An advertisement posted on Sunny Side Daily a few days back caught Quin’s attention as she skimmed through the newspaper. A notice for a job vacancy for two Junior Designers at Lou’s Dreamwear, one of the biggest names in the fashion industry, looked like a sign from the heavens at that time. Right until she approached the sky scrapper and saw the tailored suits walking in and out of the spinning doors. Her confidence escaped her like dust in the wind. Now, she felt a gut-wrenching sickness that made her almost vomit. However, she reminded herself she was in a rented suit and as the store owner said, “You stain it, you buy it.”
Under the scorching afternoon sun, she stood across the street admiring the tall building. It resembled the deep sea which reminded her of home. How she missed the white sandy beaches, the house she grew up in and her old friends in Malindi. They must be married now. She thought.
The last time she went home she had a nasty argument with her mother because of how the big city had changed her. She did not wear the hijab anymore. She was no longer a Muslim as she had clearly stated in the numerous phone calls they had. Just when her mother had found a good man to marry her, she dropped the bombshell on her.
From that day, she never returned to the coastal town. It has been about three years now without a single word from home. They had disowned her but she still hoped they would come around. For her, returning back was not an option.
She felt disoriented for a while as she struggled to look ahead. Her vision became blurry.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” a good Samaritan stopped to assist her.
“I’m okay. Thank you,” she replied then swallowed hard. Her throat was dry.
She desperately needed some water and going to the pharmacy was a convenient excuse to back out of the interview. However, today was not the day for any of that. She walked to the closest kiosk in sight and bought a chilled bottle of water.
After the refreshment, she was good to go. Clutching a huge sketchbook, she crossed the street to her dream job.
The guard frisked her bag for any illegal content and then motioned her to proceed inside. The air was cool and fresh in the building unlike the choking fumes of the city. She took it all in and smiled at the relief then caught a glimpse of her reflection on a shiny glass surface. Her make-up needed a little retouch. Other than that, she looked perfect.
Her looks were a big seller, as always. She knew the minute she walked into the office how she dressed, walked and talked would be her selling point.
She was inside the office finally. The receptionist enquired about her name and with a smile directed her to a line of hopeful candidates. She found a seat next to a tall model-like girl. On her left was a snobbish girl in a baby pink sweater and a grey skirt.
“Do these people really need this job? They look like they have snatched off a magazine.” Quin wondered, letting her thoughts remain light.
Everybody had a brown envelope which she assumed contained their degree with reference letters. All she had was her sketchbook.
Thirty minutes later, she heard her name.
“Quin Mkamburi?” the receptionist called out immediately after she put the phone down.
Rising from her seat, she replied “That’s me.”
“She will see you now. Just proceed straight, the second door to your left.”
With those instructions, she found herself on the hot seat staring at the gorgeous young lady she had looked up to for years. Her flowery chiffon dress worn with a black coat and white peep toe stilettoes displayed the put-together lady like a mannequin in a Chanel store. Quin both admired and envied her impeccable taste.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to stare?” she asked with a smile on her face.
“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting such a young lady,” Quin replied jokingly. They shared a laugh.
“Please, feel comfortable. Let me go through your…” the hesitation was definitely not a good sign. “This must be a mistake but there is no education or work experience on your resume. I trust you’ve brought them with you.”
“About that,” she began.
“No, no, no. Please, do not waste my time. I am extremely busy.” Just as she was about to dial the receptionist, Quin rose to her feet and began her mitigation.
“I may not have studied at…” she glanced at the certificate hanging on the wall. “Cambridge, wow! But you can’t hold that against me. If you only take the time and look at my sketches you will see that a good designer is not made in school but at heart.” She explained almost in tears, afraid of what she might hear next. She had another story lined up in case the first one failed.
There was a prolonged silence as the lady scrolled through her iPad not once looking up at Quin. After realizing she was not going to get a response, Quin made her way towards the dark brown polished door.
“Thank you for your time, ma’am.” She said turning the door handle.
“Wait, let’s see what you have. I’d be a fool not to be curious about anyone who comes to a job interview with no papers at all, not even forged ones.” Her smile was back.
Almost running, she handed her the huge sketchbook then resumed her sitting position, a bit calmer. A couple of nods indicated a good sign. Then, after a few minutes of waiting, her fate was sealed.
“This is all quite impressive, I must say. I like your style. It has an original feel to it.” She started, her heavy British accent that was almost incomprehensible but Quin breezed through it.
At that point, it did not matter to Quin whether she got the job, a maybe or nothing at all. The most important thing was that she went for it. She thought comfortingly bracing herself for the disappointment.
“I’d love to have you on my team but no one would even allow it. The board would immediately raise a red flag. However, I have your contacts now. If ever I need a freelance job, I will get in touch. What I would advise you is to take a design course even if it’s a diploma. You’re a natural, darling. Don’t let that go to waste.”
With those last words, she picked up her sketchbook and pristine designer bag, thanked the lady once again then made an exit from the office breathing a sigh of relief.
As she walked out of the building her phone buzzed.
“Look behind you.” a voice on the other end said and she did. The sight of her ever-glowing best friend standing out in a group of dull suits lit up her day like fireworks. She walked up to her and embraced her. “How did it go?” Georgina enquired.
“Girl, I need a drink right now. Let’s go to our usual spot.” She replied then hang up.
Quin has a secret – a shameful one that can make her lose everything. Find out what happens next My Boyfriend Discouraged Me From Pursuing My Dream Job Part 2
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