A week after my gym incident, I was in class, trying to recover. Our Dispensing lecturer eh, he had superpowers. You could rest the entire night to prepare for his lectures, and he would still bore you to sleep within 15 minutes. I think he was wasting his talent in the school: he should’ve applied for a job at a psychiatric hospital to calm violent patients.
Anyway, so I was trying to clear my head for the next lecture, when a group of old-looking people entered the class. For a second I panicked: they looked like Teaching Assistants.
What could TAs have to tell us? Had they compiled a list of people who had been copying lab reports?
“Hello class. Please give us a few minutes of your time, we know you’re busy. We’re fourth year students.”
Ah. Tsw, chale. Scaring us like that.
“We’re here to speak to you about the Pharmacy Socializing event!” A few people cheered, but other than that everyone appeared as in the dark as I was. I’d seen a few pictures in the class WhatsApp page, but I didn’t really know anything about it.
She continued, “We’ve been hyping it for a while now, but we’re here to officially announce it to you. It’s organized for you, to let you get to know members of the faculty better. It’s music, dancing, just come and get to mingle with the second to fourth years. And it’s at the KNUST pool, so you can dress down!”
I had to admit she made it sound appealing. Aside from the girls who sat in front of me in class that I borrowed pens from, and Naa, and Morgan and the squad, and maybe a few Botwe boys, I didn’t know anyone in the faculty. It wouldn’t be a bad idea. And at the KNUST pool? Oh, this wouldn’t be bad at all.
“Oh, and I forgot to mention, there will be a competition for Face of Pharmacy, to spice things up.” Boys started making noise. I didn’t know what to expect; I hadn’t been to these beauty shows before.
“All the nice girls and nice boys in the class, look at your faces, eh. Like half of you can be nominated. If you think your friend should win, nominate them, or you can even nominate yourself!”
There was scattered laughter all around at this point. I’m sure boys were already making lists of who to nominate. I glanced around the class; our class girls were nice, definitely. There was some Achimota girl that I’d guess would win if she contested.
By this point the entire class was excited. People were murmuring to themselves and making jokes. The girls in the front row were discussing what to wear and all that. So the fourth year girl asked, “So we will all be coming, right?” and the boys at the back all shouted, and a number of people were nodding.
The girl looked happy. “Thank you. You can buy your tickets from your class rep here and from..”
Eh? Ha. Ha. This girl. Buy what? 3 weeks ago I’d been struggling with money; this week it couldn’t even be called struggle. The poverty had won.
The girl started pleading, “Oh you people, don’t be chisel. A ticket is only 50 cedis.”
Fifty cedis. Me that I was going to buy 3 cedis Gari and beans at engineering gate for the rest of the day, I should buy fifty cedis ticket. These people were comedians o. I got up and left the classroom with my broke ass to look for some cheap food to buy.
On my way down I heard someone shouting, “Schwarzenegger!” I looked up to see Naa sticking her head from the third floor stairs.
The class had been calling me Schwarzenegger ever since I’d fainted at the gym. “Why do you run so fast, eh? Do you think this is your workout?” She was laughing as she descended.
“Look, the gym thing, I told you, I just slept on the floor, okay? I was tired.”
She stopped at the bottom stairs and held her waist, laughing. I waited for 2 minutes as she laughed and laughed.
How could I be upset? Had anyone asked me to go lift iron and faint?
And hers was even chill o. The people in my class wouldn’t let me have peace. The video had spread all the way to some lecturer’s phone, and she’d actually come to ask us in class, “I heard someone in this class has disgraced our faculty..”
I had suffered.
After a while, she recovered. “Where are you going to eat?”
“Engineering gate. I’m going to hunt for the cheapest thing I can find.” She laughed. She thought I was joking. She didn’t know.
“I’m going to the coke stand just there. And why are you looking for cheap food? Are you saving to buy tickets for Socializing?”
Somewhere along the line she’d gotten this idea that I was a rich boy. I didn’t have the heart to correct her.
