See. I am tired. I am very tired. I don’t understand any more. They said love was more than a word, and that we must keep believing in what we want, and that in the end, love is all that matters. Some said poverty and wealth are all in your mentality, and that does that live in mansions do no have two heads.
Well, brethren they lied.
They lied to us and sold us a dream that would never come through. Dreams and hopes not feasible and can never be achieved. Well. Whom am I to even dream as I lie on the left side of the bed, which is my own part of the bed as my room-mate occupied the other half. Our generator went off like 3 hours ago, which happened to be an hour after we turned it on. You see, the economy is not our friend and we can only cut out costs, according to our size or fit, and starch out best shirts as much as we want to, because it must be sharp enough to slice a finger and able to stand at attention, so that our shoulders can stand high. These are the things we MUST do.
No one warned me before hand. You see, my friends, I learned the hard way.
I watched her walk towards the ATM where I was standing in the queue. I took a few seconds to carefully access her in a not-too-noticeable manner and in that moment, I knew I had met a life goddess. As expected, she was “lai-skinned” so I already knew she would have an attitude. Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion, but it’s just their thing, “lai-skinned” girls I mean. She was tall, with a very slim waist I’m sure my fingers could wrap round it, and of course the ginormous hips and behind, it seemed almost unreal. I blinked twice. Or even more, I was too psyched to count. Hell, who cares!
I approached her and said “hello dear” she gave a smirk. Lai-skinned 101, I thought to myself, you have got to be more than a nice guy if you wanted this girl Jide. I was told girls loved bad boys, so I switched it up. With my twisted lips, and dimmed “sexy” eye, I went full bad boy mood and said that I saw the way she was shielding herself from the sun, and so I wanted to let her know that there was a spot she could stand to shade herself, and that she was acting all up, and that I felt insulted. I said all in one breath, and with a sigh, I cursed under my breath. What have I done?.
But it worked as she replied “sorry, but am fine”
I felt like a hero and proceeded to the next step of getting to know her name and get her number, obviously.
I begun, as I walked by her side.
“No problem. I’m Tolu, I studied Electrical Electronics Engineering at UI. I graduated 6 years ago though, I know I look younger but am not a small boy you know” I gave a little “not to brag” smile.
She didn’t even blink.
I proceeded to further impress. “I graduated with a 2’1 with a 4.3 GP even with how tough that school is, but it’s all good though. Presently, I work in a bank though that’s not actually where am supposed to be. You see the Nigerian economy and society has made us do things we didn’t want to do, and now we find ourselves in places that we shouldn’t be in. Well shaa, I’m just managing the job, even with how tough it is. You see my dear, it’s not about what you have now, but it’s about what you will have, and your potential. I might not have the best of jobs, or a car or any of those material things, but I still have my decency and brains. And I’m a child of God. I always believe that hard work prevails. All I need now is someone who understands me, and will just watch me grow, and somehow my instincts lead me to you,I don’t think it’s a mistake. You seem like my type, someone I could grow with. Sorry I’m too straight forward but as a child of God, I believe honesty is what’s best, I’m not one of those guys that will lie to you, I’m a good, decent guy. And hardworking . So dear, just give me a chance, so what’s your name now?”
I said all at once, almost in one breath as saying it all in one breath would have made me collapse. I chop-knuckled myself in my head, and called myself a bad guy, omo guy you killed it. Shebi girls said they want someone to be honest with them, and am smart too. A plus.
I grinned again.
I didn’t even expect it, no, no, it wasn’t happening. While I was babbling, I noticed a black Toyota Venza drive into the bank’s driveway. The car Windows were tinted black, but I was able to catch a glimpse of the person in the car. A guy, obviously (note: This is not a misogynistic comment implying that ladies can’t own a nice car too, it’s just…nevermind). Dreads, dark shades, tank top showing most of his chest, earrings won on both ears, and of course loud music blasting from his speakers. Typical “yahoo boy”, I thought to myself, I wonder how and why girls fall for such guys. Damn. Too indecent and tacky, pff. Can’t even envy such a person.
