She dressed up, put some documents in her leather hand bag before buttoning up her sleeves. She was not excited. Her parents however,were excited. Her mum had told her that everything would be fine as long as she smiled and answered all the questions correctly.
And so, she put on a red lipstick and wiped it when she thought it was too bright and expectant. She used lip gloss. As usual, she would go early to use chances, if there were any.
Three days ago, Adaobi had told her about the chief. How he was always willing to help people and how he would help her because she(Adaobi) ‘knew the chief’, she just said it in the way that ‘you have to know somebody that knows somebody to get what you want’.
Adaobi had arranged her meeting with the chief. She had not told her how many people were interviewing for the job. Instead, she told her not to dress so formerly, she was after all meeting with the chief. She didn’t want to, but she found herself doing what Adaobi had said. Perhaps she was getting desperate.
She after all did not want to live with her parents, did not want to drive her father’s car, did not want her mother cooking for her and certainly did not want them buying things as common as pads for her.
She remembered Adaobi telling her to please the chief, she was set in for that, or at least she thought so and held faith in her CV.
‘Taxi’, she yelled, ‘ministry of housing and interior’. She walked in, holding her chin up and then stood facing the receptionist. She requested to see the chief and the secretary began to whine. She phoned Adaobi, walked back to the secretary and told her that Adaobi had sent her. It was her gate pass.
She walked into the office with a mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety. The chief was nothing like she imagined him. He was a man in his late forties. Standing tall and firm on the ground. She had imagined him putting on an Agbada, but here he was in a simple shirt.
‘Good morning, chief’
‘I’ve been expecting you, sit’.
In the few minutes that the chief continued as if no one was with him, she examined his features, he looked as though he was trying too hard to be serious. As if he was trying to create the impression she would see.
She cleared her throat, moved noisily in her seat to get his attention but he acted as though he wanted to make her believe he had better things to do than to attend to her.
When he spoke to her, his speech was informal. He didn’t ask for her name, he called her ‘nwayioma’, a fine woman. He talked as if they were reuniting classmates. After their chat, he didn’t shake her hands, instead he hugged her closely, pressing her chest to his and wrapping his arms around her lower waist. She was at the door when she turned back,
‘Chief, we haven’t discussed about the job.’
He smiled and asked her to sit, he had been waiting for her question.
‘You see, when I was a little boy, I gave my brother my piece of meat so he could teach me how to ride a bicycle. I was still a little boy when I learnt the value of exchange’, he walked behind her and held her shoulders.
‘Nwayioma, this world is give and take’, he didn’t finish his statement when he let his hands move from her shoulders to her breasts. She wanted to feign surprise but she wasn’t, not at all. What did she think when Adaobi asked her to please the chief? She wanted to hate the chief and abuse him, but she couldn’t. Without saying a word, she grabbed her handbag, walked out of the taxi, out of the building, halted a taxi and headed for home. She was not yet desperate.