Big Boys Don’t Smile


David wore the suit his grandma gave him as a present for his birthday two years ago which was a few months before she kicked the bucket. He loved the suit so much he wore it only for special occasions. This was a special occasion and he was hoping the suit would bring him good luck. He really needed it, the good luck and not the occasional bad luck. This was the fifth job interview he was going for this year and any normal person would have given up by now but not him.

“Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation”, he had read somewhere. He was determined to keep trying until it finally clicked.

David looked at the mirror and told himself that he could do it. All he had to do was smile and answer the questions he was asked correctly. What if he did not get this one again? He thought. Would he have the motivation to go for another one? Was it not better to stick to his Taxi driving instead of trying to obtain a White collar job? He drove the thought away. It was better to think about now than thinking about the future and right now he was going to be late if he did not leave any moment from now.

As he stepped out of his one room apartment he could hear raised voices coming from the next apartment. He shook his head knowing what was going on. Tobi and Felicia were at it again, quarreling like someone had given them a hate potion. David wondered why the both of them decided to live couples life when they were not married. To him, it was just wrong. It was not his growing up in a Christian family that made him see things from that perspective but because, he did not see the sense in it all. Definitely quarrels like this were bound to happen. Even married couples who were living comfortable lives would definitely have misunderstandings not to talk of students who were not married and still living off their parents money. Tobi was a 300l student of University of Ibadan while Funke was a fresher at Uni Ibadan also.

Neighbours who cared had tried helping them settle whatever it was that caused their constant nagging. Even David had tried helping too but all to no avail. David knew what the cause of it all was though. They were both young and naive kids trying to grow up too fast. From what he heard, Tobi was nineteen years old while Funke was seventeen. He wondered how the both of them ever thought they could pull through what even a thirty year old could not pull through. What confused him though was how the both of them were still together even with their constant quarrels. He expected that they should have broken up by now. Maybe they were even more stupid than he thought. The young man shook his head again and locked his door. Their relationship was not his case to solve. They were dealing with their problem the same way he was dealing with his. Everyone has their own cross to bear, he concluded.

David walked to where his Peugeot 604 was parked. The car belonged to his grandma and she passed it on to him before she died. It was the car he had been using for his Taxi business for a year now. David knew being a Taxi driver was not for him. It was something he did just to survive the harsh economy. His dream had always been to be a Mechanical Engineer. That was what he had spent five years in Nsukka studying only for the Nigerian economy to change his destiny. It was so sad and frustrating.

The familiar high-pitched screeching song of the car starter did a good job singing its morning melody.

“No no no no no”, David voiced. “Don’t do this to me Ma’mi”.

Ma’mi was what he called his grandma and he named the car after her. The love he had for his grandma was unconditional. He loved the old woman more than anything in the world. She was pretty much the one there for him right from when he was little unlike his mother who was too busy chasing her dream than taking care of her child. His father on the other hand was a different plot for another story.

“I need you”, he told the car like it could hear his voice.

He started the car again and like a good servant that heard the voice of its master, the engine came to life. David felt like hugging Ma’mi and giving her a thousand kisses but instead of doing that, he Zoomed out without wasting any more time heading to Challenge were Ashdam Solar Company was located.

Ashdam Solar Company was a big company in Ibadan. David had seen their job advert while browsing through Facebook one Thursday evening. Luckily, his line of specialty was part of the jobs listed. Being the optimistic fellow that he is, he applied and now he was on his way for the interview.

As he stepped into the company, fear came upon him. Fear of walking out the door disappointed again. He consoled himself that disappointment would not be a new look on him so he had nothing to worry about. He always did a good job of wearing the look with confidence. David decided to get rid of his negative feeling and dwell his attention on the pretty ladies that were coming and going like Abiku as he sat waiting for his turn to go in for the interview. If he thought that would be a good distraction, he was so right. He could not help noticing this fair skinned medium height lady who graced the room with her presence. It was not only her coke bottle body that caught his attention but also her warm smile that gave him hope that everything would be alright. She was the only one he had seen smile since he walked in. Maybe she was his Angel sent to give him hope. Well, she did a good job delivering the message.

Fourty-two minutes later and his name was called. David followed the description of the guy who told him where the interview room was and he did a good job of finding it. Before he entered, he could not help noticing the poster on the door which read, Keep calm, big boys don’t smile and big girls don’t cry. He could not help but smile at the ridiculous poster. Who on earth would think of a caption like this? He wondered. Anyhow, it made him smile and ease his tension which was probably the intention of the person who put the poster on the door.

David adjusted his suit and walked in. The faces he met with were not as scary as the ones he met in his last interview. Their faces were so scary that he had a hard time constructing a good sentence in front of them.

He sat down like he was instructed to and the interview began with no waste of time. Like he had told himself, he smiled and answered whatever question was thrown at him, not stammering this time.

When the interview ended, he was told that he would be gotten back to. David noticed something different as he walked out of the office. This time there was no fear of being rejected again. His spirit was at ease. There was this hope he had that this one would bring him good tidings. As he shut the door, he could not help but read the poster again which did good cracking him up.

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