“So, I was wondering, how old are...
“So, I was wondering, how old are you by the way, Jane?” Magnus asked. It was their weekly office meeting on Monday morning. “I can’t tell you that,” Jane retorted. “Okay. How about you, Mariam? Are you forty years of age yet?” “Do I look forty to you, Magnus?” She snapped at him before he could even finish the question. “I am guessing you are around forty then, Mrs. Rufus?” She smiled and said, “I am afraid not. I am still south of forty years, Mr. Magnus.” “You can’t be asking ladies their age, you know?” Said Chioma. “By the way, what are you intending to do with that information?” She added. “Well, I have a friend who works for a non-profit organization in Europe and his organisation has non-refundable grants for women in excess of $5,000 person. You have to be at least forty years of age though, and with at least a child to qualify for the grant,” Magnus explained.
“Abeg (Please), I am well over forty,” Chioma said immediately. “I thought you were still in your lower thirties?” Magnus countered. “No, I am well over forty years, please. Don’t demote my age,” Chioma insisted. “You should have said that all along. I did not get your question very well, you know. I turned forty so many years ago,” Mrs. Rufus said emphatically. “Me too, I am well over forty,” said Jane. “But I am not sure you are forty yet, Chioma,” Jane continued. “Where you there when my mother gave birth to me?” Chioma snapped at her. “I am over forty please.” “I know for sure that I am the oldest here,” Jane, said. “I was born in May of 1971,” she added. “Look at you…liar. You must have been born around 1990. How come you only left university three years ago?” Chioma queried her. “Don’t they have adult education where you come from?” She shot back at Chioma.
“My daughters,” said the older looking Mrs. Rufus. “How many of you saw the civil war? How many of you saw the White Man leave in 1960. I saw all that with my very own eyes. I am old enough to be your mother…all of you.” “You were old enough to witness all that?” Mariam asked her. “Of course. I was in my teens then.” “Really? Are you sure you took mathematics in school back then because you should be retired already if you were in your teens in the 1960s.” “Shut up, Mariam!!! Who needs your mathematics when there is $5,000 on the line? $5,000 converts to about 1.5 million Naira on the street right now. That is the only arithmetic that really matters Mariam!!!” Mrs. Rufus explained with a degree of urgency and frustration in her voice. “With that kind of money, I could be hundred years of age, and it’s none of your business. Next time, please let me calculate my age by myself…you no see dollar calculate, na my age you dey solve quadratic equation for (you could not convert the dollar to Naira equivalence, and you were busy solving quadratic equation over my age!!!)” She added with a frown on her face.
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