Next thing, the “Yahoo boy” made a sharp turn and stopped right in front of us (the girl and myself). The turn was so fast, that raised dust which was now all over my face. As I proceeded a bit closer towards him to “halla” and ask him why he had to raise that amount of dust on I and “my girl…to-be”, use my grammar to prove to him that I was well, quite better than he was.
Before I could even step forward, like before I could even blink, the girl whom I was trying so hard to impress whom I still thought was by my side had just gotten into the car, and right in front of me she gave this “Yahoo boy” a kiss and they speed off. Raising dust again. Like Oga calm down now, izz me you’re quarelling with shaa, not the ground.
So I stood there thinking about my life, and asking myself why life was so hard, why the good guys never got the best girls, why the good guys like us were so freaking miserably poor that all they had was a hope that someday, somehow, soon Nigeria would recognize us for our service, for being so upright and moral and would give us an award. Yes, an award. Maybe as fancy as the Oscars and see would all dress up in Armani tux , with the best women by our side in their Givenchy dresses, and with we would walk up to that stage and receive our awards for being good. Perfect. But the world doesn’t expect anything from you, you don’t get appreciated for being the good guy or girl, rather you get yabbed. Who you epp?
Like the nominated actors in the Oscar awards, somehow we are waiting for the Universe to give us some sort of recognition. We want to be noticed. We want to be stand out for being the good ones. The ones who endured the tough times and whom with hard work eventually reaped the fruits of their Labour and with confidence, one of these nominees whom everyone thought was the best out of the best, the “goodest” out of the good guy, would walk up to that stage to claim that reward. Even though this best out of the best guy” knows deep down in his mind that he did not deceive it enough, it’s too late to turn his back now.
I remebered my struggles when going to get a sponge for washing the dishes from the market, you know those cute ones that come in packs and different colours. Even though I knew that these cute sponges never lasted long and this means I would have to purchase another one as soon as possible, I would still buy it, because it was clean, and it was well packaged, and attractive, but never lasted. Then I remembered “sapo”, you know those DIY sponges made from rice or Garri bags which were often used to wash plates at occassions e.g child dedications, naming-ceremonies, in some homes too. Because they were fast, and reliable, and long-lasting, and obviously a wiser choice.
Then I remembered my old sponge,the blue one I got from the aboki who was hawking it around my area. The one I had for 5 years and it never became too weak or too soft, it was just perfect, until I mistakenly flushed it down the toliet some months back. And now whenever I take my bath with this really nice “foreign” sponge given to me by my mother, I still feel like it doesn’t wash me well, it’s soft and cute, but I think that I still need my blue aboki sponge back, because it was actually so efficient.
Look at me talking all about sponges and baths. Well, the point is, some of us are like sponges; refined, soft, clean, neat , well-packaged, with excellent academic backgrounds, possessing strong morals & values, smart, not-too-street smart, comfortable with being “average” because we have to confine by the rules and therefore not too buoyant at times . While some others are like “sapo”; hard, strong, able to resist and stand the rest of time, willing to take risks, creates his/her world, goes against the “rules” of the world, does not easily break down, tough, street-smart, often successful and wealthy because they are their own gods.
So you can understand where I’m coming from whenever I say that there is a difference between sponge and sapo, rice and beans, mishai and sandwich, akara and bean-cake, akamu and custard, motor and car, diet and pancakes, mama put and restaurant, soup and soup, coat and suit, ferk and fork, fuun(however that is spelt but you get the idea), and phone, Aba-made and China-made. Notice, that the later is usually the “sponge”. Cute, fancy, but…
Brethren, they sold us a lie, an expectation and told us that it was a dream that would one day come to pass. They told us that being a sponge was by her off than being a sapo, but if this is what it means to be a sponge; loosing the best girls, living in a one-room apartment so small I often times wonder how we breath, but still holding on to the fact that we are decent.
I don’t want to be decent again, therefore for that reason, today, I choose to become “sapo” not a sponge anymore. Because, there is a big difference between sponge and sapo. Which are you?