Tara's side story

He’s gone with the wind, He’s gone with the wind, I knew things were bound to end.
I never knew, l never knew, I never knew what he could do.

A guitar plays at the end...

“Um, who’s he? Do we know him?”, here comes Aliceteshia with her integrations. “I haven’t met him but he sure has a lot of explaining to do.” “so just another song came to you. Tara, you know I worry about you.” “I know.” I roll my eyes, “you love me and care about me. Anyway, how did you find me here?” “ Oh, I heard lousy lyrics and thought it was you.” I glared at her. “Is that supposed to scare me?” “I was looking for Wi-Fi and here was the strongest signal. Then, I read a webtoon and starting singing the song. Does this make any sense?” “Knowing you. no. no, it doesn’t”, Aliceteshia paused for a moment then wondered, “when did you learn how to play the guitar.” “ I didn’t play.” Aliceteshia jumped “eh?” “The music came from my phone.” “You thought this old music room is magical or did think it was haunted, oooo (0o0). you know there’s no such thing.”

Music plays in the background...
Aliceteshia squealed. “You scared me,” I tried to calm my racing heart. “Oh, Tommy, I didn’t see you there.” “Sorry, I caused a scene.”Alceteshia apologized to Thomas, “no worries, the whole gang know you’re a scaredy-cat.” “Yea, speaking of the gang, why are you all looking for me?” “You really don’t know?” Aliceteshia looked me in the eye. I shook my head. “no kiddin’“retorted Tommy. “what’s up, you guys?”

“You really don’t know what today is!” we don’t have another quiz, what, a presentation, project, what? All I managed to give them is puzzling gestures. “Check your phone, silly.” ordered by Tommy. I looked up my calendar. What! no-no. “ Yep, today's the annual recruitment day,” said Aliceteshia promptly. I backed away from both of them. I see, now. come to think of it, I haven’t seen Sara and Nook all day. I run to the door and shouted “you can’t make me.” but Tommy caught me in time. Well, technically, I run slow on stairs so Tommy just held from my shoulder because of his long arm and I screamed. and if I run again he’ll catch me so... I just admitted defeat. “Alicteshia, hurry on. Before she tries anything.”

I got dragged to the conference hall and stood by the first booth. One of the promoting campaigns helped us and explained to us about some organization and its purpose. “Would you like to join in?” the poor girl said smiling. “Yes,” they took two application and I wrote my details name, email, telephone number, interests, which year I'm in, why would I like want to join, how did I know about XXX organization. And I gave it to the girl. “um, you left why should we hire you to question empty?” “Is this your first time trying to apply?” This is my 15th time writing an application that I got tired of writing a similar answer. Before I blurt out anything, “Yes, it’s her first time.” Aliceteshia silenced me with one look and wrote the answer instead. “which year is she in” another girl from the booth. “she’s a senior.” PR girl. “What?” I can hear you.

We look around for more booths and reapplied at ones. When will this torture end? We went to Nook’s booth AYB. Aliceteshia and Tommy went to their booths for their work. I smiled at Nook and he slipped me an application already filled in with my details while explaining I only need to approve it. How do you describe your self in one word? special. I looked back at Nook and back at the paper. Who inspires you the most? the world is full of inspiration, it’s hard to choose. Do you even know me? I took a handful of samples and continued reading my ‘application’. “Miss, we’re delighted you like our samples but this way no one else will get a chance to taste some.” told off by a boy in a blue shirt holding the word AYB with his curly black hair and glasses. “sorry, they’re...too.. tasty.. I couldn’t help myself.” Nook was off talking to groups of girls. wait, is he shaking? “Here, I'm done with the application.”

The best thing about the whole recruitment day is food! I ran away from Nook before he catches me and to my favorite booth Maya's bakery. “Maya!” “How is it going, sweetie?” “The same thing as last year. I had to wait for them to finish their intro and take some silly application with stupid questions and now I have to wait for their phone call that never comes.” “That bad.”Maya paused then continued “Who dragged you in this time.” “Tommy and Aliceteshia." “Is Tommy the blond foreign guy that carried you over here in the last year convention?” “you saw that! (-_-) that was Nook.” “here, don‘t feel bad.”

Maya gave me her honey lemon puff to stop me from breaking. “I‘d give you a job but I want to run my business for a few more years so I wouldn’t like it burnt down.”

I started to sulk over my worthless self I finished my honey lemon puff without enjoying its taste. Then my phone buzzed. “What now?”

“T.You got an interview tomorrow at 3:30 for AYB I signed up for? Wear something decent pls. (o3o)”

Score. Wait. I have never been to an interview what should and do I have something decent?

“describe decent...”

