The other day while struggling to walk in my fake Red bottoms in town (I cannot afford original Christian Louboutin), calculating my strides to avoid stepping on the hawkers’ merchandises sprawling all over and Sonko’s puddles- someone gently tapped my back.
Instinctively, I held my handbag tight and turned with my face already contorted into a combative countenance. By Jove! It was Omune, the lanky boy with an unpleasant pimpled face only a mother would love and whom I disdained many years ago.
That was eons back when I was a plain tomboy who got kicks from climbing trees and challenging boys into meaningless duels often inspired by trying out the Hulk Hogan moves I’d watched on WWE on our hunchbacked black and white TV.I won two or three fights; got beaten countless times but I just couldn’t stop.
I was 12, he was 15 and when I challenged him to a fight, he simply grinned.
“No I won’t” he said. “I do not want to mutilate your dental formulae but I like your spirit. Be my friend instead.”
I sneered hard.
Mama’s sermons that I should not play with boys had nothing to do with my sneer; I mean I climbed trees, hillocks, herded goats with them anyway. The boy just had nothing inspiring about him.
He often wore a pair of baggy shorts that he probably inherited from his late father and which were held to his waist by a string of woven grass and he always had a book tucked in his pocket.
His feet had not so subtle cracks that resembled the Mai-mahiu chasms that got CNN insinuating the earth was dividing into pieces.
He was an odd mixture of derisive humor, pleasant manners; aloof nature hinged on a skinny body and too plain a face and an air of nothingness around him.
The thought of being his friend was inconceivable.
But the man who placed a car key in front of him as we sat at Café Deli to catch up was nowhere near the Omune I knew.
“I was actually parking when I saw you, you have grown! Womanhood suits you well.”
I blushed. Oh Lord, he now looked really easy on the eyes, with a beard and a deep voice…Yes, beard and deep voice, the two things that get my bud twitching.
“Do you still fight?”
“Absolutely. Only that these days, my arsenal is my pen.”
My gaze caught the slim band on his finger and as if on cue he quipped,
“Oh, I am a lawyer now, married with two children. I named my daughter Aoko, after the feisty, spirited girl who wanted to fight me but refused to be my friend because of my pauperism. You never really left my mind you know.’
For the umpteenth time, I tried to swallow the shame and guilt that had ossified into something hard and painful in my throat.
Fate had conspired to unite life’s most profound blessings into the village skunk- Education, job, money and family.
The boy I refused to be his friend is now on my contact list as the lawyer who I would call if I’m ever sued for cyber bullying.
Well, now that you have read it to this point, let me burst your bubble-It is fiction, nothing of the sort happened. I sometimes use myself as a character to drive the theme home; this shit is my forte guys, that is why I easily make it so believable.
But the lesson in the story is profound right? Haven’t we all been there? Disdained or rubbished people based on their current situations only to bump into them years later and they are doing better than us?
The people we had frugal opinion over have turned out to be notable persons amongst us, the man you refused to date for being broke is now a CEO, the girl you considered an ugly illiterate is a celebrated Anchor on TV, the sons and daughters of nobodies who would enter a room and no one offers them a seat have become cornerstones in their homes and villages, the beggar has become a king!
Even as a parent, teach your children the tenets and value of seeing people for who not what they are.
No condition in life is permanent, people grow, people change, extend the hand of friendship to people based on their characters and personalities not on their social standings, religion, tribe, age, education background for you never know what tomorrow holds.
Always give people a chance.
(You missed me right?😊😎😉