I didn’t wait for Anthony’s approval before i dropped the two bottles of beer on the table and pushed the metal opener towards Jacob with a smile, a ladies smile.
“Thanks” He said and opened the first bottle of beer.
Just like the night i landed my first customer on the street, i had just made my first sale as a sales girl.
Ayo and Tricia who were standing behind the counter, wondering why i was still standing in front of them with the beer bottles, suddenly smiled as i turned and walked towards them.
Jacob had just told me that he needed a glass cup and i was walking back to get two for them.
Lilian was sitting in the store as well, doing nothing in particular. I guessed she didn’t want to interfere with what i was doing, for the fear of incuring my wrath. I had managed to put some fear in her and that would make her give me my due respect.
“Do you have meat?” I heard from the hall.
A single look at Ayo told her that she was going to deal with that one.
The truth was that we had no meat.
We were to start preparing meat when Madam wanted.
“No Sir” Ayo shouted from behind the counter as she walked out to the hall.
I could see Anthony’s eyes all over her.
It seemed he was clever enough to notice that Jacob had silently won the war of who i liked.
“What’s your name?” He asked Ayo as she stood in front of them.
“Jessica” She said.
What? I didn’t know she could tell lies too.
Tricia heard the same lie too and looked at me with a smile. #Girls thing.
“Are you also Madam Philo’s girl?” he asked.
Ayo nodded at the same time Madam Philo walked into the restaurant.
“How are you Tony” Madam Said while still closing the glass door.
“I can see you are having fun with my girls” She laughed.
WTF. She wasn’t angry at anybody. She actually wanted things that way. It was good for business. I was learning the ropes fast.
Madam Ignored them and walked up to the store and handed her handbag to me without saying a word.
Wow! She was till handing her empire over to me one after the other.
“Welcome Aunty” I heard Lilian and Tricia said.
Tony was still asking Ayo some questions and i felt that Ayo was in panic. She didn’t know whether to leave them and return to us or to stand there. She didn’t know which one of the options that would annoy Madam Philo and we didn’t know ourselves.
It was that awkward moment when two bad options were presented to you.
“Give Tony and his friend one more bottle each on me” Madam said.
I opened the fridge and grabbed two more bottles. I had managed to put some Heineken bottles inside the fridge when i returned from serving them.
Madam had walked to their table and as soon as she sat down, Ayo returned to us.
Madam had also asked me to bring her a bottle of Red wine from one sealed carton. It seemed that it was time to start drinking again. The near death experience seemed to have passed away and i only hoped that she didn’t take all that love she gave me back.
Human beings were known to Change their minds regularly and Aunty Philo was never going to be an exception.
“Is this your friend?” I heard Madam asked Tony as i dropped the bottle of Wine in front of her.
“Yes, he is Jacob from Enugu State. He is new in town” Tony said excitedly as if being old in town gave him all the powers in the world.
“Oh, That’s nice. Welcome to Castel Jacob” Aunty said.
Looking at Jacob, one could tell that he was truly new in town. His hair was still styled as the Nigerian high punk; the kind i used to see on the heads of young men who newly discovered weed.
His skin was nowhere near nourished and it was obvious that not only was he new in town, he must have also suffered back in Nigeria before fate saw it fit to change his fortunes; at least people didn’t suffer that much in Italy back then.
His Shirt was written ‘IOU’ in front of it, the same type that was all over the place in Nigeria.
The position he was sitting didn’t give me enough space to find out the kind of shoes and trousers he wore but i was sure they must have matched the same shirt and skin on him.
Jacob was fair in complexion, with the kind of build you see on sports men.
“Get me the wine opener baby girl” Madam said as soon as i was about to walk back to the store.
“Yes Aunty” I said and walked majestically back to the store.
She had just called me baby girl, which in its own, was another feather on my cap.
I guessed she was trying to let the guys know that i was the favourite girl. Whatever she wanted to achieve from that was her business but somehow, i believed i was losing my security consciousness.
I was raised to believe that good things didn’t come that easy but like it was when we newly arrived in Italy, there was not much i could do. I only had to trust in God and hoped that everything turned out good for me.
The night was gradually coming down on us.
A little bit over an hour after Madam Philo came, the shop started booming.
The first batch of four guys and one Edo girl showed up and occupied a bigger table. They greeted Aunty Philo before settling down.
As soon as i saw them, i nudged Tricia to go and find out what they wanted but as she stood up to go, i decided to follow her.
I didn’t want to be acting as if i had come there alone.
But the truth was that i was excited, not just for the new love i was receiving from Madam but for the fact that Lilian had started to feel subdued.
Somehow, amidst all that drama, i knew that power was something that was bound to shift someday. And that whenever it shifted to you, you must not use it to maltreat others.
Lilian had treated me badly when she was the Madam’s favourite and i was paying her back.
What i never thought about properly was the possibility of the power shifting from me to someone else or even back to Lilian.
Yea, it was a possibility i never thought about but to underline how silly some of us Africans had become, we tended not to see beyond our immediate future and that was one of our biggest dooms.