“(o0o) jk. I will help you.” “you’re a boy. ???” “says you. You’ve been mistaken as one several times.” “fine. you will help or not.” “I have two sisters. I know how to handle you.”
this is Nook’s side story...

“T.You got an interview tomorrow at 3:30 for AYB organization I signed up for? Wear something decent pls. (o3o)”

“describe decently…”

“(o0o) jk. I will help you.” “you’re a boy. ???” “says you. You’ve been mistaken as one several times.” “fine. you will help or not.” “I have two sisters. I know how to handle you.”

Wait, what did I get myself into. “Nina” I called my younger sister. Damn, I thought this day would never come. “No, thank you I had enough of your fart pranks.” “This is serious.” “You better make it worth pausing my favorite show.” She stood by the door wearing her hoodie and shorts with her newly dyed sliver hair crossing her arm waiting for an answer. “Well?” she give a puzzled look then she stepped out again. “How can you do a makeover for a girl for an interview.” oh, boy I will be the laugh of the house for years. she went tilting her head as if I spoke alien.“why do you ask?” narrowing her eyes suspiciously at me. “ Wait, do you have a girl that you have a crush on?” she closed the door behind she whispered “Better not let Rook know about this.” she pulled a chair. “Why do you want to help, huh?” She reminds me of a kitten you want to help her even if she doesn’t want it. “She’s a hopeless case she’s desperate and she still won’t get out of her comfort zone.” “Is she an introvert ?” “Not exactly, she’s just not a people person.” reminds me of how we met. ( she couldn’t stop herself as no one did that thing my way it was like that or that. Oh boy, she scolded me the first time we met) I smiled to myself. “Describe her to me?” It’s my turn to be suspicious “Why?” “To create a design that will help her, idiot! Why would I bother hearing about a girl from you? you always break their heart anyway.” “She is my friend so is Sara, Aliceteshia, and Tom. we are all trying to help her.” Nina grabbed a paper and pencil from my desk and said, “and she will be my new inspiration for my sketchbook.” oh no, when Nina's eye fire up like this, no wonder she doesn’t want Rook to listen to her, she would want anyone to be her project. “ She has dirty blond hair long bang on the left side and the rest of her hair is a boy like short, with a freckle near her mouth, she’ s taller than you a bit.” “When is that interview?” "3:30″ “You need to be at her apartment by ten and I will send you some instructions so she will be ready for me when I come.” Nina went out rushing listing out things that she will take tomorrow.

Back to Tara's side story..
The next day...

“uh, shut you stupid clock.” I kept pressing on the clock but it won’t stop ringing. How did it ring in the first place? I don’t know how to fix the alarm. I noticed the time it’s 10 o‘clock. The ringing sound won’t stop so I went back to sleep.

Yu Gi Oh theme song plays....

I tried to look for the phone half-sleep then I found it on the floor. “yes” “Don‘t you have the day off today, where are you? I thought I heard your phone ringing.” jeeh, so loud “Sorry, I was sleeping. Nevermind, Where are you right now?” “And you didn’t hear me ringing. Never mind, let me in.”

I put the phone next to me trying to walk up I open the door to Nook, who was looking at his phone, comes in. I left the door open and went back to bed. He pulled the blanket and threw me off. “We’re already late.”

“Fine, I'm up.” “Then, go take a shower if the shampoo isn’t soapy or doesn’t have enough froth wash your hair twice and after that using conditioner then brush your hair with a comb.”

I was pushed into the bathroom with no further delay.

I slammed the door after the weird commands from Nook. It took me a while to take in what just happened. “Nook, I think you should know that I‘m not that hopeless. I go to a number of comic con dressed up as a gorgeous female a few times. I know how to handle myself.” I heard a sigh outside the door. “T. I know you are. I panicked when you asked for my help. My sister should’ve helped you today but she forgot that she’s still in high school and she has a big test.” He paused a little. “I shouldn’t have underestimated you... In fact, the few instructions I gave you just now were from the internet.” I became silent for a bit. “Thank you.”

I went and did what he said then shaved my body while I’m at it. Ohno (0o0), I forgot to take new pairs of PJs. Should I just wrap myself in a towel like I usually do but the bathroom is right in front of the living room where Nook might be? I could ninja sneak into my room or... I could make him payback for thinking I'm not girly enough. yea, right like you could do that.

