The Prime Minister of Tawa – 54
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Mash got Sulawa’s voice message only when he left Urushambo’s plantation and started the drive towards their getaway house. It was surprising that he hadn’t heard the phone ring. It wasn’t as if he and Urushambo were making a lot of noise, or they had loud music playing.
‘I’m sorry I cannot come home today. A colleague of mine is in hospital. I have promised to go and spend the night with her. I am taking Zaman with me.’
Mash was furious on hearing the message. It was one thing to say she could not meet him on account of her son Zaman and quite another to ditch him in favour of a friend. And he was already some distance towards their getaway house. If only she had called him a few times, he would have got her message before he left Urushambo’s plantation at Hakksadhra.
‘Drive back. We are going home. My home,’ he told his driver. His security guard looked a bit surprised. Mash sat back in his seat and fumed. This was not the way to do things. He hated changes to his schedule or plans. His security guard was busy telling someone in the police control room that the Prime Minister was now going towards a different destination and would be spending the night at home.
He ought to call up Sulawa and tell her that this wasn’t done. It just wasn’t done. He fished his mobile out of his kiree – he had started wearing his kiree and sarong everywhere, even when he went to meet Urushambo, since it was a lot more comfortable – and dialled Sulawa. She did not answer. Mash put the mobile back into his pocket. Five minutes later, he became angry once more at the thought of having been ditched. He took out his mobile once more and dialled Sulawa. This time she answered.
‘Did you get my message?’ she asked him calmly.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘I was worried that you would not get it. This thing came up all of a sudden, and ...’
‘If you were worried that I would not get your message, then maybe you should have tried calling me once more. How many times did you call me? I saw only one missed call!’
‘I called you once and you did not answer.’
‘Is that good enough? Maybe it is for you. I do wish you would get your priorities right.’
Sulawa was silent. That infuriated Mash even more. Why couldn’t Sulawa behave like any other Tawan woman? Why couldn’t she apologise profusely even if she did not mean it? ‘You ought to choose between me and your friend. If you want to spend the night with your friend, then maybe we should break up!’
‘If that’s the way you feel, then let’s break up,’ Sulawa calmly replied. It wasn’t what Mash expected.
‘So, we’re breaking up?’
‘Isn’t that what you want?’
‘I never said that. I only said that I should always have priority over your friends. Is that asking for too much?’
‘Actually, it is. I cannot promise you that you will always have priority over my friends.’
Mash had no option but to say, ‘in that case, let’s break up.’
The air inside the car was stifling, even though it was cooled by the air conditioner. ‘Switch off the AC,’ Mash told his driver and rolled down the window. When the fresh air hit him, he started to feel much better. He looked at his watch. It was a quarter to eight. With luck he would be able to join Judy and Heather for dinner.
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