The Zedek Diaries. Part 1, Episode 1Sep 062017
It was the weirdest feeling ever.
I sat in my boss’ office. He had been a mentor for the better part of 3 years as he showed me the ropes and taught me some the deepest secrets of the trade. Then last month, he introduced me to everyone that mattered. We were in meetings all day, every day for one month. And one day, he didn’t show up. No one had seen him. Then I got a call from management. I had a new position. The business was mine. 100%. I was the CEO of one of the fastest growing blue-chip companies in Africa.
I was only 24.
I looked, almost weirdly, into the eyes of the doorman as he let me into the lavish restaurant. He must have wondered what was wrong with me.Those days, I didn’t care. I just looked deep into a person’s eyes to see if he was the one; to see if he was my missing boss. I could see the story in the doorman’s eyes. It was a story of survival and determination. I respected him but that was not what I was looking for.
I walked in as the cool air from the air conditioner hit me. I could detect the scent of lavender in the air. I took in a deep breath. La Menu was noted for its expansive halls. You never knew who you would run into or who would see you. The ambience and the food just brought in more people. Parking was almost perfect too. Good parking in Lagos is a miracle.
My six-inch heels hurt. Still I stood. It was lunch time and the restaurant was abuzz with people walking hurriedly to their meals. I could pick out which colleagues were actually on a date, which family was trying to eat out and those people who came together just because they had to. I could tell the wide-eyed start-ups trying to sell an idea to angel investors. That was when I saw him.
He was all by himself as he ate slowly. My heart began to race as I practically ran towards him.
“Sir,” I blurted as I tapped him on the shoulder, my heart still thumping furiously.
“Well, hi!” The man raised his head to look at me.
My disappointment was flagrant.
“Sorry, I thought you were someone else.” I managed to apologize as I turned to look around.
“Baby, I can be whoever you want me to be.” He smiled, revealing a fine set of teeth. That was when I noticed the earring, and the neck chain. “So, what can I do you for?” He stretched his hand for a handshake.
I must have looked at him like he was something from a nightmare. The horror! His demeanor quickly changed and he went about his business.
The cheek of it!
Just then I saw a waiter wave at me. That was when I saw her. Her silver hair neatly packed in a pony tail. A beautiful smile lit up her aging face. She looked gorgeous in her white dress. A hundred thoughts filled my mind as I hurried towards her. She rose from her seat to receive me but I was already on my knees before she could hug me.
“Ekasan ma.” I greeted still awe struck.
“Get up my child.” She stretched her arms and grabbed me in bear hug.
“You must be Yemisi.” Her voice was sweet.
I did not notice that my hands were shaking, my eyes were teary and my lips quivered. She was the remaining link to one of the most important people I had ever met in my lifetime. My boss and mentor who took me in as his own child and raised me like one of his own. He taught me, corrected me and finally bequeathed so much to me. I knew him as Mr Shonibare until last night. Last night I got a strange text message from his number. He asked me to come to La Menu. He asked me to meet the lady in white. He said she would tell me everything I needed to know. He signed off with a name I had never heard before.
He called himself Zedek.