Monday, June 13, 2011

Istoria: A Yahoo Boy And His Murano

I met him on my first day as an undergraduate at the Obafemi Awolowo
University. It was a Sunday, and my parents had just dropped me off.
He walked up to me, and offered to carry my box to my room if I would
buy him dinner.

That sounded odd. I immediately assumed he was not a student. After
all, which student would offer to carry a freshman's box for dinner?

Well, I would have bought him TEN dinners to carry that box for me, so
I agreed – and helped him lift it onto his head without thinking. That
was the second thing that struck me as odd. Seeing as I had not lifted
anything on my head in years, preferring to carry loads twice rather
than stack anything on my 'delicate' neck – I took objection to that.
In a very brash manner, he asked if I wanted the box transported or
not. Of course, I wanted it transported – and really, whose business
was it if he decided to lift it with his ears? I thought no more of
the matter, and led the way to F10 Angola.

We had dinner together, and that was the beginning of a friendship
that would last ALL of two sessions. I found out he was from a 'poor'
family – his father was a carpenter and his mother – well, a full time
mother. He was the first child of seven (is that not always the case?)
and he seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. We
would often go to the Bank together: I to withdraw money my parents
sent me, he to send money to his parents.

He did all sorts of jobs to make money. He washed cars, clothes
(including a brassiere in an extreme case), plates, and even floors.
He carried boxes, ironed shirts, copied notes, and split firewood at
Aluta market. Yet, through all these, he made barely enough money to
pay his siblings' school fees. I respected his hard work, courage, and
desire for his siblings to have a better life – so we made a deal. He
would send ALL the money he made home, and I would split my pocket
money with him.

He practically depended on me for his living after we made that deal.
I never liked to cook, so I often transferred all of my raw food
(except for garri) to him as soon as my parents called to say they had
reached Ibadan. I bought his notes, his biros, and paid for his
photocopies. We studied the Bible and prayed together, and talked
about how we would start a big farm and create jobs together.

And then he met 'them'. He went to Finetouch – a hostel in Ife town –
to wash cars one Saturday, and came back with stories of how big boys
'lived'. There was a glint in his eyes, and a new passion to the way
he spoke. I paid no special attention to the fervour in his voice,
putting it down to the fact that he got paid three thousand naira to
wash TWO cars! How I wish I had paid more attention...

He started going to Finetouch every Saturday, and then added Sundays.
Progressively, we started spending less time together. One day, after
we had not seen in over THREE days, I went to his room as usual to
drop his share of MY pocket money – since he did not come for it. His
roommates said they had not seen him in two days, and that they had
assumed he was with me.

On a whim, I decided to go and check him in Finetouch. It was getting
dark, and so when I got to Finetouch – I heard his voice before I saw
his face. That was good for me. He was drawling on and on about a
'recent' sexual escapade, and he was obviously drunk. I observed for a
while, and just as I decided to move closer and let him know I had
seen him – he bent over and retched. It was disgusting! I turned my
back, called a bike, and left in anger.


No comments:

Post a Comment