He had carefully laid out his power suit from the night before. He jumps into the shower and lets the ice cold water rain down on his head and shoulders as he leaned a hand on the tiled bathroom wall and thought of the day ahead. Stepping out he starts to put himself together. He buttons up the shirt being extra careful not to crease it, shines the patent leather shoes to a mirror-like gleam and examines himself in the mirror. The image that stared back at him was of a clean shaven, well groomed, strapping young lad in a dark black suit and a starched monogrammed shirt. He makes some final adjustments to the knot of his tie and the shirt cuff links.
He practices his best smile in the mirror. He is good to go. He runs down the staircase of his apartment building, shouts out a greeting at the old doorman sitting on the dekka in his gallabeya enjoying a morning cup of tea and heads towards his car. The wafting smell of the steaming tea reminding him that he has yet to have a cup himself. The tea will have to wait though. He shifts the car into first gear and eases out of the cramped parking lot into the jungle streets of Cairo.
Morning at last! The phone alarm goes off. She looks at the phone with disgust and hits dismiss. How naïve of her to think that she was going to get any sleep, that an alarm would have been necessary. She has been sitting up huddled in bed hugging her knees and staring at the emptiness for over two hours now. She has run all the hellish scenarios in the planet through her head. She gets up and pulls open the curtains letting sunlight creep into the drab room.
She opens her wardrobe doors and stares at the contents. She realized first impressions were instrumental and wanted to get the right look for the interview at hand. She had set aside some potential dress combinations on the side. She flips through them sliding her hand along the fabric of each, her fingers lingering on each one attempting to get a feel for the vibe and energy of the items. She picks out a grey pinstriped suit and a fancy light pink dress shirt. Yes, this will do. She then made her way to the kitchen attempting to restore routine to the daunting day, she hits the button on the kettle before rushing for the bathroom one last time.
It is an intricately tricky task picking what to wear for a scholarship interview. On one hand you want to be impressive, presentable and unique, you need to stand out and get noticed. On the other hand, you are there to convince those people to give you money to study abroad; you can’t come across as excessively well off or indifferent to their aid. The balance between elegant and flamboyant, a fine line to walk, yet she felt up to the task.
She could smell the Spanish omelettes cooking in the kitchen as she put the finishing touches on her outfit. She sprays her favourite perfume into the air and walks through it while giving herself the once over in her mirror. Her mom had laid out a banquet of a breakfast, but she ate with minimal concentration and appreciation for that day’s interview had taken over her brain. She sat there at the table reading her personal statement yet again. “How do you prepare to be quizzed about material that you’ve written?”; she thought in bewilderment.