Are you a first year pharmacy/medical student?
You’re broke, but you want to impress a girl?
Go for Socializing! There’s drama for everyone! Let me tell you about mine.
A few minutes after I’d bought my ticket, I realised one thing: I didn’t have clothes for party programs.
Before I came to school, I’d complained about my dry wardrobe to my mother. “I don’t have any cool clothes! All my clothes are some way, Ma. I just need a few things.”
I wasn’t expecting much, but she patted my hand and said, “My dear, write a list, okay? I’ll buy them for you. I want you to be happy.”
Full of joy (and foolishness), I wrote the list and gave it to her.
When she came back from the market the next day. I opened the bags to check.
I checked again.
I looked up and said, “Ma, these clothes are for Da. Where are mine? Or you’ll buy them tomorrow?”
She laughed. “Don’t be silly, Otu. These are yours. Those tight tight things children have been wearing nowadays, they’re not nice. I want your legs to breathe!”
“Just look at those trousers. You’ll look like such a gentleman! Aww, my little boy!”
And that is how I came to school dressed like an evangelist.
The clothes were so oversized that sometimes when I was late to class and the weather was windy, I couldn’t run, because the trousers would start making “ta ta” noises in the wind, like I was about to fly.
Naa had only seen me at lectures, where I used the excuse of “Official Dressing” to pretend like I had other clothes, but chale, time was up.
So Saturday, I spent half the day roaming in Adum, haggling with clothes sellers, bending down to find cheap clothes. I spent so much time searching and searching, I didn’t realize how much time I’d wasted till I checked. It was 5pm! I hurried to find a trotro. I had to get there in time; I couldn’t waste 50 cedis worth of ticket money.
Immediately I got in the trotro, though, I realised there would be a problem. The traffic was wild. The car was barely moving. I was contemplating what to do, when I saw Naa’s call.
“Hey hey. Are you readyyy?” The girl was hyper.
“Oh, I’m around, I’m around.”
“Really? Because I came to your room a while back, and you weren’t there.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m in town. I’m buying stuff.”
“Oh yeah? What stuff?” Chale, I didn’t like lying.
“Oh, just random stuff.” She was silent for a second, then, “Okay o. When will you be ready? My roommates are irritating me, so I’ll be in Ewura’s room. You can come pick me up there.”
Ewura? That skinny witch? Chale I didn’t want to even go near her room. I sighed inwardly.
I checked the time. 5:40! I now had to go back to school, make sure everything was in order. I wouldn’t be ready for another 3 hours or so. I couldn’t believe this.
“Uh, Naa. I might not be able to make it in time. Probably not at all. I’m now coming back.”
“What? Are you serious? Ah, Otu-“
“I’m now in the trotro, and there’s traffic everywhere. I’m very sorry. I’ll come later, if they’re not done, wai. I can’t believe this myself-“ There was a beeping tone.
She’d hung up. I couldn’t blame her.
So there I was, sitting in a trotro with a bag of second-hand clothes in my lap, depressed.
I eventually got to school around 7. After changing, I really thought about just sleeping. I was tired, and I’d wasted my money.
But it was a Saturday night. There really was nothing else to do anyway, so I figured, why not?
As it turned out, the actual party hadnt started too long ago, when I got there at 10. I could hear the vibrations from the music playing all the way from Conti. My mood had gradually brightened up as I walked. They were playing that Patoranking song. Oh, this would definitely be fun.
First thing I felt was the heat. The poolside was just crawling with people moving dancing, talking, selling, shouting. Ei, How could you find anyone?
I didn’t see the point in calling Naa now; she wouldn’t feel her phone ring in all this noise and heat. Besides, I wanted to surprise her with my new (second hand) jeans and shoes. I figured if I looked nice enough, she’d forgive me.
Was that stupid? Yes. But then again, I couldn’t remember the last time I made a sensible decision concerning this girl, so I just went along with it.
“Ladieeess and Gentlemen! It’s time!” There was a short guy on the stage hollering into the microphone. Everyone started moving in the general direction of the stage. I didn’t know what was going on, but I went along anyway, all the while looking for anyone I knew.
I eventually spotted that Nigerian girl, the one who had witnessed my disgrace at the gym. I shouted and waved, “Chloe!”
She glanced up for a second, then she saw me and smiled back. I pushed through the crowd to her.
“Hey. What’s going on?” I had to shout over the noise.
“Hi, Gym boy.” She laughed. “They’re about to do the face thing.”
“The face thing?”
“Yeah. Face Of Pharmacy.”
Ahn. In my stress about Naa, I’d forgotten all about that part. The guy was shouting something else and everyone was cheering. A string of girls slowly came up the side. I couldn’t really see what was going on, but a few of them looked familiar, like they were from my class.
After about 30 minutes of shouting the names of the girls, and watching them answer questions and stuff, it got boring. I tapped Chloe (she was shouting for some Nigerian friend of hers who was competing) and asked if she’d seen Naa. A shadow crossed her face.
“The skinny girl you walk with?”
I nodded my head, yes. She looked very uncomfortable.
“Are the two of you, like, dating or something?” She looked very worried as she asked.
Ah, wait. This girl liked me? Was I a hotcake and unaware? Or was it the nice jeans?
She must’ve noticed it on my face, because she laughed and said, “Oh I’m not asking for myself. I’m just curious.”
But what a question.
I didn’t want to be too hopeful concerning Naa, so I just kept a casual face and said, “Oh, she’s just a friend.”
She looked relieved. “Oh, good good. Because I saw her doing things with some boy at the back area and…”
The rest of her words were drowned as a flood of blood filled my ears. Another boy? Wh-?
I staggered off towards the back without another word to Chloe. She must’ve made a mistake, I thought. Naa was very friendly; maybe she was having a close discussion with some guy and Chloe didn’t see it well. She couldn’t possibly have..
I roamed around, not even sure what I was searching for. It was quieter now; everyone was in front watching girls dance on stage and stuff. I looked everywhere, and I found nothing. I was sad and relieved at the same time. Chloe was wrong. I smiled.
I was walking quickly back to catch the finale of the show, when I caught a flash of skin behind the huge mango tree at the side. I walked quietly to it. It was probably someone hiding to steal or something, I had to be careful.
“Hello? Who’s there? Yo, I have a..I have a stick! I’ll use it!” A stick? What would a stick do, eh? I couldn’t even lie well.
The person slowly stepped out of the shadows. “Calm down, we’re students.” It was a girl’s voice.
I laughed in relief. “Oh, okay. I thought..” she stepped into the light. It was Naa.
“Ah. Wh-what are you doing here? I thought you said you wouldn’t be coming?” She looked back at the tree.
“Yeah, I wanted to surprise you.” There was a sinking sensation in my stomach. So it was true.
“But what were you doing over there?”
She looked uneasy. “Oh, we were just talking about stuff.”
“You and who?”
Someone else stepped out behind the tree into the light.
It was Morgan.