The wind blew across my face as I walked down the dusty tared road, the harmattan air smelt like dust and felt both cold and dry on my skin and supposedly, any other person's skin because everyone had some sort of sweater or long shirt on, people where running in different directions, as if to say they were chasing after something, I walked past them without giving much attention to the expressions they wore on their faces, frankly, I cared less about it, I was on my way to work, for the first time in 1year, I had missed all the thrills, anger and most especially, the wonderful people I found myself working with in my office, and Hey, I wanted to be at work as early as possible, I wasn't messing up the first day at work after a long pandemic break.
I got to the company, and yes, I got there on time, I walked up to my favorite roses that bloomed beautifully close to the walls and I bent down a bit and smelled it's rich perfume, " I missed you lovelies" I muttered as I closed my eyes and inhales the rich scent some more, I stood up after a few minutes and continued my walk into the company, when I got to the company's building, the magnificent site I had missed for a year now, it's tall all-glass frame stood strong even though it looked dusty a little bit, I stood for a little moment to take a good look at the the company building "BOA GROUP OF COMPANIES here I come" I muttered to myself confidently as I tried to proceed into the company, just as I got to the door, I saw Martha, one of my colleagues rush out of the door as she used the back of her palm to wipe her face, and in the other hand, she had something that looked like a letter "Martha wait!" I shouted as I dashed right behind her to ask her what exactly was going on "what's all the fuss about?" I asked as I managed to successfully get her attention, she stood still for a minute, as if to say she was thinking of how to face me or look at me, " I have just been laid off" she replied, I knew her voice was chocked up in tears she was really fighting to hold back, "that's not possible, you did nothing !" I responded in utter confusion and disbelieve "my dear it's not that I did something wrong, it's just that they can't take care of all the staffs anymore" Martha said as she smirked at my timid response and walked away not wanting to say any further, I stood still for some minutes, I don't know how many minutes but i couldn't just absorb what she just told me, trying to encourage myself I walked into the company, just then, I realised it wasn't only Martha who was in this, as I passed through the doorway, I saw a scary sight, it was as if chaos had broken out in the building, many workers, senior colleagues, junior colleagues, my own colleagues had all broken down either in tears or were really cursing out angrily, many of them served the company with all their youthful energy for years and now, they were being laid off, tossed aside like they didn't matter "I was supposed to retire next year!" One of the workers shouted as tears rolled down her cheeks, her friend or maybe colleague was doing all she could to calm her down despite the fact that her efforts were looking abortive, at this point, reality dawned on me, many of these people were not laid of because of incompetence but rather because the company couldn't take care of their paycheck anymore, this reality really shook me to the core as I stood frozen, glancing at everything and everyone around me without saying a word.
I walked straight to my office moments later to know if I had been laid off too, as I walked in, the reception was quite the way I expected it to be, I was welcomed but no one really took much notice of me or even gave me a hug which was so unlike each of them, some were just sitting in front of the computer, others were arranging their desks, while others were packing up their belongings that hung on shelfs and just any area it might be, my heart bled at the sight of everything as I walked right into the manager's office, he was on a call that seemed to be ending on my arrival, when he was done, he turned to me with a weary smile on his face as I greeted him, "how are you doing my dear?" He asked, "I'm fine sir, please I want to know if I have been laid off" I said as I got prepared for the worst, he picked up something that seemed to be a list, went through it and then looked up to me with a little smile on his face "no you aren't laid off dear, you retained your position" he said, I didn't know how to feel at that point, I was glad I got to stay but I felt really bad because many of my colleagues had to leave, I thanked him and headed straight to my desk to reflect on everything.
