The Interview.

I sat down quietly in the reception waiting to be called in. The receptionist was snoring lightly away at her desk which was directly opposite where I sat, and I wondered why she could be sleeping so early in the morning. I check my watch and it told me it’s just a few minutes past eight. I have been waiting here since seven and there was still no sign of the boss. I kept looking at the direction of the staircase maybe someone would come down, but no one appeared. 

My hands moved of their own accord to my tie to adjust it, I must have unknot and knot it back for like five times since I got here, I didn’t want a not properly knotted tie to be the reason for me not getting this job no matter how ridiculous it may sound. 

I had been so happy when I got the call yesterday evening to come for an interview this morning. Having being home for almost a year after my last place of work was shut down by the government. This was the best news I had heard. I had been looking for another job since I loosed the last one, after the hope of the government reopening my former workplace was dashed away by a news I heard over the radio. I considered myself lucky to be called in for this interview. The company was a prestigious and popular one and I knew many people would have tried their luck, securing a job here. Getting here this morning and seeing no one else around made me jittery and I had been praying in my mind since I got here for favor. I brought out my file from the file bag that was sitting on another chair beside me, I began checking the documents in it just to make sure everything was complete even if I had done that a thousand times before.

The clattering of heels coming from the direction of the stairs brought my head up, and It also woke the sleeping receptionist. It was a lady alighting the stairs. She couldn’t be more than twenty-five, she was slightly tall and fair in complexion. She had a bunch of files in her hand. She didn’t acknowledge me as she went straight to the receptionist desk. “Susan please give this to Mr. David when he comes.” I overheard her say to the receptionist. She then started towards me. I closed the file and rose to my feet. “Good morning. Mr Oluwafemi right?.” She extended her right hand which I took. “Right on point. Good morning miss.” I reply. She gave me a closed lip smile. “Call me Laura. The boss is ready to see you now. Follow me please.” She turned on her heels immediately and I quickly grab the file bag and followed her, carefully replacing the file back to avoid making it rough. I followed her up the stairs and up two more flight of stairs. My heart rate has picked up speed since she told me to follow her to the boss. I wondered what kind of questions the boss would ask me. We finally entered a large space which was befitting for a boss. Laura, who I already guessed to be the personal assistant told me to sit in one of the chairs backed against the wall in front of her desk. I knew it was her desk because I could see her phone and handbag on it. She opened a inner door and went inside. I sat down breathing rapidly to calm my nerves. Laura came back outside and told me to enter, I thanked her and went in. 

A blast of cold air hit me as I entered into the room closing the door carefully. I only felt it in my face and fingers because the rest of my body was shielded by the suit I was wearing and my black shoes that I took extra time to shine. I looked at the man sitting behind the rich mahogany desk, a laptop in front of him. He was a big man and his jaw was set in a hard line as he concentrated on the laptop before him. I could hear the sound of television coming from somewhere in the room. The presence of the man filled the whole room. “Good morning sir.” I greeted, but no reply came. That came across to me as arrogant. I stood there behind the two chairs in front of his table, I decided to not greet him again because I was sure he was aware of my presence. So I stood there like figure one, neither moving nor shaking. I watched him as he typed away on the laptop not stopping for one moment. “Dear lord, I must be a boss too.” I murmur quietly to myself. After a while I began shifting from one foot to another discreetly to relieve my legs which has started to ache me. I dare not move to sit in one of the chairs without being told to do so and so I endured it I mean what else would I do? This is my only chance. None of the other companies where I submitted my curriculum vitae called back except here. I don’t know if they would later but this place is my only hope right now. 

The man finally closed his laptop and looked at me. “Good morning to you too. You have come for the interview right?.” --Wao!At last-

“Yes sir. My name is Oyedele Oluwafemi.”

“Sit down.” It was a command which I obeyed immediately saying my thanks. My legs were so happy. 

“Why do you think you are qualified for this job?.” He asked going straight to the point. He entwined his fingers across his stomach. This was one of the questions I have prepared for. I just have to give him a direct and short reply, a reply which will convey much more. 

“Sir, I know I am qualified for the job. I have experience and I am dedicated to my work, I also work well under pressure.”

His expression was blank at my reply. “Any experience with team work?”

“Yes sir.” 

“Your relationship with people?” his voice was monotonous as if he did this everyday. 

“I relate well with people sir. My last job made me  come across different people constantly and in the process developing my social relations.” 

“Any favorite sport?.” What? What has sport got to do with this I wondered. I answered anyway. 

“Football sir. I was once a captain of my team when I was in secondary school.” I hope that satisfied him. 

He chuckled inwardly, his lips pulled to one side in a smile. He watched me the whole time and I suddenly grew uncomfortable. Now that the thought came to me, he actually looks like someone I know…. 

“No wonder you are so good at playing women.” He stated blandly. 

What did he just say?

“Excuse me sir?” I said. I must not have heard him right. 

