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Beyoncé buys from the same supplier, Chelsea, Martin Luther King, party, international passport, Germany is such a beautiful place, daydreams, fish.

Just like every ‘wanna be’ (pretender) out there I was from a very poor home. The rats in our home smiled at us. You could literally see them smiling each time they strolled by; they didn’t bother running because no one would chase them. I desperately wanted to be among those happening babes with fine hair-do, polished nails , fancy cars and expensive clothes, I didn’t care how I got them; I just wanted to belong. Every day I would stand at my mother’s small fish stand at the market, watching those cars go by with big boys and girls inside them. I had a girlfriend called Chelsea, who shared my ideas and had big dreams as I did.

“I love your hair,” Chelsea would say to me. Even though I couldn’t afford petroleum jelly - I used Oriegi (shea butter) which stank like rotten stew, I bragged about my hair. “This is real human hair from India. I actually heard Beyoncé buys from the same supplier as myself,” I would say with blind arrogance and empty exuberance. My imagination knew no bounds. “That is lovely Omotigun,” my friends would reply to my boast. Well, you can tell how local I was from that name Omotigun! After all the daydreams, we would crash back to the reality of selling fish or going hungry. We would hawk along the streets of main market and its environs; whatever sales we had was never enough. Our imaginations were our only solace. A place we could go to and be whatever we wanted to be – a world without limits and boundaries. I would never forget the day when we saw a poster advertising a party. This was no ordinary party – it was a party on the other side of town where rich folks reside. We decided to attend. Somehow, we had to live out our imaginations, and there was an opportunity to venture from the walls of our mind into the real world!

We dressed as gorgeously as we could; of course in borrowed clothes and oversized shoes. You should have seen Chelsea walking like an alien from space - her shoes were very big with lots of papers on the inside to occupy the excess space that her feet could not colonize. “You look fine Omotigun,” Chelsea said to me. It was a lame attempt to boost my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, we are black beauties in every sense, who lack the money to get the things a girl needs – you know what I mean! We trekked most of the way because we had to manage our little resources. Eventually, we got to the party only to find out that there were BOUNCERS at the gate and we couldn’t afford the ticket. We decided to sneak in, but fell on tough luck. Those guys weren’t there for jokes. “Ticket please,” one of the bouncers said to Chelsea. “It is with her,” she replied turning to me.

I had to come up with a plan to save the day, so I played along and opened my purse. “Oh my God,” I exclaimed. “I left it in the car,” I added. “How could you do that?” Chelsea replied. “Call the driver,” she said. “Can you believe this?” I said feigning shock. “I left my phone as well in the pigeon hole together with the tickets.” “This is so embarrassing, sir. Please, could you let us in,” she pleaded. She had that look in her eyes that would melt any heart. She is a very good actress. I guess our years of imagination had groomed both of us well. “We actually bought the ticket but my clumsy friend forgot it in the car and there is no way to reach our driver. I am Ketimu Boliva, the only daughter of Chief Desmond Boliva. Could you please let us in?” She pleaded. Well, the guys didn’t budge. We decided to hang outside; at least we could hear some of the music and chanting from there.

Soon, we spotted two handsome guys coming towards us. We quickly started chatting about expensive items that we may never see till we die. “Hello pretty ladies, what are you doing outside?” One of the guys asked. Bingo! Someone was about to take our bait! Chelsea was the first to answer. “It was too crowded inside even though we were at a VIP table. Besides, the show was getting boring,” she answered. “We were at a VIP table too,” one of the guys replied. “Where were you girls sitting?” the other one asked. “At the far right,” I volunteered. “Forgive my manners,” the fair one said. “I am Goodwill and this is my friend Simeon.” “Nice to meet you ladies. May we know your names?” Goodwill asked. “I am Flourish and this is my friend Chelsea,” I answered with a smile. Surely, I wasn’t going to explain the name, Flourish. “It is nice to meet you too.” Simeon was interested in me while Goodwill was had his eyes on Chelsea.

