“With these curves and beautiful skin you have, you are telling me you want to be a mechanic?”
My blood boiled as aunty Freda queried. It had always been the constant attitude whenever others heard about my passion for fixing cars.
“Of course.” I replied. “That’s what I love. I find purpose and fulfillment in it.” I clenched my jaw in order to keep myself from saying more.
“You would be better off getting married than being a mechanic. Who would marry a mechanic, let alone a female mechanic? With your beauty, you can get any man of your choice.”
Tears threatened to spill out because it hurt every time I got reduced to just a pretty face. “I am more than my face!” I snapped. “You can marry them.” I mumbled, storming out.
“Come back here! What did you say?” Aunty Freda thundered.
As a young girl, it had always been my dream to serve in the capacity of a mechanic. My parents ensured they supported whatever I was interested in. My joy knew no bounds when they got me a spanner for my sixth birthday. I remember playing daddy’s little apprentice. He always indulged me as mummy watched on.
Too bad my aspiration of becoming a mechanical engineer never materialized. Life has a way of changing our plans. All I have presently is my drive and the words of my parents that keep me going on crazy days. Nothing will stop me from this path I have carved for myself.
I sat on my bed, clutching my pillow. My chest was heavy from all the tears I fought to keep at bay.
“Hey girl. Don’t listen to her. You know what she is like.” Flora placed an arm over my shoulders.
“We have gotten used to her already. When she starts, we flap our ears shut.” Francis added, combing his fro absentmindedly.
“She would have married me off if not for my stubbornness.” Flora said, rolling her eyes. “I need you to develop a thick skin when it comes to our mother.”
“I know. There is nothing wrong with getting married but if her solution to everything a girl needs in life is marriage, then that is a problem.” I replied.
“Our mother will just have to learn to adjust accordingly.” Francis said, rising to his feet.
“I am really thankful we have an understanding. God sent you guys to me as cousins. If we weren’t on the same page on issues like this, life here would have been unbearable.” I said, leaning in for a group hug.
I walked in, looking forward to the day’s job.
“So, you are here again. When will you finally give up?” A guy with the head the size of a pressing iron asked.
Byron was the chief bully, his minions were unusually silent today. I hissed and pointed an index finger at him. “If you were brought up to give up on your aspirations. It’s different over here.” I fired back.
“You little girl. You think……”
I walked out as he rambled.
I wore my blue overalls and hurried to the work area with my tool box. My eyes locked on a black SUV. I wondered if it was the same Mobilizade Cruiser that was towed the day before. I opened the bonnet to assess the car and to my surprise, it smelt of Coca-Cola. So weird, why am I smelling coke? I thought. I checked the engine oil and the smell of coca cola became stronger. On touching it, I noticed the consistency was unusual. My suspicion was confirmed.
I noticed my socket wrench was missing so I left to go get another. On my way to Mr. George’s office, a middle aged woman was talking with Jasper, one of Byron’s minions.
“Your car is a Mobilizade Cruiser right?” He asked.
She nodded, “Please I need to get it back as soon as possible.”
I furrowed my brows, Mr. George had specifically allocated the job to me the day before. I scurried to Mr. George’s office to report the matter to him. He told me to go get Jasper. When I came out, the lady was no longer with him. On getting to Mr. George’s office, Jasper knew what was up.
“She is not good enough. ” Jasper snarled. “I will do a better job.”
“Is that so?” Mr. George arched his brow. “Fine.” He said. “I will give you both a chance to assess the car, whoever makes a thorough assessment, will work on the car.”
The look of disappointment was so evident on my face and Jasper chuckled. “Loser.” He whispered. After Jasper left, Mr. George motioned to me to sit.
“I know what you are about to say.” He began. “But Madam Pearl is one of our biggest customers so I have to be tactical. Go into that work area and show everyone what I see in you.”
After assessing the car, Jasper scoffed. “So easy. I will see you in the boss’ office. When he left, I continued my assessment. I noticed a fluid beneath one of the wheels, so I checked the other wheels and it was the same. Panic shot through me. I knew what was up due to past experience so I dug more and discovered the brake lines had been cut. Something seemed off. Madam Pearl was in danger and luckily it was an amateurish job.
I went to Mr. George to let him know of my findings.
“We need to inform Madam Pearl. She needs to file a police report.” Mr. George replied.
“Who would want to hurt her?” I pondered.
As the day drew to a close, my overall was covered in grease. I smiled as I cleaned myself, there was just something about the smell of grease and a dirty overall. It made me feel fulfilled. After changing into my clothes, I went to see Mr. George before leaving and I saw Madam Pearl.
She looked at me and smiled. “You must be Sonia.”
I nodded, “good evening ma’am”
“You remind me of myself.” She replied. “How did you find out about the brakes?”
“It was so easy.” I replied. “The fluid beneath the wheel gave it away.”
Since that day, my life has taken a turn. Turned out that Madam Pearl was the CEO of Mobilizade’s manufacturing plant in Lagos, Nigeria and had recommended me for an internship programme at their headquarters in Japan.
As the cool evening breeze touched my face, I remembered all that transpired when I first ventured into my chosen profession and how Mr. George ended up being the only one who let me work in his auto mechanic shop. Others had turned me away while some had offered suggestive proposals. Mr. George is a noble and upright man who ensured he taught me all I know today. He always defended me from the naysayers and encouraged me.