We were at his office.
I, sitting on the edge of my seat and trying hard not to sound stupid.
He, relaxed behind his desk and skimming through papers.
You see, being in love is something that is hard to conceal and I was afraid of showing too much emotion.
Afraid that he will see through me and find my ideas frivolous.
His office was part of several at an investment firm and the dress code was formal.
I had thrown a blazer over my printed high waist, flowing skirt and added a chunky bead for color.
Maybe I shouldn’t have.
Some weeks earlier, I filled in an application for a one-week management program at a prestigious business school.
The questions on leadership and community seemed pretty intense until another caught my eye.
Write a 12-minute TED speech on any topic of your choice.
That was the first question I answered.
The words poured out freely as I wrote about books, traveling, and African literature.
I felt emptied at the end. A sensation only comparable to a confession. A confession of unbridled love.
“Who would you say your role model is in your career?” Ida asked.
I was back at his office and the task at hand.
If I passed the interview, I would be among 50 participants chosen from 1,204 applicants.
Once more, I spoke without restraint about one of my favorite authors, Ruth Reichl.
I effused, “she writes non-fiction in a pure but entertaining way. I want to write like that. Recently, she published her first fiction novel. There is a thin line between fiction and non-fiction and I would love to tread the two with finesse like she does.”
As I walked out of Ida’s office that afternoon, I was so sure I wouldn’t get a call back.
Who needs a literature and book enthusiast at a business school anyway? I thought. I was wrong.
When you are in love, it is hard to hide it and Ida and his team saw potential beneath the passion. I was in.
Today, I got another callback.
In November, I would be spending a full day with African literary fiction writers, Helon Habila, No Violet Bulawayo, and Sarah Ladipo Manyika at a place in Abeokuta where arts come alive, Ake.
I cannot wait to listen, learn, and be taught.
For when you are in love it is a difficult thing to hide.