I was tired already; been queuing at the filling station for hours. If only I had enough cash I would have bought from black market; N700 for 4 litres and gone home to relax. I dared not with the disposable income available to me. I was angry – at whom? No idea. At what? No clue. Solution? Not in view.
I pulled back the car seat and relaxed my back which was aching as a result of the sedentary position. I was about dozing off when I heard a bang on my old Mazda 626. I was startled; I looked up and I saw an old friend of mine from the University; Hakeem. A dapper young man; class and money oozed out from him. I could smell it all. We chatted about old friends and everything after school. He gave me his card before he left and I couldn’t bring out my card which looked like toilet paper with my data printed on it. I knew then that call cards has levels. He worked with one of the big oil companies as Head on Internal Audit. Ouch! He filled the tank of his sleek Toyota Avenza with black market fuel and zoomed off. Levels! And then I remembered that he graduated with a third class.
Life was about to stop making sense to me before then, but after that experience it stopped. I can swear it. What the heck is this sef? “I stop reading from today. It is a waste of time. This weekend I will be burning all the gaddamn books”, I said. I was that angry. Yeah, I know it is extreme but I truly planned to do it. Why was I keeping them anyway? Who would have thought that with my first class degree in Economics; I wouldn’t be able to secure a position in one of the top multinationals or even in an oil company?
I burnt candles when others were partying. I sat in front of the class. I read, read and read. I was called different names; ‘Efiko’, ‘Igi Iwe’, ‘Bookworm’, ‘Omo labere, Iwe labi’ and many more. To all these names I answered; I’d smile and feel good. I’d complete the syllabus before the course ended. Few days before exam, my room would be crowded. They’d come to me for help. I’d solve all the Orijo questions. I knew they would come so I would always read for two and more. Even after the nights of lecturing and teaching and solving questions, on the exam day, they’d fight over who and how they’d sit around me in the exam hall. I’d finish my exam in half the given time and spend the remaining half passing answers to my friends. I could write two exams from start to finish within the allotted time for one paper. I was that good.
And it all paid off. I bagged my first class honours. It didn’t come as a surprise to many. I felt special. Great. I completed my youth service with pride. I could almost borrow money to buy myself some comfort with the promise to pay back when I get my fat job with fat pay. I was that convinced. I was so sure Shell was coming for me; that Chevron will beg me to join its workforce, that Exxon will seek me. I wrote aptitude tests with pride. I’d meet old friends from school and when they see me they’d say “Oh you, you will floor it naw. Shebi na you. Igi Iwe. I trust you” I’d smile and spank their backs, “Stop jor”, pretending to be shy. They believed in me. I believed in myself. And after the test I’d wait to be called for interview. I’d watch my phone from morning to night. I’d make sure it was fully charged. “I am expecting a call”, I’d say. I was too certain. First week, Second, Third and then I’d call those I met at the test centre only to be told those selected have resumed for training. I lost again. My confidence level declined after every failed test.
I registered for ICAN, I qualified. I registered for CISA. I qualified. I registered for CFA. I qualified. And I got a job. Finally I got a job.
Just a job. Not Chevron. Not Mobil. Not Shell. Just a job in a small firm earning a quarter of what my friends who use to depend on me for success in exams earned. I want more. I think I should earn more. That I deserve more. I want something big, something to cover for all the candles I burnt, all the parties I missed, the life I should have lived; the clubs I should have rocked, the girlfriends I should have had, the excursions I should have gone, something for all the exams I wrote, all the people I taught. Something more.
How could those who read little, who partied more, today earn more? What could be wrong? Or am I asking for too much?
Photo Credit: love-life-inc.com
Adebola Idowu is a high-spirited, selfless and fun loving person She is married with three gorgeous boys; a set of twins inclusive; hence her alias The Matron. A Finance professional who works full time and yet squeezes out time to write. She shares her poems, prose, stories on www.thematronwrites.com. She is passionate about encouraging and celebrating young entrepreneurs.