I submitted this short story for the 237 Sisters Speak 2016 Essay competition some months ago. I didn’t win (of course! else I would’ve flaunted it all over. lmao!) but my story was selected for further editing before publishing (Yaaay, still great right?) Wanted to share it with you guys and get feedback! (Yea, you all mean that much). Each story submitted was supposed to highlight a social problem faced by the female population in Cameroon. My story highlights the moral decadence that plagues female job seekers in Cameroon. The lengthiness of the story is accordance with essay rules. Biko no vex! Hope its a good read!
It’s 7a.m. Annie’s alarm clock wakes her up, she squeezes her eyes shut in a bid to avoid the sun rays bursting through her window. She wasn’t ready to wake up plus her mind was tired from wondering all night long about the outcome of today. Then it hit her, “O my God! It’s today!” she screamed as she scurried out of her bed and dashed into the shower. She had never had a quick shower, she thought to herself as she rushed through her bath. She had gone shopping with her sister last week for her outfit of today. She felt like a queen waking up with servants doing her bid, only difference is she was the servant and the queen but either ways, she enjoyed the feeling of having everything ready just like she wanted. So far this day was going great, she thought as she smiled at her image in the mirror and turned around for a detailed look of her silhouette in that grey and white stripe H&M dress. Perfect! Just that smart and strong woman look she was aiming for. She had breakfast with her mum and they prayed together before she left home.
Now the hard part; getting a cab to her destination and beating the never-ending Douala city traffic to get there on time. “Breathe”, she told herself “It is going to be a great day”. She finally got a cab and arrived at her destination 20 minutes early. She dreaded elevators but today she was in a rush. The elevator stopped and the doors opened at the 6th floor. She walked out, took a deep breath as she ran her handkerchief through her forehead. She walked towards door 645 as indicated in the email she received a week ago and pushed the door open. There were a handful of people at the waiting area that looked almost as overwrought as she felt. She kept her head up and walked towards the secretariat. “Good morning Ma’am. I’m here for the 9.30 interview for the company accountant job”, she told the middle-aged lady behind the desk. “Good morning. Fill out this form and take a seat. Your name will be called when it’s your turn” the secretary replied. She did as she was told. While waiting she memorized a few tips she knew will come in handy and did a mind replay of the practice sessions she did with her sister all through last week. The door opened, a dark-skinned lady walked out of the room. Annie tried to read her facial expression in a bid to know what to expect but it was flat; no smile, no frown just flat. Time passed by and Annie was lost in her thoughts. “Niba Annie?!” She got up and followed the man who called out her name as he led her into the office. Her employer looked like he was in his fifties. She greeted him as he offered her a seat, then the Interview began.
They walked through basic “Tell me about yourself”’ questions to “Let’s talk about your CV” type of questions. Annie was poised and audible throughout the interview; she really had a good feeling about this one. Then he closed her file and looked at her with a grin on his face, “Your CV says you are unmarried but that doesn’t mean you are single right? A pretty girl like you should have a man who takes pride in providing your needs, correct?” he asked. Annie chuckles “Yes Sir. I have a boyfriend.” She gushed, “I know some employers prefer single female applicants so they don’t have to deal with the unavoidable domestic issues that married employees have. I know the job is very demanding but believe me Sir, he supports me and hopes I get this job”, she explained. “You are a smart girl Annie. How bad do you need this job Ann?” he asked. “I…t’s Annie Sir”, she replied with a nervous smile “I want to be able to pay my PhD tuition when I enroll in a few years’ time, so getting this job means I can save up and assist my parents as well”. “You are just amazing”, he said “I believe you have it in you to soar far up if given the right platform. Well, Annie today is your lucky day. This interview could end right now and I ask my secretary to let all the other applicants in line go and this job is all yours.”
Annie stared in disbelief. She felt adrenaline rush through her veins followed by sweat from her forehead through her cheeks “Really? O Thank you Lord….. I mean Sir. Thank you too Lord. Thank you. Wait! You said it could end. Meaning it hasn’t ended yet. Is there a document or some other information you need to complete my file, Sir?” She asked. “Oh! Annie. Your naivety is so cute. I don’t need a document. I only need you to agree that I become your work boyfriend and voila! You get the job. Just like that my sweet Ann” he said snapping his fingers. Tears filled up Annie’s eyes in disbelief “O God, not again” she murmured to herself. She stood up, picked up her file looked at her interviewer straight in his eyes and said “I am qualified for this job. If you can’t give it to me based on that, I pray there are less employers like you out there so someday, someone will give me a job based on what is in my head not under my skirt. I hope when you look back at your carrier life when you are long retired, you will remember the young girl; young enough to be your daughter to whom you never gave a chance. Have a good day Sir”.
She walked out of his office into the restroom and let her frustration out the best way she knew how to; tears. She let them flow for a while. She managed to keep it together and reached for her phone. “Mummy” she said as tears filled up her eyes again “It didn’t go OK. It was a man and he turned out to be like interviewer number 6” she continued. “Oh! My sweet baby” said her mom “Don’t cry. Trust me there is a great job for you out there and God is shutting all these other doors in a bid to lead you to it. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life. All these tears will be worth it soon. For now, just come home”. She hung up, wiped her tears and looked into the mirror “Just a bad day Annie. Not a bad life”. She smiled and walked out of the restroom towards the elevator: home bound. She’d never felt more proud of herself.