Dressed in a white blouse, black slacks, and a brown Jimmy Choo sandal, I stood alone at the edge of the parking lot of Tantalizers. I was waiting for Alhaji Baruwa to pick me up. When I spoke to him about Austin, I didn’t expect him to react the way he had.
“I swear to you, he is a dead man. He dared insult my angel in the public like that,” he ranted in his heavy Hausa accent. He was a very cute and well-traveled man from Kaduna, a state in the Northern part of the country.
Until I saw the foam gathering at the corner of his mouth, I hadn’t realized that he was really pissed with Austin. He had later sent some soldiers to Austin’s house and they had taken him to their barrack and given him the thrashing of his life. He later sent Police to search his room and they found axes, guns and other incriminating objects that landed Austin behind bars. I got a lot of threats after this, but I also got a lot of praise and admiration from my fellow students. But from that day forward, I watched my back.
I looked up against the near black sky, I could see the storm gathering and birds zipping here and there. I looked at my Gucci wrist-watch and swore under my breath. It was two hours gone and Alhaji had not shown up. I called his number and the machine said it was not available. His driver finally came to deliver the message that he had to attend an impromptu meeting. I was mad. I was already dressed up and I didn’t want to go to the hostel yet. My final papers were the next day so I decided to go to the public library instead to study.
I did very well at the exams. We soon finished our Ordinary National Diploma Examination and everyone was excited about this phase of our life ending. My friends and I passed with distinction and to everybody’s surprise. They started saying it was because we slept with lecturers. Some said it was because we gave them huge amount of money but we didn’t care. We know how hard we studied and we basked in the pleasantness of doing brilliantly.
We parted ways. It was painful and emotional but there was nothing we could do about it. I decided to look for a job while Sandra said she would go and study law at a university. I opted for the higher national diploma but Cindy followed Bimbo to Port-Harcourt for another tour of adventure till they decide to go further with their studies.
I went in search of job at some television stations, radio stations and even newspaper houses to no avail. I didn’t want any of my men friends to help me out. I wanted to do something by myself. I decided to visit one of the banks in my aunt’s neighborhood for any available post. I told Sandra about this and she discouraged me. She asked what a mass communication student would be going to do in a bank. “Read bulletins?” and laughed. I said I would just give it a try, at least, in this country, anything could happen when you least expect it to and Sandra agreed.
Come Monday morning, I was at the bank by eight. I asked for whom to see and I was told that the Human resource manager was not on seat. I sat in the banking hall for over thirty minutes before a lady finally came and asked me to follow her. We went up a flight of stairs into a smartly furnished office where a woman dressed in a very neatly cut suit sat behind a desk.
“Good morning ma,” I greeted. The woman turned briefly and waved me to a seat and the other lady went out.
“I saw you as you came in and I must say I noticed your smartness and your poise,” the woman said smiling and got up from her seat with her laptop open. “And you look a lot like my daughter.”
“Thank you ma,” I answered with a smile.
“What do you want? Do you want to open an account with us?” she asked as she rummaged in a file cabinet. I told her I had been waiting to see the Human Resources Manager about a job.
“Oh, so you want a job then?” the woman replied. “Let me see your resume and letter.”
I gave the envelope I was holding to her. She opened it and started reading the documents she brought out. She read for a while and she smiled, then she frowned, smiled again and frowned, and it began to worry me.
“You did Mass Communication. You are a pretty girl and did quite brilliantly,” she remarked finally. She scribbled something down on a piece of paper and gave it to me. She told me to give the paper to the lady that brought me in and asked me to come back the following week for an interview.
“Thank you. I will be here ma,” I remarked. She smiled and waved me away. It was when I got outside that I read the inscription on her door, Human Resource Manager.
With Mrs. Bennett’s help, I was called for the aptitude test which I passed in flying colors. That was my first job as a banker. They said I was to be in training for a few months though. The bank was filled with dedicated and versatile staff and I was determined to make the best impression on Mrs. Bennett for giving me the opportunity to join the lovely group.
Sandra was surprised when I showed the letter of appointment to her but she was happy for me. Within months, I became popular among the staff and clients of the bank. I was always with my Head of Department on visits to our clients. It was on one of such visits that I met Jamal Buhari.