I was in my office a while back when I heard a knock on the door. “Come in” I said. It was Clara my amiable protégé.
“Hello Clara, how’s your day going”? “What’s going on”? “I’m not so fine” she answered.
Clara is a young girl who’s had to move away from her family because of the ease of getting to work daily. She moved in with the Lawsons, a couple who who lived in the city centre, and a family whom her dad had been acquainted with for many years.
The Lawsons have two twin girls, Claire and Charisa who dote on Clara any time she gets home from work. she loves them too and sometimes looks forward to when she’d have hers.
“Why are you sad”? I asked Clara. “Hmmmm. Something just happened to me” she said handing her phone to me. Clara had gotten a ping from her guardian Mr. Lawson.
Mr Lawson is a tall, dark, and handsome man who’s been married for about seventeen years. He works in one of the blue chip companies in the city, and is often referred to as the ladies man.
Clara got a chat from Mr. Lawson that morning asking her about her day and requested that he got her breakfast. This was strange because they hardly talked in the house except for the usual pleasantries, and asking a few questions about her day. Clara replied him saying that she was okay and couldn’t leave the office at that time of the day.
He sent a picture of what looked like plantain chips and Rich Tea biscuits to her saying he had gotten them for her. Clara replied saying thank you but that she couldn’t get off work.
“Okay, I will take them home for you. How about picking them up from the back seat of the black car; I will leave the car open so that you can pick them up when you get home, and please ensure no one sees you when you take them out of the car” Mr. Lawson replied.
“This is ridiculous!!!” I chipped in “does he think you are cheap? Trying to lure you with biscuits and chips?” “This must be a joke”.
His next line was “please delete this chat when you are through”. I looked at Clara, and I said “this guy wants to have sex with you”
“I can’t eat them all Mr. Lawson” said Clara to him.
“Drop the “Mr.”, that’s old school. Please call me by my first name” said Mr Lawson. (Now, if you are African, I believe you sure know that names, titles and respect are a big deal). Also, it is common knowledge in this part of the world that when a man about the same age as your dad asks you to call him by name, he most likely has ulterior motives.
At this point, we were both embarrassed because we knew where the conversation was headed, and so my next question to Clara was “what do you wear around the house?
I asked this question because I didnt understand why a man living with his wife would be making advances to another girl in the same house, something must have triggered it.
“What did you have on when he saw you last night?” I asked. “My nightie” she replied. “But it was knee length.” I told her that the length didn’t matter. Mr. Lawson had seen a part of her he had never seen before, and this struck a chord in him.
Clara was shaken, and didnt know what to do because this was her dad’s friend stepping up to her; and this was the first real conversation they were having since she moved into their house.
I took the phone from her, and I typed something like this: “Uncle, I am actually surprised we are having this conversation and It is making me uncomfortable. I don’t like the fact that you want me to call you by your first name, and I wouldnt want to do anything I cannot talk to your wife about. I will take it that this was a mistake, and that we never had this conversation”.
Of course he replied and tried to turn it around, but he knew his plans had been foiled.
I looked at Clara, and told her three things she could do immediately. Trust had been bridged here, and thing could no longer remain as they were. So I told her the following :
1. Move out of the Lawson’s apartment. This sounded too abrupt, but Mr. Lawson no longer saw her as a daughter, but someone he could have an affair with; and if his wife found out, she was going to kick her out anyway.
2. Email the trail of their chat to her mailbox per adventure there was a scandal and she had to clear herself in the future.
3. Tell her mum everything.
Did clara do these things? Well, I know she sent the chat trail to her mailbox because I ensured she did that before leaving my office. As for the other two, Clara did as she pleased. Clara stayed back at the Lawsons’ while trying to manage the whole “issue” herself. She kept her distance and generally avoided him around the house.
She greeted him whenever she saw him, but there was still an air around them.
Pamela is Mrs. Lawson; a pretty, melancholic, and intelligent woman. Pamela has been having series of issues in her marriage. She hardly makes friends because over time, any lady she introduced as a her friend to Mr. Lawson had ended up in his bed. So to save herself from more pain and heart aches, she hardly made friends.
When Clara’ s dad asked for his daughter to move in with the Lawsons, Pamela’s concern and prayer had been for her husband not to try some pranks on the young girl; this was not because Clara was a threat, rather it was to save the prey from the hunter.
A few months down the line, Pamela noticed a change in her husband. She observed that he had started taking his phone with him everywhere he went within the house, and for her, that was a hint that her husband was up to something.
She tried to figure out what it was, and unknown to me, Clara had continued her chats and probably calls to Mr. Lawson.
So on this beautiful day, Mr. Lawson went into the rest room, and forgot to take his phone with him. Pamela saw it, went through the chats, and from then on had her eyes on her Clara and her husband.
Clara was in the sitting room with Pamela, and the twin girls; Claire and Charisa when her phone rang. She looked at the caller and it was Mr. Lawson. She froze and quickly cut the call, and deleted the caller from the call history.
Pamela sat across Clara as she made the girls’ hair. She had seen the look on Clara’s face when the call came through. While this was happening, Mr. Lawson walked to the sitting room, took the car keys, and left the house.
“Something is wrong” Clara thought to herself, and as this was going on in her mind, she got a text on her phone that said “meet me outside now!!!”. It was Mr. Lawson again. She responded by letting him know that his wife was there, and she couldn’t move from where she was.
As she replied his messages, she heard “he’s the one right?” She looked up and it was Pamela talking to her. “Ma?” Said Clara. “That was my husband that called you right?”. Clara froze on her seat. She didn’t know what to do.
Pamela stood up from where she was and walked towards Clara; and asking her the same question again; “Was that my husband that called you!!!? Tell me the truth”. “Yes” said Clara shaking.
This went on to be a heated argument full of confrontations, and at a point, Pamela turned to Clara and said “You have to leave this house”.
Clara wept. She wept at the fact that the trouble she was in now could have been avoided if she had followed the advice I gave her when it all began. She did not have any affair with Mr. Lawson, but who would believe that? How many people was she going to prove that to?
Clara came to me the next morning and told me all that had happened. It was painful. because the mess she was in now could have been avoided.
The first thing I said to her was “I hope you still have the trail of the chats you both had?” “Yes” she said. I wanted her to have something she could show to her parents.
Clara left the Lawsons’ residence the next day with her box in her hand. It was a shameful and painful exit.
She went back to her family and all issues were resolved amicably.
Why am I sharing this true story with you? As young ladies we are often faced with seemingly difficult situations which require that we compromise on our values and stance on certain issues. When we think of what we would lose, we usually want to figure out how we can eat our cakes and still have them.
The right decision for Clara to have made would have been to move out of the Lawsons’ residence, but because of the ease of getting to work, she stayed back.
Ladies, stay off grey areas. Let your stand on any issue be clearly defined. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Let go of anything that puts you in a compromising position. You may not have the time and opportunity to explain to the world.
Stay off married men, guardians, bosses, uncles, and family friends who cannot draw the line where their relationship with you is concerned. If your dealings with them cannot be discussed with the people you are accountable to without lying, then please stay off the relationship.
Lastly, if you need someone to talk to, I am just a click away.
Disclaimer: This story was written with the permission of Clara (name changed). All names and characters have been changed to protect the privacy of others. Any resemblance to actual events or persons living or dead; is entirely coincidental.