The sands tell
of the time
you walked by
the naked sun
and smug moon
one after the other
put the stars
in my eyes
as you held me spellbound
we will meet again
lover of my soul
in the journeys
of my spirit.
Eni was on her way to the studio to take the news in brief and met Lara who was obviously angry about something. Eni gave her a smile
“The fire brigade is not willing to come”? She asked Lara placing a gentle hand on the arm of her friend. She knew what the problem was and felt making a joke would lighten the dark clouds she could see on her friends’s face, Lara sighed and took another deep breath.
“It is Laotan right?” Eni asked
“Yes, it is that bastard”, Lara looked set to explode as she spat the words out..
“He knows he is one, why give yourself that much headache. You know why he is giving you a hard time.” Eni counseled softly giving her wristwatch a quick glance to see if she had enough minutes to spare. By the rules she ought to be in the studio thirty minutes before. But she was also on the shift as a sub editor. She shrugged, Lara was being giving the hard treatment by their director of news and everybody knew the routine. Eni brought her mind to the present.
Lara looked really upset though. They had become friends from the first day when they both resumed at the Television station. Lara was the outgoing type while Eni would only smile and rarely went out anywhere.
“Remember Lara, you said men were jerks , why allow one jerk to give you so much hassle? Would be a waste of my time don’t you think?” Eni said again as she took a step towards the studio.
“I guess you are right there.” Lara said sounding mollified.
“I am always right. Are you taking the seven o’clock? Have not being shown a roster” She enquired.
Lara shook her head negatively stating that was the reason she was angry. “Laotan has put me on the night news throughout this week. I was on the night news all of last week too”.
“Hmmm.. looks like he is determined to make you go out with him”.
“He has about as much sex attraction as a toad”. Lara snapped in disgust.
Eni smiled, “Don’t let him get under your skin. He does not see any reason for your refusal. Most of the jerks here see the women as their bush benefits. Didn’t you hear that”?
Lara considered that comment then gave a slow smile. “I might just do something interesting to teach him a lesson.”
Eni patted her arm “Just breathe my dear, wear him out with silence. Do the shifts and let’s see what he will do next week and then you can protest., have to go inside the vocal booth, Kehinde will be laying eggs now”
Lara replied slowly as if she was thinking aloud, “a man needs the equipment to function right Eni?”
“I think so” Eni said her hand on the door of the studio as she turned round slowly.
“Good, if the equipment malfunctions , it will have to be fixed right before he depends on it to harass females who have said no enough times for the deaf to hear”?
Eni laughed “Take it easy will you? If anything happens, Laotan will remember you as the culprit”.
Lara smiled sweetly “I have every intention of saying yes to Laotan, but I will be the last female he will do this to, I promise you, go take your news my friend and I will explain later”.
Eni watched Lara give a resolute shake of her head and walk into the newsroom.
Eni returned to the newsroom after reading the news and met Taiye waiting at the reception to see her. Taiye is the personal assistant to the controller of News but is also a friend of Eni from the day Eni came to the office of the controller and they chatted. But she had not come to chat, she looked very worried.
Eni watched Taiye twisting her bag as if she was strangling somebody. She also sensed Taiye’s nervousness. “There is no need to strangle the bag Taiye” Eni said quietly giving her friend a keen look.
Taiye gave er a blank stare, indicating she was puzzled.
“Who do you want to strangle”? Eni repeated indicating the bag
Taiye was close to tears and grabbed Eni’s hand pulling her out of the administrative building into the space between the newsroom and production.
“Dickson is not getting any better, I want to talk to the press and report the government” Taiye blurted in one breath.
“Hey hold on. Which press”?
Taiye wailed “The print media, That is the only option left, the government owns you fellows at this television house anyway, I need an independent newspaper to tell my story”.
“You think Dickson is going to like that”?
Taiye stamped her feet in frustration, as tears threatened to spill over, “Look Eni I want your help, let me correct that, I need your help. I want to take Dickson’s case to the public. He is not going to get better and we need to get to London. I am sure of getting a kidney donor for him when we get there. I can look after him, because I am not a stranger to Britain”
“Okay, but how do I come in?”
