“I am done. I can’t do this anymore.”
Kem blurted out, clutching his head between his palms, his anguished expression partially visible to Tam.
“My guy! what’s the problem?”
“Backup, what about her? Are you not trying to work things out with Sammie?”
“Arrghhhh!! yes that was…is still my plan but…”
Kem had met up with Tam . He wanted Tam’s opinion on some t-shirt mockups for Kanyi’s youth camp group taking place in a few months.
Tam which was short for Tambari placed his glass down on the wooden slab table, wiping off the droplets from his sweating glass with a napkin.
“What are you talking about Kemelayefa?”
Kem slowly raised his head.
What? Tam asked astonished by how quickly Kem switched from the bewildering facial expression to a relaxed countenance.
“Oh its nothing!”
Tam sounded like his father, the way he pronounced his full name. Kem short for Kemelayefa which means nothing is greater than a human being, was named after his Ijaw maternal grandfather.
Tam continued ” I thought that the business with Rio ended when you made the decision to work things out with Sammie?”
Kem was quiet. Tambari knew his friend all too well, so his non responsiveness was even more disquieting.
Three Years Earlier, the birth of a friendship.
Tambari and Kem met through a mutual friend, Kanyi, who was hosting an end of year get together for the young men’s youth group and invited them to join the group for dinner.
What happened that evening at the dinner spoke to Tam in a special way. Tam went to church with his parents as a child and even did so whenever he visited his grandparents in Asaba. However, in college, he gradually drifted away, with his interest split between his studies and an active social life.
Following college, he worked as a computer engineer and later earned a master’s in business administration with a focus in Technology infrastructure management. All seemed to be working out and the job came with good pay and bonus structure. Although volunteering time at the men’s shelter one Saturday a month was something he looked forward to, in the more recent months, he picked up on an ineffable gnawing.
On the day of the dinner he had left the shelter earlier than usual. Tam was amazed at how the young men beamed with a certain joy and passion about their personal relationship with their heavenly Father and how receiving the greatest gift, the death of His only son Jesus Christ on the cross for their sins was the most humbling as well as the biggest self-esteem booster for them.
Kanyi invited Kemelayefa and Tambari to service the next day. Tambari showed and two months later joined On this Rock Church. He was getting to know more of the men in the church since he joined the Men’s Bible study.
Few months later
It was a balmy Tuesday afternoon, Tam was putting finishing touches to his new corporate client presentation the next day. It had been a few weeks since the dinner with the youth group. The shrill ring jarred him from his thoughts and for a quick second he peeled his eyes away from the bright computer screen to the phone display. “Unavailable number”.
He decided to let the caller leave a message but on the third ring he answered the call. “Hello good afternoon, this is Isabela Oti calling from IDC, can I please speak with Mr Tambari Amacree?”
“I am calling to see if you are still interested in the Program Director position because we would like to bring you on board”
It took Tam a few minutes to gather himself as he flashed back to a conversation he had with his sister the night before his interview. She told him about a story a colleague had shared about how an otherwise qualified candidate missed out on the job based on the middle aged interviewer’s extrapolations; the interviewee’s chipped polished nails suggested she would be a sloppy performer.
“Hello…hello…Sir are you there?”
He quickly snapped back to the present call. Tam could sense a smile creeping up on him as he recalled his sister’s advice to make sure he got a “mani.”
“Pardon me…you were saying? when should I expect the formal offer?”
Only two days on the job, he had barely made it onto the elevator to the 7th floor. It was 8.45am. The first stop was the 4th floor . Even though the elevator was crowded, he caught a profile of one of the gentlemen that got on. The gentleman was about his height sporting a grey checkered shirt and a marine blue tie; sharp and clean, he thought to himself.
As he turned to walk to his office, Tambari felt a slight tap on his shoulder and turned around “Hey there, I thought it was you, how are you doing?”
“Yes it is.”
“I thought that was a familiar face. What are you doing here?
“I should be asking you the same question. Kem crossed over to make way for a group of ladies heading towards him so he was standing adjacent to Tambari.
I work here”. They both burst out in laughter as they answered almost in unison.
Tam quickly peering at his watch continued “My guy, I have a meeting in a few minutes how about we catch up later on today over lunch or coffee say around 12.30pm?
“Sounds like a good idea. We can meet up in the lobby” Tam took his stretched out hand
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