I didn’t know what to expect when I left the house for the job interview that fateful day. I hoped to get the job but I wasn’t very sure that I would end up getting it. I attended many interviews within the month. All of them held a lot of promise. I had the right portfolio for the job. I fit perfectly for all the stated requirements for the job and the roles were something I could do with my eyes closed, yet all I heard after each of the interviews was; “You will hear from us very soon.” At the end of the day, I didn’t hear from them. Due to this experience, I managed my expectations when it came to attending job interviews so I wouldn’t get disappointed.
On that particular day, I looked my best and plastered a friendly smile on my face as I walked into the building I hoped to work in. I saw a group of men standing at the reception. From afar I saw them chatting and laughing. Seeing them made me nervous but I soldiered on. I thought, “I will just greet them and walk straight ahead.”
As soon as I got to them one of the guys opened his arms and told me, “Give me a hug.” I didn’t like his attitude and I didn’t like how he put me on the spot. But I felt it would be embarrassing for him if I ignored him so I hugged him. I said hello to the guys he was standing with and made my way to the stairs. As soon as I started climbing the stairs I heard him say, “That lady’s makeup is heavy. It makes her look scary. Look, she even stained my shirt when she hugged me.” I turned to look at him and his eyes caught mine. He smiled, but I frowned.
By the time I got to sit before the interview panel, I was seething with subtle rage. I couldn’t even concentrate on what was going on with the panel. I just sat there thinking about what the guy said about my makeup. I relived the memory and cringed every time, “He said it to his friends. And now I will forever be remembered by them as the lady in the scary makeup.” After the interview, I walked out praying that I don’t run into them. Thankfully they were gone by the time I got to the reception. I said a lot of insulting things about this guy in my head till I got home. With my poor performance at the interview, I didn’t entertain any thoughts of getting the job.
I was very surprised when I got a call from the HR asking me to report to work the next day for my appointment letter. You do well at the interview, you don’t get the job. The day you do not do well, the job ends up on your lap. The gods of interviews must be crazy.
On my first day at work, the first person who came to my office to welcome me was him, the guy who insulted my makeup. He was smiling at me a lot but I frowned at him throughout our encounter. Fortunately, my supervisor came in and interrupted our awkward staring contest; “Jenny, I see you’ve met our logistics manager. Come, let me show you around the rest of the building.” I was glad to be away from Mr Logistics. He had made a first bad impression on me and I was determined not to see past it. He didn’t know it but in my heart, I was waging a silent war on him. I was going to find a way to get back at him.
One day he came to my office to discuss some office issues with my supervisor. My supervisor had to leave in the middle of their conversation to attend to something. Mr Logistics decided to stick around and wait for him. He tried to start a conversation with me to fill the silence, but I kept my answers between “Yes” and “No”. If his questions required an elaborate answer, I simply pretended not to hear it. We went back and forth until he said “I have a feeling you don’t like me. Am I wrong?” I stared him right in the face and said “Yes, you are right. I don’t like you.” With a deflated look he asked, “Why? What did I ever do to you?”.
I reminded him of the day he told his friends my makeup was heavy, and that it made me look scary.
He looked embarrassed; “Oh I didn’t know you heard me. I am sorry for saying that.” I told him, “It’s fine, now that I’ve told you about it, I will let go of my grudge.” He asked that I hug him to show that we were cool. When I hugged him, we both couldn’t let go. We held onto each other until my supervisor walked into the office. I left the office for them and stepped out to clear my head. My heart started racing abnormally and I couldn’t stop thinking about how good it felt to hug him. That day, before I left for the house, we exchanged contacts.
Work closes at 5pm but there was no closing time between the two of us. He called often and we talked. When we couldn’t talk we texted. Work stops after Friday but the road between us never stopped. I was enjoying the new friendship I’d found in him and didn’t make any attempt to stop. Things progressed very smoothly from there until caught myself falling deeply in love with him. He fell the same way too and everything he did showed. I was no longer the girl she called ‘scary.’ I had become the girl he looks at and fall in love with again and again.
He proposed and I said yes. No time to play hard to get when you love someone. Everything between us was perfect and we both felt it. We dated for a while and decided we were both a perfect fit for each other. From a hug that stains a shirt into an arm that was ready to love and shield me from all the hurt.
The day we sent out our wedding invitation everybody was like, “Are you guys serious? Today is not April Fool’s day so what’s this about? Since when? They couldn’t believe it and they were right about that. We couldn’t believe it too. It turned out that the distance from a scary face to love everlasting isn’t that long, though narrow.
We got married. We moved in together and started life as a couple. Today, the guy who called me scary the first time we met, the guy I was fighting a silent battle with has become my best friend, my protector, and my joy. Sometimes when I think about the first day I met him, I laugh. When I think about all the insults I gave him in my head that day, I feel sorry for him. I can only be happy today because I didn’t judge him by the first impression he made on me. I am glad that I gave myself permission to know him. How else would I have married the perfect guy like him?”