Bola lost the job.
Kemi had come over, they had reconciled, had chatted, had taken a few sips of alcohol. And by two-thirty, Bola had left, agreeing that Kemi would wait for her to return. Bola had returned two hours later, her face gloomy, and her lips too taut to be passing across a fake message.
“There will be other interviews,” Kemi said now, massaging the girl’s arm so subtly. Bola still said nothing. She now knew, this was all the confirmation she needed that she was a failure with an official stamp, whatever that meant.
For the next few hours, they both walked about, sat, drank liquids in silence: Bola too heavy to choose to be unburdened, and Kemi too concerned to say anything more, lest it be the wrong thing. Outside, the falling darkness made the weather feel cold. Inside, the small room felt smaller, but the coming cold was beginning to bite through their pores. It was when Bola said, finally, “She said I’m incapable…”
Kemi turned around to focus on her. Bola’s eyes drooped, and Kemi could see the signs of a lower esteem etched on her friend’s face.
“Well, did she say where you had to improve, for the sake of next time?”
“No,” Bola said. “She implied I would not be needed, and when I began to leave, she whispered to her colleague about how I’m flat.”
A shadow of empathy swam past Kemi’s brown face. She walked closer to Bola and touched her face. They chose to sit down together, in silence again. Bola thought, maybe it was normal; maybe it was part of what should be expected during the job-hunting thing; maybe she only felt offended because she did know that her behind was flat and unattractive; maybe she was overreacting, taking it too seriously.
“Kosi asked if I cooked when he woke up today,” Kemi found herself saying. She did not know the purpose of blurting out what she had kept at the back of her mind all day.
“I felt like he should have known that I barely cooked, even though we both know nothing about ourselves. I mean, barely.”
Bola chuckled. “But how should he have known?”
Kemi laughed lightly. “I don’t care sha o. The fact that he even thought to ask me if I cooked, that was upsetting. We were both drunk last night, but he slept till noon, then asked that stupid question like I could not have been just as hungover as he was.”
“You love that you had not cooked anything, don’t you?”
Bola laughed first. Then Kemi joined in. “Ehen nau.” More laughter.
Deep down, Kemi hoped that her blurt had helped. They both knew it had just come out of her, and suddenly, it didn’t matter that the interview had gone wrong -it still mattered; only it would not become an issue for another day because at the moment, it was not worth the tension.
“We’re broke,” Kemi said. “And it’s undeniably difficult to take control of our lives now, but… We’ll figure it out.”
Bola heaved, and when she felt a harsh sting of the cold, she placed her head on Kemi’s shoulder and began to cry.