Blink

‘…the position is yours’, the Human Resource Manager said with a smile.

Oriema’s eyes opened wide in seeming unbelief as her lips parted in an ear-to-ear smile. She only just stopped herself from leaping from her chair in exhilaration.

‘Really? Wow, thank you sir’, she said as coolly as she could and took the proffered Letter Of Employment. Be cool now, you can scream and dance at home.

“You are expected to resume next week Monday…”, the man continued, but she had already zoned out. She was thinking of her first salary and the expenses it would go to cover. Maybe now they could just get a half-bag of rice instead of tolerating the poisonous stares the woman at the end of the street meted when they asked for some on credit. What a relief! A job after three years of countless applications and futile interview sessions. She couldn’t wait to rush back to their shabby apartment and tell mama the great news. Her only surviving daughter was going to be an accountant in a prestigious firm. Apparently, hard work did pay off. She made an effort to focus on the middle-aged HRM.

‘…will be given an Advance on Monday to pay for…sundries you may have to acquire in preparation to settling in with the new environment’. This just kept getting better. She noticed uncomfortably that he glanced quickly at her worn skirt-suit as he said sundries. She didn’t blame him; the attire had seen better days.

‘…that will be all for the moment. Make sure you are here first thing on Monday morning so we can complete all arrangements. Congratulations and welcome’ he said the last word with an air of finality. Oriema stood up to leave the well appointed office, thanking him at the same time. She floated past the cold offices and cubicles, eagerly looking forward to Monday when she would become part of the system.

Back on the open road, but with a certain spring to her steps now, Oriema headed for the nearest bus-stop. It was a good thing the firm was just a major bus-stop away from the apartment she and her mother shared. She smiled happily and seemed to revel in the sunlight. Thankfully, it was still morning, so the heat had not set in.

A few metres from the half-crowded bus-stop, she espied Oluchi, her friend, who was currently on leave because her ailing mother had passed on the week before. She seemed to be waiting for a bus. She was one of the few friends who still spoke to her since they left the university. The others considered themselves too lofty to associate with her. Oluchi had a good job in another accounting firm-though less prestigious than the one that had just given her a job, she thought mischievously- and had helped her more than a few times in dealing with financial obligations that her mother’s small kiosk could not handle. Oluchi was a true friend.

‘Olubaby!’ she called out fondly. Oluchi turned slightly and smiled weakly on recognizing her.

The poor thing, Oriema thought, see how worn-out the grieving has made her.

She was still quite a few metres from Oluchi before she began.

‘Oluchi, you won’t believe…’ she paused in midsentence as she saw the expression on Oluchi’s face change. Oluchi’s lips seemed to form an ‘O’ while her eyes widened. Her right hand shot out, pointing at Oriema…no, not her…past her. She began to turn, only now hearing the cries of warning from somewhere behind her and the screech of malfunctioning brakes. Her brain registered some of the force as the bus rammed into her, breaking her bones and flinging her into the gutter as her life dissolved into darkness.

 

*****
I wrote this because I was walking on the wrong side of a busy road yesterday and fancied a BRT would kill me froM behind 🙂

If you haven’t, please check out my previous post Cherubim.Its my new favorite of my stories.

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