‘I’m sorry but you’re not quite what we’re looking for’. This was the 4th organisation this week Omozele had gone to in order to drop her application and as usual, she was rejected. The other ones were kinder.
‘We will get back to you’, they said. But this?
This was a first. What had they meant by ‘you’re not what we’re looking for? I graduated with a 2:1 in Accounting from the University of Benin. I’m eager to learn on the job. What else are they looking for?’ She thought bitterly.
‘Bariga! Bariga, one chance! Hol your change o. I no get change o’.
She rushed to enter the bus. Luckily, she had the change the conductor was asking for, although that was the last money she had.
She would have to trek from the bus stop to her house. As the bus started to weave through the Lagos traffic, she started to think of her life. Since she could remember, she had always been unlucky. It took three years after her high school before she entered the university and it wasn’t because she was not intelligent. There just wasn’t any money. Although there was enough for her father to give the street girls and ladies of the night he was sleeping with and because her mother was dead, the step mother whom she thought she could turn to wanted nothing to do with her except of course when she wanted someone to look after her children or pick up after her.
She was lucky enough eventually. Her old school teacher, having found out that she was yet to enter school told her about the scholarship scheme her state was organising for its state indigenes. The only condition attached was that they school in the state. Again, she was lucky. She got picked and was finally able to attend the university.
Her mind flashed back to the phone call she got from her friend, Esohe. Esohe was her classmate who barely managed to graduate, getting a certificate of attendance for all her efforts. She was known to be a party girl on campus, often leaving Benin City to travel to some other state if there was a chance that ‘Big Men’ were going to be in attendance at the party. Her Parents weren’t well to do but they weren’t poor either.
Often times, Omozele would say to her
“Ese, stay and read for once. How do you want to graduate if you don’t read and pass?”
To which she would reply, ‘Dey there. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a job before you. Last last, I’ll open a shop. It’s not like I want to spend the rest of my life working for someone any way.’ But Omozele loved her. Esohe was good to her, often sharing her booty from all of her parties without trying to get her to join her.
When she moved out of the hostel to one off campus, she asked Omozele to move with her and treated her like a student all through the period they spent in school.
‘Omoze, how far na? It’s Esohe.’ Omozele screamed.
“Esohe! My babe! How far? Long time. Where have you been?” She had lost Esohe’s number when her last phone got missing and she didn’t know anyone who had it.
‘Remember Omonigho? That fat girl in our class. The one that fought Aina over John after that business law class. I saw her yesterday. She said she saw you at one office that she also went to for an interview. You mean say you still they find job?’
She smiled. She knew Esohe was being Esohe and didn’t mean it maliciously.
“Ese, na so I see am o. I don waka all the streets of this Lagos, no job. How you dey na? Where are you? Do you have a job now?” ‘Na wa o. I’m in Abuja.
Lagos is unnecessary stressful and it’s not even like there’s money there. Abuja is where the dough is and I came here to be a part of it. Get my share of the national cake. Even Omonigho has left Lagos because she couldn’t deal.’ Omozele didn’t expect anything less. That was typical of Esohe.
“Na your way na. No be you again. Good for you sha. Just make sure you remember me when you enter paradise.” A part of her wished she could be like Esohe but she knew she didn’t have it in her.
‘Omoze, why don’t you come to Abuja? Even if you cannot hustle like me, you can do your job hunting. Don’t worry, you’ll stay with me till you get something.’ Omozele sighed.
Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t afford the trip to Abuja and she told Esohe so. ‘Ehn don’t worry. Shey you still use that your account number. I’ll send it to you when you’re ready to come. Just let me know when you decide’.
Omozele snapped out of her reverie. She knew she had to leave if she had any chance at surviving and as she sent the text to Esohe later that night, she felt more convinced that she had taken the right decision. It wasn’t like anyone would miss her anyway.
She woke up to the alert- the money Esohe had paid into her account for her journey. She packed up her possessions which weren’t a lot and left for the bus park. “I’m on my way, babe. See you soon.”
She had never been to Abuja and she was looking forward to spending time there and possibly making a life for herself if she could. They finally got to Abuja early evening and she took a cab to Esohe’s house following the instructions she gave her.
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