He shook his head at me. “My name is Lawrence Agbor and if your memory still functions you’d remember my daughter Cecilia Agbor.” He released his entwined hands and placed them on his desk staring straight at me as if he was daring me to deny. My heart started beating violently against my rib cage. Wow, not in a million years did I expect this to happen. Not after what I did to the girl, my palm suddenly grew sweaty and the room became hot. So hot that I felt like I was beside a burning fire. This is indeed Cecilia’s dad, the resemblance is so striking. Cecilia. The girl who had loved me unconditionally when we were in the university. We met in the first semester of our third year in school. She was a sweet and caring girl and from a very rich family which was the exact reason why I dated her then. I didn’t love her a bit. I was from a poor background not very poor though but I had looks that many guys coveted and many girls sought after. I was told this plenty times and it gradually got into my head and I turned into a womanizer. Even after I met Cecilia who was a girl every guy dreamed of, I didn’t change in fact I began to leave a big boy life on campus, not that I owned a car but I was on the top chart just because of Cecilia’s money. I don’t know why, but she would give me anything I wanted. She caught me several times cheating on her but she always forgave me after I sweet talked her. I finally broke it off when at the end of our graduating year in school she got pregnant. I told her to have an abortion but she refused saying we were both old enough and her parents would be happy with it, she wanted us to get married. But I would have none of it, I was at the peak of my life and I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to have my own job and do all necessary stuffs before I get married. I told her repeatedly to abort it but she still refused and so I left her alone, she cried and cried, sending texts and friends to me but I ignored them. Everything calmed after a while and I forgot about her. Over the years, I thought about her and what might have happened to her occasionally but I never allowed myself to dwell much on it. I regretted my actions but there was nothing I could do about it. Right now I felt deep regrets and I bowed my head in shame. 

Mr Agbor banged angrily on the table. “Can’t you talk?!! You foolish boy.” I wished the ground would open and swallow me. 

“I… I… m…m…sss…” I stammer struggling to get out the words which would probably do nothing. 

“Be sorry for yourself scum That girl was your lucky charm but you lost her because of your stupidity.” I agree so much with this. I am so stupid. I probably would be living happily with her and our kids now if I had been a little considerate and wise but I wasn’t and now I have to suffer for it. Karma was back for me after six years. 

Mr Agbor leaned back in his chair. “My daughter and her son came home to spend the weekend with me and her mom. She saw me going through the documents you and the others submitted, yours was on top. I set it aside already because I was going to call you in for the interview tomorrow which is Tuesday. She burst into tears after seeing your passport on it. After much cajoling she told us you were the bastard who impregnated her, told her to terminate it and when she refused you broke up with her. You didn’t only do that to her, you broke her heart. You broke her. What if she wasn’t from a rich and understanding family? She would have suffered, the child might even have died.” He suddenly stopped talking. I didn’t know what to do, guys weren’t supposed to cry but I was crying. I stood up slowly pushing back the chair and went to lie down flat on the cold black tiles. It was a position where he could see me very well. He smiled, shaking his head. “I am so sorry sir, I beg you in the name of God. I was a fool and immature then. I didn’t know there was more to life than all that. I am so sorry sir. Please forgive me.” I finally got the words out. He continued watching me. I remained on the floor apologizing and begging profusely. I heard him sigh after a few moments. 

“Stand up and sit.” I stood up slowly from the floor and took my seat again. “You see Femi, this is life for you. I believe everything in life has been planned, good or bad but it remains in your hands what to make of it. My daughter was meant to be your good luck but you pushed her away and six years later you come back to seek for a job in her father’s company. I really want to laugh out loud. Nobody is perfect and that’s why I am going to forgive you. If she had agreed to an abortion for you then and complications occurred trust me, you would be cooling your feet in jail right now. Cecilia is my one and only child if you must know.” He gave a long sigh. 

“I am sorry sir.” I say again. 

“It’s alright now. My daughter apologized on your behalf already. Bless her heart, she is a very good woman. And your son looks so much like you.” He was smiling now and I was relieved. 

“Thank you so much sir. I am very grateful and I deeply regret every thing.” I was being sincere and I made it show in my facial expression and tone. 

“It’s okay young man. There’s no use dwelling in the past. Let me use this opportunity to welcome you to the company.” He opened his laptop. 

I couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe my luck. I wasn’t even thinking about the job anymore. But he just told me I have been given the job. Oh my God! “sir…. I…. I…” I didn’t know what say. 

“I understand and it’s alright like I said. Please see the secretary on the second floor for your appointment letter.” His face has grown soft now almost fatherly. 

I couldn’t just believe it, I continued thanking him. 

“You have to see my daughter, and your son too of course. She’s getting married in two months.” 

That was a necessary step and I plan on taking it as soon as possible. “Definitely sir. Thanks again sir.” He gave me a brief nod and resumed typing on his laptop. Taking that as a dismissal I took my leave. 

I couldn’t wait to see the both of them, I felt a tinge of sorrow has I remembered she was getting married, maybe if she wasn’t ,we could have tried again but I was happy because we both had a son and even if he’ll stand as a constant remainder of what I had lost because of my foolishness, he’ll also be the connection between I and Cecilia. Today was indeed a remarkable day in all my twenty eight years of existence. I got a job and I also got to know I had a son. As I stepped out of the company’s gate with the letter of appointment in my hand, I couldn’t help but feel the future has plenty more goodness in stock for me. With a newly new found optimism and a big laughter waiting to explode from the bottom of my belly, I set on my home to give the good news to the few important people in my life.

©Dideoluwa Olasogba