He ought to have known better than to rely on her. He figured himself to be a pretty good judge of character, and there was no reason for him to have been caught out by her actions. He studied the knives he had laid out in a row in front of him, as he wondered which one to use this time.
The rendezvous had been one he had been looking forward to, he had scheduled his day specifically so he could spend enough time in her company, catching up and sampling her wares, and he was upset that she had been a no-show.
The other women had whispered together, giving him bold, knowing stares as he had paced back and forth along the road, hoping to catch a glimpse of her rushing towards him. They had tried to maintain their composure, pretending to be unaffected by his presence, until one of them had broken rank by shouting out to him to get his attention. Furious jostling had ensued, a thigh flashing here, a heaving bosom there as each had tried to get him to turn their way, to spend his money on them, but he had ignored them all. Silifa knew what he liked, and how he wanted it, and he wasn’t about to start afresh with someone else. Besides, he trusted her, they went back a long way.
Fortunately, he was resourceful, and have been able to draw on his hidden reserves to get him through. He muttered to himself as he wielded the knife he had chosen. It was hot, and sweat ran down his forehead as he attended to the execution of his set tasks. His work was sometimes messy, and was definitely not for the squeamish. Blood, bones, entrails. Nothing fazed him in his quest for perfection.
The shrill ring of the timer alerted him to the fact that his work was done. Silifa had failed to show up with a fresh supply of dried red king prawns as she had promised. He had had to make do with smoked catfish fillets and ground crayfish, but the smell that filled the kitchen assured him that he had produced yet another culinary masterpiece. He lifted the lid and stared down at the simmering pot of efo elegusi studded with an assortment of meat. The contents of the pot seemed to wink back at him in return, and then a smile broke out across his face.
The driver of the weekly bus into town from his village was notoriously unreliable. Silifa had sent him a text saying she had had to walk to the next village to sell her produce, and that everyone at home was fine. There was always next week, he would meet up with his sister then.
And for now, he was content to be the cook. His employers were fair, and his stomach was never empty. Life was good.
Thanks for stopping by .