After talking for a while we exchanged numbers; theirs was a complimentary card. Surely they were rich - we had hit the jackpot. “Can we drop you off?” They offered. “Oh no! Please don’t bother; our driver will soon be here. He just went to buy us some suya,” I answered quickly. “It’s ok ladies, can you do lunch with us tomorrow?” “Yes, we will,” we both echoed. With that settled, they left. We were so excited that we started planning for the lunch immediately. If only we knew luck would run out on us…again! The D day arrived and as usual we borrowed clothes and other necessary accessories to match. We were bent on keeping these guys, so we were at our best. When we arrived it was at a very classy restaurant. We quickly got ourselves seated and started chatting. I was telling all the lies I could possibly come up with. If lying was a career, I’d have made a fortune out of it. We hit rock bottom when we were to order and Chelsea blew our chance.

When the waiter arrived and asked us, “What can I get you please?” Goodwill said “I wish I had an appetite.” Chelsea had to open her big mouth and say to the waiter, “Please, get us two plates of appetite one for me and one for my friend. Appetite is such a delicious meal. I hope you cook it well here because the last one I had it at sizzlers restaurant, it was terrible. I had to ask that the cook be fired…seriously.” She was keen to impress…as I was. As if on cue Goodwill and Simeon got up and said, “Ladies, enjoy your appetite and don’t bother about ever seeing us again, liars.” Chelsea was still ignorant of what she had done and asked the waiter, “It seems you cannot cook appetite here as well?” “Sorry madam,” the waiter said. “Appetite is not the name of a dish. It simply means the desire to eat. That young man meant that he did not have the desire to eat.” We held our head in shame and went back home, clearly the opportunity was lost.

Just like Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream!” I still had my dream until this happened…I mean the part I am about to narrate (below). I enjoyed watching American films so I could fake the accent a little, you know. I didn’t even have an international passport let alone visit an embassy for visa, yet I told anyone who cared to listen that I had travelled to many foreign countries. Clearly Chelsea was tired of the lies and had settled back to our normal way of living, but there was no stopping me…yet. I had harassed my poor boyfriend for money so I could get my nail fixed at one of those expensive saloons on the other side of town. While I was there, a lady walked in. She was rich from the look of her outfit. “Hello Tope, how was your trip?” the proprietor of the shop asked. I guessed that was the lady’s name. “It was great,” she replied. “Germany is such a beautiful place,” she continued until I cut in…uninvited. “Not as beautiful as Dubai,” I interjected. “I stayed at the palm beach the last time I was there. “Really?” They asked me. “Yes. I travel a lot.”

I was enjoying the attention. “I have been to Paris, Canada, Spain and even Turkey, you just name it,” I added exuberantly. They were really getting interested in me. I could see heads swing around to get a good look at me. Yea! I am the one, I thought to myself with a smile. Then, one of the attendants asked me, “Since you travel a lot you must know Geography quite a lot?”  “Oh yes,” I replied. “I have travelled to geography as well. It is such a beautiful continent. I don’t like their food though. It tastes like trash.” I didn’t understand the look of surprise on their faces. That was when Tope said sarcastically (I did not get it at the time), “I guess you have been to algebra too?”

“Yes,” I said emphatically. “That was the last country I visited. People there are not friendly at all. That is the country of the famous footballer, Drogba.” “What about trigonometry?” Another lady asked. “I don’t like that country. They have too many triangles there, even their houses are built like triangle just like in Egypt. Besides, there is too much sand there.” I obviously did not know when to stop. The lady got up and shouted at me to shut up. They had clearly had enough of my ignorance. I was completely embarrassed finally. I told Chelsea the story when I got home she couldn’t stop laughing at me. We both are now sticking to cutting our coats, blouses, skirts, and scarves according to our sizes!


Written by:
Joy Oyowe

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Beyoncé buys from the same supplier, Chelsea, Martin Luther King, party, international passport, Germany is such a beautiful place, daydreams, fish. An African Literary Blog
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