I sat on a makeshift stool at the corner of the shop , watching the other girls attend to the customers.This was supposed to be my break but I was saving money and couldn’t buy anything to eat.I felt my stomach growling and I stood up to get a glass of water to hold me before my stomach ate itself. It was a bit after four and the sun was shining with a scorching anger, I was itchy to leave but I knew I couldn’t till it was six, my brain had already started a countdown.I did this everyday because it was the only way I could keep sane in this job. I genuinely hated it because I had to be a kiss ass and I was still treated like shit.
I was lost in my thoughts when the door to the shop opened accompanied by the usual acrid smell of the market. This was why I missed Lakewood, my home. The air for one was wonderfully cool and relaxing. In walked a customer, he was tall and gorgeous, had black curly hair and striking green eyes, he looked like a Greek god , at least I thought he did. He looked wonderfully out of place because this was a hair store after all. I saw the other girls rushing because they hoped to get a large commission off him. I shifted to let them pass because this was already a lost battle. They were all over him saying greetings and trying to lead him to various wig stands . One tried to touch him and he smacked her finger, her eyes went wide with shock but she quickly apologized because we all know “the customer is always right “ he finally sighed and said, None of you should come near me!
They were all startled and moved away ,Amina couldn’t hide her scowl, I chuckled silently and hoped nobody noticed it, everywhere was silent apart from the music that had already been playing from the speakers, it stayed like that for what seemed like forever till he pointed to me and said “ You come!” I stood up slowly and walked towards him all the while screaming in my head “who does he think he is? Am I a dog!, what is this audacity, a whole me with my law degree, Nanna in the mud”.
I knew if I didn’t go I’d receive a whole lecture from Wendy our manager, she might even go as far as deducting from my other commissions. I felt sad but as I approached, I plastered a fake smile on my face and said “ Hi, good afternoon my name is Naia, how can I be of assistance “ .
He sighed again and turned his head to the left slowly before turning to me and asking
“Which of these would be appropriate for a fifteen year old girl?”.
If you’d come with me, there are a lot of options depending on what she wants I said gently. I heard him mutter something under his breath before he moved to follow me. I took him to the braided wigs section and asked if he thought it was something his sister would want “ if I knew I wouldn’t be here “ he responded rudely. Calm down I told myself, another fake smile on my face I said “ if you could show me a picture,I’d be able to determine the best wig for her face structure and complexion “. He looked apprehensive before he pulled out an expensive looking phone and showed me his sisters picture.
Thank you I said. She was a gorgeous girl with green eyes , high cheek bones and a beautiful smile, I intended to find the best wig for her despite her brothers irritating attitude. I intended to make him pay through his nose as I took him to the section for the most expensive hairs in the shop, I picked out three, a long straight black one, a short double drawn bob and a long wavy brown one just in case, I dropped them on a stand and shifted to let him inspect it.
He didn’t move, just stood there looking bored and asked me , Is that all?
“ Yes sir , which one would you like me to package for you?” He stared for a while and said all.
I was astounded because that would be the highest commission I’d ever gotten, I was dancing in my spirit, couldn’t even hide my joy, as I packaged everything and gave him the papers to sign.
He signed everything and when he had completed all payment, he called somebody to carry them all out for him then said “those fake smiles make you look really ugly”.
My shock was evident as I couldn’t even keep my mouth shut. He closed the door like he had not just dropped a bomb. The other girls were laughing really hard. I was so embarrassed and angry . I was running after him to get the last word but Amina held me back and told me that all that matters was the money and I’d already gotten it. I heaved before starting my breathing routine to keep calm, I went to the bathroom to cry because this was not how I planned my life after graduating from law school.
I thought I’d be retained by the firm but they didn’t, I was replaced by a relative of one of the partners. I hated being a sales attendant,I felt like such a disappointment I sniffled until I regained composure and went back.
The rest of the day went in a blur, the girls gossiping, a few other customers came in, but most of them just made videos and left without buying, we called those types “ Cammie” cause they were all about cameras and no money to pay. It was soon time to clean up. I sighed a breath of relief as the manager told us it was okay to leave. I got my bag, tied my hair up and stood by the road to hail a taxi. I finally got one headed to where I lived, more like squatted with some of my dads friends. When I first moved there, I was convinced it’d only be temporary, because I thought I’d get retained. I graduated with a second class upper degree, I was hardworking and determined to always be the best, but I guess the firm didn’t think that since I was the only one they didn’t retain after the internship. I was so disappointed when I found out, because I was keen on helping my mum. She was a widow and I was the first child of four,I felt the burden heavier on my shoulders because I’d promised my mum that by now I’d be helping out more at home.
I sent all I earned in the shop, my mum never complained but I knew it was never enough, that was why I tried to take the gossiping and bad mouthing from the other girls in stride.
I no longer had a social life or any semblance of it. I missed the days when I’d go out with the girls and hang out and just have drinks, now I can’t join them except for times they’d offer to pay and even video calls were restricted because I didn’t want to pay too much for data. I was already tired of the entire situation.
I looked out the window and saw I was almost home but there was traffic, I decided to walk the remaining distance because I needed to think. Mister Tony and his wife had been more than gracious but their daughter Tamar was a living nightmare, I always heard her comments about me not being smart enough and being a burden but I never let her know they hurt me, her brother Jimmy was nicer and did everything to avoid me. She was right though,I actually felt like a burden and I was willing to do whatever necessary to ensure that I get my own house and actually thank them for their graciousness. I really prayed that one of the résumés I sent out would pay off.
I finally reached the house and entered the room I shared with Tamar, it was a mess but I was already used to her, so I quickly tidied up before going to greet Uncle Tony and his wife.
They smiled and we did some small talk before I went to the kitchen to get my food, Jimmy said hi before stepping out, I was glad Tamar wasn’t there. We were both lawyers and I was tired of hearing her talk about how great her job was, because we all knew she wasn’t so smart and from the way she talked it was like she didn’t have an inkling about most things. . She was so shallow and close minded, I hated conversations with her.. I was totally spent so as soon as I was done eating, I went to sleep. As soon as I closed my eyes,I got a call, and saw it was my youngest sister Namiah. I knew why she was calling and I seriously battled internally before I answered “ helloo Nami I said “
“Hi Naia you know I miss you, how are you doing”
I rolled my eyes because I already knew where she was headed.
“What do you need Nami, and there better be a good reason for it this time”
“ ah ah Naia , what do you take me for, I’m not always begging,I call you to greet sometimes too” she protested loudly, I chuckled and when she finally got to her point, it was about a field trip she really wanted to attend but we couldn’t afford as usual, I was about to shut her down but I remembered my large commission because of the rude guy and I told her I’d try what I can, she squealed in excitement before hanging up.
She was only fifteen but she was already a handful, with so much spirit and confidence,I loved being around her and the boys but I knew staying in Lakewood wasn’t financially smart, so moving to Sydney was the best option for now, I kept on thinking about how I missed her and the boys till I slept off again.