They say Fridays are the best. But it didn’t look so for Amanda. Her brows creased as she turned her drawers and wardrobe inside out; looking for ‘the perfect dress’.
It was Friday 5th October 2018, the day set aside for her job interview at JExpress; a shipping company with headquarters in Lagos.
After being jobless for five years, she wasn’t about to let her classless wardrobe ruin this opportunity for her.
It took almost another 30 minutes before her eyes widened with excitement and her lips curved into a smile.
She had finally found the ‘perfect dress; a flowery, knee-length gown she considered sophisticated and classy enough for her interview.
She dressed as quickly as she could, applied makeup, brushed her hair quickly and sprayed all over her body, one of her very expensive perfumes.
She took time to admire herself, from head to toe, while smoothening out the lines of her dress.
If her answer to questions didn’t get her the job, this dress definitely would.
Two hours later, she was sitting on the world’s most uncomfortable chair. Her heart raced, her confidence deserted her, and she wondered, not for the last time, why it seemed her village people were on to her.
The interview wasn’t going as she had thought and hoped it would. The men and the lady on the interview panel threw questions at her like she once offended them.
Her head ached, confusion set in, but the three people on the panel were not interested in making things easy for her.
They bombarded her with questions that had little or nothing to do with the position she applied for.
When they finally ended their question shooting competition, she relaxed a bit, but she could tell from their nonchalant expressions that it would be only by Divine intervention, they’d hire her.
“Please, could you just step out for two minutes. We will get back to you,” a man among the panellists, said.
She actually wanted to just got up and walk out quietly. But then, she was sure everyone must have heard her heart slamming hard against her chest.
So much for an interview. She thought.
Taking an empty seat at the reception, she watched another candidate go into the hot seat.
She wondered if he would do better than she did? Or if he would flop too and then they’ll ask them both to go home and wait to be called.
Anyway, that wouldn’t be the case. She remembered the company had mentioned something about ‘immediate employment’ in their advert.
“God,” she muttered and looked up to the heavens. “Please, give me this job and I will forever remain grateful,” she prayed, earnestly.
She was still at it when a baritone interrupted with a friendly, “Hello lady”.
She looked up at the owner of the voice and tensed. God! He was breathtaking. Do these kinds of men exist in Nigeria? She thought, still staring, before managing a nervous, “Hi” and feeling foolish for how she had stared at him. But she couldn’t help the feeling butterflies in her Tommy.
This was wrong at all levels. She was tired of relationships. So why would this strange man walk up to her and just drop butterflies in her?
The man grinned at her like he sensed the fact that she was uncomfortable, but obviously found him really attractive.
“I’m Joseph,” he stretched one hand for a shake. She took it. “What’s the beautiful name?”
“Amanda,” she replied, stylishly taking her hand away from his hold.
He gave her a light smile before returning his hands to his side. “Amanda,” he repeated. “Beautiful name for a beautiful lady,” he remarked.
Well, handsome name for a crazy, breath-taking, handsome face, she thought, before moving her lips to say thank you.
At the same moment, the door to the interview room opened and one of the interviewers stepped out, already calling her in when his eyes fell on Joseph.
“Good afternoon Sir,” he greeted Joseph.
Sir? She thought.
“Afternoon Tony.” Joseph replied, but his eyes never left Amanda, “I guess you have to go now, Amanda. I have to go too. I hope I see you some other time.” he smiled and walked away without waiting for her response.
What kind of guy does that? She thought. Did he think he was too handsome to be turned down?
She obviously liked him, but his rude behaviour was starting to give her a rethink.
“Miss Amanda”, Tony’s voice cut through to her.
“Sir,” she quickly turned to face him as she sat straight.
“Please come in,” he gestured at the open door.
She nodded nervously, got to her feet and walked back into the interview room. She was obviously too distracted with Joseph, she did see the other candidate walk out
When she got in, she greeted the others before occupying the seat she had earlier vacated.
The word nervous is not good enough to describe how she felt, and fear can’t even be used to describe what she felt.
