Priscilla jumps out of bed as she quickly silences her alarm and rushes to get ready for work. She is a midlevel manager in the bank and is recognised as a “high performer”. She takes pride in her excellent performance and is constantly raising the bar for performance expectations.

The home front however portends a different scenario. The cracks are visible in her relationship with Obaro. They have been married five years and have tried albeit unsuccessfully, to have kids. As she prepares a quick breakfast, Obaro yells from the room “I don’t need your breakfast…all you ever think about is work, work, work. Why don’t you get married to your work”!

Priscilla fights back the tears, clenches her teeth and heads for the office while playing back the spate of verbal assaults and exchanges at home in recent times. She gets into the car and Ahmadu (her driver) informs her of his intention to swing by the corner and have the vulcaniser inflate one of the tyres, en- route the office. She barks at him – “when will you ever think straight? Must you wait for me to get into the car before fixing the tyre? You are just stupid”! Ahmadu glances through the rear-view mirror at his madam and decides it is best to rein in any further explanations. He stops to inflate the tyre and they ride to the office in deafening silence. He dare not put on the radio or music because he has observed her foul mood.

As she strides into her office, her Personal Assistant (PA) Azuka, utters a cheerful “Good morning ma”. Rather than respond, Priscilla fixes her a steely look and rasps out “See me in my office immediately”.

Azuka allows her to settle at her desk then she takes a deep breath and prepares herself for one of the inexplicable eruptions that have characterised their relationship in recent times. As Azuka enters Priscilla’s office and shuts the door behind her, Priscilla stares at her fixedly and points at the grey “Chanel” jacket Azuka has on. She speaks menacingly “Don’t ever wear that jacket to work again if you intend to keep your job here”. Immediately, Azuka removes the “offending “article and returns to her seat fighting back the tears. Today is her birthday and the jacket is a birthday gift from her fiancé. She lapses into thought…These days madam is always angry and no one seems to understand why. She cannot concentrate on her work and decides to unburden herself to her friend Tobi, the Personal Assistant to Madam Nadia. As she relates the recent scene to Tobi in tears. Tobi consoles her and ends with the words “…don’t mind the old hag. No wonder she doesn’t have kids”. Unknown to them, Nadia had overheard the entire conversation and decided to broach the matter with Priscilla over lunch.

As they seat to have lunch, Nadia addresses Priscilla. “Hi, Prisca. You are looking sharp as usual and I want to commend your presentation at today’s Management forum. It was brilliant!  However, I think you need to relax a little, you seem tense and stressed”.

Priscilla responds “Nadia my sister, indeed I am stressed. Obaro is making my life miserable these days which makes me take solace in my work. It is as if he hates my advancement at work and not having children only makes it worse – as if it is my fault. We have both done tests and there appears to be no scientific barrier to my conception. Am I God”?

Nadia reassures her and gently inquires whether her PA added to her stress as she learns that Prisca ordered her to remove her jacket.

Prisca replies “Nadia, that girl has guts!  Imagine her wearing the very same kind of “Chanel” jacket I bought. Where did she get the money”.

Nadia quickly cuts in “But Prisca, anyone could have given her the jacket and she may be from a privileged background. Your reaction was mean and unwarranted”.

Prisca takes a deep breath, pauses, and introspects – “I guess you are right; I’ve been so uptight of late. My life is a mess”.

Nadia gently counsels “You must slow down and breathe. You must strive for a work-life balance. Maybe you should spend more time with Obaro in relaxation. I am sure it will help heal the fissures. Once you are happier at home, you will no longer display transferred aggression. Besides, stress and tension affect fertility so you must reduce your stress and anger levels. Deep down Prisca, you are a nice person but you have allowed your situation to get to you and have treated work and more work as the panacea. That cannot help”.

Prisca breaks down and agrees “You’ve nailed it, Nadia. You know, I’ve always envied your peace and tranquility. You are a silent achiever who does everything with grace”. She then promises to make out more time for Obaro and gently woo him back.




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