‘Step Back, Dad’ (18)
Yay! It’s episode 18 of our favourite series. Thanks for following. Cheers!
My heart drummed heavily like rolling beats from a brigade parade. I was so scared that all I could hear was each tick of the clock and my own loud breathing. In the next few minutes, I would have an encounter that would decide whether I really deserved the future I so desired. I could barely take a sip of the tea in front of me and I fixed my eyes on the lady sitting opposite me as I anxiously awaited her to announce it was my turn to face the panel. One of the interviewees walked out the door with a frown on his face. It sure did not go down well with his interview and that thought drained all my hope. I picked up the cup of tea and gulped in half its content. Any moment now…
My phone rang and I nearly jumped off my seat. Who could be calling me at such a critical, unexpected hour? The secretary threw me an irritated look and the other interviewees pretended not to care. I had forgotten to put my phone on silence and it was really embarrassing. I rummaged through my bag and brought out the phone. Geeeeez!!!!! It was Bro. Tunde. This man again! Couldn’t he just stop disturbing me? Somebody please tell him to get off my back. I needed all the concentration I could get and the least thing I wanted now was having someone call me to ‘toast’ me. I needed this job, not a man, badly.I cut the line and pasted a pretentious smile on my face when all I wanted to do was to place an angry call. I sent him a quick message. My answer remains NO.
“Yes, that’s me.” I jumped up before the secretary finished her statement.
The secretary nodded towards the door. “It’s your turn. Hope your phone is on silence now? You do not want to go disgrace yourself in there.” She added cheekily.
I nodded sheepishly and muttered a ‘thank you’. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for. As I placed my hand on the knob, I uttered a quick prayer. Jesus, take the wheel. Give me this Canaan.I pushed the door gently and walked in…
Some half an hour later, I walked out with mixed feelings. I did not know whether I ‘passed’ or failed. The three-man panel did not make it easy at all and they kept probing until I did not know what else to say. When it appeared they were tired of me, they asked me to leave.A coldness filled me as I stepped out of the room. In my rating, I really did not perform well and it would only be a stroke of luck for me to advance to the next stage. I must keep faith. I needed it more than ever.
Soon, the interviews were over and the secretary stepped into the room. Few minutes later, she walked out with a file.
“Thank you all for waiting. Without further ado, I have been informed we shall proceed to the next stage immediately as we want to fill the position as soon as possible. The Managing Director will like to see those who have been successful in this stage.” She flipped through the file.
My hands shook uncontrollably and they tightened on my bag. The other interviewees looked nervous too. Who wouldn’t?
A guy stood up amidst us with a triumphant smile on his face. Two more chances to go.
The lady next to me jumped up happily. I stared hard at the floor. One final chance! JESUS, PLEASE!
I missed it. God, why???? I tried to hold back the tears that had gathered.
“Hello, lady. I mean you.”
I looked around and found I was the only lady still sitting. “Me? I thought you mentioned Andrew.”
“No, I meant you.” The secretary smiled. “Yes. You were successful. All three of you, congratulations.” She nodded at we standing and looked pitiably at those sitting. “Sorry, we have to hold on with you for now. We shall reach you when we have other openings.”
OMG! Unbelievable! I made it. Jesus, we made it! One hurdle crossed. I shall go through the next with more confidence.
The secretary led us to a smaller room which led to a big, tinted, glass office, obviously the office of the boss. We waited patiently till he was ready to see us. He was to see all of us at once, more like a group discussion. This would be tougher than I thought. Everyone trying to outwit the other to win the trophy. I was not going down on this one. This job was mine.
When it was time, I was the last to enter. The ‘big’ man sat facing his laptop, with his back to us. He was of an average build but smartly dressed, at least his navy blue suit fitted his body perfectly. He exuded authority even without looking at us and I had to take a quick look at myself to be sure I looked perfect. First impression matters and I intend to give my best.
“You can have your seats.” His voice was deep and confident. He still had his back at us and did not look like he was ready to leave what he was doing.
We sat on the seats across him and my eyes scanned the big office. It was really an office meant for the kind of boss that had high taste and did not tolerate nonsense. I took in three deep breaths.
“So, you all passed the first stage.”
“Yes sir.” The three of us answered simultaneously.
“That’s good. We only have a space for only one, though. So two of you will have to join those who have left. Only the best, of which I will decide, remains.”
Why could he not face us and talk to us? At least, courtesy demanded that. I was beginning to find him annoying.
Richard spoke. “I believe I have what you are looking for, sir.”
The man stopped typing and slowly faced us. “You are sure about that?”
OH MY GOD! This could not be happening to me! My mind scattered to pieces. Of all the people in the world??? I was shaking visibly and prayed the ground would open up and swallow me. This was, in record, the most embarrassing moment of my life. How could the table turn against me like this? Jesus, I do not deserve this. Let this cup pass over me.
‘Bro Tunde’ sat comfortably in his leather arm chair and spoke to Richard. “So tell me what you have that the others do not have.” He glanced at ‘the others’ and his eyes lingered on me for a while. He looked surprised to see me, but he quickly regained his composure. This was not what I expected and it sure was not going to turn out well. The stone that the ‘builder’ rejected has become the corner stone.
It is play-back time, Chinwe and this ain’t your game anymore.