Tola tried unsuccessfully to make me go for the interview on Wednesday. I can’t imagine working for Yanju for even a day let alone a couple of months. Tola pestered me for hours for my reasons for not wanting to. What with the buoyant salary and the ‘fine boss’. I had to feed her some bull about wanting a more permanent job. Even I don’t want to examine the reasons I don’t want to work for him. He didn’t really do anything. Maybe it’s just because we met on a day I was at my lowest coupled with the fact that he has some similarities with Voldemort. Yeah Tola has decided Jeff’s name would not be be said in her presence, so, we decided to call him Him-that-must-not-be-named but then we thought it was too long, so, we settled for Voldemort. Anyways, I didn’t go for the interview that was day before yesterday but I have another one today, Friday. Anyone that knows me well enough knows I’m a perfume aficionado. So, when this offer came up as a sales clerk at a large perfume store in Omega mall. I jumped at it. Let’s just say Omega mall is one of the most happening things in Lagos. It shows class. There are several tall buildings in it- most made from glass. You have to be a certain class for you to even think of going there. It is rumored that it belongs to a wealthy family in Lagos. Things are just so ridiculously expensive. On my twenty third birthday last year before my parents died, my mum took me to a restaurant in the mall. A bottle of coke was for one thousand five hundred naira. The same bottle I would get for a hundred box in Lagos traffic. As I said, ridiculous. But although ridiculous, it was well worth it, I felt like a princess. Even the napkin showed class. It was satin sky blue with omega printed in the middle and it smelled delicious. I remember my mom teasing me about being taken to a place like that when I get proposed to by a perfect guy.
Who knew I was going to end up an orphan who was totally ruined by the ‘perfect’ guy. I finish up my mascara and check the overall effect in the mirror. I know I look good. I took a selfie with my phone that I missed so much. Apparently, Jeff sent someone to drop my stuff off for me with the gateman. I went to Tola’s wardrobe and stole her perfume- Beyoncé pulse. I sigh as I inhale. First thing I do If I get this job is to buy Tola and I some very cool perfume with my first paycheck. Which reminds me, I have to get going cause the interview is for 9am and it’s already – I check my wristwatch- 7:28am?!! I grab my purse and glance at the mirror again. Then I lock the door to the apartment and jump into my car. Yeah I picked it up at my place. It’s a black Toyota Camry. My money was left intact in my wallet till the last kobo. Guess Jeff and his fiancée didn’t share the same traits. I had almost 30k in my wallet. To think I was once a person that carried around such amount in my wallet just so. I laugh and shake my head as I turn away from Tola’s street. Which reminds me, I must go and open another account today.
I get to the mall at exactly 8:48am. I’m so glad I’m not late. I rush to the store and meet 10 odd people already waiting. I sigh. Naija!
She hires me on the spot and tells me to start the next Monday. Apparently, the interviewer- a woman in her forties- knew my mother. Her name is Mrs Bolaji. She asks me about my surname and I tell her who my parents were. Talk about a stroke of luck. It’s true what they say. Jobs aren’t really gotten by industry. They are gotten by sheer luck and long legs- both literally and figuratively. She tells me that she is the manager of the shop and met my mum during one of her visits to the store. She says my mum used to tell her about me and my love for perfumes. She says she is glad I’m here for the interview and that no one deserves the position more than I. I window shop as soon as it is over. I see a gym center next to the mall and walk inside. It seems new. Maybe I will register there. I’m ecstatic I found my two very best hobbies- exercise and discussing perfumes. Makes life easier for me. I branch GTBank to open an account as soon as I finish sightseeing. Everything also goes smoothly. In my happiness, I take a detour to Ocean house to get some really nice -albeit expensive- seafood. Funny how now, I think everything is expensive. Ocean house is a large roughly looking building with several enormous deep freezers where the elite of Lagos go to buy assorted catch of the day sea food. I enter and look around. I select some Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish for Cioppino. When Tola gets home, she would be getting a real treat.
“Hmm. Something smells good in here.” I hear Tola say as she enters the apartment. Soon she is in the kitchen, peeping over my shoulder. “Looks nice.”
“Thanks. How was your day?” I ask as I stir the chowder.
“It was nice. You know…” She trails off and dumps her bag on the dinette. Then she sits rubbing her feet. “So, what is the occasion?”
I turn from the pot- serving spoon in hand- and grin. “I got the job!”
“You got the job?” She asks, surprised.
I feel a bit hurt cause of her lack of faith in me. “Why are you surprised? Didn’t you even think I could?” I ask
“No. Oh my God, no. I just… You know how Nigeria is.” She stands up and walks over to hug me. “I’m sorry! I’m so happy for you dear! This really calls for a huge celebration.” She walks over to her refrigerator and grabs the wine she had been warning me not to touch. She revealed to me during one of my sessions that she had been keeping it for months for a special occasion.
I feel better that she thinks this is a special occasion. I look at the wine. It really looks expensive. “Tola, maybe we could just keep this wine for a while, you know. Maybe for a special occasion.”
Tola shakes her head like she wouldn’t have any of it. “This is a special occasion. Now go grab a flute.”
I squeal in delight and dart for two champagne flutes. Then I remember that I need wine for the fish stew and tell her to pour some into the chowder.