I was waiting for something that could change my life. I had difficulty breathing, it was like breathing when trying to push out very strong faeces. I hoped I prayed, I panicked then I decided to hope fiercely. When Dr Osahon walked in, I felt everything stop. I waited expectantly as she walked closer. She stopped in front of me and smiled. It was a lifeless smile, the kind full of intimidation, mockery, scorn. It told me enough.
“Miss Ani, please sit”.
I realised I’ve been standing.
“The mail you received was an error on my secretary’s part and I on behalf of the company take full responsibility”.
In spite of the obvious possibility that I would not get the job, I had dared to hope.
She continued in her loud authoritative voice. “Of course there is monetary compensation, we…..”
“You are paying me off?!” I was angry and I needed to hold on to that emotion because that was all I could feel. “Are you saying I’m not qualified? I met all your requirements. I got a mail from your company, to get the job. And you want to give me money and send me away because of a mistake you made! What if I had another job interview?”. I continued fuming. “I know I’m qualified, I stressed myself too much, way too much to be dismissed over your mistake”.
She smiled, the same lifeless smile and all I could think of was her funeral and being the cause of it. “Miss Ani, what I’m trying to say is this organization do not employ to compensate or correct a mistake. However, in acknowledgement of our error, we are giving you a little token for your time.” She placed an envelope beside me and walked out without another word.
Need won over pride, so I took the envelope she offered. I managed to leave the building in one piece. I walked to the bus stop feeling defeated and a little angry. I wanted to board a bus back home and I realised the price was hiked. I went to the conductor. “It’s #150, not #200, and that’s what I will pay”.
The conductor looked at me like I was crazy “Wetin concern me and grammar wey you dey blow? I no get change and fuel cost”
That was when I lost it, “No! No!! No!!! Don’t shout at me!”. Tears started coming down my face. “Do you know I don’t earn that #150 in a month?! And I try so hard. I’m trying my best, I’m giving it my all”. The conductor left, he has bigger problems than an employed potential customer.
I continued crying, and I decided not to go home yet, so I started walking aimlessly. My family would be too disappointed. Cheta and I talked like sisters over the weekend because she thought I had a job. The tears could not stop. I wanted a miracle. Actually, I needed a miracle.
I got home in the evening, a broken person. My mom was in the sitting room waiting for me. She was wearing a faded brown T-shirt and tied one of her wrappers. She was watching Tinsel and laughing. I determined not to take it away, she deserves happiness, laughter. I decided to pretend until I get a job, then I will explain. She would be happy and proud. She looked up, “Kamsi! welcome my dear, come and tell me about your first day”.
“Mommy, finish your show first.”
“Okay, there’s jollof rice is in the yellow food warmer and fish is in the microwave. You can take two. Inugo?”
She continued watching the show oblivious of what had happened. I got to the room and cried myself to sleep. I love jollof rice but it is not a job.