Their facial expression wasn’t encouraging at all.
“Amanda, Amanda,” the only lady amongst the three men, called. Amanda’s head shot up. “We are sincerely sorry for whatever inconvenience we might have caused you but we don’t think you are fit for this position. You’ve not worked for the past five years and what we really need is capable hands, someone who has been active in the past years, and is very much up to date.
Hot tears found their way to her eyes. She placed one hand over her lips, to keep from crying in their presence. But, she would definitely cry when she got home. She knew that.
Amanda had given her all to the interview and other processes, just to get the job. But their announcement broke her, and She knew she was qualified for the job.
“However,” the man that had earlier called her back in started to speak. Amanda half listened. There was nothing they could tell her that would be as painful as the first news she got
She got to her feet, getting ready to walk out when these words stopped her in her tracks
“We have an opening for the position of a cleaner. I don’t know if you’re interes…”
“I will take it.” Amanda snapped, turning around to face them. No matter what the position was, she was willing to take it. She was tired of being jobless and she just wanted something that’ll put food on her table.
“We’re happy for you then,” the lady said with a slight smile, “You can start working as from Monday.”
“Thanks.” Amanda murmured.
On her way out, she met Joseph again but this time around she ignored him, even when he called out to her. She was soon out of the premises, flagging down a local taxi.
“What could be wrong with her?” Joseph asked out loud; genuine concern in his voice.
The moment Amanda got home, she cried herself to sleep. Why was life so cruel to her?
Five years of being jobless, and now she had thrown away another opportunity. Who would have thought she’d go out to interview as an accountant and return as a cleaner?
This was just too much for her to bear. For the rest of that day, and even over the weekend, she lost her appetite.
When she eventually hung out with her friends on Sunday, she couldn’t even tell them the outcome of her Interview.
Back in Joseph’s mansion, he paced about his bedroom, thinking about Amanda.
“She’s beautiful and she seems intelligent,” he said to himself. But he just couldn’t understand why she ran off like that. Did she fail the interview? Or was she called on the phone about a family emergency?
That question never left his mind as he went about his weekend activities.
By on Sunday night, he decided he was going to look for her. He’d talk with Tony first, and ask for the contact details she included in her application form.
At least having somewhere to start from was be a big relief. He wouldn’t be on a wild goose chase.
When Monday arrived, he was relieved that he didn’t even need to search for her. He walked into this office and met her cleaning up.
“Cleaner?” he murmured, with a frown. But, she heard him.
“Yes. I’m the new cleaner. I’ve been assigned to your office.” she informed him with a straight face.
“But last week, you didn’t seem like someone that would apply for the position of a cleaner.” He wasn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself.
“I actually applied for the position of an accountant but, I was told I wasn’t qualified, so here I am your cleaner.” Tears welled up in her eyes.
“Do you think you are qualified?” he asked, taking his seat.
“Very,” she replied without hesitation, as she continued her job.
“Fine. An accountant you are as from this minute.”
What? She didn’t think she heard right. “Wh…what… did you say?”
He dialled a number his phone. “You’re the company’s new accountant.”
She gasped. Who said miracles don’t happen? “But, what will the owner of the company say?” she managed to ask.
“Amanda, this is my company and I really do like your person. I can’t think about any lady out there who would accept a cleaner’s job in place of an account’s,” he replied, trying his possible best not to show his feelings.
Joseph knew he would have to try not to make things look like he wanted something in return for the favour. He liked her, no doubt.
In fact, looking at her now, she was definitely more beautiful than the Saturday before. If a relationship was going to start and blossom between them, then he’d let is be natural. Not a favour.
All the while, Amanda’s heart went from her chest to her mouth. Before now, she had thought that miracles don’t exist. But what just happened turned her into a true believer and the best part was, she liked him too, from the very first time she saw him.
But she wasn’t sure she wanted him to know that. He was the boss, and she had to respect herself.
To be continued…
A Pelleura Story. Chapter written by Judith Ugwuoke.
First published on Business Day Media