Tobi ran inside and it was then I suspected I must have been thinking aloud. I waited for him to come and place that kiss on my forehead, the one that always reminded me that I am not alone. Instead he looked at me and walked away and although I felt a sharp knife pierce my heart, I was still happy there was still something inside of my son that cared for me. Quite sure staying there any further would mean Tobi getting late to school, I covered the plate in front of me and moved towards the door to lock up the house. I’ll apologize to him once I get into the car because I cannot allow him have a terrible day in school. I’ll let him know how proud I am and probably tell him that my earlier attitude was just to show him how life could be. To crown it all, I’ll definitely get him the money, he deserves to be happy. As I got into my decrepit Toyota Corolla, he brought out a book as if he knew my intentions. I was amazed, not because he brought out a book, but because it was the same book I had bought for him on his last birthdays. I knew he brought out the book to discourage a conversation, so, I obliged.
Incase You Missed Part 1
The journey to his school seemed farther today, with nobody interested in interfering in anybody’s thoughts, so, we both occupied ourselves with our thoughts and pondered on our unresolved questions. I remembered the way he was singing so happily and could not wait to share that joy with me. I thought about how at the snap of a finger, I made everything a regret. Such is life, it allows you taste joy and takes it when you are about settling in it. I sighed. I stopped at his school gate and silently watched him carry his bag. I opened my bag and brought out some money for him. He collected it, saying nothing, and as he was about to open the door, I said
“I love you son, do have a nice day”. He stopped to look at me and I saw how unsuccessfully he tried to fight the tears that were already coming down his cheeks. I waited for him to say something, but he did not. He simply opened the door and left the car, dropping the money I gave to him on my laps. I knew I could not follow him inside the school but needed no one to tell me how terrible his day will be. I wondered what he would tell his teachers when they ask him about my attitude towards the good news.
Although I know Oluwatobiloba to be a very understanding boy, I still find it very difficult to tell him the truth, to explain to him how the world hates me and how the government has made me useless. A countless times, I have told my son how I had graduated with a first class and had gotten a job on my convocation but I have never had the courage to tell him the concluding part of the story. I remember, I remember that day when I felt like the most important person in the world, that day when my friends carried me shoulder high, the way the Vice-Chancellor made those amazing remarks about me and my uncle could not hide his joy as he gave me the key to a Toyota Corolla. There was an after party and I was the super hero of the night, everybody wanted to associate with a fresh graduate who got a job without having to suffer in the labor market. Honestly, Nifemi deserves nothing less” one of them said. “I agree with you”, another added. We all got our posting and I was one of the few unlucky people. I was posted to Ebonyi, instead of Abuja where I had been given the job. Instantly, I called the General Manager who had dropped his card for me on my convocation to explain the situations of things to him.
Incase You Missed Part 2
Three weeks after, I went to my office to report. I got there as early as 8:00am and went straight to the General Manager’s office. I entered the office and smiled as I saw that familiar face that solved what I thought was going to be a big problem for me. He had told me to write a letter to the office, explaining to them why I would be resuming a bit late. “Thanks for the other day sir” I said while sitting on the chair in front of him. After the usual greetings, he cleared his throat; a way of reminding me I was there on an official basis. I sat upright, ready to listen to the tactics and instructions that would accompany my new job.
“Actually, we did not receive your letter early enough and we had to give your office to someone else. We are extremely sorry for the disappointment, but we promise you that you will be the first person we’ll call whenever there is a vacant space”. It looked like a joke to me and I asked him to stop the joke and tell me when I should resume officially. When I realized he was not joking, I just gazed at him, Speechless.
Now looking at myself today, I see the once upon a time prospective petroleum engineer who has spent five solid years in school, become nothing but a street surveyor. How can I ever bring myself to tell Oluwatobiloba that I have been deceiving him all along? How can I explain to him that I only leave home in the morning to come back in the evening, just to make him happy? How can I tell him there is still one basic truth he needs to know about me? How best can I put these words that haunt my life both day and night? How would I comport myself enough to tell him I have no job?