I had cleaned up my desk and got ready for the days activities, but sadly, no one ever came, I just sat there staring at the open space and thinking about what took place earlier and still wondering why this big cooperation couldn't afford to retain her staffs, I wasn't the only person idle, my remaining colleagues were all in the same state or maybe, a semi idle state "today seems weird, no one or even the manager is telling us to review anything or process any proposals" Tiyene said as to me, she had been quite restless since the day started, "we just resumed work, give it time" Tony said he swirled round on his seat lazily, "I think there has been no orders or proposals coming in at all, thinks have been quite scary in the country" Brenda said with much concern in her tone, many speculations kept swelling in with everyone having something to say, u couldn't really get what they were all saying so I came to my conclusion "why don't I ask the manager what's going on, I'm sure he'll have an answer" I said out loud and the office became quiet, "I doubt he will tell you why, but you can try anyways" Tony said as her stared at me, either ways I stood and made my way to the manager's office, "come in" was the response I got after a series of knocks, "oh Charity, how can I help you" my manager asked as he eagerly awaited my question, "sir, we haven't done any work all day, it's weird because we don't seat around at all, there is work, no matter how little, what is the matter sir?" I asked as I looked him in the eyes, I noticed he wore a really sad look immediately i asked the question, he took off his glasses and looked at me "sit down, let me fill you in" he said as he gestured to me to take a seat that was in front of him, I sat down all ears, ready to hear all he got to say "do think I just wanted to get rid of my staffs because I didn't want them? If you thought so, you are very wrong, the company is struggling, the dangerous pandemic hit us since February of last year, and since then we couldn't produce anything, we could only produce much, and this affected the company, we managed not to file for bankruptcy, that's why we had to let people go in order to save what is left what is left of the company, not much will come in today in terms of proposals special orders or even complaints, the world is still trying to recover from the impact of this pandemic, many people just want to get by" he said as he tried to avoid my gaze, at that point it all made sense, the lay off, the little or no work available, the early morning rush that I seemed not to take notice of, I sat frozen on the spot, suddenly the weather felt so chilly and very dry at that point, "is there any other question you would love to ask?" He asked as he finally stared at me, "no sir that will be all, thank you very much for your time" I replied quickly as I scrambled my way out of his office, when I got to my office, my colleagues fixed their eyes on me as though they were expecting something, I couldn't really say much at that spot, I was really confused and disheartened "we are really lucky, we don't even realise it" I managed to say, everyone just kept silent.
After the day's work I was on my way home, I won't say my day was entirely useless, we got something to do but it wasn't much, I had gotten down from the bus at the bus stop, I decided to walk a bit to my house and while I walking down the road with other individuals I heard a really loud shout "catch him, catch him!" were the words I heard and the young boy being chased just dashed past me immediately and made his way out of the confused crowd, two police officers ran almost immediately after him while everyone stood in confusion, "another robbery, why does this happen everyday" a man walking behind me asked his friend "things are hard dude, people are doing things just to feed" his friend responded as he let out a sigh "but that's no excuse for stealing, what if we all stole to survive?" The man asked and that created a back and forth argument with his friend, I didn't follow up anything they said anymore as I stopped at a store to buy some groceries, after I got all I wanted, I proceeded to the counter to pay for all I bought, just as I got dear I couldn't help but notice a distressed woman standing at the counter, her eyes were dim, she wore a very grim look on her face and one her right hand was her son who was about 2years of age, she looked so frail in her small frame, I could tell she was tired and perhaps hungry "what's the matter?" I asked the sales person "this lady wants to buy these, but she doesn't have enough money" he replied pointing at some of the things she bought, I didn't know what they all were but I knew they were food items, I looked at her and she sunk head immediately and turned away "I'll pay for everything" I said as I took out my credit card to make the payments, she looked at me immediately I could see how grateful she was at that point "thank you" she whispered "it's fine, make sure you get you and your son a warm meal" I said as I walked out of the shop with my groceries. I got to my little house, it was small but also cozy, no matter what it was home, as I approached the door knob, Lalu, my little cat came out from the garage behind my house, I caressed her and carried her into my arms, I took out my key and opened my door, I got in and shut the door behind me, I flipped the switch on, dropped Lalu on the wooden floor, I looked around and I was glad that my living room wasn't a mess, I quickly took a shower and changed into a comfortable pair of shorts and a big hoodie, I went to the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea and sat on the sofa with the remote I picked from the table, Lalu jumped on the sofa and crawled her way to my lap, I switched on the TV and I decided to listen to the news, it's headlines were depressing, it was all about the high unemployment rate, the wide spread starvation, the high crime rate, name it, I sipped my cup of tea as I stared blankly into the pictures displayed from the TV, Lalu meowed, I looked at her and touched her head, thoughts kept running through my mind, the Zee-10virus didn't just take lives, it took people's sources of livelihood, it made life harder and problems heightened, in my little,cozy home I was safe and comfortable, but for the first time in many years, I wondered if my next door neighbour was able to get a warm meal today.