So you have finally finished your four years of campus and you are waiting eagerly to get off campus. You know that you will have to grow up, find a job and settle in to paying taxes and generally being a normal citizen. Quite frankly, the thought bothers you because all adults you know are either boring or your relatives. You sometimes wonder whether you know very few adults.
You are determined that you will not tarmac like all those guys you hear looking for jobs. They keep saying that jobs are scant but you think that they do not believe enough. You will prove them wrong they should just wait and see. It is not as though you know you will get a first class, those are for bookworms and people who need a life, but who needs a first class when they are not planning to be lecturers? Right? Lecturers who by the way, you are happy to be saying good bye to. For good!!
You pack your things neatly and are careful to keep the books away first. This is it. You are going out there. No one can stop you. You bid farewell some of your friends and on your way out you realize that you no longer need to say hi to the caretaker because after all, he will not need your late rent next month. You say hi anyway. You are in a good mood. You are ready to show the job market what they have been missing.
All you can think about as you are driven home is how the ‘who is who’ among the engineers will be fighting over you. You imagine how you will have to help your former classmates by vouching for them to get some of the offers you are forced by circumstances to turn down. They will then owe you their lifestyles which by the way will not be as fancy as yours. You will be so modest you will hardly mention it. When it comes up, you will just smile it away and think about how impressive you are. You have it all figured out.
Such, was the day for her. Sabrina (obviously you know the name is made up) reached home a very happy girl. She could not wait to dazzle her parents with her brilliant life plan. When she got home though, no one asked about it. They just acted as though she had come on holiday. She was a bit disappointed but she knew they would come on board when they saw that their money which they spent on her fee had not been wasted.
Fast forward to several months later
She has just finished putting on her last layer of mascara. As she draws on the fake eyebrows, she stares intently at her face. She could swear she is beginning to have wrinkles. She combs her one month old weave and hopes that it does not look half as bad as she thinks. She hopes that she has done her make-up well enough so that anyone who sees her, thinks that that is her natural look.
Since she finished school a few months ago, life has not been as she imagined it would be. First of all, jobs were even more elusive than she had been told. She would know. She has been sending her CV every place she could think about. On a really good day, the response was that the companies were not hiring. On a normal day, none of them even bothered to humor her with a response.
Secondly, she was broke. No one tells you that once you are finished with school, you are on your own. Now she knows the price of milk in every supermarket. You need to compare them so that you pick the cheapest. She has perfected the art of bargaining. She bargains on anything and everything. When she can, she avoids places where you cannot bargain.
All she thinks about nowadays is a better tomorrow, one where she will have a comfortable job where no one knows her. Reality has slapped her in the face. She also thinks about her school days wistfully. She tries to be positive, but fails every so often. More so when she sees her age mates on Face Book take selfies with their workmates.
She picks her handbag, which has been handed down in her family for ages. Every one of her siblings has used it at one point or another. It is what, 50 years old? No? It looks like it. She is miserable. But today, today she will not think about it.
It is after all, her graduation.
She joins the game. She knows she is dressed the part, albeit the fact that she had to beg her mother and get an m-shwari loan to buy it. No one can tell that from her catwalk. She can stand blisters from her borrowed four-inch heels the next day; she only hopes they can stand her extra weight without giving in. She recites her story in her head.
Leo ni leo, (today is today) she will show them who she is. She plasters on her faked smile that by the way, looks like a wince, but she doesn’t know that. She sucks in her stomach and matches on, ready to live the lie for one more day.