The hand grabbed my index finger tightly this time, ‘it better not be any of these scoundrels who try to abuse women in public buses, he would be the dumping ground for my accumulated anger and vexation, I got no single chill left in me’. I thought as I turned to see whose hand it was.
It was the hand of the baby whose mother sat beside me, I had been engrossed in my situation that I didn’t even remember a baby was seated close to me.
I glanced at her, forced a smile and looked straight again, how can I transfer my aggression to an innocent child who was only playing on her own. How does the present situation concern her, babies and their pure hearts, she giggled as she tightly held my index finger and swayed it back and forth, I didn’t pay attention, I was not in the mood, it’s already 10a.m and we are still stuck in the traffic hold up, the interview would have started.
While I was thinking in my head what I will tell the HR or whoever is going to attend to us there in case I was asked why I came late, the little girl grabbed the handle of my handbag and began to pull it towards herself, she was pulling it hard, I took the bag from her and readjusted its position, then she grabbed my hand again and moved it up and down.
I looked at her and she smiled at me, she is indeed beautiful, full hair, smooth innocent face, dimpled cheeks and a bright white eyes, the number of teeth in her mouth shouldn’t be more than four, she is very chubby and pretty.
The innocence and realness of her smile made me smile back, she raised both hands and leaned towards me like she wanted me to carry her, I ignored her at first but she persisted.
With a warm smile, I carried her and placed her on my laps , she kept on smiling as she pulled my braids and bounced on my lap.
I felt special and wished my daughter had come too, I imagined how beautiful she would be and how happier I would be as a mother.
‘Such a cutie, what’s her name?’ I asked her mother, ‘Favour’ she replied with a smile.
‘Wow, a beautiful name for a beautiful baby, you are doing a great job ma’am, thank you for taking good care of her’ I added with a smile.
Favour never stopped smiling and playing with everything on my body, my earrings, necklace, wrist band and many times, she dragged my phone with me.
It was the conductor’s voice that made me realise we were already out of the traffic jam and I was close to my bus stop, Favour completely distracted me such that I forgot my frustration and all.
I gave her back to her mother and bade them goodbye with a smile as I alighted from the bus.
It was 11a.m already.
Lagos life can be crazy at times, I left my house around 6:30 a.m and spent close to 5 hours on the road.
My mind kept wandering as I find my way to Damian Multinational Company.
After about 5 minutes walk, I was already at their reception, I walked up to the receptionist and greeted her with a smile.
‘Good morning, my name is Flora, I am here for the aptitude test’
‘Good morning Flora, you are welcome, please take your seat over there, the aptitude test is slated for 1p.m, you came so early’ she replied as she directed me to the conference room .
‘1p.m? I thought it was 10a.m, perhaps some batches have done theirs’ I replied with a surprised look.
‘Didn’t you get our mail two days ago?, the aptitude test has been rescheduled for 1 p.m’ she responded
‘Oh really? I didn’t get the mail, I had even thought I was already late’
‘No you are not ma’ she said as she smiled back to a file she was treating before I came in.
I went to the conference room , sighed in relief and sat comfortably very close to the air conditioner, at least let the sweat and all dry up.
I wasn’t late after all. I checked my smartwatch, it was just 11:38 a.m.
In no time, other applicants too would join me and I won’t be alone.
It was 12:05, I was almost dozing when the secretary rushed in to call me, ‘the Chairman just sent for you’ she told me as she led me to the chairman’s office.
I was confused and didn’t even know what to ask, where are others, why is he sending for only me?, I thought the chairman’s interview is supposed to be the final stage of the whole process, I thought within myself as I swiftly followed her.
We got to the Chairman’s office and she left.
‘Good afternoon sir’ I genuflected as I greeted the middle aged man, ‘good afternoon, please take a seat’
‘I heard you are the only applicant around, I will be travelling for a conference in South Africa later today and might not be back until next month, I don’t want any delay in the process and I equally want to know those that would be employed before they are employed. Can I have your credentials please?’ He asked hurriedly.
‘Here sir’ , as I handed them to him.
Oh, ok good, you are not as experienced as I wanted but we will train you. I am satisfied with what I am seeing, you studied Psychology, before I could correct him that it is Physiology not Psychology, he stood up, went to a shelve, brought out a file and wrote something down.
When would you like to start?
Sir? erm, Monday sir, I stuttered as I could not believe what just happened.
Ok, good, the HR will show you your office, can you drive?
Not very well sir, Ok, a driver will be attached to you.
He would detail you on everything you need know about the mode of operation here.
Congratulations ! he stretched out his hand and shook me as he stood up and carried his briefcase. I have a meeting by 1p.m.
I walked out of the office dumbfounded, trying to wrap my head around what just happened.
I was still lost in thoughts when the secretary called my name, ‘Miss Flora, hope all is well, I guess he has yelled at you and rubbished your C.V as usual’ she whispered as she walked close to me.
‘That man is a hard nut to crack o, if you see how he has been showing applicants pepper enh, sorry o, sorry’ she added.
‘Erm, erm, thank you’ I replied. I had thought she said ‘Congratulations’.
‘I’ll see you on Monday’, I added as I ran out of the reception in excitement saying ‘Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord!’
It was as if I was seeing baby Favour’s face again smiling at me, then I heard a soft voice whispered to me ‘FAVOUR SMILED AT YOU’