‘Woah!!! I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since I last saw you man… ’
‘Oh wow! 11 years… It’s been aeons bro. So good to see you’ Mike looked like he was still trying to confirm I was the one speaking with the way he kept studying my face.
‘O.C. You look totally different. I wouldn’t have recognised you if I passed you 10 times on the road. Good thing you called out to me. Wow!’
‘You look different too, but I could still recognise you’ I didn’t know if that was a compliment. Actually, his face was very familiar.
‘Where have you been man? What have you been up to? You stay in Abj? What’s g…’ A passerby hit him on the shoulder and without skipping a beat he turned ‘Was your father blind when he was having sex with your mother? You bastard! You didn’t see that I was standing here abi?’. He still had the notorious flare he was known for. The stranger stood speechless… He muttered some form of frustrated apology under his breath with a puzzled look on his face and then turned to leave… peacefully… hmmm… Nigerians are changing… Or perhaps, he saw Mike’s towering stature and decided to walk away from a potential beat down.
‘Guy… chill… You didn’t have to insult the guy na’
‘Don’t mind these guys, if you don’t show them shege, they’ll just step all over you. Mschtew! Forget them jare… So… how have you been? You’ve been off the grid. No one has been seeing you… I don’t even see your posts on Facebook’
Ah yes, Facebook, the platform that keeps connecting me with people from my past. Sometimes I just wish there was no social media, then I could go somewhere far and start life afresh… this time, perfectly, unlike how I started my life. ‘I’ve just been there o. I’m hardly online… Not so much into social media like that.’ I was hoping he didn’t see my eye twitch.
‘I understand you bro… It could be overwhelming sometimes. But, that’s how to stay in touch in this 21st century’. He looked at his watch.
‘Hey man… Uh… It’s so good running into you. I can’t believe my eyes. You know, funniest thing, just recently, I was thinking of… as in… you crossed my mind’
‘Are you serious?! Me don forget you sef… Omo, I must be special o’
Actually, I’ve been thinking about him a lot. I keep seeing his posts on Facebook. Not just his, my other school mates too, but I never comment or like it. I seldomly post stuff online, when I do, my pictures and statuses get very few likes, so I don’t bother. I bet my other ex-school mates do the same. I keep seeing their pictures and statuses, but never any comment on each other’s’ pages. It’s as if we’re all playing a game of ‘Wait and See Who Succeeds First’. It’s not like I’m a stalker or anything, but they seem to only post pictures of their accomplishments; convocation, bought a new car (or the one their dads got them as a graduation gift), got a job… Then the occasional relationship love quotes with, perhaps, their girlfriends and boyfriends tagged, punctuated with the I-can’t-believe-it engagement buzz and yes, wedding invitations too. Otherwise, it’s mostly videos, party group photos they were tagged in and the occasional, success and motivation quotes. I have nothing to share, I’ve been unable to kick-start my business… I don’t even have a job yet! I want them to see a better me.
‘Uh… Bro, sorry o… I have…’
‘The other day, I ran into Shakur o… Remember Olu-Shakur right?’ I cut him short. ‘Are you guys still in touch?’
‘That lying bastard! Why would I be talking to him? I know he was the one who set me up. Of all the people in my life… That’s why you should never trust anyone. Since I left, I never wanted to see his face again.’
‘Are you sure he’s the reason you got expelled… I know you always went to the jungle together.’
‘See, I get high, but I’m no fool. I always hide my stash.’ He paused long enough for me to get a glimpse of his clenched teeth, then sighed. ‘Listen, no vex o… I have a meeting with this CEO in Central Area ba, some badass deal… don’t worry, when I get it, you’re gonna know… I’ll spoil you!’
As if the whole town didn’t already know of his deals. Heck, the whole world even! He keeps showing off online. Every post with the same captions and hashtags: #MadeMen #Balling #CashMoney #Contractor #Blessed.
Now I remember why I did it.
‘Mike… Uh… I don’t know…’ He handed me his business card. Someone would think I was asking him for a job.
‘Don’t worry about it O.C. I’ll spoil you. Just make sure you invite those your chicks… I’ve got this… Trust me!’
He unlocked the black BMW we were standing next to and got into the driver’s seat. He was making this more difficult.
‘Okay! I have to tell you this…’ I tried to say over the roar of the engine as it came on.
‘Don’t worry, we’ll catch up soon. Just text me later so we can talk more’ He said as the car started moving with his head sticking out the window.
‘I was the one who planted the weed the principal saw in your bag’
I hoped he didn’t hear me.
The car stopped.
Photo location: Garth halls, College road, Bangor, Wales.