One of us, who also happens to be my cousin, is in a bind and has decided to share with us. Let's call her Sope. Sope has worked for her company for over five years and has risen steadily in the rungs. She's always had a very good relationship with the boss, and meeting and surpassing her targets made her a favorite of his. He would extol her great virtues not just at the office but also at home.
Sope became close to his family and became a regular at most family functions. The boss's wife loved Sope and I remember a particular incident where Madam scolded Sope for carrying a knock off Versace bag. Sope bought that bag at that place in Manhattan where you get amahzing knock offs that were almost the real thing. Those ones that are even more authentic than the items people pass off as "original designer" in Lagos. Still knock-offs nonetheless. This particular knock off cost Sope hundreds of dollars and in her mind she was a big geh. Until madam scolded her for carrying a fake and then invited her to her home the next day. And while there madam handed Sope the orijo of that bag which she apparently had just bought. This bag costs several thousand dollars!
Well in truth, over the years madam had given Sope several designer items, travel tickets, bundles of cash, gold jewelry and other things. Madam clearly loved this star-staff who had gone above and beyond for her husband's company (which we've now learnt was actually built and is run on madam's money).
About two years ago Sope suddenly noticed that she was no longer getting invites from Oga and madam. Things were still very fine with oga so she didn't worry immediately. She then decided to call madam to say hi and madam's reaction was very cold. Sope noticed this same coldness the next few times she saw madam. A few months later she finally decided to ask oga if everything was ok and he assured her that all was well. Yet madam was getting colder by the day.
At one party, Sope ran into madam with her friends. Sope went to greet her and madam blatantly ignored her then turned to her friends and muttered "all these stupid lagos girls", to which all the women cackled loudly and Sope walked away with her shoulders hung low.
Coincidentally they all attend the same church and even at church madam's coldness wouldn't thaw. Madam had gone from responding to Sope coldly to not responding at all to sometimes making scathing comments aimed at publicly humiliating Sope.
Eventually Sope decided that since oga continued to say nothing was wrong it was best she had a talk with madam. She sent her a text asking if she had done anything wrong and then apologizing if she had. She sent several of these texts and madam responded to none.
Months later, Sope thought she should confront madam in person since all her texts had gone unanswered. She actually (as she said) went on her knees and apologized to madam for anything she might have done wrong and still begged for madam to tell her what exactly it was. (Sope is in her early 30s, madam is in her 50s). Madam listened to all her pleas and then called security to throw her out and asked them never to let her back on the premises.
Sope gave up, but not before her parents intervened. You see, when things were rosy madam and oga would send gifts, cash and food items to Sope's parents during festive periods, birthdays or just randomly. So the parents thought it would not be out of place for them to reach out to madam. Still, even that yielded no result.
Earlier on, when Sope first noticed madam's attitude, she felt that madam probably thought she was having an affair with oga, so Sope took her fiancé to meet and greet madam at her office. Sope also made sure he accompanied her for every social function madam might attend just so she could know that Sope and her husband were/are not having an affair.
It's been two years and madam makes its clear to everyone who cares to know, just how much she detests Sope. Everyone at the office knows this yet no one seems to no why. Even oga who Sope has asked almost 100 times never gives any answer. It's been Two years of madam shunning Sope's greetings and humiliating before her colleagues and even strangers, sometimes calling her derogatory names publicly.
And that was why at the office Christmas party last week Friday Sope steered clear of madam. She stayed in a corner and ensured that she and madam did not cross paths, thinking that's what madam wants. You'd think so too, right? Well, wrong.
Earlier today, oga called Sope's phone and rained down fire and brimstone. He said that his wife has never been this upset, saying Sope now thinks she's so big that she no longer greets her. He says Sope has obviously become to big for her breeches and his wife feels personally affronted. Sope tried to explain that she thought that that was what madam wanted, after all she had greeted her everytime for over two years and it only seemed to anger her. Oga shut her up and continued to scream into the phone, telling her that she was no good and after all that madam had done for her he couldn't believe she would show such disrespect.
Sope went home in tears. She is confused and depressed. This whole thing has affected her output at work but with this last phone call from her boss she's not even sure if she can still function properly in that environment. Jobs are hard to come by but Sope says she thinks she should quit. She's reluctant to because she has contributed immensely to the growth of the company (which is probably why she still has the job) and it's actually her dream job.
Sope has tried severally to get to the root of madam's sudden intense hatred but no one, not even madam or her husband has told Sope why. Sope is wondering if she should quit the job even though she has no other job to fall back on. She's wondering if in the alternative she should call madam and apologise for the recent event. She's wondering if she should remain at the office and continue to treat madam with docility and reverence or just take a walk... She's also wondering if it's only a matter of time before madam tells her husband to fire her and insists on it. In Sope's shoes what would you do?