Day twenty two…6:15am
“You and this your life sef. You go just dey wakabout everywhere pursuing job wey no dey find you”…
Just shut up…shut up… I had become worn out from his constant pestering. Tolu. There was no day he did not force into my ears the theory of how Nigeria is not a place to find job, how bad the economy is, how companies prefer machines to human beings, how companies are closing down… And then, after the long epistles, he’d say in a little sorry way…those words I wished desperately were not part of my identity
” And you know you’re ex…” Then he’d stop abruptly, not wanting to add salt to injury. Wasn’t that what he had already done?
I don’t have time for Tolu now…I mutter under my breadth, as I carry the bucket of water I had fetched yesterday. Tolu has actually been nice…allowing me to stay in his makeshift under bridge plank and zinc home. The space was only enough to contain two mats…as in two very small mats…like those that could only happily contain ten -year olds; and our buckets. Regardless of the cool weather, the house was always stuffy, not because there was just no breeze…but because this bridge didn’t belong to us alone. Many similar cubicle- homes also existed…killing the breeze and suffocating the air.
“Anyway sha…good luck”
I don’t pay attention to his remark this time, as I head for the little shack outside that is the community bathroom.
*** *** *** *** *** *** ***
“Hello. Mr Donatus Okocha…right?” the lady sitting across the table says. A charming lady with the cutest smile. But her beauty is certainly nowhere in my mind now. I must get this job.
“Your CV is quite impressive. Can you introduce yourself?”
I do that smartly.
“Wow…you do sound like a natural marketer. First class, Entrepreneurial and Business studies… National Open University… Hmmm” She says as she scrolls through my CV, as if searching for something wrong with it.
“You’ve been convicted once”
My heart skips a thousand beats and my head aches hard and I feel dizzy and she stares keenly at me.
I didn’t tell her! How did she know?
“Of course after the written test we did a background check of those who performed impressively. In fact you were the best performing.
“But you know it’s a really bad history. An accomplice in a robbery case…”
“Ma…please give me this chance. I know I did wrong …but that was ten years ago. I’ve paid for my crime and I’m now a better person. It was in prison that I got the degree, because I wanted a better life for myself. I was even commended for my good behavior in prison by the warden, that’s why I was pardoned earlier this year. Please ma… I don’t want to go back to that life…”
I see her pitiful eyes.
“Listen,… Our company sells products with the personal-selling strategy. It demands a great deal of trust worthiness…”
I sink. There… No job. Just cut the long story short
“I really wish you could get the job… But my hands are tied. I’m also an employee…and they could sack me for that. Yet the reason I still called you up for the oral interview is because I believe in you.”
” Yes. So I have a proposal for you…”
To be continued…