One of the things I love and hate about my job is that it allows me access to other people’s private lives. Not that I would have chosen this career path seven years ago, when I graduated from university. But after job hunting fruitlessly in the pharmaceutical sector for so long, I took up the offer to help an aunt with looking after her children for a short while. Two years later, I’m a full-time professional nanny.
I started working for the Odu family six months ago. I was meant to look after the baby while the wife started making plans to return to work. It didn’t take long to figure out that their marriage was a sham. Within three weeks, Mr Odu had called me privately and asked me to spy on his wife. He suspected that she was cheating on him. I was to eavesdrop on her phone conversations, monitor her movements, keep a note of her visitors and report back to him.
Today, he came back from work earlier than usual. I could hear them arguing upstairs, with accusations flying back and forth. I heard a door slam and Mr Odu came barging down the stairs.
“Where was my wife today?” he asked me.
“She was at home all day sir.”
“Are you sure? Did she have any visitors? Did you leave the house for any minute?”
“We both left the house briefly, to go and buy something from the pharmacy sir. That’s all.”
He looked unconvinced, but he let the matter go.
I looked at him expectantly.
“Oh, right…” he muttered. He brought out some notes from his pocket and counted five of them. “Here, for your trouble.”
“Thank you sir. I’ve fed Junior and he’s asleep. I’ll be leaving now. See you tomorrow.”
I put the money in the left pocket of my jeans, and left the compound.
On my way to the bus stop, I smiled to myself and patted my right pocket.
If only he knew madam was paying me double.
Tolulope Popoola is a Nigerian novelist. Her debut novel, titled 'Nothing Comes Close' is available on amazon. Ms. Popoola blogs at On Writing and Life.