Jefferson, the ghost, taught Nolwazi a lot about housekeeping and life. He called her his protégée, and he was trying to heighten her status at the hotel. That was currently the cause of many fits of rage at the hotel. Jefferson was in a battle of wills with the managers, and Nolwazi laughed a bit nervously at that part. She and Dan both knew the managers, even though she knew them far better than Dan, who was a simple concierge. So, neither of them doubted who would win in such a battle.
There were other various details about Nolwazi and Jefferson’s relationship that Dan also knew, but none of them were of great importance. As for Dan himself, he had only had one instance of direct contact with the famed Ghost. It came the day after Nolwazi told him about her relationship with Jefferson, and it came in the form of a letter that was handed to him by the Night Auditor:
“My Dear Mr Matiwane,
“I have noted your attendance at my gala evenings many times before. Of course, all gala evenings that take place in my hotel are mine, if this turn of phrase causes you confusion. It makes me glad to see such a devoted employee as yourself. Now that you have reunited with Miss Sibiya and she has told me of your past friendship, I feared you had an ulterior motive aside from the enjoyment of the refreshments. Still, the company and presence of Miss Sibiya can be admitted as a valid motive for any number of actions, even actions far more ridiculous than attending a number of gala evenings.
“I would like, however, to make something clear to you:
“While my hotel is the stage for many a love affair, I would not like to see Miss Sibiya indulge in any such matters. She has forsaken the pleasures of the flesh for the glory of General Management. As for you, if you were to become Miss Sibiya’s friend and associate with her, I must insist that you hold yourself to a similar standard. If I were to hear, after this night, of your involvement in any sort of amorous arrangement with any woman, I would be very displeased. And, I’m afraid to say, when I am displeased with someone, things do not generally go well for them.
“I do hope, however, that you will not be turned off by these words, no matter how harsh they may seem to you right now. I have always been happy to see you at the front of my hotel. Perhaps now that we have corresponded once, there is a chance we may interact again. I hope so, as I believe we might have interesting conversations on literature and other matters.
“Yours most cordially,
“Well,” Dan had said to Nolwazi after reading the letter at the time. “He did not sign it A.G. Is that a good sign or a bad sign?”
“If you know that it’s Jefferson, then there’s no point in him signing it Aquamarine Ghost,” Nolwazi had pointed out, exasperated. “Honestly, I doubt any of it means anything. Just don’t take up with any of the staff or guests, then you’ll have his blessing, and we can spend as much time together as we please. I’m very happy about it. I thought he was going to tell you to go away.”
“Still, it’s presumptuous of him to act like he can tell me what to do,” Dan said. “And the hotel doesn’t belong to him, you know …”
“Yes, yes, it belongs to the board, not that it does much good with it!” Nolwazi said. “But really, Daniel, is there anything in the letter you object to?”
“The fact that he’s been watching me?” Dan responded. “I think that, as a start, it’s disturbing, not to mention his arbitrary restrictions if I …”
“What, did you plan on taking up with one of the waitresses? Or one of the managers? Don’t tell me you’ve become so sophisticated you want a mistress,” Nolwazi said, laughing a bit too loudly.
Before responding, Dan bit his lip. “You,” he thought but did not say. “I wanted to “take up” with you.”
It sounded so crude when Nolwazi put it that way. Dan had dreamed of so many things when he had seen her again after all that time. First, he had thought that she was a simple housekeeper in complicated suits. But, he had let himself become absorbed in the curves of her body – which were sinuous, hard and soft at the same time, and mesmerising.
Dan had also let Nolwazi’s voice hypnotise him, and he had thought so many stupid things about her. He had thought about asking her to marry him, about what it would mean to leave his family, and that it might be worth it. He had also thought about becoming a simple farmer somewhere in the Eastern Cape, and about bringing her flowers.
Well, he had done the last of those things. That, at least, the Ghost of Aquamarine could never take away from him.
Tell us: Do you think it is fair for Jefferson to interfere with Dan’s life even though he is a ghost?