The Rebirth Of Kemi Afolabi : Chapter One

Kemi stared at her computer screen, the harsh brightness bit at her eyes forcing her to blink uncontrollably. The words began to blend into one and she felt the beginnings of a migraine forming. She sighed and continued on with her reply to her customer.

Dear Sandra,

Thank you so much for getting in touch.

First let me start off by saying how incredibly sorry I am to hear about the state of your vest top. Of course you should not be receiving your vest top in such condition, I understand how distressing this can be. 

I agree that there should not have been a lose thread and I will be passing your feedback onto the team so that they can look into this and ensure that this does not happen again.

To apologise for the inconvenience caused I have sent out a gift card to the value of £10.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Have a great day.


Sighing, she clicked on the send button and watched her email disappear. She clicked onto the next email and slowly felt her life drain a little bit more.

What the hell was she doing here? How could someone who had been voted most likely to succeed in life in her school year book, be stuck sitting in a hardly ventilated room, typing up cheesy emails to customers with first world problems?

She began to type her next response, when she felt a tap on her shoulder.


Thank God she screamed inside.

“I’ve had the worst customers today,” said Grace as they descended down the stairs to the canteen, “One woman literally screamed at me. Said that I had ruined her big day. Like I was the one who had physically sewn together the dress. Sometimes I want to scream back that I’m a human and not actually the company.”

Grace was Kemi’s work wife, her best friend, her confidant, her soul mate. At 5 ft 8, a slender frame and masses and masses of long blonde, straight and I mean bone straight hair, Grace was far from the type of girl that Kemi had ever thought that she would ever be friends with. From the first day that they had met, a cold and wet Thursday morning many many months ago, they had been inseparable.

“I just thank God that I’m not on the phones today I’m just gonna have a chilled day,” Kemi responded.

“You would think they would  cut a girl a break, especially on there last day, but what can you expect from a company run by children.”

There she had said it, the words that Kemi had been in denial for, for these past 30 days since Grace had done the inevitable and handed in her notice, She was leaving her. How? Why? Why was this happening? How could Grace do this to her?

Grace was leaving for greener pastures and she was stuck in a grey block of doom.

“Such a pisstake,” Kemi replied as she reached into the fridge and pulled out a Cobb salad. “This one is on me.”

“Thanks Babe, you know I love a good Cobb salad, that’s one thing I’ll miss about this place. The food is so lush.”

Grace was moving back up north to finally set up the cupcake company she had been dreaming about setting up for the longest time and never had the confidence to set up. Two months ago, after a customer had left her sitting in the toilets in floods of tears, contemplating what the meaning of life actually was; she had spent a whole night formulating a business plan and set up a meeting with a bank manager. Her business plan literally knocked the socks off the manager and she had been given the loan then and there. Admitting to herself that she had grown to loathe the city that she had once had stars in her eyes for, she decided that she wanted to return to home and tantalise the taste buds of the people of Wirral and thus began the start to the end of her life as a drone in the customer care department of Smash Clothing.

They sat down to there very last lunch. Kemi looked across at Grace as she tucked into her Cobb salad. She knew that this would be the last time that they would probably ever do this. People always made promises that they would always stay in touch, but 9 times out of 10 this didn’t happen. They were from two totally different worlds, and to be honest the only thing that they had in common was this place and once Grace was gone, what more would they have.

Kemi felt tears begin to form at her eyes. She quickly blinked them back but it was too late Grace had already seen them.

“What’s wrong duck?”

“Nothing, I think this soup is too spicy, Kemi replied.

“Oluwakemi Elizabeth Afolabi, you big liar”, Grace exclaimed.

Kemi laughed, she loved it when Grace said her full name, in her thick northern accent.

“I’ve seen you eat the world’s most spiciest things”, Grace continued, “I know for a fact that you aint crying cos of that blasted soup, get over here you soft thing.”

Kemi moved over to Grace and she enveloped her into a big hug, she inhaled Grace’s familiar Chanel No 5, and closed her eyes. With Grace she felt safe, what was she gonna do now? They stayed like this, for a while. Two grown 20 something women, tears streaming down their faces, food growing cold and stale.

“Let’s go and get some cake, for old times sake,” said Kemi wiping her eyes.

This was their tradition. After their dreadful first day, when they both had decided that they wanted to quit they had gone to the local bakery and gorged themselves on monster slabs of cake. Whenever things in the office had gone to pants they would always cheer each other up with cake.

“What the hell let’s do it. You know I’m not one to break tradition, said Grace, and what’s an extra 20 minutes? They can’t fire me now!”




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