I peeped through the door to see his whereabouts. He’s nowhere to be seen. I tightened the towel around me and went to my room. “ wha, you’re finished.” Wow, no reaction. He must be used to seeing his sisters like this. “It usually takes my sisters an hour or so.” oh, he hasn’t seen me yet. He seems to really like my collectibles. Wait, has he not left my room after he woke me up “um, Nook I kind of need my room back to change.” he finally realized what I was wearing. I hugged myself so the towel won’t fall off. He got so flustered that he hit his knee into bed on his way out. he can be silly sometimes. “don‘t forget to dry your hair well.” really! I shut the door and dried my hair. I pulled out my few choices from my wardrobe. I put on a pink tank top that says chic with a white leather jacket on black jeans. I curled my bang and applied my make up. Finally, I went out.

Nook was out eating what was in the fridge. “What do you think?” “And you asked my help, why?” I smiled at the strange answer. “Thank you. I think so too.” He swallowed “Sorry, you look good. What did you need me for?” “Obviously, you sored every interview you went through. I’m in of need desperate help.” He cleaned off the bread crumbs on his face and clapped his hand then stood removing any food remains on his hands. “Just a second.” he carried back the food that was on the table back to the kitchen. I just stood there waiting for him to finish.

“The best way to learn is by practice. Please, proceed to my office.” “So we’re doing this.” “Hi, I'm your interviewer today. my name is Nook Aniston.” “A pleasure to meet you,” I replied just behind the table with an awkward smile.
“Okay, your first impression is your last remember this. When you greet him/her you need to show them your confidence so win them with a nice smile and a firm handshake.”
He stood up and repeated the first phrase again. "It‘s a pleasure to meet you.”
I shook his hand with a smile. “I‘m Tara.” “When I said a firm handshake I didn’t mean breaking my finger but a great improvement.” He sat down and I sat next to him. “Your application says you’re senior year. What made you take this long to join us?” I was taken by the question. Do they ask questions like these?! I breathed in.“ uh, um, well, um” I don‘t how to respond to this. Then. to make things worse Nook starts writing something down, wait when did he take out the notebook? “Will they ask something like this?” “Yes, their aim is to put you in a tight spot to see how you handle it.” “Why?” “Look, I know this is a student activity but our organization is international so its standards are pretty high.” “You signed me to this. you know I unfold under pressure like all the answers disappear from my head.” “Don’t remind me. Let’s try this. I'll slowly ask about your talents to relax you up then we gradually go to the hard questions.” “Can we start again. I need a glass of water.” “Fine, hurry.” I drank up very fast I started to choke. I sat back next to Nook with my face beet red. “Last time, promise.” “Okay, hello I’m your interviewer Nook.” “Nice to meet you.” I said with a firm handshake not too tough with a great smile. “Introduce yourself.” “I’m Tara, 21 years old, I'm senior in graphic communication major, I love art so much that I wanted a career to share with people a vision, an idea, a story. I can draw in different styles and tools.” “ Do you have a role model?” No, I don’t. I only love art. no one inspired me to. Do I say, my parents? Wait, what did nook write in a resume? I feel bombarded with all these thoughts. I got it!!!
“ Everyone who had a breakthrough, everyone was called mad, freaks, bullied, and learned to cope with those struggles and became something great. Those who went through hardships but didn’t break. They turned to a stronger version of themselves, are my great inspiration.”
“so you’re a senior what made you decide to join us now?” “It’s always better late than sorry...no...to tell you the truth, I’ve made fear held me down but as a new year resolution, I wanted it to change. with the cooperation of my friends who gave me courage was able to join you and now we’re here .” Nook wrote something down. “What’s your biggest accomplishment?” can’t say owning limited editions of yu gi oh cards, or... “My friend Sara and I started a project and we couldn't believe the number of responses we got.”
“what’s your biggest fear?” “Failing continuously that I can’t get up anymore.” “Why should we hire you?” “I can work under pressure (remembering pulling all-nighters before the exams), good at multitasking, and always finish on time.” “Have you ever met deadlines before?” “yes, a lot. always handed in my assignments on time and on projects I made online.”
“Do you have some of your work to show us.” “In fact, I do have some of them on my phone.” “How do you feel around people who push their ideals on you.” “ I'd tell them thank you but no thank you. You can’t think that everyone must be your equal and it’s better that we’re different.” “Do you really think everyone’s different?” "Yes, that’s what makes the world a colorful place with contrast and uniqueness of every part of it. if we were all the same, I’m sure there will one that will thrive to be different.” “Do think of yourself as a leader?” yes, no, maybe, I don’t know. “Depends on the situation, if we’re already working as a team and everyone’s equal in their role I won’t go and take the lead. People are better as a team than when they follow like a herd. “ You’ve been given a difficult task while everyone has it easy, what do you do?
“The fact that I was given a difficult task means that a lot of people expect a lot of me and this will make me work even harder.” “You think the head of your team is wrong. how will you tell him that?” “I will hear him/ her till the end, then give him/her a reflection of what he/ she just said. For example, wouldn't it be better if we did this instead? I suggest to him.”
“from 1 to 10 how do you rate yourself then how do you rate me?” really, isn’t their job to do that. how am I supposed to rate you? “I’d give myself an 8 I know my lack of experience will be a hindrance but my dedication will hopefully make up for it. I'd give you a 9 out of ten.” “ and I lost a mark for...” “there’s no such thing as 10 of 10 in humans no what how you make up for it.” Nook scrambled a few more. “we will come back to you later.” I stood up and shook his hand. “how do you feel?” “I hate you for making me feel this way.” “oh, no look at the time it’s 3:00. we need to hurry.”