“Oh no, cheap food is just more appetizing. I don’t think I’ll go for socializing anyway.”
“Oh. Why not?” She stopped on the stairs and faced me, eyebrows raised.
“I..I just don’t think I’ll enjoy it.” Plus I’ll have to eat rice and Shito for a month after, if I buy ticket.
“But I already bought a ticket. I really thought you’d be going.” She bought a ticket? That was flattering. “Ah, so now what am I supposed to do with my ticket?” She continued walking.
A small battle was raging in my head. The sensible part of my head was saying, “Boy, don’t be stupid! You don’t have the money! Will you chew rocks till next month?”
And the silly part of my mind was going, “Chale, you don’t want the girl to go alone. What if she meets fine boys there and realizes that your face is not nice? My guy, go!”
So as a realistic, sensible boy, which voice did I listen to?
I quickly rushed after her and said, “I’ll go.”
She smiled. Her smile really was enchanting. “Really? It’ll be fun, you’ll see. Oh, but really, you’re walking all the way-” she stopped and looked at the phone in my hand
“There’s someone calling you o.”
It was my sister, making a video call. Ah, what was this with everyone stressing me financially? I didn’t have data for video call. I contemplated dismissing the call, but again, I couldn’t look broke in front of Naa. I sighed and clicked the green button.
Her face appeared. “Otu, where is my laptop charger? I swear, if you took it to school eh-” Then she noticed Naa, and smiled politely. “Oh, hi.”
“Wow, hi! You’re Otu’s sister? I didn’t expect you to be so pretty!”
“Oh saa? Haha, thank you. I’m Ohemaa. I’m guessing you’re Naa?” Naa nodded.
“Oh, okay. Nice to meet you.” She turned towards me. “Otu, have you seen my charger, please?” I started laughing. This girl was only polite when there were people around.
“No o. I haven’t even used the laptop since I got to school. Have you tried checking-“
Naa tapped me on the shoulder. “I’ll leave you to finish up, okay. See you later?” I nodded, and she left.
Immediately she was out of the camera’s view, Ohemaa’s face changed into a disappointed look. “Otu. This is the girl you’ve been talking about?”
“Otu, you make me sad.” She shook her head.
“When you told me you’d found a girl after only 3 weeks in school,” she continued, waving her other arm about, “I knew it would be this kind of foolishness you would be doing. I just knew it!” That girl could be so dramatic sometimes, honestly.
“Ah, Ohemaa. You met her literally for 10 seconds, over a video call. How do you have any opinion about her?”
“Excuse me, were you listening to her? ‘I didn’t think you were going to be pretty’? Who does she think she is?’”
I laughed. “Yeah I was wondering about that, too.”
“I mean, how can she be commenting on someone’s face when her nose looks like that? You know I couldn’t even see the building behind her? Her nose had blocked the whole screen!”
I was hollering with laughter by now. She continued, “Do you remember that girl you liked in JHS 3, the one with oversized teeth? Why don’t you like girls with normal body parts, eh? You’re not correct. You’re bringing this girl to our house?”
She paused for a while, then shook her head. “Me, I’ve said it. When she uses your heart for football, my shoulder will not be available for you to come and cry on. Ayoo.”
“Please, please. You’re being melodramatic. Have you eaten today?”
“Don’t change the topic! But, no, I haven’t eaten.”
“That’s why. Go and find food and stop using my data hoh.
“Me, I’m here. I’m just watching. When have I ever been wrong?”
“You’ve been wrong many, many time-“
“Chale you’re stressing me. I’m going back to class.” She cut the call.
I shook my head. Sisters. Always wearing you out. As if I didn’t have enough doubts about Naa already.
I looked up to see her standing at the Coke stand, a drink in hand, waving at me with a small smile. Chale, it didn’t matter what anyone said.
As I walked away to Engineering Gate, I could feel my wallet crying from the stupidity of going to buy tickets, but chale, it was love.