“Now listen carefully, Amara. You have used up your life line in this news agency because this is not the first time you have dropped an assignment I gave you to run off,” Mr. Nwabudu Peterson bellowed in her face, making her jerk back.
“I’m so sorry sir. I’m not running away from the job. I told you in the email I sent you that I had some family issues I really needed to attend to”
“Well then it is time you decide which one is more important to you. Your job here at the News agency or your family! If you’re already tired of being an investigative field reporter, then I would have to let you go so you can have enough time with them. There are tons of reporters out there who would anything to get this assignment.”
Amarachi Bradley sank back in the ergonomic chair opposite her boss; her gaze went to the wall- sized portrait of the Nigerian President at the rear wall of the huge office, a million thoughts flashing her mind. She had gone through hell to get this job and had sworn to keep it for a long time because she is the breadwinner of her family and has been paying all the bills ever since her father passed away two years ago.
Now she has just been informed that her mother who had been hospitalized for months had barely seventy-two hours to live and at most four days if she doesn’t undergo surgery.
She was down with a chronic cardiovascular illness known as the coronary artery disease, a type of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis meant that her arteries are hardening and narrowing by the moment and if the angioplasty surgery doesn’t work out, the arteries could be blocked, the flow of blood would become practically impossible and that would mean death. She brushed the thought off her memory. If not for any other thing but for the fact that save for her sister, she was the only family her mum had. She really had to be by her side during her last days.
“I want this assignment sir. I know how big this story is and I’ve gone through hell to get this job and honestly I want this job. But my mother has been in the hospital for a long time and I’ve just been informed that she had barely seventy-two hours to live and at most four days if she doesn’t survive the surgery. She is down with a chronic cardiovascular illness known as the coronary artery disease, a type of atherosclerosis. I can get you a doctor’s analysis from the hospital. Please sir, don’t do this to me,” she stands up and put her hands together in a pleading stance.
Her boss, Nwabudu Peterson, was the last person she wanted to be in bad terms with, so she had to choose her words carefully. Though Pete had an irritatingly bad temper, he had carved a niche for himself in the world of investigative journalism with his vast experience in numerous major news networks all over the world. It didn’t come as a surprise when he was appointed head of the international correspondence arm of the Cable News Television.
“I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Tell me, are you the one performing the surgery?”
“So what’s the fuss all about?”
“It’s just that I need to be by her side during her last days, if she doesn’t survive the operation”
“Don’t you have any other family member that could do that? What about Cindy?”
“Yeah, that’s my younger sister but she’s in Medical school,”
The heavy-set man leans back on his swivel chair and folds his hands in front of his protruding belly.
“I’ll advise you to call your sister. This is ridiculous, how can I just give you such an important assignment on a platter of gold, one minute you accepted and the next you come running back, demanding a leave. You can’t just go about disrupting the way things are run here!”
She needed to clear her head; the cost of the operation that might save her mother from heart failure at least for some time is exorbitant and she doesn’t even have the complete money yet. She had tried everything; worked overtime, sourced for a bank loan and even opened a GoFundMe on her mom’s behalf but things were not going as she expected.
“I’m so sorry, sir. But I really need this job, I don’t want to call it quits yet,” her smartphone starts ringing, the caller ID showed DEREK with a love emoji but she ignores it. She was about to talk when Peterson holds up his hand.
“This meeting is over; if you’re not in the Vatican City to cover the pre-Easter and Easter celebrations and get me the exclusive interview with the Pope which we had strived so much to obtain for this news network, then I’ll be left with no choice than to fire you. Do you understand?”
He presses a button on the mahogany desk behind a plaque that had his full name and ‘Chief of International correspondence Cable News Television’ inscribed on it and the glass door of his office slid open.
Amarachi heaved a sigh, picks up the files on the desk and exits
“How did it go?” Dave asks as soon as she came to sit in her workspace across from him.
“Please I don’t want to talk about it, David” Amara said and slumps down on her swivel chair.
Her phone rings again, the caller ID shows Cindy, she answers it.
“Hello, Cindy. You are at the hospital? Have you seen mom? How’s she doing? Yeah, give her the phone.
Hello mom, just hang in there ok. I’ll figure something out, trust me. I’ll try to come over as soon as I can mom. What did you say?” the call terminates because of poor network.
“Shit! Fucking network providers,” she stands up and raised the phone above her head trying to get reception. She then tries to call her back but instead a female operator said the line wasn’t reachable.
“How is it possible that someone I just spoke to is not reachable? Oh my God, this is driving me crazy.”
“Girl, that’s frustration right there,”
“Mind your business amebo,” she shot back at Dave.
“Anyways, Derek called your desk,”
“And you picked it?”
“Mmm-m,” he shrugs, “He said I should inform you that he would be making a flight stop in Italy before heading for the United States for the exhibition and if you don’t mind joining him, he has a spare ticket for you. He’s such a sweetheart,”
“At least that would save some flight costs,” Amara muttered under her breath.
“I should have known. Thick-skinned and tough Amarachi finally taking up the international contract,” Dave teased.
“Just shut the fuck up!” everyone turns to look at her and she sinks back in her chair.