Home Writers Creative Essays In Small Madam’s Service by Oluwaseun Osanyinro

In Small Madam’s Service by Oluwaseun Osanyinro

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Katherine found it hard to understand what Small Madam, Toke was saying. She thought of what to say to make her repeat herself.

“Did you hear what I said?” Madam Toke repeated.

Nodding in affirmation, Kate replied “Yes, Ma.”

“Then what are you still doing here?” Madam Toke asked again.

This was getting frustrating for Kate and looking at the wall clock above the television, time was wasting too. To avoid being rude, she was stuck to Small Madam till she understood what she wanted.

“Are you deaf?” Madam Toke asked with a rise in her voice.

Kate decided to come out plain. “Yes, I no understand”

“Obviously. It is a surprise you are still in this house. I said your services are no longer required in this house”, Madam Toke said again and this time Kate gave up and shrugged.

“I do not like how you do things around here. You are too slow.”

If no one told Small Madam that she does not understand English, they probably felt she needed not to know. Praying she is not accused of being rude, Kate walked away leaving an angry and fuming Madam at the living room.

“Service kwa?” Kate muttered to herself. “What happened to service?” she continued asking herself as she walked out of the house.

 

“This your face dull o. Fine Kate of Orange Estate, smile small now”, Chidi teased and laughed at his longtime friend. They began working for the Fola’s for almost 5 years. Initially they had this usual Gateman and Maid disagreement but with time and he must confess, with Kate’s simplicity, they became family. Chidi’s laughter stopped when he noticed Kate was not laughing as usual.

“Wetin happen? How family?”

“Nothing”

“Talk now. Your face too hard”, Chidi complained. He encouraged her by taking a chair and setting it beside his as they usually did when having a serious conversation.

“Nothing happen. Na me no understand Madam Toke. She say something service”, Kate opened up.

“Which service?” Chidi probed. “Today na Friday”, he continued.

Kate just shrugged and looked at the house. Sincerely, ever since Madam Toke arrived a month ago, work had become stressful and less interesting to look forward to. Her only solace is the kitchen for now.

“Ehnnnn, no stress yourself. Ask Small Oga or better ask Mummy Fola way employ you. You know Madam Toke get wahala”, advised Chidi as he patted her back in reassurance.

Kate sometimes took things to heart even when they are not necessary. A thought popped in Chidi’s mind making him laugh out loud.

“You dey use me laugh abi?” asked a now smiling Kate.

She playfully slapped his thigh.

“Yes now. Remember how you and Small Madam get clash over soup?”

The thought propelled another round of laughter from both of them.

“How I wan take know say she mean make I throw am away? That soup still good na”, Kate said in defense.

With a childhood in Arizona including high school and University, Madam Toke’s accent and speech was quite difficult to understand for someone with little or no education such as Katherine. Chidi’s laughter could be heard as far as the back of the house.

“You sef. If you no understand, tell her make she talk am again”, he advised.

Kate shrugged and a mischievous part of her smiled at the latest development.

“She talk something service now and I no understand”

“Repeat am as she talk am. I understand English small.”

Their chitchat was however interrupted before Kate could answer him. It sounded like Mummy Fola was calling her.

As Kate arranged the ingredients for dinner, Madam Toke came into the kitchen. Her first thought was to leave the kitchen with some form of excuse, the second was to ask her to repeat her earlier statement and maybe confess that she could barely understand her but Kate went with the last thought that meant she kept mum and minded her business.

“You are still here. Who did you plead to?” Madam Toke accused.

“Yes Ma.”

Her answer stopped Madam Toke’s next line of words. It was like a dam of anger opened and yet whatever Kate had done to deserve this was not known to her.

“Wait, wait. Are you daft or something? Who hired you?”

“Yes Ma”, Kate answered again.

Anything to avoid her, even if it is to be answering positively.

“Mum!” Madam Toke shouted and left the kitchen.

