How you treat others...
4 months ago, 10 Aug 17:03
“There are no vacancies,” the secretary spoke in a monotone as soon as I entered the office carrying a brown envelope. I started to say something, but her frosty stare, shut my mouth.
“Shut the door after you,” she added, unceremoniously ushering me out of the office.
This was a rude end to the first half of my day. I had spent the morning dropping off copies of my CV in offices in town and was tired. It was now lunch hour, and office workers swarmed Kimathi Street. The sight of them elicited envy in me; men in impeccable suits, and ladies in heels, weaves and bright lipstick.
Would I ever get to enjoy a life such as these people had?
It had been three years since my graduation from a local university. The degree I received was truly hard-earned. We learned via pamphlets issued by part-time lecturers at the beginning of every semester.
The internet came in handy - never mind that we had to use our phones. And then, three brutal years of job hunting and surviving on dregs followed the graduation. When would this search end? I asked as I walked to the bus stage.
As I stood waiting for the bus home, a man detached himself from the milling crowd. He came and planted himself before me. There were beads of sweat on his forehead, and food stains on his t-shirt.
“God bless you, my brother,” he started, his voice low, tremulous. He had conman written all over him. However, my grandfather Lemuel always said to treat everyone with respect.
“Amen,” I replied.
Encouraged, he smiled.
“God wants to bless you, brother.”
“What do you want?” I asked him.
“Something to eat; I am sick, I am hungry, please.”
He moved closer and I detected the unmistakeable whiff of alcohol on his breath.
His pleas and stubborn refusal to leave got to me. I retrieved my wallet from my coat pocket, and rummaged for a coin. A crumpled fifty-shilling note fell to the pavement. We both bent down to pick it up simultaneously but he was faster. He snatched up the note and melted into the crowds, hurling words of gratitude over his shoulders.
The bus was not long in coming. I got in and took the nearest seat I could get.
I was tired to the bone. Next to me sat a muscular man with bulging biceps, and a torso the size of a small country. He cradled a tiny pink backpack, in his massive hands, one of these cute, little girl bags that have Barbie’s pictures on them.
I felt the laughter bubbling within me at such an incongruous sight: A big strong man carrying such a tiny feminine accessory. He looked at me, and the sadness in his eyes silenced my laughter.
Halfway down Jogoo Road, his phone rang. He answered it, launching into an animated conversation, placing the bag between him and the backrest. After some time, he stood up and alighted from the bus, leaving the little pink bag behind.
“Excuse me, your bag!” I shouted ...
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