I’m just glad we hire a bunch of maids in this place. The workload is too much. Her hands are deep in soap suds up to her elbows and she is scrubbing really hard at a pot: her goal is probably for it to shine.
“Florence?” I am at her back and she stiffens, then, turns towards my voice.
“I’m sorry about the other day. I didn’t mean to come across as rude”
I raise a hand up to halt her words. “You don’t need to lie. I know you were offended by my words or how I put it or maybe both. I just wanted to let you know that is not who I am. Okay?”
“Thanks. Is there anything to eat around here?” I ask. I’m not hungry but I don’t want it to seem I came all the way here for just her.
“I don’t know. I can ask the cook.”
“Naaa. I don’t want to be a bother. I will sort myself out.” I say and move to the mighty refrigerator which looks more like a safe in a bank. A really big safe for that matter with several buttons on it and digital display. Its color is metallic gray and it is continous with the walls of the kitchen. The buttons are for different panels in the refrigerator. When you place something somewhere, you input a code for it, so, that the next time you need it, you just need to request for it and the panel comes jutting out and you don’t have to dip your hand in it.
It may come out frozen.
I type in something and it opens. I grab a yoghurt and figs in a bowl. I dump them on the yoghurt and go sit down at the central island. I watch her again as she turns towards the dishes and she is really self- conscious and uncomfortable. I clear my throat and she works harder at her task.
“Hey, big brother!”
“Tolu” I acknowledge between bites.
She grabs a bite.
“Yuck, I’m hungry but ain’t nobody want none of that.”
She is twenty six but she is s the baby of the house. Florence steals a glance and quickly looks away.
“Hey, new person! Is there anything to eat around here?”
She turns to us and I say:
“Her name is Florence.”
She smiles in gratitude and something shifts in me.
Just a smile in gratitude?
“Oh, I see what is happening here.” Adetoluwani says and glances between us.
What is she seeing?
Her gaze settles on me as she asks in false stacatto
“How is Chinyere?”
“You’ve never called her Chinyere before. Whatever happened to Yere?”
“That’s besides the point”
“That’s Agnes’ daughter. Just have some common sense for once.” I say, grab my half empty bowl and walk out.