old friends that they weren’t. Ada discovered he was easy to talk to after she persuaded him to put away all thoughts and formality that might come with their positions at GO.
Looking back, she wondered why they hadn’t been friends back in school(probably because back then she had the belief that guys were evil and would just get her pregnant and abandon her, that was the popular belief of what happened to her mother and how she came to be abandoned at an orphanage), Ike sounded like he had a good head on his shoulder; they had talked for an hour after lunch and had to leave when they noticed the other patrons and the restaurant staff give them weird looks for every time they laughed out loud. Lol. She half expected to make headlines the next day. Then she remembered Ify was the one who instigated those media scandals in the past.
Ada couldn’t help laughing out loud as she drove home after lunch that day. In those days; Ify made a celebrity out of her. She couldn’t make a move without it making the gossip headlines, and she wondered if that was how boring people’s lives were that reading about ordinary her made their day. But they was some truth to the ‘any publicity being good’ maxim. When Ada opened her retail clothing shops, she hadn’t needed to spend extra on publicity since the media was already interested in her, she had gotten free publicity and had cashed in. today, her business was successful and she wasn’t prepared to split hairs on if it was due to proper business practices and having good stock or if it was due to the fame that came with being Mrs George Okoro.
She made a mental note to call Ify as soon as she got home, to find out how the ill child was faring. That was true; Ify didn’t mention which of her children was ill or the nature of the illness. She shrugged, Ify was probably in a hurry, she would get the details from her later. Stopping in front of her gate, she horned and waited for the gate man to open the gate. Her children were playing outside with their friends; the neighbors kids. All of them on sighting her car ran towards her in joy, ignoring the warnings of the maid who had been watching them. She shook her head fondly as she braked and put off the engine right in the driveway, ‘these children don’t know cars kill, the innocence of childhood’ she thought to herself. She got out of the car and they swarmed her in welcome, the driver would park the car properly later, while she settled the children.
Ike was ushered to a table at the country club and assured that the Senator would be with him soon, the waiter offered him a drink and he declined, choosing to wait for Mark. Ike looked around him; scattered across the lounge was a number of the nation’s movers and shakers. This was really the big boys play ground. He noted with relief that he was appropriately dressed, as most of the people present were similarly dressed in tee-shirts and chinos or jeans. When Mark had called the day before and asked that he join him for drinks at the club this morning, he had been surprised and curious. In the three months since he had been running GO, he and Mark had corresponded mostly via email and through his secretary. The business was flourishing under his management and the feedback he’d received was that the board and shareholders were pleased with him. Really he shouldn’t be nervous, but he was. He couldn’t think of a reason for this meeting.
Mark suddenly appeared before him (it felt that way because he had been lost in thought), and Ike was startled out of his reverie. He stood to his feet and extended his hand for a handshake.
“Good day Senator.”
Mark took the offered handshake, shaking and thumping his back warmly.
“Stop this senator nonsense, call me Mark.”
“Right, Mark. How are you doing, sir.”
They both laughed and Mark sat indicating that Ike do same.
“I’m doing very well. Just minor aches from the game of tennis I just played.” Mark joked.
They laughed again.
“Ah, but you are very fit, you don’t look like you’re new to working out.” Ike complemented him, in truth Mark looked good, not an extra ounce of fat visible through the tee and shorts he wore. He looked like a movie star.
“When do I have the time in Abuja? It’s the stress of the work that’s keeping me fit, and good genes. All you guys see is the allowances, you guys don’t see the work that comes with politics.” A waiter arrived to take their orders, they both ordered wine and he left to process their orders.
“As I was saying, what was I saying?”
“You were telling me the stress involved in politics.”
“Yea, its quite stressful.” The waiter returned with a bottle in an ice bucket of wine and glasses. “I haven’t ever asked you your opinion about politics, especially the Nigerian polity.”
Ike sipped his drink and thought of a suitable response. “Politics in Nigeria is a work in progress that needs lots of work done on it.” He answered.
Mark laughed. “That was a response worthy of a seasoned politician. You see I agree with you, it does need lots of work and no one is going to do this work if we don’t get involved.”
“True.” Ike agreed.
“You should get involved; everyone should get involved, in one way or the other.”
“Politics in Nigeria needs a fresh injection of blood. Young blood to drive the future.”
“You’re sure you agree or you are just going along with me?”
“I agree really. I’m not involved in active politics, but I’ll support any young person who wants to make a change.”
“Hmmm. Interesting. So I can count on your support when I run for Governor’s office in the next election?”