Time and Time again

We used to journey down the stairs
To what looked like a garage
Found a little crevice in the cemented ground
And sowed two seeds of beans
The daily shower of love
And the helplessness that contorted our faces
the moment its green began to yellow
Triple our initial investment, it did give
Mother could not have been prouder

Etched into my memory
Are the days of fetching water two blocks away
How horribly we tied our ‘osukas’
The struggle for hydro-equilibrium
And how we got home with half the amount
No matter how hard we tried

Recall the time we had tuberculosis
Or whooping cough
Or a strain of both
How injections brought no relief
And ‘alabukun’ felt like bants
The combined disappointment on our faces
knowing that the elixir we so fiercely sought
lay in the urethra of a cow

In what has been two decades
you have been a constant
a stubborn constant
that puts the derivative to shame
Time and time again

To you, my first friend

_aJibola

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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The city is Lagos. The time is nine. The sun shone differently that day. The wind also ate the humble pie. I innately felt something was in store. Then she walked into the class and by extension-into my life. I was ten; but the boy in me knew what beauty represented at such age. Was it how she effortlessly rocked the checkered uniform? Or how her cute little cheeks parted to reveal an even cuter smile? My little boy fantasies were cut short by a tap from my then sit partner, Deji. Twenty minutes into her entry to the class; it was clear I was not gonna let go anytime soon.
Fast forward nine years later, separated my continents, I hold on to my promise. My promise of not letting go.
Happy birthday sweetheart. May your remaining days be your best. It is not too late to have a nice time. Have fun.

 

photo credits: http://www.mystudycorner.net/

My Summer Sojourn – a Personal anecdote

Truth Rating: 87.75%

These last couple of months have been pretty remarkable for me. Apart from the fact that I became more accommodating towards not reaching personal expectations; I learnt to reverse my line of thought on very fundamental issues and most especially had to accede to the fact that being juvenile comes with a little (just a little) touch of stupidity.

I clearly recall from unguarded comments I uttered yesteryears where I openly belittled the very idea of summer school. In my defense though, the rough idea I had about summer school was one that was run by some private universities in my country and I was made to believe students usually bought their way through. But I guess karma didn’t see it from my perspective at all; and as such, it didn’t take her too long to locate me in my freshman year at college.

My conclusion to remain for summer school was not one I hurriedly came to reach. Aside from the fact that most of my friends ran home as soon as exams finished, Ramadan was gonna fall in that period. One interesting thing about Ramadan here is the awkward times the sun rose and the times it decided to go back to sleep. In my home country, fasting lasted for 13 hours, but here, I had to endure 5 more hours for 29 straight days. Various legends also posited that the summer sun was a little parody of hell. Even worse: clouds, which usually provided a momentary escape from the sun were virtually non-existent. All one had was a vast stretch of blue and no running from the sun which sometimes peaked at 38 degree celsius.

But it sure takes more than Ramadan and some terrible weather condition to daunt someone whose GPA needed a desperate surge. I ultimately stayed back with some friends whom I guess offended karma like I did. I still had that one friend though, Zan, who for no valid reason decided to waste 9 weeks for a course he could have conveniently taken during the third semester.

Summer school was designed to be after a three-week break from the regular session and Ramadan started about that time. Aside from the time I left the dormitory (which I rarely did anyway), I was either mostly in bed, cooking, engaging in some spiritual upliftment, watching series or ultimately playing FIFA 15 with my awesome temporary roommate, Jad.

Just before summer school began, I got myself a proper pair of Ray Ban shades. Not that the sun affected my eyes in any way, it was my way of bowing to convention and to leave my eyes to the “goodies” of summer. It is common knowledge that shades have a way of reducing societal guilt to almost zero (if you get what i mean).

Two weeks into summer school, Ramadan ended and life pretty much got back to normal. I was taking two summer courses and tests were fast approaching but my confidence was still a few feet under. Some days later, we had first exams and I somehow managed to get enveloped by the gentle feel of inner peace. The “I m gonna ace this exam” kinda feeling. Everything was looking much easier and I occasionally cringed at how stupid I was some months back. Perhaps my diligence was starting to pay off? Or was it the influence of my friends Kif and Riz? Oh no, it probably was karma who took pity on me.

If anything mattered in my school, it was consistency. I know of someone who was well above the 90th percentile in a midterm exam and ended up with a DC in the course. So acing one test outta six wasn’t particularly worth the jubilation. But it was good news for my confidence. Even greater news was that none of my friends, Riz and Kif, was left behind. Our respective scores were way higher than the class average. Second exams were even better; we virtually had the same answer as the solutions released some hours later. We did it finally; being above the 90th percentile was a feat most gratifying. And doing it with Kif made it exponentially remarkable.

Another thing summer left me with was this bond I made with people I once termed acquaintances. I, who was a fan of solitude, started hanging out with them in their room just for the heck of it or for the internet router which they possessed. We also engaged in some kind of violent sarcasm; sarcasm so strong it could earn one direct punches if uttered to someone else. By extension, I also bonded with capricious Meban who never failed to objectively criticize whatever I write. Fate also made me meet Erda, a nice blend of beauty and brain who was in the same department as Kif and Riz.

The month of august was my month of firsts. I found out how much I didn’t suck at bowling. Clinching second place at two different games with three self-acclaimed experts is no small feat. I also got to use chop-sticks to eat sushi (rice, fish, avocados with an array of liquid sauces) with Ebru, a wonderful being in my department. I don’t know if it was my natural prowess or if she was just good at explaining how to hold the sticks.

blog-sushi

I got the hang of it relatively quickly (after 8 tries I guess). At least I was told I represented a few number of people who didn’t veer off in frustration after failed attempts at it.

But just like the famous conservation law or better still Newton’s third law which concisely discusses action and reaction; with all the series of good things that had happened to me for the past 6 weeks, it is only normal for it to be counter-balanced by a not-so-good stuff. Not to bore you with the details but I lost my phone in the mall when I went to shop for my family. After a decent search, I decided to let go. The phone already developed some fundamental problems so much so that my friend Riz termed it “the brick” whenever he wanted to get to me. I almost always wanted to respond with a punch to his face but the thought of him not having a face again was one I didn’t want to be responsible for.

Zan and I inadvertently booked the same flight to Doha. We found ourselves pelting hot sarcasms at each other all through the way to Doha. I eventually got to check our final grades right there in the airport and it was nothing short of awesome. After exploring whatever there was to explore at the airport, it was already time for Zan to board his flight. We shook hands and sealed it off with a warm embrace. Till September!!

                                                       WHAT A SUMMER!