Kate had noticed her discomfort when Madam came some months ago. There was nothing she did that pleased Toke.

“If we check am now, I senior am o. she just spoil”, Kate muttered to herself.

“What spoilt?’, someone asked making Kate drop the knife.

“Sir?” Kate replied turning to Dare, Madam Toke’s brother who likely had more courtesy and respect.

His silence gave her time to think of an excuse that would save the day.

“The soup of yesterday, Sir. I just dey pray make e no spoil. Madam Toke no like food way don spoil”, she said and breathed a silent sigh at his acceptance.

“Never mind that lazy girl. I think her stay out of the country has made her choosy”

“Okay Sir”, Kate replied at his long string of words which ‘lazy’ was one of the words she understood and agreed with totally.

Thank God Mummy Fola has helped her a bit. She was worse when she first arrived into this mansion. Small Oga, Dare smiled at her as he took his usual drink from the fridge.

“Well done”

“Thank you, Sir.”

Whatever he wanted to say was swallowed by Mummy Fola’s shout. Kate stopped cutting the vegetables and ran with Dare. She was praying as she took two stairs at a time.

“What do you think you are doing?” Mummy Fola demanded after shouting at Toke.

“Getting this filth out of this house.”

The slap she received stopped Dare and Toke on their tracks.

“I raised you well, act like it”, Mummy Fola said.

Dare came in between them before Toke did something stupid again.

“What happened, Mum?” Dare asked.

It was then Kate noticed her bags and some of her clothes out of her room. Apparently, she was the filth. Whatever that meant.

“Mum?”, Dare prompted her to reply. “I do not know what Katherine did to this ungrateful girl and right now I do not care. I employed her, I keep her”, Mummy Fola said and walked out.

Whatever was happening did not hurt Kate as much as seeing her personal belongings outside. She was furious and itched to slap some sense into Madam Toke.

“Wetin I do you?” Kate asked quietly. “You tell me about service and I agreed. Today na Friday, we no dey go service”, she continued.

“You wanted to go to church? Is that why you want her parking?” Dare barked at his sister. She was getting infuriating by the day.

“No. I said her services are no longer required”, Toke defended herself.

“What? Why? Wait. Do you know Kate barely understands English? She cannot understand half of what you just said”, an angry Dare asked.

“The more reason we do not need her”

“That means you have a replacement for us already?”

“Of course, no. Mum should just look for another”

“What exactly is her offence?” Kate did not wait to comprehend whatever they were saying. She had packed her clothes outside and walked into her room to pack the rest. She was leaving.

“Apologize to her, Toke. Apologize to Mum too. Everything was a misunderstanding”, Dare said to his younger sister.

Kate was already outside with her bags. She was going to thank Mummy Fola for everything but she would not stand her daughter anymore.

“Kate? Where are you going?”

“I dey go my house.”

“Wait. Toke?”, Dare prompted Toke. “I am so sorry, Kate”

“Thank you. I dey go my house.”

Kate continued carrying her bags down the stairs and outside the house. She met a confused Chidi but did not stay to explain. She went back to pack the last of them.

“I am so sorry, Kate”

“I am sorry, too”, both siblings chorused as Dare held a bag away from Kate.

“I no say I no sabi English but no be crime na. Mummy Fola no do me like this”, Kate lamented.

“She is truly sorry, Kate. In fact, Toke has decided to teach you English!”, a too happy Dare said.

Toke and Katherine both looked at him in shock, then looked at themselves.

“That is brilliant”, Mummy Fola said which made Toke groan. She never agreed to Dare’s spur-of-the-moment idea.

“Really? You fit teach me, Toke?”

“If you are willing to learn”, Toke dragged her answer.

“I go learn”, a too happy Kate replied immediately making everyone laugh.

Maybe Madam Toke was not bad after all. Kate smiled and ran to get her belongings outside. Thanks to ‘service’, she got herself an English tutor.

 

 

About the Writer

Oluwaseun Osanyinro

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