Aaron seemed as surprised as I was when we were asked after our third one-hour exhaustive lecture to pick up our first assignment from the church secretary. It was sealed in an official envelope and addressed to “Mr. Aaron Ezekiel and fiancée.”
I teased Aaron after we got into his jeep. “That could be anyone, the fiancée, I mean.”
He smiled. “I’m dying to know what it is.”
I was too. I tore the envelope open, and read a simple statement right in the middle of plain white paper.
“Decide on what you regard as a substantial amount of money. Spend it together, and in your own words, describe the experience. Submit your assignment separately.” I burst into laughter. “What? What kind of assignment is this?”
“This is interesting.” Aaron gasped. “Spend together?”
“I don’t think it’s a tough one. We can do it right now.”
Aaron stole a glance at me. “Are you joking? This is a very technical question.” He laughed. “I’ve never spent money “together” with anyone.”
I chuckled. “Well, your time starts now.”
We decided to enter my house to do the assignment. Though we saw each other every week day because he picked me from work, we rarely spent time together. I thought the assignment would not take time, and I could join Salome shortly. Besides, since we didn’t want to be alone for long periods, it seemed alright. My sister was next door in her salon, anyway.
However, as soon as I stepped into my house, I felt a strong urge to hug Aaron. The atmosphere changed, and my heart thudded. Thankfully, he walked to the TV stand and looked at the framed pictures of Salome and me. There were several.
And my moment of need passed.
Usually on Sundays, we bought food from a fast-food restaurant and ate in my sister’s shop. Sometimes Aaron stayed a bit, sometimes not.
“So, how much are we spending together?” His voice had a hint of ridicule. “A million?”
“A million? Come on.” I dropped into the couch. “I’d say a hundred thousand.”
He turned to look at me. “What are we buying with a hundred thousand? How much is your salary?”
“One sixty-five after taxes.”
He chuckled. “No wonder.”
“And how much is your salary?”
“I’m a partner. We share profits.”
I arched my eyebrow. “Huh huh.”
“Last share I got was twenty million. At the end of the quarter last month.”
“You are one very rich man, Mr. Ezekiel.”
He walked to me, and my toes began to tingle. Let him not touch me, dear God. I thought I had to see a doctor. This couldn’t be normal.
He sat on the carpet at my feet, and mumbled. “Let’s do this assignment so I can leave.”
I didn’t need to ask why or tease him. We both needed a physician.
I took a deep breath. “How much?”
He tickled my toes, and I lost my voice. Whatever he said now, or I suggested would be agreed on. This atmosphere was not conducive for planning.
He closed his eyes. “With two fifty, we can’t do anything significant.”
“That’s too much money for housekeeping.”
He laughed. “Yeah right.”
“Not enough for honeymoon.”
“I’d say, two fifty. We spend on food, and consumables. Fuel, recharge card, and small recurrent stuff, tips etc.”
He jumped to his feet. “Great.”
My eyes followed his movement to the door. “Are you leaving?”
“Yes.” He drew a shuddering breath. “I’ll get some food, drop it with Salome and,” he walked back to me, gave me a peck on my forehead. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He strode back to the door. “I love you.”
He was gone before my quaking response left my lips.
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