She rushed out of her apartment, half-greeted Mrs. Okon her neighbour and didn’t even double-check to see if she actually slammed her door shut. The compound where she lived wasn’t exactly by the main road so she had to pull off her heels and run towards the road to flag down a bus on time. Her boss had already warned her about her lateness, especially on Monday mornings. She never understood why she always made it late to work on Mondays. Maybe it was simply because she hated Mondays, I mean who didn’t?!
When she got to the main road, she walked to the nearest bus stop and stood in line to wait for the next bus.
“Excuse me” someone said from behind her. “Excuse me, hey, I’m talking to you” he said again.
“Not this morning” she muttered to herself. She always expected this every morning and before she turned around to reply such, she said a little prayer to God: “Please let him have sense, please”.
“Yes?” she finally replied
“I’m sorry, I hope I’m not disturbing, I noticed you from afar and I must say you are very gorgeous” he said ending his compliment with a smile.
“Thank you very much” she said. Wait for it, she said to herself
“I know you’re in a hurry” he continued. “Can I have your number so we can meet up later? I want us to be friends” Bingo!
She always had this conversation with different men at this particular bus stop and they all ended almost the same way.
“I’m sorry I can’t. I don’t give my number to strangers” she said feigning a sorry face.
“What do you mean? I’m not a stranger. Don’t worry, I wont disturb you” he insisted.
“I’m sorry I can’t, don’t be offended” she said again.
“Suit yourself. You’re not really that fine sef, you should be happy men still chyke you” He blurted out.
She fought the urge to laugh her head off right there at the bus stop but just kept looking for a bus like there was no one there. She was just a 23-year-old studio architect and didn’t really have the time to argue about her beauty or how many opportunities she was about to miss with a disgruntled man.
The bus finally arrived and she spent the ten-minute ride to work enjoying a Taylor Swift album she downloaded the night before.
“Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! What exactly do you spend all day doing here in this studio?” the Managing Architect yelled.
“Look at these lines! Barely visible! I don’t know if you even understand how to use CAD in the first place. What kind of unproductive person are you? Please, go and re-do these drawings and get them to me before noon!” he said as he dismissed her.
She didn’t want to argue with Mr. Femi because no matter how hard she tried, she never impressed him which surprised her because he was the one who kept praising her after he offered her a job two days after her interview with him. All of a sudden, he turned sour and hardly ever replied her greetings. Well, on the bright side, she wouldn’t have any new drawings on her desk till noon so, win-win. She picked up the file she had submitted on Mr. Femi’s table before she left on Friday and went to her station in the studio.
“Oh what will I eat this night? I hope that beans in the freezer is still good” she thought to herself until her desk phone rang, jolting her out of her thoughts.
“Hello, Onyi speaking” she recited into the speaker like she always did.
“Onyinye, meet me in my office immediately!” Mr. Femi yelled at her.
She quickly returned the receiver and headed off to his office.
“Where are the ICT drawings I asked you to deliver before noon?” He asked before she could even shut the door behind her.
“I left them on your desk a few minutes before noon sir. It’s the brown file by your laptop” she replied
“This? This? This is rubbish. Why are you not a disciplined person? Why have you chosen to be unproductive?” he barked out.
The words unproductive hit her so hard, she felt a little dizzy for about two seconds.
“Look at Nathan. He did the Banana Island G.As and he is known for it. Look at John, he did the Apartment block design and he is known for it. Four months here and I don’t even know where to place you! I know I should have never hired a lady to do a man’s job. You are clearly incompetent!” he concluded.
“But sir, I made a check list of all the corrections you asked me to make and I effected every single one of them.” She said, trying to keep her cool.
“Here, show me” he said as he flung the file at her.
She picked up the file and began to scan through the contents of the document.
“But sir, these are old coloured photocopies of the previous one I sent. I put them in the file along with the new ones so that you be able to see the corrections I made. The new ones are below here sir” She said with a shaky voice.
“Oh…let me see that” he said.
He hastily flipped to the sheets behind, glanced through it and with his head down, asked her to leave his office.
She quickly walked out of the office into the staff w/c and cried her eyes out. She was hurt, so hurt that the thought of quitting her job came to mind.
“How could he say those things to me?” she said to herself while trying in vain to wipe off her tears with toilet paper. She got tired and just let herself cry to her fill. When she was done, she wiped her eyes and stared at her reflection in the mirror for about two minutes. She lifted herself up like she always did, stepped out of the w/c, walked to her cubicle, picked up her hand bag and headed out of the office leaving the questioning eyes of the studio members behind.
…To be continued