Home Essays Essay Competition Bonus by Peace Habila.

Bonus by Peace Habila.

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For the records, I am not a bad person; it is just that life has a way of frustrating and unleashing the vampire in human beings. Situation of life then adds its burdens to our many sorrows by first,  squeezing  the good in us until we become unrecognizable beings. I have tried but failed countless times to explain to myself that my financial status won’t last forever. I knew, somehow, a job would come along but the time and date remained blurred. My frustration grew and bore fruit of a bitter soul and a sour face. My insecurities also grew wings in the face of the nagging expectations of society and unsolicited concerns, or should I call them mockery?  It got to the point that I stopped trying, stopped knocking and stopped working on the natural obsessions of life. I withdrew to my shell and in no time found myself wrapped up in the cocoon of my making and bamboozled by all shades of hopelessness.

I was in that sorry state when I got the invite for the Job I applied for over a year ago. Somewhere in my subconscious, I had concluded that I won’t get the job for lack of connection and the overwhelming bureaucracies attached to getting a job in a   five- star company like that. I read through the invite the way I would read a badly written Facebook post, void of emotions or any sort of attachment. I concluded it was pointless after analyzing the 57 interviews I have attended in the past. The we-will-get-back- to -you chorus of employers in Nigeria re-echoed in my head with a sense of finality that says ‘don’t even try’.

Two weeks later, I woke up earlier than usual with no intention of moving any part of my legs, for at least one hour. I allowed my mind to wonder aimlessly as I fixed my gaze on the wet of part of my ceiling. Soon, Mama’s loud  prayers brought a smile on my face. For the first time in a long while, I admired her consistency and high spiritedness.  This was however short lived when I became the next prayer item. ‘Jesus, give her a man, give Kyenpia a Job’, she chanted in a pitch not perfect for her aged vocal cords. A fresh wave of anger engulfed me and brought with it a fresh sense of urgency to vanish into thin air. I was still pensive when I heard footsteps and soon a hand reached for my door. With a speed of light, I pulled the banket over my head hoping to dissuade whoever it was. The next thing I heard was ‘Kyenpia, wake up, we need to talk’. My mum muttered those words with the seriousness of someone ready to cast out a living demon out of a person who is oblivious of the fact that he/she is possessed. I remained still for a moment but soon realized she wasn’t ready to budge anytime soon. I gave up and pulled myself up. ‘I want the best for you’, she started gently with a determination to continue laced to her voice. ‘You need to go out and find a man’, she added as though there was a market for men somewhere that I was yet to discover. This was followed by torrent of  annoying rhetorical questions carefully asked in the typical motherly blackmailing tone.

Then my phoned beeped. It was a reminder SMS for the interview. I jumped out of bed chanting, ‘mama I need to get set’. I had to stage that act to get her off my case. I was glad she bought it hook, line, and sinker. When she left, I felt relieved and went back to bed only to be interrupted by a knock. ‘I brought some money for you’, she said halfway into my room. I collected the money which also reminded me that I must  account for each penny at the end of the day. I dragged myself out of the bed, got into something close to formal, and left the house. I just needed to be at the venue so as not to be haunted by guilt when mama shows up in my room later.

Halfway into the journey, It dawned on me that I forgot my credentials at home, I wasn’t even sure of the exact spot. I decided to go back to get them: a delay strategy invented by me to while away time. I alighted, spent few minutes musing and doodling on my palm like someone who just lost sanity. I was still on it when a car splashed water on me. I ran after the car like a wild dog. Of course, It caught the attention of passersby and the driver who abruptly brought his car to a stop. The nicely knitted fellow alighted and gave the ‘I’ m sorry speech. Oh! I wasn’t going to have any of that. I ranted and hauled deep- layered insults on him, the type common among dark demons of the underworld. He stood there looking like a lost puppy. I wasn’t moved by his, somehow, innocent looks.  Deep within, I felt it was rude for him to own a fine car and be all that cute.

The realization that my stained cream skirt was a good reason for disqualification gave me the courage to proceed to the venue.

I made my way to the hall only to be greeted by a lady who was overly nice to a fault. I wished she could see my skirt and rant or yell, just something to give me a story to tell mama and cap it with ‘I was turned down’. The lady defiantly refused to read the obvious cues. What’s your name please?  She asked, calmly. ‘Kyenpia Dabak’, I replied. She left and returned almost immediately. ‘Come with me’, she continued.  As we walked into the hallway, I felt unfit for the job and concluded that my stained skirt was just the perfect reason to convince the panel that I was unfit. Soon, we were in the conference hall. ‘Where are your original credentials?’ A man across the table asked.  I don’t have them here, I said. Have we met before? He added almost immediately. It took both of us few seconds to realize that we have met but under an unpleasant circumstance. He was the man who splashed dirty water on me over an hour ago. I was soon reminded by another lady that I was talking with the CEO. My heart was immediately flooded by shame. I decided to redeem my image for my mother’s sake. I answered the subsequent questions as honest as I could. The session didn’t end without few moments where ‘I have no idea’ rolled off my tongue effortlessly.

‘You are hired’ was the last thing I heard before I was thrown into confusion.  I knew it was my mother’s prayer that was working in my favour. Giving all that had happened prior to that meeting, I didn’t deserve that job, but somehow, it found its way to me.

Oh! Lest I forget, the job interview opened me up to another bonus. I didn’t deserve that bonus too. Did I tell you I got married to the CEO few months ago?

Peace Habila, a resident of Jos, Plateau state is passionate about creative writing. She wrote in via peacehaila2017@gmail.com