One evening early in November, three days after Barack Obama is elected president, Cindy asks Jende to come upstairs to the Edwardses’ apartment so that she can speak to him. He knows this is about the tie. He notices, too, that Cindy looks different, as if in pain. After asking after Neni and Liomi, Cindy pushes a notebook toward Jende and asks him to write down every place to which he drives Clark. She assures him that the notebook will be their secret. Jende hesitates, afraid of losing his job. She assures him that, if he tells her everything, she’ll make sure that he keeps his job. Though Jende tries to calm her fears, Cindy doesn’t believe him; she’s sure that there’s another woman. She encourages Jende to think about his new baby and how he’ll need his job. She then stands up and wishes him a good night.
The positive moment of “hope and change” that characterized Obama’s campaign and presidency is, for Jende, a signal of uncertainty. He worries that Cindy is asking him to compromise the terms of his confidentiality agreement, which could cause Clark to fire him and could even justify legal action against him. However, in encouraging Jende to think about the new baby that he has coming, Cindy threatens Jende with job loss if he doesn’t properly inform her of Clark’s whereabouts. She fears being usurped by someone younger, as she expressed earlier to Cheri.