It was one of those days. There was too much traffic. Friday was always like that whether going to work or returning home. The congestion was intense. I can safely say that in the last fifteen minutes, the bus had not moved an inch. The interview was starting at 9am. It was already 8:05am. My black portfolio was resting on my lap. I was sitting by the window right at the back as usual. I was trying to see through the open window.
A haulage truck had broken down just ahead of us. To make matters worse the robot was not working. There was no electricity. The whole scene was chaotic and stressful, with honking cars and angry passengers. I could not sit still. The only people who seemed happy were the airtime vendors selling airtime by the roadside.
“What is your problem?” asked Mai John.
She occupied almost the whole seat. She could see that I was not my usual self.
After what seemed an interminable time the vehicles started crawling forward. I kept looking at my watch every now and again. It was a hopeless situation. The frustrating part of it was that I had no control of this man-made chaos.
And just as I thought that the worst was over and the bus was moving at a reasonable speed, a few metres down the road, a policeman flagged the bus to a stop by the side of the road. This was the last straw.
All these past days there was never a roadblock. Fate was standing between me and the job interview. Why would the police mount a roadblock on this day than any other day? I remembered that at one time my elder sister once went for a job interview and only to be told that the interviews had been carried out the previous day. Was this a curse in the family?
I stood up from my seat. By now several commuter omnibuses were parked by the side of the road. There was silence on the bus except for Sister Florence. She was cursing the whole police force. “Good for nothing, if they are so good at their job, why are there so many thieves on our streets?” Last time she was late for work, her boss had given her a final warning. “All they are good at is getting bribes,” she continued. Time was running out for everyone. We were being delayed unnecessarily.
I peeped through the window and I was just in time to see the driver give something to a policeman. The driver rushed back to the bus and in a moment our journey resumed.
I disembarked at the intersection of Robert Mugabe Avenue/ Chinhoyi Street.
When I entered the lobby at Peach Investment Properties, the clock was just striking 9am. I was late, and disoriented as a smiling secretary showed me the boardroom where interviews were being conducted.
“I am not sure they will interview you anymore. You are late,” she said as I entered the boardroom.
The panel was made up of four people, three men and one lady. They were gathering their papers and preparing to leave as I entered. They all looked at me in surprise. Then one of them in a brown suit asked, “Are you coming for the interview?”
“Yes,” I stammered. I gave him my name.
The man checked his papers. He nodded then he looked at the other panelists in exasperation. He sat down and the other three also sat down.
“You may sit,” he said.
“Can we see your certificates,” he said.
It was then that I realised that I did not have my portfolio that contained my certificates. I panicked as I gripped the table tightly. I must have left the portfolio on the bus. They all looked at me in amusement. I was doomed. Once more the man in the brown suit spoke.
“Without your certificates, we cannot continue with the interview. You may apply again in future if there is a vacancy. Good luck.”
I was dazed. It was all surreal. I left Peach Investment Properties in a daze. Fate was not on my side.
*Onie Ndoro is an educationist, IELTS tutor, ghost writer and storyteller. For feedback: Twitter: @Onie90396982, Cell 0773007173, email:[email protected]