“I think you know that boy at the Guardian and you can help me with him. I want a feature done on my husband so people will help and maybe this government will read that newspaper”.
“Hey hold it, listen, I can’t promise that Wale will simply write a story on my say so, are you sure the government has refused to help? I thought you said they were looking into it.”
Taiye gave a sigh and started to cry quietly. Eni felt very bad seeing her friend collapse. Dickson her husband had a liver condition and had collapsed one day while at work. They had been quite a lot of problems looking for solution. When it became clear that they could not get dialysis treatment for him, she had gone with Taiye to Lagos and it was from there that the doctors explained that Dickson would have to be taken abroad for further treatment if he is to get better.
Taiye had returned to the state to write an appeal for medical support when the cost for the trip became something she could not bear on her own. The process of getting any grant from government was well known and Taiye had become impatient, more so when she learnt that others who appealed for medical support had received it. Eni and Taiye both knew the reasons why Taiye’s grant was taking such a long time. Taiye did not fancy the demands being made by a particular official. Appealing to the press was her way of getting the government to be shamed into action.
Eni was saddened by the government official’s antics, she had little patience with government and unlike a lot of her collegues kept away from functions that had to do with government. Taiye used to tease her that she was an activist and each time Taiye said that Eni would shrug and say, she needed to eat , so she had to work but she did not wish to be friends with the jokes that went by the name of politics and governance in her country.
Taiye nudged her back into the present with her next words “You have not gone brooding again have you? I want to talk to Wale.”
Eni sighed “Talking to Wale is no guarantee that the idiots in government will grant your request Taiye.”
“I know Eni but I have a desperate hope that somebody will read and say or do something. I must consider all options now. Dickson is all I have Eni, you know that”.
“Okay Taiye, let me call Wale and we go over to see him tomorrow”?
“Yes and Thank you Eni, I knew I could depend on you.”
“Famous last words, don’t come for my head if nothing happens okay”?
“Something would happen” was Taiye’s positive answer.
Eni returned to the newsroom to the ribald jokes and comments. Evening news was close and deadlines had to be met as Eni became absorbed in the easy camaraderie of the newsroom. Eni always loved the rough and ready style of the newsroom. Sub editors, staff writers, presenters and reporters tended to melt into one as the major news of the day got close, Eni was checking for strange names, trying to identify the tribe and locating which member knew how to pronounce that name right.. When she started out as a broadcaster, it had been a real problem getting right the names of even her tribe as she had grown up elsewhere.
Lara was cracking jokes with a reporter as they argued about how many minutes would be allocated on his story. Eni was reading through the stories and did not hear Sunny bellowing as he asked if she had the headlines ready.
“You have not picked the headline and what is Paul doing still typing that story in the last ten minutes it is only two pages for goodness sake” Sunny yelled at no one . Eni quietly went over and placed the typed headlines in front of Sunny.
Sunny read the headlines and gave Eni a grin “See? You are the best”
Eni simply replied “Shut up Sunny. You voice is giving me a headache”.
Sunny laughed but did not seem to take offence and then Laotan breezed in and everybody went quiet. Laotan was the head of news, and a pain in the neck for quite a number of reasons. Eni gave him a distant look and went back to reading her stories, Lara scowled and stood up. Sunny suddenly frowned at everybody. Laotan was ignored by all. He got the point but was either too dense to recognize it or simply didn’t care. He walked to Eni’s table and stood in front of her reading the stories aloud.
Eni gritted her teeth but said nothing. She counted slowly to herself.
Laotan announced to no one that he did not like the third story in the bulletin and demanded to know who had written it. Lara hid a smile as Eni calmly told Laotan that the third story was the story Laotan himself had sent in .
“You actually insisted that the story was to be taken in the news brief”.
Eni did not bother to give a further reply.
Laotan gave Lara an appraising look and asked her to come with him to the office. Lara smiled very sweetly at him and said she needed to go to the ladies room first to change her tampon , then walked out. Laotan stood embarrassed, but since nobody paid him any particular attention, he left..
A general sigh of relief went round the newroom as he left. Lara collapsed in laughter which was soon joined in by the other staff.
Eni got home tired and almost immediately went to bed. The nest day she took Taiye to meet with Wale.
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