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I will never forget the day I got my first job.

I was roused from sleep by the ringing of
my phone.

I groped about my bedding trying
to locate it, while cursing whoever it was who had interrupted my dream.

“Get a hold of yourself, man!” I muttered to myself.

The phone was not on the bed.

I swept my hand across the earthen floor in the slum shack that I used to call my home, and there it was.

I picked it up, peered at the screen and sat up straight.

“Hallo?” I said to the caller

“Hallo? Am I speaking to Ben W.?”
“Yes.”

“This is Susan from Profarms Consultancy.”

My mouth went dry.

“Well Ben, you have been shortlisted for the position of Associate Consultant.
The interview is tomorrow morning at eight. Will you make it?”

I could barely find my voice but I managed to let out a faint “Yes”.

“The interview will be conducted at our head office on Mombasa Road. Please bring your original documents and national ID.”

“I will. Thank you.”

I sat on the edge of the bed long after the phone call ended.

Silence punctuated by the occasional roar of motorcycles passing by filled
the one-roomed house.

It had been three years since I graduated.

No job had come my way.

At least no job worthy of the degree I earned at the university.

I had sent applications via post and online… nothing.

I had resorted to knocking at office doors randomly.

I never went beyond the receptionist.

Over time, i did odd jobs here and there.

I went less to the post office and seldom stepped into the local cyber cafe to check my mails.

I mingled less with the friends I went to school with and more with the boys at the car wash and garage.

At least the latter did not ask questions such as “Where are you these days?”

I spent the rest of the day in a daze,daydreaming about my improving prospects in life.

How time flew in that sweet day!

The sun was now setting.

I needed to get ready for work.

I got out my Janitor uniform from under the beddings.

I did not own a flat iron.

And I was not fond of borrowing from
my neighbour — a ravishing beautiful married woman who resided in my dream every night.

Doing this kind of thing,and seeing her beautiful smile and smooth-skin hands handing over the ironing box everyday,and with my boiling hormones, the mere act of borrowing the box was likely to drive my head to have funny ideas about her,and this would be a good recipe for disaster with a bachelor like me.

To straighten my clothes and give them a semblance of having been ironed, I
folded and placed them between my mattress and the bed before I slept.

I poured water from the 20-litre jerrycan into a basin, taking care to leave enough to make tea with.

Dashed to the common bathroom with bath water.

Shortly thereafter,I was on way to Classic
Apartments, where. I worked as a janitor,, opening the gate for well-to-do tenants returning home from work, with the small radio playing my vernacular music on full blast, occasionally stealing a snooze.

The next morning, I left for home early in order to prepare for the interview.

However, I was not early enough for some reason.

A long queue had formed at the
estate’s communal water tap even though it was only 4:30 am.

I quickly joined the queue holding a
container.

It was chilly, but in my white vest and towel, could not feel it.

Several months spent as a watchman had hardened my body to the chills of the night,and my soul too.

The queue moved slowly.

I hummed a tune to while away the time.

A girl who was a few steps ahead joined in.

She turned around just in time to catch my eye and winked.

Blood rushed south as I smiled sheepishly, much to her amusement.

In a short while, the girl reached at the head of the head of the queue to the tap.

She filled her jerrycan just in time for at that very moment, the tap went dry.

The people behind her cursed.

The more emboldened pelted the landlord’s roof with stones.

He never experienced water shortages.

All the roof guttering in the estate fed water
into a 10,000-litre tank at the back of his house.

I was devastated.

I did not have a single drop of water in the house.

The thought of asking, nay begging, for water from the girl saddened my soul.
I knew her willy ways.

Nothing from her was for free.

Nonetheless, she was the only neighbour who was friendly to me.

She greeted me when I moved into the neighbourhood.

She even helped carry my meagre belongings into the house.

The rest did not lift a finger to assist..

They sat in front of their houses staring.

There was pity in the eyes of a few but disgust in most.

Perhaps they saw me as the girl’s next victim.

Perhaps they saw the girl’s next abuser.

Either way, they just stared.

I had no choice.

As the disappointed tenants walked away, I made my way to the girl.

Unlike the ravishing beautiful married woman, who I always had in my dreams every night,this girl,Stella was her name-she was the kind of of the girl I clearly didn’t need in my life: a gold digger to be exact and the resident estate call girl who was always yours for the asking.

“Hi Stella. A moment please”.

“For you I can give a lifetime,” she replied.

“I don’t have any water in my house and I need to be ready to go to town today. Could you give me a litre or two? I swear I’ll fetch you some water tomorrow morning”.

Stella advanced in my direction and gently laid her right hand on my left shoulder. She drew closer
and whispered into my ear.

“I’ll give you more than two litres but you have to pass by my house before you go to work tonight. I want to cook for you.”

I felt the hair at the back of my head stand on end.

For the first time that morning, I felt the
cold chill in the air rush to my bones.

I tried to worming my way out of Stella’s
schemes but she was the stronger one.

In the end,I yielded.

I promised I would pass by an hour
before going to work.

“Better make it two. We might be inside for a while,” she riposted as
her hand slid down my shoulder.

She then poured more than enough
water into my jerrycan and went into her house, all the while giggling with delight.

I was rooted to the spot for a while with a stupefied look on my face.

Nonetheless, I shrugged off the whole incident and prepared for the trip to town.

I gingerly shared the water according to the morning preparations; bathing, brewing tea, wiping the shoes and brushing the teeth.

I put on the only suit I owned.

I did not own a mirror but felt that I looked good.

Stepping out with the confidence of a man who thought good things were in store for him, I ventured into the narrow slum streets.

There was an extra spring in my walk.

After all, I was going for a job interview.

I cast a glance at the shacks around me and unconsciously bade them
goodbye.

I even smiled at the bus conductor.

Indeed, I was in my best element.

The charm that had been chipped
away by years of toil and anguish was slowly being restored.

The almost permanent smile I had during my campus days was now making its way back to my lips.

I looked around the bus.

Several people were engrossed in some communication or other on their smartphones.

Others were browsing the dailies.

Soon I would also be typing and browsing in a smartphone too.

I was going to be important.

I was having a date with my destiny!

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

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