I stood out of the building staring at nook’s motorcycle. “You want me to ride this.” I couldn’t budge from my place.

“You aren’t afraid of motorcycles, are you?” “them, no, the death that comes from riding them, yes.” “That’s the fastest way. You don’t live near a metro station and I'm sure you have no money enough for a taxi ride.” “Fine, if I die riding this, you better throw a hell of a ceremony.” “Yes, and on your tombstone, here lies the girl who died of a motorcycle crash.”
“Really, just before I climb on.” He gave me his helmet and got on behind him. I grabbed his shirt from the back. “you’re going to tear my shirt if pull it any stronger.” he told me to hold him from his waist for I will fall over. I shut my eyes tight. “Dear God, I don't want to die like this especially not with him.” I prayed till we got to a building beside cilantro. “See it only took us 25 min...okay, you need to run up the stair right now.” “I'm wearing boots with heels.” I tried to climb up as hard as I could. “Here, we are at AYB lounge this is where the magic happens.” that’s the cheesiest phrase I've ever heard. Later on, a guy wearing a blue shirt like the one nook wore at the convention came up to us. Wait a minute, I think I've seen him somewhere before. those black curls and those glasses. Isn’t he the guy who told me to stop eating those samples! Nook and that guy left me out and talked about something before they both noticed that I was still standing.

“Oh, sorry. do you have an interview, miss...” wow, was I really that transparent. anyway “ yes, 3.30 for media and IT department.” He led me to a room with a chair and table filled with papers and PCs. When I looked around Nook was nowhere to be found. “ They will be here in a moment, don’t worry.” I stared up the ceilings and looked around while they kept me waiting. the room is really big, which has a big table on my right side with pcs and papers. and I love wall paint being blue in color and maze designs on the wall. oh, look there’s a balcony. I bet the view at this time is exquisite. It was a few minutes before someone realized I was in this room.

A girl and boy entered the room dressed in the same blue outfit and sat in front of me. They introduced themselves and I missed a chance for that handshake. I introduced myself and talked about few of my talents and skills. They pretty much asked the same questions that Nook and I practiced together. They were holding the application that Nook wrote and asked me on some of the answers he wrote. I hate Nook why did you write them.

Finally, done!! I called Nook. "I finished the Interview. Why did you put me to fail? What's with those weird answers." "I'm sorry, T. But I have my hands full now. TTL."
I rang Aliceteshia. " Did you finish your microbiology class?" "yes! I have a 1hr break. Want to me and Tommy along with a few of our friends." " Where are you?" "Break & Cake Cafe" "Order for me their cheesecake and iced frappuccino"

15 min later... (Spongebob sound)
Aliceteshia waved to me as stepped into the cafe. I could see Tommy and 4 more of their friends. "Your order is here." I squeezed myself to my food. "Looking hot. why can you be like this every day?" "Too much effort" "You do look gorgeous." a hijabi girl with killer eyeliner and omg. she is so beautiful. Did she just tell I'm gorgeous? I smiled so hard. "Tara. Let me introduce you before you get into your business." " This is Hayam. She's from Sudan. Next to her is Ivory." Wow, her hair is so long. She's so cute. "That's Evans and beside him is Omar." "You aren't from our major," asked Omar. "No, afraid not. I'm from Graphic communication." "How do know Aliceteshia?" " Tara, Tommy, and I go way back from Middle school," Alice responded. "Yea, we could say we're childhood friends," Tommy added. "Not so sure, if we're still friends after what happened yesterday thou." "It was all for you," Tommy took a bit from my cheesecake slice, "You should be thanking us." "True, but your WhatsApp messages were a bit too much. How many blogs did you read?" "What was it?" Evans asked. "I had my first interview after four years of college." "How did it go?" Ivory asked. They all peered with interest. "Boring. Some of the questions were weird. It's hard to pretend to be interested." "I never do well in Orals." Ivory commented. " I know how you feel." rest of the group weighed in. We talked about different things. Turned out that Evans also does graphic design. We ended up talking and showing each other our artwork.

A week later, I got an acceptance email.