In everything we do our choices matter. They play a major role in determining who we are and what we can or cannot do. When placed in a tight corner do you break down or break away?
‘Hey babe. This one you came back late, seems you were really busy.’ Kosi said as he opened the door for Eva.
He stopped for a moment, taking in her puffy eyes and sad look.
‘What’s wrong?’ He asked cupping her cheeks and turning her face to look at his but she continued to avert his gaze.
‘Did something happen at work?’
‘No.’ She answered, pushing his hands away. ‘It’s just… the stress of this case I’m working on.’ She began, closing the door and walking into the house. ‘You remember that shipping case?’ Without waiting for him to answer, she carried on. ‘You would think that two huge ships with all their hi-tech systems would be able to avoid a collision but nooo not this one. I mean, what’s the point of a navigation system if you don’t use it…’
Kosi just stared after her as she kept walking and talking.
‘… and the Captain! Don’t even get me started on him.’
‘What happened to him?’
‘Exactly! I don’t know cause he can’t be reached! I’m beginning to think he’s purposefully avoiding having a conversation with me.’
She was quiet as she entered their bedroom to change and emerged few minutes later wearing a T-shirt and bare feet. Her hands were busy pushing massive amounts of hair into a hairnet.
‘I could say the same about you.’ Kosi stated, his arms crossed. He was leaning against the couch.
‘What do you mean?’
‘You’ve been going on and on about this case, all the while avoiding having an actual conversation with me about what’s troubling you?’
Eva stopped moving for the first time she entered the house, looked Kosi dead in the eye and answered, ‘I’m fine.’
‘Then why are your eyes puffy?’
‘I’ve been combing through contract agreements of about 300 pages each, looking for the slightest mistake to hang my case on. I’m surprised they aren’t swollen!’
Kosi said nothing more as he watched her head into the kitchen to take her dinner.
‘Sir, please, I want to be removed from this case.’
Mr. Adetonye who was jotting down some points from his laptop stopped to look at Eva.
‘And why should I do that?’
‘I… I am not in the right frame of mind to give this case the attention it deserves.’
Mr. Adetonye took off his glasses.
‘You’ve gone mad?’
Eva laughed despite her nervousness. The one thing she had always appreciated about her boss was his sense of humour.
Mr. Adetonye was a tall and lanky man. Grey hairs were scattered all over his head betraying his 60 plus years which in turn, hid his fit body. Despite being a SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), a Masters degree holder in Criminology, Maritime and International Law and a PHD holder in Cyber law, he was a very humble and understanding man. Who truly cared for the lawyers employed by him. Today, Eva decided to lean on that understanding side of him.
‘No. No I haven’t Sir. At least not yet.’ She joked.
‘Good. Finding a qualified Maritime lawyer these days is difficult.’ He smiled. ‘So do you mind telling me what the problem is or am I to guess like some mind reader?’
The worry lines across his forehead made him look older as he stared at her.
‘Why are you still standing? Have a seat.’ He demanded.
Eva immediately did as she was told.
‘Well? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you I’m a busy man. Out with it.’ He added when Eva remained quiet.
‘My uh… husband and I are trying to get pregnant and you know… the stress and all could uhmm… prevent that, so Uhm… I was hoping…’
Mr. Adetonye shook his head.
‘You’re not speaking like a lawyer in court. You’re talking like a mouse begging for its life from a cat just before it’s eaten. Make your request again but this time, confidently.’
Clearing her throat and taking a deep breath, Eva made her request once more. This time, confidently.
‘Excellent! Now you’re speaking like a lawyer.’
Eva beamed, pleased with herself.
‘Excuse me Sir?’
‘You’re excused.’ He said putting on his glasses once more and resuming his work.
‘I don’t understand.’
‘Request denied. I decline acquiesce your request.’ He answered laughing. ‘That last part was from Pirates of the Caribbean. Really fun movie.’ He added smiling at a memory. Eva just looked at him, unable to utter a word.
Then he bent down once more to continue his work.
‘I would like a report on that case by the end of the day. Am I clear?’
‘Yes sir.’ Eva answered dejectedly.
‘Good. Oh wait, one more thing…’ he said looking up, stopping her just as she grabbed the door handle.
Eva plastered on a tight smile as she said, ‘thank you.’ Before leaving his office.
‘I’m worried about Eva.’
‘Seems like that has been your major problem recently. Worrying.’ Hope answered.
She was seating on his office table facing him while he leaned back in his chair, arms folded, looking up.
‘I have to be worried when things aren’t going well, especially with my wife. She has been a bit distant these past two weeks.’
‘Maybe she’s busy with work. You know how tasking the whole lawyer thing can be.’ Hope said, kicking her legs. ‘Remember you mentioned she’s handling one water case like that.’
‘Waste of time.’ Hope answered rolling her eyes. ‘But you get my point.’
‘Yeah, I do and she has said the same thing but…’
‘Then why so worried? Come on! Lighten up! You’re no fun worried.’
‘I know right.’ Kosi laughed, relaxing a bit.
‘Tell me something though, what changed? You both seemed so happy. We all envied your marriage but lately, you’ve been coming to the office sad and unhappy.’
Hope jumped down from his desk and came closer to Kosi. Her right hand on his left cheek as she bent to talk to him.
‘You know you can talk to me. I care about you.’
‘I do. And believe me I appreciate your presence in my life…’
He replied placing his hand gently on hers. ‘… but there are certain affairs that should not be spoken outside the walls of marriage.’
Hope shifted away from him and headed straight to the door.
‘I’m sorry for bothering you.’ She said before leaving his office.
Kosi watched her go and sighed.
‘One problem at a time. I hope you’ll come to understand much later.’ He mumbled to himself before pouring his frustration at the work on his table.