It was just past nine and the sun was already as blazing as it’s supposed to be only by noon. It was Anissa’s first day at work and she was late. She had to attend to her sick mother before coming to work – as she had no one else in the world but her.
She had just quit the job her mother was working before she fell sick. She had taken over from her but had to quit afterwards and get another one, owing to the fact that the salary was not helping in this trying time, as she needed to buy drugs often and some other things.
The yellow sun scorched her relentlessly. On the tips of her ears and nose, it stung like mosquito bites. She ran as fast as her long legs could carry, as she feared she might lose the job owing to lateness.
It was a music school. A big one. And she had just gotten a cleaning job there. Once she was at the school gate, she presented her identity card to the security man before he could let her in.
She walked into the school in measured steps as she noticed students coming down from big cars. Some of them stared at her as though they were irritated by the very sight of her. She wore an oversized brown blouse and a long black skirt that covered her legs to the heels. Sticking out beneath the skirt was a pair of the old black shoe that’s been mended so often that each foot differed in shape from the other. She fastened her pace.
Finally she was inside. She was cleaning the toilets and it was just her there. She sang as she cleaned. Anissa has been singing since she was a little child, probably one of the reasons she applied for a job in a music school.
“Absolutely amazing”, she heard someone say from behind. She froze. She had thought she was alone.
“Your voice is amazing”, the person said again. She turned and saw a young man. Shyly, she stuttered a thank you. “Sorry, I didn’t realise there was someone here with me.”
“Oh! It’s ok. I just came in. I heard you singing and was amazed, so I thought I should see this person with such a mind blowing voice.”
“Thanks so much”, Anissa said with a grin. “I didn’t realise I was singing so loudly, this is my first day at work and I’m already making a noise. I hope I don’t get fired.”
“Com’on, why would you get fired? It’s ok and it’s a music school by the way. I’m Gerard.”
“Nice to meet you Anissa”, Gerard said with a smile as he shook her soft hands.
“What is going on here?” Someone said.
“Oh Khloe”, Gerard said as he turned around. “Uhmmm, this is Anissa. Anissa this is Khloe.”
“His girlfriend!” Khloe added as she stood akimbo with her right brow arched high. “And you are?”
“The new Janitor”, Anissa said with a smile.
“That’s what I thought! Come on Gerard, we’ve got to go.”
“Okay, bye for now”, Gerard said to Anissa as they left.
Anissa smiled and continued with the cleaning.
It was a beautiful Friday morning. Mr. Chris – the co-founder of the music school was addressing all the students. Anissa was listening to music with earphones tucked into her ears. It was Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’. Anissa sang along as she mopped the floor of the hallway.
“Who is that?” Mr. Chris said suddenly when he heard the voice. “I thought I made it clear when I said everyone should be here? And now a student is out there singing?” He asked someone to go call the person that was singing.
Anissa was so carried away with the music that she didn’t realize that she was singing aloud.
“Hello!” Someone touched her. Startled, she removed the earphones from her ears and smiled and said, “good morning.”
“I have been asked to call you to the main hall.”
Anissa was scared. She dropped the mop slowly and walked reluctantly to the main hall.
“What are you doing in that costume? Are you a new student here?” Mr. Chris asked as Anissa walked in. “Are you not meant to be here in the hall? You are out there singing.”
“I’m the janitor sir. I’m so sorry sir”, Anissa begged. Everyone stared. Some giggled.
“Janitor?” Mr. Chris said. “Is that your stage name?”
“No sir”, Anissa shook her head. “I am the new janitor.”
“Are you serious, young lady?”
“Well you did a great job with that song out there. Being quite a difficult song to sing, I seldom hear people sing it beautifully like you just did. See me later in my office. You may leave now.”
“Okay, thank you sir.” Anissa said as she left quickly. She was quite surprised.
Soon everyone was talking about the janitor. “I told Anissa she was a good singer; now look, Mr. Chris of all persons has attested to that.” Gerard said as he walked to the class with Khloe and some other friends.
“Whatever”. Khloe said.
Everyone was talking about Anissa and Khloe didn’t like that.
She was even more vexed when Gerard kept talking about how good Anissa sounded. Gerard was not her boyfriend, he was just a school mate. But she kept giving everyone the impression that he was.
Anissa couldn’t believe Mr. Chris had just offered her a chance to participate in the singing contest that would be coming up soon, in which five persons would be chosen afterwards to study music in the school’s headquarters (abroad) and also given a prize. She was so excited. After work hours, she ran home joyfully to tell her mother the good news.
When Khloe learnt that Anissa would be joining in on the contest. She wasn’t pleased. She forged a sack letter and had the school’s gateman deliver it to Anissa the next day she came to work.
Anissa was confused and heart broken when she received the letter. “What happened? Does it mean I won’t be participating in the contest anymore”, she had said to herself amidst tears as she went home. She made sure not to let her mother find out. She didn’t want anything that’d worsen her condition. However, She decided to move on with her life and look for another job the next day.
Mr. Chris came to her house two days later to find out why she hadn’t been coming to work. Anissa was surprised that he came. She had greeted him and asked why he came. She told him what happened afterwards. He said there must have been a mix up somewhere. Anyways he wanted her to forget the cleaning job and come right away as the contest would start soon – that her voice is not a kind that one should be overlooked. The world needed to hear it.
Anissa was so glad. She prepared herself quickly and went for the contest. Khloe was surprised when she sighted her. “What is she doing here?” She had asked herself. I thought I got rid off her. She was so angry. To make matters worst, she noticed Gerard exchanging pleasantries with her. Khloe left angrily.
It was the finals. And fortunately Anissa had made it to the final round. She wowed everyone with her unique voice, even the judges.
It was her turn to perform and she didn’t disappoint. She was singing Bruno mars GRENADE. And everyone was in awe. Khloe having made it to the finals as well was still not having it. She left her seat.
When Anissa was almost done singing, from above, someone poured a bucket of paint on her. Anissa was so embarrassed. She was dumbfounded. She thought her performance had been ruined.
But someone from the audience shouted “creativity!!!” and a standing ovation followed. Anissa was embarrassed and so happy at the same time. Khloe, on the other hand was so frustrated. Her plan to frustrate Anissa and ruin her performance had only helped to spice it up more.
Khloe didn’t make it to the fantastic five as the winners were called. But Anissa did. People kept congratulating Anissa and telling her that was such a great stunt she pulled at the end of that song, it really corresponded with what the song was about. Well, thanks to Khloe.
Later on, Anissa hurried home to share with her mother the great news. She now had more than enough to have her mother treated properly. She was overwhelmed with happiness, if someone had told her such day would come she would have never believed it. But she could remember what her mother always told her that nobody knows tomorrow – that whatever will be, will be – Que sera sera.