Ewa’s Scars

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As a little child, I despised showing up to fancy parties. The “Prim and proper, rich kids” usually had this appalling sense of perfection that I felt would one day consume them.

They would point and stare with flagrant disgust at the long lines of torture carefully inscribed on my petite face. I immediately became “the outcast” at every social gathering, especially those on the Island.

It is funny to think that the decision to inflict the woeful beauty marks on my caramel skin was made by paternal grandmother who I hold in very esteem. She passed on the year before, but still remains my jewel of inestimable value.

It certainly won’t be amiss to assume that anyone who inflicts an act as repulsive as scarification on an innocent child’s face should be crucified, especially by said child. Contrary to this popular opinion, I had an amazing relationship with my perpetuator before her demise.

If I am being honest, I initially resented her for the ridicule she unknowingly subjected me to in secondary school. With time however, the acrimony slowly dissipated, giving way to an unbreakable bond that holds amazing memories.

It was her reason behind the marks that tempered the rage. She had done it in ignorance, with aims of “Highlighting” my beauty. I learnt to live boldly with my scars early in my years, giving no thought to the impertinent stares or bullies who constantly threatened my God given joy.

Sitting in the waiting room with two other candidates for the air hostess position suddenly brought back unpleasant memories. I doubt any of the candidates worked as hard as I did to land this particular interview; their soft giggles and unproductive conversation gave them away. They were no doubt, epitomes of beauty, and that alone was morale boosting. They sure didn’t seem half as anxious as I look.

I am sweating profusely with palpitations despite the cooling effect of the air conditioner.

“Are you all comfortable?” The receptionist utters with enthusiasm. She is a petite ball of delight who seems more excited about the recruitment than the actual employers.

“Yes we are,” my two contenders respond in Unisom, of course not forgetting their gorgeous smiles.

I begin to feel like the outcast yet again, I could have sworn I had left those days behind.

“How about you miss?” she turns in my direction with a concerned look.

“Oh, I am very comfortable thank you,” I reply hurriedly.

“Ok, great. Management said to inform you about the joint interview in 10mins,” she mentions before heading back to her seat.

My palpitations grow even worse.

“Did she just mention a joint session! Lord! How on earth am I to compete with these two?  They seem elegant and poise, a sharp contrast to my unrefined self,” I tremble shamelessly with no respite.

The buzz from the reception desk rudely jolts me back to reality.

“You may proceed to the board room,” The receptionist gestures, after flaunting another encouraging smile.

“You would do just fine Ewa”, I mumble quietly before making my way in with the others.

The board room is expectedly spacious with a Large, wooden and polished cylindrical table adorned with several matching chairs.

The word “elegant” certainly doesn’t do justice to the wall paintings and burst of colours screaming for recognition.

Seated at the extreme end of the cylindrical table are two middle aged women and an elderly man. They all have that dreaded professional stare that always makes me uneasy.

The elderly man however is a bit extra. I don’t know if it was a figment of my imagination, but I noticed a scornful smirk from him as soon as I stepped in.

“Good day Ladies, you may take your seats. You would be addressed consecutively,” One of the middle aged women speaks with very little emotion.

I take the third seat to the right with hopes that seating far back would calm my nerves, but it doesn’t.

The dialogue begins, much unlike the online interview which was more formal and buisness oriented. The board seems more interested in personal details this time.

The show off and accent laden speeches from my two competitors make me certain I stand no chance. I seat through the questioning in one piece till the defining moment when this wicked old man decides to embarrass me.

“ I find your tribal marks quite intriguing, care to share how you got them?”

No he didn’t! Shame and melancholy pave way into consuming my entire being with his unpleasant question.

“What the hell does this question have to do with interviewing for a hostess job! “ I ruminate quietly before giving him a response.

“I got them from my paternal Grandmother.”

This man is definetely the devil’s right hand tool! He doesn’t stop there, oh no he doesn’t , he proceeds with more provoking questions all centered around my scarification marks. I quickly become the subject of ridicule among my rivals; I pay no attention to their soft giggles.

“How comfortable are you with your marks, and do you feel the need to hide them constantly under cosmetics?.” He asks with no remorse.

“With all due respect Sir! I don’t feel the need to cover any part of my being, or the need to explain my choices to anyone. Yes, I am comfortable with the scars and they do not define my worth, neither do they define what I bring to the table.” I struggle to keep it together with a smile.

“That would be all, you may leave.” The other middle aged woman addresses us after minutes of deliberation with her fellow board members.

I get up demoralized, with ultimate thoughts of intensifying my job hunt. I obviously don’t stand a chance with this offer.

To make matters worse, my beat up, old vehicle is no respecter of my ordeal, it fails to come alive at the car park.

I swallow hot tears and put a call through to Gbenga, my ever unreliable mechanic.

See, it’s not like I am oblivious to his reputation, but for the first time in a while, I go the optimistic way till the hard blow of disappointment hits.

It seems as though the Universe is out to frustrate me, I fail severally to book a cab ride home thanks to the area’s shitty network. The day could not just get any worse.

My despair produces a strong urge to seat shamelessly on the floor and let out tears I had managed to hold captive in the board room.

While distraught and utterly confused, a familiar voice beckons behind me, and I am once again brought to terms with the reality of my failure.

It is one of the middle aged board members. She has a silly grin on her structured, harsh face.

“What’s with the silly smirk?” I wonder, almost throwing curse words at her, but for civilization sake, I decide to comport myself.

“You did great in there,” she speaks with enthusiasm. “I absolutely love how you stood up for yourself. it speaks confidence volumes.

“A little birdie told me you just might have gotten the job. Don’t worry, you would find out soon enough. Enjoy the rest of your day, Miss.” She winks before heading towards her vehicle.

“Unbelievable! No it can’t be!” I jump in excitement. At this point, nothing else matters. The joy from my “hear say” appointment is all I need to push me through my 35km home journey by foot.

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