Standing on the altar, in front of a man I love, exchanging heartfelt vows, was something I never thought I was going to do. I believed in love, in having a soulmate, but after many failed relationships, I concluded mine did not exist.
“I, Okafor Fortune, take you, Nnadi Samuel to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow,” I said with a smile on my face. The day we met was one of the worst days of my life, but I would relive it a thousand times if it meant this day would come.
I had woken up nervous and eager for a job interview. After putting on the best cloth I could find, and taking a long look at the mirror, I left.
I got to the oil company, where I was applying for the position of a petroleum engineer, then got directed to an office where the hiring manager was. The smile he had on his face when I entered was welcoming, enough to get rid of my anxiety. It filled me with overwhelming self-confidence.
My resume was spectacular, I had experience, excellent work history, the skill set, everything I needed to get the job. Every question he asked, I expected, and I had a suitable answer for, or so I thought.
“Do you work well with people?” he asked. “Because you know, this job requires teamwork.”
“Yes, I do. I have worked with different people. None I wasn’t able to handle.”
“When you say ‘handle’, what do you mean?” he asked, and for a moment I was quiet thinking of the best answer to the question. But before I could get the chance to speak, he pressed something on his laptop, then turned it to me.
It was a video, a video of secondary school me in a fight with one of my classmates, I couldn’t recall what had transpired but from what I could see, it was brutal.
He paused the video, then looked me in the eye and said, “So Miss Fortune, how do I handle this you?”
‘This you,’ he said it like I was a bipolar wild animal he didn’t want to have to handle. How was I supposed to convince him that the person in the video wasn’t who I was anymore. I couldn’t, so without another word, I grabbed my bag and left, holding back tears. Then I entered the company restroom, and I couldn’t help but imagine how many people had been there to cry over a failed interview. I opened one of the toilets and sat there to cry my eyes out, but I was uncomfortable, I needed an open space where I’d scream and no one would hear, so I went to the back of the company. One childhood mistake had ruined my entire life, depriving me from a life-changing opportunity, if I had just been less troublesome.
“Are you okay?” I heard someone say. I grabbed my bag, cleaned my tears with the back of my hand, then stood up to leave. “Don’t go if you’re not done, I’ll leave instead.”
I was not done, so I stayed and continued, louder this time. The stranger didn’t go, he just sat by my side with a tissue in his hand while I drowned in tears.
After crying, I collected the tissue, cleaned my tears, and said, “I’m done now,” and he smiled. A smile I thought was beautiful. But then, not everyone that smiled had good intentions. That, I learned the hard way.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Food,” he said, and I looked at him. “Food would cheer you up. It cheers me up always, and there’s a restaurant close by.”
“Thanks, but I’m not hungry,” I said, going out to eat with a complete stranger was not something I needed at the moment.
“Come on,” he persuaded.
“I’m not interested.”
“I swear, I have no other intentions, it’s just food.”
“Of course it is, but no,” I said, then grabbed my bag and stood.
“Okay, no offence taken,” he said, and I smiled.
“Thanks for the tissue,” I said, and he nodded, sad. I felt the need to console him for the abrupt rejection so I said, “You’ll forget about me,” before walking away.
“I won’t,” he shouted from behind and he didn’t.